Gates vs. Jobs

There’s a nice little editorial here at Wired news which voices an opinion I’ve held for awhile: as much as people despise Microsoft and envy Bill Gates for his money, it’s hard to argue with the contributions he’s made to very worthwhile causes. Elsewhere in today’s news it’s mentioned that Gates is giving $900M to tuberculosis research. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to do much of anything in the way of charitable donations. Don’t tell me that it makese a difference that Gates is the richest man in the world and Jobs is only the 194th richest man in the world (not counting that he’s going to rise in the ranks considerably after the Disney/Pixar deal). The point is that Gates is putting very real money into causes that benefit humanity, and Jobs isn’t. Consider that next time you think you’re being politically correct by buying an Apple product.

By adam

Go ahead, try to summarize yourself in a sentence or two.


  1. During my recent ibook debacle, I pondered whether I’d feel so unclean after my runaround (and while being in a sort of transitory state where I don’t need my computer to do Everything Right Now as much as usual) that I’d ditch it and finally try to go Linux full time. After they agreed to replace the ibook (again, this will be the third), I’m afraid I settled promptly back into apathy. I suppose the correct answer is really to take on Linux as my primary OS and try to help get an OS not owned by a particular commercial entity up to snuff.

  2. I suppose you’re right that Linux is the most politically correct OS in the sense that it’s not owned by any one commercial entity. Unfortunately it’s not a viable alternative for me, simply because there is no market for Linux audio software. There is some music-making activity on Linux, but it doesn’t yet have enough momentum to represent a viable customer pool. Also, there is something of an “all software should be free” mindset in the Linux community, which makes it even harder to sell them something. Should I help Linux gain viability by making Linux products? Well, yes, in some sense I should. On the other hand, my company is not (yet) large enough that we can afford to create new products that will make little or no revenue. Right now we’re grappling with the the increased costs imposed upon us by Apple’s switch to Intel CPUs–costs in the sense of having to buy two more of their machines, invest a huge amount of time updating our products to work with them, increased amounts of work to bring a new product to market, an anticipated increase in our support load, etc. (That’s fodder for another blog entry I’ve been meaning to make.) Adding Linux to our roster would be untenable.

    I suppose I could adopt Linux as my own personal primary OS. That’s more viable than it used to be, certainly, but I will freely admit my ignorance as to how viable it is now. I’m afraid that I’m very fond of the MS Office apps, MS Money, and some other Windows-only products, and so far I haven’t been won over by the open-source alternatives such as OpenOffice. I am trying The GIMP instead of Photoshop, but haven’t yet spent enough time with it to have an opinion one way or the other. Using Linux for music is simply out of the question.

  3. I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that you or anyone else specifically should take up Linux. I feel as though my position as something of an “undeclared” developer with no strong professional ties to any platform makes me a good candidate to give it a go.

    I’ve just deleted the subsequent two paragraphs of this post, as it went on to theorize on things I just don’t understand well enough to be useful. I’d like to have an OS relatively free from board meetings and advertising departments. I am also very fond of my ibook when it works.

    Interesting times…

  4. Actually I think people should consider their choice of OS now and then, rather than just plodding along with whatever they’ve been using out of habit. Part of the reason that Windows dominates the planet now is because people plodded along from MS-DOS to Windows rather than switching to the Mac, even though the Mac was clearly superior at the time. (Today I can’t say that either one is clearly superior.) I didn’t do enough research before I bought my most recent PDA; instead I plodded along with palmOS products. As a result, I have a PDA which I despise, and will unquestionably purchase anything other than a palmOS machine when this one dies (or I become so fed up wtih it that I smash it into small pieces). But I digress. The point is that just because the last time you bought a new computer its particular OS was appropriate to your needs doesn’t mean that the next time you buy a computer that OS will still be appropriate.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *