Some choose IBM and some choose ABM. For the members of EurOS/2, the European OS/2 User Group, it amounts to the same thing. ABM, for the uninitiated, denotes anything but Microsoft, and EurOS/2 is a forum dedicated, by its own definition, to providing mutual support between committed users of IBM Corp’s desktop operating system OS/2. […]
Some choose IBM and some choose ABM. For the members of EurOS/2, the European OS/2 User Group, it amounts to the same thing. ABM, for the uninitiated, denotes anything but Microsoft, and EurOS/2 is a forum dedicated, by its own definition, to providing mutual support between committed users of IBM Corp’s desktop operating system OS/2. Support group is a term that most living in the caring nineties will understand as a gathering of those facing problems of isolation. Although OS/2 is almost universally perceived to be a sinking ship, the hapless members of EurOS/2 are united in their belief that they are not drowning, but waving. EurOS/2 is not, understandably, kindly disposed towards Microsoft Corp, so the guest speaker at the most recent meeting was especially welcome. It was none other than Graham Lea, self- appointed Microsoft Monitor, and the editor of a newsletter of the same name, a man who has dedicated much of his professional life to acting as the searchlight that illuminates Microsoft’s nefarious practices.
Piracy and sabotage
Lea’s speech, which painted a picture of piracy, sabotage and media manipulation, was eagerly received, and his potted history of Microsoft’s antitrust skirmishes met with much mirth. But when more detailed evidence of the software giant’s iniquities emerged, the mood turned sour. The bundling of applications which enabled Microsoft Excel to usurp Lotus Development Corp’s 123 spreadsheet was heartily condemned. That Microsoft was applying undue pressure on telecommunications firms to use its Internet Explorer browser was deemed completely intolerable. The implication that all that stood between the Windows NT Workstation and NT Server editions was a license stating a 10- connection limit and a bill for $800 brought howls of dismay and outrage. This was wrong, they cried, lives are being ruined by Bill Gates. But Lea’s message was not one of despair, but one of hope. He believes that Microsoft is losing public confidence daily. Antitrust action in the US may have been stalled by the presidential elections, but Lea predicts that users and vendors will ultimately drive the Department of Justice to strike, and Microsoft could be faced with a $3bn compensation bill. Ultimately, Lea maintains, Microsoft is doomed by its leadership. Gates, says Lea, is suffering from a high-functioning form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. The condition renders him – and by proxy, his company – entirely predictable, and therefore eminently vulnerable. Pity, it would seem, is an easier emotion than fear. And for the last bastion of OS/2 users, the chance to pity others, particularly Microsoft, is a welcome change.