Monday, March 16, 2009


This series of articles is based on the philosophy of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as expressed in his motto "Less is more." This is not just an expediency to get through an economic depression, it is a way out of the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Sooner or later, all of us, from President Obama on down, are going to have to consider this. Computers are a good place to start.

Mass-produced computers can KILL Microsoft and free the world's computer users. They'll be too cheap to accommodate MS Windows -- MS's bread and butter. Computers will go the way of TVs and VCRs -- cheap offshore (non-USA) production. They'll be cheap, simple, general-purpose (FREE SOFTWARE), all-electronic (no disk drive) -- in other words, real electronic computers, finally.

This process already is under way. Note how Microsoft's stock price has declined over the past 5 years.

If you like this idea, remember, above all, avoid Microsoft traps like the "Windows XP Starter Edition." It's a $30 loss-leader for developing nations -- with price-gouging to begin soon after. If you are outside the USA, be like Munich, Germany -- declare your freedom by going open-source for your enterprise. Beware of the US spies at the USAID and beware Microsoft's so-called "Local Economic Development Program for Software," which is insurgent in Brazil and Jordan. Read a US judge's decision on how MS strangles the US market ( and avoid this for your country.

A respected US group, the Gartner Group, warns against the Windows "Starter Edition" at .

To read about Microsoft's designs on your country, see . The head of the USAID (US Agency for International Development) is Andrew Natsios, a nephew of famed CIA spy Nicholas Natsios.

For non-US persons looking for freedom from Microsoft for their enterprise, consider the Munich example at: and Germany's example at,1564,568696,00.html . Bergen, Norway's second city, is planning to switch its computers to Linux.

For balls, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballsmer has threatened Asian countries -- sovereign nations, mind you -- with lawsuits if they employ the Linux open-sourse operating system. He threatens them under the aegis of the World Trade Organization.

However, the hundred-dollar Linux computer will be the end of Microsoft's dominance and possibly the company itself. Do you care? Can the Indian MOBILIS beat Microsoft? Can Wal-Mart beat Microsoft in America? Since you are reading this on a computer, you are a slave to MS and you should care. Freeing us from MS and its robber baron could raise the US productivity by several points. It can free foreign governments from aggression by Microsoft. I'll show how. To have fun, usable, efficient computers, it is necessary. To finally realize the dream that Bill Gates aborted, we need a computer that is: Cheap----Instant-On----Simple----General Purpose.... India has one, for $200 ("good globalization"). We (the rest of the world) don't. This might not be the machine, but more are coming, and they will starve Microsoft.

At $100 or $200 there is no room for Windows, unless MS gives away its XP "Special Edition" or its CE -- as a trap.

If the computer becoming a commodity is a threat to MS, the company is only encouraging that trend with its foray into home entertainment. They are doing this for one reason: to keep game consoles from competing with PCs and Windows. That's why you won't see windows on game boxes. This will backfire. No American company can long make money in the manufacturing and marketing of home entertainment. It will be "deja vu all over again": When a new must-have Next Big Thing makes a market in the US, the Asians make it and take it. (The list is long and started with the transistor: portable radios, all radios, B&W TVs, color TVs, VCRs, CD players, digital clocks, watches, cameras -- and now, the computer.) Home entertainment systems are a booby trap for American companies and they will be for MS, too. Microsoft's participation in this will help ensure the commoditization of computing -- the opposite of what they planned.

At $100 or $200 there is no room for Windows and Microsoft, because the price charged manufacturers -- $70 to $83 for each computer using Windows -- precludes it. That is a tax that most of us have to pay when we buy a computer. Microsoft also has a $30 Windows XP version for what they call "entry computers" in developing countries ONLY -- but it is a trap -- much higher prices, like subscription charges, will follow. DON'T FALL FOR THE $30 WINDOWS "STARTER EDITION" TRAP!

... Today's "personal computer" is not even a true computer, in that it is not a general-purpose device but a proprietary Wintel (Windows and Intel, working in collusion) device. The PC is a corrupted version of the microcomputer vision that we had in the 1970s. I was there. That vision failed when Microsoft pirated away the microcomputer/small computer/home computer as we variously called it. I will show that we have the tools to take back the vision of the computer as a universally available intellectual tool -- take it back from Bill Gates, the Blue Beard of computing. I will show that globalization is not all bad. It will take more than Linux or free open-source software (FOSS), much more, as explained below.

Famous computer visionary Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab is developing and promoting a $100 laptop with proposed specifications including a 500-MHz processor, 1 GB of memory, an XVGA display, and free Linux. He envisions 200,000,000 million of them being distributed to countries like China in two years. However, the Indian company Encore Software already is marketing a small computer, the MOBILIS, with much more modest specs, for about $220. The Mobilis may not have the features many of you want, but it is a crack in the dam. As cheap computers flood the US, upgraded versions soon will appear -- much cheaper because of no MS tax -- and much better. Both of the above computers employ the open-source Linux operating system (OS). already sells a good, cheap OS-LESS computer -- you get to choose one. These machines might not change the world, and nonproprietary operating systems besides Linux might become more important, but all this shows what is coming.


The Indian Mobilis has some of them. They include:

1. Cheap (nearly free) nonproprietary operating system (Linux or other) and cheap nonproprietary basic applications -- word processor, browser, etc. --- This would make the small computer a general-purpose device, as a computer should be -- not tied to Microsoft, Apple, or Palm. Above all, the small computer must AVOID MICROSOFT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BE ABLE TO PROVE THIS IN A COURT OF LAW. Microsoft basically is a publishing company full of lawyers. (Did you ever see a publishing company get this big or a publisher get as wealthy? Not even Hearst of "Citizen Kane." They exploit the law and technological ignorance.) Avoid Apple, Microsoft, and all proprietary software as much as possible. An operating system is one of those things you shouldn't have to pay for -- certainly not on the basis that the publisher (Microsoft) excludes other software companies from YOUR computer. You don't pay for an OS when you buy home entertainment devices (though some probably would like to put an OS in a kitchen toaster).

2. Instant-on operation --- no waiting for the OS to load from a hard drive. Keep the OS small enough to fit economically in nonvolatile solid-state memory (flash, etc.).

3. At last, an ELECTRONIC computer. --- What we have now, the PC, includes an electromechanical device, the motorized hard drive -- an electromagnetic device like the relays in the Harvard Mark I of 1943. With "general purposeness" and all-electronic operation (OS on chips, not a disk drive), we would finally have something that meets the traditional definition of a real electronic computer. Watch the price of flash memory go down and you will see the possibilities for taking the "D" out of "DOS."

4. Simplicity. --- Since the operating system would be on semiconductor chips, it would be much smaller than the monstrous "whatever the traffic will bear" Windows. A small operating system is a simple one. Remember DOS and the early computers? To start "computing" (limited, admittedly), one had only to know how to turn on the power switch and insert the boot disk. Computer simplicity alone could add several points to a nation's labor productivity.

5. Driver software for common hardware such as Epson printers and HP scanners.

6. Ability to view, print, edit, and exchange files in Microsoft formats (.doc, .xls, etc.) and to convert to and from standard file formats, including proprietary ones where legal.

7. Ports for expandability to include connectivity (modem, Ethernet, etc.), hardware devices (printer, scanner, etc.), and more storage (e.g., Lexar JumpDrives). The Mobilis uses UPS for expansion.

[THIS IS ONE OF THOSE "I TOLD YOU SO" ARTICLES. I published it 3 years ago at under the pseudonym Kurt Kress, and after 3 years I wonder, How did I do?]

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