moral compass

Story: Microsoft Getting Closer to the FireTotal Replies: 16
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Jun 28, 2005
12:59 PM EDT
I think that whatever sense of morality Bill Gates might have is overridden by an all consumming greed.

-------------------------- Steve Stites

Jun 28, 2005
4:38 PM EDT
It's difficult to judge anyone, unless we have the training, experience and knowledge. Then they have to let you into their life and past their defenses.

Regardless of the psychological make-up, I just would like it to stop.


Jun 29, 2005
12:21 AM EDT
"Greed" is a bit simple explanation. I think it is more a question of culture... in his way of thinking (as for many corporate types) all is fair in love and war and business. Morality is for in the church. Or in philantropy... BG is big in that area too, and you won't hear me claiming that he isn't driven (also) by an honest wish to do good.

Human motives are complex. One motive for Gates' philantropic activities may well be trying to make up with his conscience... wouldn't be the first time (Rockefeller anyone?)

- Martin

Jun 29, 2005
5:41 AM EDT
Martin: You have exellent points. One consideration which we might consider has to do with whom he philantrops. As one colleague said, he gives money to his people who spend it with his biggest customers.

No question that secular thought prevades business. However, some giants were extremely religious. I know of many who went to Mass every morning and not to impress anyone - I'm talking the earliest morning Mass.


Jun 29, 2005
5:44 AM EDT
Martin, Martin, Martin.

Such intelligent commentary! Y'know, ya could try being dumb every now and then, just to let the rest of us feel better.

As to greed, there really are truly avaricious and greedy people. Mostly, I think we tend to let envy creep in and apply the word to anybody who has much more than we do. BG fits that description more than anybody else, so he must be the greediest SOB in the world, right?

Jun 29, 2005
6:42 AM EDT
Quoting:Y'know, ya could try being dumb every now and then, just to let the rest of us feel better.

I knew there was a reason why I felt better after reading your commentary, Dino.



Jun 29, 2005
7:06 AM EDT
And Paul, you always make me feel like a million bucks!!!

Jun 29, 2005
7:56 AM EDT
dinotrac: I feel taller too...

Jun 29, 2005
8:51 AM EDT
Quoting:dinotrac: I feel taller too...

Well, then, I have done some good.

Jun 30, 2005
10:04 PM EDT
To be more precise, Bill Gates's "greed" seems to be more a greed for "success" (by the Harvard Business School definition) than for mere money, of which he has more than plenty.

Actually his philantropic ventures -- a form of entrepreneurship itself -- can well be seen as a way of trading one currency of success for another. You can see that with many millionaires: Larry Ellison sailing for the America Cup or what, Mark Shuttleworth going into orbit... none of them quietly retire with their money. Success always tastes of more, and the hunger doesn't go away by eating ;-)

(Many economists completely miss this picture BTW).

If we open-sourcers can identify one motivation of open-source development in terms of the currency of personal reputation instead of money, shouldn't we then be able to understand somewhat similar motives in others?

- Martin

Jul 01, 2005
3:07 AM EDT
Martin -


It is, however, human nature to create "us and them" divisions that convert our differences into funamental moral divisions.

"We" are the good guys, moral and just. "They" are the avaricious beasts, not to be left alone with your children.

T'ain't right, and t'ain't useful.

Sigh. Whatever happend to "There, but for the grace of God, go I"?


Jul 01, 2005
3:53 AM EDT
Quoting:Sigh. Whatever happend to "There, but for the grace of God, go I"?

It's easier to go to war than to diplomatically find a solution. Society, however, is composed of people that for the most part, chose the latter over the former, and we can only hope that this mentality prevails long-term. We can continually identify Microsoft as an enemy (and in some respects, they've fingered us as such, so it works somewhat), but until the swords drop and the common ground is found, there's going to be ugly pigeon-holing -- that's how one defines an enemy in mass, after all.

Speaking of which,

You self-righeous judgemental hackers are all alike.

You crouch in the dust of your make-shift confessionals, nothing but the smell of burning insense and the glow of your religious-software-laden-laptops to guide your way. You pop onto LXer's message board with smarmy sayings like the above, all the while thinking "Oh, but I'm not like them!" NO! But we see how you are.

One day soon some other maroon (rhymes!) will come along and judge you like you've been judging the masses. The creep will probably act like he's not the same way you are, and then (THEN!) you'll understand the error of your ways! Then we'll see how smarmy you feel.

Wait, that just happened. I guess you don't have to wait, after all.

Crap. --FeriCyde

Jul 01, 2005
8:59 AM EDT
All we are saying, is give peace a chance...


Jul 01, 2005
9:45 AM EDT
dino: catchy! Don't say it too loudly now, or make a song out of it -- the last guy that said that...

Jul 05, 2005
4:04 PM EDT
The worst thing about denial or living in denial and the most difficult part of it to treat is denial of the denial. So, once a person through some existential moment of courage, breaks that barrier, and can see clearly, he gains some undertsanding. But, just as the vision clears, it begins to morph back into denial which ultimately clouds the perception.

Give peace a chance? Deny the evil of human nature - not that evil is omnipotent, but certainly the mass murders of history should give you a clue that it exists.

Now, a good example of having to take a stand is a movie called "Do the right thing" - Spike Lee. In the beginning of that movie you see a picture of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. MLK has his arm over the shoulder of Malcolm X.

The movie progresses from there until finally someone takes a stand.

Taking a stand is quite a remarkable and totally unreasonable thing to do. Because if you dabble with reason, you can't take a stand. Of course you can take a stand to dabble with reason but it won't forward the action.

Now, I have to go speak later this month in a country where MS dominates and I'm the keynote. Do I dance around the issue or do I say the truth?

If I thought that MS was benign at all and in any way, I would stand up and try to make people like me. But I have pictures and tapes in my head of mass murder and people laying on battlefields. I also have some pictures of people who gave their lives for freedom -- more than once.

So, do I do the right thing and say what's so?

That's an interesting question and I won't know until I get there and mingle with the people. You see, people have to be in a condition for communication or they will reject everything. If the condition for communication exists, I'll ask them what they want to hear.

Does that mean I have forgotten the fact that I believe evil exists? Hey, as the people walked to the ovens and their death, many survivors say they didn't believe it. They were in denial. And I'm talking about Catholics. Because the haulocaust is not an exclusive event to one people. The people of my faith suffered like those who seem to be the main victims.

In a world that works for everyone, monopolists live in Anartica.

Jul 05, 2005
5:49 PM EDT
Tom, at least when you speak to those people, you haven't been backed into a corner -- one where on the one hand, the truth goes hidden because you and you alone are the one with all of the pieces to that truth (or at least, the one person who has most of the pieces and has the fortitude to say something). At least no one's career is on the line if you bring out the truth -- Gates will lose some cash, but ultimately, if Microsoft's monopoly is held more at bay, consumers in general will benefit and society as a whole.

What I'm driving at is that there are times when you have to make moral judgements, and make descisions that as a whole are going to suck. Someone is going to go down and your revelation of truth is the sole divider.

To really do this, you must come to some conclusions -- sometimes for the greater good, someone is going to suffer, because what they're doing is harmful. Thier intentions are not always good, in other words. Peace works well but requires the enforcement, vigilance and belief in human evil -- stuff that not everyone sees.

I'm sure that Dino was being sarcastic anyway. Good thing I'm not like that *phwew*. --FeriCyde

Jul 05, 2005
6:02 PM EDT
Paul and Tom --

Actually, I was just responding to Paul's rather cowardly sneak attack on my prodigious character.

Getting along with Microsoft is something we have to do to the extent that our clients and customers use it.

Grumble, grumble, grumble. Damned Internet Explorer. How do Windows users live with that POS?

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