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June 03, 2004

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I wish them success. It would be beyond cool for the government to lose its monopoly on space travel.

To be replaced by Micro$oft's monopoly on space travel?

Nah, Microsoft would crash too much.

Brilliant, James. You just made my day.

Crashing isn't a bug, it's a feature!

As a former Microsoft employee, I feel entitled to opine a bit on this. We don't need to know what it would be like to ride in Microsoft Shuttle 2005: we already have it, and it's called the Space Shuttle.

Many of the things which make the Shuttle overpriced and prone to strange problems are the same kinds of things, in theme, which make Microsoft software prone to crash. Microsoft software is designed to function with every conceivable combination of hardware and software capable of running it. That it is bloated, overengineered, and often does this poorly is no surprise: if you take Linux out of the box and don't tweak and refine it to your system specs, it tends to misbehave in unexpected ways as well.

This is not to say that MS dev and test teams do not often suffer from feature creep, inefficient and faulty design, or the limitations of the APIs on which they depend. Merely that there are other reasons which have interesting parallels in the Space Shuttle. The degree to which the Shuttle is designed to be an overengineered Swiss Army Knife of NEO travel is for many of the same reasons MS software is.

if you take Linux out of the box and don't tweak and refine it to your system specs, it tends to misbehave in unexpected ways as well.

Odd. I've installed Linux on at least a half-dozen very different systems, and never had the least problem. The only thing customization did for me was increase the speed a little, and cut back on memory usage and disk storage.

There were early difficulties, to be sure, back in the RedHat 4.0 days. But nothing that kept my system from running, just things that I had to do to get X to work.

If you're going to be making history like that, you ought to have a better name than "SpaceShipOne."

SpaceShip 1.0?

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