Translations into Japanese Dutch and Spanish are available.

You followed a link that said ``anti-Microsoft jeremiad''. If you're expecting anything else, back out now — because this is where I vent my spleen (unofficially; my fellow boardmembers at the Open Source Initiative made me move this off the OSI site) at these memoranda and everything they represent about the Borg of Redmond.

I've been watching Microsoft run its game for nearly twenty years and the Halloween memoranda were the last straw. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more...

These memoranda lay naked the assumptions of Microsoft's corporate culture — the insularity, the arrogance, the obsessive drive to control both markets and customers, the casual acceptance of FUD tactics, and the perversion of what should be open standards into devices for monopoly lock-in.

More specifically, they reveal exactly how seriously Microsoft takes the threat from Linux and other open-source projects. And they reveal in detail the dirty tricks Microsoft is willing to use to stop them.

But anybody who finds them a surprise ought to wake up and smell the coffee (or maybe the Microsoft Java). These documents are certainly not the first time Microsoft has planned tactics that are underhanded, anti-competitive, and abusive of its customers. Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft's business practices since they were a garage outfit running on subsidies from Bill Gates's wealthy parents.

Bill Gates has pissed me off from day one. I don't mind that he got rich, but I do mind that he peddles himself as the ultimate hacker and God's own gift to technology when his track record suggests that he wouldn't know a decent design idea or a well-written hunk of code if it bit him in the face. He's made his billions selling elaborately sugar-coated crap that runs like a pig on Quaaludes, crashes at the drop of an electron, and has set the computing world back by at least a decade.

Bill Gates pretends to defend ``innovation'', and if he did I'd love him for it. But there's very little evidence that Microsoft even knows what the word means. Buying or outright stealing key technologies rather than innovating has been a Microsoft trait from the beginning. Consider this list...

MS-DOS: bought (from Tim Paterson). PC1 BIOS code: stolen (almost bit-for-bit from Gary Kildall's CP/M BIOS). The Windows interface: copied (incompetently, from Apple). On-the-fly disk compression: stolen (from Stac Electronics). Internet Explorer: bought or stolen, depending on who you believe (from Spyglass). And the list only starts with these.

And the worst — the absolute worst — is that he's conditioned computer users to expect and even love derivative, shoddily-implemented crap. Millions of people think that it's right, it's normal to have an operating system so fragile that it hangs crashes three or four times a week and has to be rebooted every time you change anything deeper than the wallpaper. Dammit, we knew how to do better than that in 1975!

If you're not an engineer, maybe you can't understand how deeply offensive most techies find this kind of thing. It gives me actual pain to see what Microsoft has done to the computing world, to the expectations of users, to the craft of programming that I love. But most of all, it disgusts me to the point of rage and nausea to contemplate living in the Microsoft-only future Gates has planned for everybody.

Linus Torvalds jokes about world domination, but Bill Gates means it. What Microsoft has done in the past is very bad, but I would not have gone to war with them over the past. The real issue is that they won't leave me and my friends any safe place. They want to hijack the Internet we built with brains and sweat and blood; they want top-to-bottom control of computing everywhere; they're determined to have it all, forever and ever, amen.

That is the deepest subtext of the Halloween memoranda. And that, ultimately, is why I must be Bill Gates's enemy.