Micro$oft Monitor

Published by NetAction Issue No. 31 June 23, 1998
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


Cybersnare: A French Perspective on Microsoft
About Micro$oft Monitor

Cybersnare: A French Perspective on Microsoft

Given Microsoft's global reach, NetAction thought Micro$oft Monitor readers would be interested in a French perspective on Microsoft's expanding monopoly. "Cybersnare," originally written in French but recently translated into English, was written by Roberto Di Cosmo of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. The article is posted on NetAction's web site at:


Since France was even slower to pay attention to the dangers of Microsoft's monopoly than the United States, this article played an important role in raising awareness in the French-speaking community about the risks of monopolies in information technology. It combines incisive comments about the persistent technical drawbacks of Windows with observations on the absurdity of computer software having the copy protection rights of art without any of the commercial liability of traditional manufactured goods. This leaves Microsoft not only with a monopoly tax on computers, but with no responsibility for any commercial loss of data or other problems resulting from its consistent practice of prematurely shipping buggy software.

Di Cosmo also highlights the potential advantages of freeware operating systems like Linux, not only for their technical superiority over Windows, but also for their economic advantages for local communities and businesses. Instead of schools or businesses paying thousands, even millions of dollars for proprietary software like Microsoft's, people could instead invest the same funds in local support staff who could customize freeware and help less technically sophisticated users make full use of the potential of their computers.

(This article was prepared by Nathan Newman, NetAction Project Director.

About The Micro$oft Monitor

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