Microsoft has been and still is the company that everyone loves to hate. In this article by Richard Stallman, the criticisms continue. Most of what Mr. Stallman states has been said before. That Microsoft is a big bully that controls the computer market by fear and intimidation. But the article also states that other software companies are also to blame and include Apple, Adobe,  ‘and the rest‘ [whoever that might be,], are just as bad as Microsoft.

But than there is this statement:

Many outside the computer field credit Microsoft for advances which it only took advantage of, such as making computers cheap and fast, and convenient graphical user interfaces. 

Interesting. Is this true? Do we need to credit Microsoft for bringing about cheap and fast computers?

The article also states:

Microsoft’s software is distributed under licenses that keep users divided and helpless. The users are divided because they are forbidden to share copies with anyone else. The users are helpless because they don’t have the source code that programmers can read and change.

If you’re a programmer and you want to change the software, for yourself or for someone else, you can’t.

If you’re a business and you want to pay a programmer to make the software suit your needs better, you can’t. If you copy it to share with your friend, which is simple good-neighbourliness, they call you a “pirate”.

Should programmers be allowed to modify Microsoft software as stated above?

What do you think? Is Microsoft a villain? Or have they contributed more to the computer industry than they have taken away?

Comments welcome.