strangest systems I've sent email from

Austin Pass austinpass at
Fri May 20 14:18:55 CDT 2016

On 20 May 2016, at 20:03, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:

>> I don't know if that was a specific market ploy based on Moore's Law,
> an actually quite smart move, . . .
>> or just the generally accepted practice of getting an initial version
>> with the API working any which way, then refactoring to improve
>> performance/correctness in later versions.
> For decades, I used to rant that the biggest problem with Microsoft software was that they treated their programmers "too well".
> That if Microsoft programmer had space problems, they would immediately replace his machine with one with more RAM and bigger drive, and he wouldn't learn to be memory or disk space efficient.
> That if his programs were too slow, that they would immediately replace his machine with a faster one, and he would never learn to write fast or efficient code.
> If there was ever a hardware problem, they would immediately replace the machine.  Accordingly, Microsoft programmers NEVER actually experienced hardware issues, and had to IMAGINE what disk errors, etc. would be like, resulting in software that couldn't properly handle them when they happened.  For exaample, when SMARTDRV was causing MANY problems with write-caching (TOTAL failure and data loss if even a minor disk error occurs), Microsoft was in denial, and couldn't understand that their software needed to be able to recover, or at least sanely handle the situation when an error occurred.
> They did not CARE ("well, that's a hardware problem, not out problem.") that a single bad sector (unfound by SPINRITE) in the disk space occupied by the WINGBATS font, totally prevented installation of Windoze 3.10.
> [cf. "disk compression problems" due to SMARTDRV, and their need to replace DOS6.00 with 6.20]
> I used to rant that if Microsoft were to "trade machines with us", and give their programmers current or old, rather than newest, machines, that their programmers might finally learn how to write robust compact fast software.

The rumour was that Bill Gates insisted programmers used 386's when writing Windows '95, although I'm struggling to find a single shred of evidence supporting this statement, so it may be mis-remembered fantasy.


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