This article explains all the reasons why we should actively shun Microsoft products and kindly but firmly refuse to collaborate with people who use them, polluting the world with their effectively proprietary formats... this is a teaching opportunity. Microsoft are a bad actor - people should avoid being sullied by association. And Google is only slightly better.

More accurately, this doesn't explain, it illustrates. And all the poor folks who use MS Office day in and day out (and don't realise that there's any other software - this is a large percentage of people) are the "pressure" that forces the waters of digital injustice through the pipes. Some might think this is minor... but it's pervasive. And it's emblematic of the injustice perpetrated daily with impunity by mega-corporations. Not acceptable.

At work for a small manufacturing enterprise, we switched last year from a self-hosted email server to MS Office 365. Only the mail server service though, we're still using the desktop MS Office version on the work stations. It annoys me, because at our usage level for Word and Excel, LibreOffice would do the job perfectly fine.

It's like companies like/think it's normal to waste money on proprietary software and IT services. 🙄

@normandc yup. It's epidemic. Seen as a "cost of business" and because everyone assumes that if you're not paying for MSFT you're cheap or something... never crosses people's minds how they've literally handed MSFT control of their entire organisation (see


I may be flamed for saying this, but the whole IT industry is mostly based on the MS ecosystem because they can make so much more money on it than on Linux.

At the end of the nineties / early 2000's when the small company I worked for finally looked to create a computer network, they uncharacteristically went for a RHEL machine serving Windows desktops. The whole thing worked seamlessly and even 20 years ago, the server was *never* down.

@normandc well, your implication, that MSFT isn't worthy of its current (financial) pre-eminence isn't wrong. They're a crappy tech company. They're mostly a litigation and (half-assed) marketing company. Their success is mostly down to ruthlessly leveraging the monopoly they were gifted by IBM (one of the worst business decisions in recorded history).

@normandc and, as an engineer, I'd argue that their "success" is a farce. They're simply financially wealthy. Their technology only just barely works, at best. Much of it doesn't (see Sharepoint, for instance) and even when it does, any self-respecting engineer's reaction would be offended that it was ever inflicted upon an oblivious market (who doesn't know any better).

@normandc interestingly... there seem to be credible indications that the "success" of Microsoft's Azure "Cloud" is largely exaggerated + accounting tricks, and is actually costing the corporation heaps. I hear whispers of major redundancies among Azure techs.

And I'm sure it's not the only corporation doing this kind of trick.

@normandc MSFT's damage is certainly among the most prolific, affecting the most people world wide from day to day. But yeah, they should all be stamped out.

@normandc corporations used to have a purpose - to manage supply chains, communication networks, and vectors to market, manage the huge capital required for massive works projects (like building huge ships or power plants) from a bygone era. Most of those things have been commoditised, and can now be provided trivially. The Frightful Five are completely necessary today.

@normandc what the Frightful Five offers could be surpassed in terms of both quality and scale (and the digital aspects made freely available to all to enhance commerce and community) by open source options and self-organising networks of small-medium local businesses *and the voluntary sector* if, say, gov'ts invested 10% of what they currently pay.

I'm only a resourceful end-user, but I believe you. We run 14-year old CAD software, because we got fed up with the whole maintenance racket ($2000 CAD/year, per seat). It's getting increasingly difficult to make it work on the newer versions of Windows. On Win10 we have to jump through hoops, and even with identical configurations, they don't work the same.

And once we have no choice but to upgrade, we may go with annual licensing instead of perpetual. 🙄

@normandc MSFT's greatest innovation was completely decoupling price from value in the purchaser's mind. They also borrowed concepts like planned obsolescence and loss-leadership from smarter but less successful (financially) and equally unethical businesses.

@normandc as you can probably tell, I have zero admiration for the Microsoft Corporation. They're the worst of an evil bunch, the Frightful Five, admirability-wise.

We share the sentiment 😄

And I have similar feelings for corporations in fields I'm familiar with, CAD and graphics. Namely, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, Adobe... They're not as big, but have the same practices.

@normandc absolutely. I have nothing but contempt for Autodesk and Adobe. Similarly ESRI. Never heard of Dassault, to be honest.

Dassault is the maker of CATIA, CAD software used in the aeronautics and transport industries. They also own Solidworks, and AFAIK after 20 years of ownership, both software still can't share/import files from each other.

@normandc @lightweight your work in the FreeCAD community is incredibly valuable to change the industry! Keep it up!

@thinkMoult @lightweight
I left the community last year. I don't see myself coming back.

@thinkMoult @lightweight
I rage-quit over something. 😄

But the truth is, I had been tired of it for some time. I dedicated 9 years of my free time to the community in many roles (mostly giving help on the forum over usage issues). I was spending no less than 20 hours a week, usually quite more. But working 40 hours a week with CAD, I can no longer spend my free time with CAD again. I had other interests that I completely left out, that I picked up again.

@normandc @lightweight I completely understand. Hopefully there were parts of those 9 years which you enjoyed, and happy to hear you've moved on!

@thinkMoult @lightweight
Thanks! As an experienced CAD user I was able to provide some UI/UX input to developers, some of my ideas and views were implemented and I'm quite proud of that. Also, having my name listed in the contributors tab of the About FreeCAD menu (along with many others, this is a community effort after all) is nice. 😎

@normandc Should've realised :) - I studied at the UW in Seattle in the 90s with a lot of Boeing engineers - they all used CATIA, although I never heard the name Dassault.

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