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560 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2003
In 1981, Microsoft made its historic deal with IBM over the new IBM PC. Bill Gates bought QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System), a clone of CP/M that its programmer Tim Paterson had thrown together in six weeks, from Paterson’s employer Seattle Computer Products. Gates, concealing the IBM deal from Paterson and SCP, bought the rights for $50,000. He then talked IBM into allowing Microsoft to market MS-DOS separately from the PC hardware. Over the next decade, leveraging code he didn’t write made Bill Gates a multibillionaire, and business tactics even sharper than the original deal gained Microsoft a monopoly lock on desktop computing.
Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity.
The combination of threads, remote-procedure-call interfaces, and heavyweight object-oriented design is especially dangerous. Used sparingly and tastefully, any of these techniques can be valuable—but if you are ever invited onto a project that is supposed to feature all three, fleeing in terror might well be an appropriate reaction.