New Computing World

by Ernest Bywater

Tags: Fiction, Crime, Workplace,

Desc: Fiction Story: Love or hate computers, you'll love this story. This satirical tale of the humiliation of Little Electronic Technologies and the destruction of their computer software monopoly is told from a future viewpoint, as a college assignment. Some determined computer geeks take on the global might of LET, and win! They defeat LET by getting deep inside their own software!

Table of Contents
The Players
The Solutions
Leap Forward
Battle Commenced
The Initial Assault
The Outcomes
Post Script
Destroying the Alliance

The titles I use are: a chapter, a sub-chapter, and a section.


To understand the computer world of today you have to know and understand how it came about. You need to go back over forty years and understand about the events that preceded the Great Collapse of 2017. In reality it was a war, but since it wasn't a war between nations because, instead, it was a war between ideas and concepts - those who wanted control of everything and those who wanted freedom, it wasn't called a war. What should have been called the Third World War was fought between two ideologies as an economic war. Since they didn't want to call it a war the historians called it the Great Collapse.

Following the end of the Second World War corporate America started taking more interest in controlling elected officials so they could adjust legislation to the advantage of their corporations. This was most often done through heavy donations to their political campaigns, thus creating a sort of debt between the politician and the donor; often these donations made the difference between winning and losing an election. Some organised together into lobby groups to campaign for law changes that helped their industry, and to campaign against changes that increased costs to their industry. By the late 1990s some lobby groups and companies owned members of the Senate and Congress outright, and they traded their votes between them. Some large companies did their own purchasing of politicians. Many laws were passed to improve the corporate profits at the expense of the general public and consumers. It got so bad the companies were purchasing presidential candidates as soon as they're nominated, sometimes well before they're nominated, and the presidential elections became contests between the companies for control of the laws instead of ideological conflicts between political parties. The differences between the parties became very superficial. This problem expanded from the USA to many other countries, democratic and otherwise. The situation got worse with each passing year.

The Players

Little Electronic Technologies (LET) was the largest software company of the time, best known for its Operating Systems (OS) and business applications. Their best known product being their graphics user interface (GUI) OS called Doors, as it provided doorways into all your other programs. Their advertising people were good, with their main slogan of 'LET Doors open your business up' being a big hit. Their first operating system was a basic disk operating system called DiS, and they did well with this for over ten years. They also sold application software; a word processor, a spreadsheet, and others. In the mid 1990s they came out with their first GUI called Doors, which was the basic GUI OS for the home; a 16 bit OS for a desktop computer only. At first it needed the installation of DiS, the next version didn't need DiS. They soon introduced Business Doors with fully integrated network and domain modules to operate in a business Local Area Network (LAN). Both of these went through a number of versions which included some 16 to 32 bit upgrades. They were combined into one with Doors 2000, which had both a desktop and server version and was a full 32 bit OS. This was later followed with Excellent Doors desktop (in business and personal versions) with Server Doors being released as a separate server only version. In 2007 they released Lookout Doors, a 64 bit OS in a dozen different variations which caused a great confusion amongst the public while they tried to work out which version was best for them.

Despite their publicly announced release program of a new system every five years, Lookout Doors was released two years late and their next major release wasn't until 2015 when they released Panoramic Doors, a 512 bit OS; and more, much more. Each release of Doors is accompanied with a new version of the LET Business Suite of several applications. It worked best with the equivalent release of Doors since they wouldn't work well on earlier versions of Doors and most of the earlier Business Suite wouldn't work on later versions of Doors.

LET wrote their software with lots of back-doors into the central kernel to allow their applications easier and faster operations by bypassing the security checks. This meant once someone could find one of these back-doors they could write a virus that took over control of the system. LET never went back and closed the back-doors. They only wrote patches to cover over the access point in their other software, or made them harder to find in the OS. The Doors OS was so insecure, and had so many holes, they needed to issue a set of such patches every month for many years, and for the whole life of the OS in most cases. With each new variation of Doors they never rewrote the basic kernel, but just kept adding to it. This kept all the old security holes in place while making the problem worse by adding more entry points due to the poor code used in writing add-ons instead of writing whole new procedures to incorporate the new items. Despite coding advances.

Most new versions had a new command set of instructions; the list of basic instructions the OS passes to the hardware and other software. Despite the existence of an industry standard command set LET used their own, a new one for each version of Doors. This made it harder for others to work with their software unless they paid LET large sums for a copy of the new command set. It also meant most software wasn't compatible between variations of Doors, increasing consumer costs to buy new third party software with each upgrade of Doors they bought.

LET had such a hold on the retail industry they lost several court cases for misuse of their position. This didn't make them change their methods, just increased prices to cover the costs of multi-million dollar fines. They gave hardware manufacturers large discounts on copies of Doors, provided the company sold a copy of Doors with every machine they made. Thus making Doors the most common OS in the world. By 2007 other OSs were gaining market share with much better products, but it was a very slow process to gain any market share.

Integrated Networks (IN) was the largest manufacturer of integrated circuit chips and best known for their Central Processor Units (CPUs). The best known series is the Pentultimate range. Their advertising campaign of placing stickers reading 'Pentultimate IN-side' on every machine with one of the CPUs worked well. The Pentultimate series were known as Penta chips, the Penta 1, Penta 2, Penta 3, through to the Penta 9. The whole Penta range was based on the same basic design and command set. All the IN CPUs prior to the Penta were 16 bit chips and the Penta 1 to 3 were 32 bit chips. Starting with the Penta 4 they made 64 bit chips. Early Penta 4s were 32 bit, and later Penta 4s were 64 bit. Each Penta model needed a different socket to sit in and they weren't interchangeable. As the model numbers grew, so did the number of connections in the socket and the processing speed of the chip, up to the 9.5 Ghz (giga hertz) Penta 9. The Penta series was replaced in 2015 with the dramatically new Ultima CPU which was a 512 bit chip working at 6 terrahertz (Thz) or 6,000,000,000,000 cycles per second. The bit number relates to the number of bits the system can send at one time, so a 32 bit system sends twice the data as a 16 bit system, and so on. Since the creation of the first CPU the limiting factors on speed have been the size of the internal circuits and the heat created within them. The Penta series was made possible by microscopic sized circuits, while heat restricted their speed. A major leap forward with nano sized circuitry and heat resistant materials allowed the Ultima to reach such high speeds without melting down.

InLet was the biggest and richest Information Technology (IT) lobby group. Its founders and main funders were Integrated Networks and Little Electronic Technologies, thus the name - a combination of their initials. Many other smaller IT companies joined the lobby group to be insiders with them in regards to the politics and technical advances.

The Alliance was an informal association of major multi-national companies and corporations from several industries, they included the major oil companies, major motor vehicle companies, major banks, military arms companies, shipping companies, aircraft manufacturers, and major IT companies (including IN and LET). All up, The Alliance included about seventy corporations that represented over 70% of the world's privately owned industrial, business, and economic power. Each of the corporations had annual revenues bigger than many countries' national economies. Collectively, these corporations were the bulk of the world private enterprise economy and they worked hard at strongly controlling the economy to their own advantage.

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