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Microsoft

Microsoft to Change OEM Licensing 246

Posted by michael
from the boring-news-that-is-submitted-10,000-times dept.
IdleMindUI writes: "According to this article on MSNBC, OEMs will now have the option of adding products to or removing products from the windows desktop. Earlier licensing agreements prohibited OEMs from changing the windows desktop. "Reserving its harshest criticism for this practice, the court said Microsoft used its power to illegally maintain a monopoly by pushing potential competitors off the computer desktop, considered to be the prime real estate of new computers."" Microsoft's press release has more information on what Microsoft will and will not permit OEM's to do.
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Microsoft to Change OEM Licensing

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Exactly. They won't give up on that restriction. That's one of the main points that lead to the failure of BeOS to catch on. A few big OEMs were wanting to offer dual installs with Windows/BeOS, but MS's licensing restrictions made that impossible. MS will let in other icons, because MS will still be getting a piece of the pie, even if other browsers are chosen, but they won't let bare/dual systems get by. The masses will never know there are other options than Windows on a PC.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I was 15 I worked at a small computer store that put out about 20 PCs a week. When we built the computers we stripped out all of the Online Services spam, removed IEs icon from the desktop, restructured the start menu, installed our ISP's clientware and Netscape (set default).

    I think we where told to do it that harshly because our owners resented microsofts tyrany. They made a deal with a local ISP and got paid for their new users who had one of our machines. I think the whole navigator thing was purely out of spite. Microsoft needs to realize you can ask your OEMs to do anyting, but if you force them, they will turn back on you viciously.

    If microsoft is a monopoly, the only way to solve it is to let others make operating systems that can use thier win32 api. Tell the judge to take away the tool that lets Microsoft be a monopoly, to hell with break'n em up! It'll fall faster and harder as one!

    Another Coward

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:52PM (#90962)
    But you know what, those applications can install MSHTML.DLL in their application directory and run it when they need to without touching the rest of the system.

    Well, hell yeah... I mean why not pull out comctl32.dll, comdlg32.dll, and gdi32.dll while we are at it! Who needs things like standardized toolbars, menubars, check boxes, radio buttons, printer dialogs, file open dialogs, color picker dialogs, rectangle drawing, etc.

    After all, application vendors can just ship whatever dll's they want and install 'em in their "application directory and run it when they need to without touching the rest of the system."

    Or better yet, lets just force developers to go back to static linking and programming from the ground up at the interrupt level. I mean really, let's just roll back the past ten years or so of software development and entirely do away with the concept of dynamic linking and uniform shared libraries.

    Grab a clue guys, IE is not just about "web browsing". A lot of the individual pieces that make IE work are useful in their own right, often independent of just the "browsing" functionality.

    HTML parsing and rendering with support for DOM/DHTML, useful for all sorts of help and presentation files... sort of a glorified form of Rich Text and there is builtin support for RTF in Windows.

    HTTP session management, URI/URL parsing, etc. useful for other applications... how 'bout SOAP remote component sessions via XML over HTTP?

    Hyperlinking and link management... anyone ever hear of HyperCard? Isn't hypertext a useful concept even outside of the WWW?

    Progressive GIF, JPG, PNG rendering. Hey, this can be useful on its own without "web browsing" can't it?

    XML parsing... did you know that functionality has been built into the latest versions of IE's libraries?

    Scripting engines... hey, these engines for VBScript and JScript/Javascript are useful outside of browsing. Ever hear of Windows Scripting Host?

    Why shouldn't there be a uniform standard for many of these things, that developers can RELY upon?

  • That's some of the dumbest logic I've ever heard.

    Try reading a Napster discussion some time. :)

    I'm not talking about tech support calls like "how do I start Netscape?". I'm talking about stuff like my parent poster where you are talking people through troubleshooting a complex problem that requires editing random config files. It is extremely difficult and frustrating for everyone involved because the person on site DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE/SHE IS DOING! (That isn't a bad thing, I don't know how to fix washing machines either.)

    The washing machine/car analogy is quite appropriate, I think, for these type of problems because they require specialized knowledge to repair which you cannot communicate through the phone. You might tell them what to do, but you can't necessarily teach all they need to know to solve the problem themselves. Moreover, in all of these situations, an efficient diagnosis requires more sensory input than you can get through the phone.

    And yes, they get away with this sort of stuff because no one will die if phone support fails. :)

  • by volsung (378) <stan@mtrr.org> on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:54AM (#90964)
    You know what I never understood: Why did it become expected that technical support people should be able to fix any software problem through the phone?

    I can't call up Toyota and ask them to walk me through replacing the starter on the car, especially if I don't know what a wrench is. They'll tell me to bring it to the repair shop. I can't demand that Maytag explain to me how to repair a washing machine through the phone, even if it is under warranty!

    I suppose that this is because computers are fairly unreliable, and the tech support sort of offsets what would otherwise be a really high failure rate or a massive network of on-site repair people. But still, helping people fix a computer through the phone is a horrible experience.

  • by Frater 219 (1455) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @06:43PM (#90965) Journal
    I can buy dual boot Solaris/Linux boxes, or dual-boot Be/Redhat boxes, or other combinations thereof.

    The last time I checked, none of the first-tier PC OEMs offered dual-boot Windows/Linux systems. I'm talking about companies like Dell, Compaq, and IBM -- not Joe's PC Clone Shop & Bait Store. The article refers to OEM licensing, which makes Microsoft software available at a deep discount to the majors in exchange for arrangements such as exclusivity and advertising.

    The availability of dual-boot and other customized systems is not an issue. Microsoft can't stop clone shops from doing customization. However, clone shops can't offer Dell's or IBM's level of support, either; many purchasers require that level of support before they will consider a system.

  • by Frater 219 (1455) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:23AM (#90966) Journal
    Actually, through the use of Loadlin [linuxdoc.org] or a similar mechanism, this seems to give OEM licensees the right to sell dual-boot systems of a sort. Currently, one can buy Windows systems and GNU/Linux systems from OEMs such as Dell, but not dual-boots. This may offer an out. Many of the folks I work with would quite like to be able to get first-tier vendor support for dual-boot systems.

    How about it, Mr. Dell?

  • by Sabalon (1684) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:20PM (#90967)
    Actually, it should just open a URL and let the OS handle it. The OS should know what app is registered for handling URL's and launch it.

    Now, if they decide to put a control inside their application to handle HTML, etc..., then yes, they probably will use the Microsoft Internet control, which will still be there, since so much uses that now.
  • by wardk (3037) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:30AM (#90968) Journal
    So now we'll see a new menu option (well just those stuck with windows actually will) to "Optimize the desktop", this will put the "correct" icons back after the OEM's screw up the trancendental default windows experience.

  • Microsoft won't have any problems supporting OEM versions of Windows, they'll just tell the end user to contact the OEM for support, just as they have always done.

    Now if only the end user of retail box Microsoft products could do the same as the OEMs, so that they could avoid having the stuff that they specify that they don't want install itself anyway.

  • I can't remember what they did with HP.

    something which made them pull 50% of their PC's off the Comdex floor the morning of the show. Hummmm, what was it.... Was it the fact that OS/2 was installed on all those PC's? Bingo!

    LoB

  • This is Microsoft putting up a smoke screen. They will give some now so that it won't be part of the settlement later. Then they pull the rug out from under the OEM's again. Look at the XML junk that's going on now. The press thinks Microsofts use of XML means it's opening up it's formats. Wrong, binary is a open format too and all they did was keep changing how they used the format. XML will be the same thing. Anyway, it's also the fact that when a OEM puts an app on the desktop Microsoft has made it very difficult or impossible for that app to be the default via the Exporer. The user will have to actuall click on the app icon and then use the file-open menu. Clicking on the file directly will bring up Microsofts application already loaded with the file.

    This will only confuse the user and OEM's aren't going to want this.

    Microsoft NEEDs to become a OS company and a application company or the monopoly will persist til the end of time. IMHO

    LoB
  • From the press release:

    Windows XP is an incredible step forward for end users and partners, unlocking the possibilities of the digital world," said Jim Allchin, group vice president for platforms at Microsoft.

    It's just insane to say something like this, Windows XP is just a small step in terms of usability. And it's more about locking in the possibilities [for microsoft] than unlocking them...

    thad

  • Quick link to CNet [cnet.com], since I hadn't seen their story posted yet.

  • That does not matter. Even if MS suddenly stopped being a monopoly tomorrow, it does not change the fact that they are a monopoly today.

    If I am a thief today, but I stop being a thief tomorrow, it does not mean that I am no longer guilty of crimes I have committed in the past.

    You cannot undo past crimes like that.

    domc
  • by gamenfo (18212) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:18AM (#90981) Homepage
    The whole thing is that the agreement allows OEMS to remove IE from the machine. Removing MSN or Windows Media is not allowed. They already have the market share in Browsers so removing IE on a couple machines isnt gonna hurt anything. On the other hand, the AOL-MSN and Windows Media fronts haven't been won, which makes their removal a bit more troublesome for the company. Should we expect anything less?
  • Why should Microsoft be forced to remove IE from Windows?

    I'm not sure I completely addressed this in my previous post, so I'll just make a quick comment.

    I don't think anybody can reasonably agree with forcing Microsoft to remove IE. It's their product, they should be able to include it if they so desire. However, having said that, not providing the ability for a third-party application to take over the functions that IE provides IS a legitimate objection.


    --
  • by Shadowlion (18254) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:35AM (#90985) Homepage
    It's worthless.

    Why? Let's say you decide you don't like IE, so you uninstall it.

    Then you try and install the latest version of Word. Oops, Word doesn't work without IE - so you have to install. Nor does any component of the Office suite. OK, maybe you can deal without Office - but what about Visual Studio? Oops, VS doesn't work without IE. Plus, without IE, the "standalone" MSDN ceases to function. Or maybe you'd like to install Quicken? Guess again. It requires IE.

    In other words, it's an empty, empty promise. The core OS might not need the IE icons or whatever, but they'll be back in force each and every time you install a Microsoft product. Microsoft has spent too much time, money, and energy getting the industry hooked on IE to ever give you the real choice of removing it. Too many of their products depend on IE (whether artificially or not) for them to ever really allow you to dump it.


    --
  • by Shadowlion (18254) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:57PM (#90986) Homepage
    Exactly what is wrong with having the browser be part of the OS? It does OS-like things in a very natural way, and you have the advantage of using the same tool to browse the internet that you use to browse your hard drive.

    My "objection" is not that the browser is part of the OS. My objection is that Internet Explorer is the browser.

    What's wrong with having a published API so that if a competitor comes along and creates a better browser that obeys the published API, I can replace Microsoft's browser with the competitors? (Answer: that's not in Microsoft's best interest, and therefore they will not provide it to their customers - so much for being consumer-driven.)

    Until the day Microsoft affords me the ability to replace - completely replace - Internet Explorer with a third-party browser control, and have that extend to Windows Explorer, Windows help, Visual Studio help (so that when I load up Windows Explorer, that third party browser is in the right-hand pane, not IE), then any offer by Microsoft to add IE to the Add/Remove menu, or the ability to get rid of the icons, is AT BEST a meaningless gesture.


    --
  • Except burgle bundles from Burger King - man those were tasty! :)

  • by balajir (22322) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:29AM (#90989)
    Netscape is dead. The law suit is not yet over. Hey, if we allow OEMs to remove the Internet Explorer icon, what other browser will they install??

    Ok! Let's do it!
  • Not! Well, at least they listen to the Government.

    A-holes...

    Microbob
  • by jgilbert (29889) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:06PM (#91002) Homepage
    Unless I'm given a good reason to hate this
    change, I think its something Microsoft should
    be congratulated on for taking a step in the
    right direction. This doesn't mean we should
    love them. It means we should send them a sign
    that says "That's a start, now keep going."


    Congratulate? I didn't get convicted for murder today, can I have cookie too? No one should be congratulated or rewarded for something they are supposed to do anyway.
  • by msaavedra (29918) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:35AM (#91004)

    Don't get me wrong, I used to work for a small computer OEM and we chafed under Microsoft's heavy-handed tactics to control how we set up the computers we sold. So much so that we tried to subvert them at every opportunity until MS finally sued us (we won the court battle).

    However, I don't think that Microsoft's decision will really change anything at this point. I mean, IE is integrated into the Windows, who cares if it has an icon on the desktop, or if the icon is replaced with a Netscape/Mozilla/Opera icon? A lot of IE code starts up whether you want to run IE or not. This makes running any other browser a waste of resources. For instance, Mozilla can't beat IE's start up time unless they use the IE tactic of cheating by using the "turbo" mode. But who wants to have two browsers loaded at start up?

    I think the only solution for this is for MS to completely publish the interface IE uses to talk to the rest of windows, so other software makers can reimpliment it. Then OEMs must be allowed to pull out IE and replace it with a third part browser or rendering engine.

    This would actually be a design more along the lines of the Unix philosophy, where we have many small, specialized components that work together to do a job, but where there may be any number of replacements for a particular component, each with its own strengths.

    I don't see this sort of thing happening without intervention by the court. Used on a wider scale, though, I think this type of solution would be better then simply breaking up MS. I believe the FSF proposed something along these lines, but I can't find a link.


    --------------------------
    "Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it."


  • Although extensive consumer studies have
    shown that system stability may be (positively)
    affected, with the Tux icon, consumers will
    have the option of removing windows itself
    from the desktop.

  • by Rocketboy (32971) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:00PM (#91008)
    PC manufacturers will have the option to remove the Start menu entries and icons that provide end users with access to Internet Explorer from previous versions of Windows, including Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows Me.

    Didn't Microsoft executives swear in open court under oath that removing IE would break Windows? Is this perjury, or will every Windows user receive a patch to "fix" Windows with IE removed? :) Inquiring minds (with functional memories) want to know!

  • This is great for tweaking, but I'm betting MS is still putting the squeeze on OEMs who want to make a "bare" PC available at lower cost. There was an article here a while back, ah, here [slashdot.org] it is. That's where the fight lies.
  • The washing machine/car analogy is quite appropriate, I think, for these type of problems because they require specialized knowledge to repair which you cannot communicate through the phone.

    Also the person making the call may well not describe the fault correctly in the first place.
  • by pq (42856) <rfc2324&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:29AM (#91014) Homepage
    True, it is an AP story in name, but in spirit, it is purely a Microsoft press fluff piece, straight out of the MS PR office. Otherwise, why do you think the story quotes Gateway, Dell, Compaq, and then only provides the Microsoft URL / company address?

    Unfortunately, this is what passes for reporting these days, with the disclaimer that "other names may be trademarks of other companies" at the bottom. I highly recommend " Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies, and the PR Industry " in case you're interested: it's a great book, and at least makes you think.

  • by Steve B (42864) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:28AM (#91015)
    Now you can remove IE and start Mozilla or Netscape 6.1

    After 6.0, I think I'll let you go first....
    /.

  • by _vapor (55645) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:25AM (#91016) Homepage
    From MS's press release [microsoft.com]:

    "Consumers will be able to use the Add-Remove Programs feature in Windows XP to remove end-user access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system. Microsoft has always made it easy for consumers to delete the icons for Internet Explorer, but will now offer consumers this additional option in Windows XP."

    Adding IE to the Add-Remove Programs feature sort of infers that you would be able to uninstall the entire program, wouldn't it? Kind of shoots holes in their argument that IE is "essential" to the OS.
  • And the windows boot loader isnt used with any other os. Lilo can simply load up the NT/2k or Win98 boot loaders, they just load up Windows. Well, unless you are using an alpha and MILO to boot, then you are using the NT bootloader to load up Linux.
  • note that the agreement doesn't stipulate that you can remove IE from the machine pre-shipping .. it just means you can remove the start-menu and desktop icons pointing towards it (and that it CAN be uninstalled by the user via the add/remove panel). Mind you, considering that marketshare is a function of how easily newbies find the software, these stipulations are probably almost as effective as allowing the OEM to actually psysically deinstall IE pre-shipping.
  • by SirSlud (67381) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:20AM (#91020) Homepage
    I honestly never thought I'd see the day. Wait .. I know! They must have removed the desktop and startbar altogether from XP. That's why you can do anything you like to them now, if you're a distributor! ;)
  • by TMB (70166)
    Yes and no. They purposely phrase it such that you realize that many of the DLLs will still be there. Why do you think they say you can remove "end-user access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system" instead of saying you can remove "Internet Explorer"? They've implied that all you're doing is removing the ability to run the browser. But the browser's code will still be there. So if it's already taking up hard drive space, why would you remove functionality by forcing yourself to not be able to run the browser?

    It will be interesting to test out exactly what gets removed and how much disk space is freed up. I'm going to guess it's a lot less than you'd naively expect from "removing IE". :-(

    [TMB]
  • "remove end-user access" - Microspeak for deleting the menu items and icons (the pointer) and keeping the bundled software (the bloat) in place. It's a corporate enforced memory leak!

    --Mike--

  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:24AM (#91026) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is trying to side step the real issue, which isn't the startup, desktop or icons, it's the BUNDLING of software. If I'm a manufacturer, and I think that Opera [opera.com] is a better browser, then I should be able to just put it into the standard distribution, no fuss, no corporate legal threats, etc.

    If they insist on moving the help, etc.. to HTML format then they should make sure it works in the browsers that are available.

    Allowing competition into the market will allow (gasp) innovation to be present, possibly forcing M$ to do something new for a change, like make a better product.

    --Mike--

  • Actually, through the use of Loadlin ... this seems to give OEM licensees the right to sell dual-boot systems of a sort.

    You know, it's a really sad state of affairs when this seems like a major breakthrough. Anyone should have the right to sell dual-boot systems.

    ---

  • by rkent (73434) <rkent@@@post...harvard...edu> on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:15AM (#91028)
    Okay, who wants to be the first to sell some OEM systems with a Tux icon on the XP desktop titled "Get Linux Now"?

    :)

    ---

  • by heliocentric (74613) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:56AM (#91030) Homepage Journal
    It's deeper than sending your photos to who they want. The reason for that send procedure is that you can not set the default software to handle pictures from your digital camera. Put aside a feature not everyone will use, this means MS is in control of file formats you can use and interface standards with your digital camera. Say I make a digital camera in my basement that uses my own method of transfer that MS doesn't support - uh oh, XP users are cut off from my product. Take it from the other end, let's say tomorrow MS develops a new jpg standard that only they own. Since we've taken this baby step in XP, is it a strech to think XP' won't force you to not only use their software, but their compression scheme? And ofcourse their image scheme would only work under their software... ever use adobe stuff and do a default save to their proprietary format? Sure it holds tons of great undo info and such, but try to share it. Granted adobe doesn't have the market share that anyone would think they are going to force us to switch or die, but does MS?
  • But you know what, those applications can install MSHTML.DLL in their application directory and run it when they need to without touching the rest of the system.

    That's the problem... Microsoft has used, oh say, Office's Dependency on parts of IE as an excuse to install all of IE and let it take over the system (take win95 or example which definitely does NOT come with IE).

    The only thing stopping Microsoft from installing those components needed to get the job at hand finished and nothing more is Microsoft.
  • That's some of the dumbest logic I've ever heard. "I can't do blah with product A. Why should I expect to do so with product B?"

    They're two entirely different products and, trust me, if it was possible for people to repair their Maytag washers over the phone and Maytag had thought of it, we'd have Maytag phone support already. The simple reason for this is the fact that phone support is so much cheaper than bringing the washer in or sending in a repair person. The other big difference is that a poorly repaired washing machine can KILL and cause serious damage while the damage from someone clicking on the wrong icon is never nearly that serious.
  • I hate to feed the obvious troll, but MICROSOFTS CONSUMERS DON'T CARE!

    Yup, that's right. The vast majority of Microsoft's consumers don't care whether IE is bundled into the OS or not. It's only the folks at Netscape that cared. So yes, Microsoft does listen to its consumers, just not to the government and their competitors.
  • This is nothing more than a PR move. Anyone who has seen the XP previews or read the press release carefully will know that Microsoft has simply changed their opinion on desktop icons in general.

    They have decided, through user studies, that too many desktop icons are confusing. So, the default installation only installs 1 (one). Software developers are required NOT to install icons automatically on the desktop in order to pass the Windows compliance testing. Now they change the OEM license to reflect their change of opinion.

    The reason they are making an announcement out of this, is to get public support and 'kudos' for supposedly making a positive step towards resolution of the law suit.

    This is neither a good or a bad thing. It is really a non-issue which they deserve neither praise or admonishment for.

    GXW is watching you.
  • ...to remove end-user access to the Internet Explorer components...

    Read carefully what they're stating... "end-user access" IS the icons. They never say they're giving you the ability to remove IE from the system.

    --

  • by zpengo (99887) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @02:36PM (#91040) Homepage
    Now that everyone has pretty much given up on Netscape, Microsoft has consented to letting up on IE.

    It's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

    Netscape is dead, but now Microsoft is the good guy, and there's no way that their monopolizing tactics of the past are going to be punished because they've got halos over their head now.

  • A 70 year old woman is not going to pack her new PC into her car and drive it on back to the store, except to demand her money back.

    I live in a retirement community in southern california ... A buddy of mine works at the sears out here, and the computer department has *EXACTLY* this problem. The department has been losing money since it opened because the elderly buy computers, can't work them or do something stupid -- then take them back ... They've been loosing money hand over fist but aren't allowed to close the department because sears requires them to have one.

    A true story about the kind of customers they get: "Hey son, that computer you sold me last week is broke, Im gonna bring it back." "Well sir, whats wrong with it?" "The screen is half taken up by this grey thing!" "Does the grey thing happen to say 'start'" "Yes it does!!" ...

  • by OmegaDan (101255) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @02:23PM (#91043) Homepage
    ....It's multitasking is far superior to WinME's, both in responsivness and speed

    ah ha! you've wandered onto one of MS's sneakiest tactics ... *Purposley* making shitty software so they can claim to have "improved" it in newer versins ... What you SHOULD be thinking is "Gee, WinME has shitty multi-tasking" not "Gee, XP has good multitasking" ...

    Immagine how much money they could make if they made a copy of Word where objects didn't jump around everytime you inserted text

  • Joke right? Netscape is no more standards compatible than Explorer. Not that I'm condoning the use of Explorer of course.
  • by cybermage (112274) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:27AM (#91047) Homepage Journal
    From the Press Release:

    PC manufacturers will have the option to remove the Start menu entries and icons that provide end users with access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system. Microsoft will include Internet Explorer in the Add/Remove programs feature in Windows XP.
    How gracious of them. Note how this does not say that OEMs can actually *remove* the IE software itself. Proof that this isn't just an oversight in the phrasing comes in another benefit where "consumers will have the option to remove the IE program using Add/Remove Programs."

    Oh, and won't it be grand to have the desktop icons as added revenue for OEMs. I'm gonna hold out for the Gateway "HornyGuy 3000" which comes with a desktop full of 31337 pr0n link icons.

    Big deal! bah.
  • Um, nothing I've seen in XP forces you to use anything that wasn't in win2k. All the fancy photo thing seems to be is a twain client in the OS. That means that adobe and all that crap still works. If you want to use the wizard then you are limited to what the OS provides that I agree with, but if you use the existing technology (which windows would be commiting suicide to get rid of because its too big of a standard) then you have whatever capabilities you want.
  • Two years ago, they started building Windows to use various parts of Internet Explorer. Now, iexplore.exe is really just an ActiveX container that loads certain parts of Windows in a certain way; the HTML engine, JavaScript engine and what not are well and truly part of the OS, with iexplore.exe just giving you a handy way to use them. So sure, you can take iexplore.exe out, and Internet Explorer is gone.
  • Europe thinks it might.

    -= rei =-
  • by DerFeuervogel (136891) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:41PM (#91058)
    Why did it become expected that technical support people should be able to fix any software problem through the phone?

    I blame this on Microsoft

    There used to be a time when to use a computer meant you had to go through some sort of training. But Microsoft has brainwashed the masses that computers are really simple to use and training is not needed. You see this in all their propaganda as to how they brought computing to the average user. I'm not saying only geeks should have access to computers by any means.

    But we have to stop living under the delusion that they are really simple to use. They aren't. Maybe they will be one day but today they aren't. That includes any flavour of Windoze you choose. At least Linux is honest about the fact that you have to RTFM. I have installed Windows from 95-Win2K on a clean machine and sometimes its a piece of cake and sometimes I curse Bill and his merry gang of thieves. Same with Linux (Red Hat) sometimes it's easy other times ... lets not go there.

    But once you have people believing computers are simple to use and fix then it's natural that they will expect to be able to fix problems through the phone.

    Funny thing is the same people who won't open the hood of their car think they can install hardware without knowing an IRQ from a hole in the wall.

  • Gee, what are the odds? Their appeal partially fails and they're labelled as a monopoly. I think we can safely say they'd never have done this if the appeal had been 100% successful and the finding of fact was overturned.

    While this is a small victory I guess, the question is how many OEM's are actually going to bother doing this? I mean they've bitched and moaned about MS, but how many are actually going to take advantage of this?

    ---

  • Office 2K has a feature that MS tossed into Office98/MacOS that replaces any part of it that gets damaged. If they want IE there it's damn well going to stay there -- it's designed that way. I think that in principle that's actually not a bad feature (a bit misguided if you have a small hard drive), but with MS it's a little scary...

    /Brian
  • ...and if there was anyplace else in the country that would have one other than central Cali it would probably be here.

    The fact is that you can't buy a bare system at Best Buy or Circuit City. Gateway Country can't, and I get the sense they get their fair share of requests for it. It's only the mom-and-pop operations that slip through the cracks and the places with a heavily geek audience (like Fry's) that will cater to that need. Everyone else is being kept in the corral.

    /Brian
  • Okay, first off I'm not up on Fry's and my characterization of California geography was, shall we say, nonstandard. I apologize... to others.

    But *you* are missing the point completely. The issue here has nothing to do with convenience; it's all about clout. *Yes*, I can fdisk Windows out of existence when I first get the computer -- nobody is disputing that. And no, it's not all that difficult. (And yes, I can find bare PCs in Massachusetts; it's not especially easy, but I happen to know one or two places that will do it happily).

    The issue is that if I buy a name-brand PC I have no choice but Windows. That's just the way it is, because Microsoft Said So. That's the problem here.

    /Brian
  • But my point being that many of them couldn't if they wanted to.

    *slap*

    Microsoft doesn't have the *right* to compel preloads, but damn straight they have the clout to. You're apparently just not listening to me -- since most consumer outfits can't sell them, most people *don't* *even* *know* they can't buy them.

    Oh, well. IHBT. IHL. HAND.

    /Brian
  • Funny thing is the same people who won't open the hood of their car think they can install hardware without knowing an IRQ from a hole in the wall.
    I can see why people would be more adventurous with a PC than with a car.

    For most Americans, a running car is a necessity while the computer is a hobby.

    Cars are mostly more expensive than cars.

    A botched car repair might kill folks.

    Now, that doesn't give the computer novice the right to complain if his "repair" disables his sound card. But I can see how a guy could get there.

  • Quick link [cnn.com] to CNNFNs story.

  • Amen to that. I ran an ISP help desk for about a year and a half and that was a common nightmare. In one case I spent close to three hours with an elderly lady on the phone trying to figure out what was going on... turns out Netscape (this was a few years ago) tosses three lines in the autoexec.bat file that are required for their browser to work. Because of the proprietary interface on her box (quiet you sickos), there was a branch in the autoexec that gave you a choice between the proprietary interface or windows... when you selected windows, the autoexec.bat never made it down to the Netscape lines, so they never got executed. Try walking a 70-year old lady thru editing autoexec.bat over the phone sometime...

    ____
  • Europe seems to be taking a hard line [bbc.co.uk] against corporate price fixing and general monopolistic practises, indeed.

    Good for them.

  • AFAIK, they do document all their interfaces. Which is not to say you have the source, but at least you have the API and can call any existing Windows function. This puts 3rd party software on the safe playing field as MSware.

    Wine [winehq.com]'s job is difficult because they have to reimplement the API - meaning rewrite all the Windows functions from scratch.

    If there are any undocumented functions in Windows anymore, they are very likely obsolete functions that have since been replaced by something better. This doesn't help a project like Wine, which would like to run any software written for Windows - if there are older programs that make calls to obsolete functions, Wine somehow needs to know about these. Still, that in no way prevents you from writing competitive software for Windows.

    I once argued with Jeremy Allison(lead Samba programmer) about this back when there was still an undocumented feature of Windows - single sign-on. Single sign-on was the only example Allison was able to give of undocumented functions. However, even this is now documented and anyone can write programs that use built in Windows authentication to authenticate their own programs.

    Since that has been taken care of, I don't think there are any hidden functions in Windows. MS says there aren't and there are about 1,000 universities/companies who have the Windows source code who could come forth and refute this, but they haven't.

  • by Pinball Wizard (161942) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @12:38PM (#91081) Homepage Journal
    Is that a bad thing? Are you aware that Mozilla is designed so that applications can be built with it?

    Since the integration of IE with windows, it has been very integral to my system. A browser makes an ideal way to access the contents of your computer. Hyperlinks are an ideal way to link related documents.

    Exactly what is wrong with having the browser be part of the OS? It does OS-like things in a very natural way, and you have the advantage of using the same tool to browse the internet that you use to browse your hard drive.

    Why should Microsoft be forced to remove IE from Windows? That to me seems the weakest of the antitrust arguments, because it is clear to me that IE is not just "bundled" but an integral part of the system.

    If someone has a clear refutation of the above, I'd be very interested to hear it.

  • Why, yes they can [litestep.com].
    ---
    www.stallman.org is running Apache/1.3.6 (Unix) on FreeBSD
  • start Mozilla or Netscape 6.1 [sic] with -turbo on

    Ok, that -turbo option is VERY cool, that was exactly the feature I've been waiting for to allow me to finally dump IE as my primary browser (can't kill it completely, web programming yadda yadda).

    Thanks for the tip!

    ---
  • The last time I checked, none of the first-tier PC OEMs offered dual-boot Windows/Linux systems. I'm talking about companies like Dell, Compaq, and IBM -- not Joe's PC Clone Shop & Bait Store
    I'd bet thats true, because the Windows license prohibits using Windows with any non-MS bootloader, and it forbids booting to a non-MS OS with that bootloader. This negates the possiblity of doing a multiboot.

    However, clone shops can't offer Dell's or IBM's level of support
    Good point - support is a feature, not a right. Big companies feature good support, and for that level of support, you should shop around.

    However, clone shops can't offer Dell's or IBM's level of support
    Very true, and for them, that is a necessary feature - a requirement. That requirement may very well force them to narrow the field to tier-1 sellers. These tier-1 providers can only support products because of the massive-numbers of computers they sell - mosto f those machines will go to Windows users due to sheer volume.

    But the point is those big distributors can either (a) offer windows, or (b) not offer windows. In return for (a) they get a big discount. In return for (b) they get nothing, and reduced sales to boot (how many 1st time buyers want a machine with no OS or linux? Answer: none).

    The whole point was though, that you dont have the "right", and therefore the government should not force MS to license thier products in a way which helps their competetors. Each company makes a choice, and each consumer makes a choice. Those choices have side effects, and we need to look at them in totality. Thats all I was saying - basically, bottom line: you have a choice.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:04PM (#91091)
    They still can't charge whatever they like as people would consume less and less electricity as the price rocketed.
    Thats incorrect. Electricity is typically inelastic in demand. If you look at California, even with prices that have absolutely sky rocketed, demand has lowered by only single digits. People will buy electricity regardless of the price. Samething is mostly true with gasoline, running water, food, and other essentials and commodities.

    They can, however, charge what the market will bear in terms of prices, which will be more than if there were 3 or 4 electricity companies competing.
    First off all, there are many vendors competign for the desktop OS market. Its a simple fact. And you can't beat the price of many of them. You can get BeOS and Gobe Productive, which together form a very fine environment, for about $60. Thats hundreds less than Office 2k and Win2k. You can get Redhat 7.1 with KDE and KOffice and Mozilla for $0, or $10 from Cheapbytes or about $79 direct from RH. You can get Mandrake with Gnome and AbiWord and Gnumeric for $0, $10, or about $79. You can do the same for FreeBSD, the other BSD's, Solaris/StarOffice, AtheOS, and other 'nix variants.

    I mean really, lets face. Not many people use those options because they are incomplete, incompatible, hard to use or obscure. But they exisit. Even now I am writing this from my primary workstation which is BeOS with Net+/Mozilla and Gobe Productive. Whole thing cost me about $70. This box is Windows/MS free. I made the choice and so should you.

    I am extremely tired of people trying to have it both ways. Either Linux/OSS rocks and is better than Windows or its not. Its very simple A => not B where A is "Linux is a feature-rich alternative to Windows" and where B is "Microsoft is a monopoly". On top of that, you can extend that to Not B => C where B is the same and C is "The anti-trust trial is inherently flawed because of the lack of MS monopoly status."

    It only goes to logic then that A => Not B => C, which can be read in English as: "Since Linux is a feature rich alternative to Windows Microsoft does not posses a monopoly in Desktop OS's and therefore the anti-trust trial is inherently flawed."

    Its time for the OSS community, slashdot, and the rest of the world to accept the fact that MS is a market-driven company - and then to beat them back into the place they came from - subservance to the rest of the marketplace. But so long as people keep plodding along buying retail-outlet computers with Windows and IE and all that crap pre-installed we will continue to see 90%+ usuage of MS products. Next time you need a new computer, go to Pricewatch, price out components, buy them and build your own box, and dont give a single penny to MS.

    But remember this: everytime you dual boot into Windows for a game, or steal Office 2k and install it on your cracked Win2k box, or dink around with some new "free" offering from MS you are making a CHOICE to support their enterprises, their business practices, and their non-monopoly dominance of the world computer-mindshare. Personally I am fine with that. But if you aren't, then sack up and switch.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @04:16PM (#91092)
    way to much money, but there are no real alternatives since MS controls what gets shipped thru contracts to OEM's.

    Is that so? I have.. let me count... 7 boxes in the same room I am typing this on. You know how many I bought with Windows/Office/Visio installed on? You know how many? Zero. Thats right, zero.

    For every OEM computer that is sold through Compaq, Dell or IBM there are two sold from mom and pops and piecemail from real OEM and distributors. You dont have a right to buy a machine ready made. But if you decide to do it, then you place by their rules, who in turn play by MS's rules. If you dont like, go to pricewatch, price out components, buy them, and install Linux/Gnome/and AbiWord or KDE/KOffice or StarOffice or OpenOffice.

    The other thing is you claim that most MS sooftware insn't stolen, but I tell you this: thats false. Over 1/3 in MS products in use worldwide are stolen, and in the US that number is almost 1/2. That means non-licensed or straight-up pirated. If you dont like MS, dont use them. But by stealing from them you are just increasing their power.

    They are opening up the desktop because the backlash to keep it closed is too high. They are responding to market pressures and consumer demand. They are not a monopoly, if not for any other reason than that. They value PR greatly, and to contineu to keep it closed would be anti-PR.

    I agree damages may be insane, but they will be so in an unjust and money-grab way. But dont think AOL/Netscape will get this. The States will get this. The whole lawsuit is about nationwide-MS profit sharing. People envy MS. They covet what they have (money). They want it. And they will use anything they can to take it. Its another tobacco/gun makers money grab from the states/feds.

    If you dont like MS software, dont use. But we as a society should restrict their ability to expand and contract markets as consumer demand dictates. A web-browser should be part of the core-OS and I fully agree with MS on that. I love how Be and Net+ are integrated together tightly. I like how Mozilla and Nautilius are tied together. I like how KDE and Konq are tied together. And I like how IE and WIndows are tied together. In the coming years, thsi will be a big issue. When does the government step in and limit what OS's can do? What if MS improves Paint. Can Adobe sue for outdating Photoshop? What about VisiCalc, can they sue if MS adds a new feature to Calc? When will it end? Could I sue MS for including Solitaire in Windows if I used to make commerical Solitaire programs? An OS doesnt need a game in it, does it?

    These are fundamental questions. I think the answer is that MS should be able to do with Windows whatever it wants. It has long since transgressed passed the pure-OS stage and now moved well into the "platform" stage. Should the government dictate what MS can and cannot put into its platforms? Do we need a Federal Operating Systems Regulation Board? No. If you dont like MS software, don't use them. Use Linux, BSD, or Be.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:55AM (#91093)
    ANYONE can sell dual-boot systems.

    I can buy dual boot Solaris/Linux boxes, or dual-boot Be/Redhat boxes, or other combinations thereof.

    MS specifically disallows the use of the Windows bootloader (needed to boot into Windows) with any other OS. Its their software, if you dont like it, I recommend a different choice [redhat.com].
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @07:11PM (#91094)
    The point is they are in the OS. When Windows 95 first came out, IE was in 2.0 land. No scripting, no support for most standards that have since evolved, hell you couldn't even go to sites that were based on a HTTP 1.1 server. Try it sometime, go back to IE 2.0 sometime.

    IE 2.0 was basically like 3 compiled files, and perhaps a few help files. I think about 2 megabytes. But it also sucked.

    Now, fast forward a bit. IE 3.0 comes out. MS decides that instead of each apps rewriting thier own scripting, rendering, etc etc features it'd be neat to integrate them into one standard set of libraries.

    So thats what they did. Its actually handy. And its caught on. Look at BeOS, they clearly copied the idea in their own products, and email programs like Scooby use the built-in html parses routines to display e-mails. Nautilus used similiar ideas, so does Konqueror of course.

    So what did MS actually do? They took a bunch of components, like a scripting agent, a "favorites" manager, a file-browser, an DOM/DHTML parser, an HTML parser, and XML libraries - they simply threw in a very small binary called iexplore or something and viola - a web-browser. Run a class-analyzer and see what iexplorer really is all about - its all components. On my Win98 box running IE 5.5 the binary is only 70 kb - the rest are all fairly-well document clean interfaces to standard libraries.

    Win95 predated this strategy from MS. The most logical way to distribute the features was through a web-browser. Then Win98 came out, and most features were built in for other reasons - instead of using a broken ass properitary help format they switched to an HTML based system. They embedded XML into the core-os, along with WSH, and the standard DOM/DHTML libraries.

    Now with Windows 2k and Windows XP in the pipe the transition is completed - the actual "shell" that is the browser is going to be able to be removed. The underlying code, like MS has said since Windows 98 is still very core to the OS.

    The only thing MS could have done better was to remove the iexplore.exe file from the OS on user demand. But really, I've been deleting that file for a long, long time. Everything still installs dandy like too - Office, Visual Studio, the whole bang. I just keep deleting that bugger when needed and replacing it with Mozilla 0.9.2 or whatever is current.

    A feature that is vital for every other app that M$ writes belongs in... the operating system, not the damn web browser!
    Yeah, good point. But here is the real question that the whole case boils down to:

    Should MS be allowed to extend the defintion of a desktop OS past its convential descriptions, even it means destroying other industrys or competitors in that one narrow industry segment. This is what happened with MS. MS decides that damn, we're going to miss this whole Internet thing. MS says: we want that market. MS says: how can we take it. MS says: add it to the core OS. MS says: good, do it. Its that simple. Devious? Yes. Nefarious? Yes. Illegal? I don't know. But honestly, I dont like the idea of anyone telling anyone else what they can and can't put in their software pacakge. Destroying a company like Netscape or Sun is small price to pay for the real freedom from government restriction.

    Final thought, this whole case revolves around the laughable notion that MS controls the world software industry in the desktop-OS segment. Its such a silly notion that I can't believe its survived this long. To all the remaining Windows users who actually PAID for Windows (ie did not steal it): would still buy Windows if they doubled the price from $300 to $600? How about from $600 to $1200? How about from $1200 to $2400?

    If you answered No to any of those questions, then MS isn't a monopoly. I'd just can Windows completely, and start working on porting my apps to Be or Gnome. And so would the rest of /. No monopoly, no monopoly case.
  • CNN-FN [cnn.com] reported this earlier today...
  • market research is all it is. microsoft tests the water before it unleashes a campaign, then looks like the good guy when they admit they made a mistake. but a smaller company tries to do that, they get run out of business/ sued.
  • by 11223 (201561) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:47AM (#91104)
    You can remove IE, but most Microsoft (and many third party programs) won't work without the HTML rendering engine, MSHTML.DLL. That's what Microsoft was talking about when they said that IE is "essentail".

    Unfortunately, nobody ever slapped Microsoft with the fact that a HTML component does not a web browser make.

  • I'd like to see my windows desktop look like Windomaker.

    Can my OEM do that??
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:20AM (#91109)
    A heavily publicized announcement renouncing one of their smallest anti-trust infractions. Gee, they're changing their ways!

    Of course, the problem with this used to be that Microsoft put advertisements for MSN (and other ISPs that paid MS) directly on the desktop.

    However, with the release of XP, they've embedded this marketing into the OS itself, so changing the desktop isn't a problem anymore

    An example of this is their Photo-Editing software, which automatically will send your digital photographs to a choice of developers: all of which then much pay Microsoft a fee for the reference.

  • I believe the FSF proposed something along these lines, but I can't find a link.

    Richard Stallman -- The Microsoft Antitrust Trial and Free Software [linuxtoday.com]

    ---

  • by Auckerman (223266) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:44AM (#91117)
    "I't's just insane to say something like this, Windows XP is just a small step in terms of usability. And it's more about locking in the possibilities [for microsoft] than unlocking them.."

    I've never been a MS fan. I'm a Mac user. I find Windows to be combersome and painful to use. It's a BIG glitzy piece of annoy ware. I do own a PC (and two Macs). I use it a fancy mp3 player combined with streamsicle...

    Anyhow, I have used WinXP RC1. I can say the following about it....It's multitasking is far superior to WinME's, both in responsivness and speed. The IE shell used for browsing the harddrive actually gives more useful features. The individual control panels are far superior, GUI wise (most specifically the Networking setup). IE's tool is customizable in better ways... In general is a vast improvement over ME. It's still not a Mac, but's it better...

    Now this doesn't mean the XP is any less nefarious...

  • by Auckerman (223266) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:15AM (#91118)
    IF MS thinks the only laws they broke were related to some icons on the desktop, they are just as stupid as everyone thinks they are.

    Having control of the desktop is bigger than some icons. If IE, WMP, and other such things are still bundled with Windows, icon or no icon, developers will ASSUME they are there and when you need to connect to the web while interacting with an app, you know what that app is going to call up...IE....

    This doesn't even mention thier bullying of Intel, Apple, Compaq, and others...

  • Except, with WinXP, they won't give out the theme API calls - leaving only favored OEM's with the ability to create new themes in XP.

    I agree with you on the OEM efforts - Compaq and Packard Bell shipped some shells that gave WinBOB a run for its money. Shudder...

  • at least with win98. just grab Revenge Of Mozilla at http://www.programfiles.com/index.asp?ID=1711 [programfiles.com]

    --
  • by Calle Ballz (238584) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:21AM (#91128) Homepage
    PC manufacturers will retain the option of putting icons directly onto the Windows desktop. Based on extensive customer usability studies, Microsoft had designed Windows XP to ship with a clean desktop and improved Start menu, but PC manufacturers will now have the option of continuing to place icons on the Windows desktop if they want to.

    For most people who run computers with a default manufacturer's install of any Windows OS, the desktop is always bloated whether it comes with the icon's on the desktop or not. The level of expertise for that average user isn't high enough to know of any directory other than c:\windows\desktop, to which they are under the impression is their root directory if you notice Windows filesystem hierarchy. Having seen one too many home user's systems, I understand that even windows can be too complicated for some people. They save everything onto the desktop! I've seen some people whose desktop's were so full icons they started pouring off the screen!
    Why Microsoft would want to ship their desktop "clean" is beyond me, they should already know that "clean" isn't going to stay that way for very long.
  • by AdamInParadise (257888) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:13AM (#91135) Homepage
    It now appears that the threat of AOL switching at least partially to Linux was just a way to put some pressure on Microsoft, in order to get just that. I know, AOL doesn't sell PCs, but think about the number of OEMs that sell PCs with AOL preinstalled... (and get payed for that).
  • It's not that computers are really unreliable, it's that it costs less to staff phone banks than to have repair guys at every store. The phone people can diagnose problems "at" the home. A 70 year old woman is not going to pack her new PC into her car and drive it on back to the store, except to demand her money back. If a problem cannot be diagnosed over the phone, then there's a really good chance that it is a hardware problem, worth shipping the box in for.

    So many computer problems are conflicts or user error that every effort to avoid having it sent back more than pays for itself. It is under warranty, and charging customers penalties for non-hardware related issues would lose their business and the business of everyone they know. Bad PR is the kiss of death in a commodity market, when all you really have to sell is your company.

    I do feel sorry for the poor folks who have to suffer for this- taking people whose VCRs are still blinking 12:00 and trying to get something constructive done is brutal. I can't even talk someone through configuring a box when I'm in the room with them.


    "You know, the golf course is the only place he isn't handicapped."

  • by Fat Casper (260409) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @04:12PM (#91139) Homepage
    Tell me why, anonymous man, these features that sound to me like OS level tasks are found only in one app. Maybe simply so M$ could say that IE was integral to the OS and had to be bundled with it. "We're not trying to create a monopoly, your honor, it has to be there."

    A feature that is vital for every other app that M$ writes belongs in... the operating system, not the damn web browser! That is where your OS-wide uniform standards that developers can RELY upon should be placed. Did you actually read your comment before submitting it? You seem to mean that M$ is doing the best thing here, but none of your arguments support that.


    "You know, the golf course is the only place he isn't handicapped."

  • They've alwyas acted like a "real" company. They're just really really good at it, and have some advantages that others don't. Abusing their position is wrong, it's ilegal, and it pisses me off; but I wouldn't say that they arn't acting like a "real" company. Real companies succeed by using their resources to the fullest. Monopoly power is a resource.

    ___
  • by GuyFromAccounting (266997) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:52AM (#91144)
    I believe their appeal almost completely failed. Robert Bork and Kenneth Starr wrote an editorial in the WSJ that showed how bad the ruling really was for Microsoft.

    The article states

    While trumpeting last week's "victory" in the Court of Appeals, Microsoft executives would do well to recall the words of King Pyrrhus after his famous battle with the Romans: "One more such victory and we are lost."

    and

    when the court addressed the charge of monopolization of the operating-system market, which was the core of the case, the news was all bad for Microsoft.

  • I think this is the original AP version. Can't guarantee how long this link will be alive tho.

    http://wire.ap.org/APnews/main.html?SLUG=MICROSOFT %2dLICENSING [ap.org]

  • I take exception. Slashdot doesn't make occasional errors of this sort, they make them regularly.For example, from yesterday:

    MS, CNET On 7-Day Messenger Outage [slashdot.org]--Slashdot misidentifies a ZDNet story as a CNet story, and misdentifies a ZDNet-written story posted on MSNBC as an MSNBC story.

    Or from last week, MSNBC on Slashdot, [slashdot.org] where Slashdot mistakes an Inside.com story for an MSNBC story.

    I'm not asking for perfection, just a genuine effort--Slashdot doesn't even seem to try to get this stuff right. And by the way, I do make sure to let other news sources know when they make mistakes. You should, too.

  • by regexp (302904) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:20AM (#91150)
    The article appears on MSNBC, but it is clearly labeled "Associated Press," meaning it was written by the Associated Press and published on MSNBC (and who knows how many other outlets).

    It is my hope and dream that one day Slashdot will start properly attributing news stories to the organizations that originally produced them. I'm not holding my breath, though.

  • The problem with this philosophy is that when something goes wrong on a computer it could either be the third party software, software that came with the computer/OS, hardware, or any combination of those. While when something goes wrong with your Toyota there's only one person to call. Now if you have a problem playing Halflife on your new Dell system and you call Dell they will tell you its not their problem and to call Sierra and you can't expect every software maker to have onsite tech people.

    Thats what I think most new users find so frustrating about computers, you can't use the so called playstation mentality for fixing problems. (If you put a game into a playstation and it doesn't work, then you put another game into the playstation. If that game doesn't work then you know its the playstation that is broken. If the 2nd game does work then you know its the 1st game thats broken) This kind of problem solving simply doesn't work for PC's.
  • "Consumers will be able to use the Add-Remove Programs feature in Windows XP to remove end-user access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system"
    Hello? What will it do, remove iexplorer.exe file? ( 61,952Bytes )
    You can't remove IE from Windows, too much will break without it.
    What this will do is to take out the easy way to get to it. (Removing icons & shortcuts etc and maybe the executable itself (which doesn't do much, most of IE is in COM components)

    This is like saying, that you can remove KDE from the system, by running GNOME.

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • No, it doesn't.
    A lot of parts that come with IE are required for programs (MS and third party) to work.
    Practically any Windows application with builtin browser need IE to function.

    What they remove is the ability to run IE.
    I don't see a reason to do it, at best, it will take a MB or two off your HD, the bulk of what makes IE is still there.
    And can't be removed, even if MS wanted to.

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • Actually, it doesn't un-install IE.
    That would make a *lot* more than just Office, MSDN, VS & Quicken stop functioning.
    The Windows Help, the file browser, the desktop, etc, are been done with IE.

    What you get when you uninstall IE is the in-ability to run IE directly. That is *all*!

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • by Ayende Rahien (309542) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @01:07PM (#91162)
    Mozlla is a browser by itself, it wouldn't use IE.
    Neither would Star Office or Opera (for that matter).

    Cross platform applications has little use of IE, because they would need to integrate a browser anyway on non-Windows machines, and it makes sense to do it in a cross platform and use it on Windows as well.

    But a *lot* of programs are using IE's DLL.

    Macromedia is a company, not an application.

    As for WinAmp, it MiniBrowser uses IE.

    --
    Two witches watched two watches.
  • by Kujako (313468) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:12AM (#91165)
    Am I the only one who recalls how bad the systems where that got to be "customized" by the OEMs? Sony and IBM both had customized Bob like interfaces that made the systems imposible to support over the phone.
  • by Marcus Brody (320463) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:29AM (#91170) Homepage
    The press release also says that you can now "remove" Internet (sic) Exlporer...

    Fantastic - I was having problems with this. Being a netscape guy, I uninstalled IE from my work machine. Then I got passed a copy of Office2000 professional. During Install, I chose not to install IE. However, after installation - huh? whats that on my desktop? Yep. It had gone right on ahead and installed IE. Then I uninstalled IE again, and installed some components from disk 2 of Office2000 (which (supposedly) doesnt contain IE). You guessed it. After that, IE was back again, like a little lost flea-ridden dog.

    Please excuse my bad analogy and random ramblings, but this really wound me up.

    Anyways, this all stinks of coporatations trying to force their products on you. I wouldnt mind windows if it wasnt so intrusive. Adverts on the desktop anyone?

    I dont think this shift in policy will make alot of difference to the consumer: It will just be someone else's products being forced down your neck. However, it is probably a good idea for business, stopping monopolies etc.

  • by jeffy124 (453342) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:19AM (#91186) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this is all the press is stressing, but Microsoft is still monopolistic. The DOJ has focused on the issue regarding browser wars, not much else. One of the major items they argued over was the ability to remove IE. Microsoft has given in and will now give OEMs and possibly end users the abiliy to remove IE from their Windows machines.

    This may please the Justice Dept, but won't please the techies. Microsoft will continue to push their products as bundles by forcing dependicies between their products. They will continue to embrace&extend other technologies the same as they always have in recent years. They will continue to swipe the little guy's idea and make it theirs, leaving the little guy out in the cold.

    But this may be a step in the right direction. If enough lawyers out there realize the effects of these other practices, they can use this case as a basis. If Microsoft claims they are unable to untie certain dependicies, the lawyers can argue back that Microsoft first said that IE and Windows were inseparable, yet today they made them able to separate.

  • by Thomas M Hughes (463951) on Wednesday July 11, 2001 @11:21AM (#91195)
    Unless I'm given a good reason to hate this change, I think its something Microsoft should be congratulated on for taking a step in the right direction. This doesn't mean we should love them. It means we should send them a sign that says "That's a start, now keep going."

    If we continue bashing people when they take steps towards openness, no one will ever see a benefit for moving in that direction. No, Microsoft isn't perfect, and no I don't plan on willingly using Microsoft products more than I have to. However, this does make me hate them less. Just a little bit. A tiny bit.

    Then again, this is Slashdot. Not bashing Microsoft whenever possible is a good way to destroy your karma I guess. Ah well...its just Karma.
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