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Microsoft

.NETly News 301

Posted by michael
from the honk-if-you-remember-netly dept.
Lots of .NET stories in the news today and yesterday; it's a total coincidence that Microsoft started a huge marketing push on Wednesday, including the occasional Doubleclick ad running on Slashdot. BrendanL79 writes: "Peter Wright at Salon.com contributes to public awareness of Microsoft's .NET with this exuberant piece. The praise borders on sycophancy ("Gutenberg ... Babbage ... now Gates") with no apparent tongue in his cheek. Comments?" Reader vw writes: "Active State has just released Visual Perl 1.2, Visual Python 1.2, and Visual XSLT 1.2 as plugins for Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET. Wonder how long it will take for a Mono hack." Numerous readers pointed to several stories about a buffer overflow problem in Visual Studio .NET which was supposed to be immune to buffer overflows - but it had passed Microsoft's stringent new security audit.
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.NETly News

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  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:01PM (#3007748) Homepage
    I don't think there's any big deal in ActiveState's visual Perl/Python/whatever editors. They are 'compatible with Visual Studio .NET'. What that means is that they integrate with the Visual Studio IDE - *not* that ActiveState have managed to compile Perl into .net bytecode.

    At least, I assume that's the case. If somebody had managed to create .NET compilers for Perl and Python, we'd surely have heard about it by now...
  • Wait a second (Score:1, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:04PM (#3007777)
    : "Peter Wright at Salon.com contributes to public awareness of Microsoft's .NET with this exuberant piece.

    Isn't Salon owned by M$? I might be wrong but I seem to remember hearing that.

  • by DutchSter (150891) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:08PM (#3007822)
    No, you're not. I think that the overall concept might have some promise, but I do have a problem with the idea that an entity will running the whole show. What scares me most is that ultimately, we are moving towards zero human contact. No longer do you go to the grocery store and run into your old friend from across town and chit chat for 15 minutes while making your selections.

    I'm reminded of the movie Sneakers when Martin and his old friend (the villian) are on the roof and the villian is going on about how it's a new world, it's all electrons, just little ones and zeros. Everything is the information, the information is everything. It's a brave new world for humanity.. Martin's response is 'yeah, and there's nobody there' -- So we'll all have our PDAs and phones and everything, but who is there really to talk to? Get out, get some air, meet some REAL people and have some fun the old way.

    Not does the technology have the ability to move our lives into greater convenience, but at the same time, to isolate us from ourselves and each other.

    That, to me, is the scary part - not so much some marketer having a profile on me.
  • Salon article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by baruz (211342) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:09PM (#3007823) Homepage
    Wright says, "Without Microsoft, the PC we have today would be a very different beast."

    As if this were a bad thing.
  • by questionlp (58365) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:15PM (#3007880) Homepage
    Although I have tried Visual Python in a while, but I think it's nice to see that Python/win32 developers have a great IDE for development. Right now, I use the PythonWin Environment, which is a great development environment, but it still lacks some of the flexibilities of the VS.NET IDE (like true Visual SourceSafe add-in; ya I know, CVS is great but I work in a Windows-dominant dev environment and the other devs don't like nor use CVS).

    Speaking about Python, does anyone know when the final release of ActivePython 2.2 will be released? It has been in "Alpha" for a while and the product page hasn't been updated in a while.

  • by Asikaa (207070) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:16PM (#3007887) Homepage
    From the article:

    "In 1454, Johann Gutenberg changed the world forever when the first of his Bibles rolled off the world's first printing press. Three centuries later, in 1791, Charles Babbage was born. Best known for his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, his work is widely acknowledged as providing the earliest steppingstones from which the modern computer would emerge. Again, the world would never be the same. From the article:

    William Henry Gates arrived on the planet in 1951. Whether you love him or detest him with every ounce of your moral fiber, there is no denying the contribution Bill has made to this earth. Without Microsoft, the PC we have today would be a very different beast."

    Does anyone truly believe that Gates has made a positive contribution to "this earth", other than his (admittedly laudable) charitable works?

    From a technological standpoint, the only thing you can really say he has helped (and I say helped because he certainly cannot claim sole credit) achieve is the positioning of computers in everyday non-geek life. Even that would have happened sooner or later has Gates not existed.

    This type of melodramatic, snivelling hyperbole is starting to crop up all over the IT press, with reviews reading like commercials and biographies gushing with misplaced hero-worship.

    Ick.

  • .NET obseeesed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:17PM (#3007901)
    Am I the only one who thinks /. is focusing way too much attention on .NET? Its probably moving ahead on *NIX as the most popular topic..
  • by frob2600 (309047) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:19PM (#3007915)
    I also agree that the lack of human contact would be a bad thing. First off, we could not drink anymore as popular definition defines someone who drinks alone as an alcoholic. But seriously, I think that we are moving away from personal contact which is very important to mental health. It is true that you can converse with people online but it is not the same as sitting around a table with a pitcher of beer and shooting the sh?t for a few hours.

    Although I think that this new technology is going to take away from those accidental meetings I hope that, if it delivers on its promise, it will provide more time to create opportunities for human interaction. But then again, all the technology that we create to save time seems to require more time than we save to keep the technology saving us time. Wordy but true. I don't advocate a return to simpler times... I would die without my connection to the internet. But a week or two where I could just focus on getting to know the people around me while also getting to know more about the earth I am on would be a great thing.

    Anyone for a camping trip? If you have 15 km of optical cable just laying around... we could run it down to our site and not miss /. around the campfire.
  • by isaac (2852) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:28PM (#3007953)
    Read the bio blurb at the end of the article - the author has written a pair of books on programming in VisualBasic and has 2 books on .Net coming out this year. Hmmm... might he have some stake in .Net's widespread adoption?

    -Isaac

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:37PM (#3008010) Homepage
    Once again I find myself ashamed to be a part of an industry that can't remember anything five years into the past. .NET has been done before, many times. The only news here is the hype, as always.

    Let's see, unified runtime, libraries of code with multiple versions, simplified networked object support, standardized metadata...

    OpenStep circa 1995.

    Sure, OS used plists instead of XML (which didn't exist), a private system instead of UDDI (which didn't exist) and was aimed at C people instead of Java (whichy didn't exist) but the broad strokes are the same:

    A multi-platform runtime with standardized libraries, which can exist as multiple versions (with resources) at the same time, with objects that can write themselves out so they can be manipulated as flat data (for storage or network invocation).

    The differences are interesting too, .net includes more security features (useful in some contexts) and is multi-language instead of multi-platform. This last issue is a practical one only, at least until Mono is working. And they decided to go multi-language via an IDL, which I consider to be moronic (OpenStep used fat binaries, faster, smaller, better, realistic).

    I'm sure other "old timers" will have their own similar systems to include for comparison, but the real point is not that OpenStep did it, but that SOMEONE did it.

    And years later no one is using OS (mostly), whereas I'm sure five years from now .net will be one of the most used systems out there. That's the power of marketting. Look how well it worked on the droid on Salon.

    Maury
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:37PM (#3008014)
    When I read that Salon puff piece last night, I had to check my calendar. Twice. Yet it stubbornly refused to be April Fools Day.

    I wouldn't have minded a piece on .NET. I wouldn't have minded, much, a softball piece on .NET.

    But that fawning piece of crap was inexcusable. It was clearly written by the marketing department - no tech would ever favorably compare Bill Gates to Guttenberg - but it was presented as a straight story.

    Now I'm going to find it impossible to take any other story the post seriously. I will always have to ask who really wrote the piece.

    That's a shame - Salon has been a good thorn in the side of the powerful for a long time. Look at the old stories on the "Drug Czar" paying for anti-drug messages in prime time entertainment shows, or their coverage of the RIAA. But now there will always be a loud voice in the back of my head asking if this is another PR piece by the powerful.
  • YES (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:04PM (#3008184)
    I think the consolidation of information is an option, not a requirement. If I can have multiple accounts, with different information, then I would have no problem with Passport-like functionality. I think most security problems, perhaps an overwhelming majority, stem from users. There are many people out there now who use the same password for all their accounts, and never change it. Challenge Microsoft's plan, but let's not be totally paranoid- Any network, particularly the internet, is insecure. Just weigh the tradeoffs.
  • by NumberSyx (130129) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:17PM (#3008279) Journal

    First, let's get the myth out of the way. .Net is not a product. It's a marketing term,

    This is probably the most telling statment of the whole article. .Net is not about a new way of using computers, cool technology, security or any of the other things Microsoft is spouting. .Net is a buzz word driven marketing push and nothing else. It is not going to solve any problems that have not already been solved, introduce any new technology or bring world peace. Microsoft is going to spend the next several years spending billions of dollars to bring us .Net Notepad, .Net Solitaire and the new and improved .Net Virus.

    I capped my karma a few days ago, so feel free to moderate me down, just don't expect me to care.

  • by clontzman (325677) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:22PM (#3008312) Homepage
    I agree that we still need people, but never having to deal with a rude customer service person, distracted airline reservations agent or disinterested store clerk again is a future I can get behind.

    At Kroger in Atlanta you can check yourself out with a mostly automated system (you still need a guy to manage every four units to check IDs and whatnot) that allows you to check out without having to deal with lines or bored cashiers.

    Let's face it -- there are some things machines do better than people and ringing up groceries is only one of them (booking most airline tickets is another). The only advantage a cashier has over a machine is the ability to smile and ask how my day is, and if he/she isn't going to bother to do that, I'll take a machine any day.

  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:26PM (#3008332) Homepage
    You can decide not to use it: /GS is the compiler switch flag to turn it on. When I check the C++ project I worked on the last couple of days in VC++.NET, it sets the flag ON by default. (which is ok by me, it saved my already yesterday when it reported the stackframe was corrupted after a bad memset() ;))

    Switching it OFF will turn off the stackguard functionality and you can build your code without it, but have to check buffer overflows yourself.

    So it's perhaps wise to switch it ON in debug builds plus release builds that are tested, and switch it OFF in release builds that are deployed to customers.
  • by jarb (303996) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:31PM (#3008370)
    The article points out that VS.NET includes the _ability_ to write unmanaged C++ code.

    This is, in itself, not a security issue. The security issue is that anyone could potentially write a program that has buffer overflow problems.

    And they likely left unsafe C++ ability in VS.NET so they retained backward compatibility with the bazillions of C++ programs already written.

    This is just a political hack trying to take a swipe at MS after losing a security review contract.

    The WSJ and MSNBC are notriously against Microsoft and this article is right in line with their more baseless attacks.

    I'm not a fan of MS business practices and hope something drastic happens in the DOJ lawsuit, but this has nothing to do with VS.NET, which I think is an incredible development tool for _ALL_ of us, not just MS developers.
  • by Badam (222642) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:46PM (#3008457) Homepage
    Remember when Salon used to be pro-open source? Anyway, I looked through their archives, and over the last year, pro-open source / anti-MS articles have all but disappeared.

    Anyway, here are some choice quotes from the article, which reads like Bill Gates himself wrote it:

    "All hail .Net!
    Microsoft's new software development tools are more than just nifty -- they are a great boon to humanity."

    "In 1454, Johann Gutenberg changed the world forever when the first of his Bibles rolled off the world's first printing press. Three centuries later, in 1791, Charles Babbage was born. Best known for his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, his work is widely acknowledged as providing the earliest steppingstones from which the modern computer would emerge. Again, the world would never be the same."

    "William Henry Gates arrived on the planet in 1951. Whether you love him or detest him with every ounce of your moral fiber, there is no denying the contribution Bill has made to this earth. Without Microsoft, the PC we have today would be a very different beast. Without Microsoft, ".Net" would be just another domain name suffix."

    "Right now, the Web is no more than a mirror image of the bad old mainframe days with dumb clients speaking to central all-powerful servers. .Net will free us from that. .Net is about your data and your applications running anywhere, on any device, at any time. .Net is about freedom to share information, freedom to get at and manipulate data in the ways that you want to manipulate it. .Net is the future."

    ".Net and the fundamental concepts surrounding it are a major step forward for software development as a whole, and a stunning leap forward for realizing the true potential of the Internet as a means of communicating and sharing information."

    "Now that it's finally available, Visual Studio.Net will usher in a new age of connectivity and usability the likes of which has only previously been imagined by science fiction authors. Every facet of our lives will be connected, but not from the point of view of increasing the pain we feel as slaves to our machines. The results of Visual Studio.Net's deployment will be an increased level of freedom, with the machines finally realizing their true potential as information manipulators and slaves to humanity."
  • CFR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:47PM (#3008460) Journal

    Microsoft started a huge marketing push on Wednesday, including the occasional Doubleclick ad running on Slashdot.

    This simply won't do. We must have Campaign Finance Reform for the IT industry. Because Slashdot is receiving money from MS, they must be corrupt. Therefore, it should be illegal for MS to place ads 60 days before the release of a new product.

    In all seriousness, if you only read Slashdot you might think that the DMCA is the only threat to free speech. Peal yourself away from the CRT a little bit and wake up to what a bunch of jerks we have in congress. It's like the constitution just fell of a high-wire, and fell through the first net. Now if the president signs this bill it will fall through the 2nd net, and if the Supreme Court doesn't wack it our freedom will fall into the abyss. You would never know that if you just read Slashdot.

    This post paid for by the Radical National Committee to Criticize Politicians less than 60 days before an election.

  • Re:I dare you. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @02:01PM (#3008540)
    Slashdot ran a story yesterday called "What is .NET?" which linked to arstechnica.com. Check it out.
  • by Virile Garbageman (548110) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @02:49PM (#3008860)

    Gary McGraw, Cigital's chief technology officer, said Microsoft apparently adopted a technique for improving its compiler that has been used with the Linux operating system and shown to be vulnerable to attack. As a result, he said, Visual C++.NET isn't actually more safe than earlier versions; in fact, it could lead programmers to write more programs that are vulnerable to buffer-overflow attacks.

    "They were trying to avoid flaws, but instead managed to create a flaw seeder," Mr. McGraw said.

    ... in the MSNBC article? This sounds like the flaw came from a Linux source. Did everyone just stop at the Salon article and start the blind Microsoft bashing without perusing the other articles?

    Besides, we've got to face the facts: It really isn't Bill, and it really isn't Microsoft. If IBM or Apple or some Linux distro had achieved the same degree of insane success that Microsoft has with Windows, everyone would be pissing and moaning about them instead, every security consultant would be pointing out their flaws (and it would be "news" when they did it), and every virus writer and security hacker would be targeting that platform instead of Windows. Scott McNealy and Larry Ellision, Gates's greatest detractors, really don't want to see the world improved or innovation protected... they just want to trade places (or at least wallets) with Bill.

    Any zealous Mac, Linux, Amiga, BeOS, or [insert OS here] user thinks that their OS should have "won." If they had, would anything really be any different? The major difference would be in the targets, not in the ammunition.

  • by Cato the Elder (520133) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:14PM (#3009035) Homepage
    "So it's perhaps wise to switch it ON in debug builds plus release builds that are tested, and switch it OFF in release builds that are deployed to customers."

    Gotta disagree with you on this one. You can't do testing on a different program than you release, and something like StackGuard produces a different program. Stuff like that's great for debugging/development, but if your still using it in final testing you should ship with it and eat the preformance hit.

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