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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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  • Tone of the article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rlowe69 (74867) <ryanlowe_AThotmailDOTcom> on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:13PM (#3007862) Homepage
    I'm a little surprised with the article's tone, especially coming from Salon. While reading this article I'm reminded of marketing drivel coming directly from Redmond itself. This is not a news story, it's just straight-out gushing and it's the disgusting type of a "article" I'd expect from a heavily sponsored e-rag like ZDNET. Frankly, I will never look at Salon the same way.
  • by costas (38724) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:13PM (#3007868) Homepage
    I would like to know the answer to that as well. I went looking for Visual Python earlier today and there's zero info (that I could find at any rate) on Active State's site on interoperability with the other Python implementations (cPython and Jython mostly). No word on the standard library (that has a few C extensions; how will those be managed in .NET?) or win32all and the Python-COM bindings.

    As a python fan I had high hopes that Python would be the only language to bridge the JVM-CLR religious war and allow you to work in both.

    It seems that ActiveState is just plugging in Python to VS, not compiling python to IL.
  • blame it on Linux? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:17PM (#3007896)
    What does this mean exactly?: "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." It's been in every article about the compiler vulnerability, and offers no information except to suggest that the problem originates in Linux. WTF?
  • Ballmer on Mono (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:17PM (#3007898)
    I heard Steve Ballmer speak Tuesday night in Chicago at the VisulaStudio.net kickoff. In response to an audience question about the Mono project he said two things. "First, we're not afraid of competition. Second, we're not used to competing with our own intellectual property and we will defend ourselves. So I guess you could say I don't think very much of it."

    I put this in quotes but I'm paraphrasing based on my best recollection. I gotta give him credit for being accessible and for answering questions. Still can't help hating him, though. :-)
  • by Soko (17987) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:17PM (#3007902) Homepage
    Take off the tin foil hat for a second, would ya?

    How long did it take for Microsoft to dominate the desktop market? They released Windows 1.0 a long time before OS/2 fell off the competitive map.

    Microsofts domination kinda snuck up on everyone, since the IT industry assumed that there would allways be a company to compete with Bill&Co in the OS/Office Productivity space. This time, no such assumptions will be made. If they actually get something like this off the ground, there will be lots of people (Miguel) making great things that compete with Microsoft's offerings by the time it gets pervasive enough.

    I'd suggest you take this for what it is at a base level - something that could be useful and cool. Remember, it is possible to enter a cage with a dangerous beast [crocodilehunter.com], as long as you know what to expect and how to counter it's natural responses.

    IMHO, it's time to accept Microsoft as an industry leader. You just have to think of them in the same way that you do a clueless PHB.

    Soko
  • I dare you. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:41PM (#3008034) Homepage Journal
    Please post a link, possibly one from Microsoft.com that explains what .net is. I failed to find it a few months ago. All i found was buzz and stuff you could buy. Some link that is useful for a developer beyond "XML and VB and can do everything and more productive. "

    hmm, might be a good one for ask slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:47PM (#3008074)
    This is real. This is not a hoax. This was just launched by IBM. Reeks of desperation, and follows the typical methodology of MS's competitors: attack, attack, attack and then attack some more.

    Take Out Microsoft Campaign is part of Crush the Competition Series
    developed and delivered by the Americas Software Marketing team. It is
    designed to equip you with sales and marketing tools to deliver an
    end-to-end IBM proposal to take out Microsoft and its .NET strategy.
    Participate and engage your customers in our marketing activities to move
    them through the sales cycle.

    Use the Take out Microsoft Campaign to build your pipeline and close sales
    for 2002!

    Customer Communication
    Please note that our customer communications do not mention Microsoft but
    rather focus on IBM's messaging, products and solutions. The Take out
    Microsoft title is internal only!
    Upon registering your customers (see instructions below), they will receive
    the attached letter which focuses on the benefits and differentiators of
    the IBM Software Strategy and encourages them to visit the customer Web
    site and register their interest to engage with an IBM IT architect. View
    the customer Web site at http://www.ibm.com/software/solutions/swstrategy
    (See attached file: Final Take out MS Customer Invite.lwp)

    Customer Registration - How it works:
    Visit http://www6.software.ibm.com/crushmicrosoft and register your
    customer
    Your customer will receive a letter that talks about IBM's SW Strategy
    value
    The marketing team will immediately send the letter to customers and
    entice them to visit the
    Take Out Microsoft Customer Web site
    Customers will have the opportunity to visit the Take out Microsoft
    Customer Web site and
    register his/her interest to talk to an IBM architect/representative
    Marketing team will pass the request on to the sales person who
    originally registered the customer *
    The sales person is responsible for following up with the customer and
    ensuring that they
    connect an IT Architect with the customer

    * Please be aware, that sales will be launched leads under an S1 status
    because they have not been
    BANT qualified by a Lead Development Representative (LDR). As you nurture
    the lead, please
    progress the lead into status S2.

    This campaign is another crucial step to CRUSHING our competition and
    positioning IBM as the leading software company. Microsoft's .NET strategy
    directly competes with the IBM SW Strategy. The "Take out Microsoft"
    campaign will address the leading value of our strategy.

    Be at the forefront and take advantage of this campaign to close new
    business!

    Anita Orphanidou
    Marketing Manager, Americas Enterprise SW Marketing
    tel: (905) 316-2732 tie line: 886-2732
    e-mail: aorphani@ca.ibm.com notes: Anita Orphanidou/Markham/IBM
    Fax : 905 316-3699

    Mailing Address:
    IBM Canada Ltd.
    3600 Steeles Avenue East
    Markham, Ontario, L3R 9Z7
    Canada
  • bad vision (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:53PM (#3008102)
    In my vision of computers, they are mere tools
    to use for other ends, not ends in themselves,
    even though I pay my bills because of my understanding of computers. I certainly do not want to become a slave to a stinking computer which is the gates vision of computers. Net is
    stupid because it tries to integrate a bunch of useless technologies into a large useless mass of donothingness-all making him money.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @02:07PM (#3008590)
    I think the average Salon reader is not the kind of reader who takes things at face value. I think the editors know it too. Look at it as a subtle editorial troll, designed to provoke an outraged response. Which it has.

    I don't think you can discount it so easily:

    About the writer
    Peter Wright is a software consultant and the author of numerous books on Visual Basic programming. He is currently working on two .Net titles for Apress slated for release later this year.


    Have you read some of these quotes?
    Bill Gates has already changed the face of the world as we know it, but his magnum opus has yet to be fully appreciated. On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled Bill's greater masterpiece -- in the guise of the Visual Studio.Net development tools suite.
    It would be easy to dismiss this as just another Microsoft product launch, just another example of the Redmond behemoth rolling ever onward in its quest to gain enough funds to brand a continent. Don't. Visual Studio.Net will have as profound an effect on the way that we live our lives as the labors of love Babbage and Gutenberg gave us. To dismiss Visual Studio.Net and the technology it encompasses is to go back in time and dismiss Henry Ford's automobile as a passing fad.

    [several pages of excited babbling deleted]
    As developers move to embrace .Net, the Internet will be transformed from a complex, un-standardized mishmash of awkward static views of data to a dynamic pool of data connected by a true web of Web services all working together to make your life easier.
    .Net marks the dawn of the third age of computing -- embrace it.


    It reminded me of Will Ferrell's Actor's Studio sketch as well. ".Net is such a masterpiece that there are no words to describe it- so I will make one up: Scrumtrilescent."

    I guess if you've been stuck with Visual Basic for the past several years, an MS ripoff of Java would look pretty interesting. I doubt that Java programmers are going to flock to .NET, however. It seems that the people most excited about it are the VB types. .NET will probably end up displacing VB, not Java. Personally, I think James Gosling has a pretty good take on Java vs. .NET. After all, he invented both. :)
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @02:24PM (#3008718)
    ... or that guy sucking up to ObL in one of the tapes found in Afghanistan.

    I thought about this, but two things make it hard for me to dismiss it as just a troll:

    • It was published under the "Technology & Business" banner, not "This Just Posted" and then rotated down into the "Recently in Salon" catchall.
    • It's well-known that Salon has been having financial troubles, not least because many of the people who would have paid for subscriptions have been caught in the economic slowdown and are unable to justify even $30 on a luxury.


    I want to dismiss it as a troll. If there was any type of framing by the usual staff, or it was within a week of April 1st I wouldn't give it a second thought.

    But now I keep coming back to the fact that the Microsoft PR machine can link to this seemingly glowing comment in "Linux friendly" Salon. We may know it's totally out of character, but a PHB concerned about Hailstorm or .Net implementation issues will take it at face value.

    That makes me wonder if I've been playing the fool on other stories. Salon has been valuable precisely because the articles often surprise me, but it's precisely because I'm not knowledgeable about those topics that I'll mistake a 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge' troll for a serious piece.
  • by Melantha_Bacchae (232402) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:11PM (#3009010)
    Maury Markowitz wrote:

    > 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.

    You can go back even farther than that. OpenStep was based on NeXT, which was created by Steve Jobs in 1989. In 1990, it was used to create the world's first web server and client. NeXT was the cradle of the web itself! (http://www.netvalley.com/intvalnext.html)

    > 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.

    The plists are in XML now, but NeXT lives on in its beautiful child: Mac OS X. In fact, the new G4 iMacs running OS X are the only desktop computers on the planet that can be said to be "selling like hotcakes".

    Apple is still selling WebObjects, only at $699 instead of $50,000. OS X ships with the Apache web server included. OS X is the best Java 2 desktop, with a full set of J2SE development tools in the OS X boxed version or as a free download or for $20 FedEx shipping. J2EE tools are readily available in open source or commercial form. If you don't care about portability, you can rapidly create a Cocoa front end on your application, and use any J2SE or J2EE classes on the back end to create a native compiled application with all the power of Java. If you are careful to separate the GUI classes from the rest, you can use the RAD Cocoa front end for prototyping, and replace it with a Swing front end after the back end is tested.

    Apple's big goal in life right now is 10% of the market (probably with 20% coming after that ;) and happy customers that come back for more. That is a far cry from Microsoft's bid for world domination: Millenium.Net. Apple gives me hope that the computer industry can have a bright future. ;)

    Microsoft? Well they mostly give me the urge to loose my lunch. :b

    On December 14, 1996, Mothra resurrected an apple tree.
    On December 14, 2001, she returned to see its fruit:
    OS X, the Apple of Mothra's Aqua eye.
  • by blackwings (525682) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:30PM (#3009167)
    I don't think sun is laying or hiding things from us; 1. It's not an 'unsafe' mode like in the CLR, it apears to be just a wrapper around some JNI calls. It's not the same thing.

    2. It may be undocumented but you can do the exact same thing with the documented java.nio.ByteBuffer [sun.com]

    3. It's not that 'unsafe' you can only access bytes in memory you have allocated yourself

  • by fxj (267709) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:50PM (#3009282)
    When you go to the activestate site and look under more betas you will find perl for asp.net,
    which seems to be a .net version of perl.
    they say on the web-site:

    "PerlNET provides the following functionality:

    Perl code runs at the same speed within .NET as it does outside
    All extension modules, including the ones using XS code, are supported
    PerlNET code is completely compatible with the standard Perl language, including the string form of eval and the runtime use of require
    Features

    Create .NET applications using .NET components
    Wrap existing Perl modules into .NET components
    Create new .NET components written in Perl
    Extend existing .NET component with Perl "

    (http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/Downloads/Perl NE T/)

    It seems that they really have done it !

    python.net seems to be in a pre-alpha stage, as they say here:

    "The Python for .NET compiler is written using CPython. It compiles Python source code, and uses the .NET Reflection::Emit library to generate a .NET assembly."

    and further:

    "Probably the biggest single issue with Python for .NET is the performance of both the compiler and the runtime. The speed of the runtime must be the more critical issue, as the fastest compiler in the world would not be used if the generated code is too slow to be useful."

    (http://www.activestate.com/Initiatives/NET/Pyth on _whitepaper.doc) sorry word-doc.

    But it is only a matter of time that a python.net will exist.

  • DOH (Score:2, Interesting)

    by inkless1 (1269) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:51PM (#3009286) Homepage
    I reported the Salon piece because I didn't notice it linked with all of these others. It REALLY should be on it's own story - I am simply amazed Salon let this through.

    This isn't an anti-MS thing. That piece is some of the worst writing I've seen on a professional site in years, if not ever, on the web. It overly glorifies hyped up marketing concepts without going into any real details. It makes outlandshish claims about bringing about nirvana, a Star Trekkian society, and the "third age of computing".

    Microsoft should be beggin Salon to pull this piece - it's horrible advertising. Comparing Bill Gates to Henry Ford is not exactly going to help their current PR angle. Plus, the over-glorification only reinforces common myths about .Net when it comes it's current overly marketed and under explained status.

    I urge everyone to write Salon and ask them to do a better job editing. If someone is going to write a piece explaining why .Net is great, fine. ArsTechnica did a great job of explaining it's strengths, I thought. This is nothing but fluff, and poorly written fluff as well.

    inky

    (apologies to /. for absent mindly submitting already posted news :( )
  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 14, 2002 @03:56PM (#3009311) Homepage
    There was a presentation by the author of "XML and ASP.NET".

    He started by indicating the Microsoft "gets it" as regards unhappiness WRT its philosophy of "embrace and extend". He even showed a page with a list of standards with which Microsoft's new XML technology is compliant.

    He then, without blush, went on to describe Microsoft extensions that make the XML technology more "usable".

    In his discussion of C#, he pitched the language, not as a Java-killer, but rather as a compromise language easy enough for VB know-nothings (not his phrase, but the import of his language) and with the features beloved by C++ bigots. (Pointers!)

    He described how easy it is to put tags in generated HTML (CSS, anyone?) before going on to describe Microsoft's newest idea in XML technology, the iterator. Of course, the methods available from various iterators over various classes are different, so learning how one works does not guarantee understanding of how all works.

    I know a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind, but this boggles.

    Anyway, a number of things came to me from the talk:

    1. There are a lot of VB programmers out there. They're not terribly smart, and Microsoft wants to protect their rice bowl.

    2. Microsoft is making it very easy for people to generate really crappy HTML from XML.

    3. There are a lot of great ideas in the Java world that Microsoft is glomming onto.

    The author is quite a nice guy, and bore well my comments about billg as Satan.
  • by mutzinator (156030) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @04:20PM (#3009516)

    About the writer

    Peter Wright is a software consultant and the author of numerous books on Visual Basic programming. He is currently working on two .Net titles for Apress slated for release later this year.

  • by jayed_99 (267003) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @08:01PM (#3011062)
    Dear Editor,

    I've never seen a more slanted piece of journalism since the last political spot I watched on TV during the previous Presidential election.

    I doubt that anyone would equate Bill Gates' reputation with the near mythical standing that Charles Babbage has in the computer world.

    And Gutenberg? If Bill G had invented the transistor, I *might* find this a plausible comparison. But comparing the total value of all Microsoft products to the PRINTING PRESS is ludicrous. That's like comparing NyQuil to public sewer systems. (For those who don't get this analogy: NyQuil is good; it makes you feel better; it puts you in a coma so you won't walk around infecting other people with your germs...sewer systems are the most significant public health innovation of all time).

    The author's treatment of the arguments about .Net's heritage, youth and "privacy implications" are, at best, shallow and, at worst, weaselly.

    One, he says that the negative view of .Nets's heritage is "a holdover of the viral opinion...that Microsoft is the antichrist." Perhaps if Mr. Wright had thrown some profanity in this sentence it might be more offensive to the opposing view. I recommend that he do so in his next article so all of your readers can know how he really feels.

    Two, the argument about youth. He squirms out of this one by saying: it's new; but you don't have to buy in right now; just play with it for a while - it's 'risk-free'. Let's look at this argument. Mr. Wright says, "The .Net way of doing things, and especially the Visual Studio toolset, are effectively at version 1.0 -- untried and untested." Then he says, "...given that doing things the .Net way doesn't require an all or nothing approach, developers can effectively dip their toes in the water risk-free..." My translation of this is, "If you put it on a development system you can play with it, but keep it away from the production boxes." And what does he really mean when he says "effectively"? He used the word quite a bit in this paragraph. (For those of you who don't get this: "effectively" is very often a weasel-word).

    A factual note, Ximian is not "the coordinator of the GNOME Linux user interface project". Prhaps Mr. Wright might want to substitue "GNOME Foundation" for "Ximian" in his next article.

    He also slides by the privacy argument by saying, "there is nothing in the .Net architecture that says a user absolutely must use Passport to run a .Net application." He seems to conviniently forget that Microsoft has mandated the use of Passport for playing "Asheron's Call" (on online MMPORG). This happened after the release of the game (i.e. after people bought the CD and had been paying a monthly fee for some months)...it didn't happen because of software architecture. It happened because Microsoft found a way to force consumers to use Passport.

    Mr. Wright seems to have decided that .Net is the Nirvana-like destination of computing. I'll agree that the idea is good, but let's be honest -- .Net is evolutionary, not revolutinary.

    Finally, as I said in the beginning, Mr. Wright's article is doubtlessly the most one-sided, biased piece of journalism that I have ever seen in a forum that purports to have the slightest apprehension of journalistic integrity.
  • by inkless1 (1269) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @08:12PM (#3011116) Homepage
    Sweet!

    I actually got response from Andrew L. Basically saying that they simply are trying to show all viewpoints. I admire that, but I don't think this guy really represent a majority of anyone's viewpoints - even MS Developers.

    My response to his reply was:

    Andrew,

    Thanks for a swift response. I've read and enjoyed many of your articles.

    It's not the Microsoft slant that I am objecting to here. In fact, I appreciate a well-written pro-Microsoft article due to the fact that they typically cut through the hype that surrounds that giant company. The recent article in ArsTechnica detailing what .Net really does, for instance, I thought did a fine compiling an objective, fact filled analysis of what the platform really is ... and it's largely pro-.Net in the end.

    I'm objecting to the fact that the piece contains very little in the way of fact and for the most part engages in wild hyperbole.

    For instance:

    "Visual Studio.Net is the result, a set of development tools that really do make that almost "Star-Trek" view of the world possible, not in years to come, but tomorrow. "

    I greatly doubt when I wake up tomorrow that I'll be carrying around a dog collar which will be accessing my email, which is almost an exact concept alluded to by the author.

    "Bill Gates has already changed the face of the world as we know it, but his magnum opus has yet to be fully appreciated"

    Bill Gates, the person, has actually done very little to change the world. His company, Microsoft, has certainly done a lot. While I wouldn't expect the average slashdot poster to make the distinction, I would hope a professional writer would.

    The most impressive bit is the fact that he mentions, but never really goes into, the potential security risks inherent in such a system, particularly when provided by a company plagued by security problems like Microsoft. Also, the fact that he mentions other "players" in the distributed service industry, but doesn't exactly give them credit (this is, after all, Bill's opus) seems a contradiction in his own logic. He even states:

    ".Net is a platform based around open standards such as XML (for managing self-describing data), SOAP (for XML-based, Internet-wide component reuse) and UDDI (for locating and deploying other "Web services" based on these standards)."

    If the platform are based on these standards, standards written by groups of people and representatives of industry leaders (including Microsoft), how is the author justified to write two more pages telling us how this is Bill's vision?

    I think there are many Windows developers who will object to this piece as well. It does little to enhance Microsoft's image as a marketing-not-technical company.

    I appreciate Salon's desire to publish a wide variety of viewpoints. I'm always willing to engage in a discussion with someone who differs from myself, provided they are willing to create a logical argument. Also, apologies if I implied you were selling editorial space. My intention was merely to indicate that the piece reads more like something for a brochure, not a serious editorial.

    Part of my response is merely shock, as I've grown accustomed to a high level of quality from all of the viewpoints on Salon, whether I agreed with them or not.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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