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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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  • "...a buffer overflow problem in Visual Studio .NET which was supposed to be immune to buffer overflows..."

    What?!?

    Doesn't .NET allow developers to explicitly include "dangerous" code? I would say then that .NET is not immune to these problems.

    • Wrong. Java 1.4 has the same thing, an undocumented feature with the exact same name that hypocrit Bill Joy bashed. Yes that's right, Sun included something called 'Unsafe' mode for Java code, that lets it write all over memory to its hearts content. Don't tell Bill Joy though, he's likely to spasm from being called on his lie.

      (PS I love Java. But Bill Joy is a LIAR and should be called on his LIE.)

  • congrats (Score:3, Funny)

    by HCase (533294) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @11:57AM (#3007715)
    i would like to be the first(maybe) to congratulate the newly engaged couple in the comments of the wrong article
  • by frob2600 (309047) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @11:59AM (#3007732)
    In Bill Gates' version of the way things will be, we will all carry around hand-held computers that will allow us to access our e-mail, trade our stocks, send video and photos to the family and generally manage our daily lives. Those hand-helds will also be phones and navigation units, and will carry our electronic wallets. They'll communicate with our computers at home to manage the heating, order the groceries and, when we get home, set just the right ambience for that all-important date with a mix of appropriate mood lighting and Barry White.

    Am I the only person who is just a little afraid to have all of my personal information online? There is just too little right now to keep it secure. Maybe when we are on IPv6 it will be better. But it becomes too easy to hit a few buttons and accidentally abort your new baby instead of inform your parents. ;-)
    • 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.
      • 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.
        • First off, we could not drink anymore as popular definition defines someone who drinks alone as an alcoholic.

          William Shatner's character (Bill Shatner) in Free Enterprise [freeent.com] said something just like this! This is the ultimate movie that proves Captain Kirk is *not* a drunk. :)

      • 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.

        • there are some things machines do better than people and ringing up groceries is only one of them

          We have that in Dallas, too. It has its uses, but if I have a lot of produce to weigh, or weird-shaped items to bag, I'll take a human cashier. Not only do they bag your stuff for you, they don't ask you to "PLACE THE ITEM BACK IN THE BAG" every 30 frickin' seconds.

    • 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
      • 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.

        A clueless PHB is an industry leader. Buggy whip industry maybe?

        I do think of Microsoft in the same way that I do a clueless PHB. As something I would be better off without.

    • Sure, you'll have a device to be able to do all this, but people won't use them for one of two reasons:

      1) They'll be paranoid of having all that info available
      2) There will just be too many friggen features for folks to care.

      I don't know about you, but I programmed the addressbook for my FIRST phone. Three phones later, I pick the thing up and use it to dial numbers. I don't use the IR, I don't have it sync with my palm pilot, and I don't send two way messages, I just use it as a digital 'can and string' to talk to people.

      Us Slashdot folks are pretty savvy gadget freaky people. That doen't mean my Mom's going to program her favorite MP#^H^H^HWMA's to play on Tuesday when the humidity is high and she's the only person at home.
    • YES (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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 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...
    • 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.
    • Well, I agree, and if they had, they wouldn't be compatible with Perl or Python.

      However, I think they managed to do something else, like use the .NET framework within Perl, and somehow wrap Perl programs into .NET components.

      ActiveState [activestate.com] has a lot of documentation about this on their site, specifically under PerlNET; it's worth taking a look.
    • Mark Hammond did a lot of work on a .NET compiler for Python. Info available at http://www.activestate.com/Initiatives/NET/Researc h.html [activestate.com]
      Last I looked, they weren't going to pursue a complete implementation.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just to clarify:

      Visual Perl and Visual Python are development environments for Perl and Python for people that are using Visual Studio.

      PerlNET takes any Perl code and wraps it up as a .NET component so that it can be used in any .NET application.

      If there is enough interest in a PythonNET, we will build that.

      -- Dick
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, this only applies to Visual C++, NON-managed code. managed C++ is still (supposedly) not vulnerable.
  • by gTsiros (205624) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:02PM (#3007767)
    ..."microsofts new stringent security audit".

    am i the only one who reads this as

    "we now pay attention to compiler warnings"

    ;)
    • Drinking at noon? You must be a sysadmin (or an alcoholic). Either way, I recommend that you seek help.

      gcc -Wall is for wimps -- you should follow the Tao and *just know* when you have a possible security problem. Besides everyone knows that MS codes in INTERCAL... what does the error
      240 ERROR HANDLER PRINTED SNIDE REMARK
      ON THE WAY TO %d
      or
      222 BUMMER, DUDE!
      ON THE WAY TO %d
      really tell you?
  • Sycophants? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Shuh (13578)
    The praise borders on sycophancy ("Gutenberg ... Babbage ... now Gates") with no apparent tongue in his cheek.

    Microsoft has apologists? No way!
  • Salon article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by baruz (211342)
    Wright says, "Without Microsoft, the PC we have today would be a very different beast."

    As if this were a bad thing.
  • Story not complete (Score:5, Informative)

    by estar (261924) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:10PM (#3007834)
    .NET is many things and many people are confused by what .NET exactly refers too. In the context of this story .NET is refering to the compilers, and libraries that make up Visual Studio.NET. VB.NET, & C# are both geared toward using the CLR and .NET Framework. Visual C++.NET can use the CLR and .NET Framework but, unlike VB, you can work with Visual C++ like you could in previous versions and ignore the CLR and .NET Framework. So what is the security error reported? This is the detail as reported by Cigital. The protection afforded by the new feature allows developers to continue to use vulnerable string functions such as strcpy() as usual and still be "protected" against some forms of stack smashing. The new feature is closely based on an invention of Crispin Cowan's called StackGuard and is meant to be used when creating standard native code (not the new .NET intermediate language, referred to as "managed code"). This is a problem with Microsoft's Version 7 C++ compiler not with the CLR and .NET Framework.
    • I dare you. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by leuk_he (194174)
      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.

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

        by Anonymous Coward
        Slashdot ran a story yesterday called "What is .NET?" which linked to arstechnica.com. Check it out.
      • Re:I dare you. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Oink.NET (551861)
        Please post a link, possibly one from Microsoft.com that explains what .net is.

        The Simplest Way to Define .NET [microsoft.com] by Sanjay Parthasarathy, Vice President, Platform Strategy, Microsoft Corp.

        • That was exactly the kind of link i was NOT looking for. One AC who replied did find something however.

          your link basically says:
          -buzztalk.(webservices trie tier bla bal bla)
          -Get .NET studio, read the docs.

          But then i asked for this bij allowing a link into MS
          • That was exactly the kind of link i was NOT looking for. One AC who replied did find something however.

            I agree, the AC's link [microsoft.com] is more informative from a developer's perspective. That link is about the .NET Framework, which is only a piece of the first out of five parts of what .NET is, listed in the link [microsoft.com] I cited. So it answers maybe 10% of your original question.

            Your question was "what is .NET", not "what is the .NET Framework." I answered what you said, not what you meant. Answering the question "what is .NET" requires a higher-level, "marketecture" description, since it is excessively broad, and isn't just about programming. Answering the question "what is .NET" with a definition of the .NET Framework would unnecessarily confuse a person who just wanted to know the big picture.

            your link basically says:
            -buzztalk.(webservices trie tier bla bal bla)
            -Get .NET studio, read the docs.

            Web Services are an important part of what .NET is about from a developer perspective. As far as the importance of reading the .NET studio docs, that's where the AC's link came from. If the marketecture summaries don't cut it, then you're just gonna have to drill down into the details that interest you. The details of the .NET Framework are comprehensively documented here [microsoft.com].

    • by kawika (87069) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:28PM (#3008343)
      Exactly. All Cigital seems to be saying is that unmanaged (unsafe) code is still subject to buffer overflow problems. This is not news, and it's why you have to jump through some hoops in .NET to use unmanaged code. Those of you who visited Slashdot yesterday may remember this item about .NET [slashdot.org] that explains it a bit.

      Microsoft's alternative, of course, was to create a totally safe environment that wouldn't run any legacy code and wouldn't allow direct calls into the OS. But of course that's been done before (Java). Remember, .NET isn't just for developing network apps, it's for developing local ones as well. If there's already a proven DLL, COM object, or system call that does what I want to do for a local app, I would prefer to use it than reinvent the wheel inside the sandbox.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    • I don't consider 20+ billion dollars in one shot 'admittedly laughable'. Especially considering I'll probably never even give over 1,000,000 to charity total in my lifetime.

    • > 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.

      Just 3-4 years ago, if you walked into a computer store, picked up a game, and read the requirements sticker, it would say "IBM PC or 100% Compatible". The switch to "Windows" is relatively recent.

      It was the IBM brand name that 'legitimized' the PC, not Microsoft, not Bill Gates. And frankly I think IBM got into the game because they could see that Apple and others were going to do it anyway, with them or without them.

    • Pantheon (Score:2, Funny)

      by Latent Heat (558884)
      My personal pantheon (in this order) 1. Guy who invented Novacaine for dental procedures 2. Thomas Crapper -- inventor of indoor plumbing 3. Norman Borlaug -- developer of high-yield cereal grains (he is supported on foundation money, the robber barons (i.e. Gates's) of last century, so his stuff is "Open Source") 4. Chester Carlson -- inventor of Xerox photocopy process (I love my laser printer -- THAT is the best thing since Guttenberg)
    • Gates will go down in history, never fear. But I think it's pretty well accepted already that he's going to be recoginzed as an industry mogul along the lines of Rockefeller and Carnegie, the swooning sycophancy of those like Wright notwithstanding.

      If you read closesly, even he admits that the ideas in .NET were not original (though hardly Sci-Fi), and that it's merely the monopoly power of Microsoft that allows it to push its "vision" onto the world.
    • William Henry Gates arrived on the planet in 1951.

      This is REALLY scary. According to Bill's bio on his home page, Bill was born on Oct 28, 1955. So if he arrived on the planet in 1951, he clearly learns to time travel some time in the future. Thus we have the spectre that Bill was working as early as 1951 with foreknowledge of the coming computer revolution to cement Microsoft's place as the dominant force in the PC revolution.

      What chance does humankind have now? Are we truly DOOMED?

    • other than his (admittedly laudable) charitable works?

      How about Linus & Co.? The open and free software movements have donated probably $50-billion+ worth of wealth to the world in software and services over the years. Where's their statue?
  • Didn't Babbage never actually get as far as a working prototype? I recall the Science Museum in London had to use computer controlled machining in order to build their working model of the analytical engine - without them they'd never have been able to make the parts accurately enough.
    • The parts could be made accurately enough at the time - there are issues with the accuracy, in that all the components needed hand tweaking to get them to work properly together (And would even with today's manufacturing tolerances - because the errors cascade) which means the machine's parts aren't interchangeable (which was one of Babbage's goals) and that the thing needs debugging - you need to run some stuff though it knowing the right answer and tweak it until the answer it gives matches.

      The reasons Babbage never developed a prototype are different from different sources. He spent a LOT of the money he was given for the analytical engine designing the (more general purpose) difference engine.

      Eventually the government got fed up of giving him money - he'd burned through a /frightening/ amount. ISTR it was of the order of 15,000 pounds, at a time when building a steam locomotive and delivering it to the US was all of 700. [Mentioned in the science museum display].

      In addition he fell out with his leading craftsman who he accused of padding the contract, and spent quite a lot building workshops and so on at his house in order to develop things on-site.

      The analytical engine was definitely acheivable at the time. The difference engine more doubtably so. But while the technology was willing, the project management was missing. Something the IT industry still hasn't learned...

    • I just finished the book on Babbage written by the curator of the London Science Museum computer collection. He said that they were careful to not use more precision than the parts that Babbage actually fabricated at the time. They used the automatic manufacturing process to save money and time; they couldn't afford to sink as many funds into their project as Babbage did :).

      Babbage did have an actual working section of the Difference Engine, and enough parts were made to almost finish it. After a delay caused by his conflicts with his parts maker, he got distracted by his new ideas for the Analytical Engine, and never bothered to finish the original. So he was not only one of the first to do computer design, he was also one of the first examples of a very common person today: a brilliant but stubborn and impossible-to-manage developer who doesn't keep focused on deliverables. He was ahead of his time in many ways!

  • Ballmer on Mono (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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 Kushana (206115) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:22PM (#3007931)
    Peter Wright seems to have been given a few too many Microsoft T-shirts, for his critical facilities have completely left him.

    Human history has shown that with the advent of any new important media, pr0n has never been far behind. The printing press? One estimate says that within 10 years 30% of all presses were being used for pr0n. Glossy magazines? Pr0n. Pictures on your computer screen? Pr0n. The Web? Pr0n.

    The simple fact is that .Net will not assist in the distribution of pr0n, and therefore will never be as important to humanity as the printing press, the computer, or the Web.
  • I've always heard there's a lot of "smart people" working at microsoft, if this is the case, they must also be disgruntled employees to let this slide in the middle of "security month"

  • by irregular_hero (444800) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:26PM (#3007945)
    Look here [cigital.com] for additional details on the compiler buffer overflow.

    It's not actually a _compiler_ overflow.

    Instead, it's a subversion of the "buffer overflow protection" that's built-in to the compiler. The most startling piece of this technical review is that the Microsoft "Overflow Protection" in the compiler appears to be a port of StackGuard. The reviewers point out that an examination of the binary output reveals that the compiled code is nearly identical to the StackGuard output.

  • Please tell me that Salon article was tagged for release on 1 April, and slipped out early.

    I'm scared.

  • 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
    • 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.
    • This is not a troll, nor is it MS hype. It is the truth - .Net is going to be big, if soley for the one reason that MS is behind it. That fact alone is going to push THOUSANDS of projects around it, both from inside MS and also outside, as developers ramp up into all the nifty things Visual Studio .Net is capable of.

      Sure, it's beed done before. Sure, it's alot like java. The difference is that the worl's biggest software monopoly is behind it. You think if Joe hacker had come up with this idea of an IL and common runtime and submitted it to the ECMA, it'd be this big a deal? No, but the fact that the operating system that sits on 90% of the worlds desktops is going to be running this stuff makes it one.

      .Net isn't something to be taken lightly, nor is it something to be bashed. Miguel has the right idea, .Net can be AWESOME for linux if a capable Open Source development environment and runtime can be created. Think about it - no more wine. Programs compiled for windows instantly run on Linux. GTK and QT programs run on Linux. Instant interoperability. It will be all the things Java promised to be, but never delivered on. Mainly because it's backed by this goliath, MS. Sure, Sun had their chance, but they ruined it. Not to mention that .Net GUi programs will run light-years faster than Java ones, mainly because the System.Window.Forms classes will have low-level access to the MS api's, as will their GTK counterparts.

      Seriously, Don't be so quick to bash it. This thing is going to have huge implications for everyone.

    • The pattern you are describing is as old as history. Inventions come and go over time in different societies, many of which go to the dustbin because they are before their time in the sense that the situational context -- the people, the infrastructure, the mechanics and so forth -- just isn't ready for that innovation. Later, when the innovation is revisited, the context is different, and what was at one time a perfectly fine idea with bad timing suddenly takes off and is extolled as a new and wonderful thing.

      This idea is discussed a bit in the classic _Guns, Germs, and Steel_ (which won a Pulitzer Prize), where the author makes a strong case that an invention isn't nearly as important to a society as it is that the society is interested in the invention.

      C//

      C//
  • 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.
  • 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.

    In other news, Motor Trend covered the 2002 North American International Auto Show with two sentences: "Cobo Hall was filled with cars. Some of them were brand new."

    Let me get this straight. Microsoft is, for better or worse, the most significant software company in the world. They have just released a profoundly significant update to their development environment. The computer trade media is paying more than just lip service to it all. And Michael somehow thinks it's media bias, simply because it's a company he doesn't like?

    It's not a "total coincidence". It's news!

    • this is from the site, after all, which rejected my story that .NET had shipped and was available for download. I thought "surely they are running someone else's submission." This is, after all, a multi-year project by the leading software company in the world, completely rewriting their development tools and API from scratch.... oh well, not "News for Nerds, stuff that matters."
  • ...once again was not Bill Gates' at all. It was what Sun proposed with the Java platform (and possibly others that I don't know before them). When will people realize that Bill does not have that "vision" thing? Perhaps the same day they learn that Bill Gates did not invent the personal computer, nor the Internet.
  • 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.


    Hmm. That explains a lot.
  • by Zico (14255) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @12:57PM (#3008134)

    From the summary (yes, it was written by Michael, not the submitters): 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.


    Where to begin with this mess of falsehoods?

    • This isn't a VS.NET buffer overflow, it's about a way to attack code generated by the Visual C++ compiler when the /GS compiler switch is used.
    • Nobody ever came close to claiming that VS.NET would automatically create C++ code that would be immune to buffer overflows. The boldest claim I've seen Microsoft make is "Also, the Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET C compiler has support for a new /GS switch that protects your code from many common buffer overrun problems." There does indeed seem to be a flaw, similar to what makes StackGuard attacks possible, but even if you get rid of this problem, it wouldn't be immune to programmers writing potential buffer overflows into their code -- the only thing that these tools do is try to get rid of the most common errors.
    • The security audit was about making sure that one's computer/network isn't made vulnerable by having Visual Studio.NET installed on it.

    On a side note, since this only affects unmanaged code, it's not really related to the .NET/CLR stuff.


  • I'm pretty surprised by the exuberant tone of the Salon article. Salon -- for the most part -- usually maintains at least a modicum of scepticism in their technology articles. But this article? Cripes.

    It sounds like a Jon Katz essay! :)

    Just kidding.

    (Well, not really.)

    I'm not sure how to take such exuberance. My first question after the reading the article was: is this guy on the Microsoft payroll?

    And my second question was: just what, exactly, brought upon this sudden exuberance? A Microsoft PR push, perhaps? (I mean, the idea of web services -- while interesting -- still remains, I think, somewhat problematic -- at least in terms of security.)

    The problem with these sorts of articles -- and I've seen similar articles about the e-book replacing the book, digital cameras replace film cameras -- is that the new technology (.NET, digital cameras, e-books) are always presented as if the choice is one or the other.

    I'll grant that digital cameras -- especially the high end cameras -- are cool. But they don't do anything (yet) that film cameras can. (And, no, I'm not interested in a film versus digital debate -- I'm a darkroom guy -- always will be -- so I'll never concede that digital *replaces* film.)

    Same with .NET technologies. It's not .NET or -- nothing. At least, I don't think it is. I think .NET will mesh with current technologies and we'll see hybridity for a long time to come. Same with film, same with books.

    I'm curious, though, why people think it *has* to be an exclusive thing when it comes to new technologies. Digital cameras *must* defeat film cameras. Ergo film is dead.

    E-books *must* replace regular books. Ergo, I'm a pretentious jerk who thinks that the books will stay around. (And does it never dawn on anyone -- at least with the e-book versus book debate -- that there actually exists some people -- myself among them -- who *like* books because they're books? I mean, yeah, it sounds weird: but I like book-as-object. Not to be pretentious with. But just to hold, touch, smell. It's one of those subtle little joys I derive from life: a physical book. The actual thing. Nothing digital about it.)

    Ditto with film: yeah digital stuff is interesting. But it's not yet gone anywhere that film cameras and darkroom work hasn't already gone. And no, instant picture previews on LCD viewscreens do not count. There are those of us who actually *like* the pace of a wet darkroom, like the tactile feel of printmaking and wet chemicals and attention to detail that wet darkroom work requires. But this is way, way off-topic...)

    But this is just a viewpoint that I've been noticing lately: it's *got* to be the new stuff because we must kill off the "old" stuff. We must prove that film is indeed dead.

    That books are indeed dead.

    That anything non-.NET related is instantly "legacy" technology and therefore useless.

    Is there no middle ground? No possibility of a hybrid? (Digital cameras for some studio work, sure, but -- cripes -- can anyone really beat a beautifully shot 4 X 5 negative carefully developed and printed? When it's done right, it's exquisite.)

    And -- my last point -- the people hankering for the new technology are often quite venomous when it comes to trying to reconcile the old with the new. Those of us still in love with the old stuff, yeah, maybe we're behind the times, and old-farts, and pathetic people who can't appreciate the new stuff coming down the pike -- but geez. Somtimes it's nice to take a break from the "latest and greatest" and go back to the "old stuff"

    Somtimes it just clears the head a bit.
  • 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 overshoot (39700) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @01:27PM (#3008340)
    Wow! 50% improvement in programmer productivity.
    Fine print:
    ... at shops like Microsoft where the entire design cycle consists of coding. In more mature shops where requirements analysis, specification, design, and QA take up 80-90% of the design cycle things may be a bit different.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • ...was easily the most nauseating thing I've read since I gave up visiting osOpinion. It's a shame it didn't have a huge banner at the top of the proclaiming it for what it was: a thinly veiled Microsoft PR piece.

    Of course, Salon doesn't care since all they seem to be interested in lately is page hits so their advertising revenues increase. I only wish that they'd restricted this .Net article to their premium content subscribers.

  • 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.


    I find this interesting in light of the easy ride advertisers and sister companies get:


    I find it hard to tell if the editors do this of their own volition, or under team orders.
    Nonetheless, if Microsoft are going to be doing adverts on slashdot, are slashdot going to hold off on Microsoft. And if they do, then what stories are they going to run? A good 10% of the stories and 50% of the regular users (90% of the trolls :) ) are rabidly anti-Microsoft right now. I doubt they'll be able to pull in new users faster than they'll alienate old in that case. I'd say they should reject the MS money because in the long run it can easily hurt them.


    not_cub

  • Rep. John Conyers questions Ashcroft's integrity in handling Microsoft case [nandotimes.com] - guess who got money from Microsoft?

    On a personal note, I'd like to take a moment to bitch about the consultant that told our engineering team yesterday that we'd be switching from good 'ol reliable SMTP Unix mail servers (last outage: well, actually I don't think there has been one...) to Exchange (home of the global address list shut-down-your-worldwide-business-for-a-week bug, remember?) and virus-a-minute Outlook "for reasons of security". Amazingly, this pronouncement was completed with a straight face.

  • 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)
    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 :( )
  • 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.

    • I loved this gem:

      Developers can treat Passport as an object in their code and instantly make use of a thoroughly tested and validated service that works just fine with 160 million user accounts around the globe. Such reuse not only speeds deployment of applications but also increases their reliability after delivery.

      Only a guy who makes his living selling Microsoft manuals would have the chutzpah to say that in public. May I have some of what he is smoking?

  • The buffer overflow possibility is found in Visual C++, which can run as "unmanged" (outside of the runtime) code. This is no different then programming using current C++ compilers, and has nothing to do with the .NET runtime which does infact prevent buffer overflows. No irony here Don Clark, just FUD.
  • 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.
    • 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.

  • Salon's articles are only meant to be laughed at, not taken seriously. Anybody who takes them seriously, might actually suffer a tumor or at least think everything has this unknown underbelly who is creeping up to attack the mainstream users.

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