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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation 823

Posted by timothy
from the destroy-village-in-order-to-save dept.
Niscenus writes: "The NYTimes, where free registration is required, reports that a Microsoft VP, Christopher Jones, explains that Microsoft must be allowed to prevent competitors' programmes from being installed for the consumer's best interest. Most interesting quote: 'In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.' Any dualboot LiLo user who learned they can't defrag the hard way can understand this ..."
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MS Exec Testifies In Favor of OS Manipulation

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  • Is it just me.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Galahad2 (517736) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:05PM (#3422362) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does Microsoft seem really condescending all the time? I don't understand their PR policy of considering their users idiots.

    ...However appropiate that labeling may be. ;)
  • by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:06PM (#3422367)
    I was once in favour of some sort of moderate compromise. Allowing OEMs more leeway with what they can do with th OS and eliminating anti-competitive activies from MS at a sales level. (The "MS-tax", punishing alternative OS, etc.) After reading that, maybe we need to disband Microsoft, take the source code and OSS it. Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.
  • by dalassa (204012) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:11PM (#3422388) Journal
    It is somewhat akin to saying a GE refigerator can prevent a non-GE toaster in the same house to protect the homeowner. People are losing sight that a computer is a tool on which programs are loaded. No where does it say that one appliance should dictact your other appliances, nor should one piece of software dictate what other software can run.
  • by geoffsmith (161376) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:11PM (#3422389) Homepage
    What do covering up the start button and installation have to do with one another? I really don't understand why you need to prevent installation just to avoid having the Start button obscured. Couldn't you just make the windows task bar Always-On-Top? Or just disallow anything to be drawn there while not in fullscreen mode?

    His argument is pretty weak for the VP of a major corporation. Hopefully the court sees through it.

    Websurfing done right! StumbleUpon [stumbleupon.com]
  • Arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sean Clifford (322444) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422395) Journal
    Their arrogance never ceases to amaze me. It's pretty clear that massive companies are beyond the law. Enron, Microsoft, whoever - if you're big enough and rich enough you don't have to be bothered by pesky lawsuits. Sure, there needs to be some kind of proceeding to ensure that "fairness" is given lip-service.

    I'm completely disgusted.

  • by mesozoic (134277) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422396)

    In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

    Yeah, God forbid we should allow a competing operating system to start up instead of Windows. If this is the kind of stuff coming out of a Microsoft exec's mouth during trial, the states must be having a field day.

    Now what's all this about the Start button? Maybe Microsoft has predicted that the next step for companies who are trying desperately to get into the desktop (Yahoo, etc.) to offer their own customized Start Menu replacements?

  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:12PM (#3422400)
    "even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows"

    This is part of their *defense* against punishment for illegally using monopolistic powers?

    KFG
  • by sisukapalli1 (471175) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:21PM (#3422434)
    What about the brilliant innovation of Microsoft in changing the look and feel from Windows 2000 to Windows XP? I am reasonably computer literate, and use Gnome/KDE/CDE/W2k/W95, and still end up asking people, "How do you see the network neighbourhood?, What is the path for the desktop, and so on" (since I don't use it that frequently).

    The exec's statement seems contradictory. Microsoft dumps tonnes of new things (innovations like clippy) in every version of product, and they are telling people that if the manufacturer wanted to add or remove a couple of icons, it will make the user confused?

    The exec's reasoning that "there is a potential threat of dual booting" is absolutely ridiculous. Further, if the manufacturer wanted their users to run linux, they probably would be smart enough not to buy the XPensive bloatware for that PC to start with!

    S
  • Re:He runs linux! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xcomputer_man (513295) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:21PM (#3422435) Homepage
    Not only is the webserver Linux-based, but he is using PHP for his pages, not ASP.

    Not only is he using PHP, but his forum [christopherrjones.com] is based on phpBB, an open source project (GASP).
  • Ouch ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halftrack (454203) <jonkje.gmail@com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:22PM (#3422442) Homepage
    Stories like this confirms that Microsoft is more concerned about Windows the marketing strategy than Windows the operating system. Listen to this:

    In his written testimony, Mr. Jones said the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

    So he belives that computer manufaturers have to deliver their machines with Windows. That supplying it with Linux would violate some written standard. Windows may be a de facto standard, but come on ... PC manufacturers are not required to sell their computers with Windows and would not be hiding anything from the user by installing a competing operating system like Linux.

    Last, but not least listen to this:

    I go to work every day to build great products that people are going to love.

    On what planet?

    For the record: I'm not entirely anti-Microsoft, but I am anti-Windows. Microsoft has made some great stuff and should be admired for some of the things that they've achived. (IANEAMBIAAW)
  • by Trepalium (109107) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:23PM (#3422445)
    It's really funny to read that article and see the lengths people will go to to justify their own position. Mr. Jones obviously sees no harm in Microsoft using their own OS to promote their other products, and to block out their competitors products. And why would he? His job is obviously secured by it -- he has no interest in other companies suceeding.

    I don't think there's any easy way for competition to be encouraged, that will really hold Microsoft to any type of behaviour. Witness, for example, the way Microsoft used a license to cut the documention of CIFS off from their only real big competitor for that particular file system -- SAMBA. Because Samba is licensed under the GPL, they are unable to use the information contained within the document because of the license on it.

  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quintessent (197518) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:30PM (#3422474) Journal
    That's just it. How many of the 280 million people in the U.S. know, for example, what a kernel is? I don't know if it's fair to equate "computer illiterate" with "idiot".

    However, many of these novices end up purchasing new computers and hoping they can learn something without breaking the thing. You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed.

    Dual boot could be a problem depending on how it's done. If there was a giant Windows logo on the front of the box, but it booted into Linux by default, then you could have some confused users.
  • by Eloquence (144160) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:36PM (#3422490) Homepage
    The problem is that Linux cannot gain ground until PC makers can ship dual boot systems without being punished by Microsoft. People are not going to buy a Linux-only system, they want to try Linux, but also have a safe recourse in case it doesn't work for them. The OEM channel is Microsoft's strongest defense against any competing operating system.

    You may say "But what if we make installation so easy that people can just do it later?" That's a flawed premise. Installation of Linux is already fairly easy, especially when compared with Windows' primitive text-based installer that can hardly do anything. Besides the fact that most people are never going to bother with the installation of a new OS, the problem is that people who convert to Linux will want to preserve their existing Windows systems. To do so, they will have to resize their existing partitions, which are increasingly in Microsoft's proprietary NTFS file system format. Resizing NTFS partitions, to my knowledge, is not possible with any Linux installer, and if it is made possible, MS can threaten to sue those who implement it over their NTFS patents (as they have done in the past), as well as alter the standard unpredictably. This makes it almost impossible to implement simple dual boot installation, unless you're willing to piggyback on NTFS and the Windows bootloader -- generally a bad idea for obvious reasons.

    Simply put, if Microsoft keeps the OEM channel, gaining ground outside schools and developing countries will be hard.

  • by Captn Pepe (139650) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:41PM (#3422505)
    How many people apart from sysadmins want to use Windows, or any OS, because of "good" security or "good" file formats, or "good" anything except ease and consistency of use?

    Lots, actually. For many -- maybe even most -- people, one user interface is just as frustrating and complex as the next. To the extent that these people choose their OS at all, they choose to use the system that runs most of the applications they want to use. Until recently, this has by and large meant Windows since it had the best web browsers, Office, and the AOL client. Lately, an awful lot of these people have been walking into stores wanting an iMac because they saw a friend editing home videos or because that's what is advertized to work with the iPod.

    Most of the people I work with use Linux or similar, and none of them are sysadmins. They use it because the two more popular desktop OSes make astoundingly pathetic scientific workstations.
  • by idontneedanickname (570477) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:43PM (#3422509)
    And what, except posting this comment r u doing?

    --tzan
  • What a joke! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no-body (127863) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:45PM (#3422518)
    This trial becomes more and more a charade - actually it is one getting more and more .

    Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was right on: Cut out the OS - give it to a separtate company and let all the other's compete as they choose on applications.

    As long as this clear separation is avoided, there is bickering and cheating - in particular from the side of Microsoft. They are very skillful in this game. That's why they got there in the first place.

    The company owning the OS and writing applications to it always has an advantage and Microsoft tried and is succeeding in blurring the border between OS and applications to keep this advantage.

    This opportunity to clean this up was missed due to the fact that the judges of the appeals court are wimps.

    Just look at the possibility of being prejudiced. Has it ever been looked at if any of the judges or their close relatives had any stock or mututal fund with Microsoft stock in it? I doubt it.

    The courage to do "what is right" is missing in the US judidical system, things are done which are "politially right" or "don't hurt the consumer". What a mess!

    Very disappointing.

  • by Eloquence (144160) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @07:51PM (#3422531) Homepage
    Unless Linux's setup has gotten astronomically better since Red Hat 5.0

    It has. Try Lycoris or Mandrake. Nowadays you play Solitaire during the install. Of course not all hardware is supported, but that, again, is the result of Microsoft's monopoly.

    MS's setup is the best OS setup I have ever used, period.

    Then why doesn't the Windows XP installer recognize my FreeBSD and Linux partitions and allow me to select them from its boot manager, or allow me to resize or create any non-Windows file system? That's right, because Microsoft has a monopoly and doesn't need to implement certain functionality others do need to implement. Feature-wise, Linux installers are far superior.

  • by hasse (30390) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:01PM (#3422565)
    NYTimes let's you read their stuff almost for free. All they want is some lousy demographics. Why is it so important not to give them this?
  • by frankrachel (224667) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:03PM (#3422569) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be more akin to having a GE refrigerator and wanting to put a non-GE "replacement" part in it, say the ice maker. Should GE have to use a "standard" connection for ice makers so someone could replace it with another non GE one?

    Now someone can make a replacement (a la the old Norton Desktop for Windows or something), but GE doesn't have to support it, nor give the dealers selling it the option of including it with the original purchase..
  • by StormyMonday (163372) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:07PM (#3422580) Homepage
    ... the gloves are coming off.

    With no worries about antitrust prosecution, we're going to see a lot more of this stuff. We've already seen them state flat out [microsoft.com] that "donated" computers must have a legal Microsoft OS and attack the GPL directly; [microsoft.com] more FUD will surely follow.

    The only question is how far their "customers" can be pushed. My guess is pretty far. Never underestimate the pointy-hair factor. Most places, "learning something new" is interpereted as "complete retraining". PHBs regard doing anything new the way a nun would regard going to work in a brothel.

    About the only thing we can do is to make sure Open Source solutions don't get wired out due to:

    1. Laws or standards that mandate the use of patented/licensed technology. (*Must* use GIF, *must* pony up US$5000 to Unisys.)

    2. Laws that specify "maufacturer's liability" (release an Open Source program; get sued if somebody doesn't like it.)

    3. Laws mandating DRM hardware/software.

    I'm sure we're going to see a flood of these from the Microsoft keiretsu.
  • No kidding. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SaDan (81097) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:09PM (#3422587) Homepage
    I'm not gay, and I thought that comment was in poor taste as well.

    Not a good way to rally the troops, especially the same-sex partnered coders.
  • by fdiskne1 (219834) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:11PM (#3422595)

    This would be a valid analogy only if Microsoft made computers.

    In this analogy, Microsoft would make the compressor, HP or Dell would have made the refridgerator. The manufacturer of one component should have no say in what manufacturers are used for other components.

  • by teslatug (543527) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:11PM (#3422596)
    It just goes to show how unwilling this administration is to punish Microsoft. I bet you even if they admitted that they hurt competition and will continue to hurt the competition using their monopoly powers, they will not get punished. We'll see how it ends up.
  • by MADCOWbeserk (515545) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:14PM (#3422605)
    I have had a new yourk times password with my real email address for six years, since NYT started requiring registration. I have recieved less than 1 email per year. All of which annouced a format change or new feature of the site. I think they just want to know how many actual "unique" readers they have. Registration is the best way to that.
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:15PM (#3422608) Homepage Journal
    Nope, it's not more like that at all. The OS is only software like all other software that uses the cpu, gpu, ram, and other hardware resources in your PC.

    Therefore it is much more like the previous analogy where Windows is the Refrigerator and M$ wants to make sure you also buy their brand of toaster, microwave, dishwasher, etc. so your appliances will be 'compatible' even though competing brands do just fine and they all receive power from the same source of electricity.

    The UI might be a little different and you may get different features from different suppliers but as long as the product does what you want and 'interoperates' to the degree you require, who is M$ to say you can't use it.

  • by Selanit (192811) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:16PM (#3422614)

    Blockquoth the poster:

    . . . maybe we need to disband Microsoft, take the source code and OSS it. Not so much from a consumer standpoint, but if this the official MS line, then maybe MS shouldn't exist.

    Great idea! But how are you going to do it? The US Government, under whose jurisdiction Microsoft falls, has been unable to break up the company, or even impose penalties of any severity for their proven monopolistic crimes.

    So, maybe we turn to the users? Get real. Approx 95% of the computer-using populace uses Windows for their operating system, and approximately 99% of those users have no idea what it is that Microsoft has done wrong. They don't care, either.

    That about eliminates the possible attacks against Microsoft, unless you want to turn to illegal methods. Attacking the company on a physical level (instead of legal) is an EXCELLENT way to get yourself hunted down, arrested, charged with terrorism, and executed.

    Face it, no matter how much you dislike MS, they are basically unassailable. They have the US government in one pocket, and a boatload of high-class lawyers in the other.

    So there it is. We're stuck with them until 1) they do something so unnuterably ludicrous that the common man on the street sits up and pays attention or 2) they implode due to internal politics. Nothing lasts forever . . . but it sure looks like Microsoft is going to outlast *me*, and I'm only 22.

  • by fwr (69372) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:29PM (#3422656)
    Good point, but even if Microsoft did make the computers they would still have no right to tie the purchase or use of some of their products into another of their products that just happens to be a monopoly product. Plain and simple, if GE made the ONLY fridges, or were one of only a select few, who happen to have less than 5% of the market share combined against GE's 95%, and was ruled to have a monopoly then it would CERTAINLY be illegal for them to forbid this type of product tieing. As it stands GE does NOT have a monopoly on the fridge market and there are PLENTY OF ALTERNATIVE vendors for this type of product, so they are free to do whatever they want with their ice makers.
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nolife (233813) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:36PM (#3422677) Homepage Journal
    I might be wrong here but..
    When you buy a computer pre installed with OEM Windows, the support comes from the vendor, not MS. Ever see an OEM disk? It specifically states to contact the vendor for support. How would allowing a vendor to install whatever make it harder on MS? If the vendor installs it, the vendor supports it. This is no different for OEM hardware. MS will help you if you call them but you will pay for it. Sounds like MS is trying to increase the FUD factor for a practice that has already been in existance for years.
  • People aren't discrediting what this guy is saying, and if they were, they wouldn't be doing it "just because he works for MS".

    What they *are* doing is marveling at the fact that Microsoft is confirming in their own testimonies exactly what it is they are be charged with, except they seem to be under some delusion that their efforts are not illegal and even justified because "it is acting in the best interest of Windows users."

    It's very funny to me and others that the company views the existence of other operating systems as bad for computer users and that anybody who suggests a non-Windows operating system to anybody could not possibly acting in their best interests.

    We agree that their practices and attitudes are illegal and monopolistic. There's no discrediting going on at all.

    -jag
  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:48PM (#3422716)
    At least he's not worshiping some deity within the everquest world and making a web site about it. Now *THAT* would be cause for concern! :)

    Less concern than the religion he is promoting. Being a majority religion doesn't make it any nicer than being a majority OS makes MS. If it's all that you know, it can seem ok. Or even good. But that's because it's all that you know.

  • Scary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:50PM (#3422722)
    What scares me most is the fact that most judges are about 75 years old and that most lawyers (including the ones that present the case) have only used computers with a button on the bottom left part of the screen that says "start". They'll probably think it's something that comes with the computer, and has nothing to do with Microsoft... and that linux is something you find somewhere in "start > programs > linux". A judge might think putting Linux on a PC is like a Ford dealer substituting the Ford badges with the dealer's brand name...

    You see, I think that's one of the problems. I've actually met a system administrator (IQ of about 60) who thought Linux was installed on a DOS partition, and that in any case you need a Microsoft product to get the system running (ie. to partition the harddrive...)..... Just imagine a 75 year old judge...
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:54PM (#3422733)
    "You can imagine a call to Windows tech support from someone using Windows that has had the Start button removed."

    You know, you have a point there. I think that in order to protect everyone from having to ever think again, we should take this to its natural conclusion. Since very few people know what a soffet is, I propose that the world forcefully aggregates all building materials and building technologies to a single company (how about Black & Decker, since that's a well-known company).

    I further propose that any attempt to produce any non-B&D tools, machinery, or compatible technologies be punishable by multimillion dollar fines since any new construction will obviously be infringing on B&D's intellectual property. After all, it's well known that building materials and techniques were all invented by Black & Decker.

    Any improvements to existing technology must also be banned because it might hurt Black & Decker's profits and the resulting tools may confuse non-builders who believe that complex projects should build themselves.

    Also, Black & Decker should be allowed to automatically seek out and destroy competing tools in order to ease the confusion of the end user. After all, swinging a hammer with a blue grip is much different from swinging a hammer with a red grip. Such disparity in the end user's experience is harmful to the industry. Imagine what would happen if the end-user bought a toolbox with a big Black & Decker logo on the side, but found a non-Black & Decker hammer inside. Oh the horror.
  • Gayness? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chasuk (62477) <chasuk@gmail.com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:54PM (#3422734)
    Instead of posting stories about Microsoft and its gayness,

    Gayness? Do you realize how insensitive that usage is?

    Yes, I am gay, but I am not objecting to your word-choice on those grounds. Gays are already marginalized, so why add to their aggravation? Unless that was your intention, of course. I suspect, however, that your insensitivity was due to thoughtlessness.

    I don't think that you would re-phrase the sentence:

    Instead of posting stories about Microsoft and its Jewishness,

    Or:

    Instead of posting stories about Microsoft and its Americanness,

    Neither "Jewishness" nor "Americanness" are pejoratives, but it is clear that they are intended to be pejorative in this context.

    Think how many Texans wouuld be upset if you said "That was a very Texan thing to do," where the word Texan was replacing the word "stupid?"

    In other words, many people, myself included, would prefer not to have the noun or adjective which describes (to the public, at least) their essential natures used in a derogatory way.

    Incidentally, it _is_ acceptable for a gay man or woman to refer to another gay man or woman as "gay," in the same way that it is acceptable for a black person to refer to another black person as a nigger (some of the time to some of the people, but not 100% of the time).

    Thank you.

  • I agree! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alethes (533985) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @08:58PM (#3422746)
    I'm with you on this. I think a lot of tax dollars [cagw.org] and a lot of valuable man-hours are being wasted that could and should be spent figuring how to market Linux, FreeBSD, any of the numerous other options as well as Microsoft does with their excuse for software.

    Instead of Netscape complaining about Microsoft's unfair business practices, they should have instead worked harder to make a browser that didn't suck as much as version 4.x does. Fortunately Mozilla is doing very well, but I bet a lot of effort was wasted on litigation that could have been directed toward development.

    I think Microsoft software is the crappiest junk to be pushed on to the market yet. That being the case, why do we need to litigate and waste our time validating them if the competing products are so much more superior?

  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:02PM (#3422757)
    If there was a giant Windows logo on the front of the box, but it booted into Linux by default, then you could have some confused users.

    See, that's where you and I differ:
    You see that problem and say "... so we should keep it from booting Linux."
    I see that and say "... so we should remove the Windows sticker."

  • But it's becoming a necessity!

    I no longer blame Microsoft. I design hardware and software and I am begining to think that consumers are 100% responsible for the state of the computing market today.

    Microsoft, as I see, it is simply responding to the pressures consumers have been putting on manufacturers all along. It's a sad state that is deeply tied to the design of computers.

    The Operating System is a crucial part of the computer. Mostly because the computer has nothing to offer but performance. It's up to the OS to apply algorithms and extract functionality.

    As a result the operating system isn't a feature of the computer but an altogether separate product in its own right.

    The automobile may need an engine but the functionality comes from the dashboard which rarely affects critical performance concerns.

    Until consumers show interest in computers beyond email and web surfing, I believe we're always going to be fighting uphill.

    How come not many neighborhoods have a public server locally hosted that the community can use to communicate, check the policies, vote from home, attend neighborhood meetings?

    Consumers are way too passive for any industry's good. We will have to take that into consideration for a long time I'm afraid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:29PM (#3422866)
    Please, calm down, Don't breathe for ten minutes, after that you can talk more bullshit
  • Standard Oil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @09:38PM (#3422890) Homepage
    I'm sure that, sometime during the antitrust cast against Rockefeller's oil monopoly, they cried about how the quality of oil the consumer gets would decline if they were'nt in charge of every drop of it.

    Yep, the old "we're doing it for the consumer's benefit" plea. How can they continue with the "Msft is a giant because of consumer choice" party line and, at the same time, do everything possible to take away consumer choice? And I don't mean consumers 'chose' dos back in 1981 and so it's gotta to be that way forever. I mean, just like in the US once a politician is democratically elected he isn't in power forever, every 2-4-6 years he has to be chosen again.

  • Re:No kidding. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by codefungus (463647) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:10PM (#3422990) Homepage Journal
    Who the hell has time to get all pissy about someone saying something is gay! I have lot's of gay friends and they have the brain power to distinguish between a slur and something just being gay!
    Don't you have other things to worry about? Like working in an office that becomes completely M$??!?!?!
    I agree to the original post. I run a completely M$ free life and couldn't be happier. I wanna hear about Linux, Unix and Solaris!
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frleong (241095) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:13PM (#3422998)
    The problem is with service packs and updates. If you remove stuff arbitrarily, it is extremely difficult for Windows Update or service packs to work properly.
  • Re:The other "gay" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arturo bandini (545798) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:38PM (#3423059)
    I don't care what other meanings it has, it's still offensive. If it's offensive, stop it.

    Why is the argument for overly P.C.-isizing one's comments more valid than the argument for the reader to simply choose against taking offense?

    It seems to me that there are two components to an offense: the offender, and the offendee. Why should the offender be compelled to censor his verbiage, and the offendee not expected to control his emotional reactions?

    There will always be offensive people, but it remains *your* choice whether to take offense, or to simply ignore the comment. That choice is the difference between lot of unecessary distress, and a bit of serenity.
  • confusion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Transcendent (204992) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @10:40PM (#3423064)
    the states' proposals would confuse consumers, enabling competitors to cover up icons like the "Start" button on the Windows desktop screen that consumers use to navigate and even allowing a competing operating system like Linux to start up instead of Windows.

    are they saying that some confused customer will create a new paration on their HD, format it, and install and configure linux on it all out of confusion???
  • by javacowboy (222023) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:18PM (#3423173)
    I was talking to my friends today, and he told me they should have broken up M$ when they had the chance. It was a clean, clear, simple, and relatively regulation-free solution to a complex problem.

    Now the judge, the states, and M$ are getting into an endless and convoluted debate about whether or not M$ can offer stripped-down or modified version of Windows to reintroduce competition. Whatever *legitimate* (the present settlement is, IMHO, collusion between M$ and the feds) settlement is made that pleased the states will be a logistical and regulatory nightmare whose implementation will probably contain numerous loopholes that M$ can exploit and can stall for years in court defending.

    Judge Jackson had the right idea. Breaking up Microsoft into two separate companies would have accomplished in one fell swoop and with relatively little oversight and regulation what the states are proposing with their remedies. It would have automatically forced the applications company to offer Office and other M$ software for Linux and other alternative operating systems.. Furthermore, the Windows company would have simply offered an infinitely customizable operating system because they would have had no incentive to offer the application company's software as a default over competing software (ex, IE over Netscape).

    Instead of implementing this simple and self-policing remedy, everyone whether pro or anti settlement is proposing to make themselves jump through an infinite amount of regulatory and logistical hoops to accomplish the same objectives with far greater effort.

    M$ pulled a fast one when they managed to convince everybody that Judge Jackson was biased. He has every right to speak his mind on his opinion *AFTER* the verdict was rendered!
  • Re:No kidding. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jred (111898) on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:28PM (#3423208) Homepage
    I'll have to agree with you there. Although I won't actually use n* like the AC that also responded, it's ok for african-americans (my ex-gf was aa, and she said that was the "polite" way to say it) to call each other n*. It's ok for homosexuals to call each other gay. I feel that is much more discriminitory (is that a word?) than just saying something is gay. It's ok for *you* to say gay, because *you're* gay. I'm not allowed to say gay, because I'm not? So am I a second-class citizen, only allowed to use the words that are approved for me? Should I, a native american/irish mix only be able to call people redskins, injuns, or... damn, what's an Irish racial slur? Micks? I don't know, I don't keep up with it.

    Since I've now wandered far from the original point, I'll just say this.

    As a caucasian male, I'm offended by the fact the only racial slur for me is "cracker". I mean, really. That's not offensive, that's simply ridiculous. Give me a *really* offensive slur. And asshole doesn't count.
  • Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday April 27, 2002 @11:56PM (#3423287) Homepage Journal
    Let me say that again...

    Wow.

    You know what honks my hairs? MS didn't REALLY start acting like a monopoly until they were already convicted.

    WTF.

    When this whole anti-trust thing came up, I (frankly) didn't think there was much of a case. Sure, there's the whole preferred pricing OEM license leverage thing, but hey, cheap software was cool, right? Most of the other stuff (IE?) was the sort of really nitpicky Al-Capone-tax-evasion stuff I'd expect from Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs because Bill Gates is smarter than they are, they know it and they're too ego-saturated to stop whining.

    Now I'm not so sure. In fact, place me FIRMLY in the camp that now believes the first judge (whassisname?) had the right idea. MS needs to be broken up into (at least) four parts:

    1)OS/Development

    2)application software and games.

    3)consumer products (XBox, peripherals)

    4)services (MSN, Expedia, Hotmail, Passport/hailstorm/whatever)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:30AM (#3423393)
    If they made their own hardware platform, then nobody would care what they did with their OS. Its when they try to control the generic PC market that I take offense.
  • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel@@@bcgreen...com> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:33AM (#3423399) Homepage Journal
    Unless the state lawyers are complete idiots, I think that MS has, once again, shot themselves in the foot.

    Here we have yet another senior MS executive who is saying that

    • MS should be able to restrict competition if it thinks it's in the interests of the consumer
    • arguing that the decisions that they made about Netscape (and found to have been illegal and against consumer interests) are in the consumer's interests
    • arguing that having a machine boot up into Linux by default is bad for consumers. (remember that they argued that Linux is one of the few viable competetor to themselves).
    They are, in effect, arguing that the DOJ agreement should stand because it would allow them to continue the sorts of anti-competitive actions that they've been convicted of, and that the agreement is supposed to remedy.
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xtremex (130532) <cguru@bigfo[ ]com ['ot.' in gap]> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:04AM (#3423467) Homepage
    Unusable for computer illiterates? When did you use Linux last? Redhat 5 with Kernel 2.0??
    Redhat is not the most user friendly (they market for the server end.) Use a desktop based distro, like Mandrake, SUSE or hell, even Lycoris.) my mother uses Linux (SUSE). No problems.My wife uses Linux. My GRANDMOTHER uses Mandrake (installed myself and givena s an xmas present) no problems....so what about it not being usable to computer illiterates?
  • Re:No kidding. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by david.johns (466417) <kallisti@@@morpho...dar...net> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:51AM (#3423559) Homepage
    Hello. I'm gay. I've been called all sorts of fun things, by people both gay and straight.

    The vast majority of them were not intending to offend me, and were capable of determining when I would be offended. Therefore, they didn't offend me - because they were dealing with me, personally, and not on a public forum. By all means, call me 'Big Gay Al' in person, because it's funny. Most gay people I know don't mind being called gay by just about anybody, but queer, fag, and especially faggot will raise some ire. Gay is almost as common as 'homosexual' and doesn't sound so fucking clinical - it's like calling someone straight instead of heterosexual. It's also one syllable, which makes it even yet still more convenient.

    I never use faggot 'cuz of the whole origin being the people-burning thing.

    With all that aside, I don't think anyone has a problem with the original poster saying that someone is gay. After all, call a spade a spade. I've said that gay and straight are used as antonyms, and I really don't expect anyone who's straight to get pissed off if I call them straight.

    The problem with the original poster is that the jackass was willing to, in a public forum, use gay as an alternative word for stupid. Microsoft, as an organization, is not homosexual (that I know of. And I would know. I'm gay. I read the magazines.) He's not calling a spade a spade. He's calling a spade stupid. I'd be offended if I were a spade, and in this case, I am a "spade", and I'm offended. ;)

    You're welcome to call ME gay, just not MS. And you're not allowed to call me gay because I do something stupid. If you called someone an African-American every time you're pissed off at them, it doesn't let you off the hook - n* just burns more because of the historical associations. You're still equating being dark of skin with being an asshole, in that instance.

  • by Paul Komarek (794) <komarek.paul@gmail.com> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:17AM (#3423635) Homepage
    It used to be that OEMs like HP would provide all sorts of user-friendly tools to help new users orient to their computer. These tools would occasionaly replace various bit of Windows functionality in some cases. An example might be a specialized "Start" button that would pop up a friendly menu tailored for the software that HP chose to install. HP might include a registration wizard that popped up the first time a person hit the Start button, etc.

    Microsoft rewrote its OEM contracts to forbid such behavior, publically claiming that it hurt the integrety of the "consistent" (their word, not mine ;-) Windows "look-and-feel". They claimed that this hurt users by breeding confusion. Later on, HP released statistics from their tech support department that showed users had a far harder time without HPs changes to Windows, contradicting Microsoft's claim. Furthermore, HP saw the percentage of registrations fall; I'm sure that Microsoft saw their Windows registrations rise.

    More recently, Microsoft has claimed that allowing OEMs to customize Windows before shipping a machine to a customer violates their Windows copyright. In effect, I believe their argument is that the OEMs are creating an unauthorized derivative work. Ironically, it's because of Microsoft's successful defense against Apple that look-and-feel is not protected by copyright, and hence the OEMs cannot possibly be violating Microsoft's Windows copyright when they mess with the desktop icons and start button.

    I think it is reasonable to conclude that the witness was trying to confuse or pursuede the judge with this statement. That is, Microsoft is trying to spread FUD in the courtroom. I'm really hoping that Judge Collen Kollar-Kottelly has learned enough computer history to be able to discard such nonsense. Failing that, I'm hoping that she is smart enough to recognize unsupported FUD and dismiss it when making her decision.

    -Paul Komarek
  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NumberSyx (130129) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:35AM (#3423684) Journal

    Linux - forget it. Fine for techies, unusable for computer illiterates.

    If Windows ceased to exist, you'd be very suprised at how fast Linux would become usable by the masses. Remember neccessity is the mother of invention. I'd bet overnight, RedHat would be a billion dollar company, within a week, every Dell would ship with Linux and within a month IBM would be fielding a new version of OS/2. There would be no shortage of companies rushing to fill the void and of all the alterentive OS's, Linux is the closest to being viable on the desktop.

  • by SnatMandu (15204) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @03:12AM (#3423777) Homepage
    The NYT thumb their nose at those who care about their privacy, so how can you pretend to be surprised that we respond in kind?

    Ok. I'll bite. The reason they thumb their nose at the group you mention is because you're very, very small. You say "significant minority", i think, somewhere in your post. It's a SM of Slashdot readers, who are probably an insignificant minority.

    You want to pay money instead of give up "privacy". Great. How you gonna pay the money? Let's see a good RFC for anonymous micropayments, and maybe you'll be credible.

    You don't like the NYT from an editorial standpoint (you call it a "rag"). Great, so now you're "boycotting" the NYT like I'm boycotting tampons (I'm male). It's not a boycott unless you'd be a customer anyway. But don't let that stop you from bitchin'. (it's fun!)

    They've got Ads. So does almost any paper publication you pick up. The horror. They want to collect some (pretty god-damned anonymous) usage stats. Obviously it's a big plot to derive your SSN and Mother's Maiden Name. I'm sure it has nothing to do with figuring out how to effectively compete with other news sources.

    I'd really like to see the books for the online divisions of major newspapers. Who thinks those departments are contributing to the profitiablilty of the paper in any quantifyable way.

    Wanna read the NYT anonymously? Go to the newstand and pay for the dead-tree edition. Or get it online with non-but-near-zero "invasion" of "privacy".

    Also, keep your voice down. You're making us look dumb. :-)

  • Re:Is it just me.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:01AM (#3424250)
    Sounds like a response from another arrogant, condescending linux-obsessive.

    'linux is the best, and if people can't figure out how to use it, then we're not going to make it any easier for them to use!'

    You wonder why linux isn't taking off? It's the attitude I just described...it pervades all things linux 'we need more power, fsck the user interface'.

    Get with the program! People don't have to get a PhD in physics before they can use a microwave, they just want to push the goddamned button to cook their goddamned food...who cares if they can remotely access the oven controls using a command-line shell?

    Until this attitude is rightly disposed of, linux will NEVER make it big on the desktop market.

  • Re:No kidding. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kubrick (27291) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:31AM (#3424314)
    I think the point is that when it's used in a derogatory fashion, that reflects that the speaker also thinks little of gay people. Thus there's an implied insult, which members of that social group take as a slur.

    I'm not judging anything here, just offering a possile viewpoint.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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