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Microsoft

Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles 1023

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the everyone-feel-bad-for-stu dept.
parking_god writes "MIT prof Stuart Madnick, testifying on MS's behalf, was caught out twice when a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions." Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense ;)
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Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles

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  • by stew77 (412272) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:35AM (#3450482)
    Yes, this guy obviously doesn't have a clue what an operating system is. However, it's true that any KDE-based distro is in the same situation as Windows is: Sure you can remove the browser, but that will kill certain other programs that need to be replaced as well (e.g. the file browser) and other programs using the browser functionality will also lose freatures (e.g. no more HTML help in your IDE).
  • Huh?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adam613 (449819) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:36AM (#3450490)
    If someone who is a CS prof at MIT doesn't understand what a window manager is, I fear for the future of CS research. I have friends who are English majors and could explain that KDE, Gnome, and XFree86 are all prograams that may or may not be installed on a particular Linux system.

    Although I have to wonder what sort of deal did Microsoft offer him to forget the difference between Windoze and KDE? :)
  • by radja (58949) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:39AM (#3450516) Homepage
    THE shell? would that be bash, ksh or tcsh?

    //rdj
  • by adam613 (449819) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:39AM (#3450518)
    The shell is a program that runs on top of UNIX and can be replaced with a different shell at the discretion of the computer's user. I don't have to use bash; I could use tcsh if I wanted to.

    IE is a program that runs as an integral part of the Windows kernel and can not be replaced by a different browser. Or so the states are trying to argue.
  • by BusterB (10791) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:42AM (#3450554)
    Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix? Where exactly do you draw the line? Discuss.

    Does Unix require one type of shell over another? You could write init scripts that used csh, ksh, bash, tcsh, or something else entirely. You could use python interactively, or make emacs the default shell. There is no requirement of one over another fundamentally.

  • by cheesyfru (99893) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:43AM (#3450564) Homepage
    This has been bugging me forever. Nobody is saying that they need to remove the browser from the OS, they just need to disable it. How hard is it to remove the icons for it, and disable the "internet http browser" aspect until the user voluntarily downloads a tiny piece of plug-in code which enables the browser to work with internet protocols? If the world's largest and most powerful software company can't figure out how to do this, then how in the world are they getting big business to pay them millions of dollars to manage their mission critical software?
  • by joshtimmons (241649) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:44AM (#3450568) Homepage
    Reaching way back to Windows 3.1 days: Microsoft called it "Microsoft Windows 3.1 Operating System" right on the front of the box. Of course, it was just a GUI that ran on top of DOS.

    Based on that reasoning, KDE and Gnome could be considered operating systems too. They're GUIs that run on top of *nix.

    It's wrong, but they're using the term consistently. Perhaps they have some adgenda to redefine the term "operating system".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:44AM (#3450572)
    Without debating the ascertion, it doesn't support any microsoft argument. I have as many different shells as I want on UNIX. And I can remove the ones that I don't want
  • by Gryffin (86893) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:46AM (#3450593) Homepage

    The difference is, you can remove or replace the shell in Unix. Don't like bash? Replace it with tcsh. Heck, theoretically you could configure your machine to your liking, remove all shells, restart it and let it run all the deamons and such with no interface whatsoever.

    On the other hand, Microsoft claims that you simply can NOT remove Internet Explorer, or replace it completely, without irreparable damage to Windows.

    Now, of course, we all realize that that's complete bullshit. If IE has it's tendrils THAT deep into Windows, it's only because Microsoft wrote it that way deliberately. (Which is spectacularly bad programming practice, but that's another topic.)

    The suit is over the tying of IE to Windows. Microsoft admits they did so, but claims it's OK because they designed it that way deliberately. Their defense is comparable to a thief claiming he was justified to steal, because he chose to do so rather than get a job. It's arrogant and ridiculous, but then, this IS Microsoft we're talking about.

  • Try This... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScumBiker (64143) <scumbiker@jwe n g e r .org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:52AM (#3450648) Homepage Journal
    If Internet Explorer is so tightly integrated into Windows, how come you can upgrade it? I just upgraded the browser on my NT workstation here at the office from Internet Explorer 5.5 to Internet Explorer 6.0. Does that mean I also upgraded my operating system? Do I get better performance reading large files? Can I crunch data faster? Is there better communication between my hard drive controller and my memory sub-system? Microsoft is SO full of shit.
  • by rblancarte (213492) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:52AM (#3450651) Homepage
    But that is not the point. Fact is that they destroyed his credibility with these questions. Excellent work. I have a bit more faith that the DOJ actually has some brains about going after M$ this time.

    But really - what does this mean? The layperson out and about won't hear about this. They are not informed about this and regardless of what happenes, short of M$ being broken up - people won't stop using their products. I like all of this news, but the masses just don't hear about these things (they don't read slashodot).

    RonB
  • by Betelgeuse (35904) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:53AM (#3450667) Homepage
    Allright. I agree this guy should have known the difference between KDE/GNOME and Linux. But, to be honest with you, I could see where he's coming from. In the world of Windows, there IS no difference between operating system and a desktop enviornment (since DOS was officially killed). Now, his example was admittedly a poor one, since you can change your desktop enviornment every week with Linux (if you want), but him using KDE got me thinking: how easy is it to remove Konquerer from KDE? Now, it's certainly doable, but how much functionality do you lose?
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:55AM (#3450684) Homepage Journal
    As flames and flamebait go, Re: MIT and Profs there, this guy does not only himself, but MIT a disservice knowing so little about which he desired to be so precise about.

    I believe the proper term here is Self-Immolation. Imagine facing his peers after those gaffs.

  • by Gryffin (86893) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:56AM (#3450697) Homepage

    Mac OS X? Piece of cake. Drag the MSIE icon to the trash, Empty Trash. Thanks to OS X's application bundles, the entire app in there under that one icon. Couldn't be easier.

  • by nam37 (517083) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:57AM (#3450704) Homepage
    Actually, you are completely correct.. and nothing is wrong with it except for Microsoft did it, so most people here hate the idea (Don't mention that KDE does it also, the kealots won't link that).
  • by ThePlague (30616) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:58AM (#3450715)
    He really blew a slow-pitch question. He could have said: To the best of my knowledge, there is no other OS from which the browser can not be removed, as no other OS development is as advanced as Windows in integrating the desktop to provide a simple, unified structure both for the consumer and development community.
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:01AM (#3450740)
    Sorta.

    IE is just a wrapper around the HTML control. You could remove IEXPLORE.EXE and all the icons, put netscape on and the system would run - which is why doing on and on about this is such a joke. It's trivial to replace IE with Netscape. Much less trivial to replace ALL html with Netscape, since Start|Run|C:\ is an explorer window, and putting http://www.yahoo.com in the address bar of that window pulls down web pages.

    The underlying HTML control is deeply tied into the "OS" - where OS is the desktop as well as the kernel. Remove that and you're probably screwed.

    The shell in unix is just another program that may get launched. There is nothing stopping you from removing it. At bootup, the init program will get called as the first process. If nothing in there, or any other part of the initialization of your system requires the shell, then you could do away with it.

    Of course, all the rc.d/* stuff, and much of the system startup files would need to be rewritten in C or something, since they are just shell scripts...but it could be done. Yes...it is more trouble than it is worth, but at no time does this affect the OS.

    Now...if you had said is the HTML control any less a part of windows than the init program is a part of Unix....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:04AM (#3450769)
    Madnick is a has-been professor in Course 15, the Sloan business school, and he has nothing at all to do with Course 6-3, the computer science department at MIT. He teaches "MIS" style courses to accountants and economists.

    He is most famous for co-authoring the book mostly called "Madnick and Donovan" which was some sort of IBM 360 OS bible back in the way-back days of punch cards.

    BTW, it is might be interesting to note that Richard Schmalensee was the MIT professor who humiliated himself on the stand in the first phase of the trial, and he is also a professor of management in the same school at MIT. It's really not a bad school, they only look bad when they whore themselves for Microsoft money

  • Re:Know-It-Alls (Score:3, Insightful)

    by royalblue_tom (557302) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:06AM (#3450783)
    You don't just get scared. You are scared because you fear something happening that you don't want to.

    What don't they want to happen? Microsoft split up, or shackled.

    They would actually like to be fined massively (as a final, no other restrictions remedy) - out of existence is almost impossible given how much cash they have, and without the shackles, they'll just tack it onto the cost of the next version of windows and office.

    So if Microsoft know that the situations that they fear are not going to happen, they're not going to be scared, are they ...

    Of course the expert doesn't understand the difference between an application and an OS. The concept that there is a difference is alien to the entire Microsoft argument at this point ...
  • by Trilaka (172371) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:08AM (#3450800)
    I agree that this whole trial has taken the wrong line of attack in this case. Yes, IE is just part of the shell...the interface between user and OS. Microsoft should have every right to make this an integral part of the product that they ship in the box labelled "Windows."

    The part which is unreasonable, is the strong-arm tactics happening between Microsoft and the OEM world, where PC manufacturers are not penalized for things they do with a system after Windows is installed and before the product ships.

    e.g. "We'll give you this incredible price as long as you don't support any of our competitors in your system configuration. That means, no removing IE from the desktop, no placing Mozilla/Netscape/AOL there, etc. If you do not comply, you can get our standard rate, which, as you can see, is far less generous. Now, do you want to stay competitive in the hardware business, or not?"

    In this way, Microsoft is able to undermine the free market, taking choice away from the consumer.

    As an analogy, say you wanted to buy a puppy from me. I give you two options, you can sign this contract or not. If you do sign the contract (which includes provisions to make sure the puppy is the only pet in the household currently, that you will not shop at any competitors stores, etc), then you get a 50% discount. Otherwise, you pay full price.

    Note that this approach is markedly different than frequent buyer type programs, which reward you based on your business relationship with the company offering the program. What Microsoft does is punish customers for doing business with anyone else. That is clearly an abuse of monopoly power, is it not?
  • by ceswiedler (165311) <chris@swiedler.org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:08AM (#3450801)
    Konqi serves the same purpose in KDE/Linux as Internet/Windows Explorer (same thing these days) serves in Windows. It does file management, web browsing, help, and html email rendering. Both do all of this through a component architecture.

    What would KDE be without Konq? Same thing as Windows. Not really usable the way it was intended.

    The article ribs the witness for calling KDE an operating system. Well, no, KDE is a user interface / window manager / shell sitting on top of the Linux (or other) kernel. Same as Explorer, which is a user interface / window manager / shell on top of the Windows NT kernel (in NT/2000/XP anyway). Perhaps he should have said KDE/Linux, but do we really want to go there?
  • by CaptainAbstraction (43162) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:09AM (#3450812)
    This has been said several times, but must be said
    again and again. Madnick is not a computer
    science professor at MIT!!!! I find this
    frustrating, especially having graduated from MIT
    in CS. I'm so sad that this guy is spoiling the
    reputation of the MIT CS department.

    He teaches management!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [686 parkerlocal@waikiki Documentation]$ finger madnick@mit.edu
    [mit.edu]
    ...

    There was 1 match to your request.

    name: Madnick, Stuart E
    email: smadnick@MIT.EDU
    phone: (617) 253-6671
    address: E53-321
    department: School Of Mgmt
    title: J N Maguire Prof Of Info Tech
    url: http://mit.edu/smadnick/www/home.html
    alias: S-madnick
  • Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:16AM (#3450868) Homepage Journal
    I would think that all you'd have to do to replace the browser would be to code your replacement to export the same APIs that IE does. If those APIs were documented, replacing the browser would be simple -- the Mozilla people probably would have already coded to those APIs if they were available. The desktop should just call an API to perform browsing functions. It should not care who wrote the program providing the API.

    Seems to me all you'd have to do is force MS to publically document the API. Actually they should be forced to document APIs, file formats and protocols BEFORE their products are released, and they should be compelled to use only protocols and formats unencumbered by patents or copyrights (for things like XML DTDs.) The documentation should be unencumbered by any license and should be freely available on their web site for all to download.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:19AM (#3450895)


    > the general business press is taking the line that Microsoft's legal team has everything under control this time and is crushing the States.

    Let's not forget that the business press exists for the sole purpose of keeping stock prices high. It's hard to imagine that they would say anything different no matter what was going on.

    But of course, they have the DoJ's desire to throw the game to give them confidence that they're going to be right this time anyway.

  • by fanatic (86657) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:21AM (#3450907)
    The shell in Unix underlies the Unix permissions system.

    You haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about. Not even a little.

    Permissions are applied to files by the filesystem code, typically a kernel module.

    The shell is a program that runs on top of the OS, interprets user commands and runs programs (as well as providing a programming language, in many cases). It is totally separable from the OS.

    Maybe you meant capabilities, but again, this would typically be imposed by kernel code, with the shell utilizing the information provided. In no way could the shell be said to underly any of this.
  • by jeremy f (48588) <jmf_24@hotmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:27AM (#3450954) Homepage
    It used to be far easier; there was an entry in either win.ini or system.ini which specified which shell to use.

    Seriously [litestep.net], if there was [winstep.net] no way of running [hoverdesk.net] other shells than Explorer [stardock.com], why would so many programs exist to do just that [lighttek.com]?

    Internet Explorer is a vital component to Explorer, the Shell. Not Windows, the Operating System. It seems that even the teeming masses on Slashdot are missing this point.
  • Apples and Oranges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JPriest (547211) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:28AM (#3450962) Homepage
    Windows is a GUI system with emulated DOS. Linux is a kernel, shell, X, then a windowing system. There are multiple layers involved where you are free to build on one as you please. Explorer is a larger more integrated part of what is known as windows. I, like BeOS really don't see the problem with MS making explorer part of windows because that's what works for performance. I have my gripes about the way MS does some things but this is not one of them. To me this is kind of like going after the mafia for tax evasion, if it's the only thing that holds water go with it.
  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cjpez (148000) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:32AM (#3450984) Homepage Journal
    Well, I don't think that Windoze is really dependant on the application Internet Explorer; more the libraries that come bundled with it. I've been forced to spend a lot of time in Windoze 2000 lately (need to access some PCAnywhere machines, unfortunately - I should see if there's an opensouce PCAnywhere client, but I doubt it), and I've noticed that IE's rendering stuff is everywhere. When you open up "help," when you're browsing around on your computer . . . The libraries that IE uses to grab webpages and show them on the screen have been re-used to hell and back again, which realy is an acceptable thing to do.

    I don't know why Microsoft keeps on claiming that the application itself is nonremoveable. Just delete the IE binary; of course it's removeable. What they should do is have some kind of "Internet Services Pack" or whatever which is a basic, nonremoveable part of Windoze, and then just have IE be the shell that accesses those components. There, problem solved. I'm guessing it'd just be a matter of repackaging some things.

    I'm guessing that MS is still claiming that IE the application can't be removed just because they want to keep everyone using it by default. Keepin' the resellers down and all. Or hell, I don't care if IE keeps on getting shipped with Windows, just let the poor OEM people install Mozilla by default! Anyway, yeah.

    I could be totally wrong about all that, but that's how it seems to me.

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lonath (249354) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:40AM (#3451064)
    That's so right. The really sad part is that I think the states would be happy if MS would just let the OEMs remove the IE shortcut from the desktop when they set up their customers' computers. It isn't even about removing IE, it's about not having IE staring you in the face and preventing any other browser from appearing anywhere. If MS wants to use IE for internal stuff so that it pops up when used automatically, who cares? Just let Dell and Gateway put Netscape on the desktop and remove IE from the desktop if they want. All of this bitching is over default icons on the desktop. :P
  • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon @ g m a i l . com> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:44AM (#3451112)
    Perhaps I'm taking you a bit too literally, but what is stopping people from installing and using another browser?

    The issue is not the ability to install and use another browser. It's a tad more complicated than that.

    1. Microsoft argues that they can't unbundle the browser, and it must be included with a Windows installation. This, of course, puts all potential competitors at a loss because a user is not likely to be motivated enough to try a competing product when they already have what seems to be a perfectly good tool.
    2. Many people say that they should just remove the IE icons. That doesn't work either because too many other tools and applications on the system tie directly into the IE application. It will still come up anyway.
    3. Footprint is the big one for me. If you don't unbundle the IE browser so that it can be replaced with another one, you're drastically increasing the memory and hard disk footprint needed for browsing. With today's monster hard drives, the storage space isn't all that much of an issue, but those blasted libraries that get loaded at bootup are already hogging memory. When I run Mozilla or Opera, they have to compete with IE because it is already loaded and taking up memory.
  • by SwiftOne (11497) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:47AM (#3451135)
    I'm not surprised that an MS witness didn't have perfect understanding of a different software paradigm.

    I am surprised (pleasantly) that the lawyer recognized and was able to deal with the situation. I mean, sure, I have little doubt that the lawyers have been briefed, but this lawyer:

    • Had to know that GNOME and KDE existed
    • Had to know what they were, generally
    • Had to understand that the answer was wrong
    • Had to be able to articulate that the answer was wrong, with enough accuracy/confidence to have a witness with Comp Sci experience admit his error
    I haven't been wowwed by this trial (I think MS has stiffled the industry, and I think the charges have focused on the wrong elements of MS behavior), but I am pleased to see that the legal staff has assumed an apparently comfortable amount of non-MS technical familiarity. This is a rare bit of good foreshadowing for future technical cases.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:48AM (#3451151)
    1. The Judge knows little about the technical arguments. Her experience is in criminal law.

    2. The Judge knows little about anti-trust. Between that and and trying to understand the technical arguments, she won't learn it all, and in this case it's necessary.

    3. The Microsoft legal team has been using "legal FUD" on the Judge. They've been harrassing her non-stop on issues of who has jurisdiction, that there's no precedent for non-federal organizations to prosecute under federal laws (which is bogus), etc. This works in this case because this is basically her first "big and public case", it's in a relatively new (and little-understood by non-professionals) sector, and because they're feeding on and fueling her fears of screwing up.

    (1,2,3) Notice how she has ruled on very little of the technology and broader legal based motions. She's trying to give herself as much time as possible to understand them, and given how much time it's been, it's clear she understands very little of the background pertaining to the motions.

    4. Because of (1.), she'll defer the bases of her opinions to the things she has the most exposure to, which would be (3.) and (2.)

    5. Gates is EXTREMELY charasmatic. Girls think he's the most tender and sensitive being on the planet. I've seen it over and over. As much as I think him and his actions are repulsive, it's still really hard to hate him when you see him in person, or even on TV. I think journalists actually have a hard time finding photographs of him that reflect his unhealthy nature.

    6. The states aren't doing they're job dispelling the arguments Microsoft is presenting and the bases they're manipulating in 1,2,3,4. They can argue all day about it being technologically feasible to do whatever, but the Judge will never understand it in time, so she'll defer to more basic law-based arguments that in comparison have almost nothing to do with the case.
  • Re:Know-It-Alls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:49AM (#3451166) Homepage Journal

    I'm not quite sure how they've been so successful in the server market, though.

    The answer lies in your analysis of their success in the desktop OS segment. Here's how it works:

    • You are a business with 50,000 users. 99% of those users use some flavor of Windows.
    • Microsoft shows up at your door one day, and suggests that you change all your servers to NT. If bribing the CIO into forcing the change down IT's throat doesn't work, and/or this suggestion is resisted...
    • Microsoft threatens to do a license audit of all your PCs. You can either:
      1. Find 50,000 license certificates spread among 15 campuses, 10,000 of which are remote laptop users, and 1,000 of those are overseas, all within the two week preparation period Microsoft gives you before the audit
      2. Swallow the blue pill and become a 100% Microsoft shop.

    Cisco employs similar tactics, but since they don't have the license audit leverage, they engage in character assassination of IT people who resist Cisco implementations. Isn't capitalism fun?

  • standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mach-5 (73873) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:54AM (#3451199) Homepage
    "Madnick argued that perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility."
    No, it is not a theoretical impossibility, it is called a "standard", and there are hundreds of groups out there working hard to create these.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:08PM (#3451319)
    What scares me is when the government is actually considering telling an organization what to think or produce.

    This is the point. The Govt is able to impose control on Microsoft because, and only because, it has been found guilty of illegally abusing its monopoly.

    If you break the law, you go to jail. You can't throw a company in jail, but you can make it behave in ways that it would rather not behave. The whole point of the remedy is to make MS do things it wouldn't ordinarily do - it wouldn't be much of a remedy or punishment if the courts just said "OK, you were wrong. Don't do it again", would it?
  • by g_bit (253703) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:14PM (#3451364) Journal
    Why do OEM's care so much about altering the desktop? It's M$'s product, the OEM's shouldn't be allowed to mess with it.

    The fact that you can't be a licensed Windows PC Provider AND sell naked PC's or PC's with Linux or ANY OTHER OS on them when you sign the contract with Microsoft is the issue they should be looking at.

    If I told you that you could sell PC's with Mandrake on them but if you signed up to do so were then legally inable to sell naked PC's or PC's with Windows on them you'd be pissed too.

  • by walt-sjc (145127) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:20PM (#3451401)
    Damn. Wish there was a "clueless" mod option. The shell has virtually NOTHING to do with permissions. It hardly even touches them. The kernel enforces permissions and other applications (such as chmod and ls) set and view them using the functions provided by the kernel. The shell is mainly just a user interface. In fact, when you "exec" a command from the shell, the shell is GONE and replaced by the application.

    What you don't comprehend is that UNIX is modular. This allows us to replace virtually every single command/component in the system with a different one. It also is what allows us to fairly easily support multiple differnt file systems of which linux supports over a dozen (maybe almost 2 dozen), different terminal programs, window managers, desktop environments (kde/gnome/etc) and web browsers.

    What MS is trying to do (and having a hard time with) is actually having a stand-alone component be integrated. If MS wants to be able to upgrade IE (and it history proves that it does), it MUST be modular. The very fact that IE is upgradable totally blows MS's argument that IE cannot be separated.

    Now there is the argument that you would lose the shell. This is bull. MS already has a IE-free shell that was available in 95 and NT4. What they did since then was add hooks in the shell to call IE at various places.

    The bottom line is that there is no reason that Mozilla / netscape / opera couldn't use the same APIs that windows uses to "integrate" with IE other than the fact that MS keeps those APIs secret.

  • A simple request (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Our Man In Redmond (63094) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:21PM (#3451418)
    Would everyone who wishes to point out that Stuart Madnick is a business professor, and not a computer science professor, please check in at the desk, take a number, and wait in line over there along the far wall?

    Thank you.
  • IE is NOT a shell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexhmit01 (104757) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:38PM (#3451555)
    Your shell is Explorer, the UI developed for Chicago (Windows 4.0 AKA Windows 93 AKA Windows 95). It has been tweaked in different versions, but it is still called explorer. On task manager (or equivalent for DOS based Windows), look at your tasks, one is entitled "explorer.exe" and one is entitled "iexplore.exe." If your desktop freezes, killing and restarting explorer.exe resets it. If your web browser freezes, killing and restarting iexplore.exe resets it WITHOUT reseting your desktop.

    Indeed, Microsoft still separates it. If you enter the registry:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft there is an Internet Explorer folder/group.

    If you want to find the Explorer information, it isn't in the Microsoft folder with the other applications, it is in the Microsoft\Windows folder:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Wind ows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer

    For added fun, it is NOT in the Windows NT folder, just the Windows folder. This indicates that Explorer on Windows and Windows NT (4.0+ of course) likely share a significant amount of code, the settings are grouped there.

    What is interesting, is that in Windows 3.1 (and Win95 presumably, I saw a shell= registry key) there was a line in System.ini that set the shell. You could replace the shell with another application. I once setup winfile.exe as my shell, and many companys had alternative shells. A friend of mine with a Compaq Presario once had a completely odd shell placed on the system.

    Unix allows you to use ANY shell that is POSIX compliant (matching what sh originally did).

    Windows pre-monopoly allowed you to use ANY shell or ANY web browser. After Windows 95 and Office 95 established the Windows monopoly (before that DOS/Word Perfect w/ Novell servers was just as common a combination), they leveraged this to sell everything. They refused to update the Novell Client (which they needed when Novell was the NOS of choice to get Windows into corporate America) to push NT Server sales, they prohibited OEMs from replacing the shell (and later removing as far as I can tell the technical capacity to easily do so) to establish explorer as the only interface, and locked IE into the OS.

    Alex
  • by walt-sjc (145127) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @01:23PM (#3451865)
    Um, you seem to be forgetting something. MS WAS tried and found guilty of abusing their monopoly power. This was upheld in the court of appeals. MS broke the law.

    We are now in the remedy phase where indeed the government CAN tell MS what to do, just like in any civil case where the guilty party can have all sorts of penalties such as fines, requirments to change contracts, etc., etc. etc.

    Our laws are here to protect us from companies that behave like MS, and allow for penalties to prohibit them from continuing illegal behavior.

    Your analogy is also like a rapist defending his right to rape. "Why should the government be allowed to tell me what to do?" Well, maybe to protect society from the people breaking the law.

    If you don't like it, write your congressmen. Tell him that you don't like having the government penalize people for breaking the law and see how far that gets you...
  • by ceswiedler (165311) <chris@swiedler.org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @02:10PM (#3452159)
    Tell me, how do I replace the Explorer shell on an NT kernel box?

    Well, isn't that Microsoft's point? The GUI shell (which includes IE) is tied to the OS. They are the same thing as far as the user is concerned. If you told the typical Windows user "you can run Windows, but with this other shell which makes it look and act nothing like Windows" they would stare at you blankly. "That's not Windows."

    What is an OS? You guys are limiting the definition to the kernel. Explorer is not tied inextricably to the NT kernel. Explorer IS tied inextricably to Windows.

    Great, Linux is better because I can replace the GUI shell. Linux is also better because I can replace the memory manager (via recompiling). Can Windows do that? No. Is it fair for the DOJ to force Microsoft to allow users to replace the MM?

    Well, I guess that's the question, isn't it?
  • Re:of course.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @04:14PM (#3453133)


    Nah ... Remedy phase designed to help Microsoft's competitors. Let's not sugar-coat the truth.


    By definition, anything that hurts Microsoft will help their competitors. How does hurting Microsoft help the consumer?


    The consumer is supposed to be served by a free market. A free market requires competitors. Yet, Microsoft has been rather skillfull in dismantling that free market - abusing their position to remove competition.


    The remedy phase is designed to help consumers by restoring competition. Let's not obscure the truth with anti-market Microsoft cheering.

  • by zaphod110676 (211758) <matt&mattscott,org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @05:05PM (#3453484)
    I don't really see a problem with them shipping whatever software they want with their OS. I do see a problem if they discourage vendors from providing alternatives.

    If it is wrong for them to bundle IE, is it wrong for them to bundle solitare? notepad?

    I don't use Windows simply because it is an inferior product. I get frustrated every time I sit down at a computer that uses it. It is slow, it swaps constantly, reading the floppy drive stops windows from redrawing. It sucks in almost every respect.

    But it does one important thing. It makes people believe that there computer is a simple, friendly tool. It is far from that in reality, but people believe it. If that friendly tool, bites them in the ass, they tell you to just turn it off and turn it back on. No big deal.

    That is where Microsoft has done serious wrong, or some would say they have been brilliant. They've lied to people about the fact that a computer is a highly technical piece of equipment that takes a certain level of expertese to operate.

    They've lied to all of us when it comes to usability, reliabilty, security, and a host of other things. And that's why I hope they hang. Not because they package a web browser with their OS.

    Of course you could say similar things about many other big corporations. That doesn't make it right though.

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