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Microsoft

Microsoft Drops .NET Name For Next Windows Server 490

Posted by timothy
from the muddled-nomenclature dept.
metamatic writes "C|net is reporting that Microsoft is dropping the name "Windows .NET Server" and going back to "Windows Server 200x" (where x is currently expected to be 3). Other products with .NET in the name are also being evaluated for renaming. Analysts are being quoted as saying that slapping .NET on so many Microsoft products has confused people as to what .NET actually means. Or could it be that customers know what it means, but nobody wants to buy it?" Obiwan Kenobi points out a similar article at ENT News
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Microsoft Drops .NET Name For Next Windows Server

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  • by akiy (56302) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:49PM (#5058696) Homepage
    A net, by defition, is full of holes...
  • is it time? (Score:3, Funny)

    by smack_attack (171144) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:49PM (#5058705) Homepage
    Is it time to start callng it Microsoft bob.NET?
  • and dotNet the Linux while you are at it.
  • Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:50PM (#5058716)
    I agree with the bit about confusion....

    I was very confused (and still am) to exactly what .NET is - and palladium for that matter. I asked here on slashdot what they were and the major differnces between the two.

    Someone posted a link to an MS page that supposedly explained what they were - but it still was very vague and didnt help much.

    So - anyone out there clear on what .NET is and maybe palladium for that matter who would care to expound on the merits of this wonderful technology?
    • Re:Confusion? (Score:2, Informative)

      by EnderWiggnz (39214)
      in reality its a replacement for win32 api's .

      in marketing, its anything you want it to be.
    • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

      by larien (5608) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:56PM (#5058793) Homepage Journal
      .NET is their buzzword compliant strategy including SOAP, XML, Web services and their latest plan to crush competitors. Somewhere in there is the ditched Hailstorm/Passport plan for world domination.

      Palladium is the DRM, sorry, secure platform where the idea is that a Palladium enabled OS will only run signed apps, presumably adding security by not running any viruses, worms and any haxxor tools. Of course, this means any open source will not work in a Palladium OS because of the difficulty of getting an open source app signed.

      That's my understanding of the two, but I'm not 100% sure; it's been difficult trying to work out exactly what .NET really means...

      • NET is their buzzword compliant strategy including SOAP, XML, Web services and their latest plan to crush competitors. Somewhere in there is the ditched Hailstorm/Passport plan for world domination.

        ok.. not to sound like a noob.. but what does THAT mean? I would like a specific example of how someone would use .NET in their everyday life.

        • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nelsonal (549144)
          One of microsoft's test sites was a shipbuilder, the .Net features allowed the managers to setup MS Project schedules, and foremen could fire up their PocketPC handhelds and see what their teams were working on that day. Other examples would be allowing you to check on flight status with your cell phone or PDA.
          Its really just a buzzword laden branding strategy, that MS is using to try to convince people that web services, are all that and a bag of chips. Web services seem to be a fancy name for using xml to provide more useful data to end users of the data.
        • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Proc6 (518858) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:37PM (#5059110)
          I write C#.NET stuff almost every day. All .NET is is a framework. A collection of programming objects that let you build apps by fitting them together, and writing the glue, rather than re-inventing the wheel everytime. If you know what the Java classes are, or MFC, .NET is very similar. .NET objects can be accessed by writing command line apps, windows GUI apps, and ASP web-apps. It makes it very nice to be able to know the same language for all 3, at least to me. I liked Perl for CGI, but couldnt use it to make a GUI app very easily. VB was queer, but worked for GUI apps, but not very strong for complicated apps. .NET framework includes a bunch of objects for dealing with everything from I/O to Databases to XML and Webservices.
          • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by NineNine (235196)
            Sounds like .Net = COM objects. If that's the case, why don't people just describe .NET this way?
          • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by shyster (245228) <brackettNO@SPAMufl.edu> on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:09PM (#5060031) Homepage
            Mod the parent up. He's the first one with half a clue on what .NET is, rather than what MS is positioning on what .NET can do.

            Don't forget, however, that the .NET Framework also means that (theoretically, at least...and in reality for the most part) you can write in C#.NET, VB.NET, etc. and still have access to the same objects...so you can keep the language you're most familiar with.

            Also, .NET allows multiple versions of shared libraries, ending "DLL Hell" (which really hasn't been a problem for around 5 years, but whatever). It's also allows for granular and inheritable permissions on program's actions (Program X is allowed to access the network, therefore Component Y called by Program X is allowed to access the network)...though it requires a good development team that knows what they're doing and does it properly (so it probably won't work out too well).

            SOAP, XML, and Web Services are really just applications and languages of .NET...and a vision of MS's future program services (where your program can call on another program located on your server, or halfway around the world, to process data and return it...sort of like a global #include)...but it's not really living up to the hype yet.

            If you're not a developer or system admin, .NET means very little to you. If you're a developer, you probably should look into it, unless you're into Java. System Admins can probably wait a year or so before playing with Windows 2003 Server and some actual .NET applications.

      • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Arethan (223197) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:21PM (#5059004) Journal
        Everyone is complaining that Palladium will kill open source on Win32. I can't help but agree, but there is another angle to this as well. What happens to the small programming shops? I can think of plenty of times when one of my previously employing companies wrote small (sometimes throwaway) apps for clients. Sometimes it was for data massaging, sometimes it was a quick front end to something normally complicated.

        The cold fact is that I can't see small businesses providing custom software solutions for clients surviving if Palladium is released. The cost to have throw away apps signed (not to mention the time delay involved) will utterly destroy them.

        Unless of course the application signing is much simpler than that. Simply trusting a company as a whole, rather than a particular application. Trusting an entire company will allow small businesses to sign their own code. Of course, that also means that the DRM is pointless because a single hacked network will result in signed viruses.

        If MS goes ahead with Palladium, I'll be keeping my eye out for the first virus to fool the OS into rejecting every app, regardless of signature. Perfect DOS attack. Can't do anything but reinstall from the installation media, if your DRM bios will let you that is...
        • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by archen (447353) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:55PM (#5059242)
          Those were my thoughts as well until I realized that microsoft is going to have major problems for one reason: scripting. Are they just going to say "No Scripting" on windows? I really don't see any practical way to ever "trust" a script of any sort. So I would imagine Microsoft will be putting "untrusted" applications in some sort of sandbox (and probably a disadvantage as some sort of penalty).

          Small time apps will always be there no matter what MS wants. What Microsoft will eventually find is that their lack of open / free development tools is going to be a continual drag on windows development. I couldn't even begin to name all the development tools / languages you can use on Linux. On windows there is only a handfull and most if it is controlled by MS and is far from cheap. All this "trusted computing" stuff is just going to make Linux development more appealing.
        • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JohnFluxx (413620)
          Also note that even if the OS allows unsigned apps etc, your unsigned app sure won't be allowed access to the data that you want to manipulate, since that will probably be in some signed database program.
    • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

      by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:01PM (#5058852)
      1. .NET is at least four things:

      a. Runtime environment. This is a replacement for Win32 the "foundation" classes of Windows. Basically a new way to develop Windows applications. Analagous in several ways to Java. Doing quite well. Keystone is "Visual Studio .NET". Also the ".NET Runtime".

      b. Server platform. This is what this article is about. Lots of products where called "Microsoft X .NET" (or were going to be). Renamed and re-evaluated.

      c. .NET Services. A way to use XML to remotely call functions and procedures and retrieve data. Integrated heavily with (b) and (a). Alive and kicking.

      d. .NET Passport. A centralized database of information to be accessed via (c), (b), and (a). Failed already, quite close to be mostly permanetly dead.

      2. Palladium is also several things:

      a. A subset of TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Association/Architecture).

      b. A system that uses strong encryption and tamper-resistant hardware to physically control access to portions of computer functionality. Specifically provides: integrity checking of code, sealed storage, non-repuditation (somewhat), authentication (somewhat).

      c. A platform on which to build highly "robust" or effective content control/DRM systems.


      3. Analysis. .NET is pretty cool. A much better way to develop applications for Windows. Visual Studio 6 is seriously dated. .NET should also facilitate the possibility of cross-platform applications. All and all a complete redesign of Windows development methodology that was sorely needed. .NEt server platform is finished in traditional name-based sense. Essentially all it was a collecton .NET Runtime/.NET services/Previous Applications that had been renamed and updated. No big loss with the name change. Passport is dead, thank god. XML Web Services aren't gaining traction for end-users, but are definately useful in some situations.

      Palladium - the jury is still out in my mind, but its bad in the mind of most slashdotters. Essentially I like the idea of creating a system where you can physically guarantee short of physically modifiying hardware on the microchip level that a program will do "X". The real test will be to see how it is implemented, how the level of openness is, and what levle of control MS wants to impose. I'd give it 50/50 chances for widespread success and 25/75 for geek approval.

      Hope this helps.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:31PM (#5059077)
        Is this all true? I was under the impression that .NET was a different four things:

        1. Developers

        2. Developers

        3. Developers

        4. Developers

        At least, that's what that Ballmer guy said.
    • by NickSD (595340) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:10PM (#5058922)
      check out The Ars article on .NET [arstechnica.com]
    • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arkhan_jg (618674) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:19PM (#5058995)
      .NET has already been answered fairly well.

      http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html is a good faq (in english, not geek ;)

      A sample ----

      2. What does TCPA / Palladium do, in ordinary English?

      It provides a computing platform on which you can't tamper with the applications, and where these applications can communicate securely with the vendor. The obvious application is digital rights management (DRM): Disney will be able to sell you DVDs that will decrypt and run on a Palladium platform, but which you won't be able to copy. The music industry will be able to sell you music downloads that you won't be able to swap. They will be able to sell you CDs that you'll only be able to play three times, or only on your birthday. All sorts of new marketing possibilities will open up.

      TCPA / Palladium will also make it much harder for you to run unlicensed software. Pirate software can be detected and deleted remotely. It will also make it easier for people to rent software rather than buying it; and if you stop paying the rent, then not only does the software stop working but so may the files it created. For years, Bill Gates has dreamed of finding a way to make the Chinese pay for software: Palladium could be the answer to his prayer.

      There are many other possibilities. Governments will be able to arrange things so that all Word documents created on civil servants' PCs are `born classified' and can't be leaked electronically to journalists. Auction sites might insist that you use trusted proxy software for bidding, so that you can't bid tactically at the auction. Cheating at computer games could be made more difficult.

      There is a downside too. There will be remote censorship: the mechanisms designed to delete pirated music under remote control may be used to delete documents that a court (or a software company) has decided are offensive - this could be anything from pornography to writings that criticise political leaders. Software companies can also make it harder for you to switch to their competitors' products; for example, Word could encrypt all your documents using keys that only Microsoft products have access to; this would mean that you could only read them using Microsoft products, not with any competing word processor.

      • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ConceptJunkie (24823)
        It provides a computing platform on which you can't tamper with the applications, and where these applications can communicate securely with the vendor.


        Sounds good so far...

        The obvious application is digital rights management (DRM):

        Which, of course, is only of value to the seller.


        Disney will be able to sell you DVDs that will decrypt and run on a Palladium platform, but which you won't be able to copy.


        Which means I have to buy new hardware to play the new media. This is consistent for a company that will only sell their old movies "for a limited time" to artificially and capriciously drive up demand.

        The music industry will be able to sell you music downloads that you won't be able to swap.


        Yeah, but I'll need a computer to play them. No listening in the car anymore... unless I buy more new, expensive, and needlessly complex hardware.

        They will be able to sell you CDs that you'll only be able
        to play three times, or only on your birthday.


        No they won't. I would never buy such a product. Of course, the analog hole still exists. I've got a video capture card that does great analog audio capture. I've used it to make nice digital copies of casette recording I made as a kid.

        All sorts of new marketing possibilities will open up.

        Especially given that companies will deceive, if not downright lie to you. All kinds of new ways to screw the consumer. Of course, all these new electronics gizmos you will _have_ to buy will be complicated to use and prone to malfunctions (at least as first, but always harder to use than their pre-DRM counterparts). You don't need a degree in UI design to play a Victrola, but how many people can use all the features of their stereos or DVD players these days? How much fun will people have when not understanding your hardware prevents you from playing your media? ("I bought this 3-use DVD from Disney (a subsudiary of Evilco) but I only watched the first 30 minutes three times, because my mother called, the power went out, one of the kids wet his pants, etc, etc. Now I can't finish it...")


        TCPA / Palladium will also make it much harder for you to run unlicensed software.


        So much for software development, one of my hobbies. So much for Open Source software. Oh you say I can become a licensed software provider? For a "nominal" annual fee? Whoopie! I'll pay for that! NOT!


        Pirate software can be detected and deleted remotely. It will also make it easier for people to rent software rather than buying it; and if you stop paying the rent, then not only does the software stop working but so may the files it created.


        So now companies can take over your computer and arbitrarily delete things. I'm sure that will _always_ work correctly and _never_ be misused, because everyone is completely competent and honest. We should always take every opportunity to give complete strangers control over us, because they know what's best.


        For years, Bill Gates has dreamed of finding a way to make the Chinese pay for software: Palladium could be the answer to his prayer.


        Not if they keep using Windows 2000 on existing hardware. Recall that these days the primary driving force for selling the latest and greatest hardware is 1.) Microsoft's (and others) increasingly bloated and inefficient software, and 2.) gaming. I use c. 400 MHz processors and don't feel like I'm missing out for 90% of what I do.


        There are many other possibilities. Governments will be able to arrange things so that all Word documents created on civil servants' PCs are `born classified' and can't be leaked electronically to journalists.


        Remember that joke about the dumb blonde photocopying her monitor to print out her document?


        Auction sites might insist that you use trusted proxy software for bidding, so that you can't bid tactically at the auction. Cheating at computer games could be made more difficult.


        And that will _never_ be compromised, because it's never happened in the past.


        There is a downside too.


        No, really?

        Sure, there will be some benefits, but as with everything in modern life, the trade-off will be much more complexity and hassle to do things that were formerly simple, and still more aspects of your life will be subject to being screwed up by the ineptness or malice of a complete stranger.

        Sign me up!

    • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

      by esarjeant (100503) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:28PM (#5059463) Homepage
      TBPH, I think Microsoft is attempting to conquor the elusive remote object invocation problem.

      At first, it seemed like some version of RPC might solve this problem. And then a little bit later, developers were promised that CORBA was the future. Somewhere in there OSF/DCE made a lot of promises. And then Microsoft threw COM out there, and tried to spruce up some security issues with COM+...

      Eventually EJB took hold, and now we have yet another way to remotely invoke objects via SOAP.

      While things are looking up, I think most developers are fairly frustrated at this point. After grappling with IDL's and disparate RPC mechanisms, IUnknown and VisualBasic... I think unless there is a conserted effort by the industry to address remote object invocations (including a robust security model) then all of these attempts will continue to flounder.
      • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrkurt (613936)


        If .net is really about trying to solve the problem of remote object invocation, why do it in pretty much the same manner that Java does it-- with a language runtime that, as it turns out, will run only on Windows, which slaps another layer on top of COM and essentially abandons DCOM? Why not instead just extend Visual Studio 6 COM/DCOM and make it easier to use XML, SOAP, and other web services protocols to do remote method invocations? As it is, it seems like .net imposes a performance penalty on Windows machines-- applications are slow.


        The only answer I can come up with is that .net is about locking developers, and therefore enterprises, into Windows. I conclude that .net is about a specific technology, and other object technologies (RPC, CORBA, SOAP) are about standards. In a perfect world, standards win every time, but MS will always see its best interest in forking away from standards to uphold its market share. I have been a Visual Basic developer up to this point, and I appreciate having COM as an object model and bus. I have been giving other object platforms a serious look, though, as well as the open source tools associated with them, to see if it makes any sense to adopt one or the other.

  • buzzword compliant? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maeryk (87865) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:51PM (#5058733) Journal
    Is it that even Microsoft is suffering in the dot-com crash and the burst of the tech bubble? Possibly with the advent of sites like this one, Cnet, and shows like Screensavers, people are beginning to realize a buzzword is just that, and nothing more?

    I kinda thought that naming something ".net" was kinda stupid after the bad taste left in Joe Public's mouth after the whole ".com" thing..
    but Im far from a rabid Microsoft supporter anyway.

    I still think it should be "Microsoft.ownsU" for the truth in advertising requirements.

    Maeryk
    • I still think it should be "Microsoft.ownsU" for the truth in advertising requirements.

      I think they'd settle for Microsoft.ownsYourBankAccount instead, given their desire to get people forking out for their wares on a regular basis... *grin*
  • Ahem (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:52PM (#5058742)
    In Soviet Russia, we say .NYET to Microsoft!
    • Re:Ahem (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by caluml (551744)
      In Soviet Russia, we say .NYET to Microsoft!

      I personally think this is worthy of modding up... ;) And I blew my 5 mod points earlier.. ;)

      I submitted a cool story earlier too. Would have been fun.
      Yeah, yeah, I know. "Note: grousing about rejected submissions is Offtopic and usually gets moderated that way. It happens, don't take it personally."
    • In Soviet Russia, we say .NYET to Microsoft!

      Don't know where you've been, but people in the rest of the world have been using the '.NYET' put-down for ages - maybe not on /. but I've seen it used a lot over on ZDNet Bunf^H^H^H^HTalkback... :)
  • what is .net? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by seeksoft (579626)
    I agree with the confused thing. I have NO idea what .net is. I used the visual studio, but its not vb7. its "VB.NET" wtf? So maybe somebody in this thread can tell me what .NET is?
  • I don't know of any actual products from MS other than the planned Windows .NET that had .NET in their name, but I am still confused as to what it is. .NET is really like Java, isn't it? I mean Java was a language, a set of libs, and a VM/byte code spec. I think, I never quite figured out where those lines were drawn either.

    May I suggest Microsoft .WS. That way they can tell everyone it means Windows Server, when it really is Western Samoa.
    • Re:.NET slapping. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Enzondio (110173) <jelmore@@@lexile...com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:00PM (#5058831) Homepage
      Visual Studio.NET is the biggest one I can think of (and consequently VB.NET, ASP.NET, etc.)

      It is similar to Java, the big difference being that many many languages could all be compiled into the same bytecode.

      What was spiffy was you could very easily use different languages for different parts of your program. Business logic in C, interface in VB, etc.

      I know you could do this before but .NET made it much easier. It's not a bad product, it's just not the end all be all that they were hyping. And is that really all that surprising?
    • .NET is basically a programming framework. A bunch of libraries (DLLs) that you can use to base your programs on, so you don't have to write code for the basic things like generating a form, or sending an email, or making an HTTP request.
    • Re:.NET slapping. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ergo98 (9391) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:58PM (#5059641) Homepage Journal
      .NET is market-speak that the marketing droids created to "synergize" the Microsoft product range. When you hear someone say ".NET is this and this and this", usually it's because they don't have a clue. Furthermore a death knell to .NET was that the term is not searchable (because every engine drops the period, and net is obviously a ubiquitous word. You end up looking for searchable nicknames like "dotnet", which thankfully MS named their newsgroups). Unsearchable terms are a frickin' nuisance in the era of Google.

      What is .NET? A marketing title. Pretty much every product and technology for a period of time, no matter how disparate and thoroughly different, got the .NET title for a period of time. The common language runtime and the framework are both gorgeous, but they have nothing to do with "Exchange Server.NET", and "Windows.NET" was XP Server edition with the framework that you can already download installed (and IIS 6).

      If you remember a couple of years ago us Windows developers were doing "DNA" development, which was the title that all the products got (SQL Server was a member of the DNA platform....imagine the outrage when it jumped ship and became a .NET product!), along with every technology (COM, MTS and MSMQ all suddenly became DNA technologies).
  • so.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Britissippi (565742) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:54PM (#5058760) Journal
    So now its .NOT ?

    Or, IN SOVIET RUSSIA (sorry), .NYET ?

  • by ad0gg (594412)
    MSN Direct Active XP+ 2004 Server
  • Misunderstanding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YellowElectricRat (637662) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:55PM (#5058786) Journal
    There certainly is a glut of managers who think that .NET must be something to do with the little messenger icon that pops up when you install Windows XP and it asks you to register your .NET passport. And this isn't just your typical pointy-haired manager type, it's people with a reasonable amount of technical expertise, too. I've had to do plenty of explaining as to what .NET is when these managers see it in the spec document. I have to say though, that (so far) .NET is a pleasure to work with for developing those intra-extranet synergistic B2B enterprise solutions. It seems to lend itself quite well to that :)
    • Re:Misunderstanding (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      ".NET is a pleasure to work with for developing those intra-extranet synergistic B2B enterprise solutions."

      It sounds like you're taking about WebObjects when you say that...

      This is the blurb from the WebObjects site:
      "A powerful rapid application development environment, backed by Web service, data access and page generation capabilities, extends the reach of developers and reduces the cost of ownership by ensuring flexible, maintainable design. WebObjects is the ideal way to develop, deploy and extend powerful web services."

      The difference being that WebObjects is 5 versions and 3 OSes old now, stable, and based on 'open' technologies, and .NET isn't :D
    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday January 10, 2003 @10:02PM (#5060506) Homepage Journal
      intra-extranet synergistic B2B enterprise solutions

      Reading that gives me a headrush. I gotta lie down for a minute.

  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:58PM (#5058808) Journal
    Having .NET on everything is actually hurting .NET--no one understands what it is because it is so generic. It also makes it harder to figure out what individual products are.

    I would be highly doubtful that this means that Microsoft is somehow 'backing off' .NET
    • Having .NET on everything is actually hurting .NET--no one understands what it is because it is so generic. It also makes it harder to figure out what individual products are.

      Right you are. So .NET goes back to being just a Java imitation, which is nice and clear and easy to understand.
    • I would be highly doubtful that this means that Microsoft is somehow 'backing off' .NET

      I'm not so sure, propably Bill Gates told Steve Ballmer: "I will no longer support .NET until you tell me what it is".

  • Does this mean we can now post .NET benchmark results without Microsoft's written consent?
  • Dot Net (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:59PM (#5058821)
    Bill: Nobody wants dotnet!
    MS Marketing : Let's rename it and fool the bastards
    Ballmer: * grin *
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With so much $ in the bank, they will let go of their failures quickly. Even though the tech community still teases them about Bob and crap like that, Microsoft pretend it never happened. Slowly, this will happen with .NET. It was a horrible idea from the start, and has severely backfired. Even though their credibility is ruined, they will move on and bumble around in the dark some more until they catch on to something. In the fable, the boy who cried wolf got three chances. Microsoft seems to get a lot more credit and trust from people than that, so it doesn't really matter that this has flopped on their face. They could have just released an upgrade to VB, but they had to sound like they had a lot more up their sleeves than that. They are casting a NET for a new strategy for the company, and they keep coming back with tin cans.
  • Although iTools always sounded pretty lame, .Mac as a name never made any sense with the exception of its similarity to the name .Net.


  • If only .Net could become a .Bob, maybe that would cut MS down a bit (didn't they say that .Net was a bet the company project?).
  • A name change may seem a small thing, but not too long ago microsoft were telling all and sundry that .NET would be the future of the computing world.

    The fact that they change the name to something NOT containing the magic term '.NET' must mean, at the least, that all the expensive PR has failed.

    microsoft need to actually demonstrate an actual use for .NET, after all, if I'm a qualified C++ programmer and I don't really know what it's 'about', how the hell is Joe Public gonna buy into this?
  • What I really don't understand is what MS hopes to accomplish by tweaking their product names only very slightly. So it use to be Windows 2000 Server and now it's going to be Windows Server 2003... big deal.

    If .NET was really a bet-the-business proposition, they might as well call the product what it is. Windows Server for .NET Version 1.0. Maybe MS has realized that .NET isn't as much a fundamental paradigm switch as it is a client/server application you run on your computer.

    And for that matter, the workstation version could be Windows Workstation for .NET Applications Version 1.0. That might actually help the consumer a little!

    Honestly, the users that were suppose to benefit from "consistent" naming conventions (Win 95, Win 98, Win 2000) have been duped with WinME, WinXP and whatever else MS is going to call their next workstation version of NT.

    Enough of these naming "conventions" already; call it what it is. IMHO, Apple is doing the most work in this area -- an OS is simply OS # - makes sense to me.
    • If .NET was really a bet-the-business proposition, they might as well call the product what it is.

      Which is exactly what they're doing. .NET Server was a misnomer, as it is strictly WindowsNT/2K code with the latest IIS and .NET Framework installed.

      A real .NET Windows will appear when the entire OS runs as managed code along with the rest of .NET. This next server OS is exactly what they've renamed it to, Windows 2003 Server.

  • I just check whois and windowsserver200x.com is still available!

    I'm gonna be rich...

  • heh (Score:2, Funny)

    by cetan (61150)
    I bet a lot of domain name speculators/squatters are feeling good about their .NET-related purchases now...

  • It's hardly surprising that they encountered market confusion considering how many people will always associate .net their internet provider's domain name.

    An even greater cause for brand confusion is the .wet initiative [ridiculopathy.com] introduced at last year's Comdex show (which happened to coincide with a Vegas-area porn industry convention).
  • I'm wondering if we are seeing yet another sign of something shaking loose in Redmond? There's been all these unintended discharges of memos (Halloween, etc.), the deal with their faking 'switch' ads, etc. etc. And now this, appearing as if the left hand disagrees with the right hand. Anyone have info on a compilation of these and other 'slipups'?

    Personal Strap-On Aircraft for Auction on eBay [xnewswire.com]

  • Wired Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by bahwi (43111) <incoming@@@josephguhlin...com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:09PM (#5058914) Homepage
    There's a blurb about it at the bottom of this [wired.com] Wired Article.

    One quote "Microsoft also is re-evaluating the ubiquitous name's use on other software." adds another dimension to this than just taking it off of the Windows 2003 Server.
  • No no no.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    It will be called "Microsoft Windows ($current_year + 1)" so that it won't LOOK terribly out of date for the next two years.

  • I agree that loyal microsoft users tend to be a bit less computer-savvy, but I think even they should have figured out by now that

    NET stands for the INTERNET. Microsoft innovated, invented it. Microsoft 0wnz it.

  • All this proves (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slycer9 (264565)
    is that M$oft knows the value of the public's perception. Other companies have pulled moves similar to this over the years, with far less fanfare (not to mention the griping and moaning).
    It doesn't matter what it's called people, all that matters is what it does.
    Mandrake, Suse, Slack...need I say more? Same thing (essentially) different name. .Net, WinSrv200X...doesn't matter, (assuming as based on the article) since all of the core is remaining the same.
    Name change only. As far as no one in the general public 'getting' what .Net was intended for...well, it wasn't intended for the GP now, was it?
  • What is .NET? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r (13067) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:19PM (#5058994)
    i've been able to find at least three distinct meanings of the .NET tag:
    1. in the web development circles, it's used for next-generation tools and services for writing web applications. for example, ASP.NET [asp.net], SOAP RPC, and various other web- and XML-based services

    2. in the web customer services domain, it was going to be a secure roaming account scheme, a.k.a. the Passport .NET [passport.net]

    3. most interestingly, in the windows application development domain, .NET is also used to describe the .NET Framework, a new set of libraries that's meant to slowly replace the standard Win32/64 libraries (see articles at ars technica [arstechnica.com] for really detailed info). the framework is basically a cleaned-up, garbage-collected, language-agnostic version of Win32. it's great. but hardly anyone thinks about it when they hear .NET-this or .NET-that. :)

    in any case, the semantic shift of the label .NET has surely caused MS much grief. it's about time they cleaned it up.
    • Re:What is .NET? (Score:3, Informative)

      by harvardian (140312)
      ASP.NET is "a compiled .NET Framework-based environment" (from gotdotnet.com) -- so basically it's a subset of the Framework with its own quirks like .aspx files that automatically compile. To illustrate this point, Response.Write() from ASP has turned into System.Web.HttpResponse.Write() in ASP.NET. So all of ASP.NET's functionality is in the global namespace, and ASP.NET can access the rest of the namespace hierarchy like any other program.

      Also, the entire .NET Framework is designed with XML-based services in mind, not just ASP.NET. Most (all?) classes can be serialized and passed around to be discovered by reflection.

  • ActiveX (Score:3, Informative)

    by Iamthefallen (523816) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:29PM (#5059061) Homepage Journal

    I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself, MS is run by lawyers and marketing people who don't consider any technical aspects of what they're doing. MS messed up bad with the ActiveX craze and maybe this influenced the move away from the .Net name. Very few still understand what .Net actually is, and MS isn't helping. I really wish they could have some of their techs/programmers sit down and write a coherent explanation/introduction, without lawyer/marketing influence. It took me a looong time to get a grip on it, simply because any MS material is so filled with buzzwords and marketing terms.

    For those that still don't know what .Net is, it's like an MS version of J2EE, not Java, J2EE. It's a architecture with among other things a large class library and a cross platform runtime that all .Net languages can run under.

    Ok, so it's not 100% accurate, but close enough.

  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:35PM (#5059099)
    I've seen a number of posts trying to clarify what .NET is, and they're missing the point. .NET isn't just about web services and so on, which in itself is a good reason to change the name. .NET is a major attempt to shed legacy Windows problems and modernize both Windows itself and Windows application development. If you read the .NET and C# documents, you'll see this. For example, if you want to write a GUI application for Windows today, you have to use one of (a) raw Win32 API, (b) MFC, (c) a cross-platform toolkit like WxWindows, or (d) a tool like Delphi or Visual Basic. By a large margin, the last of these is the cleanest and least stressful--if you're only concerned about Windows that is (of course you can get Delphi for Linux in the guise of Kylix). But .NET is bringing the GUI building features of Delphi and Visual Basic to the OS, so there's support for this from the ground up. Ditto for technologies like DirectX 9. No more do you have to deal with arcane C++ interfaces to COM, you can use a pretty little C# component.

    In short, Microsoft is deprecating most of the Win32 API, making .NET the preferred method for developing Windows applications. If don't like C#, that's okay. Microsoft has been getting indepdendent language developers to port their own languages to .NET, including lesser used languages like Smalltalk, APL, and Mercury.

    As much as I hate to say it, .NET could be a huge win. No more struggling with Petzold books, just use the much simpler .NET components. No need to hang onto awful legacy frameworks like MFC, which even Microsoft employees hate. No more having to choose between C++ and much slower scripting languages like Python for application development, just use C#.
    • by Herkum01 (592704) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:53PM (#5059606)

      NET is a major attempt to shed legacy Windows

      HEY that is Linux's strategy! They cannot come with ANYTHING on their own anymore!

  • by avandesande (143899) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:43PM (#5059155) Journal
    One thing that really differentiated the difference between .net applications and win32 ones was their appearance, which is different much like the way java apps look different. When Win XP came along with all the skins, this difference has evaporated. WinXP and .net apps have definitly taken some hints from kde/gnome world.
  • Thank GOD! (Score:3, Funny)

    by divide overflow (599608) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:01PM (#5059297)

    I'm *SO* happy Microsoft is dropping the .NET from the server name. Every time a client would ask me what .NET was I would think:

    "Well, let's see...I can confuse him, anger him, or put him to sleep. Maybe I should fake a heart attack right now...."
  • Puzzled. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miguel (7116) on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:52PM (#5059939) Homepage
    I am puzzled that a project rename would generate 298 posts in Slashdot. I guess everyone had an opinion.
  • Disturbing encounter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:04PM (#5059999)
    I walked into the dimly lit room and looked around. It seemed something was trying to gain my attention, but in the darkness, everything seemed to blend into one shapeless form or another.

    As my eyes adjusted to the low light, I began to make out a scribbling on the far wall...dot not....dot nut....dot nat....dot nit....dot net??? I couldn't make it out and it worried me. Dot what?

    I walked over and traced the ragged letters with my finger tips, trying to imagine who did this...and why. The scrawl was halting and labored. The only thing I could be sure of was that, whomever wrote this message, they were clearly in pain.

    I backed out of the room and tried in vain to clear my head...what where they trying to say? Who was behind this cry? Was it a warning to stay away or a dieing request for help?

    I went on about my rounds...the day shift would be on soon, and I'd have to return to the future. I'd let them work on this one. I'd heard they had another new open source tool that was made just to analyze these. It was too early and too much for me to consider yet another message from the other side...from the past. The last one took part of my soul, and I need the few little fragments that are left...
  • by nazgul000 (545727) on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:48PM (#5060231) Journal
    I see many "What is .NET" posts here. The best single whitepaper I've seen on .NET is by the Ars Technica folks:

    Microsoft .NET at Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]

    cheers.
  • The Real Del (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bird Watcher (640317) on Friday January 10, 2003 @09:32PM (#5060392)
    Ultimately the meaning behind any marketing term is somewhat arbitrary. When Apple came out with the Apple name, it initially didn't mean anything. Over the years it came to mean a lot in the minds of many people. That's kind of what a brand name is all about, right? .NET is the same thing only MS has done a very bad job defining it. Re-naming the Windows .net server is (perhaps) a step in the right direction. If you look at the leaked Q&A from the announcement, it seems very clear to me what they're doing. I'll try to explain in simple terms.

    1. In the beginning they announced .NET as a web services initiative - basically a way of writing software that uses XML, SOAP, WSDL etc. to allow apps to interoperate. A poor mans COM.

    2. The a bunch of marketing goofs started attaching the name to lots of things - most importantly the .net framework.

    3. The .net framework is - for all intensive purposes three things. First, it's a new programming model for Windows based on the common language runtime that makes it much easier to write secure, stable Windows appps. It also includes a new version of ASP that makes building web-based easier. It also includes facilities that for building XML web services and a bunch of new class libraries for Windows and web apps.

    4. The big mistake they made was putting .net into the name of the framework because it confused everyone. To people who can't read the tea leaves, it suggests that any appliacation built ising the framework is a ".net app." In reality, most of the apps built using the .net framework today are just better, more secure Windows apps or ASP/web-based apps.

    With the announcement they said in clear terms that the .net brand is about Web services interop. They obviously still want people to build Windows apps and are making it easier to do so than it has been with Win32/MFC etc. So they're building web services capability deep into their platform -into Windows, into Office I'm sure and into all of their server apps.

    For developers this is a beautiful thing. They can take it or leave it. They choose to build on Windows based on its merits. Market opportunity, ease of development or whatever. Some may ultimately choose to build on Windows because Windows has good XML web services support.

    I think MS's strategy is to continue to make Windows as good as they can and compete with J2 by providing superior support for web services. The theory (just a theory) is that if web services mature then developers can choose whatever platform they want and rely on web services to stitch things together across platforms. This could be a good strategy because it undermines the Java-only argument. No need to build apps on a single platform (middleware platform in this case) because web services provide good cross plat interop.

    So, the bottom line is that MS is narrowing what .net is to web services/interop. The .net framework programming model/CLR etc is, fundamentally a Windows thing. No surprise, right?

    That said, MS is taking parts of the .net framework/CLR programming model and porting it to other platforms. That way they can try to lure ISV's to build "Windows apps" that run on other platforms. I know. Sounds confusing but I think this is accurate.

    This is way MS, IBM and other companies are so excited about web services and why others - particularly SUN, have been a little slow on the uptake. Although this is overly simplistic, Sun/the J2 crowd basically want everything to be Java/J2. IBM will sell anything to anyone. MS wants to make Windows the most attractive platform.

    Gosh, this almost sounds like good old competition to me.

    Sorry for the ramble but, mark my words, this is the correct interpretation.

  • by TekPolitik (147802) on Friday January 10, 2003 @09:38PM (#5060418) Journal

    They did this with ActiveX too. For a while, everybody at MS said their project was part of the ActiveX initiative. Then they scaled back the use of the term

    This sort of thing is not uncommon in software companies - they have a new project that becomes flavour of the month, and everybod will try to reclassify their project to fit within the new project. If the new project has attributes A, B and C, a project with attributes C, D and E will claim to be part of the trendy project because of the overlap at C, when the real value of the trendy project is the combination of A, B and C.

    The other thing that happens with new projects at software companies is that the entire sales force will want to be selling the new project and ignoring everything else. My theory here is that the salespeople have such tiny brains they can't deal with more than one project at once. The other projects languish for a time, which creates another incentive for them to reclassify themselves into the trendy project's area. This can be a real problem for the company because their staple lines stop selling as much since the salespeople aren't pushing them, and the new trendy thing is either not ready or hasn't built enough following to take up the slack.

FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin

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