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Microsoft

How The Web Was Almost Won 287

Posted by Hemos
from the the-story-of-the-servers dept.
radiator wrote to us with the latest writing from Tim O'Reilly, currently running on Salon. Tim, as always, does a great job writing, this time dealing with the Microsoft trial, the server market, and how close we really came to an Internet ruled by Microsoft.
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How The Web Was Almost Won

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  • Tim's last sentence:
    Whether Linux and the rest of the open source movement, or the Justice Department and the courts, play the role of America, I leave to history to determine.

    I'm waiting to see who plays the role of Japan.

  • Currently, the statistics (as any /. reader knows) show that Apache, especially Apache on Linux, is currently winning the server war. However, if the recent benchmarks from Mindcraft are any indication, Linux may start to lose market share simply due to lack of competitiveness in the performance area. Obviously, Apache (being largely OS-independent) will almost certainly survive the the "server war." However, unless very significant improvements occurr in Linux performance, and soon, the Linux-Apache combo may be replaced in popularity by an Apache-(fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-*nix) combo. Does anyone else see this as a possibility?
  • I'm waiting to see who plays the role of Japan.

    Probably a cable company, or some other company that is not really a computer company but has the leverage to move the computer industry.

    Steven Rostedt
  • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:10PM (#1527578) Journal
    That crippling of NT-Workstation never created as much outrage as I thought it should. Beyond the usual anti-competive bundling, they got caught repeatedly and blatantly lying about the "added features" of NT-Server.

    Speaking of not getting attention, I was amazed that Salon's recent "How Slashdot Will Destroy Society" article [salon1999.com] didn't rate a mention here. I wrote up a comment as soon as I saw the story, and was surprised that it wasn't linked here.

  • It's an interesting article. Most people know that Microsoft wants to control every aspect of the market and that using proprietary server technology is in the long run going to be more effective than to do it on a browser level. Just look at their business model. They really don't have to fight, for example, Linux head on. If they can get a strong enough base of NT servers running BackOffice with enough proprietary API and such, then people will not be able to use anything on a browser level. They will be forced to use MSIE out of default in order to receive information from the servers, thereby shutting out competition and killing two birds with one stone without any additional effort. In order to win, at both the browser level and the server level, people/businesses will have to think smarter than Microsoft and plan ahead. The DOJ's victory is important, but Microsoft is as slippery as a snake and will find a way to win, no matter what direction they have to take to achieve their goal.

  • by Signal 11 (7608) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:13PM (#1527581)
    To answer another slashdot reader's question about who Japan would be in O'Reilly's analogy, I believe that would be Intel.

    Back to my comments now - he's right about everything except one. Microsoft is winning hand over fist in the intranet market. By standardizing on one browser, one OS, and one platform, companies can more easily deploy things onto the intranet - add hooks to MS-word documents, place Powerpoint presentations and Excel worksheets about company performance on the intranet, and do collaborative projects.

    By combining "directory" functionality into NT5 and W2K like LDAP only a thousand-fold more complex, Microsoft will gain in the intranet market what it lost in the internet market - control over the protocols and clients. They have a solid browser now... a full-featured office suite that blows the competition out of the water (hey - I don't care what you think about Microsoft; MSO is a damn good product, minus that damned Clippy guy).

    The war is very much still on. We can't keep the internet open forever if all the networks connecting to it have Microsoft as their gatekeeper.



    --
  • Microsoft's web browser dominates the market. Linux does not have a very modern or stable web browser at the moment. Pages are written to work better with MSIE and have MSIE specific tags. Most plugins are only avalable for Windows (and quite a few for MacOS). And I find that in order to get the most out of the web, one must be equiped with MSIE running on Windows or a Macintosh.

    If you can't call that controlling the web, I don't know what to call it.

  • Okay, granted, Microsoft bad, blah blah blah, but I think O'Reilly really crossed the line with the comparison. Bill Gates may be a lot of things but to compare him to Hitler is just bad taste.
  • kind of reminds me of those "now declassified documents" that show just how close we were to nuclear annhilation during certain parts of the cold war.
  • Does anyone else see this as a possibility?

    No. The bottle necks in Linux are already being wrung out. But the Apache/Linux combo still outperforms todays bandwidth. As long as that is true, performance is not too much of an issue. Remember that this test was only on static pages. It would be interesting to see how the tests go on dynamic ones, and with the 2.4 kernel.

    Also the Linux/Apache is still the best band for the buck (with the exception of maybe *BSD/Apache). I still believe that Linux will continue to advance in its development faster than any of the other *nixs and definitely MS.

    Steven Rostedt
  • (uhm... seems I have too much time today... anyway...)

    I don't believe in monopolies. Sooner or later it is doomed to crash: I have been living for 17 years in a perfect monopol - everything was run by one and single company, called The Party. Monopols are ineffective, and not stable, although they can persist for a certain period. Even if Microsoft was ten times bigger than it is now, I doubt it could ever monopolize the Internet - for a long time. Imagine the Internet, monopolized by MS, and Linux - coming up, say, five years later. Microsoft, having a perfect monopol, is expensive, really expensive, but its products have an even lower quality than today. In especially, security is a problem. Maybe in America MS stays a monopol for a long time: but in poorer countries, which cannot afford new hardware and $1000 for every update, simple, low-end solutions start to play an important role. The force of natural selection is very harsh, but possible gains are huge: therefore, evolution is quick.

    No. I really don't think it could happen. And if it did, it wouldn't last very long.

    I think I am in an optimistic mood today...

    Regards,

    January

  • I personally took the mindcraft studies to show something completely different. Since most of us have seen for ourselves that Linux and *BSD are stable under heavy load, it would seem to me the mindcraft study verified for me that a single Linux server can saturate a pipe much fatter than I can afford.
  • First off, it's Netcraft [netcraft.com] that does the web server stats, not Mindcraft.

    However, unless very significant improvements occurr in Linux performance, and soon, the Linux-Apache combo may be replaced in popularity by an Apache-(fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-*nix) combo. Does anyone else see this as a possibility?

    Is this bad? Granted, it'd be nice to see Apache-on-an-Open-Source-OS as the dominant "platform", but that's already the case, isn't it? Linux is not the be-all and end-all of server OSes. I couldn't find any OS stats on Netcraft, so I couldn't tell how Apache is broken up among Linux, *BSD, NT, AIX, Solaris, etc.

    Also, as you said, Apache is largely platform independant, as long as your platform smells like *nix. (Although I don't know about how Apache runs on BeOS.) The Apache group admits that Win32 is a second-class platform for Apache. How important this is is debatable.

  • "As a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis approaches one"
  • Hmm... I suppose articles like this are out of the scope of Godwin's Law, right?
  • This pretty good article. It should belong here, in Linux advocates stronghold (Linux rules, MS sucks!)... HEY ROB, how about it!
    Go and read it, NOW.
    Jón
  • Yes, web traffic is increasing, but I'd be willing to bet (I have no hard statistics) that the load per server is not increasing nearly as fast as the server hardware. Eventually, people will realize that for 99% of servers, webserver performance is not nearly as important as reliability factors (including OS, webserver, hardware, power, etc.). If you really want to spit out huge numbers of static pages, get an optimized server (like khttpd). If you want to spit out lots of dynamic content, write your CGI in optimized C and get a fast database server. Or, realize that the time it takes to rewrite your CGI costs more than just buying another server.

    Certainly, NT/IIS is faster than Linux/Apache at the extreme high end. But it's considerably less reliable, the OS has a greater overhead (both $ and speed :), and requires more time to maintain. In other words, you might save a few bucks on hardware, but you aren't getting a better deal.

  • As I was reading the posts earlier about Service pack 6 crippling Lotus Notes, I couldn't decide which side of the fence I should sit on: Accident or On Purpose. After reading Tim's article I've gathered much more insight into Microsoft pulling crap as they just did. And it happens a lot. Long live Apache and UNIX.
  • I don't see how Mindcraft's figures can be used to compare the two OS'es in a practical enviornment, as the bandwidth that would be consumed at those levels would saturate fiber.

    Would you rather tires on your car that were rated to 1000 mph that had blowouts every ten miles to tires that were solid and only rated at 500 mph?

  • .... which would explain the 'accidental' crippling of Lotus Notes as well.

  • No matter what, you can't say that MS doesn't have good business sense.

    1) Control the beach-head (client)
    2) Leverage the supply line (server)
    3) Buy out the pipes (communications infrastructure) to charge transaction fees
    4) Price the talent of the really smart people out of the reach of competition (stock options)
    5) Dictate to the content providers to compete away their brand premium (AOL, media, etc)

    It worked for the railroads and highway builders, why not communications and IT? Of course, now that the other big media groups are somewhat aware, perhaps the execution will be a little bit more difficult. The point of real interest is can a grassroot social philosophy (OpenSource) do anything except offer a temporary delaying action against the forces of big business and money?

    I wonder what the stock markets will be like in 10 years time ...

    LL
  • "Microsoft's web browser dominates the market. Linux does not have a very modern or stable web browser at the moment." You contradict yourself here. Windows isn't stable.

    "Pages are written to work better with MSIE and have MSIE specific tags." Here is where you are right, and this is one of the bases for my dislike of Microsoft. The Web has the potential of being something great--a place where people using different computers running different OS's have access to uniform data. Microsoft, in the span of maybe five years, has absolutely destroyed this philosophy. Does MS own the Web? Not all of it, but enough to count.

    Semper vigilens

  • Maybe I'm just not visiting the right sites, but I've never been able to make out much that I've missed by using Netscape as my primary browser. Now granted, IE is indisputably the most-used browser out there right now (bundling with the OS and OEM/ISP agreements assured that), at least by those who are new to the Internet (still the most powerful market segment), but so far I haven't seen much that really excludes me as a Netscape user (and all of that in Intranet apps). Now I've seen a few things that render oddly in IE (and the fact that IE -still- can't handle MindTerm), but that's another matter.

    Bottom line, my objection still isn't the browser (IE is impressive most of the time), it's the combination of bloated, often-buggy code (NS is equally guilty here) with nasty market practices.

    -Drayke
  • And also why they're partnering with Cisco - a popular brand in corporations... and why they've filed numerous patents over directory tech... and why... Yeah.. the writing's on the wall, but the linux nuts have been so focused on the "internet" they forgot about all the related technology. There was a protocol called DAV I believe which Apache has begun implimenting. This is part of the MS push to dominate the intranet market. Working with MS is like playing a chess game.. you don't know what's gonna happen in 10 moves...

    --
  • Oops...didn't realize you were talking about performance -- that is indeed Mindcraft. Don't mind me.

  • Why? One operated in the political arena, the other the business. They are both meglomaniacs, and I imagine history would unfold the same way if they switched places.
    Cheers,

    Rick Kirkland
  • by konstant (63560) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:33PM (#1527605)
    O'Reilly makes a number of contentions that simply don't follow, or that are colored by his obvious resentment of the success of IIS. I respect his books (bought two of them yesterday), but not this.

    Judge Jackson's analysis completely avoided the server side of the equation -- and it is the server which has turned out to be the real next-generation platform.[snip]Yet the most interesting new applications of the past few years don't reside on the PC at all, but on remote Web servers. I'm talking about Amazon.com, eBay, E-Trade, Yahoo Maps and so on.

    I'm blinking but the words I'm reading don't change. Is O'Reilly expressing regret that Judge Jackson won't prevent Microsoft from growing its share in the server market? Excuse me, but Microsoft only has about a quarter of the world's web servers. They are decidedly an underdog. But because Tim prefers Linux, he wants to see MS legally crippled in every possible market, regardless of whether they enjoy any sort of dominance. This is where anti-trust can get ugly. Once the giant stumbles, the feeding frenzy begins. Everybody wants to have legal protection against competition, regardless of whether they personally have been wronged. Yes, Microsoft did a lot of bad things on the Internet and with OEM's and it will be punished. But web servers?

    Microsoft argued, quite rightly, that it had the right to create two different versions of NT, with different price points, and different functionality. [snip] Microsoft's public rationale for the policy -- that it was protecting its customers because NT Workstation was not suitable for use as a server operating system -- was proven false by my colleague, former O'Reilly editor Andrew Schulman (working with Mark Russinovich). Shulman and Russinovich demonstrated that it was possible to convert NT Workstation to NT Server by changing only a few registry entries.

    This proves exactly nothing. I'm amazed that Tim O'Reilly, of all people, would think that when you buy commercial software you are actually paying for the bits on the CD. Of course you aren't! Those bits cost next to nothing intrinsically. You are paying for the license, which in turn is the software company's way of recouping the salaries of its developers, testers, and managers.

    If you buy a license for NT Workstation instead of NT Server, then you are agreeing to pay for the workstation features, but not for the server features. Thus you get a lower rate because Microsoft agrees to ship you a more restrictive license at a discount. If they also ship you other bits on the disk, it is illegal (although maybe not unethical depending on how you view piracy) to use those bits because you didn't pay the premium for them. I can see why you might not agree with that practice, but I don't see why is this difficult to understand.

    The main point is that in each case, Microsoft used its power over the operating system to tilt the playing field in its favor, doing its utmost to crush the competition in a hotly contested Internet application area.[snip]In the server arena, Microsoft used a very similar tactic; it bundled the IIS Web server software with the NT operating system and then created roadblocks and financial disincentives for NT users to use alternate server applications.

    I just installed Win2k two days ago, and IIS was indeed an installation option. If I didn't want to use it, of course, I could always turn the bitch off with a single click on the checkbox (for those who haven't installed NT server before, this is just like unchecking the checkbox for "games" or "accessibility" in win98). Simple as that - there is no integration, nothing to get in the way of installing Apache or any other server you please. What O'Reilly really wanted was for Microsoft customers who pay the lesser license fee for Workstation could nonetheless have server capacities by buying a comptetitor's product which would deliberately re-enable NT server functions through the registry, thus subverting Microsoft's licensing paradigm. In this way, users have a dubiously legal fiscal incentive to buy O'Reilly's web server instead of Microsoft's because Microsoft makes them pay for the NT Server functions as well as the IIS. I really have trouble understanding why O'Reilly could think this is irresponsible of Microsoft. On the contrary, it seems an obvious act of aggression on the part of the third party web server companies who are facilitating the theft of a server license from MS. Now, again, whether you think stealing a license is wrong is entirely another matter. But it is illegal.

    Microsoft's IIS is today the number two Web server -- with 25 percent market share to Apache's 54 percent, according to an October survey conducted by Netcraft. But for the Justice Department scrutiny, might not Microsoft have mounted an all-out attack next on the open source technologies and open protocols of the Web?

    Please tell me how this could have happened. Is O'Reilly saying that Microsoft is going to change HTTP so that it only works on IIS? With 25% of the market share that sounds about as stupid as I can imagine. Or, will they "embrace and extend" server-side extensions so that certain rich webpages will run only on IIS? They've already been doing that for ages. It's called "Front Page Server Extensions" and all it does is allow the web admin to enhance the content of pages on that web server. Now why, oh why, would that be in any way unethical. It doesn't violate a standard because it's server side and the user sees only the end result, regardless of their browser. It is, to put it briefly and sweetly, a feature. If the competition doesn't have that feature, and if customers want it, then whose fault is that? Not Microsofts as far as I can see.

    It reminds me a bit of World War II. France (Netscape) has fallen, and the Battle of Britain is being fought for the Web, with the stalwart resistance of the Apache Group holding up the juggernaut till the rest of the free world can get its act together. Whether Linux and the rest of the open source movement, or the Justice Department and the courts, play the role of America, I leave to history to determine.

    Godwin's law makes its sooty appearance once again. Microsoft wants to gain market share for its IIS? Hmm... that reminds me a lot of HITLER! :)

    -konstant
  • Now don't get me wrong, I think Apache is great and I run a site on it, and have steered others away from IIS/ASP to Apache/PHP, but...

    What I'd really like to see is a count of servers by how many boxes run them. My site is on one machine with 150 others, so that's 150 for Apache. Meanwhile, the web startup I work for has fifteen clustered machines running IIS/SQL7 and that counts as one seat NT.

    Obviously both sides are inflated by the virtual seats, but I get the sense that Apache benefits more from these numbers than MS...

    -cwk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:34PM (#1527607)
    when i was working in the unix shop of an unnamed [discovery.com] popular web content provider a few years ago, M$ came to us with a proposal: they were rolling out a fancy new OS (win98), with this nifty new feature (activedesktop), and there was going to be a panel on the desktop with one-click access to 25 popular websites. we could have one of those spots, but we had to agree to include prominently in our site 4 of these 7 nifty new (and of course incompatible) web technologies M$ was pushing, and place an IE sticker on all our pages. prisoner's dilemma: do we say yes? can we afford not to say yes? we knew M$ was going to all the other content providers too, if they managed to make it so that all the users out there wouldn't be able to see our site, it would have been a mistake not to get on board when we had the opportunity.
    notice that they never said "you must get rid of your SGI boxes, fire your unix jockeys, and burn your copies of netscape server", but that was effectively what they were saying. since these proprietary web extensions could of course only be served off of NT/IIS, we needed to buy new hardware, hire new admins and cgi coders, and how long can you afford to support parallel hardware and software development paths? eventually you dump that which you're not contractually obligated to M$ to support, and goodbye netscape server. (by the way, i notice that they are still serving some of their content off of netscape server, but i recognize none of the names in the Interactive Technology department, so i assume they all left for this reason.)
    now, what if this site was the one reason you went online? (i'm sure this isn't the case, but map the analogy to your favorite site...) when they finally go M$, do you just give up browsing forever? or do you just knuckle under and go get IE?
    they put pressure on the browser/server wars from every direction, brilliant, evil, but not necessarily illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Tim says:It reminds me a bit of World War II. France (Netscape) has fallen, and the Battle of Britain is being fought for the Web, with the stalwart resistance of the Apache Group holding up the juggernaut till the rest of the free world can get its act together. Whether Linux and the rest of the open source movement, or the Justice Department and the courts, play the role of America, I leave to history to determine.

    So who's Russia? In a typically American* view of history, O'Reilly ignores that. Maybe he just does so for the purpose of analogy, but I think it might be interesting to think of IBM as Russia. A big behemoth that dominated, but was backstabbed by ally Microsoft/Germany, but is now mounting a strong recovery and is an important player in preventing Microsoft/German domination. In WWII, after all, Russia did as much or more than the West (granted, with aid). You can carry that IBM/Russia analogy pretty far, though it does require some future prediction.

    * Yes, I am American.

  • This is just a question, not a suggestion.
    Microsoft surely doesn't handle the routing of the Internet. I've heard of something called the UDP - USENET Death Penalty - whereby some ISP's are blocked from USENET.

    Could something similar be done to prevent MS from usurping the net? Something like a refusal-to-route if certain protocols aren't followed or perhaps if bandwidth is consumed by all those propritary barnacles on MS-software produced documents?

    This question should be considered in at least three ways:
    1. Is it possible in code?
    2. Could it be implemented?
    3. Would such a thing be desireable?
  • Intel, of course. AMD is China. IBM is Russia. So look out for the coming Cold War.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • heh heh. I'm betting it's illegal as hell though.
    ;)
  • when one controls thoughts, communication, information, and even commerce, that monopoly becomes something else. In this world, it would be God. And it would STAY God, for a very, very long time.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • I'm a computer science student, and I'll be entering the field of battle in a few years. Having said that, I'd like to pose my stance:

    1. The Web and the tech industry in general runs on the backs of smart folks. Microsoft's current position is due to Bill's cleverness.
    2. I may be alone, but I don't think so, in thinking that I'm working to better society, and not just make money. "Yeah right" some readers are saying, but I wouldn't go to work on "The Campus" (microsoft) if they paid me a 2 million dollar salary.

    So, back to what I was saying, if people in the tech industry are principled, ethical, clear-headed folks, item #4 (price out the talent) falls. The monster strangle-hold companies (like microsoft) have their knees cut out without the gray matter.

    So why will OpenSource win? Because it makes sense. Because it's easy. Because it's free. I'm kinda interested to see what others think about this...

    Semper vigilens

  • Gee, what's faster than a T-1?

    T-3
    OC-45 (?)
    10 base T
    100 base T
    1000 base T

    Granted, gigabit ethernet isn't exactly common, but 5 T-1's is not the be all end-all in terms of high bandwidth. A busy intranet could theoretically bog down one a linux box sooner than a NT box. Supposing you had a help system, which wouldn't require much dynamically generated pages, there you go.

    A real world application that this test could apply to.
  • It is clear who is the modern day Winston Churchill...regarding the war in the Pacific though, preparations must be made for the inevitable Microsoft Linux (with all of the usual enhancements...)
  • The Halloween documents talked of Microsoft finding ways to subvert public standards to promote their own products. I believe you can find a perfect example of this with Microsoft's Management Console.

    MMC is the new 'wonder tool' for administration - one standard interface able to display a wide variety of information supplied by the server. (Gee, sounds like the web, doesn't it?) It relies very heavily on custom Active X controls, ASP and MS-Java. It requires IE5.0 to be installed (spot the bundling!). It vaguely uses HTTP, but breaks several standards, such as the URL forming rules. In short, there's no way that anyone else could supply a similar console using, say, Netscape.

    So, once again, Microsoft is finding yet another way to ensure that its own products dominate the user base, and deliberately exclude competitors. But, most significantly, this is the standards perversion we had feared. Because, of course, you can't get a standalone program to manage those remote services (we're not just talking about NT here - MMC is required to maintain SQL, Exchange, and IIS).

    So keep using Opera and Netscape - while you can...

  • it's not a matter of "do we want to cripple Microsoft in every market", it's "did Microsoft act illegally here?"

    Since the tactics, and effects were the same, I believe yes, Jackson, and the DOJ's lawyers did overlook this area.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • by aheitner (3273) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:43PM (#1527618)
    It's irrelevant what MS stuff comes with NT. Obviously you get the good stuff if you pay the big bucks -- that's always true.

    The issue is that MS required you to effectively pay for their product in order to be able to use another product.

    In other words, they realized that NT Workstation was much too viable a server platform using 3rd party daemons, and changed the license to make sure you were paying for the MS daemons. That's way more insidious than the bullshit about including a browser in the operating system -- clearly the webserver is not part of the OS here, but if you're going to use anybody's, you've got to pay for MS's.

    I'm not sure if I consider that unethical or illegal. It doesn't really matter. No company is going to put up with that -- it's too direct an example of the Free software rationale: if you buy it from one vendor, that vendor can screw you. This has been demonstrated time and time again in the computer industry, starting with the original "renters" of mainframe technology in the 60s.

    I could not in good faith recommend a completely proprietary system (i.e. one which could not be replaced by an equivalent system provided by another vendor if necessary) today. It's too dangerous -- no company should be willing to take that risk.
  • Even if you DO spend the money on developing the highly optimized CGI on your fast database server, you'll still eventually have to scale it by adding more hardware anyway.

    At a certain point, it was cheaper to write that code, and buy less quantity of hardware to obtain the same service level. But that point is probably far beyond any web site's needs today.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you actually read the netcraft survey page, you will see that the %2 NT gain for this month was mostly due to new hosting company www.webjump.com, not any mass migration away from Apache.
  • The sentiment is correct - the danger of MS taking over the web via their dominance on the desktop is a very real danger - but the focus here is just wrong.

    First, the action to limit connections to NTWS was outrageous, perhaps, but perfectly within the limits of reasonable action. Non-Unix OS's have charged per connection for quite some time. If they insist you need a more expensive license for unlimited connections, that seems perfectly within their rights.

    The real danger from MS is using non-open protocols to run their browser. And they're making major inroads in that area right now. The web integration of MS Office with IIS and IE is the kind of thing that I'm really hoping Judge Jackson does something about.

    IIS inherently gains certain advantages in the corporate area, since many places wish to standardize on a single OS (to lessen training costs for one thing). But directly using their desktop application advantage to force use of their server (through proprietary protocols, etc.) is exactly the kind of thing that this lawsuit was about.

  • It looks like intel is the only architecture in question here. I think that until "Hotmail" is run by NT servers, noone with brain should say that NT is very high-end.

    Solaris is very highend. There is a difference between beeing good and beeing the best. If linux is upto it remains to se

  • Shut the hell up for once and let some opinions waft through without your b.s.

    Yeah yeah SOMEONE will moderate this down, but before you do, take a look at his User Info [slashdot.org]. Some flames are deserved.

    Blah.

  • When I read how NT users were fleeced I laugh my head off. I wonder how many of the people that think MS is a benevolent monopoly feel about being ripped off for $800 to have the privilege of running a webserver in the NT enviroment. I can just imagine the board meetings where Bill and gang think up new ways to make billions.

    Thank God for BIND, Apache, Perl, Linux, BSD, Emacs, etc.

    Please, support Open Source software. Send in a check, buy a product, order a book. They are the only ones out there fighting for us. MS is only fighting for its shareholders.
  • The use of MS in the office leads to the use of Front Page and Front Page Server Extensions for intranet sites. This then results in lots of small companies creating lousy Internet sites that can only be deployed onto NT servers. How much grief has the adding of Front Page Server Extensions caused the Apache group?

    Front Page is a perfect example of using a position of power in one area to try and exert power in another area. The bundling of Front Page makes it easy for companies to build sites themselves rather than paying a good web designer to build one.

    Most companies don't care that Front Page creates slow, shoddy HTML, with inappropriate use of frames. They've got one of those 'new fangled' websites they hear they need to survive. MS leverages this IT ignorance in decision makers. The saying used to be No one gets fired for buying IBM but in the minds of corporate purchasers and middle management decision makers it is now a case of No one gets fired for buying MS.

    The greatest threats MS faces are:

    • Technical people getting decision making powers (requires techs to talk in terms of business cases), and
    • Decision makers becoming IT literate (requires techs to educate the great unwashed).
    It will continue to be an uphill battle while MS can appear to make life easier for users with one hand and break standards (and reduce competition) with another.

    MS may have lost some battles in trying to gain control of the server market and the web, but the 'war' is not over yet.

  • The issue is that MS required you to effectively pay for their product in order to be able to use another product.

    In other words, they realized that NT Workstation was much too viable a server platform using 3rd party daemons, and changed the license to make sure you were paying for the MS daemons.


    This all boils down to one question: Can you run an httpd on an NT Workstation box using none of the NT Server code implemented by Microsoft that you did not pay to license?

    If the answer is Yes, then you are correct and MS behaved badly. If the answer is No, even for a handful of DLL's, drivers, API's, whatever, then MS is completely within the law.

    -konstant
  • I'll agree with your first point.

    The second point O'Reilly was saying is against MS' rational for not letting the users use server options with the workstation. that it was protecting its customers because NT Workstation was not suitable for use as a server operating system This is saying that the Workstation version is not made for acting as a server. Thus they showed that it was basically the same code as the server with some options turned off. Their argument about the Workstation version is not valid. No where did they say, don't use it with server functions because you didn't pay me for it. If the money for the Server is for development, then so must be the money for the workstation. If I buy the workstation, why can't I use it the way I want? The competetion also paid for developers to make the workstation act like a server. The point O'Reilly made is that MS was upset that you used the workstation and paid someone else to make it into a server. This is called competition!

    The third point, like you mentioned about paying for development and not the bits on the computer, is... I don't want to pay for the development of IIS. I should have a cheaper version of W2K without IIS that I can place Apache on. This isn't competition just because I can turn IIS off and use Apache. MS doesn't care because I already bought IIS! This is the case with IE. I don't want to pay for the development for IE and then pay for the development of Netscape. If it is bundled, that just means you paid for it, thus MS doesn't care if you use it or not.

    It's like Caldera's arguement. They went to OEM's with their product, but was told that they have an agreement with MS that they must pay MS for every computer they sell, with or without windows. So why be forced to pay two companies for one system?

    Steven Rostedt
  • You are joking, aren't you? I lived in a country where the goverment controlled communication, information, all the commerce, all the warfare - and it was never able to actually control thoughts. Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing now what I do. Microsoft is very far from that point - believe me, although I think that you have a different perspective.

    Regards,

    January

  • IE on MacOS is the *most* broken browser. This is because they had to "strip" the browser code out of Winblows "OS" just to port it to the Mac...

    ;)

  • I think you're right there. Most of the low end hosting services use Apache and cram lots of virtual domains on a single FreeBSD or Linux box.
  • Somebody said: Bill Gates may be a lot of things but to compare him to Hitler is just bad taste.

    Then somebody else said: Why? One operated in the political arena, the other the business. They are both meglomaniacs, and I imagine history would unfold the same way if they switched places.

    ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Hitler was a mass murderer, a wildly fanatic racist, a man comsumed with hate who unleashed war against the entire world. He may be responsible for more suffering and death than anyone who has ever lived. You are loathsome for suggesting any such parallel.

    I think Bill Gates is rotten, and that his comeuppance in federal court was richly deserved. But this kind of talk is disgraceful. Will somebody please moderate this idiot to negative infinity?
  • So who's Russia? In a typically American* view of history, O'Reilly ignores that.

    Typical? Is that why cold war hungover ours heads? Because we ignored them and their history? Is that why it was a requirement at my high-school to study Russian/Soviet history and politics?
    I don't think there is a "typical" American anyways. Not anymore.
  • "Or, will they "embrace and extend" server-side extensions so that certain rich webpages will run only on IIS? They've already been doing that for ages. It's called "Front Page Server Extensions" and all it does is allow the web admin to enhance the content of pages on that web server. "

    Only on IIS? Actually, You can get the FPSE working on almost any web server that supports SSE nowadays.
    --
  • by mjackso1 (14092) <mjackson2317 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @01:59PM (#1527639)
    Yes, but it is precisely this licensing model that is the problem, and it is Microsoft that had this stroke of evil genius. If I buy product X, which is essentially identical to product X+, but crippled to sell it cheaper, I feel ripped off.

    Consider DivX. The movie was there on the disc, but you couldn't watch it unless you agreed to the merchant's terms. After all, when you buy a movie on DVD, are you paying for the bits, or are you paying for a license? There are certain implied restrictions on how you can use those bits, but those fall under IP law, not under the terms of the license agreement. No one thinks that movies should be controlled by this kinds of license, so DivX died. This happened not only because the terms were lousy, but because it got a lot of bad press as a result. I wonder what would have happened if there had been a similar stink about the difference between NT Server and NT workstation.
    The idea that MS can set its license requirements to whatever it likes is specious. THE central theme of the trial is the underhanded way in which MS used its power as the dominant OS maker to position its applications. Why did they use such sneaky techniques? If you put "You cannot install any non-MS browser on this operating system" in the license, that would have made the DoJ's case MUCH easier. Such a license would be an obvious antitrust violation. But, this is essentially what they did, making it economically unfeasible from a business perspective to install a non-MS webserver on NT. It's a classic example of predatory behavior on the part of a monopoly.

  • If I write my own DLL's, then why not. I can't make an application (which is all that is) to do something that connects to other machines. It's like saying that they can bundle IE with a server and make the workstation license say that you don't have a right to use a browser with this product. So then I can't use either IE or Netscape with workstation, and I must buy the server.
    Steven Rostedt
  • Slightly strange article commenting on /. as a under-educated self interest group??

    I'm sorry, I read slashdot for the technology news and intrinsicly highly educated comments and analysis, at least here you can say there are no market forces or capitalist influences, and if there are they tend to balance each other out.

    You will always get the rubbish, it's unavoidable even on /. - but at least here it's evident, and can easily be weeded out by setting comment thresholds to 2 or similar.

    It seems to me that people are starting to fear /. as a leading source of commentary and popular opinion, and if this is the case then I can only see this as a good thing. It is rare that a group of people can have an influence on a trade, and even more rare to do it through a single web site.

    In my opinion this article is a compliment to the good ethos Rob and co. have created and long may it continue!
  • One major driving force in the server share market is companies that have a "one platform only" policy. Many big companies currently have themselves (willingly and happily) stuck with NT and Microsoft products.

    Two cases, same story:

    I worked for small web projects of two different big, multi national companies. We had ready-to-run Unix based solutions at hand, but both companies had an NT-only policy.

    Both projects were short-term, small things that could have been done on a temporarily installed Unix box. We had all the software ready, since we did those things required times and times before.

    But it had to be NT, no matter what. We spent 90% of the project porting the code to NT; of course, it finally did not even work the way it should. (That one company's main network tech spent two days installing NT with direct premium support from Microsoft and still couldn't even get the basic services to run...)

    ------------------
  • It would have been a good link to see here but I think the writer's thesis is bogus. Maybe if the only site I ever read was /. then I can see his point but who does that? I want news related to what I do and the tools I use so I come here. I want to see what the other half are doing so I go elsewhere too. I want general news as well so I go out to the wires and papers. It's just not that hard to get balanced and complete info if you want to try. One thing is for sure though: the quality of info is much, much better if you turn off the TV.

    Maybe I'm missing something. It wouldn't surprise me considering the windbag, thesaurus abusing nature of Salon's writers.

  • Yeah, Signal 11 can be a pain at times. He had the nerve to tell me that slashdot isn't a community [slashdot.org]. Considering the amount of time that he spends here, his assertion seems odd.

  • Of course, its much greater than just the web, the war is being waged on all fronts against microsoft et al, I would think that the Web would be comparable to the battle of the atlantic, in that if MS loses it, they lose the war, and if they control it, the win the war. In our little analogy, heres whos who in the second great technology war ( the first being MS vs IBM vs Apple for the OS/Desktop market)

    Intel = Japan
    Intel can be considered the technological equivilant of japan for several reasons, the most obvious being that its allied with microsoft, the germany in our little analogy, the second bain that its big and powerful.

    Public = America
    The most powerful force, and also the most unwilling to become involved in the fray. The american public needs to be directly harmed in order for them to get involved in the war.

    Justice Department = Russia
    Clearly the justice department is russia, because just as russia had a "nonagression" pact with Germany, so Microsoft had an agreement with the government to not take advantage of its monopoly position. Also like Russia, theyre good while they beat up on microsoft, but heres where the cold war will be once its all over.

    Linux/Open Source = England
    Bravely defiant, but unable to take down the juggernaut by themselves, they need the help of "America" or "Russia" to deal the final blow, without the help of either, even Linux will fall
    Apple= France
    Capitulated on the outside, but with an underground like you wouldnt believe, plus, they have style, like the french.

    IBM = China
    The oldest tech kid on the block, like china, they have seen their once vast empire carved up by newcomers like MS and Intel.

    The fronts:

    Battle of the atlantic= War for the web
    If MS loses this, they lose the war

    Fortress Europe = OS Market
    Linux needs to establish a beachead, perhaps with the help of the Apple underground heh.

    Eastern Front = MS vs DOJ
    The DOJ has been screwed, and now their out for blood.

    War in the pacific= nonexistant at this point
    The public has yet to really become involved in all these events, so far, their hasnt been a real pearl harbor to galvanize them.

  • Ok, I'll admit Office* isn't horrible. But come on, what have they really done to make life easier for the average user. Sure, they've extended a significant number of features, but I bet that less than %5 of their users really need this. What is the price you pay for this? Continual upgrades--increased software cost. Growing size--more bugs--slower loading times--increased hardware cost--more employee training--wasted man hours shoot through the roof. How many people can really argue that Office2k has really saved them all that much time? It may appear prettier and easier to use, but i'm convinced that the actual learning curve to really using it (not just like "Hello World" of Office documents) has only steepened--the interface has gotten backwards (though their help system is actually pretty decent). And what about all this talk about embedded documents and seemless intergration and what not. To this day, including even O2K, mail merge and embedded documents STILL FAIL about 20% of the time on me on sizable documents. Excel -- Is this really any easier better than Lotus123? Access (sucks)? Powerpoint...well this is actually usefull, but its got tons of bugs (not just like crashing--but like wont-work-no-matter-what-you-do kinda bugs). Outlook -- kinda cool and nice to have bundled --but again, many bugs (try importing and exporting). It is not just me either, I know that in terms of support considerations, life is harder in many ways--things break inextricably in Office.

    ...sorry for ranting/running on but I feel people give it far too much credit. I've been using spreadsheets and word processing since before Wordstar and Lotus123, and ignoring the snazzier graphics/printing its net effect is pretty much negative. What annoys me most is that it is unnecessary--I know they could do better. Though I admit, they don't have any competition in terms of a complete Office Suite. Maybe Star Office...but they seem to be falling into a similar trap....but I digress....



  • Oversoul [slashdot.org] wrote
    So, back to what I was saying, if people in the tech industry are principled, ethical, clear-headed folks, item #4 (price out the talent) falls. The monster strangle-hold companies (like microsoft) have their knees cut out without the gray matter.

    Your sentiments are very noble and I hope you get your chance to demonstrate your commitment. At this stage, I am reminded of the old saying, "If you're not a socialist by 20, you've got no heart. If you're not a capitalist by 40, you've got no brain".

    Business is in the business of accumulating capital (ie wealth) and maximising its growth, usually by exchanging a slice of it (like from pension funds) for your time/labor/ideas. Good, bad or indifferent, the system has been structured to act that way through enforced laws and ingrained habits. The bottom line is that if you don't make enough to cover your own salary (or at least what the general market thinks you're worth working for another job), much less make a profit, then you (or your company) will get bought out and absorbed by a more efficient organisation. The only way OpenSource path can prove superior is only if it is more efficient at achieving business solutions or satisfying consumer desires. The evidence is still out on this but all is not lost as some studies show that cooperative behaviour creates long-term benefits (but as they say, in the long term we're all dead and giving away the fruits of your labor is not a obvious solution to paying bills the next day).

    By the way, be prepared for the fact that some (or many) companies demand that you sign over every piece of intellectual value you create (even off-premises). Protecting yourself through foreknowledge is the only way to avoid becoming an economic slave to the system. Correct me if I'm wrong but some people complain that with the current starting salaries and cost of living in Silicon Valley, they are actually earning negative net income.

    There's a reason why they call it the business jungle out there. Best of luck in your studies and in finding a worthwhile job when you get out.

    LL
  • MS is only fighting for its shareholders.

    Which they are pretty much required to do. Maximize profit for your shareholders, or get canned.

    --

  • Yep, BeOS is redoing it's TCP/IP stack in its next release and the BeOS version of Apache 2.0 [benews.com] is right on track with the rest of the Apache 2.0 development. With BeOS's speed, the Apache-Be combo might prove much faster than the Apache-Linux combo :-)
  • This all boils down to one question: Can you run an httpd on an NT Workstation box using none of the NT Server code implemented by Microsoft that you did not pay to license?

    What is the code that differentiates NT Workstation from NT Server? There is none and that is the point Tim O'Reilly made. The only difference was a registry setting.

    If MS had said they were charging the extra $800 for the webserver and other related server technologies (DHCP, DNS, etc.) there wouldn't be an issue. I don't think MS was trying to implement a "web tax" as Tim asserted, rather it thought that most users would be too stupid to realize that they were being fleeced. The EULA stipulation that considered web connections as analagous to being a user was their attempt to protect themselves from the Tim O'Reilly's of the world who have half a brain and would figure out what was going on.
  • It's funny, you know. I love Linus, if I have another boy I'll name him Linus. But, both Tim and Linus are wrong about this not being a war -- it is a war.

    The objective is the same as in any war, the conquest of territory and resources. In this case, the territory is the servers of the world.

    I agree with several posters in this and other threads, that the devastating problem is the integration of Microsoft's applications into the fabric of the web. This is what MS calls 'the digital central nervous system', and if they do achieve hegemony over it; they will have won the war.

    It astonishes me that O'Reilly finds it merely 'ironic' that Judge Jackson didn't respond to the IIS-bundling/server-prohibition fiasco that is referred to in this article. As as citizen, I'm tempted to sue the Justice Department for malpractice! It's absolutely central to the Government's argument. I believe that, unfortunately, there is no lobby behind Apache (like there is behind Netscape, Compaq, AOL et al) so there was less interest.

    You can almost be complacent with operating systems. You'll always be able to run Linux. It will be a wonderful standalone operating system. But, if the battle for servers is lost; you won't be part of the internet-space.

    thad

  • I disagree with your statement that MS Office is so a fantastic, regardless of who makes it. I'll go down the list and explain why:
    1. Word is not that great. In fact, I don't find it useful at all. Granted, I use it for very few things, but every time I do, I feel like I banging my head against a wall.
      1. Clippy, as you mentioned, is terribly annoying and pops up at the most inopportune of times. Because of him, I don't ever want to go into the help. Some help system that is!
      2. Words formatting is terrible. I'm not sure if this is a problem with word processors in general or just Word, but its terrible at formatting things. If you want a table to look a certain way, you have to jump through 10 different hoops to get it close. Sometimes, you can't get it at all what you want. It's formatting simply cannot hold a candle to something like LaTeX/TeX.
      3. Its autoformating is counterproductive. My roommate, for instance, had to write a technical paper on the software project he is currently working on. One of the objects they use is called JSat. Of course, having two capitalized letters in a row, the Nazi-grammar checker in Word decides to rewrite it as Jsat. Very Annoying. As another example, at a meeting for this same software project that I attended, a team member was editing the agenda and typed "-------" to make a psuedo-horizontal line. Word automatically turned this into a long, horizontal line (one you might find in HTML). At first, he thought this was great. But then when he didn't want it anymore, he tried to delete it. Unfortunately, Word wouldn't let him even select the darn thing, let alone delete it. He still hasn't figured that one out, and our agenda still has a silly, useless line.
      4. The Equation Editor really stinks. Maybe I'm just spoiled at knowing TeX, but trying to get Word to display mathematical formulas correctly is the biggest pain in the arse I have ever had to deal with. Anybody who thinks their equation editor doesn't suck is crazy.
      5. Word crashes, especially when you try and print. Both my roommate and I have had this happen several times (him more than me). What's worse is that it doesn't just take down Word, it takes down the whole system!
      In short, Word stinks because it goes way overboard and tries to do everything for you. This eventually makes very simple things very difficult. It's also very unstable.
    2. Excel - Excel is great for very simple graphs and data plots, I'll give you that. But if you want to do anything even remotely complicated, and it stinks.
      1. Curve fits. It only does a few types of curve fits, not including sinusoidal ones. Also, it only does exponential ones under certain conditions. If you don't give the data to it in just the right way, it'll choke.
      2. Copying Data. To copy values (just their numbers, not their formulas), requires my to click on "paste special" every time I want to use it. With several regions of data I want to do this with, such a process becomes very time consuming.
      3. It crashes, especially when you try and save. We use Excel heavily in Physics (that's why I find it annoying). Too many times to count, we do 15 minutes of work and then go to save our work and Kaboom! GPF! Excel crashes, and we loose all of our work. When doing a lab, this isn't just data we have to re-type. This is data we have re-do in the lab. This type of thing is very very annoying.
    3. PowerPoint Sucks. I've never actually used, and never plan to. My opinion of PowerPoint stems solely from all of the terrible slide shows I have had to sit through. I have one CSE class that is taught using only PowerPoint. It's the most boring, useless, impersonal way that I imagine for someone to make a presentation.

      Animations do not help me learn. Sliding frames do not help me learn. Different colored text does not help me learn. Sounds do not help me learn. Being able to ask the professor/presnter questions does help me learn. PowerPoint combines all of the problems that TV and Videos have as a presentation tool, but without any of the advantages. It makes the presentation distant and impersonal without having the flexibility and quality a video can provide.

    4. Outlook is insecure and requires you to keep it open. If you want something to constantly check your mail (i.e. Biff), you have to leave Outlook open at all times; that's a major memory hog. Secondly, as proven by all of the recent virii, it's terribly insecure. Plus, all if it's calandering/tasking is pretty useless as far as I can tell.
    5. All the other products are jokes. Access might be good for keeping a address database, but that's about it. Frontpage is the second worst HTML producer I have seen (right behind Word). PictureIt! or whatever is obviously not a serious graphics package.
    Am I forgetting anything? Basically, I'm sick of people whining about Linux not having Office, when every experience I have had with Office has been terrible unpleasant.

    Anyone else realize why Office is not a good product? Or do you guys want to refute me and convince me that it's actually pretty good? Please, give me your input.

  • So who are the foot soldiers in this War for the Web? I offer the point of view that a typical /.er isn't. It would more correctly be all of the "lusers" that bug sysadmin's with requests to add some more desktop themes to their workstation; Folks who play Slingo and Solitare with regularity; folks who think AOL "is" the web.

    While you may have an intimate knowledge of man grep, the foot soldier in this war won't ever use such a weapon. It's all in the numbers. the team with the most players win - hands down. Microsoft has been actively training it's Army for over 15yrs. Top to bottom, there are more Foot Soldiers in the M$ camp, then all of the rest of the Amry's combined.

    In the Article, Tim says,

    • "the most interesting new applications of the past few years don't reside on the PC at all, but on remote Web servers. I'm talking about Amazon.com, eBay, E-Trade, Yahoo Maps and so on"
    99% of these new applications are for the "average" user. Hopefully, there will be an increasing effort towards "bridging" the gap between the /.-type folks (running the worlds hardware) and the users at the client-end. Otherwise, we can all kiss your bash goodbye.
  • I like it.
  • The way I see it is that wether the server is virtual or not is irellevant to number validity. If the customer of the virtual server is unhappy with the server, they eem>do have the option of going elsewhere. Heck, Netcraft is actually providing information that can be used by potential customers to aid their selection of a virtual host provider. Also, large numbers of virtual hosts for a particular server actually provide some indication of how good it is at virtual hosting (though probably not accurate).

  • I don't care about Apache. The issue is Microsoft, and they have lost market share for 6 out of the 7 last months. Their jump up last month was due to one large free hosting service switching over.

  • mjacksol [slashdot.org] wrote
    Yes, but it is precisely this licensing model that is the problem, and it is Microsoft that had this stroke of evil genius. If I buy product X, which is essentially identical to product X+, but crippled to sell it cheaper, I feel ripped off.

    Welcome to the world of market segmentation. Do you feel ripped off when you get that special discount air ticket that allows you to book holidays 4 weeks in advance? But surely (shock, horror) you get to your destination just as quickly as a first class passenger? The point is that the airlines deliberately add extra constraints and conditions to price match the demand of people and their willingness to pay. In effect, you pay extra for greater degrees of freedom (but don't tell the other passengers this :-) ).

    Now MS applies this principle to software and you think it is outrageous? I believe IBM had something similar with mainframe machines which were physically the same internally but had their clock speed governed by a hidden switch? If you didn't know about this switch, would you complain about paying less for a slower machine? Ignorance is bliss sometimes.

    Differential pricing is not new and sooner or later, somebody will come up with an equivalent for the internet (e.g. jump to the head of the queue if willing to pay a premium). It would be very very interesting to see the pricing calculations and models MS (or any other software company) uses to determine market demand. Any ex-marketing guys out there?

    LL
  • This proves exactly nothing. I'm amazed that Tim O'Reilly, of all people, would think that when you buy commercial software you are actually paying for the bits on the CD. Of course you aren't! Those bits cost next to nothing intrinsically. You are paying for the license, which in turn is the software company's way of recouping the salaries of its developers, testers, and managers.


    I understand your point, but it sounds like you missed all the hubbub that was going around when this came to light. In fact, Microsoft plainly claims that you can buy two products (aside from Windows 9x): Windows NT server and Windows NT workstation. It also claims (and has claimed since several years ago) that IIS, DNS, etc. are FREE software that comes with the inherently better underlying operating system.

    The discovery of the two "I'm not NT server" registry entries made a lot of people upset because it turned out that bit for bit, NT workstation and server are the same product. Microsoft WAS indeed selling the included daemons for the $800 difference between workstation and server. The biggest issue was that workstation has a client limit (5 clients I believe) that Microsoft says is inherent in its lower performance and NT -should- be used for anything larger. The fact of the matter is, they just put licensing restrictions into effect to prevent you from using more than 5 users on it.

    Netscape server was often sold on the cost basis that although ISS was 'free' with NT server, Netscape server + NT workstation cost less than NT server and you could have a better webserver platform (a completely serperate argument). MS insisted through many many documents that Workstation was not -capable- of running a webserver and NT -should- be used instead. They didn't have a licensing problem here, just that they weren't making the money off of selling NT server (with its "free" and competing web server software). Netscape lost a lot of webserver sales because of this.

    In fact, it didn't matter if you used the registry entries at all ... they only enable a very few features from workstation to server ... the fact was that many people (especially journalists) were shocked that Microsoft had been lying about the "inherently lower performance" of workstation.

    ... anyway ... Linux is better, cost/performance wise, even if you DO buy a distribution.

    - Michael T. Babcock <homepage [linuxsupportline.com]>
  • He probably didn't think that far. There is such a thing as pushing an anology beyond its limits.


    ...phil
  • by at-b (31918) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @02:40PM (#1527682) Homepage
    [Argl, I mis-posted the first. Anyway, as Lando Calrissian said, here goes nothing.]


    One simple way for Microsoft to change and break Apache's dominance of the web server market is to introduce 'feature creep' with IIS and NT, by integrating new features into the OS and IIS that aren't accessible to other servers.
    An example was given with intranet corporate web posting. Sharing files and documents over a corporate intranet is the way to go. Email exchange and document sharing can be made much easier if it's all simply accessible with just a few mouseclicks from your Win98 desktop.

    Now, everybody will want to put his drafts and whitepapers online quickly - and hey, look, there's a button just for that in Office2002.
    And it all integrates nicely with Win2k and IIS. Why run Apache, which doesn't support all those nifty features and makes it 'more difficult' for admins to install and run it? If the users clamor for it, they'll get it, right?
    After all, having admins mess about with incompatible stuff will annoy the management - this is all productivity loss, remember? Can't we just go with The Standard?

    That'll be the first step.

    Then, how does all that integrate with the outside world? Of course everybody in the firm will be using IE6 or 7, since it came with the OS and servers, and supports all the funky features Word2002 and IIS offer, 'for enhanced productivity and ease-of-use'. After all, it's all in the name of innovation - and annoyingly enough, it would make many things easier. But back to our example.

    To tie everything in with the outside world, the corporate VPN and WAN, we need for our servers to communicate with each other. For instance so the offices everywhere can share the same documents. And send corporate email back and forth. And all of that ties in nicely with Exchange2k and all other corporate network solutions. From MS. All run on Win2k, with MS databases at the end.

    After the internal structures of a business work so nicely together, we'll want the customers to be able to co-operate with all this. So we're adding special features. IE has an market dominance, anyway, and it ties in with everything else we're running.

    Oh, you don't run MS? We're sorry, but our web logs and in-depth market research have shown that 92% of our customers are from home and corporate environments, which in turn mostly run IE. I'm afraid we can't support niche systems, Sir. We don't have the time, you understand?

    This is how the web will be won. Unless Mozilla, Navigator 5, Konqueror, and Apache manage to impose a client-side as well as the existing server-side architecture on the market - an architecture that MS won't be able to break.
    Does anyone remember 'Chrome', MS proprietary web enhancements? Or ActiveX-only pages? Guess what - if MS manages to fight back in the server market, it'll flood it with proprietary tech that will be tied to its OS, its servers, and its browsers. And then it will be all over.

    So don't stand around idly, but go over to the Konqueror and Mozilla pages, and contribute. Even non-coders can write man and help pages and contribute to design decisions. Even you can add bug reports. Everybody can help - but as long as the infighting and holy wars continue, MS can only win.

    And do you really want to see the message
    Sorry, only for MS-enhanced browsers
    on your screen? They can win it, and they will win it from the server side. We're already retreating in mass from the client side. Tim O'Reilly isn't an idiot, and he isn't a firebrand - he makes valid points: The entire MS case, and the FoF will be utterly pointless if the market decides to vote for MS servers in the end.

    Apologies if this sounds inflammatory - I don't advocate that all MS products are bad, some of their software is awesome - but the way they market things goes against everything I believe in.

    Alex


    "Your telnet is talking to itself. Welcome to the wacky world of TCP/IP."
  • by Morlenden (108782) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @02:47PM (#1527684)
    Anyone not using a PC or Mac, try out the Fox Networks home page [fox.com].

    This could be the future for all of you radical non-Microsoft web users out there.

  • A simple matter of fact. Linux and Apache beat the Micrsoft solution hands down.* The question is if the Microsoft solution is really competitive at all? Would it be on anyone's radar if it was a product outside of Microsoft and its power?

    * The only category this has been disproven is in serving static pages using multiple network cards at outrageous bandwidths. Hardly worth this footnote.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @03:15PM (#1527703) Homepage Journal
    I'm amazed that Tim O'Reilly, of all people, would think that when you buy commercial software you are actually paying for the bits on the CD. Of course you aren't! Those bits cost next to nothing intrinsically. You are paying for the license, [ ... ]

    God dammit, get this through your thick skulls: Shrinkwrap licenses are a legal fiction.

    This lie has been repeated so often and for so long that reasonable people are starting to believe it. When selling in a retail venue, software vendors have no rights over and above what is granted to them under copyright law; you own the bits. That's why they're trying to cram the UCITA through the state legislatures, which will cement their ability to continue abusing consumers. I have never, nor shall I ever, consider myself bound by any so-called "license" unless you get me to actually sign the thing. The ethical consequences of believing otherwise are just too staggering.

    Read this editorial [best.com] and this essay [best.com]. The freedoms of your children may depend on it.

    Schwab

  • This all boils down to one question: Can you run an httpd on an NT Workstation box using none of the NT Server code implemented by Microsoft that you did not pay to license?

    If the answer is Yes, then you are correct and MS behaved badly. If the answer is No, even for a handful of DLL's, drivers, API's, whatever, then MS is completely within the law.



    In theory, if Microsoft offers a "lite" version of Windows98 with a license that says you can't use it to connect to the Internet and disabled tcp/ip, you are not allowed to use it for that even if you get a third party winsock program.

    A license can put limits on how you use code as well as whether you can use it. Some licenses won't let you use the code to make money, some will let you see the source but not modify it, etc etc. It stinks, but its how our current legal system works.

    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • This all boils down to one question: Can you run an httpd on an NT Workstation box using none of the NT Server code implemented by Microsoft that you did not pay to license?

    In a word, yes. That is, until Microsoft redefined (both technically and legally) after the fact just what was and wasn't "server code."

    I was around when this whole thing happened, working as chief software engineer for a startup (NetCount) doing server-based statistics collection. Having only one server (instead of four) to deal with on NT would have made our lives a lot easier. But just because it would have benefited us didn't make it right. The O'Reilly piece is spot-on. MS changed the rules and cut its competition off at the knees...

    -Ed
  • The question is, was Microsoft using monopoly OS power to stifle competition in other areas.

    That's hard to say. I don't have the knowledge to discern wether it is illegal for Microsoft to charge different prices on identical products depending on use and upheld by a license. If that's true then I believe this to be valid. If not, it's simply a matter of Microsoft offering their product for "free" when netscape was charging for it.

    They really are pushing the limit though. There are a number of server based applications that run on even windows98 as well as NT. What if MS just decided to outlaw them as per license because they had competing products on their "server" os and this was causing a revenue leakage? Therefore I'm leaning towards the possibility that this is illegal due to Microsoft using OS leverage to exclude competitition from certain application markets. The problem is proving that they did so based on netscape offering a cheaper solution for consumers -- not just because they just felt like changing the license (because monopoly by itself isn't illegal).
    ----------
  • This article has nothing to do with linux. This article explains perceived anti-competitive practices by Microsoft. This anti-trust lawsuit affects all people using Microsoft products all around the world (well at least the countries that pay for their software). Joe Sixpack doesn't use linux, yet it still may affect him. I don't use linux but I still read this site. Even if you don't use Microsoft products, the fact that they *may* have been extorting a lot of money from companies which products and services you buy may have caused them to raise prices.

    If you find stories of this type tiring, then don't read them. If you really want to stop the blind MS hate and Linux roolz attitude, then just reply to comments that are blatantly so.
    ----------
  • how scary it would be to have Microsoft in control of the Internet, he fails to discuss the even scarier proposition: Netscape in control of the Internet

    If I had to choose one of the other owning the internet I'd much rather have Netscape. Netscape doesn't control the OS and most of the applications too.

    Remember, Microsoft is working on buying up cable companies, it tried a proprietary competitor to the internet (MSN), it has been buying up content like collections of photographs, it has a big interest in NBC, and so on.

    I can't think of a more scary situation than having Microsoft dominate the internet server market along with having cable systems and ownership of content providers like NBC.

    This company has to be stopped.

  • The same applies to software, through and through - license or no license. You own the media, and the use of that media - you hold no rights to the information itself, unless it is EXPLICITLY given to you, in writing. Copyright law makes this automatic, by the way.

    By that logic, I can possess a photograph, but I can't look at it, or show it to other people, since I haven't been given a "license" to make any use of the "representation." Try explaining that logic to people you meet on the street, and see how far you get.

    ...You own the media, and the use of that media...

    Correct. The proper and natural use of a book is to read it. The proper and natural use of a CD is to listen to it. And the proper and natural use of computer software is to stick it in a computer and let the CPU churn on it. The ability to make use of a copyrighted work is concomitant with purchase; the "license" doesn't enter into it.

    If usage rights must be explicitly granted in writing, then why don't audio CDs come with a license "agreement" stipulating listening privileges?

    Schwab

  • "MS don't have a monopoly in the server market - so it doesn't apply"

    This is not what he was arguing about. If company a wants to implement a product that is either:

    a) cheaper
    b) better
    c) both

    then what Microsoft produces, then they should be able to do so. If microsoft effectively changes their licensing schemes to bar competition and only allow a selected few applications enter the market, then that is illegal. It's similar to the Intel case. They were prevented from producing multimedia software and codecs that had perceived benifits to end users and developers. MS doesn't have the right to pick and choose what applications can be developed for their operating system. It's open to anyone with said programming tools to build applications on their platform. the problem, however, is proving that they did so based on netscape's applications, using OS leverage to make sure that their more expensive alternative solution was bought instead.

    Now that I think about posters further down. The license seems rather bogus. If windows 98 was stable and fast, then maybe some guy would produce a viable solution for it using his *own* code. Would it be right or even legal for MS to arbitrarily say that he now couldn't? If its MS own product and they want to charge more per processor or user, then I don't see anything wrong with it. If its someone elses product, then they shouldn't have any business doing so. You can't offer a product to developers but include exclusions based on the fact that you have a higher priced product that you want them to buy instead "just because".

    If MS decided tommorow that they would outlaw all daemons on windows 98, then I'm sure Oracle, IBM, and any number of small proxy/firewall and ftp server application companies would be very angry. Oh wait, they couldn't. They already include nat gateway software in windows 98 second edition that would classify itself as a server.
    ----------
  • The most interesting thing to me is...

    http://www.netcraft.com/whats/?host=www.fox.com

    seems to show that www.fox.com is running Netscape-Enterprise/2.01 on DIGITAL UNIX?

    But when I go there from Netscape in Linux I get...

    ---
    Unfortunately, you are unable to access FOX.com. You have been
    denied access for one or both of the following reasons:

    You are using a browser below version 3. We recommend upgrading to
    version 4 or higher with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or Netscape Navigator 4.0.

    You are running on a platform other than a PC or a Macintosh. Unless you run
    on one of these platforms, you will be unable to access FOX.com.
    ---

    If true, it truely is a sad day...

    -eddy
  • it renders fine. Once I've forged my user-agent (using junkbuster to look like MSIE 5 on my roomates machine - note that I won't be doing this regularly, as I don't want MSIE to seem any more popular than it is) I get the content - but some javascript checks me out again, and I can't get netscape to lie. So I turn off Javascript (that appeared to be about all their JS code did) and... viola. They're going to get an email from me - I mean, it works fine, at least the non-flash version (I don't have flash), so why do they work so hard to lock us out?

    http://www.fox.com/nonflash_front.html [fox.com] I mean, at least have an else in their big if-tree that says, "if I don't know this browser, I'll assume it's not broken"

  • I know that I would personally be willing to put a great deal of effort into such 'simple, low-end' solutions in such a situation, and I would do it even if doing such work was against the law.
    The question is not whether such an overpowering monopoly can literally crush out any opposition at all costs- that's not likely. Instead you should be asking this question: where would I draw the line? Do you want your mom or grandmother or non-geek friends to be stuck with the monopolistic, low quality and extortionate products, or do you want to give them a better shot at being able to choose something that suits their needs? I think it is quite reasonable to want the monopoly reined in: not for the sake of the hardcore 'freedom fighters' who'll fight for their ability to make choices and take some damage willingly to do so, but for the sake of the uneducated and the lazy, who are more easily exploited.
    You may disagree and feel that people _should_ be exploited if they won't take responsibility for themselves, in which case we'll have to disagree. I'm not saying every AOLer needs to be handheld and taught what the web is: I'm just saying that it behooves proper geeks to make some kind of effort to protect the people who are the most easily exploited by monopolies. They need to have choices even if they are not seeking them out- if they don't have choices or freedom, most of them will not realize they _could_ have choices.
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @11:47PM (#1527810) Homepage Journal
    The two have some very strong similarities. Primarily, they both thirsted for power on a very large scale. Hitler wanted to rule for 'a thousand years', where Gates wanted to run MS software on 'every computer'. In both cases, they accumulated people around them which magnified their arrogance and destructiveness.
    Hitler was filled with vengefulness towards the world due to the Versailles Treaty, and his main thesis was getting revenge for that 'insult' to the German people, and indeed the treaty was a great blow to German pride and helped create conditions for the Third Reich.
    Gates was filled with vengefulness towards the world due to his Altair Basic tapes being wildly pirated, and his main theme was getting revenge for that 'insult' by never letting anyone 'steal' from him again, by making his software so necessary that he could never again be treated as just another hacker to take ideas from. Gates wanted control, and to punish the 'hacker', and indeed nobody'd asked his permission or opinion on the copying of his port of Basic: the hackers 'liberated' it instead, enraging Gates and setting the tone for his style of technology, always centralising control of the software somewhere other than the computer user, a path of vengeance that continues to this day, and colors all of Microsoft's technological developments right down to the ideas for 'Office on the Web'.
    Honestly, when you look at the two men in terms of being driven by vengeance and hunger for power and control, they are very similar indeed. They even generate comparable 'reality distortion fields', in that their vengeances are so fierce that neither was an uncomplicatedly charismatic leader: in both cases the man was compelling but alarming at the same time, causing a polarisation between the hardcore devotees ('brownshirts' and 'microsofties') and others who would be disconcerted by the ferocity of the movement and try, fatally, to be quiet and hope things would settle down.
    There are profound and fascinating parallels between the men and their movements, and to deny this is foolish and shortsighted. Microsoft is far too recent to expect these things can be discussed sensibly- they will never be discussed dispassionately, because on the one hand mass murder and Master Race theorising, and on the other hand crushing of all choice and Industry Standard theorising, are ugly things, and it's shocking to consider what each concept means and how far the respective movements were willing to take their viewpoints. We all know what the Nazis were willing to do, and conversely, Microsoft was and is actively trying to create a digital Third World, and literally disenfranchise and exile anyone not ready to first go all-MS in all things, and more disturbingly, to equally punish those not willing or able to spend substantial amounts of money keeping pace with an arbitrarily set technological limit that serves nobody but MS.
    It's all very well that MS isn't out to kill anybody, but when their whole approach is to punish 'holdouts' and keep things unstable and madly upgrading, we are talking about digitally disenfranchising most of the world, as very very few human beings can afford to drop as much money on technology as MS requires. The ability to run dos or Linux or old Macintoshes means absolutely squat when the entire infrastructure of the Net is continually changed to lock these aging tools out, and as Net access becomes ever more important, we are very much talking about the establishment of a technological ruling class with the only access to information, influence, possibly the only class allowed to participate in newly invented online politics, possibly the only class allowed to use certain types of electronic banking (already a problem for non Windows consumers) or travel booking or any of a number of other resources.
    If a country decided to invade the US and forbid the poor from using banks, voting, travelling, and set up a class of Americans which were allowed full privileges, while everyone else was denied those privileges, it would be considered an act of war.
    Why is it so different when Bill Gates consistently moves in the direction of this exact state of affairs? In what way is Gates' obsession with control and establishing a privileged class of Windows users, with holdouts punished and ideally locked off the Net entirely in the long run, so different from the motivations of a politician acting in the interests of their own privileged class and trying to punish and suppress all other classes of people? You can't say it comes down to killing people: even before the Nazis were killing people, they were out to restrict rights and punish those not of the privileged class. How is this different from what Gates does in the technological sphere? In the modern, Internet age, how can anyone claim that the technological sphere has no civic relevance, or significance to a citizen?
    I guess I am saying this: you're wrong, because Hitler and Gates are far more similar in motivation than you're ready to admit. Hitler was not simply a frothing psychopath, he was a particular _kind_ of frothing psychopath, one with a lust for vengeance and the ability to inspire the tyranny of a privileged class. Gates doesn't lack the lust for vengeance, or the ability to foster a privileged class, and he is every bit as hungry for control, plus he arguably has more money than the Third Reich had. Downplaying this is stupid, as Hitler's dead but we're still stuck with Gates. :P
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  • Please moderators.

    This guy is talking out of his ass. No help system in the world is ever going to bog down gigabit ethernet. We're talking 100 million hits per day here. Here's a hint: Microsoft take about 400 million a day (I think) and distribute that load over a farm of around 50 boxes. Do the maths and moderate this guy down.
  • Does Six million Jews killed by Hitler equal to all the Bad things that Bill did.

    As much as I despise the tactics of Bill and MS, personally, I don't think so.

    MS has better support for W3C standards then Netscape.

    Yes, the embrace phase of their typical strategy is nearly complete. I wonder what they will do next? Probably the same thing they ALWAYS do. The web derives it's ubiquity and usefulness from it's basis in standards. The last thing we need is for it to become a moving target filled with hidden hooks like the windows API is.

  • A busy intranet could theoretically bog down one a linux box sooner than a NT box.

    If you choose to use 4 100Mb ethernet cards, yes. If you choose to use a Gb ethernet card, the whole equasion changes. Part of NT's advantage in the test was that Linux has a performance issue with 4 ethernet cards. (BTW, there is no point in using 2 Gb ethernet cards, the PCI bus is nearly saturated by just 1!).

    Supposing you had a help system, which wouldn't require much dynamically generated pages, there you go.

    Most help systems (the really helpful ones anyway) have a search function. That is dynamic content.

  • I am offended. (not that that is always a bad thing, but in this case it is). Signal11 is definately one of the most frequent posters on slashdot, but his posts are on average the most insightful of anyone here on /.
    And as for the accusation that he doesn't listen to others, have a look at his user page yourself. Nearly all replies. He reads opinions, and is prepared to have a discussion about them. People like him are the life-force of slashdot.
  • 2.Excel - Excel is great for very simple graphs and data plots, I'll give you that. But if you want to do anything even remotely complicated, and it stinks.

    You left out that it drops whole rows when you do an ascii export. Considering the sorts of things Excel is used for, that could be a REALLY serious problem ("Well, you see, er....em....eh.... When we figured the budget for this fiscal year, .......WELL!,....We sort of lost a $20M line item expense, and .....WELL!...ah,.....we're bankrupt.)

  • He didn't comment on the stability of Linux vs. Windows. He commented on the stability and capability of the browser.

    It's only as stable as it's weakest link. In this case, the OS is the weak link. The instability of the Netscape-Linux combination can be fixed by replacing the browser. Guess what you have to replace in the IE-Windows case?

  • If you buy a license for NT Workstation instead of NT Server, then you are agreeing to pay for the workstation features, but not for the server features. Thus you get a lower rate because Microsoft agrees to ship you a more restrictive license at a discount. If they also ship you other bits on the disk, it is illegal (although maybe not unethical depending on how you view piracy) to use those bits because you didn't pay the premium for them.

    That's a pretty big claim, and I don't see any facts in your post to back it up. Are you a lawyer? Which law would the user be breaking, exactly?

  • That doesn't change the fact that when browsing the web, IE does a better job that Netscape's browsers.

    Sad, but undeniably true.

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw

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