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Caldera

Caldera Gets Mucho Dolares & Case Against MS Continues 66

The PR people at Caldera Systems e-mailed me with the news that they've gotten some major outside investment. The press has got more news, but the company's getting $30 million dollars from SCO, Sun, Citrix, Novell, Egan-Managed Capital and Chicago Venture Partners. In other news, their case against Microsoft continues to progress.It should be noted that while they have similar names, and are owned by the same man, Caldera (lawsuit company) and Caldera Systems are separate companies - thanks to all those who pointed out my mistake.
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Caldera Gets Major Investors

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  • Palm pilots with linux installed.
  • by mochaone ( 59034 )
    the PR people at Caldera Systems e-mailed me with the news...

    Looks like our little boy Hemos is being recognized as a mover and shaker in the tech news business. *sniff*

  • by n3rd ( 111397 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @06:36AM (#1386545)
    Please forgive this slightly offtopic comment, but I find it amusing that now companies are submitting stories and information directly to Slashdot, rather than waiting for readers to submit them after the mainstream media has reported them.

    How often does Slashdot recieve stories directly from companies and orginizations now-a-days? Could one of the Slashdot employees answer this?
  • Interesting that this seems to be the first time that sun has pitched in with a major investment in a linux distributor.

    Add this to the fact that they recently started pushing for a up to date linux JVM implementation, couple it with the fact that Caldera are moving into embedded stuff in a big way , in bed alongside Motorola, sprinkle with a little irrelevant transmeta, add three or four conspiracy theorists to the mix and leave to stand for half an hour.

    Serve along with the tidbit that Intel aren't investing in a linux company for once, consume and then sit back and wait for the traditional after-dinner IPO and coffee.

  • Caldera makes a real good product. Forget about their pretty installer, the thing that makes Caldera a real nice distribution are the NDS tools that it includes. Being able to play with Netware 4 and 5 boxes is probably one thing that would help all distributions. I know that we've seen quite a bit of it in the last few months, but I'm always glad to see someone deserving get some cash to help keep doing the good work.

    I guess while I plug the Caldera NDS tools, I need to ask a question. I've seen Netware boxes with 1 year uptimes. They have proven dependable and completely functional. Why is it that Netware doesn't get more attention? Has Netware and all of it's interoperablity become the "thing that we hide in the back room? I'd sure like to see a continued focus on Netware interoperability and less worry about NT, especially in Linux.

  • Yes, Caldera has a valid case.
    No, I don't think Microsoft should get away with with this kind of aggressive behavior.
    However, it can't be healthy for a company's future to invest in anything that might damage Microsoft.
    Shouldn't these companies be focusing on profit? Or at least making products that are better than Microsoft's?
    Adversarial behavior is ugly enough when it comes from Microsoft, but uglier still when it comes from companies I actually like.
  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @06:59AM (#1386549)
    It's nice to see that Caldera is getting some cash, I've used their distro from time to time, and while it isn't as popular as Red Hat, it isn't bad either. Hopefully this cash infusion will be used for the creation of quality software rather than marketing or executive retreats.

    Still, this does also vaguely bother me. When I began using Linux is was about freedom and quality software. Now, Linux brings to mind two things: money and litigation. Yes, it's great that VCs everywhere are seeing Linux as The Next Hot Thing (tm) - but is that necessarily a good thing in the long run?

    I do suppose that it was inevitable that Linux would become commercialized, just as the net has. Still, there are times when I think the sense of real community is diminishing. Everyone and their dog is jumping on the Linux bandwagon, but they don't seem to really understand it. (LinuxOne, the fights with Corel, etc...)

    So, to actually stay somewhat on topic: I have a suggestion for Caldera. Now that they've got a few extra dollars laying around, they should use that on writing good software. Forget the marketing, forget public relations and Just Code It. When people see companies like RedHat or Corel seemingly more interesting in marketing than in software development (although this is perception, and not neccesarily the truth) it would be a breath of fresh air to remember what Linux was designed around: solid, open code.
  • From the story header...

    but the company's getting $30 million dollars from SCO, Sun, Citrix, Novell, Egan-Managed Capital and Chicago Venture Partners. In other news, their case against Microsoft continues to progress.

    Are you sure it's strictly "other news"? Sun, Novell, and SCO have a history of teaming up with companies that are going toe-to-toe with Microsoft. Can't have Caldera going bankrupt while the case progresses. Can't have it falling off the media scope either.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wow! Such feelings of hatred to a piece of software? Time to see a psychiatrist!

    But, on the lighter side, everyone else but you found DR-DOS a MUCH better alternative to the version of MS-DOS that was out at the time. It included novel features like compression, memory management, and multitasking (the latter MS-DOS never even bothered with), and a sweet semi-graphical editor to boot (much better than edlin, which was until MS-DOS 5, MS-DOSes only standard editor).

    You should really read the suit - if you do, you won't feel so good for MS. They did sabotage windows 3.0 so it would report fake errors when DR-DOS was running. There is proof to that. And with a less than 500 byte patch/tsr to windows, DR-DOS can be made the window's DOS subsystem, rather than MS-DOS.

    If your reputation and ability to sell product were stolen from you like this, you'd expect compensation too. Try DR-DOS (isn't it OpenDOS now) and you'll agree - it is 100x better than ANY version of MS-DOS that has been released. They even have a web browser for DR-DOS now (optional, not integrated). :-)
  • Sure it's a business plan. It's just a risky and speculative one. They purchased an asset (the right to file the case and collect the damages) for a tiny fraction of what it may be worth. They might get billions, and they might get nothing. Multiply the expected probability of winning times the expected damages, and compare the amount to the cost of buying DR-DOS. If it looks greater, then it's a business plan. Granted, it's a rather unconventional plan, but it quite possibly may lead to tremendous profits.


    ---
  • Yes, Caldera has a valid case.
    No, I don't think Microsoft should get away with with this kind of aggressive behavior.


    And exactly what kind of "aggressive behavior" are you referring to? In the Caldera case, Microsoft is accused of putting a DIALOG BOX into a BETA of windows 3 that SUGGESTED some functions MIGHT behave abnormally if you were running a non-Microsoft DOS. They took it out for the final release. No customer saw that dialog in any shipping copy of windows That doesn't sound like aggressive behavior to me at all. It sounds like a company covering its ass while experimenting with a new OS shell. It's common practice to make disclaimers of that kind if you can't control some crucial component of a system.

    Some of the lawsuits against Microsoft seem to have merit, but prima facie the Caldera case is pure smoke and mirrors.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • after the mainstream media has reported them.

    Perhaps the Caldera has come to the realization that Slashdot is fast becoming a mainstream media outlet. Or perhaps they are /. readers themselves, and felt they should throw a bone back.
  • From the last line of the article:

    "Caldera Systems was spawned from Caldera Corporation, but is independent and not involved in its progenitor's suit against Microsoft."

    So money into Caldera System != money in the case against Microsoft...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...it can't be healthy for a company's future to invest in anything that might damage Microsoft.

    I suspect what you meant by that was that investing in something merely because it isn't M$ or M$-oriented is not a successful business strategy.

    On the face of it, I would tend to agree. But given Microsoft's obvious intent to own everything (if you can't better it, buy it. If you can't buy it, destroy it), I would argue that any competing company that doesn't commit at least some of its resources to "anti-Microsoft" activities is only asking to eventually get buried.

    Every time I see a company drop support for non-M$-Win platforms I say to myself "there goes another one." As was made clear in the DoJ vs. M$ trial: M$ has a curious way of rewarding its "friends."

    (When you think about it, what does a company locking itself in to M$-platform-based-solutions tell you? You know if something gets big enough, M$ will defeat, buy or destroy it. So a company that locks itself into M$ is saying that they either don't intend to get big enough to end up on Microsoft's radar, they're not thinking about the future at all, or they intend to get bought. Yeah, that's a company in which I want to invest, all right!)

    The up-shot is that the only way to buy insurance against the day when M$ may decide it wants your business is to avoid locking one self into utter dependence on it. "Opposed to Microsoft" may not be a valid business plan in and of itself. But it certainly ought to be part of a business plan, I think.

    Sun Microsystems, in particular, appears to understand this. (And so, apparently, do investors in SUNW.) This is why (in part) we have Java. And why Sun bought Star. And the reason, IMO, for many of Sun's other moves. I'd like to see Sun invest in or purchase some engineering tools firms--such as something to compete with AutoCAD--to guarantee availability of high-quality tools in that niche on platforms other than M$-Win.

  • hah. it's funny that this post is moderated as redundant, yet the only other post that makes a similar comment was posted after this comment.

    Moderators, redundant should be used after analyzing when the post was made. Not where it shows up in your customized page.

  • I should have read the article more closely. ;-) It says:

    Caldera Systems was spawned from Caldera Corporation, but is independent and not involved in its progenitor's suit against Microsoft.

    So I guess these new investors don't really have a shot at collecting the Microsoft money. Yeah, I wonder about the rest of Caldera's business plan too.


    ---
  • I thought that Bill Gates (or was is MS) owned a portion (~15%???) of SCO. So if SCO is owned in part by Gates/MS, and SCO is supporting Caldera, then Gates/MS is indirectly supporting Caldera. Ironic isn't it. Reminds me of a saying about building your own coffin.
  • Another step closer to: Linux Everywhere.
    disclaimer: I use OpenLinux 2.3.

  • The code in question that tested if the Dialog box was to be popped up or not was a test to see if the address of a certain codepage was what it
    was expected to be in Ms-Dos. The test had no relevance to anything at all to do with Windows or Dos interaction. It was heavily encrypted and the error message opaque and threatening. It did not mention the OS. The code itself was highly encrypted and protected by anti debugger techinques. They were pulling a fast one by making DR-DOS seem potentially unstable and trying to hide it.

    The dissasembly of this code - the "ARRD Detection Code" was published in Dr. Dobbs shortly after it's discovery. It's probably still in their archives. I remember this with some clarity as reading this article was the thing event that turned me from pro to anti Microsoft.
  • by bhurt ( 1081 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @07:59AM (#1386565) Homepage
    The article makes it sound like Caldera/DR-DOS said "Hey, we lost- let's sue!" Some things on Caldera's side:

    1) Per-processor licensing. Caldera can prove that Microsoft used pressure that no one else could have brought to bear (i.e. monopoly-based pressure) on to the OEMs to prevent DR-DOS from being preinstalled. Microsoft's relationship with (and coercion of) the OEMs is discussed in depth in Judge Jackson's FOF. Caldera can use all of that and more.

    2) The christmas beta. If Microsoft hadn't encrypted that code to make it harder to find and determine how it worked, they might have been able to claim it was just a Beta bug. But the _premeditated_ attempt to hide what they were doing says that they knew they were wrong.

    Microsoft's defense is "Yeah, we committed a crime- but it can't be undone and it was aeons ago in computer years, so who cares?" Bleh.

    Brian
  • I've been reading The Microsoft File : The Secret Case Against Bill Gates (don't buy it here!) [amazon.com]. There's some interesting tidbits about MSDOS vs DRDOS, MS vs Novell, and Bill Gates vs Ray Noorda in there (Also lots of boring bits; I give the book two stars out of five - I didn't hurl it from me, but I have to force myself to read it). Noorda was the CEO of Novell in the early 90s. He retired from Novell and founded Caldera. This article [winmag.com] summarizes the history of Noorda and Caldera. The current CEO of Caldera [caldera.com] is also from Novell. I'd guess that Noorda brought him over, and that he has a fair amount of personal loyalty to Noorda, his values, and his goals.

    Noorda has it in for MS, and I would say deservedly so. MS proposed a merger with Novell and basically pillaged all kinds of inside business and technical information before saying "Nevermind." Novell bought DRDOS, only to have MS...well, you can read that history yourself. [drdos.com] A couple of passages in the book indicate that Noorda felt that Bill Gates had lied to him personally.

    Noorda doesn't think that MS is good for the software industry. A benign dictator can be acceptable, but an blood-crazed psychopathic tyrant is a Bad Thing (tm). De facto industry standards are fine as long as they don't come from the end of a gun.

    I think that your opinion (about business plans)is tactically sound but strategically wrong. If Microsoft is taken apart - or at least taken down a few notches - there will be more opportunities for everyone in the software industry. If EVERYONE said "Our plan is to take something away from Microsoft," MS would find itself assaulted from all sides and unable to compete effectively without choosing some battles and losing some battles. Noorda is doing his part, and if everyone else would do the same, the software industry would be a different place. Better or worse, I honestly can't say, but definitely different.
  • I got moderated down to OFFTOPIC in the news that Riva released new XFree drivers when I asked if someone had tried to run quake with it ... I don't think there was anything more on-topic than this question, but still ...

    And YEAH ... this ONE post is OFF-TOPIC. Please save your mod points for Natalie Portman's friends, ok?

  • Does anyone remember actually using DR DOS? I'm curious as to how well it competed with MS DOS at the time. Looking back, I remember hearing good things about DR DOS (but most of it faded with the advent of Windows). It's not hard to imagine that another company could have implemented a better version.
  • Watch me disagree. Here is the "threatening" message:

    -----------------------------
    Non-fatal error detected: error #4D53
    (Please contact Windows 3.1 beta support.)

    * Press ENTER to continue.

    ENTER=Continue.
    -----------------------------

    Clearly, just from looking at this text, they never intended this dialog to ship with the product - otherwise it wouldn't mention Beta support. Secondly, not only doesn't it mention DR-DOS, it doesn't even mention the OS. On their "presspass" website, Microsoft comments that very few user comments were generated during the Beta process by this dialog.

    Whatver the motives behind the dialog, the notion that this is the reason Novell/Caldera doesn't rule the world is ludicrous. I hope this case gets thrown out of court.


    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Guess why the 95 consent decree was put into place.

    Have you heard about the per CPU licensing contracts MS had with OEMS? Why are these no longer around?

    Product pre-announcements that have no basis in fact by a known monopolist are also illegal.

    The Caldera case is deeper than Windows beta stunt MS pulled.

  • netware has a reputation for being a fileserver more than anything else -- and a DOS based product due to its crummy DOS based tools (netware 3,4 have em). netware also had serious problems with DoS attacks from (suprise, suprise) its own tools it shipped with the systems. The tools which allow you to masqurade PCs as servers can lead to disastrous DoS attacks when necessary.
  • No customer saw that dialog in any shipping copy of windows.

    But many customers (like me) couldn't get windows to install on top of dr-dos, strange coincidence...
    Add to that the fact the windows was the _only_ software incompatible to dr-dos.
  • Oh, as shameful as it sounds, I still got to admit having been a DOS user... During the days when most of the CPU time was devoted to gaming, all my friends used to have DR DOS 6.0 as their gaming OS instead of the horrendous competitor. All the functionality was, and still is, way ahead of what Micro$oft had to offer, for example quite excellent (for DOS, mind you) memory management and all the great tools offered in the package.

    In fact, I have never had any computer with MS-DOS installed in my premises. Still got the OpenDOS 7.02 on some long forgotten partition, though ;-)

    ______________

  • One thing I remember is the better memory managment/manager, you could have more things loaded about the 640k, freeing memory for games etc. :).
    I remember exactly I changed to ms-dos 5.0 in order to be able to install windows.
  • Netware's licensing scheme is relatively expensive, and the seem to be falling behind on the performance curve. A year ago I would have also complained that Netware servers have serious stability problems, but in our case that problem was solved by replacing the administrators.
  • Product pre-announcements that have no basis in fact by a known monopolist are also illegal.

    The Caldera case is deeper than Windows beta stunt MS pulled.


    I respectfully disagree.

    Caldera's case accuses Microsoft of unfairly achieving a monopoly. But as evidence of this unfair action, they point to pre-release announcements Microsoft made after they were a monopoly. That, my friend, is circular reasoning.

    Furthermore, if you do a quick websearch, you will see that the judge in the case is highly skeptical of Caldera's chances. So am I.

    And as I stated in the post to which you are replying, I don't believe MS "pulled" any "stunts" either.


    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • The CNet story starts off citing this as another example of the market's infatuation with anything with the Linux name on it. I wouldn't mind so much except that they didn't point out that Caldera is an existing player with a good track record, technically at least. The same is true of RedHat and VA Linux. Yes, there is significant money flowing into Linux, but much of it is flowing into companies that have developed a reputation and a customer base. The Motley Fool article a few days ago about Linux One did a good job of pointing out why that is important. This article gives more of the impression that anything with the current buzzword in it may be all hype. I don't think that is the impression that CNet intended.
  • I used DR-DOS, and have to say that it was better than MS-DOS. Although the disk compression software (Stacker) crashed and destroyed the contents of my hard drive, in general it was a better product than DOS. However, for most users, the benefits to DR-DOS just weren't very significant. If a clone product wants to gain significant market share, it has to be significantly better than the product they are cloning. DR-DOS added small features, or bundled free software such as Stacker, but Microsoft was the one who made evloutionary changes. There was nothing in DR-DOS I couldn't easily do without, they never created a product that had enough benefits to grow beyond a niche. When the market changed to a graphical interface, they couldn't compete. If Microsoft did do the things Caldera claims, then it was not only unethical, but pointless.

    If DR-DOS would have survived what would be different? Windows has brought us benefits such as printer drivers for the OS/Shell, rather than a different driver for each application. Anyone remember DOS Wordperfect Drivers? How would Plug and Play ever have evloved if Microsoft couldn't control the whole package? Microsoft would just have to make the changes, and DR-DOS would be continuously complaining how unfair it is that the PC platform was evolving, and they weren't in control of it. That's the nature of creating a clone product, you're always playing catchup on the standard features, and trying to add features to distinguish yourselves. As long as the leader in the market doesn't sit still, it's almost impossible to ever be more than a niche.
  • I think a lot of the anti-Microsoft hype is silly, but this statement is seriously misinformed. The code which generated that dialog box was obfuscated, encrypted & self-modifying - definitely not a "simple" test to warn people that they weren't using a Microsoft DOS.

    Furthermore, as was shown in various e-mail evidence produced in the trial, the point was not to make the CUSTOMERS nervous about DR-DOS - it was to discourage DEVELOPERS from writing their applications with DR-DOS in mind (at that moment in time, it was a better "DOS" than MS-DOS). That's why they only needed to put the Test into the Windows beta - which was being released primarily to developers who wanted to test their applications for compatibility.
  • I used DR-DOS, and it seemed to be better than MS-DOS. It made better use of memory. But when I went to MS-DOS, to load Window of course, I never really missed it. As things moved to Windows, and squeezing things into 640K became less of an issue, DR-DOS's benefits kind of disappeared in my opinion.
  • I think a lot of the anti-Microsoft hype is silly, but this statement is seriously misinformed. The code which generated that dialog box was obfuscated, encrypted & self-modifying - definitely not a "simple" test to warn people that they weren't using a Microsoft DOS.

    I'll post the horrifying message a second time:

    -----------------------------
    Non-fatal error detected: error #4D53
    (Please contact Windows 3.1 beta support.)

    * Press ENTER to continue.

    ENTER=Continue.
    -----------------------------

    I found this in a Dr Dobbs archived article. As you can see, this message, regardless of how bizarre the implementation or how evil the motives, has about zero impact on anyone considering DR-DOS. It doesn't mention the OS at all, let alone the version. And furthermore, MS states on its presspass page that very few customers actually called in to find out what the error meant anyway. And, as the message states, they can always hit ENTER to continue.

    Furthermore, as was shown in various e-mail evidence produced in the trial, the point was not to make the CUSTOMERS nervous about DR-DOS - it was to discourage DEVELOPERS from writing their applications with DR-DOS in mind

    Since DR-DOS was %100 compatible, no developer would had to design their apps "with DR-DOS in mind". Any app developed for MS-DOS would also run on DR-DOS. Therefore, I don't see that Caldera has much of an argument along that line.

    (at that moment in time, it was a better "DOS" than MS-DOS

    It's so easy to make quality judgements in retrospect when nobody is running either OS any longer. I don't recall ever noticing much difference between them when I ran them back in the day. Personally, I very much doubt Joe User would notice the differences either.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • You bet I remember using DR DOS! At the time, I had an IBM PS/2 Model 50 computer which had a microchannel bus, a 20MG harddrive, and 1MB of RAM on the motherboard plus 8MB more RAM on an Acculogic memory board that fit into one of the PS/2 slots. That PS/2 used IBM's PS DOS 3.1, under license from MS-- it was essentially MS DOS licensed to IBM, that IBM had tightened up to perform better than MS DOS.

    I attempted to install MS DOS ver 4.0 and then 5.0, but both times I gave up and returned to PC DOS 3.1, because it was just somehow better than any MS DOS-- it seemed to be more stable.

    Then I tried DR DOS. I moved to DR DOS from the PC DOS 3.1 that had come bundled with the computer. Why? Because IBM PC DOS 3.1, was almost an identical copy (but slightly better quality) of MS DOS, and it lacked all the latest features of DR DOS. Neither PC DOS nor MS DOS had any form of disk compression, nor did MS even think about it before DR DOS bundled it; MS DOS did not have any memory management utility for RAM above 640k before DR DOS came out with a version bundled with a very effective utility for memory management. I used all of these extra features in DR DOS and they all worked beautifully. After DR DOS made their big splash with these features, MS tried to copy them (remember the Stacker lawsuit, which MS lost hands down when it was proved that MS had stolen Stacker's technology almost verbatim?) but MS's first effort using their stolen technology to defeat DR DOS in the marketplace was a total failure-- I believe it was MS DOS 5.0-- MS DOS had been a TOTAL bug-ridden failure. And ver 5.0 was rushed out to correct the bugs.

    But MS DOS 5.0 was not much better. I believe it was MS DOS 5.0 that resulted in the Stacker suit that MS lost.

    DR DOS was the one PC operating system that worked much better than anything that was coming from Microsoft at the time, no matter who it was licensed to (like IBM)-- and then somewhere around 1992, or maybe it was 1993, no one could get the latest version of Windows, the copycat GUI stolen from Apple that lay over DOS, to work with DR DOS. It was for that reason that I considered giving up using DR DOS, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it-- I rather just gave up the idea of using Windows.

    DR DOS included a taskswapping GUI that looked different from Windows but allowed me to swap back and forth between several tasks in my 9MB total RAM, and it worked just like Windows was supposed to work, but without the "pretty" graphics that were just a cosmetic skin covering a rotten piece of fruit.

    DR DOS booted faster and ran much, much faster than MS DOS, so I decided to hold out on upgrading my OS until OS/2 came out with version 2.1. I made the move to OS/2 in 1993 (or was it 94?) with its new ability to see and use all of the memory in your system, but I still hated to abandon DR DOS at that time, so I kept it on the 80286 PS/2 and installed OS/2 on the 250MB IDE harddrive that came with my new 80486DX2/66MhZ machine. That machine had come bundled with MS DOS and Windows 3.1 installed.

    After the old PS/2 blew its video chip, around 1995, I installed DR DOS 6.0 on the 486 machine's newly upgraded 1.8GB SCSI hard drive along with OS/2.

    Today, I run Linux on two machines-- the old 486 and a newer P133 with 128MB RAM and two-4.5 SCSI hard drives. There is a small partition (800 MB) for OS/2 on both machines for the DOS legacy programs such as Quicken. The 486 has Windows 3.11 and PC DOS 7.0 installed on a tiny 400 MB partition of the now total 3.5 MB SCSI hard drive on that machine-- it's harddrive has been upgraded again-- so my children can run their old Windows games.

    The use of Windows is fading as the kids grow older and move more and more to OS/2 and now Linux to do their work. I can forsee wiping Windows 3.11 off both machines within the next few months.

    DR DOS exists no longer on my machines-- I use OS/2's DOS virtual machine to do my legacy DOS stuff. I can't even find my DR DOS disks any longer.
  • But many customers (like me) couldn't get windows to install on top of dr-dos, strange coincidence...
    Add to that the fact the windows was the _only_ software incompatible to dr-dos.


    Caldera is not alleging that DR-DOS doesn't run under windows. It does. If you can't get it to work, then I'd respectfully suggest that is your problem, and not the result of a global conspiracy.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Here is the text of the evil error message under debate:

    -----------------------------
    Non-fatal error detected: error #4D53
    (Please contact Windows 3.1 beta support.)

    * Press ENTER to continue.

    ENTER=Continue.
    -----------------------------

    As I've stated before, this is a very weak foundation upon which to build an anti-monopoly case. The message does not even mention the OS, let alone DR-DOS. Secondly as the dialog says, you can always foil Microsoft's evil plan by hitting ENTER to Continue.

    In addition, suggesting that Microsoft encrypted their source code seems pretty weak. At the time this beta was written, the notion of open source review was inconceivable, and naturally they would realize that attempts to obscure the code would be perceived as a tacit admission of guilt. I'd say the Dr. Dobbs article that started this theory probably was reading too much into somebody's poor coding style. How much of the rest of Win3.1 is "encrypted" in this way? :-)

    I won't speak about the licensing issues since I don't know much about it. But the error message (in a beta no less) is just silly.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • I know, I didn't assume they would do that, but it didn't work for me and many others and all changed to ms-dos, honny soit qui mal y pense... .
  • I don't think that is strange that Sun throws some money into the mix. Caldera is going up against Gatezilla and McNealy is extremely anti-MS. I wish that he would spend more time thinking about his customers than about Bill.
  • No customer saw that dialog in any shipping copy of windows

    Perhaps, perhaps not. Irrelevant in either case.

    Members of the trade press did see that dialog in advance copies of Windows they may have received for review. If you're Joe ComputerCustomer and you read in Jerry X. Dvorak's ByteWeek column that he couldn't get Windows to work under DR-DOS (because of some wierd error) but could under MS-DOS, what are you going to think? "Better stay away from DR-DOS" is what.

    MS didn't need to put that in the final shipping version because by then most of the damage had already been done.
  • If you can't find your DR DOS disks, download new ones from Lineo [lineo.com].
  • They said there would be a charge of about .03/share. Lets see 5 Bln shares, what's that make it, around $150M? Caldera shoulda held out for more!
  • Agreed.

    In a former job life, I was a VAR (value added reseller) doing networks, hardware, etc. One of my better clients had an established (translation := stable) Netware setup, with DR-DOS on all of the workstations. At the time Windows (3.1.1, definitely not the beta in question) was installed, several of the workstations started going nuts.

    After several weeks of sweating bullets due to client anger towards my company and after many hours of intensive research, what we found out was that Windows was relocating code that belonged to one the DR-DOS subsystems, with nary a message in either DOS or Windows to indicate that something very bad was happening behind the scenes.

    In addition, at least in the early going (and if I am remembering correctly -- this is four plus years ago now), Windows wouldn't use the DR-DOS based IPX/SPX network card drivers correctly -- you had to use the Windows drivers in order to print via a Windows enabled printer. Which then conveniently locked out the DOS based users from using that printer. (To be fair, this may have been a printer driver problem, not M$ evil intentions).

    Still, sounds suspiciciously close to the illegal practice of tying , doesn't it?

  • by tilly ( 7530 ) on Monday January 10, 2000 @01:01PM (#1386597)
    See the press release [cnetinvestor.com].

    Ben
  • MicroSoft and Caldera have settled the DR-DOS lawsuit. Apparently MicroSoft didn't agree with the posters here who claimed "the lawsuit is weak" - the settlement will remove 3 cents per share of MS's expected quarterly earnings which doesn't sound like a lot but given that MS had predicted 38 cents per share for the quarter Caldera will be making off with nearly 8% of MS's earnings for the quarter, it seems. Here's the story [cnet.com]
  • I think that message is a clear indication of predatory innovation by MS, and that it decimated sales of DRDOS. But don't take my words for it MS memos clearly show that they felt this would be the case when they thought it up.

    Here's a quote from email sent by Microsoft Senior VP Brad Silverberg in 1992:

    "What the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable and, when he has bugs, suspect the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS, or decide not to take the risk for the other machines he has to buy for in the office."

    If you think this message wouldn't cause users to avoid DRDOS like the plague then I sure as hell hope no one consults you for software usability advice!

    BTW: The code that checked for the existence of DRDOS was the only encrypted/obsfucated code in the Windows 3.1 beta.
  • LinuxToday says that Microshaft and Caldera have settled. The terms are confidential, but Microshaft will take a charge of $0.03 this quarter. With 5.17 billion shares outstanding, that works out to $155.1 million.
  • "What the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable and, when he has bugs, suspect the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS, or decide not to take the risk for the other machines he has to buy for in the office."

    I agree with you. Brad Silverberg definitely is not a nice man.

    However, bad intentions, or even naughty actions, do not constitute a breach of law unless those actions actually accomplish the destruction of a competitor.

    A tiny, obscure, and nonspecific erro box in a BETA of a release that doesn't even prevent you from continuing and NEVER metions DR-DOS could not possibly do any such thing.

    Maybe Microsoft wanted to destroy DR-DOS with this dialog, but if so they were being remarkably incompetent about it. Mentioning DR-DOS in the text, for example, might have helped.

    DR-DOS failed because it lacked 1) mindshare and 2) marketing. This dialog didn't even modify the pace of its march to the gallows.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • I used DR-DOS.

    I also programmed for its' progenitors, DR-M-DOS, C-DOS, and C-CP/M.

    We used to cram a complete POS application into one "window", a transaction processing application into a second, and a CD-ROM based (1x Mitsui boxes) database into a third on 386sx boxes with 4mb RAM.

    Try THAT with Windows!

    There is no doubt in my mind that MS knew DR-DOS was better, cleaner, faster. Their only "ace" was that Windows 3.0 had gained consumer acceptance, and 3.1 was really taking off.

    (OT - anyone else remember the other GUI windowers?)

    Long story short, MS knew they were SOL if they couldn't compete, so they rigged the app (Windows) to give a message that, while techs knew was bogus, managers would freak out over. Then they cobbled together memory management, stole (Stacker) disk compression, and released way before any self-respecting Quality Assurance person should have let them...and the result was MS-DOS 5.

    Meow
  • It was encrypted sections of the binary. This was a very common method used to obfusticate copy protection mechanisms in software back in the days that people used to do that. I can remember disassembling games on one or two 8-bit architectures for the purposes of er .. making backup copies. There is no reason to write code that does this other than to obscure its intent from casual observation.
  • (OT - anyone else remember the other GUI windowers?)

    Such as GEM? There were even quite a few applications written for that IIRC. And then there were the Amstrad machines that could run either MS-DOS or CP/M-86 (I believe), and which had parallel processing and some funny GUI as well.

  • In a similar vein, in the late seventeenth century, there was an (famous) investment bubble in tulip bulbs (I kid you not...) People were speculatively buying tulips, the price of tulip bulbs soared to astronomical heights, and eventually the whole thing fell apart with a crash.

    Tulips are still giving people pleasure (and you can stop sniggering at the back) three hundred years later.
    --
    Cheers

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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