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On Microsoft Porting to Linux/Unix 271

skubalon writes "Mainsoft confirmed today that they are indeed porting Microsoft's apps to Linux. The story was first reported in Paul Thurrott's WinInfo yesterday. Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player will be among the first apps to be ported." On the other hand we have this submission:rendell writes "According to this story on Beta News, Microsoft is denying the rumors that they were in the process of porting some of their software to the Linux platform. Especially focusing on the rumor that the main project was Office." So - who knows? My analysis: Microsoft is correct - /they/ are not doing the porting. Mainsoft however, appears to have the powers to execute the porting.
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On Microsoft Porting to Linux/Unix

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  • I've tried M9, M14,16 and a couple of other Mozillas. Hows about they actually deliver a product. At this rate Microsoft could take the IE5 code, audit it, scrap it and completely rewrite it for every one of the Unixes before Mozilla 1.0 sees the light of day.

    Given that Mozilla has gone from Zero to M18 in the same time that MS goes from IE 5.0 to 5.5, I think that remark is way off target. And given enough memory, Mozilla runs very nicely - if it makes your system page to disc you are SOL anyway, and that is true for any system with 64MB or less. I have no complaints with M17 on Linux or M18 nightlies on Windows NT with both systems having 128MB of RAM. Hell even the Flash plugins work in Mozilla now. The memory requirements will drop after M19 when the optimization is done.


    Toby Haynes

  • I'm all for this kind of thing. There are a bunch of areas where linux is dragging behind a LOT. Media is my primary concern. As of now I have yet to see a quality linux program play videos. If there is such a beast out there, it's almost impossible to get working. And if you get it working, many features are missing or crappy (a la fullscreen) XMMS is a wonderful program, much better in my estimation than any offering for windows.

    Bottom line: Sound we've got down... video, we need all the help we can get.
  • I've also used MainWin in the recent past (6 months back) and I can attest that it hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it ships to developers with a ported version of IE, which I can also tell you SUCKS. Its slow as hell, crash-prone, and doesn't adapt to whatever window manager you're using, which is to say, it either compiles looking like Motif or Win32. No choices there. As if that's not bad enough, its really, REALLY bloated, since it has to duplicate pretty much an entire OS. It kind of reminds me of Netscape 4, to tell you the truth.

    MainWin is one of those things that you use when you want to 'rehost' (they don't even call it porting) an in-house application of some sort. Nobody who's really serious about porting tries to use it to port an app. Apparently the rocket scientists over at microsoft didn't learn the basic rules of development that 90% of /.'s readership knows: separate form and function. But then again, with windows, they amount to the same thing, don't they?
  • Your mom doesn't care if she runs Office on Windows or Linux. You could easily persuade her and many other Windows users to switch to Linux!
  • As other people have pointed out.. the actual
    press releases say they are porting it to UNIX.
    They don't mention Linux specifically as the
    target platform. I think we are jumping to
    ********************************** **********

  • Microsoft supports MacOS and to continue there support (natively) for MacOS X (which runs on BSD), they must make apps. for *nix

    Well, this isn't technically true. MS could program in Carbon (clean subset of old MacOS) or NextStep aka Cocoa and these all include libraries and frameworks etc etc.

    Mac OS X is NOT *Nix - not in the sense you mean here. It's a super-set of Mach/BSD. POSIX, X-windows and CLI apps should run all on OS X to varying degrees - but apps programmed assuming/using Mac OS X do not flow so easily back down the path to *nix variants.


  • by Tony-A ( 29931 )
    >Microsoft is in business to make money.
    How does Microsoft make money from Internet Explorer?
  • I guess with a nick like this, it might be hard to judge fairly...

    The nick is a joke! Really!
  • by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher@gmail. c o m> on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:54PM (#846975) Homepage
    I found this unfinished press release poking blindly around the Mainsoft press release directory. Enjoy!

    Mainsoft announces major breakthrough in porting Windows functionality to Linux

    San Jose, Calif - April 1, 2001 - Mainsoft, the leader in common code-base cross-platform solutions for the enterprise, today announced a major breakthrough in porting Microsoft Windows functionality to the Linux Operating System.

    The first breakthrough is a patch to the linux kernel, kernmem.sys, allowing any linux machine to display important debugging information any time an application needs to. This is an important first step to porting other Windows applications, as it allows any user to immediately see when an application has requested the system to be rebooted.

    "Windows has had this functionality for a long time." said Yaacov Cohen, president of Mainsoft. "In the Windows world, this feature is known as the Blue Screen of Debugging". He continued, "We feel this has been a missing feature of Linux since its beginning, and will allow normal users of Windows to feel comfortable that Linux now behaves like a real Operating System."

    The second breakthrough is the porting of the registry to Linux. The registry will obviate the need for hundreds of configuration files in the /etc directory and spread around the file system.

    "With a working registry in Linux, we can replace all those antiquated file and user permissions and SUID bits that clutter up the Linux system." said Miguel De Icaza, Linux pundit "Now every Linux system will be as secure as a Windows machine, allowing consumers to feel safer about automatic registration and other new Microsoft technologies."

    The largest breakthrough is the porting of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack to Linux. Containing the most widely used applications on computers today, the Entertainment Pack will bring Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Yambo to Linux.

    "These productivity applications account for more than 50% of all CPU time used on Windows machines" said Rob Malda, Chief Productivity Application Tester at "With these applications now available on all Microsoft Linux compatible distributions, productivity will soar".

    Future enhancements to Linux will include the return to the Single User - Single Machine philosophy which fueled the explosive growth of the PC market in the 1980's. Removing the ability to have more than one user logged into a machine at any single time makes more efficient use of the resources of that machine, and simplifies licensing of future applications under the M$GPL.

    the AC
  • I knew that it was available for Solaris, but I'm not even gonna touch trying to add cruft to my box to run Solaris binaries... it's slow enough as is.

    I like Netscape 4.7 -- it's fairly fast (faster than Mozilla and every other browser I've tried), and the mail client, while a bit ticky, is the best of a bad lot. But, Netscape 4 is nearly dead from age, and doesn't support enough new stuff (and some stuff (like CSS) is broken enough I have to work around it when I making a site).

    IE 5 for the Mac (while a bit slow), is also very compliant to most of the latest stuff, and has some quite nifty features that I'm already taking advantage of (like the Auction mananger).

    I hate to say it, but IE is moving along much faster than anything else I've seen, at least on Mac/Windows. The Solaris port may be three versions out of date, for all I know.

  • At the risk of being a little off topic, referring to one of the joke headlines above, I wonder how many open-source and FSF people support Buchanan. As a guy who seems like a populist, I would think he is the most likely candidate to diminish IP protection or jettison it altogether. Thoughts?
  • You're not seriously asking this question are you?


    Without IE, how does Microsoft sell zillions of copies of NT and IIS with their SQL Server backends serving VBScript-laden ASP pages and ActiveX controls to ... IE users.

    Nevermind that IE is heavily integrated into the latest versions of Windows and might as well be considered a part of the OS.

    IE is for Microsoft, what magazine ads are to tobacco companies. You sometimes need to spend money, to make money.


  • by emir ( 111909 )
    are you running libc5 netscape on glibc system ? libc netscape used to crash alot on my glibc 2.1 system untill i installed glibc netscape from unsupported directory on
  • by fsck ( 120820 )
    3. See #1 (by the way, have you ever tried to write a web page for IE, then with Netscape? Netscape makes life really, really hard. And it displays them better, too. Mozilla displays them as well as IE, however. Almost.)

  • Why would Microsoft need MainWin? I thought they'd just add the IE code to kernel.
  • I personally hope they will port the apps. After all I want my Mom to use linux too :)
  • I've been using Netscape for about as long as I've been using Internet Explorer in Windows. Apart from the fact that Win98 does everything it can to get Netscape to crash, it runs better than IE and seems to cooperate effectively with my local proxy server. When I decided to dual boot with Linux, I was glad that Netscape was there for me to use. Also I don't like the way IE is 'integrated' into the OS. When Netscape crashes, that's all that dies, when IE crashes, so does the system.

    PS. Have you ever tried to visit in IE?
  • About the security problems.. unclick the checkbox that allows sites to identify me, its checked by default.
    Run MP7 and run a sniffer on incoming and outgoing traffic. Any erronious ip's that show up that arent what you're connecting to intentionally, use ipchains to nuke. Its awesome seeing the trojan programs being DENIED and LOGGED.
    Sniffers are fucking cool, just for interests sake, run Ethereal next time you start up Netscape 4.7x
  • try MpegTV (aka mtv), its commercial (10$) but works great for vcd's

    you can find it on []
  • Alternatively, what is stopping them from writing a new MSLinux kernel from scratch using no GPL code at all? I mean, if people can make Wine to emulate the windows code, i can't see why this isn't possible. Having the source code freely avaliable will make this reverse compiling quite a bit easier, and they could rebuilt it to have native Windows/dos/etc support. Or add compatibility layers, much like what Apple did with MacOS X. Just because it'll run Linux apps, it doesn't have to just be a repackaged version of Slackware with a few ms programs tagged on.


    i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

  • heh dont hope for too much, i talked to this guy that tested ie on hp/ux (yes there are ports of ie to hp/ux and solaris) and he told me that it made his window menager (cde??) crash all the time....
  • One of the Windows 2000 developers called Windows 9x a "toy operating system".
    Seems like not only do the tentacles on the octopus that is Microsoft not know what the others are doing, but they agressively don't give a shit!
  • That'd be interesting if Microsoft made better products.
  • I had to use MainSoft Visual Source Safe on Solaris at work last summer, and although I don't know, I'm guessing that it uses the aforementioned Win32 API emulator for *NIX. Ugh. It made Windows apps running on Windows look like a souped-up Apache server. I have never seen such bloated software in my life.

    Microsoft, if you're listening, DROP MAINSOFT. I'm sure there are graphics libraries out there licensed compatibly with you. The amount of cash it will cost to pay programmers to port into those libraries is under Bill Gates's couch. And they'll run 5 times faster - no exaggeration there.

    Or you could put some cash into WINE development and then have nothing to do but push your apps on Linux users....
  • This will finally allow IT managers reluctant to try non-Microsoft apps to try out the stability of Linux. Although there will be problems with speed and efficiency, the overall effect will be beneficial.

    Some Odd Photos []

  • >Microsoft is in business to make money.
    How does Microsoft make money from Internet Explorer?

    1) Well, once they eradicate the competition (netscape,mozilla) by changing the standard to MS-HTML, then they can charge extra for IE.

    2) By tying the browser to Windows, people who use Windows see Microsoft == The Internet. This image is what helps Microsoft sell more product.

    3) By tying the browser to the OS, they increase the perceived value of the OS, simply by adding a "free" product on to it. Of course if you check the cost of windows since Windows 95 to the present, the extra features and browser sure as hell isn't free.
  • I think I fall in the next class of people that Linux folks should be targeting: computer savvy professionals, capable and willing to work with new tools, can deal with file translations, etc., will evangelize useful tools to friends & colleagues. But I am not interested in playing with something like that for its own sake. I've got things to do, and need tools to do them.

    For both personal and professional work, I need MS Office, a stable browser (read: IE 5.0), Mathematica, Igor Pro, Adobe Illustrator, a PC-only optics app, Starcraft :) and assorted freeware.

    A couple of those I could get by with using substitutes, but most of it is necessary and not available for Linux. If Office & IE get ported, half my reasons for not using Linux are gone.

    But until Linux solves my problems, and doesn't constrain me by its problems, it's of no use to me.

    The hard-core geeks use Linux. But IMHO, if Linux is too much hassle for us mid-level geeks, who are willing to endure new problems and pain for neat (useful) tools, no way will the masses use it, who have much lower thresholds for dealing with pain different from what they are already used to. :)
  • uuh, i just hope solaris port of ie is like 100x better than hp/ux port, because from what i heard is that ie used to crash window menager on a friends hp/ux system.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    if microsoft does port to linux, i hope they port outlook express w/ vba all can share in the fun! FP!
  • Thanks, I didn't know that (ooh...and it's up to date). If I can get Office, then I'm halfway there :)

    As for the whether the Linux crowd should "chase" after users like me (as others commented on) -- if Linux supporters want to see their OS remain a niche item for l33t d00ds, that's fine. But if they want to expand the market, they need to give consumers solutions.
  • When someone disses a major product from a different section of their own company, my first thought is they have some sort of juvenile ego issue. I translate his statement as, "Those Win98 guys were picking on us Win2k guys, so I'm gonna say petty things to outsiders to get even. Nyah nyah nyah!"

    But perhaps he is just being honest.
  • Microsoft Windows Ten... ;^)

    besides the UNIX and OS/2 stuff, doesn't that describe WinNT/2k/etc.?

    i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

  • New Agreement with Microsoft Reinforces Mainsoft's Position as the Leading Provider of Common Code-Base Cross-Platform Solutions for the Enterprise

    Well Shit, here I was thinking that LCARS could support damn near anything!

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • And they were able to become dominant in the applications industry partially through their use and abuse of their control of the OS that most PCs ran.

    I wonder how their applications division will fare when they're not able to tweak the OS to benefit them...

  • Microsoft already did port Internet Explorer to Unix. I remember running it on Solaris a few years ago. It was actually more stable in thatbeta version than the production version of Netscape the rest of my co-workers used. It even set up it's own pseudo-registry. Ultimately, I saw the IE 4.01 port for Solaris and HP/UX. They're still available here []. I also think I saw an Outlook Express Beta, but I can't be sure.

    So, once they've gotten that far, it's just a minor step to port it to Linux, right? And heck, if you can port something like IE, you already have to have widgets, a registry, a lot of Win32 stuff, etc. With that base set of requirements already taking care of, shouldn't that make porting the rest of Microsoft's app that much easier?

  • I've had netscape take down the OS indirectly. Every so often it gets a bug up its ass and consumes 100% of the system resources, giving you the choice of hitting reset or waiting for an indeterminate period in the hopes that maybe it'll let go of its death grip on your system.

    I suppose ulimit could fix that. Turnning Java off seems to do the trick though, as I've never had that problem happen to me while I had Java disabled.

  • There are several things going on here. First of all MS is not allocating any of ITS resources to the port that was mentioned in the article, and are not admitting to directly authorizing a port to linux. They are indirectly authorizing a port by allowing another company to port its products over to the other platforms. What are they indirectly authorizing are IE and MS Media Player. This is a win-win situation for MS.
    • MS gets more market share of the web browser market by tapping into the Linux-Netscape area.

    • MS's new media format is pushed as a being more of a standard.

    • MS hasn't allocated any money or resources into doing this.

    Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if MS is porting Office to Linux. Will they release it when it is done, probably not. Why? Simple, they don't need to yet. MS still has a huge portion of the office market and until they think that they are actually being challenged on that front they don't need to worry about releasing their office product over to other systems. It is still good to have an ACE up the sleeve though. If they are porting Office over right now, when something like StarOffice, or if WordPerfect makes a miracle comeback and starts to eat up their market AND they can trace the loss back to Linux, then they release the product and try to kill the competing office product. Or if the DOJ gets their way and the Surpreme Court (SC) hears the case, AND if the SC decides that they do need to be broken up then the non-OS portion of MS can release the product and make more money on OSes that compete with Windows.

    It is smart for them to port. It is smarter of them to allow someone else to port for them. And it is even smarter to hold back that which could potentially hurt them until it can help them.
  • Yes, in theory it would be possible to get IE for Solaris (x86) running on GNU/Linux (x86)...

    There's a tool named iBCS [] (Intel Binary Compatibility Specification Module) which together with all the right libraries could probably get that monster running on GNU/Linux...

    Now, I don't know if this is enough... but this is what iBCS does:
    Emulations provided:

    * Sparc Solaris * i386 BSD (386BSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, BSDI/386) - very alpha, very old.
    * SVR4 (Interactive, Unixware, USL, Dell etc.)
    * SVR3 generic
    * SCO (SVR3 with extensions for symlinks and long filenames)
    * SCO OpenServer 5
    * Wyse V/386 (SVR3 with extensions for symlinks)
    * Xenix V/386 (386 small model binaries only)

    Subsystems emulated:

    * SYSV IPC
    * /dev/socksys socket interface as used by the Lachman STREAMS based networking implementation.
    * BSD and Wyse V/386 system call socket interface.
    * /dev/spx STREAMS device (limited server support).
    * XTI/TLI transports for TCP, UDP and related protocols - client only (outgoing connections). Accepting connections untested.

  • Sort of my fears too.

    Who else can see an "Office for Linux" that require you to run as root? (or at least have write permit where the program is installed...)

    There goes every security benefit of a real multi user system,... out the window.

  • Read that press release really carefully, you know, like a M$ Drone would, and then ask yourself this question: "Is it possible that M$ is porting their apps to all the "closed" (drone-safe) unix Operating Systems, and not to the various open flavors of Linux?" Remember, they did port IE to HP/UX, and there's no chance in hell of running that port on a Linux box. Remember, this is M$, yer gonna get a binary, that's it, no recompiling, no fixing some stupid mistake that got by M$ QA, just a binary. Like many of the posters today, I too would like to have IE5 and Office on my Red Hat Workstation, but I think we're getting are hopes up too high once again. And this is coming from an old Amiga hack! :-)
  • Porting IE, Office, and other Microsoft products to Linux is likely pocket change for Microsoft, in particular when they can outsource it and use a compatibility library.

    The question is whether and in what form they will release those products, or how else they will use them. They might, for example, ship substandard versions of IE simply to have an argument for management of the form "yes, you can standardize on IE, it runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris". Or they might want to harm third party office suite efforts (open source or proprietary), for example by giving pre-release demos, maybe releasing a so-so version of Office, etc.

    You can bet that whatever Microsoft will be doing with these ports, it will be done to increase their business and harm competitors, including Linux and Mozilla, and push their proprietary protocols and formats. Altogether, I think it's best not to get distracted by Microsoft and ignore what they are doing. If writing Gnome Office or KOffice was a good idea a week ago, it still ought to be a good idea today.

  • It's not about supporting a competing platform (Office is not an OS). It's about finding another market for one of their bigget moneymakers - Office.

    Do you think a Linux Office would significantly decrease the sales of Windows? Honestly. It might make a dent, no more.

    However, do you think that the existence of Linux Office might entice business users of Linux (by that I mean, people who use Linux as a desktop OS in the workplace) to keep from switching to StarOffice or KOffice? Quite possibly. Compatibility is important when a lot of your co-workers and clients are using Word and Excel.


  • My guess on what will go down:

    Press Release
    Redmond WA
    Today Mircosfot Announced that they would port the best selling office automation package known as Microsfot Office [tm] to the Linux operating system....blah blah blah

    Press Release
    Redomnd WA
    Today Microsoft said they had stoped production of the much awaited Linux version of Microsoft Office. Comapny officals claim that the many versions of Linux make it difficult to provide a stable product and that the development team had problems using the avalable development systems...FUD...FUD...FUD...Linux Bashing...more priase of w2k...stuff that will scare a PHB away from Linux....FUD...
  • Look at Office 2001 for the mac, you can see what I mean. Mircosoft knows Mac users dont' like Microsoft. So they are downplaying everything that says Mircosoft. It's totally carbonized, etc.

    Rembember what Office for Mac was like between 1995 and Jobs striking the deal with Microsoft? A mere recompile using the weak Mac support in the MFC libraries.

    Given that there's nobody in the Linux world with sufficient authority to make that kind of deal with MS that Jobs made, why would MS give us anything better than the Mac had before the deal?

    And for all you doubting thomas's. Interenet Exploer 5 for MacOS is the most standards compiant browser on the market. I'd execpt no less form Microsoft on a linux port.

    And Internet Explorer 5 for Solaris is as non-standards-compliant as IE 5 for Windows, and is as unstable as a four-legged stool with only two legs left.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • Office 6 for the Mac (the last version prior to Office 98) was one of the worst Microsoft products ever released, as well as one of the worst Mac products. I can't prove this of course, but I suspect that the atrocious quality of Office 6 had something to do with the precipitous decline of Apple several years ago (not that Apple didn't do plenty itself).

    Anyway, Office 6 was not updated for years. It appeared that Microsoft had completely abandoned Office development for the Mac.

    Until Microsoft made a deal to invest in Apple, have Apple drop its patent lawsuit against Microsoft, and have Apple adopt IE and marginalize Netscape. Then, as if by magic, Office 98 appeared on the scene as a generally superb Macintosh application (not that it doesn't have some warts).

    Coincidence? What do you think?
  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:34PM (#847068) Homepage Journal
    Now, I'm not an MS-basher or a Linux zealot -- I believe that everything has its place. That being said, the potential that this rumor is true makes me a little nervous.

    Regardless of who is doing the porting, Microsoft apps for Linux sounds a little shady. Think about it: MS has got a pretty good stranglehold on the desktop market, and one of thier primary up-and-coming competitors is Linux. Now, does it sound like a terribly astute business decision to port your applications (which are what lock users to your OS) to your competitors' platform?

    The only way I can see this making any sense is if MS has resigned themselved to being split into MS/OS and MS/Applications as per the initial DOJ v. MS ruling.

    What are we missing? What am I missing?


  • Not true. Microsoft could end up with a VERY closed source distrib. Think about it. Windows currently runs on top of dos. Even Windows ME runs on dos (although better hidden)... What if microsoft ports windows directly to the linux kernel, using a few binary only modules to allow windows full access to everything that would be provided by dos. (kernel level access to hardware for example)

    The only part that would be under the GPL would be the kernel it self. (after all, linux is only a kernel... the software running under linux != linux)

    Microsoft could take this to the point of having a pretty powerful version of windows. Not only that, but the kernel it self would continue to be maintained for them.. for FREE by the rest of the community.

    I don't think this day will come.

    But if it did, rather than extending windows to take advantage of using a linux kernel, they COULD make the difference between windows on dos and windows on linux so small that the user would never know. They could have the windows portion handle EVERYTHING that is currently handled in windows... leaving linux in the position dos is currently in... (loads windows) well you get the idea.

    Scary, I can see windows loading from the kernel as if it was a initd binary/script.

    Only two things would be needed to get a ported version of windows to boot. The linux kernel could be placed somewhere like /windows/kernel. They could even modify the kernel to use /windows/ as the initd (yes, I know they could not use the real :) ..) They could even go as far as running the entire thing from a fat32 partition...

    This way they would provide NOTHING to the community, while still giving them an edge. (Hey look, where using linux technology.. no need to use linux anymore because you get both windows AND linux right here. What do you mean big ol DOJ? We are embracing and extending our competitor.)

  • I hope that mainsoft can do a good port of IE since Netscape sucks (fonts sucks, rendering sucks and java sucks) and mozilla is to big and too slow. And at last I would be able to watch any movie format and codec.

    Maybe this is Microsoft preparation for the split and entering a really competitive enviroment?
  • by -=[ SYRiNX ]=- ( 79568 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:35PM (#847075) Homepage
    Mainsoft makes a product called MainWin, which is an implementation of the Win32 API. They aren't actually modifying Microsoft product code to port it to Linux, they are just creating a compatible API layer and working to make it compatible enough that major Microsoft apps will run on Linux. It's no different than WINe.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:36PM (#847079)
    What I have to wonder is whether the ports will be done correctly. I recall several other products having been "ported" to linux (wordperfect?) which weren't done correctly - rather than adapt to the OS, they tried to adapt the OS and underlying libraries to their program, often resulting in massive breakage and gaping holes in the code, as well as a non-uniform interface.

    This is a major contract for them, but I have my doubts on their ability to produce. First, it won't be done in the next few years. I mean, you don't just port apps as complex as what Microsoft puts out to another *platform* in a few weeks. I also have to wonder about the quality once it will be done - if they "do it right", a proper port could take 3-4 years.. which means whatever they're porting now could very well be out of date. They'll need continual contact with MS to keep their code up to date.. that's alot of extra work for both of them.. adding a huge cost.

    Finally, what if it fails - what if a bug-ridden copy of MS Office ships under the linux banner? MS people will *OF COURSE* run to get the first copy, first release, of it. And they'll be very disappointed with what they see. They won't see this as a failure of Microsoft, who has provided a perfectly working copy under Windows, but as a failure of Linux for not supporting their favorite app "the way they wanted it to".

  • I can just imagine how shitty Microsoft's distribution of Linux will be. Umm, we all know that this is their eventual plan, yes? Embrace, extend, then break compatibility.

    They can do whatever they like. Access to their source is protected under the GPL. They can make as many changes as they like, but at the end of the day, all the code belong to the community. Debian, Red Hat, etc can just merge in changes or, worst case, create an "MS Linux compatibility layer."

    - Scott

    Scott Stevenson
  • by BiLlCaT ( 6758 )
    I see no mention of Linux in the press release. Methinks no one should get too excited until they tell us they're doing it for more than HP/UX and Slowaris, er Solaris, two Unices that they do mention in the press release. Doesn't sound anything like "Microsoft is porting apps to Linux" to me.
    the amazing bc
    latin/funk flugelhorn & trumpet
    webnaut, music junkie, sysadmin from hell
  • But how will you explain her that the linux-box with IE, Office and Outlook (with VBA) recently crashed your praisen Linux ? She will change back to Windows.
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:39PM (#847097) Homepage Journal
    Assume for a moment that someone with the Win32 and Office source code is porting the office apps to Linux (and pretty much only Linux86, maybe LinuxAlpha if you're lucky, but you get the same horrible 32 bit kludging you do in NTAlpha). Assume it's Mainsoft. They're still doing it with Microsoft's permission, and M$, unlike IBM of old, is a company with a vision. The Office group does not crap on the OS group.

    If you or I were given all this source code and told "port Office to Linux" we would run away screaming in horror and hide under our beds for a year. Perhaps if we had enough intestinal fortitude we'd identify the APIs that Office uses that aren't supported by Wine and implement those. Licencing would be a bitch, of course.

    This isn't what Mainsoft are doing. They're porting Office without benefit of Wine. Remember that Microsoft wants you to buy Office, but most of all they want you to buy Windows and Office.

    My predictions:

    Office for Linux will be slower, uglier and less stable than the Windows version;
    when Office for Linux crashes it will take down the OS. Don't say it can't be done - remember that the smart guys at Microsoft figured out an unknown weakness in the Linux TCP/IP stack for the Mindcraft tests;
    Microsoft will blame it on Linux and offer "competitive upgrades" to W2K.

    You just see if I'm right!

  • You go to hell! You go to hell and YOU DIE!

    Seriously- to hell with that! If a runner went around kneecapping everyone else in the race would you give him the prize? Even if you did, would you cheer when he showed up at another race?

    I can tell you one condition under which I'd start using Internet Explorer. That condition is if IE was seized by the government, nationalised, perhaps turned over to the United Nations and henceforth developed and maintained by a multinational standards body- sort of 'if there really is going to be only one way for the world's citizens to communicate and do e-commerce, let's give them a voice in how it's made'.

    Failing that, you go to hell and you die! I don't care how much worse other browsers are after they've been kneecapped or rendered forever unable to get financing. I've a right to make decisions that affect me, and I REFUSE to cooperate in giving power to what, in so many ways, is my most intractable competition. This is somewhat indirect- if I was a smalltown newspaper editor rather than a hacker and musician and writer MS would be more _directly_ my competition- but it's like Wal-Martization, I have _no_ valid role to MS other than as a passive consumer. I imagine I'm supposed to get the money to buy MS products from working AT Wal-Mart: lord knows it's certainly not by writing a web browser, word processor, spreadsheet and selling it to anybody.

    On the other hand, if I wrote a game, MS might _buy_ me, and presumably this would come with a salary capable of paying for more Microsoft Products. Unless they only gave me stock options and I had to get a job at Wal-Mart to pay for the Microsoft Products ;P

    Seriously- to hell with you and your Internet Explorer! You're really stupid if you don't understand questions of consequences when they are _so_ obvious. Perhaps you don't remember a computer industry that wasn't composed of Microsoft and its servants? Funny, I remember an Internet that is composed of more than Microsoft and its servants. We're looking at it- for now.

  • Who cares if a few of the desktops run Linux? MSFT's major money makers have always been the Office line of products. If browsers are provided so that Linux users can now buy office licensees then this can only improve their bottom line.

    Unfortunately, most Linux users will try and completely avoid .NET because they want to stay in control, not give away more. It was probably one of their reasons to run Linux in the first place.

  • by paRcat ( 50146 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:39PM (#847102)
    This may not be so bad. Personally, I like IE over Netscape. It's stable (on my system, at least) and it's more polished. I prefer to use IE when I'm in Windows over Netscape. I wonder how they can make an IE port to *nix stable though. What about all of the secret API code that's used in Windows? Once it's ported, does that mean the *nix version will have less functionality?

    And Media Player is equally good news. There are many times I've had to reboot into Windows if I needed to see a particular video.

    No flames please, I'm just being honest.

  • I'm working with a company developing an IE plug-in and we noticed in our install logs that a machine at running IE on Linux downloaded and ran(!) our COM object. We had been scratching our heads over that one. Steve
  • I happen to know that Microsoft has a secret project to going port Win32 to a clean room, portable, SMP non-GPL kernel. The goal is to run Win32 executables in a stable, network-aware environment. In addition to Win32 the kernel will support UNIX and OS/2 personalities.

    I'd tell you the name of this project, but then I'd have to kill you!
  • by RFC959 ( 121594 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:40PM (#847110) Journal
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the old IE Solaris port. Which, as I hear it, had suckage in the mega-Lovelace range, and actually had to have it's own "registry".
  • There are a number of issues involved in porting Windows apps to any sort of Unix platform of course, but I'm particularly curious about two, for now.

    First, the registry. Obviously there's no registry in the sense that Windows has a registry. There are all sorts of options, gconf [] springs to mind. Naturally MS won't use any of them, or any other pre-existing utilities or libraries for Unix. MS's porting to Unix will be as self-contained as physically possible, much like StarOffice. So my assumption is there will be a central MS registry that all the ported apps can access. The interesting thing is, this means (Unless they move to a binary or encoded registry) that non-MS apps will also have access to it, which could make for some very interesting hacking.

    The other issue that springs to mind is the fact that the vast majority of MS's development history hasn't involved actual multi-user OS's such as Unix. So will they bother taking advantage of that power, possibly implementing user-specific registries, will it only function for the user that installs it (Like StarOffice), or will it be global and blind to which user runs it? I don't really know what to predict here, but my instinct is that they will follow StarOffice's lead, and tailor their apps to function specifically for the user that installs the app. This will fall into line with Corel's blasphemous one-user Linux distro nicely, I imagine, but again, I'm not sure what to think.

  • I would love to have a WORKING browser.

    I would love to be able to listen and watch windows media.

    I would like to have a CHOICE to use IE or NOT use ie.

    I just so happen to enjoy the browsing experience of IE .. as the opposite is true with netscrape.

    I would love to be able to do this without launching VMWare or dual booting. It lets me stay inside of my favorite OS! :)

  • Although at first glance I didn't see Linux either it is mentioned. Then I did a find and it is in fact mentioned.

    MainWin is Mainsoft?s Windows platform for UNIX systems including Linux.
    The ? is theirs.
  • Windows doesn't make Microsoft much money. Office does. Windows is the platform that best runs Microsoft apps. The apps lead people to the platform and then the platform locks them in to the apps (and an upgrade cycle for both).

    Having Office (or IE, or whatever) on Linux is just the same story as having them for the Mac. It gets Microsoft mindshare, and it encourages users of other platforms to use Windows instead.
  • It's the apps that make Microsoft rich. Office is the big bread winner, and if they ported it to Linux they'd add a couple million potential customers to their revenue stream.

    The last time a checked, Office comprised something like %40 of their revenue.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @02:00AM (#847125)
    This will be interesting. The thing is, while there are still better apps, Microsoft's non-Windows offerings are actually respectable. Still not the best out there, mind you, but still leaps and bounds better than their Windows counterparts.

    Take Internet Explorer, for example (before I begin, let me state for the record that I'm a Mozilla guy myself). We all know about the latest round of Embracing And Extending done in IE5.5/Windows. However, currently IE5/Mac is quite nice. It's very close to full CSS1 compliance (it's not quite there, as they claim, but the only non-compliance I've seen yet is thay they don't support all the border types around boxes). The standards-compliance is second only to Mozilla's. It's fairly stable (it crashes me more than Netscape does, but not as much as the latest Mozilla builds; then again Mozilla is still in-development software so that's forgivable).

    Even Office is actually usable on MacOS (and I use Office/Windows quite often, so I'm familiar with the usability nightmares on that platform), though I still prefer AppleWorks. OE's not bad, though I prefer PowerMail, and so on and so forth.

    Why is this the case? You'd think that if the lowly porting teams could make decent software, the mammoth WIndows development teams could do even better. My personal view is that the ports are better because they don't have an OS monopoly to leverage, so they know they have to make software that would actually stand a chance in a competition based on merit. Contrast this with the Windows development team, which we already know makes a poor product (I work with developing Windows every day, and there are parts of that OS that I could have done designed better back in high school, and implemented not long afterward).

    So the ports to Linux just might work out. I'm willing to withhold judgement until I see the stuff, anyway. I doubt that Microsoft is trying to sabotage Linux; they're merely hedging their bets. Office is their major moneymaker, and if Windows dies (and I doubt it's got ten years left, not after the DOJ rulling) they need to have Office on whichever platform wins the ensuing chaos. As MacOS and Linux are the two biggest contenders, they need Office on both, just in case.
  • Because Bill Made a deal. Office for mac in return for making IE the default browser on the Mac. Did you miss the big hullabaloo when this was announced? Jobs Wanted office gates wanted a bigger market share for IE.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • by Ryan J. Evans ( 29421 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:42PM (#847131)
    why Office 98 for the mac is one of the best programs that Microsoft makes!
  • He has all but promised to round up gays. I have a lot of gay friends I don't want to see them get hurt.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Give me break. This thing will take five years if it's ever done. Just more vaporware to counteract the whole GNOME foundation announcement. Who believes MS press releases anymore anyways.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • What I really can't wait for is that helpful paperclip! It's so cute!... Go MS! The only thing that's bloated about office is that you can turn off the clip.. but they'll fix that soon...
  • Why don't they just help WINE?

    Because they paid a fortune to MSFT to use the actual source code for Windows (similar to what Citrix did with NT) and because, unlike WINE, MainSoft is a for-profit operation (I know, it's shocking) and they charge, according to a self-described MainSoft port-ware user yesterday, upwards of $20,000 just to get started.

    The real question is: how much is WINE helping MainSoft??

    Now hiring experienced client- & server-side developers

  • Mainsoft's MainWin is not dissimilar to Wine, except that it is very comprehensive since it is based on Windows NT source code. Mainsoft is using MainWin to port IE and WMP, of course - the same tool was already used for the IE ports to Solaris etc.

    That doesn't mean it will be a great looking port, but it will work without having to re-write or extend Wine.
  • Note: While this is bound to result in some highly critical comments, it is not intended to be flamebait but a serious question

    If this is true - something lots of folks joked about but never really thought would happen, then what is to prevent another event happening that no one has ever thought Microsoft would do - creating their own distribution of Linux. There are tons of reasons why they might not want to to this, but just to hedge their bets against the court rulings, what would prevent the Applications division from say, making a version of their apps compatible with Linux and the OS division making an MS Linux distro. True, the source code for the linux distro would be mostly open source, but the Office elements and any proprietary additions they made would not have to be opensource. With their marketing muscle (ie cashflow) if MS waded into the Linux market they would probably dominate it in very short order...

  • by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:45PM (#847153)
    Having used MainWin to port an relatively large (300,000 lines) Windows application to UNIX, MainWin's Win32 API implementation at the time was pretty damn lacking. Actually, I found it to be a bit of a pain in the ass.

    It's been two years since I've used it (I left that company) but some things that stick out in my mind were that the resource files were somewhat different under MainWin. (We wrote a pretty crazy Perl script that modified the Windows resource file and covered up those differences.

    I also remember lots of ifdef UNIX ... else ... endif preprocessor mess throughout "lower-level" parts of the code. Yeah, MainWin made the task a lot easier, but then again, our code was really pretty high level. We didn't really use anything that I would consider low-level, but we still had to kludge things up. Microsoft's code is pretty much known to use undocumented APIs and other such mess---that's why MainWin needs the Windows source code to even do the port. If we had a bit of difficulty porting our Windows program, I can't even imagine the nightmare of porting a Microsoft application.

    But in the end, you really should have separated your user interface from the rest of your code. Then, doing a port is just a matter of hiring some people to make a new GUI for each platform. That's (usually) not so difficult. Motif (Gtk+, Qt, whatever) code for UNIX, Win32 for Windows, MacOS for Mac. Of course, Microsoft certainly didn't consider cross-platform code when they wrote (or bought) the Office products.
  • funny thing is that with all the anti-ms sentiment around here, you would think people would be more skeptical. Frankly, I'm kind of ashamed of the Slashdot crowd for not being their usual skeptical fiends. Let's face it; everyone around here really secretly wants to see IE on Gnome. *devilish grin* turn flamethrowers on CRISP.
    the amazing bc
    latin/funk flugelhorn & trumpet
    webnaut, music junkie, sysadmin from hell
  • by Cardinal ( 311 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:52PM (#847178)
    Given that Microsoft will eventually start porting apps, the question becomes: does this really benefit the *x community?

    Not particularly. The apps will be large and unwieldy, and X doesn't fare well running large and unwieldy applications. See: Netscape 4.x

    Sure, Linux users will be able to open up Word documents and Excel spreadsheets.

    Which means the situation will remain the same. See: StarOffice, Gnumeric, KOffice, AbiWord(?)

    Sure, Solaris users will be able to use Windows Media Player.

    This is probably the only major impact, in terms of what isn't already available for Unix. Lots of websites are using Windows Media exclusively for their streaming, which is unfortunate for anybody that doesn't have Win9x. So getting more exposure for the player would be good. Maybe it'll be better than RealPlayer. Eh.

    But The OS is where the money is.

    Not even slightly. Have you gone out to a software store recently and compared the price of Win98 to the price of the various distros of MS Office? MSOffice has, for the last several years, been the single most profitable application for MS as far as end-users is concerned.

    Why would Microsoft port enough applications for Linux to become viable as a end-user desktop?

    This will happen with or without them, and they should be smart enough to realize that by now. Maybe they decided to give in and get their foot in the door before Linux becomes a viable end-user desktop without them.

    I reason that they wouldn't. Hell, they might even keep the releases on *x one step (in features and bug fixes) behind the Windows releases.

    They'll probably do that anyway. Most commercial vendors that maintain Linux ports do. See: Corel WordPerfect, Borland whatever-that-program-was, etc.
  • Not really -- I wouldn't mind IE for Linux. I've become quite the IE convert here recently. I wouldn't mind using it on Linux as well.

    Seeing as how there is not much else out there that's even reasonalby finished, IE is almost the only game in town.

    But then... I'm not looking forward to VB-script viruses...

  • by Alternity ( 16492 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:54PM (#847183)
    Is it just me? Microsoft in no place seems to be denying the port of Internet Explorer and their Media Player. What they're saying is that office will not be ported to Linux.

    So while the rumors were in part wrong, we have on one side Mainsoft saying that they are not porting office but IE and Media player and on the other side MS only saying that they are not porting Office...

    Microsoft did not deny the possibility that some of its apps would be ported, they only said "WE are not doing it" and "not Office".
  • Only if you live in a swing state. If you live in a solidly republican state like Montana, Texas, New Mexico etc then Gore is going to lose anyway. Same goes for a solidly democratic state like MA or CA. So here is an idea for you. If a few days before the election one candidate is leading the toher by 10 points of more that candidate is going to win. If you live in one of those states vote your conscience and vote Nader. In tightly contested races vote for Gore.

    this way you don't effect the outcome of the election, and Nader gets enough votes to qualify for matching funds.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • As has been previously mentioned [] the company MainSoft [] has a product called MainWin [] which is simply an API wrapper library similar to WINe [].

    Thus it stands to reason that instead of trying to port the existing Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player code, they'll add functionaliy to their wrapper API's until MSIE and Media Player compile with no dependency problems.

    Of course, references to C:\ drives and forward vs. backslashes will need to be fixed. From the looks of it this is no different from a *nix version of the Cygwin Project [].
    The Queue Principle
  • Woohoo! Finally!

    Although we will probably never get it, but 'Woohoo' nonetheless.

    Couldn't care less about the Office package. Not only that they will hardly be able to make it at least partially stable, Linux already has Office software like StarOffice, KOffice and whatever the Gnome people are planning.
  • Sure, netscape crashes a lot, but in the two years that I have been using linux, I have never even seen netscape take down X, let alone the whole operating system. Any linux box that does this is not "perfectly fine" as you say. If linux did crash from running Microsoft's ported apps, then it indeed would be linux's fault. After all, if an app crashes, it's the app's fault, but if an app crashes and takes down the whole operating system with it, then there is a problem with the OS.

    Of course, my statements above are invalid if an app requires a buggy kernel module to run, and I suppose a kernel module might be required for their win32 layer. Maybe that is their strategy ;-)

    "The people. Could you patent the sun?"
  • by yist ( 100285 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:14PM (#847193) products/linux/linux_download.html []

    This looks interesting.

    With this demonstration application you'll see, first-hand the native Linux performance with full Windows functionality available only by using MainWin. We want to take this opportunity to thank Microsoft Corporation for providing the ORIGINAL source code of FreeCell for Windows game.

  • ...we get two stories of rumors that M$ is writing for Linux, and a story of rumors that Apple is dropping AliVec.

    Will wonders, er...romors never cease?

  • by softsign ( 120322 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @12:56PM (#847196)
    What are we missing? What am I missing?

    Microsoft is in business to make money.

    Why is this such a foreign concept? Why are so many /.-ers looking for an ulterior motive? It's right there, in front of your faces.

    Office is one of Microsoft's BIGGEST money-makers. And it's not available in any way on a platform that many industry surveys show is gaining acceptance in the business world.

    Do you think they're going to sit idly by while their cashcow runs out of pasture?


  • This may not be so bad. Personally, I like IE over Netscape. It's stable (on my system, at least) and it's more polished. I prefer to use IE when I'm in Windows over Netscape. I wonder how they can make an IE port to *nix stable though. What about all of the secret API code that's used in Windows? Once it's ported, does that mean the *nix version will have less functionality?

    Ah. Someone who hasn't used IE on Solaris. Having sat on console on an UltraSparc and fired up IE out of curiosity (may trample me into the ground) and watched it chug and creak and roll around a little rendering a page, and seemingly slowing down the X server at the same time and using 95% of the machine, you can keep IE for Linux. Meanwhile I would recommend Mozilla M9 over it for speed and functionality :-)

    Of course if you are interested in speed you'll use Mozilla M18 nightlies which are a lot faster than M17 already. IE on Linux will almost certainly run through some sort of porting library interface and will suffer because of it. MS won't care because the same machine with MS Windows and Linux will run IE nicely under Windows and like a dog on Linux, thus proving to the world at large what a wonderfully speedy system Windows is and how much Linux sucks. There is no mileage in a fast version of IE for Linux until MS gets split in two (and jumped up and down on, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry [Ed - we've had that], lost, found again, buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters) :-)


    Toby Haynes

    Apologies to D.Adams :-)

  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:17PM (#847203) Homepage
    Aren't y'all sick of rehashing the same rumors over and over? Let me offer some potential alternatives that would keep the pagecounts here high and the /. crew happy:

    New Amiga-based PDA announced.

    Microsoft Funds "KDE Foundation".

    Linus Torvalds admits: "I run Win2K".

    Pat Buchanan to nix Copyright Law: Geeks vote for Pat!

    UI Expert proves: Vi is better than Emacs.

    Finally free: the Linux Kernel is BSD'ed

    etc, etc, et-freaking-cetera...

    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.

  • Microsoft is in business to make money.

    Why is this such a foreign concept? Why are so many /.-ers looking for an ulterior motive? It's right there, in front of your faces.

    I think you misunderstood my original post -- I know that MS is in business to make money: that's why this seems a little wierd. If these rumors are in fact true, then I question MS' logic in moving to support a strongly competing platform. A move like this would seem to suggest that MS has given up hope of Windows maintaining market share: something that I strongly doubt is really happening.

    I don't suggest ulterior motives, I just worry that this will not be a good thing for us all in the end...


  • Even if someone did port the WS Host and Outlook, this would NOT lead to virii of the same destructive force as on ms systems.

    Linux, and Unicies in general, have much different setup in place and are designed for multiple users unlike DOS and its derivitive OSes which are still really only single user.

    As long as file permissions are correct, and nobody is stupid enough to run Outlook as root, this won't be a large problem. Of course, who really wants to take the chance?

  • For example, some of the leading business applications re-hosted to UNIX and Linux with MainWin include: Microsoft Internet Explorer...

    Now my Linux installation will be my full-time work-and-play system. All I was lacking was IE.

    Now hiring experienced client- & server-side developers

  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:09PM (#847213)
    Look at Office 2001 for the mac, you can see what I mean. Mircosoft knows Mac users dont' like Microsoft. So they are downplaying everything that says Mircosoft. It's totally carbonized, etc.

    I'd expect the same with a linux port. I'd assume the first version would be just a MainWin "port". But then a linux ap division. Which I hope is as talented as their MacOS divsion. Thier 2nd offering of Microsoft products would use all gnome services, bonobo, corba, gtk. etc.

    And for all you doubting thomas's. Interenet Exploer 5 for MacOS is the most standards compiant browser on the market. I'd execpt no less form Microsoft on a linux port.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:10PM (#847214) Homepage Journal
    Regardless of who is doing the porting, Microsoft apps for Linux sounds a little shady. Think about it: MS has got a pretty good stranglehold on the desktop market, and one of thier primary up-and-coming competitors is Linux.

    If you had focussed on any of the articles on MSFT's .NET all this would become clearer to you.

    In MSFT's vision of the future, all apps are hosted on the server and rented by clients. To do this clients will need browsers, audio and video players, libraries, etc that can view MSFT proprietary content. Since most of these hosted apps will use client side scripting and advanced DHTML/XML techniques making sure that browsers that can access all the .NET family exist on every platform can only be a plus.

    Who cares if a few of the desktops run Linux? MSFT's major money makers have always been the Office line of products. If browsers are provided so that Linux users can now buy office licensees then this can only improve their bottom line.
    The Queue Principle
  • I bet the products will be buggy to make users frustrated ;). Aren't most of the Mac port products were ok?

  • by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Thursday August 17, 2000 @01:12PM (#847221)
    I'm sure they could get the real specs to the WINE crew and get it finished in a short time.

  • The only way I can see this making any sense is if MS has resigned themselved to being split into MS/OS and MS/Applications as per the initial DOJ v. MS ruling.

    Not necessarily resigned to being split up, but considering it as a strong possibility. Microsoft would have to be far dumber than anyone has ever accused them of being to believe that there's no chance of them being split up; they'd have to be awfully stupid to believe that the chance is even particularly small.

    Given that the break up is a real possibility, it makes sense to look into porting MS apps to a wider range of OS's than they currently serve. It may even be a reasonable plan if they don't wind up being split up. If other operating systems (particularly Linux and the BSD's) continue to invade the desktop, sources of income other than Windows will become increasingly important. In that case the Apps division had damn well better be able to generate some sales to UNIXoid OSes, or the whole company is going to go into the tank.

  • Wine already runs Office '97, Internet Explorer 5.01, and Media Player 6.4 to varying-but-generally-usable degrees. So the developers don't *need* MS help, but it would be nice...
  • Media Player 6.4 already plays many formats (including WMA audio) under WINE. Video is a bit of a stickler because of some tricky semi-documented DirectDraw features, but it's coming. And progress is happening on QuickTime Player too - one Wine developer has it playing videos now but hasn't submitted his patches back yet.
  • OK, the poster of the comment to which you replied took a bit too much of an extreme view, yes. However, all it takes is a glance at BUGTRAQ to verify his points #1 and #2. There is a nasty security hole involving IE at least once per month, generally far more frequently than that. Things like "remotely executing arbitrary code without prompting". In order for IE to be secure enough to use at all, you have to lock it down to the point where people can't log in to Hotmail (because you disabled ActiveScripting, which is Microsoft's made-up word for Javascript, so that remote attackers couldn't erase your hard drive at their leisure).

    Now, another poster made the excellent point that this is only IE for Windows -- IE for Macintosh has far fewer of these problems. However, note that it is the combination of IE and Windows that is the problem; Netscape and Windows don't have nearly so many troubles. So, yes, it is partially the fault of IE. However, this is a bit of light for me, since that means IE for Linux wouldn't be as...special as IE for Windows.

    As for point #3, Microsoft has made greater strides than Netscape of late in standards compliance. I commend them, and hope that they apply this behaviour to their networking protocols in the future...

    Reason #4 was flamebait

    Reason #5 is valid, and annoying. Not every page that won't show up is 404; there's a reason for all those different error messages. It's not as if it's a Blue Screen of Death, and noone without a book full of hex codes could possibly understand the number. Non-descriptive error codes are a product of Satan, and they're one of the things I dislike about MacOS (and IE, and Windows).
  • Exactly right: Office is the single greatest barrier to Linux on the desktop, at least in the business world. Virtually everyone uses Office. The average user doesn't care if he or she is using Office or the coffee maker, as long as Office runs! If it will run on Linux without BSOD's and having to reboot all the time, then the average user will be all in favor.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.