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Microsoft

Microsoft/Mainsoft Porting to Linux - Follow-up 115

Lee Gomes and I had been writing about the Mainsoft/Microsoft porting to Linux rumours. Now Mainsoft has put out a Media advisory disavowing the Office rumour. Wininformat also has an article talking about Microsoft's denial of things, which adds another dimension to things. Paul Thurrott, the author of the Wininformant piece, askes a good question in as to why Mainsoft needs a copy of the WinNT source code if it's only porting IE.
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Microsoft/Mainsoft Porting to Linux - Follow-up

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  • by Veteran ( 203989 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @04:38AM (#843669)
    Microsoft is in a difficult legal position with IE. If they don't port to Linux the DOJ can point out that it is business as usual at Microsoft; time to crush Linux. If they do port to Linux the DOJ can point out that Microsoft was lying when they said that IE was an integral part of Windows.

    The only way out of this dilemma is to do exactly what they are going to do: make a very poor quality port - which is full of bugs and crashes X at every opportunity. Microsoft can then argue: "Look, we Tried, we Really, Really Tried, but Linux Is Such A Poor Platform (R) that this pile of rotting dingo's kidneys is the best that even a Great Innovative Company (R) like Microsoft can do."

    Any questions as to how well the Linux port of IE is going to work? Oh yes, also expect the port to mysteriously affect the stability of the core operating system - surely you'll have to be root to install it. Of course that is so obviously sabotage that even Microsoft might not do it, but legally I don't think they have any choice; IE HAS to be part of the core OS - just like they argued in court.

    Anyone who doesn't think Microsoft would do such bad faith things - has never studied the history of the company; ask the people who wrote DR DOS. The difference is that instead of leaving an email evidence trail of their bad faith they will be smarter this time. Expect the port to be done by the closest thing to a thousand monkeys with typewriters that Microsoft can find. Nothing like being able to point to the incompetence of Mainsoft to protect yourself, is there Microsoft?

    "Why, if we Use Plausible Lies (R) this time we'll be OK; then all the people who throw around the quote about 'never attributing to malice what stupidity can explain' will buy what we are doing. Oh, THAT'S how to be evil - why didn't we think of that before; make it look like incompetence and the morons who look no deeper than the surface won't suspect a thing."

  • US Voters: FYI: Ralph Nader's campaign has taken a much stronger stance against Microsoft than the other two main candidates. Visit his website [votenader.org] for more details.
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @06:12AM (#843671) Homepage Journal

    Most Mac OS X apps call functions in the Carbon API, which is based on the old "Toolbox" API from Mac OS 1 through 9. Most Windows apps call functions in the Win32 API, a cheap knockoff of Toolbox. The difference is that Apple is opening its kernel's BSD APIs, whereas Microsoft has no public document demonstrating its VMS-like calls.

    Yes, the internals of NT look like VMS. And if you move each letter in VMS one letter forward, you get WNT.

    adopt a bird
    <O
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • Microsoft is going for a Carbonized port of Office to OS X - i.e. the updated Mac API. They're talking about a Cocoa version (the snazzy new API's in OS X) sometime afterwards. They are going this way ebcause they can support OS 9 and X with the same codebase whereas a Cocoa version would only run on OS X.
  • RTFA. Mainsoft uses "MainWin" which essentially is Winelib but "official" and always statically linked (so the Wine folks don't tap into it).
    <O
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • Hmm... I'm not doing much development on Linux , but I do tinker with SOAP and XML-RPC using Frontier [userland.com] (The Linux version is under development, but I've seen screenshots of it running under WINE). Frontier is an odd duck, but it's a good system for developing web-database projects.

    Most notably, the developers did a lot of work on the SOAP specs. See Frontier and SOAP [userland.com] or the search results page [userland.com].

    There are also lots of links to Perl, Python or what have you implementations of SOAP. I think some of those folks would count as being in the Linux world.

  • Having used Excel since version 2.3 on the Mac, and FoxPro since FoxBase (also on the Mac), I've never really had much use for anything in Office short of the Excel spreadsheet functions. Notepad is fine for typing things.

    There really is no compelling reason to wait for IE, or Office for Linux. Star Office isn't the greatest, but, it gets the job done.

    It would probably be a step backward to have Access run under Linux, since there are already many far superior ways to develop web applications natively. You have a browser, a web server and a database server. All free, and, all work stably. If someone tries to start using Access under Linux to replicate these tasks, we'll just be diverting talent away from where they're pushing Linux forward so quickly, now.

    I say let this rumor about Micro$oft porting their apps to Linux die. It keeps coming up, and, once it reaches enough people and becomes a discussion, MickeySoft rears it's ugly PR gavel and stamps it down again. Always they ironically confirm they're porting to Solaris, and/or HP-UX. It's technically trivial to port an HP-UX application to Linux. I know, because I have. So why not Linux?

    Again.... who cares. Leave it alone.


    Linux rocks!!! www.dedserius.com [dedserius.com]
  • Well, the past is the past, free has turned into the norm. Their only competition on any other OS, aside from Opera and QuickTime Pro, is free as in beer software.

    And remember, Netscape started it. That's how they catapolted themselves into the 80%+ marketshare they once had. And don't go into poor Opera stories:

    I'm sure iPlanet could sell more product if IIS and Apache weren't free.
    And CDE could sell more if not for KDE and Gnome.
    Solaris wouldn't have to be $75 if not for Linux and FreeBSD.
  • Well, that's what the whole break-up thing is about. The "Applications Company" would be interested in selling its software (ie. Office) on as many computers as possible - so the Office would then be ported to Linux. The "Applications Company" would not care too much if that hurt the "Operating Systems" company - simple economics/shareholder expectations.
    That's the competition that the DoJ is after, where Microsoft is not in a position to cripple other platforms by controlling the supply of software and services to those other platforms - just remember the Office/Apple saga from some years back.

    -----

  • by ryanw ( 131814 )
    Well, how does WINE fit in this whole picture?? Wouldn't it be nice if Mainsoft just fixed up wine for us.. =)
  • IE has as many problems as Netscape. IE's support of layers sucks! Server push is no longer supported in IE5. etc......

    Office has its own problems. Bloatware. Features which reduce productivity rather than increase it (i.e. auto spell check as you type.). The file formats change with every version preventing compatibility with older versions.

    Lets face it office apps have NOT changed much in the last five years. Intergrating MP3's, movies, etc... into documents will only be usefull when I can print them and still watch or listen to them.

    HTML or another Web standard, provided we continue development, will replace these proprietary solutions. The format will be able to represent any such document which can be created by any office app. Web authoring has/will become the new office software. Finally after all these years we are able to share regardless of the os we choose.

  • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @08:03AM (#843680) Homepage

    I, for one, will NOT used web-based apps for my work. My work is MY WORK, it isn't top secret or illegal or anything else, but it is MINE. I will not do my wordprocessing, or any other work, on the web where it is (potentially) ANYONE'S work who can obtain access. It is simply about privacy and total control over my own work, and total control over what I release to other eyes or choose NOT to release.

    As a matter of principal, my work is done, and ever shall be done, on MY personal computer without any potential prying eyes taking a gander before I decide (IF I decide) to publish/release the final product. I frickin' HATE web-based crap. I want MY work, MY software, MY time to be absolutely MINE. It is not a shared resource, it is not anyone else's business but my own, it belongs to me. Hence, I require a desktop-based, single client (though with web CAPABILITY) apps to do my graphics, writing, game-playing, whatever, work.

    I do not want to HAVE to count on NEVER running into network outages, server crashes, etc, in order to get work done. The net is NOT so reliable that you (or anyone else) can count on it to always be able to get your work done when it relies upon the net.

    There have been many times when the net has been unavailable to me at work, for a variety of reasons. Hence, that avenue of information collection is cutoff. There have been many times when the local network has gone down (maintenance, crashes) which prevents access to shared files, servers, etc. If I am relying on this crap to get my publishing work done... No. Thank. You. In EVERY case of the net being unavailable, my personal system has ALWAYS been available. I have ALWAYS been able to write up data, create graphs and graphics, read docs that I have LOCALLY downloaded. If I were relying on a web-based app to do all this, every time the net slowed down due to traffic or was otherwise unavialable, my perfectly serviceable PC/laptop would become merely a desktop heating system. I would get to twiddle my thumbs waiting for the system to come back so I could work on my documents.

    There will always be a good use for client/desktop-based productivity apps (and games). The web is not reliable enough or private enough to count on it for everything; and why should one HAVE to cough up a lung to pay for access to the web, say, on an airliner or at an airport to do anything productive when you could do it perfectly fine if the app resides on your own disconnected system?

    Web-based apps have a place but it isn't the end-all, be-all, universal fix.

  • So I assume Slashdot has officially embraced this as the "hot" topic of the fall? How many mentions of this in the past two days? Three? Four? Are you sure that posting a new story everytime some Geocities page adds someone's Microsoft/Linux insider info isn't just manufacturing news? You know, like you did with the MS/DoJ trial a few months back? Explain to me again how you can laugh at those Mac rumour sites? Hey, Hemos, here's a rumour for you: I hear Bill Gates killed Steve Jobs fifteen years ago and has been living two lives ever since. I expect you to make this a front-page news item within the next hour. Or maybe something like...
    Microsoft/Mainsoft Porting to Linux - Follow-up, Part 2
    Posted by Hemos on Saturday August 19, @01:15AM
    from the its-true-because-i-say-so dept.
    Reportedly Bill Gates observed two Emperor penguins while visting a zoo with his child today. Several respected minds in the GNU/Linux community (most notably, CmdrTaco from Slashdot and **5kull-R4p3R** from #l337erthanthou) have interpreted this as a sign that Microsoft is indeed dumping the NT platform and migrating to Linux. Oh, shit, I'm getting verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: the woman I married is very familiar with both woe and men. Discuss.

    I'll have to add this to my "News from the Linux frontlines" serial post.

    ---------///----------
    All generalizations are false.

  • If Ms can make all other browsers irrelavent IIS can serve extented proprietary HTTP from IIS to IE and kill Apache. Then Linux is back to being a toy instead of webservers. Then IE will not continue to be developed on Linux due to "a lack of intrest". Thank God for embedded devices to keep IE honest, Mozilla cannot do it alone.
  • I don't see it. Better support for DHTML? In some things maybe in others NOT.
    >>>>>
    Read the articles from all the guy lamenting that Netscape killed web-standards, not IE. IE supported HTML4.0 earlier and better, it still supports XML better (not better than Gecko though) it has always supported DHTML better (in more things than not) it still has the fastest JavaVM available, etc. It is faster loading, faster to render (I've got DSL, I notice the TCP/IP problems of the BeOS TCP stack) faster to scroll, you name it. It also takes less memory and crashes less often.

    I use Office. Fast is not in its vocabulary. As far as Word better its a matter of opinion. I've seen
    Office implemented in all types of business. The only sure thing is that the older version does not
    support the newer versions files. You need to reinvest every 18 months, download patches
    constantly. In most cases, people using Word are slower than poeple who use electronic typewriters.
    It's no longer a productivity tool. The prefrences/options change from version to version, which has
    led to millions using word but few who know how to. The default option on Word is never to create
    a backup of the current file so when the system goes haywire and a restart of the system is
    required(not to mention the blue screen.......) all is lost. Frankly I'm wondering after all this time you
    would think reboot/restart would be history. I won't get into excel, with its large file problems.
    >>>>>>>
    Difficulty of use coming from a LINUX USER? Let's see, the last change of the Word file format was in 1997. I have only downloaded one patch for Office 97 (and some helper dudes) As for your other complaints, your complaining about defaults. It takes no time to switch to creating a backup file, and only slightly longer to relearn the menus. For people who uses this for their job, the changes amount to, oh, maybe a week of relearning. My dad just switched from Wordperfect to Word at his workplace. Complained maybe for a few days, after a week or two he is as proficiant as he was with Wordperfect. Despite all this, there is stuff that Office can do that StarOffice and Corel Office simply cannot.

    Lastly, it is standard. Like it or not, no suite provides the sheer compatibility of Word.
    You see the way I see compatibility/standard is for example the way we connect appliances to the
    electrical outlets. We do not have to worry about who made the plug and who made the outlet. The
    toaster plugs into the same outlet as the fridge, as the hairdryer, as the lamp, etc ...... Now that is
    COMPATIBILITY. When I use Linux, FreeBSD, OSS, I finaly see this compatibility. When I look at
    TCP/IP, SMTP, etc.. I see this compatibility. When I look a MS Office I wonder if the plug will fit in
    the most recent outlet or must I upgrade once again.
    One last question...why must I reboot a system? Why can't I let it run? Why is a reboot productive. If
    I were Micro$oft I would be ashamed.
    >>>>>>>>
    Compatibility is what resulted in the cobbled together mess that is the PC ;) Seriously, though, what is this affinity to Open standards. A de-facto standard is nearly as good as an Open standard, and that is what word is. Think about this. Word is just as compatible as WordPerfect or star office. Why aren't you bitching about them. With WINElib Wordperfect Suite is just as bloated and unstable as Office (probably more so) StarOffice has a lot fewer features and is much slower. What's wrong with Office? Other Office apps (those available on Linux) don't behave at all differently from Office, so where's the beef? Nearly all office apps need patches, have incompatible file formats, changes in interface, etc. What's this vehamance against Word in particular? There are a lot of people who really NEED an Office suite, and Word is pretty much the best one around.
  • They need the NT source code so they can support Win32, not 'hidden apis'.

    From what I've read so far, if the win32 API is documented in MSDN, they in fact DON'T need the source. This assumes (perhaps stupidly) that the ENTIRE API is documented on those shiny little platters Mainsoft pays a bunch of money for.

    No, I don't do win32 programming (and I hardly use win* as an end-user). Yes, I may have some facts missing... But I'm calling it as I see it. Now, if the entire win32 API isn't documented in MSDN, then they most likely need source!

    --

  • Hey dumbass.
    A = code in IE
    B = code needed to run Windows
    A runs somewhere else does not
    preclude A subset of B.
  • IE is integrated into the OS.

    These folks [98lite.net] would like to disagree with you for Windows 98.

    --

  • Theer was nothing in my post that indicated I advocated web based apps...I like PC's because they are "Personal" computers.

    I was just commenting on MS's strategic direction thats all, and it ain't about porting to various apps.

    Steve
  • Actually, a much better analogy would have been the CD players in every '98 Cadillac. They were a standard feature -- you couldn't buy a Cadillac without getting one, and their presence discouraged people from buying a different player from a manufacturer other than Delco (at the time a GM division).

    An even better one is OS/2 including Web Explorer even before Windows 95 was first released. (Still has the best damn session history of any browser ever released.)

    Now, the obvious conterclaim is that Cadillac didn't have a car monopoly, and neither did OS/2. Furthermore, neither GM nor IBM signed a consent decree to refrain from bundling products...

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • Why is it that this is such a huge issue? Microsoft has already shown IE for MacOS X, and will also have Office. They have effectively been ported to BSD (with the Carbon/Aqua stuff on top, of course), but one must wonder how hard it would be to go from that to Linux binaries. Why the huff and puff?

    Bryan R.
  • Who would beleive that MS would actually share it's Windows source code with some other company just so that it doesn't have to do the job itself. This whole story is actually the dumbest hoax I ever read here. I mean, doesn't anyone ask themselves is maybe M$ has enough qualified staff to port it's applications to other platform? Is really sharing the source (under NDA but still) of IE, Office, and Windows with some other company the best solution they could think of to get a port of their software to Linux?

    Please people, think.

  • 10. Clippy is pure evil
    9. Much faster in linux, crashes in half the time
    8. bassackwards() function in excell
    7. Outlook 2000 is part of a communist plot against humanity
    6. Why do you need a bloated Word 2000 when you already can use the very slim EMACS
    5. Dont want blue screen of death ported to Linux
    4. Forcing me to boot into Windows to use Office feels more opressing (I like to complain)
    3. Powerpoint sounds like a gay porno
    2. The voices comming from my windows key on my keyboard will only get louder
    1. I WANT LINUX TO BE DIFFERENT FROM WINDOWS!!
  • by plastik55 ( 218435 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @04:55AM (#843692) Homepage
    If they do port to Linux the DOJ can point out that Microsoft was lying when they said that IE was an integral part of Windows.

    False...the existence proof is IE for Macintosh. "IE integral to windows" in this context means "Windows breaks if we remove all traces of IE" as opposed to "IE breaks if we remove it from Windows." (actually, the latter statement is true, but isn't that what porting applications is all about?)

    Microsoft can port IE to Linux just like they did to Mac. In the Mac case the result was an application that looked better and rendered CSS better than the Windows version! And it's really no less stable than Netscape.

  • Bet they use WINE. Now that will make me smile. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't know. Maybe M$ can figure out a way to fun Office from within IE and then your OS platform won't matter too much. This would be like stealing Netscape's old idea to kill M$ by making the web browser a platform for running other applications.
  • Well can I trade in my copy of windows for something to play ASF files in linux? Perhaps not.
  • Hence the Mac version of IE. No, wait a minute. That can't be right.
  • It is my understanding that the M$ software for Mac is developed by a fairly autonomous group. Whatever the situation, they have recently released some great 'very Mac' software in IE and Outlook Express, although they did wierdly reinvent some things for OE. Sadly, IE 5 for Mac is miles ahead of Netscape/Mozilla, and iCab isn't quite there yet.

    Perhaps they should port the MacOS or MacOSX version of the apps to Linux instead of the Windows versions if they are going to do that. Perhaps by releasing what might be different programs with the same name, Microsoft is bluring the distinctions that they tried to set up when they claimed that IE and Windows were inseperable.

    My point is that MS can make good software, if you judge software by the expectations of the majority of the users of the targeted platform.

    Well, I think that it is more that Microsoft is very good at setting expectations of people to a very low level. They deliver very flashy software, which is different than what I'd call 'good'. They've also been very successful at defining the criteria by which things are judged so that flash and feature bloat are valued above things being stable and with features that are well thought out.

    What does this mean for Linux if/when Office and IE are ported? How would Office for Linux have to be different than Office for Win and Office for Mac to truly be a Linux application worth using?

    I'm not the right person to ask that. I have no interest in using Office or IE in any case until Microsoft can clean up their act. I think as far as their applications, they need to spend more time making what is there work right and sensibly rather than just cramming more stuff in.

    From the outside, the coolest and most admirable thing about the Linux community is Open Source and everything implied by that. I don't think MS could release a real Linux app, if this is held to be fundamental to truly be considered as a Linux app.

    I would tend to agree with most of that. Microsoft will probably never really be able to be compatible with the the Open Source/Free Software world. Then again, I used to think the same thing about IBM. If Microsoft wants to play outside of their world, they need to think about reinventing themselves like IBM has, and learn to be better about being a respectable and ethical company.

  • 6. Why do you need a bloated Word 2000 when you already can use the very slim EMACS

    *splutter* pardon? slim? EMACS?

    hc

    --
    "Gary Glitter pulls out of Children in Need"
    -BBC News Website
  • IE and Windows are integrated and can't function separately.

    That is why there is a Mac version of IE... And a Solaris version... Well, if you look closely at the Solaris version, they include a large chunk of Windows with it as DLLs. This is, from what I've heard fairly typical of things ported with MainSoft's MainWin toolkit. However, I don't believe that Mainsoft has a porting kit for MacOS, so that still doesn't explain the Mac version of IE...

  • of course in theory you can build the stuff with win32 functions.

    For example, the standard explorer shell extensions for adding icons to the tray (notify icons) don't use any 'hidden' APIs
    That's not what I was refering to. The SH* functions are more and more used as 'normal' win32 functions. If you don't know better and reading the MSDN, you'd understand these ARE win32 functions, which they ain't. (I made that mistake).

    I wasn't refering to the 'shell' extensions like 'command prompt here' stuff when you right click in explorer. I was referring to stuff like the webpage formatting of a dir in win2k explorer. Not something you can just add.


    --

  • MS has already ported IE. They've talked about porting MediaPlayer. Both are yet more examples of anticompetitive "dumping" practices.

    What? One of the main spectres in the anti-trust case was that Microsoft intended to lock it's customers in to their platform. Now, when they actually have ported some of their apps to other platforms, it's anti-competitive dumping?

    HUH?

    Anyways, what's really entertaining is that, okay the mac version of IE is a completely separate app, built from a completely different source code base, but here's IE for Solaris and HP-UX. Built from the Windows version of IE. Which microsoft said was so deeply integreated into the operating system it was impossible to figure out where IE ends and Windows begins. Yet, somehow, they manage to draw the line pretty distinctly, despite the "impossibility" of the task.

    Funny, yes. Anticompetitive dumping? No. Not when all their competition is free (Netscape, Real, Quicktime). It's not like Sun will ever sign a deal with Microsoft to exclusively distribute their products.
  • For a short time they'ed be safe. But after a successful migration, management might go "hey, you know we're saving millions of dollars per year now that we're on Linux and don't have to pay to deploy our OSes. And you know, this Linux seems pretty good, we don't hear many complaints. Why don't we check out staroffice or koffice and see if those would pose acceptable substitutes for MS Office? It'd save us another fortune, you know?"

    With no MS OSes or MS suites deployed, companies wouldn't need MS development tools, and more dramatically, they wouldn't need MS BackOffice or Win2000 servers.

    Ouch.

    No. Microsoft is in no way going to encourage people to check out other operating systems, because then those people might go "overboard" and check out other office suites, development suites, RDBMS, groupware products, etc...

    Best to keep the all locked into Windows where Microsofts products run better than the rest...
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @08:52AM (#843703) Homepage
    Ahh, but wouldn't it simply be easier to port the existing Macintosh version (aka the "sans anti-trust monopoly integration API" version) to Linux? It's a different code base, and only shares its name with the Win32 IE.
    ---
  • Except for one thing: The app company could look at the linux community and see their rage and anger towards them and their products and determine that there really wouldn't be much of a market for their products. They could also look and see that their only competition is free, and decide that it'd be awefully hard to compete with free (witness IE vs. Netscape) and decide that it'd be best to save their resources for other things, like maybe .NET or some other StarPortal type knock-off.
  • Wrong.

    One of the reasons Microsoft has integrated in such a fashion is to 'control the Web.'

    Another reason is to integrate HTML/Web Technologies into their system (system meaning 'their way of doing things.').

    Something interesting to think about--- I downloaded and installed Star Office 5.2 the other day. I installed it on my Windows 2000 machine (which has Office 2000 and IE 5 on it). I decided to check out 'browing the web' with StarOffice. Guess what popped up when I entered a defective URL?? The standard 'Action Canceled' message, informing me that 'Internet Explorer was unable to link to the Web page you requested. The page might be temporarily unavailable.'

    So in order to Browse the Web, Star Office uses IE?? (Netscape is also installed on this machine, so it shouldn't have had to use IE).
  • This is exactly right - my employer uses it to port an expensive low-volume piece of software to Solaris and maybe Linux in the future. Though we use our own portability layer for other bits of software that are deployed on more than 5 or so hosts per customer...

    Paul Thurrott et al need to learn to RTFW - it's obvious from Mainsoft's site that it is largely a product company, and the version number of MainWin is 3.x, so it's been around for a while, long before this rumour. In fact the Linux version of MainWin is relatively recent.
  • Heh, try this:


    [edoardo@nautilus edoardo]$ lynx -dump -head http://www.mainsoft.com
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 17:47:41 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.9 (Unix)
    Last-Modified: Fri, 18 Aug 2000 17:45:46 GMT
    ETag: "1b070-3d2c-399d764a"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 15660
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html

    It's quite a surprise! I thought Paul Thurrott's wininformant said Apache runs only on college dorm servers ;-)
    IIS is not losing to Apache where it matters [wininformant.com]

  • Every mention I've seen of a port says they're being done for UNIX, as in "UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group." Nowhere is Linux mentioned.

    It would be smart for Microsoft to port IE to Linux and give up on protecting their OS monopoly. With the new software development model, the browser is the more relevant tool.


    +++

  • Mainnsoft announced that Microsoft Corp. (NYSE: MSFT) had selected its MainWin solution to meet customer demands for a Solaris adaptation of Windows Media Player,


    Uhh, I'm fine with xmms [xmms.org].

  • I understand why they'd want to port "internet clients" to unix, and not anything else. Think of it this way: MS ports IE to unix/linux (whatever) - so now all (major) OSes have Internet Explorer, and any website that doesn't want to code for anything else doesn't have any reason to, because everyone can use IE. IE becomes standard, MS rules universe.

    Same deal with Windows Media Player. WiMP for linux means it's already on more OSes than Quicktime, and if they can do a better job than RealPlayer, then WiMP becomes the standard too. MS rules universe.

    Now don't get me started on Outlook Express.

    In short, they're giving them away free already, so having them embrace and extend to linux/unix can be beneficial. No way in hell they'll be porting Office though.

    Thank God.

  • IE for the Macintosh, version 5.0, is the only browser in existence that is fully CSS1 compliant. Even v.5.5 for Windows isn't fully compliant. It almost never crashes my machine and is faster, cleaner, and more a joy to use than any version of Netscape (or iCab, which isn't even a complete product yet) has ever been.

    Now, I hate Microsoft. I truly, truly, believe that IE5 for Mac is the ONLY worthwhile product they have ever produced. Ever. My school gives it's freshmen free copies of Office and I don't even have it installed, instead preferring AppleWorks. MS makes lame products. Period. Exception: IE5Mac.

    -myopic

  • There were once very rare rumours of Microsoft was open sourcing part of itself. Nobody ever really believed them, the end result was Microsoft, after claiming they considered it, declined for reason x,y,z. i.e. they thought about it, but "found" too many problems in open source.

    Now are we going to hear, Microsoft conisdered this, but due to the x,y,z short commings in developing programs for linux they're now not going to?

    That being said Office for linux wouldn't be a bad thing aslong as Gnome's office was at a stage where it could compete first.
    A better alternative being, people stop sending god damn .doc's in emails when the .doc's just contain just text anyway so people with emacs/notepad can read them?

  • Basicaly, its simple. They do not need to port MS Office to UNIX. By having IE available on UNIX they are making it possible to have people use their upcoming .NET product on UNIX. .NET is great for M$ because they dont have to worry about the platform. Only the browser.
  • by r_newman ( 40868 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @03:42AM (#843714)
    If Micrsoft were to port Office to Linux, or allow someone else to do it, they would be shooting themselves in the foot at point-blank range with a bazooka.

    Office on Linux would give many more businesses the confidence to run Linux and potentially cost Microsoft most of their OS sales over time. IE on Linux on the other hand makes sense if they intend to really wipe netscape off the face of the earth. Of course it would depend on the stability of the port.

    Might be a good thing if they were to follow COrel's example and use Wine, more code contributions to Wine would be a very good thing for those of use who don't have $99 floating around to throw into a copy of VMware.
  • I wasn't refering to the 'shell' extensions like 'command prompt here' stuff when you right click in explorer. I was referring to stuff like the webpage formatting of a dir in win2k explorer. Not something you can just add.

    Webpage formatting of a fir in Win2k is the same thing. Why in gods name do you think this needs 'hidden apis'. Any idiot can do 'webpage formatting' of any dir. Explorer is a SHELL. It's a user level process than believe it or not can call win32 functions to list files and folders, and then dynamically generate a DHTML view of the files in C:\WINNT.

    Nothing magic. Geez.
  • Why spend 10 years reverse engineering Win32 (like WINE) when you can just license the source?
  • Some time ago (one year? two?), MS announced IE for UNIX (for suitable values of UNIX, of course, I think they had it for one release of HP-UX and two releases of Solaris, all outdated at the time of the release).

    They may have pulled it by now (all I could find at http://download.microsoft.com [microsoft.com] were updates), but obviously someone had ported the stuff before (probably MainSoft).

  • It's technically trivial to port an HP-UX application to Linux. I know, because I have.

    So have I. What I haven't done is support it. If I put my devil's advocate hat on, I see a lot of distributions of Linux, each with subtly incompatible sets of libraries (has libc5 died by now?)

    I can see anyones reluctance to support Linux (as opposed to making a port available without support).

    Then again, if there's one company around that should have gotten used to supporting conflicting libraries it's Microsoft. It still baffles the mind that they let the CTL3D.DLL get out of whack so badly for so many releases, not to mention MFC42.DLL or MSVC40.DLL. One would expect that they'd at least make the latest and greatest version available for easy download and make sure they'd all be downward compatible, but no: they trust on their software developing customers to do the right thing here. Ordinal 6421 not found in MFC42.DLL.

  • by oozer ( 132881 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @03:39AM (#843719)
    Mainsoft has had a windows source licence for years. For those who've never heard of them before they produce a kit and supply consultancy services for ISVs wanting to port windows apps to UNIX/X. Their kit (unlike the old Willows Twin) contains portions of the windows source in order to emulate stuff like common controls and at least the top layers of the gdi and user modules.

    Because MS doesn't want people using its software to drive people onto unix it charges a high premium. If you use Mainsoft to port your app you will have to pay a per-copy royalty that pretty much equals the price of a windows licence! As such it is generally only used to port very expensive, low volume products normally.
    --

  • Solaris IE 5 exists and is quite functional.
    I use it on a Sparc 5/128mb RAM.
    Use of strings on the binaries indicates lots of references to Mainsoft

    Works fine on 2.6 / 7 but not 8
  • by TummyX ( 84871 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @03:43AM (#843721)

    Paul Thurrott, the author of the Wininformant piece, askes a good question in as to why Mainsoft needs a copy of the WinNT source code if it's only porting IE.


    Firstly this IE is integrated into NT is tiring. NT doesn't need IE to run. IE needs NT to run. However, Microsoft has all the right in the world to inculde IE as an integral part of NT. (remember, windows explorer/file manager isn't integrated - but it's essential to windows). Just like car seats aren't integrated - car still runs without seats. But its an essential part of the car.

    Mainsoft has licensed the source to windows NT not just for IE. The source to NT is important cause IE uses windows APIs. The fastest way to get windows apps to run on unix is to license the source for windows from microsoft. This is something Mainsoft has been doing since before linux became important.
  • by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @03:44AM (#843722) Homepage
    M$ has made it clear in the past that IE is in fact part of the operating system. It must be so integral to Windows(in whatever flavor) that the entire OS needs to be ported.
  • They are porting IE, Outlook and so forth to the Unix platform. It just so happens that at this time this includes only Solaris and HP/UX.

    I imagine the tools they are using could just as easily be used to target the ports to Linux, and in fact I would be suprised if some enterprising developer at Mainsoft doesn't spend a late night at work doing just that, just for the sheer novelty of running IE under Linux. Of course he would have to destroy his work or face severe legal retribution.

    I guess all I am saying is that even though Mainsoft is not doing a Linux port, they are doing 99% of the work required for a Linux port. So it could still happen.

    -josh
  • please correct the misspelling, it's a pain, I know... *sigh*
  • This might be a huge discovery for you ! but not every human kind is a native english speaker ;)

    Come on ! it's considered "bad etiquete" to criticise people spelling and grammar !

    what people say is much more important thant how they say it !

  • However, Microsoft has all the right in the world to inculde IE as an integral part of NT. (remember, windows explorer/file manager isn't integrated - but it's essential to windows). Just like car seats aren't integrated - car still runs without seats. But its an essential part of the car.

    I've never seen a car without seats, but I have seen Windows NT running before IE was even invented.

    Seemed fine to me, I guess nothing "essential" was missing after all...

    -thomas


  • Strikes me that the rumour above could just be that MS are developing Office for MacOSX. Under Darwin not Carbon. No big deal - unless you Linux guys have a problem with BSD... Slainte Trull
  • Is porting really the answer?

    Is having Microsoft applications in Linux really what will give Linux the push to rule the world?

    I don't think so.

    One of my favorite things about Linux is its diversity from Windows. Extremely tedious tasks in Windows take a few lines of a shell script in Linux; I can see almost all of the source code to my applications and can configure my working environment to the hilt.

    So I truly wonder why there's even a desire to bring Windows applications onto Linux.

    Shouldn't we be more concerned with making the native Linux applications better? It seems to me that it would be much easier to improve on something already written for the Linux platform than trying to fit an ugly square peg in a beautiful round hole.

    I used to think I wanted IE for Linux. Now, after seeing M17, I want a kick-ass Mozilla. And it seems like it's almost here.

    Is bringing Office to Linux really going to bring the hordes of Office users over to Linux? Or if StarOffice or its like was as intuitive to use as Office and Office users could pick it up quickly, I think they wouldn't care if they were running Windows or Linux or whatever.

    ---
  • Mainsoft is not affiliated with Microsoft in any way

    That depends on your definition of 'affiliated'. Mainsoft and Microsoft clearly have a fairly tight business relationship and I'm sure that includes quite a bit of contractual obligation (probably mostly obligations of Mainsoft towards Microsoft). I haven't, however seen anything that would say if Mainsoft or Microsoft had any financial stake in each other. Microsoft at least is a large, public company, so if they owned part of Mainsoft it would probably have to be a matter of public record. I don't know about the other way around, although I seriously doubt that a smaller company like Mainsoft could even own enough Microsoft common stock to be at all significant.

  • So they're wondering why they need the WinNT source code to port IE?

    Gee, there's a quote from everyone's favorite software company that I seem to recall right around now... doesn't it go something like "Windows and IE are inseperable", or something like that?

    Or maybe I've been watching too many court cases lately, but I just can't seem to shake this image of some software company insisting this to defend themselves in court...

    ------------

  • Do you mean like how they ported office and IE to macos? Funny.
  • Last time I checked the emacs rpm was bigger than xfree86, thats pretty damn sad.
  • Anticompetitive dumping? No. Not when all their competition is free (Netscape, Real, Quicktime).
    Netscape Navigator was not free until the success of the IE dumping/bundling made it impossible for them to sell their product. (Navigator could be used under some circumstances, e.g., by educational institutions, without payment. But use on business machines cost money.) I'm sure the folks at Opera could sell more browsers, too, if MSFT and NSCP weren't giving away their client software.

    -Peter

    • Mainsoft has licensed the source to windows NT not just for IE. The source to NT is important cause IE uses windows APIs.

    Whats the point of having an API? To provide services in a way that allows one to write/port an application without having to worry about the inner workings of the OS/DLL, as long as the interface specification is followed, right? So, why should they need the source code?

    The only reason I can think of is that the interface specificaton does not correspond 100% to NTs functionality. This may be due to malice (providing an advantage to those who have acces to the source) or a poor job (either the implementation doesnt do what it si supposed to or the interface is not well documented). I really believe it is a little of each in this case.

    That said, I have serious doubts about the quality of Mainsoft-ported software. I have never used any of their products, Im talking from a design point of view. Ill quote Kernighan/Pike on this:

    • Among the issues to be worked out in a design are (...) Information hiding: what information is visible and what is private? An interface must provide straightforward access to the components while hiding the details of the implementation so they can be changed without affecting users. [K/P, The practice of programming, p.85]

    So, having the source to NT may be the fastest way to port MS-Windows to unix, but that is a symptom that something is very wrong somewhere along the line.


  • Actually, it is widely known that Microsoft licenses its Windows source code to MainSoft, it was a matter of public court documents when Microsoft was sued by Bristol, which markets a competitor to Mainsoft's MainWin toolkit called Wind/U. Bristol was unhappy that Microsoft was jacking their fees to license the Windows source, as they also had a license. Bristol won the case, but was unfortunately only awarded a piddling amount in damages.

    This whole story is actually the dumbest hoax I ever read here.

    While I always had my own doubts about Office being ported to Linux (IE I would find more believable), I've seen a lot dumber hoaxes. Mainsoft is clearly doing porting work on something, so it is bound to be a matter of speculation as to what.

    I mean, doesn't anyone ask themselves is maybe M$ has enough qualified staff to port it's applications to other platform?

    A few questions regarding that...

    With the high tech worker shortage, does anyone in the high tech industry have enough qualified staff to do everything they want, even those with huge budgets like Microsoft?

    Then, even assuming Microsoft has a large number of qualified staff for developing on their platforms, and the Mac, does that necessarily mean that they have enough people who are also qualified to do porting work to UNIX/Linux?

    And finally, even assuming that Microsoft had plenty of staff that were qualified to do that sort of work, if it is something that isn't part of Microsoft's core business, might it not make more sense to outsource that kind of work and use those staff on stuff more targeted towards the core business?

    Is really sharing the source (under NDA but still) of IE, Office, and Windows with some other company the best solution they could think of to get a port of their software to Linux?

    Maybe, maybe not. But I don't think it is something that they would dismiss immediately. Also, they've used Mainsoft for that sort of stuff before. Mainsoft did the porting work for 'Microsoft Visual SourceSafe for Solaris'. Microsoft used Mainsoft's MainWin product to port IE to Solaris. Since MainSoft already has a Windows source license and has experience porting Windows apps to *nix, wouldn't it make sense to farm more work like that out to them?

    Please people, think.

    Maybe you should do a little more research before you speak...

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Saturday August 19, 2000 @09:41AM (#843736)
    Paul Thurrott, the author of the Wininformant piece, askes a good question in as to why Mainsoft needs a copy of the WinNT source code if it's only porting IE.

    I wouldn't consider that a particularly good question; the question was

    One might wonder why Microsoft would need to supply the jealously guarded Windows source code to a company that was simply porting old versions of IE and WMP to other operating systems.

    to which the answer is very simple: Mainsoft is not a company that is "simply porting old versions of IE and WMP to other operating systems".

    Mainsoft is a company whose product is a library to implement the Win32 API atop other operating systems. The "MainWin: How It Works page [mainsoft.com] on Mainsoft's Web site says

    MainWin Architecture Overview

    The MainWin libraries consist of two layers that sit directly on top of the UNIX operating system:

    MainWin Win32 subsystem

    The Win32 subsystem is a low-level implementation of the Windows 32-bit interface (Win32) on UNIX. This thin and efficient layer sits close to the low-level UNIX service layers such as POSIX, Xlib, and OpenGL. This layer provides Windows graphic services, window management, NT kernel (thread and synchronization objects), networking, and Windows GL (graphic layer) support.

    Windows NT Services

    The Windows NT Services consist of millions of lines of Windows NT4 source code which have been rehosted on UNIX. The MainWin Win32 layer has allowed us to port large portions of Windows NT run-time support with minimal code modifications. Having the actual Windows NT source code running on UNIX assures you of the highest level of Windows NT compatibility for your applications; and allows the same source code to run correctly on both UNIX and Windows.

    (Note that Windows NT isn't just a kernel, it's a complete OS and window system/GUI; the stuff being rehosted is presumably large amounts of userland code.)

    I'm also not sure why Thurrott thought the fact that Mainsoft had access to NT source code was some Deep Dark Secret that his informant had revealed to him, as per his comment

    And they even mention having access to the Windows 2000/NT 4 source code, a tidbit that was also divulged to me in Israel.

    given that there's a press release on Mainsoft's site [mainsoft.com], linked to by an item on Mainsoft's home page [mainsoft.com] , that says

    Sunnyvale, California August 27, 1998-Mainsoft, the market leader in extending Windows APIs to UNIX, announced that it has signed a new WISE agreement with Microsoft, giving Mainsoft access to Windows NT source code up to and including Windows NT version 5. The WISE Agreement provides Mainsoft with the sources necessary to continue development and support of MainWin through the next generation of its Windows on UNIX..

    (I'm also not sure why he speaks of "old versions" of IE and WMP being ported; another item on Mainsoft's Web site [mainsoft.com] says

    Same-day release of Windows and UNIX versions of Internet Explorer 5.0

    On March 18, 1999, Microsoft simultaneously released Windows and UNIX version of Internet Explorer 5.0 with Outlook Express. Rather than rewrite the code for the UNIX version, Microsoft chose to use MainWin to rehost the source code on UNIX. Using MainWin, Microsoft was able to ship the UNIX version of this complex and technically advanced release of Internet Explorer on the same day as the Windows version.

    which would seem to imply that the version of IE 5 that was ported to UNIX was about as far from "old" as one could imagine; no, they may not have ported IE 5.5 yet, but, at the time they ported IE 5.0, it was as new as you can get.)

    Methinks Thurrott should, before he speaks further on this topic, spend an hour or so browsing the Mainsoft Web site, at least if his goal is journalistic accuracy rather than journalistic excitement (you can often write far more exciting stories if you're not constrained by such boring mundane restrictions as a requirement to have what you say correspond, to some extent, to reality).

  • IE is a hell of a lot better than netscape. It supports more standards, it has better support for CSS, and DHTML, it has a better JavaVM, it is more stable, it is faster, etc. Push content was a bad idea, it always has been. Admins hated the thing.

    Office is a lot better than Staroffice or Wordperfect (Linux version). It is more stable, and despite the bloat, faster. Also, Office tends to have better applications. While Word is a second to Wordperfect, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint blow away Quattro, Presentations, and Paradox (okay Paradox vs. Access is debatable.) Also, Office apps tend to have better "workflow" than Staroffice (which is awefully clunky.) And you can turn of auto-spell checking. How can having auto-checking be a bad thing? You can leave it if you like it, or turn it off if you don't. Lastly, it is standard. Like it or not, no suite provides the sheer compatibility of Word.

    As for web-standards, HTML won't cut it. XML might do it, but only when XML authoring tools become much more solid. However the whole thing is moot. You can talk all day long, and it won't change anything. What you need to do is make BETTER applications. What a lot of OSS people miss is this. Not that many people will switch applications just to move to a more Open, feel-good one. They will switch when BETTER applications come out. Make a great application, with tremendous workflow, great context sensitive help, awesome tools, good compatiblilty, and open standards, then people will switch. Otherwise, all the idealistic talk does didly.
  • I downloaded mainsoft's converted ms solitare program and it uses a whopping 33% of memeory!

    33% of how much memory?

    1001011000
  • Funny how all this business of porting to Solaris and HP-UX breaks out just as the Gnome foundation gets established, with Sun and HP promising to use Gnome by default. By the time Mainsoft gets finished with their ports of IE and Outlook, maybe Mozilla and Evolution will be ready ... they're looking pretty good on my box right now.

    Microsoft's marketing engine vs Sun's and HP's default setups, to say nothing of the actual technologies. Should be a fun race to watch.
  • Every mention I've seen of a port says they're being done for UNIX, as in "UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group." Nowhere is Linux mentioned.

    UNIX is, in the legal sense, a registered trademark of The Open Group.

    It is also, the trademark standard nonwithstanding, a term used to refer to a large class of operating systems with a certain set of APIs; most if not all Linux distributions belong to this class of operating systems.

    Mainsoft doesn't currently run on "UNIX" in the sense of "all members of that class of operating systems"; it doesn't even run on "UNIX" in the sense of "all OSes that have passed the Open Group test suite and can thus have the trademark used when referring to them" - under "IBM" they list "AIX 4.3.2" but make no mention of OS/390 (yes, OS/390 has passed the UNIX 95 test suite, as per this list of products that have passed that test suite [opengroup.org]).

    However, they do have, in beta, a MainWin for Linux, as per this page [mainsoft.com], although it's past "the first quarter of 2000" and there's no sign of it having emerged from beta yet, so I don't know if the MainWin for Linux has stalled, or been killed, or what.

    So, whilst it's probably not impossible for them to have ported MainWin, and thus not impossible for them to use it to port IE etc., whether it'll happen is unspecified (i.e., it has not been indicated that it will and there's no firm indication that it won't, either).

  • You aren't the world. What YOU do isn't indicative of what everyone does. Some people need the publishing capability of Publisher, the more rounded tools of Word, the power of Access. StarOffice doesn't offer all the features that some people need. Not to mention the fact people often need Office for the compatibilit. To those people, a port of Office means that they can stop using Windows and switch to Linux. I don't hear talk of diverting of talent, or splitting the market, or competing with existing tools whenever KDE or GNOME come up, so why should it with a port of Office?
  • I hope to god they don't use that wine BS.
    Corel fucked up when they made that damned thing.
    it won't even fucking run.
  • yep that is why ie for the mac kicks butt. It is far snappier, uses less memory, and is less intrusive than the windows counterpart. Office for the mac, however, is as bloated as ever.

  • I dislike the idea of using MS products as well, but I'm approaching this from a different direction...

    Currently, Netscape is the only game in town when it comes to feature-rich browsers on Linux (sorry, Nautilus and Konqueror people; you'll get there some day, but today it's still Netscape). The problem is Netscape browsers on Linux SUCK. I mean, of all the pieces of software on a typical Linux distribution (free, open sourced, or otherwise), Netscape browsers infuriate me the most. They are crap, plain and simple. One could argue that web browsers are some of the most important software packages on any modern networked system, though. It sucks having the central app on a typical Linux system be a turd.

    The problem? NO COMPETITION. Mozilla doesn't even offer the features that Netscape's browsers do. If something commercial grade came along and gave Netscape a run for its money, you'd see dramatic improvements very quickly. As it stands, Netscape/AOL can put out crap browsers for Linux and not sweat over it much because what the hell else are you going to use??

    Netscape needs SERIOUS competition. The open sourced browsers are not coming along fast enough. Mozilla shows promise, but more for Gecko than for the browser itself (will we EVER get a stable version of Mozilla???). If IE will provide the competition, so be it. I'm tired of waiting for Netscape to get its ducks in line.
  • My boss says, never believe anything until a member of the government officially denies it.

    Taking that a little further, now that Microsoft has officially denied the rumours, I know they must be true ..

  • Oh man, I hope this guy is too young to know what a dumb terminal is.
  • For all the brain power that resides in Redmond under the banner of Microsoft, you'd think they would be a little smarter. Let's be realistic; does anyone really believe that porting their apps over to a different operating system can do anything other than make them money? I find it highly doubtfull that anyone not already using Linux would jump ship from Windows *just* because of an Office Suite. It's far more likely that an Office port would result in their taking market share away from whatever "free" office-type apps already exist.

    And then of course comes the *other* stupidity they always engage in- denying things which are confirmed facts. Ok- so they could make it truth by cancelling the project but what point is there to that line of thought? Instead of denying this kind of thing they should be broadcasting to the world - it would be perceived as a lack of fear concerning Linux. Almost like saying "We are so confident that Windows is better that we're going to *own* the Linux Suite-space as well!"..
  • Not necessarily. I know a lot of people who would want Office for Linux. Staroffice might work well, but after using MS Office for so long, people might swap OSs but they won't use any other Office like software.
  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @04:02AM (#843750) Homepage
    (NT here also means win2k)

    Win32 is the layer on top of the NT core and win9x core libs. Normally apps talk to win32, instead of all the api's beneath it (you know, the so called 'secret api's). IE uses win32 to do stuff but also ADDS stuff to win32 (namely the shell extensions, SH* functions). This means it uses layers below win32, layers build with the normally hidden api's.

    If you want to port IE to another platform, you have to know what the functions do that are used by IE. The win32 functions are documented in the MSDN, but the NT / win9x core api calls aint. So you need the sourcecode.

    The browser will work fine without the shell extensions, it's just the shell extensions that make it has to use the lower level api calls. And because IE is part of the Shell of NT/win9x/win2000, it's called 'part of the OS', but NT runs great without it. But if you want to use the SH* extensionfunctions in your code, you NEED IE installed. (the SH* functions create nice dirtree's for example in controls)


    --

  • IE is integrated into the OS. Naturally, if you wanted to see it's source, you would be looking at the OS. Has no one read the Anti-Trust case filings?
  • My guess is that MSFT must have IE ported to as many "platforms" as possible because IE is meant to become a platform of it's own, used to "rent" downloaded Windows(read:IE (read:.NET)) - applications and components. Think of IE as a C# Virtual Machine with an integrated internet dashboard, and a .NET steering wheel. whatever.

    Just the road NS wants to take with Java.

    Innovation, right?

  • Mainsoft is not affiliated with Microsoft in any way, shape or form. Mainsoft is doing the port, Mainsoft will get the profit. Microsoft gets licensing for allowing it. Simple. But Mainsoft is doing it.
  • by peterw ( 88369 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @04:08AM (#843754)
    I've seen a presentation by some Mainsoft folks. The license fees aren't that bad. Basically you need a Mainsoft client runtime license for each desktop you want to run your "ported" applications on (I'm fairly sure that it's a per-seat, not per-app license), and, IIRC, the desktop license was in the range of $50 - $100 USD. Which is the same ballpark as a Windows 9x license, but Mainsoft's target is companies, where WinNT/2000 are the more likely desktop equivalents. So it's much cheaper than VMWare ($300 USD per commercial license + you still need an MS OS license). And, if you're having trouble with Windows, the increased overall stability and other benefits of Linux or Unix may easily justify the per seat fee.

    MSFT used Mainsoft's tools to port IE to the flavors of Unix it already runs on, e.g. Solaris. So this isn't really big news. MS has already ported IE. They've talked about porting MediaPlayer. Both are yet more examples of anticompetitive "dumping" practices.

    -Peter

    US Voters: The GOP has criticized Clinton, Reno, and Klein for taking on Microsoft in court. The Democratic party had iMacs and PalmPilots at their convention. Who's more likely to support real competition in the software marketplace?

  • Ie is the worst browser i have every used and Netscape it almost as bad. they are both 20mb plus to download slow to start, slow to load pages and slow in old machines. opera (http://www.opera.com) and arachne (http://browser.arachne.cz) are great browsers. under 2mb downloads, fast to start and fast to load pages. opera for windows is fine but opera for linux is still in alpha. arachne for dos is fine but arachne for linux is still in beta. when these two great browsers reach final release for linux there will be real choice and fast, small, reliable browsing. by the did i say ie is crap
  • The writing is on the wall folks.....Office is moving towards an Internet application and away from a desktop application. It will all be about XML and SOAP and Web Services.

    The client, whether its a Mac, *nix, Windows etc...won't matter. As long as the client can talk SOAP.

    Is anyone in the Linux world looking at SOAP?

  • Last time I checked the emacs rpm was bigger than xfree86, thats pretty damn sad.

    Hence the expression "eventually malloc()s all computer storage."

    =================================
  • Isn't it obvious? Microsoft's competition with Linux has forced them to take the extreme measures of porting Outlook (Express) to Linux. Of course, this was inspired by the recent UF comic [userfriendly.org]. Why else would it be just a few weeks later.

    Anm
  • it was a joke
  • IE is as intergrated in the OS as my watch is intergrated to my body!

    I may wish to beleive it, but get real!

    We can intergrate Netscape into Gnome. Gnome into X. X into Linux. Force everyone to use all the above but it would still not make Netscape, Linux.

    We would only be fooling ourselves that Netscape is Linux. The same way fools beleive that IE is NT/Win98 and cannot be separated.

    The only reason Micro$oft intergrated in such a fashion is to control the Web. Content now must adhere to their OS/browser.

  • Do you even know what shell extensions are?

    The fact that some application adds SH* functions, doesn't mean it somehow uses hidden APIs.

    For example, the standard explorer shell extensions for adding icons to the tray (notify icons) don't use any 'hidden' APIs. You call it, and it uses IPC to tell explorer to add a new icon. This is an APPLICATION SPECIFIC, e.g. SHELL SPECIFIC API call. Nothing to do with anything underneath.

    Other shell extensions like adding new menus when you right click on a file etc also have nothing to do with shell extensions.

    I don't think you know what you're talking about.

    They need the NT source code so they can support Win32, not 'hidden apis'.
  • It is my understanding that the M$ software for Mac is developed by a fairly autonomous group. Whatever the situation, they have recently released some great 'very Mac' software in IE and Outlook Express, although they did wierdly reinvent some things for OE. Sadly, IE 5 for Mac is miles ahead of Netscape/Mozilla, and iCab [www.icab.de] isn't quite there yet.

    My point is that MS can make good software, if you judge software by the expectations of the majority of the users of the targeted platform. What does this mean for Linux if/when Office and IE are ported? How would Office for Linux have to be different than Office for Win and Office for Mac to truly be a Linux application worth using?

    From the outside, the coolest and most admirable thing about the Linux community is Open Source and everything implied by that. I don't think MS could release a real Linux app, if this is held to be fundamental to truly be considered as a Linux app.
  • You've never seen a car without seats?

    That's not the point. A car could run without seats, so why are these evil car companies forcing us to buy cars with their ugly seats?

    I want a rocking chair in my car.

    Analogy was fine.
  • by Odradek ( 144336 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @11:58AM (#843765)

    Ok, so I worked for a company that was actually using Mainwin for a while. We had a suite of EDA tools for Windows that needed to be ported to Unix. I was the engineer who was in charge of doing the port of the first product. As such, I am quite familiar with the ins and outs of Mainwin, at least as of 9 months ago, and as it applies to the Solaris platform.

    The deal with Mainwin is that they've essentially taken the NT source and re-written the "bottom" half -- i.e. the hardware access and low-level interfaces. Then, they compiled the entire NT kernel on top of this layer of cruft.

    In order to compile anything on top of the Mainwin libraries, you are dynamically linking to a fairly substantial portion of the NT kernel. Hence, the NT code license.

    With this constraint, Mainwin has two major problems:

    1. NT bugs + Mainsoft cruft layer bugs (and in our case, Solaris compiler bugs) add up to very buggy and slow applications. There's no reason that a reasonably snappy Windows app should be slow on a 4-processor Solaris server with 3 GB of RAM, but Mainwin managed somehow.
    2. NT per-seat license + Mainsoft one-time license was sort of expensive. It was only the fact that our software was fairly expensive that made Mainwin feasible at all.

    So, in short:

    • NT source license because that's their modus operandi
    • Office on top of Mainwin would be hideously unstable and unusable; hence, it's not likely
    • Windows media player and IE on Linux could happen, but they will be slower and considerably less stable than on Windows.

    In short, no big surprises.

  • I have used StarOffice. I have the freaking thing installed. (All 150 megs of it.) I've also messed with the 4.x version, had problems with glibc's and had to do ridiculous things like add environment variables by hand to install it. NOt only that, I had to put up with a bug in the version packaged with RedHat 5.2 where the install script was broken.

    I much prefer to use Gobe Productive on BeOS, because that does most of what I need to do. However, there are quite a few things that neither suite can do, and for those things I HAVE to reboot into Windows and start up Office. Like it or not, there are just some things that one CAN'T DO WITHOUT OFFICE. Some features that Office has that nobody else has. I don't really understand what your point is? I happen to like Office better than StarOffice. Though I like WordPerfect better (the Windows version, not the icky Linux vesion) than Word, overall, I like Office better than Corel Office, and Lotus Smartsuite. Just because it's from MS it doesn't deserve to be on Linux?
  • (for the poor sole still reading this thread ;))

    MS won't license you the sourcecode if you're going to use that sourcecode to create a competitive product to MS' own stuff. WINE is a competitive product, because it makes win9x or any other win32 compatible client OS unnecessary.
    --

  • If Micrsoft were to port Office to Linux, or allow someone else to do it, they would be shooting themselves in the foot at point-blank range with a bazooka.

    That's what some said about Office for Mac.

    It doesn't seem to have hurt Microsoft. If anything, it made them a crapload of money off people who would probably have bought Macs anyway.

    --
  • by FPhlyer ( 14433 ) on Saturday August 19, 2000 @04:32AM (#843783) Homepage
    It may be that the reason why Mainsoft has a copy of the Winnt source code is to assist them in porting Office. Sure, everbody is denying it. Maybe Microsoft has hired mainsoft only to port IE and MediaPlayer, but they might have still given them the source to NT and Office and unofficially stated "If you can get this ported, we will make it very much worth your while." After all, with the impending opening of StarOffice, Microsoft has to be feeling a crunch to get Office out cross-platform so that they can stop SUN cold.

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