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How Many Applications Depend On Windows? 328

msnomer writes: "The Cato Institute is going to publish a report this week disputing the claim that there are 70,000 Microsoft applications, according to a NY Times article. The author, economist Richard B. MacKenzie, says that the "70,000 figure might actually represent the number of applications that have been written during the entire history of the personal computer industry." The figure, however absurd, pits Microsoft marketing against the legal department, since the purported number of applications--a number not disputed by Microsoft, by the way--is a key factor in the decision to break up the company. Anyone else astonished that Microsoft marketing may have exaggerated a bit?"

Alternatively, is anyone astonished that a number so arbitrary (in either direction) is considered a serious point of evidence? Not that there's a great way to weight the importance of programs in isolation from each other, but [random shareware X, even if business related] doesn't match the importance of, say, a major word processor in the real world. Isn't the flexibility that a given OS offers to create new programs, and the rate of change in the number of available programs, more important than the existing number anyhow?

Updated 20:05 by timothy: PJ Doland, Webmaster of the Cato Institute writes: "The article on Microsoft that you mention is now online at I'm a slashdot addict. When I saw your link to the Institute's site, I convinced the higher-ups to let me post the report early for your readers. The full report is in PDF."

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How Many Applications Depend On Windows?

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  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:54AM (#818374)

    Here's my summary of some of the points from the report:

    Point One: Microsoft doesn't act like a Monopoly.

    Point Two: The definition of the Market that Judge Jackson used was overly narrow because Sun, Apple, and Redhat don't make operating systems for non-networked intel compatible PC's.

    Point Three: There are no 'staying costs' for sticking with Microsoft Windows.

    Point Four: Market-share does not define a monopoly in the "new economy"

    Don't take my word for it, read it for yourselves, its very poorly reasoned and uses the same types of arguments that it claims are bad when Judge Jackson used them.

  • by spankenstein ( 35130 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:00AM (#818380) Homepage

    Remeber when Windows 2000 came out? There were 65,000 documented bugs. This is eerily close to the number of "applications" that they say it has.... coincidence?

  • Unfortionatly, your app doesn;t rely on the windows OS.. ;-P I can simply recompile for nearly any compiler out there.. ;-P

    That's french for a standard API. Win32 doesn't have one..

    I do, however, agree with your point. It's not the number of apps. It if I can open that neato word document that my grammy just emailed me from prison. Interoprability is the key, not app count.
  • by Kostya ( 1146 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:01AM (#818385) Homepage Journal

    Kind on/off topic (depends on your perspective)

    I'm not disputing Cato's claims or Microsoft's. I'm just saying be aware that the Cato Institute has their own agenda.

    Cato self labels [] itself as "market liberalism". But if you also search a little deeper in the other links, you will see a link to the Institute of Objectivist Studies []. And in case you don't know what Objectivism is, it is based on Ayn Rand.

    I bring this up only because these guys are a bit aggressive and not very open about the ties between them and IOS/Ayn Rand. Everyone remeber the John Stossel Report "GREED" []? Well, ALL of his experts were from Cato or IOS. So the whole report was basically a platform for Objectivism. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to see the agenda behind all the rest of John Stossel's "insightful" reports. So perhaps Stossel really is an "objective" reporter :-)

    If you read up on their site, you will find discussion about how they (Objectivists) are actively trying to place Objectivist professors at the head of philosophy departments.

    So, as with all things on slashdot, I would take their arguments with a grain of salt, remembering their perspective and view. Because that is how you think critically. Taking in all the facts.

  • I guess what I meant was, Linux would have been dependent on whatever monopolistic, closed-source operating system was prevalent at the time. If it had been, I don't know, Doors 95, then Linux would have had the same opportunities.

    I guess what I'm really saying is that Linux was dependent on having a niche to fill (and thankfully that niche has grown tremendously). If there had been no need, there would have been no OS.

  • So, to make sure the lawyers get their pound of tasty flesh, all companies that choose to sell tobbacco (even a brand new company which has never done anything wrong) must pay into the settlement escrow. That way, all companies that sell tobbacco have the same costs, allowing companies to fix prices on cigarettes to guarantee a steady profit to pay the settlement. All this money comes out of the pockets of the smokers... mostly working-class chumps who got addicted when they were 12 or 13.

    What kind of criterion do you use when you say "a brand new [tobacco] company which has never done anything wrong"?

    Disclaimer: I am a smoker. I don't like the fact that I smoke, but all my quitting attempts have so far been unsuccessful. This is the reason why I don't think tobacco products should be sold. A government-enforced ban on smoking would probably be the best thing to happen to me in my life.

  • Thank you, that IS what I meant. Amazing how often people engage the Slashdot Reflex: "He defended Windows? Quick! Poke holes in his logic!" (although I didn't defend Windows in any way, but whatever...)
  • I know corporation bashing is popular on /., I guess that's why your computer was hand crafted by a tribe of indigenous people from the amazon, right?

    That's a no-no also, as it implies trade between countries, i.e. Global Capitalism. Shudder to think that those durned fur'ners might have made your floppy drive.

    The truly 'socially responsible' computer is one built at cost by a local peoples' cooperative using indigenous materials.

  • I thought Microsoft had only one application-Windows- with everything else being an integrated part of the OS.

    Seriously, I wonder if Internet Explorer was counted in the 70,000...

  • by Royster ( 16042 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @01:17PM (#818405) Homepage
    This is what happens when you have ivory tower academics weighing in on things. I've been with companies that have serveral thousand of their own internal applications... entire history of the industry indeed.

    The NYTimes report [] I read on this study implied that they are just counting commercial applications. Your thosands of internal applications and all the other internal apps aren't in the figure.

    Even if it's corrent, the statistic is useless.
  • You're resorting to that tired old statement that capitalists are motivated by greed. It wasn't true when the Communist Party said it in the former Soviet Union, and it isn't true now.

    You might be surprised to know that capitalists (those who believe in private ownership of the means of production) want lower profit margins too. Razor-thin profit margins are a sign of healthy competition.

    Adam Smith, one of the fathers of capitalism, denounced profit as evil, saying it was an indicator of inefficiencies in the marketplace (which are often due to over-regulation and political corruption).

    Sorry about the sarcasm in the previous post. I have been very sarcastic today for some reason.

  • by mmmmbeer ( 107215 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @01:21PM (#818408)
    The flaw in this argument is that the antitrust case is not about Microsoft's operating system monopoly. The actual cause of this monopoly (which in my opinion is a vicious cycle of application availability forcing users to use Windows, which forces software firms to write programs for Windows - but that's not important right now) is irrelevant. Microsoft has monopoly power. Anyone who questions that needs an emergency rectalcraniectomy.

    The reason Microsoft is being punished is because they misused their monopoly power, not to press their OS, but rather for other applications, such as IE vs. Netscape. You can argue all you want that Jackson's numbers are wrong; so what? He just needed to say, "Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems." Why waste a lot of time on something so obvious? Even M$ made at best only a half-hearted attempt to claim not to be a monopoly. The real case was what they did with their monopoly power.

    The author also fails to understand the nature of antitrust law. An example:
    ...if Microsoft did what monopolists are supposed to do: restrict sales in order to raise the company's prices and profits.
    The classic example of an antitrust case is the Standard Oil case. Standard Oil had a practice of buying out competing gas stations. If they wouldn't sell, SO would build a station nearby and undercut prices (even accepting a loss) until their competitors were out of business. This is not about restricting sales or raising prices - it is about preventing others from entering the market. If the author understood antitrust law, he would see that this, not the "restricting sales in order to raise the company's prices and profits," is the "misuse of power" that requires antitrust cases.

  • No matter how you count, this number is accurate in the sense of "insert random big number here." But not all applications are created equal. Judging just by the number of apps you can by at seems silly to me but it does prove a point. Many applications are not widely used and would not be missed by a user who switches from the Windows platform to the MacOS or Linux.

    While most Windows users will use Microsoft Office at some point, very few will use, say World's Greatest Paper Airplanes. Those 70,000 (and probably more) Windows applications will include many games, obsolete or otherwise crappy applications, and small utilities that are only useful on that platform. It will also include many applications that also run on platforms other than Windows. (For example, MS Office also runs on the MacOS, Wordperfect also runs on Linux, Doom runs just about anywhere []). The average (and even the above average) user will never use more than a few hundred applications at most. And most users will probably use the same few hundred applications for most of their work.

    In the end, there doesn't seem to be much point in arguing over how many applications run on one particular platform. The important questions are:
    • Does the DoJ's punishment fit Microsoft's crime?
    • Will users be unduly burdened by the punishment that eventually gets meted out to Microsoft?

    Anything else is just statistical masturbation.

    My own personal guess is that the number of Windows applications out there will ultimately be judged to be either irrelevant or a relatively minor consideration compared to the seriousness or non-seriousness of Microsoft's transgressions.
  • I'm sick and tired of hearing current economic analysts, like the boys over at the Cato Institute, go on and on about the "New Economy." If there is indeed an economic revolution going on, then they should stop shooting in the dark and pay attention for a bit before they start acting like they know what's going on. The current body of economic theory, which they rely on to make their arguments, was developed over a long span of timethrough analysis of the "Old Economy." If those rules no longer apply, then they have no more authority than I do. On the other hand, if there is no "New Economy," then they are simply lying through their teeth in the hopes of being the next one to be interviewed in Forbes.

    You're also mixing your metaphors here. The "New Economy" is supposedly the fruit of the adoption of information technology, and includes such wonders as B2B portal sites and cheap software duplication. Your comments about the potential expansion of digital tech to the rest of the world are based on an the idea of "market globalization", which may rely upon information technology, but preceeded and is independent of it.

    Globalization of business is not the "hands across the world" event that some people seem to think it is. The track record of most major corporations doing business in developing nations shows that rather well. Right now, the wealth of America and much of the rest of the developed world is drawn more from the efforts of workers in sweat shops than from any local or natural resources. The US has more valuable natural resources than any other nation in the world, yet we import countless more goods every year than we export.

    The current international economy would collapse overnight if those underdeveloped areas suddenly were modernized; who, exactly, would make all of those cheap imported goods that the West realies upon to make consumerism affordable? Where would they go to contruct highly polluting factories, and hire workers for pennies a day to crank out cheap bits of plastic, metal, and silicon? Who would they exploit horribly to keep their profit margins high?

    The other 95% of the world in not very likely to adopt computer technology in the next five, or even ten to twenty, years. If a region has no industrial base whatsoever, then shipping them a carton of computers is worthless; they need electric power, communications and transport infrastructure, and basic supplies like clean water, stable shelter, and antibiotics before the Internet is going to do them any good. Once they had those, they might think twice about working for the same rediculously low wages, or allowing the same amount of natural destruction and manipulation of their economy that multinationals had brought to town.

  • "It seems that their marketing behavior has come back to bite them," Mr. McKenzie said in an interview.

    By George I think he's got it!

  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:16AM (#818421)
    The Cato Institute's analysts parrot the agenda of corporate America, trying to influence policy and legislation to benefit the wealthiest groups and individuals in the country.

    Oh, please. The Cato Institute published well thought out papers that are Libertarian in nature and are dedicated to getting the government of your back.

    I know corporation bashing is popular on /., I guess that's why your computer was hand crafted by a tribe of indigenous people from the amazon, right?
  • The article does make several points that are indeed valid, in that the judge made a big deal about some thing he didn't have to, and didn;t about some thing he should have..

    The first thing addressed, or not, in the above article is that, yes, indeed, the judge *IS* making up a new meaning for a monopoly. In the past *NOTHING* of any value could simply be copied billions and billions of times at little cost. I can mass mail an application to a million people, at the total cost of 19.95. Heck, run a little banner ad proggy, and it's *FREE*. *NEVER* in *HISTORY* has a situation like this been present. No one could ever argue that Microsoft has not stopped people from developing alternate operating systems. They haven't. What they have done is ensure a closed and private 'public' standard.

    Think about someone having a patent on the internal cumbustion engine. I'm sure someone had a patent at one point in time that applied. Now, along comes the car. Suddenly, you're forced to only buy the patents owners gas. And by the way, you'll need to buy a new engine for your car every few years, so you can run the new gas. Certainly, in no way has this patent holder stopped anyone from coming up with a new means of power. But if they can manage to get enough people using it, you *DO* have a monopoly.

    Personally, I do not like Microsoft. I don't like their company, or how it treats its customers. Sure, they have some good apps. And yes, they've done some damned good buisness deals, and been sucessfull as hell. But at some point, it has to stop. At some point, it has to be said that you've simply made *to* much money, and you've locked in to good of a nestbed.

    Anything that ends up being used widely in the public needs to be open eventually. It's in the general good of the public. In the past, things moved slower. No one could lock the public in, becouse of the length of time it would take. Microsoft locked over 90% of the OS market into place within a few short years, becouse of the success of the PC.

    Whoever came up with the tarred road had a damned good idea. What if he was still recieving money for the idea? What if it cost the government millions of dollars, paying for the use of the idea? It's certainly in the good of the public to have these roads. It's also in the good of the public to have a well defined, standardized computing environment.

    I'm blathering, I'll shadap and read some other opinions now..
  • The Cato Institute is scary in that they seem to believe that corporations should be running everything rather than government.

    That may be what they "seem to believe" to you, but having meet many of these people I know that not to be the case.

    As for the cable companies, pretty good argument for why they should have never received benifits from the government in the first place, isn't it? The fact is that the cable companies OWN all that infrastructure, no matter what grants allowed them to build it. Now we are crying because the won't share it... well, too bad. You shouldn't have let yourself get suckered by the greedy bastards in the first place.

    Subsidizing ISP's to "compete" with them will only make the problem worse, extending the government/corporate marriage to a few more companies.

  • Nevermind the fact that their networks never could have been built without the government's permission and help (both financial and legislative).

    Cable companies are legally protected monopolies.

    Your argument is that because of this, their competitors should be allowed access to their network.

    Instead of this, how about opening the cable market up to competition, and allowing more than one cable provider in a given region? In other words, why don't we get rid of the laws that create these monopolies?

    I hear a lot of arguments saying something to the effect of 'Well, they're given special treatment by the government, so we have to also give special treatment to their competitors.'

    This invariably results in layer upon layer of special treatment, and a convoluted legal code base.

    Libertarians want to *eliminate* the special treatment across the board. What's so bad about that?

  • That add up to 70,009

    I guess between the time this article was first posted online 'til when ackthpt posted his comments, 9 new apps that we don't know 'bout were created...that seems kinda slow though...oh well...
  • Yep. I expect 70,000 for the whole history of MS computing is a pretty conservative number.

    I wonder what figure you'd get if you toted up the (sales/download figures) for every Windows (programming language/development environment) ever (sold/given away), and then assumed that only, say, 5% were actually used to create meaningful applications?

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:19AM (#818433) Homepage Journal
    I added it up with the Windows calculator ;-)

    Vote [] Naked 2000
  • Many companies and individuals today hide their greed behind the good name of capitalism, just as many dictators hid behind the name of Communism. Unfortunately, I let myself fall into the incorrect usage of the term as well, and must apologize for letting my emotions run away with my typing.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:21AM (#818436)

    The Cato Institute is scary in that they seem to believe that corporations should be running everything rather than government. They always rant about government regulation of business. They're running a piece now about the opening of broadband cable networks to ISPs where they claim that it's a violation of the cable company's free speech rights to make them open their networks to the ISPs. Nevermind the fact that their networks never could have been built without the government's permission and help (both financial and legislative). Nevermind that people don't want every damn ISP out there digging up our streets to lay cable for their own networks. There are many compelling reasons to make the cable companies open up access. Do the cable companies think they should be able to receive those benefits that give them a big boost in the market without having any responsibilities as well?

  • lemme guess: notepad?

    Nope, it terminates each line with CR/LF.
  • Viruses make your computer crash less often.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • The analysts at the Cato Institute are quite obviously very intelligent, and there is no question of the deliberate and careful fashion in which they contruct their arguments. However, I would argue that the conclusions these "pundits" draw from their data are seriously flawed, and reflect a more specific bias than Libertarianism. They very carefully and knowingly "interpret" their data and conclusions to advance a social agenda, which just so happens to support a large number of policies that would transfer an even larger share of wealth and power to big businesses.

    Personally, I have no problem with the existence and operation of large corporations. As you suggest, many of the fine technological products I utilize on a daily basis are the result of corporate developments. I do not simply "bash" corporations; rather, I argue against the policies and would-be politicos that try to hand them control of the world's governments on a silver platter.

  • How does one tell the difference between a virus infection and a normal Windows installation?

    Tons of ways. Think about how easy it is to install a virus on your system. Many times, you don't even know it's happening. It usually proceeds normally after simply clicking (or double clicking) on the installer program. It rarely gives you error messages, or makes you want to beat your head against a wall wishing it would just finish, dammit. You don't spend hours on the phone with tech support to get a virus installed, and the installation process doesn't give you an ulcer and drive you to drink.

    Microsoft only wishes it could say those things about windows!

  • because you live in a society that rewards greed more than compassion, and measures personal worth by personal wealth.

    You make that sound like a bad thing or something. If you ahve such an aversion to wealth, no one is stop you from giving away your money, etc.... You don't need to make those decisions for the rest of us, thank you very much.
  • Linux can easily be installed on a non-networked machine. What color crack is he on?
  • Ciresi

    Misspelling on my part, thanks.

    The tobacco settlement was big, but would have been bigger if he hadn't pocketed enough to fund a US Senate campaign.

    Not to mention the fact that his law firm bankrolled the Skip Humphrey for Governor campeign, as well.

    Mark Dayton may be in some obscure way my boss (I think he's the largest individual shareholder in Target Corp., which his ancestors founded), but I'm still glad he's ahead of Ciresi.

    Swell... just what we need... another member of the Rockefeller family sent to Washington. (For those who don't know, Dayton married a Rockefeller, and has used some of their personal fortune to run several high-profile campaigns for Senator in the past. He's at it again this year.) Old money never goes away. (sigh)

    Needless to say, my preferred candidate, Jerry Janezich, is way back in 4th place. He's from a mining town and owns a bar. He even has the DFL endorsement. How could he fail?

    I'll though I am a conservative, I will take an good ol' honest left-wing radical over the two-faced bastards running the Democratic Party any day of the week. I really hope Janezich gains ground.

    The guy I wanted already dropped out of the race. Tim Penny has been the Democratic Party's best asset in Minnesota for a long time now. He's a Senior Fellow at the U of M's Humphrey Institute, an experienced leader, and (funnilly enough) a Fellow of Fiscal Studies at the Cato Institute.

    On the bright side, I understand that Wellstone intends to step down from the Senate in a couple years (he promised to be a two-term-only guy), so maybe Penny will run for that seat.

    Oddly enough, Rod Grams can't seem to please anybody. The Republicans in Washington hate him because they consider him to be far too moderate, but here in the People's Republic of Minnesota, he is painted as some kind of far-right conservative.

  • by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @12:35PM (#818458)

    Point Four: Market-share does not define a monopoly in the "new economy"

    This actually is a good point... I think I saw something on the Helix Code web site that says something like "Only 5 percent of the world's population has chosen a desktop computing environment. That leaves a lot of room for GNOME."

    The point is that this is a marketplace that is expanding quickly and dramatically, and that Microsoft's current 90% of the desktop marketplace could easily amount to only a 12% share by the year 2004.

    Also, I found it ironic that a Slashdot story a day or two ago questioned whether Linux had eclipsed Macintosh as the number one competitor to MS. I thought monopolies didn't have competitors?! Slashdotters are so two-faced. One second we are railing about how there's no way anyone can compete against the monopoly in Redmond, the next we're railing about how Linux is kicking Windows' ass. Makes no sense to me.

  • Well, you know the old saying: "Ich bin Ayn Rand."
  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:00AM (#818468)
    70,000 figure might actually represent the number of applications that have been written during the entire history of the personal computer industry.

    Oh, come on. This is what happens when you have ivory tower academics weighing in on things. I've been with companies that have serveral thousand of their own internal applications... entire history of the industry indeed.

    Hell, there have probably been around 70,000 bad first person shooters in the past few years....
  • In my entire history of using Windows 2000 (I use it as my regular computer, along with a copy of Linux I rarely boot to), I've only encountered one Windows 2000 bug. It's when I load up 6 streaming video windows, Unreal Tournament, Quake III Arena and it cuts to an OpenGL screensaver. And it's not even a "bug" persay - there are screen artifacts. I think it has to do with my video drivers.

    The other 64,999 bugs I've never encountered, and have strung up to media hype.

  • I agree: the Cato institute doesn't parrot the agenda of corporate America. But they are clearly not without an agenda: they push a brand of libertarianism, and their political and philosphical beliefs suffuse any argument they are trying to make.

    Whether their arguments are well thought out or merely drivel, you have to judge for yourself. In my opinion, most of their arguments are intellectually lightweight, based on polemics and hot button phrases, without deeper reflection, sound economic analysis, or hard data. They appear to be arguing and judging from the position of reasonably well off middle class academics, often missing the point behind the social policies they are pontificating about entirely.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @02:08PM (#818478) Journal

    More than 70,000 I bet. Unless the average Windows developer has written less than one application, the number has got to be a lot higher than this.

    Of course, it all depends on how you define "application". Does Hello World count? Does a screen saver count? Certainly a freeware app distributed over the Internet counts. Shrink-wrapped software counts. Does in-house custom work count? I've written apps in all these categories except shrink-wrapped.

    If I had to put a number to it, I'd say I've written at least 10 apps, 2 or 3 of which are currently being used by at least one person other than me. I'm not counting the countless little test applications and scripts I've written that run in a Windows environment. If I did, the number would probably be in the hundreds.

  • The guy's name is Mike Ciresi, and from what I can tell he is a grade A scumbag, even for a lawyer. The tobacco settlement was big, but would have been bigger if he hadn't pocketed enough to fund a US Senate campaign.

    Mark Dayton may be in some obscure way my boss (I think he's the largest individual shareholder in Target Corp., which his ancestors founded), but I'm still glad he's ahead of Ciresi.

    Needless to say, my preferred candidate, Jerry Janezich [], is way back in 4th place. He's from a mining town and owns a bar. He even has the DFL endorsement. How could he fail?

    The other DFL candidate is Rebecca Yanisch []. Her website is in the .com TLD. I think that says it all.

    Of course, all of them are vastly preferable to Rod Grams.

  • Of course, there aren't 70,000 apps the size and popularity of Office, but think about every little custom thingie cobbled together to control lab equipment, or catalog research data, or whatever, things we'll never really hear about.

    Many Unices claim 10,000 applications or more written for them, so 70,000 written for M$ OSes doesn't seem out of line to me.

  • Word 2000, on one of the boxes here, runs the Microsoft Installer every time you open a word document. EVERY time.

    Microsoft denies that this is happening, they'll only admit to "it happens on boxes that had Office 97 products on them."

    Except that this is a fresh 2000 install with nothing but Office 2000 on there....

    In my search for answers (which I still have not found), I stumbled onto a utility published by Microsoft for cleaning up after Windows Installer.

    Now, if you're as unfortunate as I am and have had to write InstallShield installers that are supposed to install on every win32 platform, you know what a ludicrous task it is.

    I mean, if Microsoft themselves can't write a freaking installer to install THEIR OWN word processor on THEIR OWN operating system, what hope do we have? They have to publish utilities to clean up (unsuccessfully) after their own installers? And I have to support this?

    Scary, scary stuff.
  • The problem with simply "[eliminating] special treatment across the board" is that it would be too little, too late. Whatever the reasons for it, be they government meddling, corporate manipulation, or even just consumer stupidity, large corporations, in aggregate, control most of the world's wealth and global influence. Were the fetters removed from their power now, they would simply entrench themselves further, and the free market would fall by the wayside, thereby invalidating the "invisible hand" economic theory.

    The playing field would have to be leveled first, then let loose, if there was to be any chance of a true open market and all its potential benefits. Personally, I don't think that would be such a bad idea, but I don't see much popular support for the idea of simply pulling the big corporations apart and starting over.

  • How many windows developers are there? Surely, a magnitude more than 70k. So, the average windows developer has written less than one program.

    I think this 'wild guess' is way below the real number of apps ever written for windows.
  • by geirt ( 55254 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @11:42AM (#818489)

    This is silly ....

    I did a quick survey on the "Norman virus scanner [], it knows about 18.284 viruses, that is more than 25% of all programs written according to the "Cato Institute". That simply has to be wrong, their estimate of 70.000 programs is way to low.

  • I dunno how many progams exist, but I do know that I really feel sorry for the guy that had to run then all to count them.
  • It's a back scrathing mechanism. It goes like this.

    1) Corporation bribes government
    2) government taxes the hell out of people and criminilizes common acts
    3) People get desparate because they can no longer sustain themselves by growing their own food or via bartering. Also with a good percentage of able bodied males in prison females are left to fend for themselves and their children.
    4) These people flock to corporations who pay them just enough for sustinance thereby trapping them in de-facto slavery (after all slaves had to housed and fed too).
    5) Profits rise and the corporation sets aside a small percent to...
    6) Corporation bribes government.

    See how it works?

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

  • And you were expecting what from a republican think thank? The cato institute has it's nose so far up the butt of corporations all they see is brown.

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

  • "Everything Should be Free [Beer]!" and they're
    not getting all the free goodies that they feel "entitled" to.

    That's funny I have been reading slashdot for a long time now and I have never ever read anybody say that.

    Oops I forget it's ok to lie if you are capitilist never mind.

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

  • Everyone manipulates figures for their own benefit. Microsoft just does it more then most. Personally, I can think of several programs that cannot run on Windows, because I've talked to the developers of those programs.

    As for there being 70,000 programs that run on the various incarnations of Windows, it would only be possible if they counted each new version of the program as a seperate program. If that's the case, there's easily 70,000 programs for Windows.

  • Yes we should immediately abandon all hope that human beings might actually one day work towards a common good. All that crap that Jesus, Budha and mohammed laid on us was a load of bullshit. Screw god it's Adam smith we must all worship. Greed and gluttony are not deadly sins they are the virtues we must all strive to cultivate.

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

  • You seem to forget the people lived perfectly happy lives for thousands of years without sweat shops or corporations. The idea that without exploitation there would be death and starvation is just ridiculus. Honestly where do you get this stuff from. America has the highest cancer rate, the highest heart disease rate, highest murder rate, highest crime rate in the world. So how has capitalism prevented death?

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:02AM (#818501)
    People didn't believe Cato when he testified at the OJ trial, and they're really not going to believe him now. This is a bit out of his league.
  • So lets see on the one had you have scumbag lawyers and politicians on the other hand you have scumbag death merchants who make obsene profit from deadly and addicting products. And you say the only one being punished should be the government.

    Every body who made any money from a product that killed and tortured human beings (trust me cancer is worse then torture) are the true scumbags of the earth. they deserver whatever they got and much worse. Those billionaire CEOS are still living high on the hog and laughing at people like you who still defend them.

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

  • by inetd ( 21373 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:04AM (#818511)
    I know internally most financial companies have around 1200 applications in the windows environment. This number is pretty consistent within the top 50 financial companies. I would say about 70 percent of these applications are written in house. The number of these that are in use is significantly smaller. I'd say about 100 of them are actively used, but they all have to be working and installable because they are so specialized. I don't know any of the numbers for OTC apps but i'd say a good 20000 - 30000 of that 70k number are accounted for this way.
  • by ZoeSch ( 70624 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @12:55PM (#818512)
    Seems to me this "report" serves more to justify M$ inocence than to provide actual figures into how many apps are available. The problem with it is the way it presents the facts, stating that there are no entry barriers for other OSes, but it misses several important points.

    Drivers: Not an application per se but when you consider that in the Windows world most drivers come with tuning applications attached, whereas in the Alternative OS world if you have a binary driver you have to thank god six times in Swahili while you dance around a candle or something...
    Office Applications: Oh yeah, we've got StarOffice, Abi, KOffice and their ilk, but since M$ changes file formats every three days you're facing incompatible/unformatteable files.
    Vertical Applications: He's not going to find those on Amazon for sure but there are at least 70.000 custom vertical apps developed around the world. The cost of migrating those pieces of often klunky and badly documented code? Better not talk about it.
    Games: The turning point of the Windows world, right now Alternative OS users are for the better part left out in the cold, it's changing but slowly. And if I count the number of games released every month around the world for Windows PC's only (Including stuff like card and hunting cames) you have around 100 games out per month.
    Multimedia: Windows have at least 8 media players, 10 DVD players and at least 100 different media utilities not including music or specific software like codecs. Where are those for BeOS or OpenBSD?

    Only there in those categories, you've got a 50:1 relationship between Windows apps and other OS apps.

    He also talks about M$ not enforcing monopolistic pricing... WTF? does he at least compare prices in the Windows world?

    For Office 2000 Professional you pay $240, for Lotus SmartSuite Millenium you pay $89 for the same exact features (And no annoying talking clip), for Corel is around $120... so in average M$ charges 200% more than their competition, and why do they remain the first choice? FUD, strong arming of OEM's and a lock in file formats.

    And let's not talk about server software... sheesh...

    In the end what could've been an interesting report (Despite the pro M$ bias) ends up being a big FUD spitting piece. It might raise some interesting points like the real availability of shelf windows apps but the narrow minded view enforced by the author really kills all chances of enlightenment or at least food for thought.

  • Unions don't give money to the cato institute. That's why they don't like them. That and only rich people should have power.

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

  • You almost got it right, but descended into sarcasm and lost it at the last minute. "Socially responsible" products can be made anywhere, but should be sold for a price that is just enough to pay for parts, shipping, and a basic living wage for their maker. That's it. No added markup just because the person on the other end wants it badly enough, or the exchange rate favors the seller; no profit, just return on investment and time at the rate necessary to survive.

    Just think: If companies could not turn a profit, most every product they sell would be much, much cheaper. It would more than make up for the lack of six-figure salaries out there, and might even start to ease up the exploitation of the developing world by those nations that became industrial powerhouses long ago.

    It's funny to me that hardcore capitalists, who complain so often about others feeling entitled to welfare, unemployment, medicare, etc., bitch and moan when they don't feel they're getting the opportunity to turn a profit that they feel "entitled" to. Yes, of course you're better than everyone else because you drive a Beamer -- you've earned it, and everything else that you get because you live in a society that rewards greed more than compassion, and measures personal worth by personal wealth.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:05AM (#818525) Homepage Journal

    66,372 Applications which suck and never should have been marketed by anybody.

    1,654 Games.

    1,104 Applications which cling to life even as Microsoft threatens their very existence.

    795 Microsoft applications which have built in flight simulators which make install take up half of disk.

    47 Fun Games.

    36 Applications which actually perform some sort of work.

    1 Bug Free. (ain't tellin' which, neither! :)

    Vote [] Naked 2000

  • What question are we trying to answer?

    How many applications depend on Windows?
    How many applications run on Windows?
    How many applications Windows users can use?

    The first two are both mentioned in the Slashdot summary, but the three are largely unrelated. Consider programs that run on multiple platforms (via porting), consider Java, consider mainframe apps with customized (or telnet) front ends. I'm sure MS Marketing and MS Legal are both exploiting the vagueness of English to pull the wool over our eyes. Don't let's help them with misleading (and even contradictory!) news stories.
  • What about every version of every Windows program?

    We know, if they just counted programs from scratch, it would only be 1 program, Hello world from the sample, then everyone modified that.

    Would Microsoft say something that's not true? Naaahhhh. Say it ain't so!

  • Those guys scare me. A lot. Their analyses are just high-brow enough to make a lot of people take them as gospel, but there are logical holes a mile wide in many of them. I've heard many intelligent people argue in support of libertarianism, but seldom from this so-called "think tank". Look at the "evidence" cited in the article: Amazon only lists a little over 8,300 total productivity applications, for all platforms, so there must be way fewer total applications on Windows than that. Yeah, and since the local Circuit City has fewer than fifty models of computer to choose from, there must be no more than 40-45 total types of Windows-compatible machines in existence.

    The Cato Institute's analysts parrot the agenda of corporate America, trying to influence policy and legislation to benefit the wealthiest groups and individuals in the country. How they came to be considered authorities on anything and everything economic is beyond me.

  • Everyone manipulates figures for their own benefit. Microsoft just does it more then most.

    Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forfty percent of all people know that. []
  • I questioned your logic in suing the government. That's what you called for. I still question your logic in that.

    I have problems with making tobacco illegal. It's clearly as addicting as heroin and just as harmful. It's also the ultimate gateway drug.

    Raising the cost of cigarettes does harm Philip morris if it causes more people to quit.

    Unfortunately corporations can not be jailed. Even criminals get sued in civil court (O.J for example) and are made to pay outrageous amounts of money. Some even get aquitted of criminal charges and are found guilty in civil court. It's prefectly logical to treat corporations in the exact same way especially since they are rcognized as entities by the supreme court.

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

  • A longer life expectency does not translate to a happier life. I had a friend who languished for years wasting away from cancer (exposure to agent orange by the way). By no means was his extra three or four years happy for him or for his family. It's very easy to hook people into machines and pump them full of radiation and drugs just so their flash hangs around for a couple of extra years and then say "see we live longer". You say people in chains die well I have news for you everybody dies. Just because people in third world countries die a more natural death and are not made into zombies by modern medicine it does not mean they are not happy.

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

  • Here is a secret for you.

    For thousands of years the native americans of the north americas lived without industry, kings, barons, or even the wheel. They got married had children and died just like we do today. Some lived to be pretty old some dies younger just like we do today. Some got sick and died just like we do today. Most were probably just getting along doing what was expected of them by their society just like we do today. When it comes to it it really was not that much different.

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

  • First, America has not had a capitalist economy since at least the early 1900's. It's now a mixed economy - part capitalist, part socialist.

    Second, the countries that have the freest economies also have the highest life expectancies. This includes the U.S., which has the 4th freest economy in the world. Conversely, the countries with the least free economies have the lowest life expectancies. Coincidence? Nope. You see, free people live long and prosper. People in chains die.

  • Wrong. The fact is that they DID get the benefits. Therefore they are responsible for making certain concessions as the government deems necessary. Cato seems to think that the context around the issue is irrelevant and that the corp should be able to accept or reject any ISP that it wants. That simply isn't the case.

    I'm not saying that the cable companies should have received the benefits that they got, I'm saying that you can't ignore that fact and then expect there to be a level playing field when you turn the cable corp loose to do as it pleases. The market has already been screwed up. It won't fix itself anytime soon, if ever.

  • However it is that you get paid, somebody is paying the taxes on that cash somewhere along the way.

  • No, that's not what he's saying at all. He's saying that it's too broke to be fixed by repealing a few laws. Like it or not, those who have already gotten rich want to stay that way. Whether the law stays on their side or not, they've already got the power. Cable companies already have their networks thanks to the government. Are we gonna dig up their lines and dump them on their doorsteps? How will the playing field be leveled? The libertarian "invisible hand" theory requires a level playing field. We don't have that. To remove the regulations now would be like Putting the Green Bay Packers on one team and my neighborhood elementary school cheerleaders on another team and having them play football. It would be stupid, and most likely quite tragic.

  • You're the one clinging to myths. You hold the image of the teamsters up like some sort of epitome of union corruption, when you probably don't know jack about any of it.

    My father is in a metal workers union. It provided my health insurance when I was a child. It supported him and trained him at a time when the economy was shit and half the union was out of work. His company is not union controlled, but the company actually prefers union workers, because they are the most responsible and well trained.

    If the cognative dissonance is too much for you, think of a union as a firm that sells skilled labor, blue collar consulting, if you will. Like any accumulation of power, it can be abused and twist the market to its own purposes, as evidenced by the teamsters and others. But it is no different than the activities of a thousand coporations.
  • The antivirus software on my office PC protects against about 40000 viri...

    On my office Solaris box there is no antivirus S/W nor on my Linux box at home :-)
  • How the hell does he plan to do this stuff? You'd pretty much have to do it all at once really. You'll never get the copyright terms down to their original limits without getting congress to go for it, and there is virtually no support for such a thing there. He'd probably get assassinated for even suggesting the things you mention. Cato can try to badmouth regulations on the cable companies all it wants. But given the realities of the market as it exists today, and the history of how the cable companies came to their present state, the statements that Cato is making just makes them look like morons. They should start fixing the problems at the root, not with the leaves. Otherwise they will end up causing a lot more problems than they solve.

  • Too bad your karma notices that too, Zico...

    Really? Guess that's why I'm posting this one with a +1 bonus. Sure, it'll get (legitimately) moderated down, but Slashdot karma's not as important to me as it apparently is to you.

    Hint: More people will be able to see and/or appreciate your flame if you ever grow some balls and decide to not post as an AC with a starting score of 0. HTH, HAND.


  • ...doesn't Linux really depend on Windows? I mean, if there had already been a powerful, stable, open, commonly-used Unix-like system, I don't think that Linus would have had much impetus to do what he's done (not to mention the countless others).

    I'm aware that this dependency isn't the same kind of dependency that they're talking about, but it is something to keep in mind.

  • Holy crap! Look at that twisted report :)

    Well, I have just five words for this fellow: "greedy people make lousy networkers".

    Except maybe to other Randites ;)

  • This comment may be redundant by the time that you read it. If people read the the PDF, then you will understand where the 70,000 number comes up from.

    It comes from John Rose from Compaq who made the original claim that "approximately" 70,000 applications had been written for Windows, which was the "prime reason" that Compaq shipped PCs with Windows loaded.

    All of this M$ Software is not necessarily a shrink wrapped package, buyable off the shelf at any given time. It may be different versions (service packs) and my guess would include all the different utilities that you find on the CDs when you get software such as Exchange server which has utilities to low level MAPI login to the database to change, view and delete entries in the database.

    I would say the number of 70,000 probably came from something that John Rose got from within Microsoft itself, possibly a listing of all the different software releases from one of the source archives.

  • Windows does have some incredibly cool stuff written for it. But why does my winamp stutter if I'm downloading mail?? Sigh, stuck in a world where I can only play shockwave games in Windows and only play Dannivision with sound.


    P.S. Don't watch Dannivision with winamp on. There's all kinda higgledy-piggedly...
  • A few points here folks..

    1: Slight misquote of the original [], part 40.. Even if the contender attracted several thousand compatible applications, it would still look like a gamble from the consumer's perspective next to Windows, which supports over 70,000 applications.. Note use of the word OVER.. doesn't say how many more.
    2: Do 70,000 Computer Programs Depend on Windows or Fewer Than 10,000? .. I'd argue its fewer than 10000 the DEPEND on Windows. I read that as 'applications that couldn't be ported to something else'. Dependancy implies that it'd be impossible to get these applications running on anything else.. Well, there are Windows emulators of Linux, Mac and SGI that I know of.. With a lot of work it'd be possible to get stuff like DirectX emulated.. (Does Wine have DirectX support yet? Don't know, I don't use it) then we'd not really need a Microsoft product to run multimedia apps.. (Just a lot of cash to deal with the court case..)
    3: Not sure where msnomer got this from.. disputing the claim that there are 70,000 Microsoft applications.. I can believe there are less than 70000 MS applications.. written by MS.. I think its more of a misunderstanding there.

    Fact is, there are more than 70000 Windows applications.. but most of them don't depend on Windows, they simply run on it. Going on and on about there being lots of programs is a waste of time. Read the article, and the court statement that the article refers to, first, rather than leaping high onto the 'lets-bash-MS' bandwagon.. Onion
  • ...but how many of them are virii?


  • #include <stdio.h>

    int main()
    int i;
    for (i = 0; i < 70000; i++)
    printf("#include <stdio.h>\n\n");
    printf("int main()\n");
    printf(" printf(\"I'm unique program #%i\\n\");\n", i);
    printf(" return 0;\n");
    return 0;
  • by ChaoticCoyote ( 195677 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:14AM (#818587) Homepage
    Is an "application" defined as "MS Office" or "MS Word" or just any ol' executable?Does a complex DLL or COM component qualify as an "applicatiom?" What about a VBScript to manipulate an Access database?

    I suspect Microsoft's "70,000" can easily be justified or villified, based on your definition of application.

    It's all a matter of complexity and perspective. Like most things in life.

    I tend to think of an "application" as a collection of programs and libraries that work together in to provide a solution. I wrote a specialized encryption program today, in a few hundred lines of console-based Visual C++; I don't consider this to be an application. In the last decade, I've created a couple of hundred Windows-based EXE/DLL/OCX files, but I've written perhaps a dozen "applications."

    Considering the number of people who code for Windows, however, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are 70,000 (or more) pieces of executable code for it. Hell, my Windows NT 4.0SP6 box has 3500 EXEs and DLLs alone, and I'm sure that doesn't even scratch the surface...

  • The number of applications doesn't matter much when it comes to barriers to entry. What matters is the nature and use of the applications.

    Microsoft has some very "sticky" software, including Microsoft Office, financial software, custom developed software, proprietary codecs, and proprietary device drivers. The cost for any customer to switch away from those to a competing product is prohibitive, both in terms of disruption of business processes, retraining, and replacement. With that kind of cost structure, Microsoft could afford to be much worse or much more expensive than anybody else and people still wouldn't switch.

    In fact, that's what you see: StarOffice, Lotus, and other packages are quite usable and essentially free, yet people stick with Microsoft office.

  • Everyone is forgetting about enterprise applications. You ever wonder why Visual Basic is so popular? It's not because of milling swarms of newbies who are afraid of C. It's because countless corporations use Visual Basic to write custom internal applications. Most of these end up being form-based database front ends with snippets of more traditional code here and there, but they're still programs, and they are heavily relied upon. If you still don't understand, I'm talking about utilities for managing intranets, internal database front ends, phone list managers, employee time trackers, programs for collecting and processing sales data, and so on. This is a big part of the programming world, which is why "enterprise computing" is such a buzzword. Several times I've seen statistics claims that several times more new programs are written for internal corporate use than for the shrinkwrap market. (Microsoft also claims that over 50% of all new programs are written in Visual Basic for the same reason, if you want to believe them.)
  • The way I read what he said was that the lack of affordable Unix systems, combined with Microsoft's shittiness, lead to Linux starting Linux. Here's a quote from Linus which seems to explain it:

    It kind of evolved through luck and happenstance into an OS, simply because there was very much a void where there wasn't much choice for someone like me. I couldn't afford some of the commercial OSes and I didn't want to run DOS or Windows -- I don't even know, did Windows really exist then? source []

    The same page talks about how delays to BSD gave Linux early momentum. I think you could throw in there Microsoft's and IBM's inablility to ship a consumer 386-based OS in the late 80s as something that generally ticked PC users off. And UNIX solutions (from say SCO) were ungodly expensive for an individual.

    I think it's fair to say that if someone was selling a 386-based UNIX for $100 in 1990, Linus at least wouldn't have invented Linux. FreeBSD would still be around though.
  • Kind of a silly attack...

    It isn't an attack on the Cato institute. It is a bit of context, in order to provide people with a sense of Cato's political and social agenda. This is valuable information if one is to read the report and weigh its value appropriately.

    The Cato Institute is a very conservative, libertarian thinktank of sorts. They have some interesting ideas and arguments, and a lot with which I take personal issue (and disagree). Nevertheless I have a copy of the constitution in my home, published by the Cato Institute (and given to me by a friend who is running for congress on the Libertarian ticket).

    I am not a supporter or opponent of Cato, although I think it fair to say I disagree with them more than I agree with them.

    My point? It is important to know the agenda and slant behind the argument, whether it is my slant with respect to Cato (noted above), or Cato's slant with respect to Microsoft.

    The Cato Institute opposes anti-trust law in general and the DOJ trial against Microsoft in particular. This is relevant information, when one is reading an allegedly unbiased report aimed at the Findings of Fact and Law in the DOJ trial.

    To describe a post pointing these biases out as an "attack on Cato" is IMHO very erroneous.
  • Either way the number is totally off. 70,000 for the number of Microsoft applications is way too high, while 70,000 for total applications created ever seems way too low.

    And how are they classifying "application"? I write a quick utility, it runs, I put it on the internet. Bam, "application". Are we talking applications sold commercially (even still, the number sounds too low).

  • 52,000 in total

    Where's the other 18,000?

    It took me fifteen minutes to find those 52,000 programs.

    I find it highly likely that if casual information gathering can find that many in fifteen minutes, that full fledged research would turn up a considerably larger number.

    I'd also wager that vertical Windows apps alone number higher than 70k. For example, at the company I'm onsight at, we have more than twenty different vertical apps with Windows only clients that we sell to clients plus an in-house time reporting system based on Windows and an in-house project management system based on Windows. I'm sure that there is more that I am not aware since I'm just a grunt programmer.

    How many large IT companies that produce vertical apps are there? I'd wager the number is at least in the tens of thousands.

  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:19AM (#818609)
    I think a metric like app count is a bit ridiculous.

    voila (stick it in a file like "" and run with "perl"):
    #create 100,000 C++ applications, each of which
    #sums a different number of integer inputs
    #you can test them with something like:
    #"yes 1 | add100000"

    `mkdir manyapps`;
    for($i=0; $i<100000; $i++){
    open CURFILE, ">manyapps/temp.cpp";
    print CURFILE<<'END';
    #include <iostream.h>

    int main(){
    long sum=0;
    for(unsigned long i=0; i<
    print CURFILE "$num; i++)\{\n";
    print CURFILE<<'END';
    long addthis;
    return 1;
    close CURFILE;
    print "g++ -o manyapps/add$num manyapps/temp.cpp\n";
    `g++ -o manyapps/add$num manyapps/temp.cpp`;

    #end of Perl code

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:19AM (#818611) Journal
    The thing about this 70,000 application number is it's totally meaningless unless you know how they define an application.

    As other posters have said, "Is the hello world program an application"?

    The number also depends on what you count. If you look at in-house applications as well as anything sold in the shops, or on internet sites as freeware/shareware, then 70,000 might be incredibly low. There may in fact be hundreds of thousands of applications if you include everything.

    If you include only shrink-wrap boxes on shelves, and only add one per app (not per version of the app), you're probably talking a few thousand.

    What's my point? The thing is - few people in the general populace have any skepticism any more. People just lap up the tabloid journalism that Fox News at Nine pump out every evening, being wowed by the sensationalism then believe it without question. This means the kind of spin such as "70,000 applications" works with the general population because they don't even think to question it.

    And this lack of skepticism is why Microsoft's marketing is so successful. Most of the population aren't people any more, they are sheeple who blindly follow the marketing man.

  • me: Market-share does not define a monopoly in the "new economy"

    phutureboy: This actually is a good point..

    A new definition of the term 'monopoly' due to the 'new' economy may be a good point, but in a report that, as one of its main points, condemns Judge Jackson's legal reasoning as being innovative and not being on solid ground because it has no legal precedent, it is somewhat hypocritical to then introduce an innovative new definition for monopoly that has no legal precedent.

  • 2 different issues actually. I like my job, I just do not like the tools that I am reqired to use right now, i.e., I do not have a "windows" job I am a Logistician. As stated, I am planning to change that.

    An issue related to your statement, is that using and running Linux at home does not carry much weight in job world. Several places have called me for Linux jobs, because it is on resume, but insist on candidates having used it at their "regular job".

    Visit DC2600 []
  • Democrat-Farm-Labor

    Don't ask me why.

  • Reading the article makes me suspicious. If it's true that:

    A) Microsoft knowingly lied in 1997 about the number of applications written for Windows.
    B) Microsoft saw that the large number of reported applications was going to cause the judge to move toward a break-up.
    C) Microsoft didn't correct the mistake.
    D) Microsoft continues to validate it's false claim...

    Doesn't this look like a classic case of a criminal that wants to be caught?

    I'm not surprized that they continue to deny the truth. Every one of you knows as well as I do that as long as the general public hears "70,000 applications!", they'll believe it. Of course Microsoft wants to appear to have bukoos of applications for it's OS. Of course it doesn't want the public to know that their inflated number "counts programs written for all available operating systems, including Red Hat Linux, IBM OS/2, and Apple Mac, as well as Microsoft Windows" and that "many of the software programs are also listed several times in the various subcategories".

    At some point, Microsoft just wants this whole thing to be over, too. Like anyone that's done anything deviant in secret, sometimes you are ready to even face the consequences, as long as the situation just comes to an end.


  • Come on now, with all the variants of all the branches of all the OSS programs out there, don't you think we could come up with a similar number? 70,000? That's not that big.

    Shoot, I bet there are at least that many text editors. :)
  • by pjdoland ( 99640 ) <pjdoland&pjdoland,com> on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:35AM (#818634) Homepage
    I'm the Cato Institute's webmaster (as well as a Slashdot reader). I convinced the people upstairs to let me post the report a early because of Slashdot. It's at I hope this will clear up some questions.
  • You've also got to think about the definition of "application". Does this mean "mature, commercial applications"? Or does it mean "The programmer trainee's VB blackjack program that doesn't let you double down"?

    If any program written in a language with libraries that only support Windows, like QuickBasic 4.5, is an application, then I would estimate that there are at least a million applications out there that depend on Windows. I've written at least 500 of them.

    Also, if the program compiles, but segfaults when you run it, does that count as an application? Because if it does, I've written all 70,000 myself.
  • (since that's what is running on my work system).

    $ ls -1 /usr/bin /usr/bin/X11 /sbin /usr/sbin 2>/dev/null | wc -l

    And most of these are STANDARD with Tru64 Unix... that is, I didn't include /usr/local/bin, /freeware/bin, etc. (since I didn't want to include GNU duplicates of existing Unix programs, which would probably be all right, though).

    This includes Netscape (comes standard with Tru64), but not Apache, MySQL, Oracle, Informix, and all those other programs that people with Alpha systems tend to run.

    Admittedly, this is just a frozen point in time; with each release, there are some utilities that are obsoleted, and new utilities added.

    But the point can be made that any Unix system would have a similar number of standard utilities as well, especially if you include X11, etc.

    Of course, this doesn't include vertical applications (banking software, instrumentation programs, chemical analysis programs), games -- although /usr/bin/X11 probably has a few -- and all those other things I can find on Freshmeat that usually build on my platform.

    Maybe the author was counting the number of brain cells in his head... [smile]

    (Oh yeah... how many times have CS newbies written "Hello, world!" programs????)
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:26AM (#818653)

    I don't understand why this is news on slashdot. You are disputing the number? Are you seriously that out of touch with the marketplace?

    70,000 sounds quite low actually. That must be commercial apps, not all the custom in-house stuff companies write.

    When you consider there is something like 5 million registered users of Visual Studio...

  • by Enoch Root ( 57473 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:28AM (#818662)
    Write a post containing at least two of the following:

    That number is way too high

    That number is way too low

    Are they counting all the virii/Hello Worlds/shareware programs/versions of Windows?

    Kato is on crack

    I coded more applications on my weekend

    Linux r00lz

    Any obligatory joke about Micro$oft

    You're welcome.

  • by InitZero ( 14837 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:52AM (#818676) Homepage

    That question and those like it can never really be answered honestly because no one will ever define what gets counted.

    Does that junker up on blocks behind your neighbor's house count? Maybe. What about that 1948 Ford that's rusting in the creak down near the mill? Probably not.

    When it comes to cars, I'd say the right count would be the number of registered automobiles.

    With applications, I think the count would be the number of products on the shelf plus those actively supported by in-house staffs.

    I can't say that 70,000 sounds all that unreasonable. There are hundreds of thousands of companies in the United States alone. If just a quarter of that number wrote one application, you could easily hit 70,000. Add to that all your shrinkwrap commercial products and shareware and you've got far more than 70,000.

    Heck, looking at all the legacy crap I've got to support, built by employees who have long since moved on to bigger and better things and I can come up with almost that many applications at my company alone.


  • by GlenRaphael ( 8539 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @10:54AM (#818692) Homepage
    70,000 figure might actually represent the number of applications that have been written during the entire history of the personal computer industry.

    We should probably wait to see the actual Cato study before lambasting Mr. MacKenzie too much based on what a New York Times reporter heard. But I agree that sentence sounds ridiculous unless he's using the word "application" in some highly restrictive sense. Look at the big shareware repositories. [] has "over 300,000 shareware and freeware programs"; [] has "over 250,000 shareware files". Unfortunately those services don't return more than 500 results per query, but that would be a good place to start. Removing duplicates from a service of this sort would get you a list of applications that run on relatively recent hardware and were popular enough to be worth indexing, but it'd still be a small fraction of applications ever written because it wouldn't include most commercial apps, any apps for defunct platforms like the Commodore 64, apps written in-house, and apps that are or were only available in more limited distribution..

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."