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Microsoft Threatens Oracle Over Benchmarks 206

n8willis writes "ZDnet is reporting that Microsoft is now threatening to sue Larry Ellison if he doesn't stop saying that Microsoft SQL Server only performs well on benchmarks, not real apps. The meaty part of this story is MS's claim that Ellison's comments violate the SQL Server license agreement, which requires permission before publishing any benchmarks. A dubious term to begin with, if you ask me, but in this case, Ellison is demonstrating the software head-to-head in his speeches, not publishing anything." Frankly, I don't care about it being Microsoft or not - any company deciding that any like this is proprietary is ridiculous. I mean, if I wanted to publish database results, does this mean I can't write a report about it?
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Microsoft Threatens Oracle Over Benchmarks

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  • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:17AM (#670537)
    > This is typical of the Slashdot mentality

    What mentality exactly are you talking about? The idea that after I've read a book and people ask me how I liked it, I shouldn't be able to share that opinion? Or the idea that car magazine journalists test driving a new car shouldn't be allowed to publish its top speed or any possible shortcomings? Unless you've been living under a rock sheltered by warmth and humidity, you would know that it's far from only the Slashdot community that is dissatisfied with the state of EULAs today, and that Microsoft in particular takes all kinds of liberties with them. By saying that if you don't agree with the EULA you shouldn't use the software you are trivializing the matter beyond any reasonable discussion.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do you think Microsoft would react this way if Oracle did not have a point? If their product was faster for real-life uses, they'd definitely be demonstrating in the same way. The benchmarks are in need of a serious overhaul, anyway. All anyone does now is tune and design the physical layout just for a particular benchmark -- in MS's case they created many, many small partitions of data on brand new 15,000 rpm compaq drives. Throw in 192 CPUs... It still bareley beat DB2 which ran on an older box. Very, very few applications are designed, or could be designed, to take advantage of how they tuned sql server for the tpc benchmark. DB2 and Oracle still pound sql server for performance and reliability in the real world.
  • For those that do not know, Consumer reports [] is a non profit organization that compares products. They have nothing to do with software specifically, but that is my point.
  • Note that Oracle has EXACTLY THE SAME CLAUSE in their EULA as MS.

    The last thing you want is your competitor publishing benchmarks on your software.

    The reason for this is obvious. It's just too easy to cook database benchmarks to favor whatever you want to favor.

    So only the TCP (a neutral third party) is allowed to publish them.

    I'll bet that this is completely enforceable. ESPCIALLY when the person you are trying to enforce it on is a competitor who has the same clause in their EULA.


  • Isn't it REASONABLE for them to tell Larry not to publish benchmarks of their software?

    It's not like they are sending Cease and Desist letters to a neutral 3rd party...


  • The circumstances are dubious indeed, but that doesn't change the basic nature of the transaction. The agreement could just as easily be put on the outside, or signed in the store if you'd prefer. I'd certainly be in favor of open EULA's, and in fact I could imagine somebody (got webspace?) setting up a EULA bank, where agreements could be reviewed and compared, but I don't think it wouldn't change anything very much.

    INAL, but no, not all contracts are explicit and signed. I order a meal in a restaurant and it's mutually understood that I'll be responsible for the bill before I leave. My guess is that the software industry will assert that the same general knowledge applies, that professionals at least (and SQL Server isn't a consumer product) have been familiar with agreements like this for years.

    There are parts of the whole thing which are a bit smelly, it's true, but some of those are simply defensive. Read the tiny print on a box of film, for instance -- Kodak is not responsible for the value of your pictures of Elvis smoking crack with Jimi Hendrix and two aliens, and if their film fails they will refund or replace the film and only the film, just as Oracle will replace your media but not your company if their database fails you. If you want to run your life support system on OS/2, I'm guessing that IBM will in no way accept responsibility for your demise, and I don't imagine that Dell or Compaq will either. Record companies don't warrant that the album will be good, only that it will play.

    On the other side of the street, is Linux warranted for any particular purpose? Is Linus going to lose his shirt the first time somebody gets hurt? (I speak hypothetically here -- I'm sure somebody's already been hurt as a result of some sort of failure -- it's almost inevitable in an imperfect world.)

    AFAIK you can sell the media if you'd like -- just obliterate the contents first.

  • > to prevent unscrupulous people from skewing the data.

    And what is to prevent the vendor from being the unscrupulous one?
  • It is interesting to note that the EULA for Windows says nothing of the sort.

    If MS really is the great satan, AND they
    have a durable monopoly, why don't they?


  • The best part of that benchmark was that is was later revealed on one of the Postgres mailing lists that the two "unknown" databases in the benchmark were Proprietary 8.1.5 and the other one "preferred to run on Windows"....

    hmm...what might those be?

  • This kind of reminds me of the AD&D campaign world Planescape and the Blood War. Essentially, all the creatures of Baator (the Lawful Evil outer plane) and the Abyss (the Chaotic Evil outer plane) are in an eternal war with each other. No one from any other plane wants either party to win, because once one of them does, there's nothing to hold them in check anymore, and who knows who they'll go after next? I'm not saying either company is evil (I'm sure there's enough people here to give opinions on that), but do we want either one to win?
  • I think this headline really misses the point of what Microsoft is trying to do. They're just defending their product against unfair claims and trying to find a legal way to do it. I don't think it's the best way, but I do think it is pretty unfair for Oracle to insinuate that SQL Server is optimized for benchmarks and then to show off examples that are optimized for Oracle. Oracle is just slandering Microsoft because Ellison has an inferiority complex and Bill is too nerdy to know how to fight back.
  • All "winning" combinations from MS are achieved in a farm of clustered servers; Oracle on Sun is on one BIG box.

    These results are incomparable, since you can't always use a cluster, especially transparently for the application.

    There are 2 primary types of database applications: OLTP and Data Warehousing.
    OLTP can be used on cluster only if the application is explicitely written for it.

  • > Upon entering the premises, representatives of our company may help themselves...
    > ...That's pretty much the only way they could be bigger bastards.

    I disagree.

    .... and if there shall be an individual there-upon whom we ascertain to be of beauty or grace or strength or ruggedness, we may upon our discretion partake of carnal acts, whether the individual is of high morals or not, whether the individual is agreeable or not. Amen.

  • Let's make Ricky Martin the referee who gets the crap beaten out of him, just like they do in WWF.

  • Everyone knows Ellison shoots his mouth off -- a lot.

    Larry Ellison Exercises Jerk Options []


  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:19AM (#670556)
    The conflict between Oracle and Microsoft on the topic of database performance has been extremely nasty of late. Essentially, Oracle was taken entirely by surprise when some respected tests revealed that SQL2000 on Win2k beats the pants of Sun/Oracle peformance.

    You can see the benchmarks here: TPC tests []

    The margin by which Oracle is beaten must be pretty humiliating when they are competing for the same account. Oracle and Sun have attempted all sorts of dirty tricks to disqualify the results, and TPC even removed them at one point, but MS has always fixed the technicality and pumped out even higher results at even lower prices.

    Hence Oracle's recent market promise that if they can't triple your speed they will give you a million dollars. Some of us inside have joked about setting up a really badass SQL service and getting that million as a stunt :-)

    At any rate, I am not surprised that the two companies eventually are coming to slights and legal maneuvering. Oracle knows quite well that they are one of the companies Microsoft has marked as "Make irrelevant in five years" and they really don't want to go the way of Lotus, Corel, etc.

    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:20AM (#670558) Homepage Journal
    Two companies with the most disgusting EULAs on the planet attacking each other. No matter which one comes out on top, humanity wins. Kind of like a fight to the death between the Spice Girls and Hanson. I like it.
  • by omarius ( 52253 ) <> on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:20AM (#670559) Homepage Journal
    86.v.(2): The user of this software Shall, upon acceptance of this license (i.e., through usage of this software), be heretofore bound to release the parentship and legal guardianhood of their first born child;

    86.v.(3): In the event that the user of this software has no progeny, through adoption or sanguine procreation, the user shall complete their responsibility outlined in this agreement upon such time as they are able to procure the aforementioned child;

  • by HiyaPower ( 131263 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:21AM (#670562)
    A EULA with this sort of verbage in it would stand no chance in court of being upheld. It is very similar to the sale of a book with the provision that it not be placed in a library. Coming at a time when the entire M$ anti-trust thing is coming up for review, it smacks of stupidity/ego on the part of someone at M$, rather than merit.
  • by Kryptonomic ( 161792 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:22AM (#670563) Homepage
    How do you suppose the free market system is supposed to work with laws like DMCA and UCITA around?

    One of the conditions for a healthy free market is that the consumers can freely choose between competing products. How is that possible if corporations are able to prevent the publication of less flattering reviews of their products or test the products themselves (which could be made impossible by the UCITA backed shrink-wraps)?

  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:22AM (#670565) Homepage Journal
    I make a car. The fuel tank explodes at 46 miles per hour. However, there is a licence in the glove compartment (which you agree to by buying the car) that says I am not liable for any damage caused by driving at 46mph, nor may you tell anyone that your car exploded. If someone else sees your car exploding, and writes about it, that's a violation of your licence, too.

    It is your job to reassemble the car, but I can recommend some extremely expensive mechanics who just happen to work for me.


    Yes, the licence is odious. But the product is also inferior. I'm not voting for Nader, but this falls under the "keep it legal to embarass big companies" umbrella.

  • The games developer Apogee (a.k.a. 3DRealms) even added a clause to its license agreement earlier this year that prevented negative reviews of its product!

    This got me thinking. What if I never bought the software or even use it, but entered the house of someone who does use the software. You know, people have friends and like to show stuff off. What if I think that game Apogee made sucked, or if I saw my friend getting half the performance off Oracle than mysql? Could I start shooting off my mouth, or would I be gagged just by entering his private residence?

    I do ask a lot of questions when seeing a demo of something I have never seen before. So would just being in the presense of a friend's computer bind me to top security? Do these software licenses require ISO procedures for security guards and access to the perimeters? Could they do any of this legally?

    I think its real neat software companies have this sense of power. Too bad I don't share their views. My experience has shown not too many other people respect their values either. Enter the world of "piracy" as they call it. No, not following the letter of a license is not raping and pillaging their employees. Its this kind of arrogance that has turned me away completely from commercial software, supporting their business model, and has me backing freely licensed software.
  • Note that Oracle has EXACTLY THE SAME CLAUSE in their EULA as MS.

    Which is meaningless in court when someone makes a "public policy" arguement. I'm not saying Ellison isn't a wanker and hypocrite, I'm saying that *I* don't think that a EULA clause that gags basic performance reporting can be enforced.

    The last thing you want is your competitor publishing benchmarks on your software.

    Only an idiot would TRUST a competitor's benchmarks (or Ellison's dog-and-pony show). The REASON such a EULA clause is likely against public policy is that it gags any independent parties that don't toe a manufacturer's line (and lets them optimize for a chosen set of benchmarks, rather than the benchmarks of everybody).

    The reason for this is obvious. It's just too easy to cook database benchmarks to favor whatever you want to favor.

    You're right, it's obvious. That's why no one will trust an Oracle bench of MS or an MS bench of Oracle, or a GM review of Ford or a Ford review of GM, or Pepsi survey on Coke. It's obvious. What the EULA clause does is allow a company to (try to) control the press they get and limit it to tame third parties. If the auto industry could EULA out Consumer Reports, they would. They can't and MS and Oracle shouldn't be able to gag everybody either, IMHO.

    I'll bet that this is completely enforceable. ESPCIALLY when the person you are trying to enforce it on is a competitor who has the same clause in their EULA.

    Again, in a "public policy" argument, that won't hold water, 'cause

    • everybody gets treated the same in those arguments,
    • it's taken as a given that a competitor who can benefit from winning such an argument is going to carry it forward in a lawsuit
    "Public policy" doesn't change depending on the party to the lawsuit, and if a clause is against "public policy" it doesn't matter who's paying for (or benefiting from) the legal work that produces such a decision, in fact, it's a positive that somebody with a vested interest is making the fight, rather having the government decide what's worth fighting for or waiting for some small-fry to risk everything "on principle".
  • Seriously, you don't even have to know they tell you this, they can publish it on a website that you're supposed to check (yeah, right) and it's enforceable.

    Aren't you glad you're not voting? See what happens when you decide to not hold your legislators' feet to the fire? [note - I'm not talking about the State Rep from Redmond, Laura Ruderman, she actually is part of why UCITA didn't pass in Washington State, plus she's cute]

  • "When they don't he whines about how it's real-world experience which show them as being better."

    I've never known Ellison to push benchmark results. When did you hear him doing this? Certainly the topic of this story is a situation where he specifically does a demo INSTEAD of citing benchmarks....

    "This fucked up company is also purposefully crippling their database as a server platform with WinNT/2k clients"

    Um... as I understand it, they drew the line at using MS' API. They refused to do what everyone else does: code to undocumented calls so that MS can break their software every service-pack. I have a hard time calling this "crippling".

  • Read the details. You have to buy the hardware and software recommended by Oracle. In addition, you have to let Oracle Consultants tune it for up to 90 days. The cost of just that runs easily into the millions of dollars.

    In addition, if Oracle were to fail and your website didn't run 3 times as fast, they would pay you the million dollars but you wouldn't be able to tell anyone about it. That's right, the only stories you will ever hear are about sites which get the improvement. The contract specifically requires that any site which wins the million dollars can't talk about it.
  • by Toddarooski ( 12363 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @08:24AM (#670576)
    Everyone knows Ellison shoots his mouth off -- a lot. On the other hand, personally, I have more respect for the guy with cojones than whiny Bill threatening to sue.
    Unless, of course some other company shows their database performs faster than Oracle's. Then watch Oracle whine... []

  • If benchmarks are intellectual property, does this mean that anything the software is even vaugely related to auctomatically becomes Microsoft intellectual property as well? is this reply MS-IP because i mention SQL server? How about the system that the Database is running on, does that become intellectual property too? To paraphrase fletch "It's all intellectual property these days"

  • Oh yea another insightful post. Man the doerators are on crack or something.

    Perhaps you could explain how the pricing is weird? I found it's very logical and cheap! Unlimited users if you pay per Mhz! Two year licences are dirt cheap weather you pay per user or per Mhz. If you went with an MS license you would have to pay per user AND per CPU for internet connections AND a per user for the NT license. Combine this with the fact that MS stops supporting older products thereby forcing you to upgrade every two years anyway oracle comes out much cheaper.

    Oh yea DB/2 is cheaper still.
    Postgres, interbase, SAPdb are all robust, proven, feature rich, and are FREE! All of these databases will meet the needs of the 90% of businesses in the world and they don't cost jack squat. According to SAP 800 companies are running R/3 on SAPDB. That's a mission critical, enterprise level, 24X7 app we are talking about here.

    In two years all databases will be free including oracle and mssql mark my words.

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

  • It's UCITA, not UTICA.

    Judges have some ability to strike sections from license agreements that are unfair, illegal or not in the public interest. You can't just put arbitrary things in a contract or license and expect the courts to enforce them.

    The problem is that companies will knowingly put unenforceable terms in licenses and contracts for their intimidation value.

  • If you're in a position to convince your management that Microsoft is not the best solution out there. Here's a sample line of FUD to get you started;

    "As demonstrated by this latest action, Microsoft clearly demonstrates that they hafve something to hide. If you go with Microsoft products and at some point in the future would like to point out shortcomings or your dissatisfaction with some product, don't be surprised to learn that you cannot share this information with anyone outside your organization."

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • Whenever I suggest a article with a bad Linux or Transmeta benchmark, Slashdot doesn't post it.
  • by zdavek ( 75457 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:08AM (#670584)
    Not allow benchmarks to be published without permission seems to be the standard for the database companies. I know Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, and Informix all do this.
  • While we all agree to hate Microsoft collectively, Ellison is nothing but a Gates wanna-be. If anything, he's a much bigger egomaniac than Gates ever had the personality to be, topped maybe only by Scott McNealy or Steve Jobs. So maybe we should just include him on our list of daily hate prayers.
  • that was recently recalled, although in europe this is still seen as 'Not done'

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:24AM (#670588)
    Ellison pushes benchmarks when they show Oracle is faster.

    When they don't he whines about how it's real-world experience which show them as being better. How does this sound when ebay has been having severe database problems for the last month?

    This fucked up company is also purposefully crippling their database as a server platform with WinNT/2k clients because of their hatred of Microsoft.

    Then in light of the weird new pricing strategy, what are customers supposed to do? It's a lot easier to switch out a backend database than it is clients, especially if new database software costs a tenth as much.

    Oh yeah, isn't it about time for the yearly "We will bury Seibel" announcement?

    Larry Ellison needs a boot to the head.
  • Oracle, Informix are this way as well. Microsoft didn't start this stupid trend, but I dont know why the continue it. One thing im sure everyone knows is people pay a lot of money on a per user basis for a good fast database. over 1,000 per user per server easy. Not only that but Oracle loves some of its new pricing schemes, not only is it per processor, but they calc a rating on the machines cpu power total, and charge a price based on that. Anyways the only way these companies will get more money, is if people keep believing in some mystical way they are the fastest with out any hard proof. Unfortantly there is no real way to see which one is fastest unless you buy each database yourself and run some benchmarks. We still dont have an open source database that can even get close to the speed of Oracle, Informix or MS SQL Server. It will be very cool when that is no longer true.
  • ...then all the hardware review sites wouldn't legally be able to post timedemo results as benchmarks. Granted, right now Q3 is THE OpenGL benchmark to look for, as it's pretty much the one with the most strenuous rendering scenarios. Also, keep in mind that NVidia optimized the Detonator 3 primarily so that Q3 wouldn't slow down under a high-sprite situation (gibbing 3 bodies at once with the railgun and watching the cloud of blood in the air!).

    Fortunately, Id isn't as protective of their "intellectual property" as Microsoft is. They did provide the source to qagame so that modmakers could exploit the entire code. Meanwhile, even attempting to start a Windows programming project requires you to plunk down hundreds, and even thousands of dollars to Microsoft just to fund their cause.

  • ... with a shitload of experience (including tuning Oracle statements to be blazingly fast), I can tell you EXACTLY why Oracle, MS et cetera prohibit publishing any benchmarks.

    Any database has an incredibly complex program in the heart of it - SQL parser/optimizer that decides how each statement is executed. Select an inefficient plan, and you're toast. The plan depends not only on the statement, but also on the server parameters, current load, database setup and DBA policies (such as analyzing tables' and indexes' contents). I've had situations when statements running minutes on test server were taking hours when released to production (fixed by adding "hints", that force the optimizer to execute it the way I want it to). Database SQL Optimizer might be more complex and sophisticated than an underlying operating system.

    Since my experience includes not only Oracle but some other SQL databases, I can say that different databases optimize some statements differently. There are many ways to do the same things in SQL. Good example will be Oracle with EXISTS construct more efficient than the IN one (you can usually code the same statement using either).

    Thus, comparing different databases on the same SQL code MIGHT become a comparison of apples and oranges. If you take a code, optimized for Oracle (even if it is completely standards-based) and run it on Informix or DB2, you might get results that are inadequate thus "proving" that Oracle is better.

    TPC is supposed to be a database-independent performance test, but in reality it's obsolete and allows database vendors to optimize their databases heavily to run just this test.

    Another thing, all of the top results are not comparable either (even farther than apples and oranges, it becomes a comparison of an elephant (Oracle on Starfire) versus bunch of ants (SQL Server on cluster)). These configurations are for different tasks and can't be compared directly.
  • by Loge ( 83167 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:34AM (#670605)
    When you buy software, you are actually purchasing a license to use to the software, and vendors routinely insert clauses in their license agreements that help them meet their goals in the marketplace.

    For example, Netscape prohibits publishing benchmarks in the license agreement [] for its Client software. The games developer Apogee [] (a.k.a. 3DRealms) even added a clause to its license agreement earlier this year that prevented negative reviews [] of its product! So Microsoft is really not acting unusually harsh in this regard.
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:36AM (#670608)

    Well, see, the problem is that the Oracle EULA contains the same provisions that Microsoft is accusing Oracle of violating. Now, Microsoft could retaliate and do the same thing that Oracle is doing, but that would be illegal according to Oracle's EULA. Instead of taking the approach that most Slashdotters would take to resolve something like this (which would be to go ahead and respond in kind, thinking that "it's okay to break the law, Oracle did it first!"), Microsoft's going through the courts. People here might think that two wrongs make a right, but that's pretty shaky law.


  • Stuff like this is the real danger of UCITA -- it would put a chill on any real criticism of published software. You want to say something bad about Microsoft SQL Server? You have to get Microsoft's permission first (which, of course, they won't give you). IF you say it anyway, they slap you with a law suit.

    UCITA == adios, First Amendment.
  • by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:38AM (#670610) Homepage
    The EULA for most hardware CAD design software (titles like PowerPCB & Orcad) reads (in summary) like this:

    -You can't use this software in any manner designed for figuring out how fast it is.

    -You can't benchmark this software. You can't publish benchmarks of this software. You can't sell it to someone who will publish benchmarks. You don't own the software, but if it's stolen, and someone makes benchmarks with your copy, you're liable.

    -By agreeing to this license, you agree that
    -We may inspect your premises with a software agent team at any time, 24/7/365. If you are not there to assist us with entering your premises, we may let ourselves in.
    -We may recall your license electronically at any time, for any reason.

    ... i could go on but my fingers hurt.

    Software that sells for 100k a copy doesn't mess around with wimpy licenses like the one at issue.

    The real problem is the UCITA.
  • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @04:58PM (#670612)

    Not allow benchmarks to be published without permission seems to be the standard for the database companies. I know Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, and Informix all do this.

    Not true for DB2 from IBM. Okay - so I work on DB2 for IBM Canada but I would be seriously worried if we prohibited people from running, testing and comparing our software against the competition. Oracle's license makes a nonsense of the already restrictive license agreements that most commercial software comes with. But ask yourself this - why would a software company not want you to run benchmarks on their software?


    Toby Haynes

  • Are TPC benchmarks useful? Really when you think about it it's more a benchmark of how well the clustering and hardware performed during the test. The top spot which Microsoft holds on a Compaq machine is a 192 processor Xeon cluster with a huge number of dual processor clients etc.

    These benchmarks are useful - they give the performance teams at IBM something to aim at and keep us on our toes in development :-)

    On a more serious note, they give you a good idea of how these databases scale when you are talking about SMP/MPP systems. Oracle suffers in large clusters of machines because they have a shared disk array system, so there is always an overhead keeping all the parts of the cluster in sync. Both DB2 UDB and SQL Server have a shared nothing architecture, which means you have to carry copies of certain data structures around the network, but you only take it where it's needed. This wins when you get to 8 or more nodes in a cluster and gets better as you add more. Having said that, it's interesting to compare that SQL Server TPCC benchmark done on a 192 processor cluster scoring aroudn 520000 transactions against the 128 processor DB2 UDB benchmark (same CPU type) scoring 440000. Take your pick as to which is the faster database (hint DB2 UDB scales nearly linearly as you add cluster nodes).

    Not that I like a bit of shameless self promotion ;-)


    Toby Haynes

  • I think your argument is pure and utter BS.

    Contracts made under duress are void, as a matter of law. This means a gun, a threat, a bomb strapped to someones chest, a knife, etc.

    The courts have not recognized a right to utilize computer software, and therefore, any use of a computer product is therefore, by defintion, voluntary. You are not co-ereced in any way to use a computer, and therefore cannot be forced to use a by-product of computer.

    Now sure, if you use a computer, and if you use an x86 platform, and if you choose to go mainstream, then Windows is your choice. But feature for feature, task for task, I think its clear that a free non-MS alternative exists for almost every case. Now, it may not be as easy, or as complete, or as stable (or instable), but alternatives exist. Slashdots users, in general, know that OSS and free sofware is a viable option.

  • Umm...

    SQL Server has a very low market share compared to Oracle. So how can you say that this is an attempt at holding and withholding marketshare from Oracle?

  • This could provide a watermark for challenging EULAs. After all, publishing your own benchmark is akin to "fair use" of copyrighted materials. It is truly remarkable that companies like M$ and Oracle place draconian restrictions in their EULAs that prohibit things that are ABSOLUTELY guaranteed to someone under copyright law, such as prohibitions on reverse engineering and fair use commentary in the form of published benchmarks.

    Myriam Miedzian, who has published a book on boys and violence, recently wrote a column in the Baltimore Sun in which she reported that as a kid George W. Bush used to kill frogs by putting firecrackers into them, tossing them in the air, and watching them blow up.
  • Ahh! But is showing a live demonstration the same thing as 'publishing benchmarks?'.. I don't think so. It's simply a public viewing of reality.
  • I'm a professional DBA. I've administered Oracle, Sybase, and Microsoft databases. I wouldn't trust anything important to MS-SQL. A big part of the total cost of ownership (TCO) is administrative overhead. Sybase is the big winner here - it's much easier to administer than Oracle (*shudder*). MS-SQL falls somewhere inbetween the two, but suffers from typical microsoftisms such as having to do obscure registry tweaks and incompatable dll's/ocx's. The only way MS-SQL is remotely reliable is if you put it on a virgin NT box (base OS + service packs). If you start installing other MS crap on the machine, kiss your reliability goodbye.

    BTW, MS-SQL was originally a port of Sybase; but MS forked the code around version 4.x and the quality has been going steadily downhill ever since. Sybase managed to screw up pretty badly with version 10, but their 11.x and 12.0 versions are highly impressive.

  • "Because you don't like MS's EULA for SQL Server, you should not buy it. If you agree with the EULA, go ahead and buy it"

    In the USofA, this issue has been fought out three times: in the 1930's, 1950's, and 1980's, each time involving Consumer Reports magazine and their right to publish reviews of products sold on the open market. IRRC Consumer Reports essentially tied in the 1930 case and won the 1950 and 1980 cases. The basic issue being: do consumers give up all 1st Amendment rights when they participate in a business transaction? And the answer, at least as of 1988 or so, being NO. But we all know that these things can change, and I guess that since we are on Internet time we couldn't wait until 2010 to go through this process again.

    [Note: I am not a big fan of CR in general, so don't flame me for their sins, but in this case I think they are absolutely right].

  • I don't understand why this isn't a free speech issue. If this was a government entity, not only would WE be all over them, but three or four watchdog groups and probably a fair portion of the population.

    This isn't the only place this is happening. I'm hearing about legal cases where people aren't allowed to say anything to others about their own case. I don't know about you, but this is FAR more worrisome to me than web censorship on public machines. Somehow, contract and other branches of the law are overriding people's right to free speech.

    I'm not sure where to draw the line. There's times when voluntarily agreeing not to speeak up about something is probably good. NDAs, for example. But perhaps the time is coming when we're going to need something besides the first ammendment to protect free speech. Congress might not be able to make any law prohibiting free speech, but corporations can sure draw up contracts and suits that are doing the job.
  • by drivers ( 45076 )
    Remember kids, all this BS was made possible when a judge decided that loading a program from disk to memory was also considered "copying."
  • The term is UCITA.

    Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act.

    Learn it, know it, conquer it.

  • *BOOT*

    You are lucky Larry Ellison, few novices experience so much Tae Kwan Leep so soon.


  • The bottom line is that if you don't agree with the licence terms, then you don't have to use the software.

    That's right because, as we all know, when you sit down at the bargaining table with Oracle or Microsoft, you negotiate as equals. No imbalance of power here; no sir, no way.

    As the creator of the intellectual property it is your privilege to apply whatever conditions on its use that you see fit.

    This is news to me. I see a lot of stuff in the copyright statutes about distributing copies and derivative works, but no mention of conditions on use. In fact, when other industries, say the publishing industry, for instance, have tried to put conditions on the sale of things like books (e.g. minimum retail price, prohibiting resale), they have gotten slapped down.

    Even the software industry doesn't have the chutzpah to claim that these license terms can be justified under copyright law. Instead, they try to rationalize them as "voluntary" contracts. However, the law does, as others have pointed out, recognize the concept of "unconscionable" (and therefore unenforcable) contract terms. Do these terms qualify legally as unconscionable? It's hard to say; nobody knows for sure until you fight it out in court. I think it's rather telling, however, that for all their sabre rattling, software companies always seem to keep these matters out of court. I think it's equally telling that they feel they need to get special law passed to legitimate their license agreements.

    In this respect, Microsoft is being no more evil than rms.

    Well, except for the minor detail that the GPL places restrictions only on copying the software, while the commercial guys put restrictions on using it and (even more offensively) talking about using it. With as many times as this difference has been pointed out on slashdot, I'm amazed that anyone who has been reading for any length of time can remain ignorant of it.


  • Its not as if either party is on the right side of this issue. Sometime ago I was evaluating different database systems for a project. Postgres had a nice page benchmarking it against various other sytems. They had comparisons with Mysql, Primebase, Openbase and several others. What they did not have was comparisons against Oracle or Microsoft's server. They stated right on the page that the licensing agreement of both companies forbids publishing of benchmarks. What we have here is two repressive giant corporations trying strangle each other to death. In course of their battles they're stepping on a whole lot of little people. Meanwhile, I'm still wondering if this provision would infact stand up in court. In no other industry are their licensing agreements that forbid the independent testing of one product against another and publishing the results. If there were, Car and Driver and other such magazines would've been out of business a long time ago. Not to mention Consumer Reports. The question I would have for a judge is "What makes software different?" Actually, that's something I would have to ask on many different issues. What makes software different than other tools and devices we purchase in the real world?

  • It's a pity that Ellison is merely demonstrating, rather than actually publishing, the relative performances.

    That means they could defend a suit by claiming they weren't in violation, rather than having to claim the clause is unenforcable.

    Of course that's to be expected - since they had such a clause before Microsoft.

    Which brings up a question: Microsoft apparently put the clause in in reaction to Oracle's using it. Perhaps they'll sue in order to break such clauses themselves.

    Granted their current product's performance has sloth in places that allows Oracle to come up with a benchmark that makes them look bad relative to Oracle. But benchmark hacking is a well-known art. So even if Microsoft IS generally slower they can no doubt come up with benchmarks that make them look better - or buy experts to modify their products until they ARE faster. And they can afford a lot more advertising. So it may still be in their interest to kill such clauses.
  • "I mean, if I wanted to publish database results, does this mean I can't write a report about it?"

    No, you can't write a report about it. As others have noted, Oracle has this condition in its licence too.

    The bottom line is that if you don't agree with the licence terms, then you don't have to use the software. As the creator of the intellectual property it is your privilege to apply whatever conditions on its use that you see fit. This applies equally to free and commercial software

    In this respect, Microsoft is being no more evil than rms.
  • "The winner would emerge stronger than either, and free from doubt."

    -- Gandalf the Gray

  • Are TPC benchmarks useful? Really when you think about it it's more a benchmark of how well the clustering and hardware performed during the test. The top spot which Microsoft holds on a Compaq machine is a 192 processor Xeon cluster with a huge number of dual processor clients etc.

    How usefull is this data in the real world where I don't have $10million to waste? Great when the newest processor comes out I'll run the TPC test and I'll have the top spot till someone on a totally different platform with totally different hardware does the same thing. Great very useful for me.

    75% of all statistics are made up on the spot! :}

  • Has Ellison explicitely signed the EULA with Microsoft? Does he explicitly talk about benchmarks made without permission from Microsoft? Is not he expressing his opinion and the opinion of his company? Hey Redmond? Where is that 1st Amendement that lays in the Constitution of the country you reside? Maybe, inside a company it may not work, but this is public speech!

    Besides why are you always doing things upside down? Where is the written license for Win98 on IBM comps? Russian Law demands it. So what should I do with those CD's that came with these computers? Why you violate the law by stating on your User's Guide:

    "No part of this document can be reproduced or transferred in no form and no means, no matter electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, record on magnetic carrier, if there is not written permission from Microsoft"

    This is a part of User's Guide for Win98. I'm citing. Do you read? CITING! And on Russian Law I have the DAMN right to do it!

    Do you know what this stuff reminds of? Scientologists. Microsoft seems to be turning into another high-tech church.
  • The DMCA makes unauthorized reviews illegal. Unlike an EULA, it is legally enforcable in your country. If you don't like it Larry, then either take it like a man or donate some of that hard earned cash towards the EFF.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just a short AC post here.

    It isn't very real-world meaningful at all, and it's far from the most important factor. Everyone likes to brag about their performance benchmarking, as if speed is really the hardest factor to get, or the most important one. No-- with any database, the most important factor is reliability. It needs to be stable, and it needs to work on every single transaction. This benchmark doesn't do a thing to test that, because it's almost impossible for any benchmark to test real-world stability (and really, for that matter, performance)-- you just tweak your software until it kicks ass on the benchmark, and release it. Who cares how it actually works?

    Quick real-world example from the company I work at: MS SQL server was failing on a significant portion of database operations. We spent a long time tracking down the bug, and worked with MS for quite some time on it. They finally said, "oh, that! Right, that's a known issue. To fix it, you have to upgrade to the next version of MS SQL Server". Of course, there's a huge known issue list for the next version as well-- and you fix those by upgrading to the next version. By contrast, Oracle threw a ton of people our way after we decided to switch, actually fixed the bugs that were found, and it's quite stable now. Yes, it costs more. I don't even know if it's faster or slower, because we don't care. It's a million times better than MS SQL Server, because it actually works.

    Despite how it may have come off, this was not intended to be a rip on MS, but rather on benchmarketing. It's possible some day that Oracle will be unstable, and have lousy support; and that MS will be stable with good support. But the benchmark won't indicate any of that.
  • Not like people haven't built systems to score high in benchmarks before. Revealing this nefarious tactic is what Freedom of The Press is all about, particulary in spirit. Larry's got Bill's buds on this one.

  • by EFGearman ( 245715 ) <> on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:08AM (#670672)
    Obviously, I'm half-joking here. Only half, as if it does state in the license agreement that you have to have permission to publish benchmarks, then they really have no choice but to sue. They will lose, as the article indicates that Ellison is _not_ publishing his results, merely demonstrating them. Others are publishing reports about his (Ellison's) demonstrations. I don't fault Ellison for making his remarks. He is the head of a rival company. I just hope MS does sue. They need to lose another case.

    Eric Gearman
  • Oracle has the same rules. They prohibit the publication of benchmarks of their database too. I'm guessing it's for that reason that they're trying to circumvent microsoft's restriction without out and out breaking it. I've seldom seen a more odious term in a EULA.
  • AFAIK the clause about benchmarks isn't valid in europe. this clause would put too much restrictions on consumer organisations.

  • by Schapht ( 84396 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:09AM (#670679) Homepage
    Does this strike anyone else as just plain dumb? I mean it's like a small child going to mommy cause the bully told the whole class he picks his nose. IMHO Microsoft should worry less about who's saying what about what, and worry more about actually making a decent product that would stand up in these demonstrations.
  • Believe me, sound crews pick on guitarists all the time for stuff like that(*) :) We also tend to pick on drummers a lot for being generally deaf...

    As for geeks with good lighting, if someone buys me stage lights I'll happily light design my office :) Some of those LED ones with the 16 million colors would be nice. Verilites or Intelibeams would also work quite well.....

    (*)The sound crew I was on in college used to have an old rack-mount disco ball controller with a lot of knobs with labels on them of different instruments. When someone would ask us to turn up a given instrument, we'd adjust the knob and people would go away. Of course, it wasn't hooked up to anything :)

    Anyway, we now return you to your regular Microsoft flamage.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hereby proclaim that Microsoft may not say anything bad about Linux unless they have the express permission of Linus Torvalds.
  • "Let the market decide" sounds to me as if the market needs the ability to choose, and the information to properly make that choice. That way, superior products and producers are rewarded, and inferior ones punished, to the Darwinian limit if necessary.

    It's pretty clear that Microsoft (and others, as well) attempts to limit both information and choice.

    How the heck can ANYONE from the commercial software side call the utterly ruthless Darwinian meritocracy of Linux/Open Source, "Communism"?
  • Oracle is great for scalability and reliability. However it's a bitch to administer and will turn around and bite your ass if you make the smallest mistake. Sybase has equivilent scalability and reliability and is much more administrator-friendly. DBA isn't a job for the timid or stupid - regardless of the platform you need to have a high level of technical competance. Managing a large Sybase installation can be done by a single DBA; in my experience, the equivilent Oracle installation would require 2 or 3 people.
  • Pit them against each other on Celebrity Deathmatch. The card would read: Larry "Shogun" Ellison vs. Bill "BSOD" Gates

    If it's been done before, I'd like to see the vidcaps.

  • does mySQL even handle transactions yet?

    mySQL is free, and you get what you pay for.
  • "If I were allowed by company xyz to tell you that their product sucks I would, but since I am not allowed, I won't tell you that is sucks"
  • by Masem ( 1171 )
    If UTICA gets passed as it is in all 50 states, weird statements like this in software license will actually be enforcable. More to the point, a company could say that you could not discuss any negative points of it's software anywhere, and you'd be held truly liable, at least until UTICA is deemed unconsistitional.

    We already know that a company can write a license that is *signed* by both parties that limits free speech in exchange for products/services (in the forms of NDAs). When UTICA passes, it then allows those click-thrus to be just an enforcable too, so by clicking through an install you could forfeit your rights on that piece of software forever.

    I'm hoping Orcale stays on the ball and defends this all the way in court; a software license cannot trump 1st Amendment rights.

  • Disclaimer: I know nothing about DB's more complex than an Excel worksheet. But...

    In a speech at OpenWorld, Ellison offered $10 million to anyone who could get any application to run on Microsoft's TPC-C clustered-database configuration that the Transaction Processing Council awarded its top TPC-C price/performance ranking.

    To me that suggests that this benchmark is even less real-world meaningful than the Photoshop filters Apple keeps trotting out to demonstrate that a G4 is twice as fast as a Pentium of the same speed. Anyone knowledgeable want to comment?

  • by studerby ( 160802 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @07:39AM (#670703)
    The meaty part of this story is MS's claim that Ellison's comments violate the SQL Server license agreement, which requires permission before publishing any benchmarks. A dubious term to begin with, if you ask me,...

    If you ask me too. There's a general principle in contract law (and a license agreement is a form of contract), that terms of a contract that are "unconscionable" will not be enforced by a court of law. This principle is broad and poorly defined, but is totally up to the courts in their discretion to decide, which means you have to have the resources to fight it out in court. I imagine Ellison just might be able to...

    Most "unconscionable" contract terms are economically unfair, often because of severe inequity between the 2 contracting parties. However another common reason for finding a contract term to be "unconscionable" is that it is "against public policy". Many states have laws that prohibit contracts that force their residents to litigate in other states or using other state's laws, calling such terms "against public policy". A more detailed discussion (written for New York State lawyers) is here [].

    I think a contract term that prohibits someone from disclosing "trade secrets" is certainly enforceable. For a product that has very limited distribution, a "gag" clause that attempts to prohibit the transfer of technical information to a potential competitor is probably enforcerceable in most forms. However, in this case, any and every serious competitor has a copy of the product or can easily obtain one, and the "benchmark gag" is designed to allow Microsoft to control information available to potential customers on a critical purchase point - how well the product works. If MS changed the clause to require that the benchmark conditions be fully and fairly disclosed, that would probably be enforceable.

  • by Plugh ( 27537 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @07:41AM (#670706) Homepage
    The reasoning behind it is that the testing is to be performed under VERY precisely defined & controlled conditions, to prevent unscrupulous people from skewing the data.

    In light of the Mindcraft debacle, most slashdotters should be able to at least understand the motivation involved, if not the practice itself.

    Imagine using two computers for a database benchmark, but using a *slightly* different model hard drive in one (from the very same drive vendor, even) but with a 10% slower seek time. You better bet that benchmark will be skewed, and it would be HIGHLY unlikely anyone would catch it.

    Everyone knows Ellison shoots his mouth off -- a lot. On the other hand, personally, I have more respect for the guy with cojones than whiny Bill threatening to sue.

    God, threatening to sue. Pathetic. That's a sure indicator, Bill's panicking.

    Anyway, I work for Oracle but don't speak for them, etc.

  • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @07:43AM (#670707) Journal
    Forget standard for the industry, its more a matter of standard for any 'Contract Negotiation'. Standard policy in ANY industry is to put anything you think you can get away with in a contract, and then leave it to the other guys lawyers to object. You might get lucky. In the case where sections of the contract are just plain Null and Void, there are usually also clauses that say that the validity of any one section of the contract shall have no bearing on the remainder of the contract.

    Basically they try to get away with whatever they can until someone tries to catch them on it.

    In the case of a Real-Estate lease, or a negotiation for Buisness services this is standard practice, or a contract with your Wedding Photographer.

    In the case of Consumer software, where we don't get to see the contract until we've given them our money, where we don't usually have a lawyer handy to review each and every Contract we get, and most importantly, where we have no ability to negotiate the contract at all (basically 'take it or leave it') this is unfair and is likely to become even more scary if the UCITA gets passed.
  • by Sir.Cracked ( 140212 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:11AM (#670708) Homepage
    Just because it's in the EULA dosn't mean that that's how it is. A software company I used to work for had a EULA on the software disk that one or two of the more "creative" types changed to
    "Surrender your first born child."
    The EULA that installed was the normal one, and almost no one but folk in the company noticed. But if someone had tried to enforce it, they would have been laughed out of court. The pranksters in question surrended their employment for this little caper.
  • Isn't publishing benchmarks of something covered under fair use? I mean if you go to a restaurant, can someone tell you that you can't let anyone out there know how good the food is? No. Benchmarks for a DB server are excatly the same thing. I don't see how a lisence agreement like this can stand up in court. Then again, IANAL...
  • He'll state MS's benchmarks then downplay them as invalid and turn around and tout his benchmarks. Thats rediculous and just silly. This whole database war is ugly and I don't particularly care about it but Oracle is playing just as dirty if not more so than MS. I really hate their stupid 96% of fortunes e50 run oracle or whatever that commercial says. Who cares? Thats like saying 96% of fortunes e50 run notepad. That doesn't make notepad any better than anything else, just that its being used somewhere in that company. Uggh ... i think i've seen enough MS bashing for one day, then this comes along. Thanks /.

  • So, to summarise, you're happy for IP-holders to add conditions on use that you approve of.

    Are you even listening? I'm happy for copyright holders to add whatever conditions they like on distributing copies of their software because that's what copyright is all about. I object to copyright holders placing restrictions on use, resale, or any other of the things not traditionally covered by copyright because the law doesn't give them that right.

    Microsoft and Oracle say you can't benchmark their software.

    Nothing in copyright law gives them this right. If a book publisher tried to say you couldn't publish a review of their book, they would get laughed out of court. Why are Microsoft and Oracle above the law?

    GNU say that you can't withold the source-code or stop people copying your code.

    They say nothing of the sort. Look at the GPL again. Read it this time. They say that if you want to distribute copies of software covered by the GPL, then you must distribute source code. If you do not wish to distribute copies of the software, then you can do whatever you want. In particular, if you just want to use the software, you can do so on whatever terms you want.

    As far as stopping people copying your code, you have every right to do that, and nothing in the GPL changes that. The GPL does say that if you create a derivative of a GPL program, *and* you decide to distribute copies of it, then the derivative work must be covered by the GPL. Note, however, that under copyright law you have no right at all to distribute a derivative work. The GPL extends to you a right not otherwise given to you under the law, but it does so at a price; you have to give away the changes you've made. Note also that Microsoft claims that you do not have the right to create a derivative work at all, *even* if you do not distribute it, which again seems to me to fall outside the purview of copyright law.

    That's really the crux of the difference here. One group (GPL, BSD, et al.) gives you rights that the law says they don't have to give you. The other group (Microsoft, Oracle, et al.) tries to claim for itself rights not granted to it by the law. That is the all-important distinction, and ignoring it is just plain disingenuous.


  • Databases are really complex beasts... You can't just take an untuned database (installed out of the box) and expect to get the best performance you can. And it's doubtful that Oracle would spend much time tuning a SQL Server installation when the goal is for the Oracle database to win.

    It'd be akin to Microsoft bringing out two sealed white boxes and saying "One run windows.One runs Linux. Notice how windows is 1000% faster at typcial tasks when compared to linx?" without mentioning or letting it be known that the windows install is running on a 1 GHz Pentium III with 128 megs of ram, a gigabit ethernet card and a RAID 0 array of 4 internal disks, whereas the linux box is a Pentium 60, with 16 megs of ram, 10 megabit ethernet, and a 600 megabyte IDE drive.

    Both of those computers would look identical from the outside.

    For a lot of benchmarks, more independant organizations should be created and funded by all the companies who wish to have their products benchmarked, with permission given to publish their findings however they see fit. Any other benchmark, really, is suspect. As is any system installed for the express purpose of showing how slow a given piece of software is.
  • I see no reason to limit this restrictive concept to software. If we can apply it there, it is only fair to apply it to any manufactured product.

    Non profit organizations like Consumer Reports (among others) better fight this one.
  • I would guess that Larry Elison will not fight this. As everyone else has mentioned, most of the larger database companies have this provision in their EULA, Oracle being no exception. If Larry fights and wins, well he hasn't done his company any big favors, as now he will have also invalidated his own companies ban as well. I would guess he would be quiet now, as he has made his point, the press has noticed, and he doesn't have to say anything more to keep this story alive. The last thing he probably wants is to have that clause of EULA's tested.

    Then again, IANAL and maybe Larry Elison doesn't care.
  • Larry Ellison now tries to do 'open benchmarking' when it is to his advantage. He is famous for filing suit against his own customers for doing exactly what he now wants to do; I.E. publish comparitive benchmarks without asking permission.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    If ever there was a reason to not use either product, this is it. I've not included Oracle in several projects because of this behavior. I figure the $150k Larry didn't get doesn't matter to him but does help the competition. I guess now I need to avoid MS SQL too.

    Companies that hide behind 'you don't know enough to benchmark our product' need to slither back into the slime whence they came.

  • But don't you think that this is interfeering with my ability to choose the right product for my application?

    If MS (or anyone) doesn't let anything negative be said about their product, you're not getting the full picture.

    Next time you read a review of a car, imagine if they were only allowed to say things that the car manufacturer approved. Every car would come across as a Rolls Royce or BMW. You wouldn't be able to decide till you bought one, and even then you wouldn't be able to tell your friends how it preforms.
  • When you buy software, the software companies want you to believe that you are actually buying a license to use the software.

    People just seem to take their word for it.

    Until UCITA passes in my state, I will continue to act under the assumption that I pay money for a box with a disc in it, and that I have a common law right to use it for its intended purpose so long as I don't break any applicable laws, such as copyright. Since I have to copy it to my hard drive, and then into memory in order to use it for the purpose for which its sold, I conclude I have the right to do so.

    Beyond that, if they want to impose additional terms, they should have negotiated a contract with me before they let me buy it.
  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @10:22AM (#670726) Homepage
    I love the part about letting themselves into your office. They should add some fine print underneath saying:

    Upon entering the premises, representatives of our company may help themselves to a Mountain Dew from your fridge. Even if there is only one left, we may still take it. If we take the last one and there is a full case sitting next to the fridge, our representatives are not responsible for putting it into the fridge to get cold.

    That's pretty much the only way they could be bigger bastards.

  • I'm assuming that you're talking if the truck up-turned it's load onto the highway, thus damaging you or your car. In this case, that's neglicence on the truck driver's fault, and you could sue.

    On the other hand, if a rock is bumped off the truck due to poor roads or shocks or whatever, and dings your windshield as you tailgated the truck, you don't have a strong case - there's traffic safety issues, and the fact that the truck has posted cautionary signs reduces their liability. Now if the load was improperly secured (maybe the truck could have been covered?) as determined by applicable law, then you have a case, but otherwise, you're SOLed.

    At least in this case, the 'contract' is more solid than those offered by software companies. Even in cases where the company knew that the software would crash and cause damage and did not take sufficient steps to fix that problem, (analogous to the truck dumping the rocks on you), they have been able to avoid all liability. "We are not responsible to any damage that our program may cause".

  • An interesting story from 1997.

    Lotus finds that Microsoft is touting a ridiculous benchmark study that shows Exchange a gazillion times faster than Domino in serving POP mail. Of course, methodology is bunk -- never mind the fact that no one would ever use these products in these configurations for these purposes. But headline says, simply, "Exchange a gazillion times faster than Domino." Lotus plays the cease-and-desist game, gets the claims modified and clarified but desired pain is inflicted.

    Lotus marketing looks into the issue and discovers that its EULA does not prohibit this behavior. Everyone else's EULA does. Lotus changes EULA.

    Chalk one up for the bad guys. We'd all like to live in a world without locks and alarms, but it ain't practical.

  • Yes. He is.
    See: =15924 []...

    (Granted, it's gonna be a bit biased coming from, but hey... whatcha donna go?)

  • How do you suppose the free market system is supposed to work with laws like DMCA and UCITA around?

    Can anyone tell me (being a simple minded European), if might-be US president Bush Jr. really wants a free market and not too much government interference with the economy, does that also mean he will fight these laws?

    Obviously these laws do have a large impact, no?

  • I have no idea why, and frankly it sucks. It's also Oracle, IBM, Informix, and the entire DB gang.
    Infoworld did an artical on this few years ago, and then they invited everyone to bring in their DB and choice of hardware. IBM brought in an AS/400 box, MS with NT, and so forth. Dang, only if I could find the artical...
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Friday October 27, 2000 @06:16AM (#670739) Homepage
    I'd really like to see that one go to court, it's a great example of how out of control license agreements are getting. Ever read any? In the MS Office 2000 agreement, it basically states that if your business should fail due to a bug or flaw in the software, Microsoft isn't liable. Or America Online "Your sole remedy of any dispute with AOL is the immediate cancellation of your account," I got confirmation from AOL on that one, it basically means that you can't sue them, unless you can catch them in a breach of contract. I say all of this because as many would agree, license agreements are getting out of hand, many times when you break the seal on a CD case, it says that by breaking the seal you agree to the enclosed agreement ... the one that you can't read until after you break the seal. How soon until we will be giving up our first born to these agreements? Also, with that MS one from office, wouldn't that be something like General Motor's selling a call with a license agreement that says "If at any time this vehicle should suddenly explode for no apparent reason, GM is not responsible." Yea, right, Ford in being sued over their explorer and Firestone about their tires, such a thing would never hold up in court, and I for one think it's time for someone to challenge some of the ridiculous license agreements out there. Lets see GM tell Consumer Reports that they don't want CS crashing cars and telling people how they fair.
  • Look, it's larry that's being a jerk. He can't take it that Microsoft owns all the top benchmarks set up by and independent (truly) testing organization that's been around a while. And if you look at the bang for buck figures, it's not even close. all TEN of the top ten are SQL server (some version) see the results yourself [] As for an app demonstration, I can write an app that will run faster with (piece of crap) microsoft Access than Microsoft SQL server.
  • Because you don't like MS's EULA for SQL Server, you should not buy it. If you agree with the EULA, go ahead and buy it. Larry is just weasel anyway, so why should there be any defence for him and his corporate thugs? That's not a good argument. (about the EULA, not about Larry being a weasel, that i cannot comment on) The whole principle is that you should not be forced into ridiculous lisencing terms by a large organisation with a substantial market share. Imagine they put something ludicrous like that into the windows EULA:

    "You cannot write about your Operating system crashing without prior expressed permission from Microsoft"

    And then they'd say if you don't like it -- don't use it. Linux aside, Windows has the majority of the desktop market share, and such logic will leave little choice to most of the people using PCs at home.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.