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Hailstorm: Open Web Services Controlled by Microsoft 124

richard writes: "Clay Shirky has an interesting article on Hailstorm on OpenP2P.com. He looks especially at how MS mixes decentralization with strong control of third party development and user data. Think of it as an authentication-centric, rather than hardware-centric system." A very nice analysis, neatly mapping out Microsoft's plans and how they intend to control the system. Well worth the read.
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Hailstorm: Open Web Services Controlled by Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does it? No. I don't think so.

    The scariest part though, is that it WILL work. And it WILL happen. You can count on it.
    People will get used to the idea, and then get used to it once it actually starts being used. They won't think anything of it.

    It really is pretty scary how easily people will go for it.
    All because it's convenient, and it works.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    HTTP is actually a pretty crappy protocol. The only reason it succeeded is because it was dirt simple and was open.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Same old joke (which is largely out of date anyway, rehashed ad infinitum. Youa are not funny You are not relevant STFU
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So the Bush kids are just like every other college student in the country. Shock. Horror.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seems like Microsoft is just begging us to knock that chip off their shoulder... Anyway, here's my favorite quote about Hailstorm so far, from someone who ought to know:

    On the feedback form [Microsoft] asked what they could do to make HailStorm more successful. I said "Lighten up on the World Domination thing."
    -- Dave Winer
    Anonymous cowards are not sucking up.
  • As long as you have to use SOAP, you are tied to COM or very COM-like model, so in the end you will have to use COM even if your application's processing model has nothing to do with it. The only platform where people ever bothered to create something large over COM is Windows, so in the end most of things will only work more or less well on Windows, or on some very close "emulation".

    But another problem is, SOAP's flaws aren't limited to poor design that it brings with COM -- in itself it's a very limited RPC-ish model that is now tolerated in "web applications" only because most of them are obscenely primitive (yes, including Slashdot posting system). No objects replication between applications. No infrastructure to handle inheritance. No asynchronous transfer of data. So in the end we have a multiplication of two flaws -- and being tied to proprietary platform is merely a cherry on the top of the icing on the top of the cake.

    The truth is, the current level of technology isn't high enough to produce an infrastructure to handle network-transparent objects even in half-usable manner. Any attempt to "standardize" them now is just as stupid as if a bunch of people in 17th century managed to get a hold of some pieces of nuclear physics knowledge and tried to make a nuclear power plant by attempting to extract and purify uranium from granite in distilling apparatus in their laboratory, and if anything came out of that, piling the blocks of uranium into a coal mine between rocks and flooding it with water. Sure, one can describe a theory that rocks will slow down neutrons, coal will reflect them back into "reactor", water will get heated and boiled, and steam will be used to power a windmill-like turbine. One can even make a primitive safety system that will dump coal into a mine if reaction will get out of hand, etc. It is however obvious that most likely 17th century laboratory will not produce anything suitable for fission, but if (a very, very big if) by any chance it will, and if they will be presistent to make enough of it, the result would certainly cause not-so-local peasants to develop a very creative folklore that would revolve around some very interesting kinds of witches and demons. And it would be "not-so-local peasants" because local peasants would be evaporated along with "nuclear alchemists".

    What brings up a thing that, I think, Microsoft and SOAP/XML/.NET/... "enthusiasts" fail to understand -- the devil is in the details.

  • Nope. Generation of code in runtime is an unrelated thing, brought under (very wide) .NET umbrella, however regular COM components are supposed to be used in .NET with its interface, and SOAP (and other things included in ".NET") design is specifically made to be tied to COM design. Microsoft can claim that it's a replacement and not extension, however it is merely a play of words. If something will be really replaced, it's DCOM, but DCOM is nothing but an earlier, pretty much unsuccessful, attempt of RPC-ish wrapper to COM.
  • God, I wish...

    But they made the jump from 8 to 16 to 32 relatively easily, and with technically superior competition above them at every step of the way.

    They'll make the jump to 64-bit.

    Does this mean we're fucked? Hardly, it just means that we actively work to get around them, rather than relying on the architechure change to do it for us.

    Biometrics are scary, they make people nervous. No one wants a retial scan to read their email. We just need to make sure that we build and support open components for competing implementations and services. If anything saves us, it'll be that. The open standard almost always wins, because the

    Don Negro

  • oops, multitasking failure...

    - because the economics of competition are so powerful.

    Don Negro

  • Microsoft is in the business of building infrastructure. That's their business... They should be booed?

    And if Microsoft's "business" was burning down houses and breaking kneecaps for the mob, I suppose that would be all right too.

    Microsoft is trying to make the biggest land grab in history with it's .Net program, with the eventual goal of making sure that all transactions flow through them. This doesn't make them evil, but it does mean that it puts them at odds with nearly the rest of the industry, and with computer users in general. If the Hailstorm platform was open it would be a huge benefit to computer users. They would have all of the same benefits as a Microsoft controlled Hailstorm, but the competition would guarantee that the service would be price competitive, and that customer service was timely. With Microsoft controlling Hailstorm you are stuck with the level of service that Microsoft provides, and you will pay the price that Microsoft feels is appropriate.

    That's certainly an interesting view of the history of the web. Maybe it took off because infrastructure companies like Microsoft, Sun, and Netscape did their jobs well.

    That's an interesting take. Of course, it doesn't account for the fact that Apache is far and away the leading web server, and that Linux runs on more web servers than anything else. It's hard to blame the infrastructure companies for the success of these critical software components. It also doesn't explain why Microsoft's proprietary service never took off.

    The difference between the Internet and the hosts of (sometimes superior) proprietary technologies that it has left in the dust is the open nature of the Internet protocols. Anyone could join in the fun without paying a big fee or signing an NDA, and because of this we have a wide array of interoperable software from which to build solutions and a common set of protocols for getting disparate systems to communicate.

    Microsoft and most of the commercial software houses were busy building competing networks chuck full of their own proprietary software. But these proprietary works simply couldn't compete with the Internet. They were more expensive, and were limited to smaller audiences. The Internet lowered the requirements for entry (you needed a web browser), and allowed everyone to communicate. Despite differences in hardware and software and service provider everyone was playing on the same field.

  • Locking out that 10% makes perfect business sense as you reach a point of diminishing returns on the effort required to land them as customers.

    Business is a free-for-all grabfest. Consider a child's party with a pinata. When the pinata breaks and the candy lands in a pile (the 90%) and some scatters everywhere (the 10%), the children all dive for the middle where the big pile is. Only after the big pile is nearly all gone (the density of what is left begins to approach the density of the 10%) do the children look up and start to hunt for the remaining 10%. They also don't know how much of the hard-to-get 10% (or 8%) they will have accumulated by the time the other kids begin to compete for it as well.

    Any child that tries to divide its attention equally between the 90% and the 10% will end up with less due to the wasted effort involved in traveling between the two areas.

    A gambling child might choose to chase the 10% from the beginning (i.e., try to operate in a niche market) hoping that the 10% will be more than the percentage they might have gotten from the big pile while competing head-to-head with everyone else but that is a real risk because the child doesn't know ahead of time if the 10% isn't perhaps really 8%.

    There is even more importance in chasing the easy 90% in business because there isn't just one pinata and whoever gets the most of the first pinata will get the most of the second, and third, and so one. By getting there "firstest with the mostest" you become the de facto market leader/standard. Anyone who tries to get into selling books online today will find that the easy 90% is gone (mostly to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders) and that the best they can do is try to pick up the 10% that might be left but now the others can afford to turn their attention to the untapped market and, if any market of significance is left, they will pursue that with their huge resources.

    Business people use careful research to study how markets operate and how to best perform in markets. The Boston Consulting Group came up with a widely accepted portfolio matrix which says that if you are on the downhill slope if you are any smaller than your largest competitor. In this case the best you can hope for is that you are in a market that is growing and more than 10% in which case you have a "Problem Child" product. If the market is growing at less than 10% you have a "Dog" product and you should go do something else.

    Techies have a tendency to think business people (suits) are morons. I have been guilty of this myself. However, the objective of business is profit and by that measure suits beat techies with ease. While someone like Bill Gates may have some techie in him, his real strength is as a suit.

    Assuming a techie wants profits, by considering suits to be morons, he is underestimating his "enemy" which is one of the surest paths to defeat. Business today is a science in that theories are formulated, experiments are done, observations are made, data is collected and analyzed, and then the theories are modified as needed.

    There is a discussion of the BCG matrix here [marketingteacher.com].

    OpenSourcerers [opensourcerers.com]
  • I think of this as directly analagous to the DNS system. Once upon a time, NSI owned the identity information for all top-level domains under .com, .net, .org, .edu, etc. They were forced to share the registration privileges over these domains with other registrars in a competitive framework. Hailstorm type services need EXACTLY the same approach, where a user's identity could be a token like <xpp:id ref="jonabbey@burrow.org" reg="soap://microsoft.com/user/registry"> to indicate a user registered at microsoft, where another, equally valid identity token could be <xpp:id ref="jonabbey@burrow.org" reg="soap://aol.com/registry">.

    The question is, who is going to bell the cat, and create the sort of ambitious web services that Microsoft is proposing, except without the Microsoft lock-in? Where is AOL and Sun and IBM on this?

    - jon
  • Why the hell do I need to have a global Internet identity controlled by MS? Will Amazon refuse to take my money if I don't?

    I'm not sure exactly what Hailstorm etc gives to the user?


  • That said, Hailstorm is going in the direction of a Microsoft Planet.

    This must be the realisation of the Microsoft network as envisioned in The Road Ahead.

  • .NET is not based on COM - it's a replacement for COM. It has some similarities, but it has major differences - generation of native code at run-time, garbage collection rather than reference counting, the Common Language Runtime, complete type descriptions, etc.
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @02:29AM (#187963) Journal
    Compare and contrast:

    "an Internet user without a Passport will not exist within the system, and will not be able to access or use Passport services. Because users pay to participate in the HailStorm system, in practice this means that Microsoft will control a user's identity, leasing it to them for use within HailStorm for a recurring fee."


    "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

    Hmmmmmm. I think the Gates-as-Borg icon needs replacing with Gates-with-666-tattoo icon. Reckon John meant 'the IP number of his name'?

  • My grandmother DOES not pretend to know how to use a PC, whatever OS it is sporting, but she can fire up win98 and get an email off on a M$ system. I am sure if I WAS MORE of a LINUX guy I could make it easy enough for her to do it there also, but the point is I did not have to. Whether it 'pretends' to be easier or not IT IS. That said, I'd love to switch her to a NON-M$ OS, if someone could point me to a email reference site. The machine has to be useable by a 71 year old woman from OK :)
  • yes it is unless you specify the count :)
  • yes about 8 pages of CRAP that one would need a lawyer to interpret.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @07:22PM (#187967) Journal
    I don't know if Hailstorm will work. It seems like a longshot to me, but I'm a pauper and Bill Gates has an impressive track record with world domination.

    But this does illustrate one of the big differneces between Linux and MS. MS has a master plan. They're building server software, server farms, development tools, business alliances and strategic partnerships. They have a business plan and a technological plan, and they both seem to fit together. Even though the word is going to come off as a joke after all that's happened, this stuff is innovative, in kind of an Orwellian sense. Especially as a business plan.

    They looked at the future and decided it was going to be objects running out in the cloud, talking to each other in complicated ways, and they tried to figure out the best places to build the toll booths.

    We don't have a plan. We've yet to come up with a really good business model. We've been making incremental improvements to a 70's operating system. Individuals or small groups have ideas and they make it better in a small way. The result is a lot better than anything they had in the 70's. But it's a gradual process of accumulation. No one comes down from the mountain with the new direction.

    The first time I realized that Linux had super powers was when SLS dropped the ball. They were an old distribution. For whatever reason they just stopped doing it. And Slackware stepped up to the plate and took over. If Linux had been commercial, SLS would have killed it in its cradle. But you can't kill Linux. Debian will be moving along long after VA Linux and Red Hat have succomed to financial reality.

    MS has a plan. Gates says he's "betting the company" on it. I don't think he's kidding, or that he's wrong. If .NET and Hailstorm don't fly, they're screwed. Of course they're so big it would take them decades to waste away. The plan offers vast rewards, potentially, but it has enormous risks, as well.

    This is not a clash between rival technical systems. It's about world views.

    I've got to be honest, I love the megalomaniacal scope of MS's plan. They're thinking the way the the guys who built the pyramids thought. Part of me wants to email Bill and say, "God speed, you magnificent bastard!"

    But ultimately, I think he's going to fall on his ass.


    The OS monopoly was achieved in an environment when no one understood the dynamics of the business. There's the famous story about Bill trying to sell out to IBM for a relative song, and IBM turning him down. That suggests that neither side knew what MS had.

    Translation: the lucky SOB *stumbled* into it. And he was helped along by the fact that no one else understood how big the prize was either, or even that it existed at all.

    There's another famous story about Lotus dissing Bill, rudely pointing up the difference in the bottom lines. People didn't understand the dynamics of lock in back then, that the person who controlled the OS had leverage over the application market. These were smart guys, the best and the brightest in the industry.

    The article at the top of this thread is first class. People are thinking like chess players when they look at the business now. Which squares on the board do you need to control if you want to win? The word is out, the guard towers are fully manned, and no one is going to be stumbling into anything this time around.

    No one is going to create a strategic dependence on MS if they can help it. Especially now, when the XP license server shock waves are about to hit. These guys are lining up their ducks to do the same to thing to their customers that OPEC did to the West in the 70's.

    It's going to be an intersting thing to watch, though.
  • What's to stop people from sharing accounts? Does passport have Terms of Service?

    What happens if someone gets banned from Passport? Would third-party merchants seriously consider refusing to do business with someone who doesn't (or can't get, or refuses to get) a Passport account? It seems unlikely. I'd guess that just as merchants accept multiple forms of payment, Passport will be one way of logging into a site, but not the only one.

  • I worked for a company that was trying to make Hailstorm back in Jan '99. It's really funny... some of the examples in Microsoft's white paper are exactly the same examples in previous CEO's speeches. Out plan had one important difference... no single datastore. We feel people would be paranoid if only one company had the possibility of seeing all the data. By splitting up the datastores a person could shop around. :)
  • Have you actually tried this? If you had you'd know that the frog jumps out if the water is too hot. The boiling frog story is an urban legend.
  • Actually, M$ is writing its own death warrant.

    Trust-worthy security is based on biometric authentication. That needs large chunks of processing and 64-bit architectures are barely enough.

    M$ exists on x86 (32-bit) platforms ONLY. They are a one-trick OS pony. Unix & Linux are on all larger machines and available at a lower TCO.

    Biometric security requirements of M$'s own .NET strategy will require that their customers move off of the x86 platform and leave M$ behind.

    God speed .NET. And slice M$'s throat while you're at it.
  • NOTE, California bullfrogs, weighing in at about 3 or 4 pounds, have enough meat to make a decent meal. :)

    ... don't try this with Cane Toads [austmus.gov.au].

  • and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

    Interesting bit of numerology voodoo trivia:
    "666" is the decimal representation. Written in the Roman numerals used around the time this was written it's:
    Sort of like a countdown...Maybe it represents how long the license for the software will last before you have to renew it :-).

  • If they got greedy and tried to do it all in a year or so, then they would never get agreeement.

    In my observation of Microsoft, they have the tendancy to say they've done something before it actually has been done (meaning shipped). They have a wonderful ability to talk about their grand product plans as if they were real products.

    The point is that they are greedy, and if they could somehow migrate the world over to a software-as-services infrastructure by Tuesday, they would. But the problem is that when you radically change the model of software sales (not to mention the entire technical infrastructure your company has built over the last 12 years), it takes time.

    Which is not to say you shouldn't listen to them. In 1995, Bill Gates stood up and made the public announcement that they were going to integrate IE into the Windows shell and steal the market from Netscape. From then on, MS treated IE as an integrated product when it wasn't, but nobody should have been shocked 3 years later when it finally started to happened.
  • The typical "avrage user" can not tell the diffrence between Linux and Windows..

    I'm not saying Linux is easy...
    Linux is a powerful and easy command line.. As easy as command line could be anyway. Windows is a slipshot GUI.. It's not very easy at all.

    In the end they both daze and confuse new users..
    Windows just PRETENDS to be easy...

    And Microsoft expects you to know IRQs.. It's more of a PC thing actually and you don't want to understand complex hardware issues don't use complex hardware. The os isn't going to help.
  • The Microsoft developers might be silly enough to hard code the links to their own private UDDI server, but that would be a relatively easy crack to redirect to an open UDDI server.

    Um. Wasn't that the whole point of things like the UCITA and DMCA? They'll put "no redirection" in their EULA. Done. Now, of course, that won't stop me from doing it at home, but it will sure as hell stop my company from doing it. Right? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Everyone pitch in and give Bill the finger...

    #1) Install / login to your favourite *nix OS.
    #2) type: finger billg@microsoft.com

    and give him the finger!

    or just ping -f microsoft.com... whatever. ;)

    Computer Science: solving today's problems tomorrow.
  • I agree. You cannot whine without proposing an alternative...

    My group has been planning for something quite similar as the HailstormTM thing. We discovered more similarity as we saw more information about Hailstorm released.

    Instead of sitting back be cause we discovered we had competition from MS, we decided to continue. There has to be an open alternative that allows a user to choose any server to store his data.

    We welcome any open source initiatives that explore the functionality promised by our scheme, and now Hailstorm as wel.

    We can't say more at the moment be cause of ongoing negotiations, but expect to hear more in the near future.

  • Nobody can deny that MS has some very savvy managers [fortune.com]. After cheery picking the high volume desktop applications (despite adobe/PDF, MP3), they are now seeking other high growth markets. The question is will it justify the risks? Plumbing is safe because it is boring plus you need it for every single house plus you don't have the high labor costs of support/maintenance. Copyright (90 year protection) is much better than patent (20 years) and they've already got the distribution channels in place (OEM + Hotmail). The alternative (Enterprise Java Beans) is supported by its competitors but given that destop sales are slowing and MS are pushing C# and consumer toys, it is debateable whether it will enter consumer mainstream (lockout from XBox + control of cable head). In short, with enough control points, MS is in the position of raining on everyone else's parade. LL
  • M$ is already a reverse plumber of sorts. See, I usually need to do plumbing work to get shit out of my house. M$ keeps trying to pump it in... (Thank the maker that NeverWinter Nights is supposed to have a Linux client. If only I can finish BGII, BGII add on, and Icewind Dale before then (yeah, I know they've been out forever, but I'm a cheap bastard most of the time))

  • And if you did get your hands on the keys, it would mean the collapse of the entire Passport security scheme.

    The fireworks should be really cool when this inevitibly happens.
  • Actually, to further add to your disbeliefing willies.. Do a google search on "Bill Gates 666".

    Fact is, and you can do this on your own, if you add up the numerical value of Bill Gates name in ASCII values, it adds up to 663 + III (Bill Gates the 3rd), and that equals 666.

    People are quick to cry Numerology BS, but the way it works is that you are determining the number of the man's name by the language he subscribes to. Many figure heads in history that have controlled the world in a massive way have their names add up to 666, but its by their own native language (Bill Gate's occuptional/native language is ASCII), not all by straight english of 1 to 26.

    Believe in God or not, but fact is fact. :)

  • Its an ancient manipulation trick. Make people believe in something before that something even exists, and eventually the common people will unknowingly make it exist.
    And so it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy.

    Thats why independant parties never win in the US. The media hammers into the minds of the people that there are only logically two choices, A or B. There is no C, and even if there was, you'd be a fool to pick it because you would have wasted your vote. The few strong minded people that exist would try to make a showing, but are proven wrong my the masses of weakminded "individuals" that listened to the "advice".

    So the question is.. How do we make the weak minded strong minded?
    Maybe if people stopped putting other people down and hindering them as they try to climb up, and instead gave them a helping hand.. we'd have one hell of a strong poor-middle class society FINALLY kickin the ruling society in the ass. That'd be cool.

  • "It's going to be an intersting thing to watch, though."

    Maybe more interesting then you think. First A disclaimer I don't believe in god or the bible but this actually gives me the willies.

    From revelation chapter 13

    16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
  • Wasn't there something about this in revelations. Go re-read it sometime.
  • I think part of the purpose of this is to combat the creation of free service clones. Yeah, sure you could make your own set of actalikes for free, but mickeysoft name still controls the authentication infrastructure(M$ will probably establish a great deal of brand name credibility with all the phb's here) so they would actually save money if someone started maintaining the clients for them. It also gives them a lot of room integrate, copyright, patent, etc. the competition out of existance if and when they choose.

    A better way to combat this might be to offer higher quality services which are incompatible, at least at the authentication level.
  • There is the old story about how to boil/cook a frog. For the purposes of this story it is important to remem ber that frogs are amphibians.
    Now, If you just toss a frog straight into a pot of boiling water, this is not going to to anything but upset the frog and make the frog jump out of the pot. BUT, if you put the frog into the pot when tha water is cool, the frog will like it. If you then very gradually raise the temperature of the water the frog will not notice it. You can eventually raise the temperature of the water until it is boiling, and you now have one cooked frog dinner. NOTE, California bullfrogs, weighing in at about 3 or 4 pounds, have enough meat to make a decent meal. :)

    How does this relate? Simple.

    The long term strategy of MS is to slowly increment changes in the way things worked so that in the end, everything works they way they want, and they can dictate how it goes together. If they got greedy and tried to do it all in a year or so, then they would never get agreeement. But by implementing it bit and piece, they can continue to carve a large and larger section of the pie for themselves. All they have to do is think longer term than their opponents.

    Actually, I am sure they have on a wall someplace their equivalent of a 5 or 10 year plan to conquer the known (software) world, subject to revision and new discoveries, etc. They likely planned killing off Windows about 3 to 5 years ago when it became obvious that the legal suites were beginning to be a real pain. They are not there yet, but they needed an escape plan. Part of the move to taking over the Internet was part of this escape plan, which is why Gates made sure it was the equivalent of a oceanliner coming to a halt and turning on a dime.

    How to we handle this?

    We need as far reaching an effort and long range vision as they do. A competitive Argument that resonates. Microsofts's sells to the inherently lazy streak in people, even if the PR is twisted. They sell to "we make it easier for you".
  • ... and start saying "What Microsoft is trying to do is cool, but what we can do is *better*."

    You are missing the point. micro~1.oft has realised they can't compete with OSS on a technical playing field, because the OSS community will eventually win. So M$ is changing the playing field while they still have a monopoly.

    The new playing field is using the law (copyrights and patents) to give them exclusive control over who gets to play with their authentication schema. The open source community can come up with a working alternative, but in doing so will become a criminal group, breaking copyright laws and violating patents. M$, and many of the leading IT/computer/software/networking/services companies have realised that playing in a free and open commodity market spreads the profits too thin. So there has been a major push for the last 5-8 years to craft laws to support the new playing field, where free and open competitors are outlawed.

    You've no doubt heard of the american UCITA laws, passed in some states, proposed in all the rest. There are initiatives here in Europe to provide the same protections to large companies, but the progress is slower due to socialist leaning countries. Years ago companies who saw the service model and copyright as a potential new area to limit free and open competition created the WIPO, and neatly folded it under the protection of the UN. /. readers regularly complain about these restrictive laws, but are mostly powerless to do anything about them. Money buys votes, so most western democracies are for sale, which is why large crowds protest in Davos and Seattle and any place else. The protests are getting so costly, the world banque is meeting in cyberspace [ncl.ac.uk] to avoid physical risks.

    a protocol (http) which was just plain better ... the OSS community was already there.

    For the next 5 to 10 years, M$ and a handful of other companies are going to completely dominate all the greatness the OSS community created. The GPL isn't going to stop them, free and open isn't going to stop them either. Many smart people getting paid large salaries have looked at many ways to continue to earn money when there is a free product running your industry. They know, now, how to defeat the advantages of OSS and free and open. That is what the article is about. The best hope for the Next Great Thing lies where it has always lain, in academia and government assisted research. That is why M$ bought MIT [slashdot.org] and dozens of other universities in the US and Europe, and why they just bought [theregister.co.uk] the UK government [theregister.co.uk].

    The OSS community creates free software. I agree with RMS, software should be free. But the big and steady money is in services, always has been, always will be(until the trek universe occurs) There are no free alternatives to services. Maybe there should be an Open Services Alliance :-) I'd love to get 24/7/365 support services for free, but then I'd be out of a job. :-(

    the AC
  • You just have to wonder if they'll convince business customers that storing all their employee's info in a central DB is a good idea.

    No shit. I work at a Fortune-100 company that has very stringent rules about leaving department phone lists laying around for the maintainance people to see, because the recruiting wolves will snap 'em up from afar. Apparently, a full company phonebook will go for at least $100 each, and a manager was caught trying to smuggle out a large box of them.

    Given this level of attention, I would think that there would be many concents about a concerted effort to catalouge all people connecting from wwwproxy.bigcompany.com.

  • What's wrong with HTTP? I thought it was pretty effective. Connect, send request, receive response, end transmission.
  • Microsoft is in the business of building infrastructure. That's their business... They should be booed?
    Microsoft is in the business of maximizing profit, as all businesses are and should be. I believe that they should be completely free to use any legal means to accomplish this. On the other hand, I am in favor of a free and open information infrastructure, and will absolutely express my displeasure at attempts to build the opposite.

    That's certainly an interesting view of the history of the web. Maybe it took off because infrastructure companies like Microsoft, Sun, and Netscape did their jobs well.

    I have a hard time believing you think Microsoft had anything to do with building the internet and web infrastructure before it "took off". Sun certainly did help the internet by promoting open protocols. Netscape and Microsoft helped build the market, but the infrastructure was by and large already defined and decentralized. This allowed many more participants to get involved and experiment with different profit making enterprises than would have been the case if one company controlled everything.

  • I disagree. I don't think what they are doing is cool at all. Because what they are doing is defining an infrastructure, and making sure that they control it. This is bad, and should be boo'd.

    The web took off because no one owned the protocol, any one could create an HTTP server, anyone could write the services behind the server and anyone could write a browser, and any user could jump on a browser and start using it. Now microsoft wants to own the protocol, the server, the services, brand users with their passport branding iron, and heh, the only thing open about this monstrosity is that anyone can build a browser.

    On the other hand, I see your point. What _would_ be cool would be an open platform that provided some of the things that hailstorm provides in a decentralized, open way. And hopefully some things that would not appeal to microsoft's executives, but would to users. Like anonymity. Or privacy. Or choice.

  • Statements like "Microsoft typically links its software and operating systems (SQLServer won't run outside an MS environment; Office is only ported to the Mac)" and "With HailStorm, Microsoft has abandoned tying its major software offerings to its client operating systems" miss the point.

    Don't think "operating system". Think "platform". .NET is the new platform, and Microsoft is surely going to tie its apps to a single platform. It's just that the platform now is more than just an OS.

    - adam

  • So, what you're really getting at here, Trumpet, is that we gotta make everything about OSS better and more easily accessible to newbies. Here's a few places you can start, even though you don't code: There's obviously a ton more places to go, but don't just sit there and play Tribes2, like I do! Erp, I mean, oh well, uh, you know...

    Dive Gear [divingdeals.com]
  • Maybe in the States nobody uses MSN Messenger, but in Europe it is very common. I use both MSN and ICQ because I have friends on both systems. I don't know anyone who uses AIM though.

  • Many years ago I predicted that all Bill Gates of Borg really wanted was one penny every time someone presses enter.

    The Leviathan cometh, seeking only to assimilate.
  • ....the "Hacker Hailstorm" in "Canadian Bacon", which happened to be on Comedy Central on Monday, after "PCU". Basically, the Hailstorm is this device made by some evil corperation called "Hacker", and gives remote control over the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal. For convenience, it was installed in the Canadian National Tower (obviously). To make a long story short, I think that Microsoft's control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal is anti-competitive, and limits the opportunities of rabid grad students, the Michigan Militia, the MPAA (Obviously), and various other start up, dot-com style paramilitary organizations, to say nothing about the U.S. Government itself, to activly and viably participate in the multi-fold destruction of the human race.
  • Funny that "remember" is mistyped in both comments: "remem ber".

  • I agree with you, and I think I've got some precedent for why it won't work: AOL.

    AOL is really all about centralization. The whole family unit can share an account, you use their email system located in their gigantic email/chat/web/IM/news/info/etc program that's really very pretty and friendly. You can centrally do everything you want from AOL itself, much like what Hailstorm is promising, and you never really have to leave it if you don't want.

    And AOL is really popular. Fantastically so.

    But relatively few people actually use all that centralization. They use AOL for email, web, chat, and IM, and that's mainly it. I've never met anyone (and I've known quite a few AOL users) who's actually used AOL itself to buy anything. People like to chat and build a community, and that's why AOL , and the internet is really successful, not for the ability to buy airline tickets right alongside a crockpot. Sites like /. just go on to prove this fact.

    Microsoft isn't looking to build a community at all, they're looking to make things more convenient and ubiquitous. While people do like convenience (and the convenience of having email, web, chat, etc. in one place helps make AOL so popular) I don't think people are really looking for the kind of convenience that Hailstorm will offer. Granted, a lot of people will sign up for it, but I don't think it'll be that critical mass that'll make it ubiquitous. It's the same thing with Microsoft's instant messenger client. No one really uses it, because AOL was there first and everyone uses AIM because their friends use AIM. It'll be the same thing with Hailstorm, no one will use it because AOL was there first with all the convenient, one place info/shop-o-rama system, plus you get to use the chat rooms too!

    Aside from AOL, portal sites like excite offer centralized calendar, customized news, portfolio, email accounts, and a thousand other features already. All from a central location. All available through any web browser. And when was the last time you heard someone hyping a portal site?

    Not that Hailstorm wouldn't improve on the portal concept at all, but without something really good that takes it above and beyond (and storing your credit card numbers online is not enough of a bonus) it's just not going to go anywhere.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by bornholtz ( 94540 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @05:52PM (#188001)

    So Microsoft wants to use open standards like XML, UDDI and WSDL. Presumably, Microsoft will have to open the public interface to calling their services. If they don't open the interface, Palm, Mac, and Linux couldn't invoke these services.

    So with an open interface to the service, what is to stop me from creating my own gnuPassport service with the exact same well defined interface? I could then openly authenticate users just as Microsoft authenticates users in their closed service.

    Every time Microsoft creates a new service, that they will presumably charge money for, we would create an open interface that is freely available.

    The Microsoft developers might be silly enough to hard code the links to their own private UDDI server, but that would be a relatively easy crack to redirect to an open UDDI server.

    The article states that the Kerberos authentication might be required to use Microsoft's proprietary extensions, but a simple Samba server would fix this.

    So when I read this article, I don't see it as Microsoft moving to dominate the Internet. I see this as Microsoft relinquishing full control of the Windows desktop to services on the Internet. There doesn't seem to me to be any way for Microsoft to stop an open implementation of all of their services.

  • I wish someone had told me that we upgraded our servers to 64 bits. I logged in this morning using my thumbprint. Oh wait- I'm the one that would of approved purchasing new boxes. And we're running Windows 2000. It must have been magic.

  • Good observation.

    Practically, MS' vision of ubiquitous toll booths, all authenticating off MS (probably for micropayments) will have to overcome some significant issues.

    • Joe Sixpack at Home.
      Does he really need to have his network up and authenticating this much? to get things done? Does he mind it?
    • John Sysadmin behind a Corporate Firewall.
      Does he trust all this traffic to microsoft.com?
    • Bob Salesman on the Road.
      When he's touching up his presentation on a laptop and needs a feature that requires a connection for authentication, will he get peeved?
    In short, "The World as a LAN" won't be here for a while yet.

    And, while we're on the issue of practical issues, I don't suppose the DLL-hell situation is guaranteed to improve any with them living all over the world.

    Meanwhile, of course, there's the paranoid contingent like myself, that disconnects the phone jack from my DSS satellite TV receiver - I want my connection to them to be guaranteed "read only". (If you didn't go over the box yourself, you can't know that it is free from data collectors, microphones, etc.)

    There is an incredible potential range of power and of flexibility that can be unleased through networked computers, much of it yet to be explored.

    In terms of size and influence, Microsoft is emerging onto the same playing field as many national governments of the world (They're probably into the top 20, anyway). The key difference between a large democratically elected national government (like that of the U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia, etc.) and a corporation, of course, that corporations don't provide their customers with the same extensive kinds of guarantees on their exact limits of power they exercise over the citizenry.

    In corporations, the executive branch rules essentially unhindered, with intermittent high level oversight from a pseudo-legislative board of directors that primarily represents the stockholders. The stockholders generally adhere to different guiding principles than what you might find in an enumeration of citizen's rights. Generally, the more limited the customer's rights, the better. Shareholder return is the primary objective.

    Computer security incidents will likely continue in the future and, in a .NET world, there will probably be some newsmaking doozies that will awaken many people as to what all the potential ramifications are of the brave new world.

    It's not all

    "convenient web photo exchange with grandma."
  • "The open source community can come up with a working alternative, but in doing so will become a criminal group, breaking copyright laws and violating patents. M$,"

    Not to forget the DMCA. Well thought out piece. Kudos!

    - Steeltoe
  • You'll still have a breakdown, since a data-model is not really patentable (IMHO). Patents are for new inventions, which data-models clearly are not. As the process of data-modelling is a very researched and published area.

    However, all is not lost. Copyright only applies to the source and its copies. Reverse-engineering is thereby legal, except that you propbably have to do it outside the US because of the DMCA.

    You can still get sued though. Anyone can sue. It's up to the court to rule if it was correct or not. If I were a US citizen, I would sue the politicians for passing such mediocre laws. Surely the sell-outs can afford it!

    - Steeltoe
  • I was a student at the time, and I said that it was all hype and that it would just be Windows 3.11 on DOS, just forced and even more user-unfriendly and slower. I predicted the nightmare of Plug & Play, because I knew that it was too good to be true. Especially since most hardware at the time wasn't build with P&P in mind at all. So the P&P code in Windows must be insanely hacky. It's not that many people didn't realize, it's that many people wants to believe something so much that they blindly accepts the hype and disregards all reason. It's pretty much like falling in love.

    - Steeltoe
  • I wonder what the legal consequences are here. Previous experiences with other projects taught me that U.S. law does not apply elsewhere in the world. I know that privacy laws, copyright laws etc. are different in Europe for example. I also know that what Microsoft is doing here, does not extrapolate U.S. laws to other parts of the world - i.e. if MS is denying European laws on privacy, U.S. authorities will be forced to take actions against Microsoft and don't underestimate this.

    Other problems are distance and trust. European authorities give advice not to do business with U.S. companies via the internet. If some big-shot corporate on the other side of the world is holding my identity, I think that's quite riscy, and you can be sure this will have political attention.

    My guess is that the Hailstorm plan wil endevour a lot of resistance, from non-US corporates, from non-US legal departments and from non-US politicians. Still, the world is ever bigger than Microsoft or even the US. I'm not affraid of the concept, we won't buy it.

  • I disagree. I don't think what they are doing is cool at all. Because what they are doing is defining an infrastructure, and making sure that they control it. This is bad, and should be boo'd.

    Microsoft is in the business of building infrastructure. That's their business... They should be booed?

    The web took off because no one owned the protocol, any one could create an HTTP server, anyone could write the services behind the server and anyone could write a browser, and any user could jump on a browser and start using it.

    That's certainly an interesting view of the history of the web. Maybe it took off because infrastructure companies like Microsoft, Sun, and Netscape did their jobs well.

  • No, I didn't have to be a member of the O'Reilly Network to read the article, and I don't have to be a member of the O'Reilly Network to read /. and post this.

    How would you like to be unable to read /. or Kur05hin or whatever unless you have a PassPort?

  • What the hell is it with calling everything "myFoobar"????

    Am I the only one here who anthropomorphises programs on their computer to the extent that if a program creates something called "myFoobar", I take it to mean that it belongs to the program that created it?

    If _I_ create a directory called "MyMusic", it's mine. If someone (or something) else creates it, it's _theirs_, and I don't mess with it. If a program wants to create a directory for me to put my stuff in, it should call it "yourFoobar". That makes much more sense IMO. Why do I appear to be the only one that thinks this way. I can't fscking stand "My Sidebar" on mozilla for that reason. The personal toolbar's not called "MyToolbar", the mail folder's not called "myMail". It's just "personal toolbar" and "mail". Why not "sidebar".

    Of course it's _my_ toolbar, it's in _my_ profile. Of course it's _my_ music folder, it's in _my_ home (or profile, depending on system) directory.

    Why not just call it "Foo" instead of "myFoo" for fscks sake?

  • So your gnuPassport couldn't be used on sites which only recognize Microsoft's Passport.

    True, now what incentive would companies other than Microsoft have to not support "gnuPassport" ?

    The analogy is very similar to web browsers. Through various mechanisms MS did win the browser wars. Yet all sites support divergent browsers. Hell, even slate.msn.com supports Netscape.

    ...and no, they don't do this by sticking to HTML1.0 either.

  • So Microsoft wants to use open standards like XML, UDDI and WSDL. Presumably, Microsoft will have to open the public interface to calling their services. If they don't open the interface, Palm, Mac, and Linux couldn't invoke these services.

    I think that you are missing another piece of the puzzle there. Microsoft's global plan (or at least according to all good linux zealots) is that in 5 or 10 years, there will be no Mac, Linux, or Palm. They are active in all of those arenas, with WinXP or the latest flavor on Desktops, Win2K on servers and WinCE on Pocket PC devices. They won't need to publish the interfaces because there will not be anything else left to use them. In addition, by not publishing now, they help drive those devices out of the market by inducing compatability issues.

  • Hailstorm user-licence: 50

    Internet connection: 20/month

    Skript kiddie tools and software: 5000

    The look on Bill Gates face when 10,000,000 credit cards numbers are compromised to the approx credit limit of 20,000 each -- PRICELESS.

    There are some things that anyone can cock-up, but for everything else, there's Microsoft :)

  • just ping -f microsoft.com

    Too bad Microsoft filters ICMP packets.
  • But is it really just a couple of hacks a year? I seem to recall the rumour being that Microsoft.com is powered by 40+ boxes. So one gets hacked? No big deal, that computer just will no longer serve pages until it is operational again, all while the other 39 keep on serving pages.

    All they would need is tripwire style software to look for any file changes, and if any occur drop the box offline and reinstall, or better yet just network boot all the servers so all that is needed is a reboot. They could all just automatically reboot after 15 mins or so (I mean they are gonna need it anyway right? ;)

    How about this for an idea for Linux? The ultimate un[h|cr]ackable web server!
    What you need:
    1. Many servers that can boot over the network
    2. A server with a CDROM containing the OS, Applications, website data, etc.
    Then have the servers reboot every so often (making sure they don't all go down at the same time!!!) and reboot with the data contained on the CD. Even if a machine was broken into, anything the attacker did would be wiped out. Okay so it isn't the greatest of ideas, but if you are Microsoft and your security image is of upmost importance you might consider doing something like this!
  • Even if it is possible to copyright a schema, that doesn't prevent someone else from creating documents that conform to the schema. Heck, if you build your Hailstorm clone using non-validating parsers, you won't even need MS's schemas.
  • The internet was doing just fine before Microsoft even acknowledged it as a "market". Remember how much catch up MS had to do with IE, let alone other Internet services like e-mail, telnet and ftp.

    I was contracting with AOL in 1993-95 when they were deciding what to do about the Internet as a competing "service". It was a black day indeed when they unleashed the unwashed masses to Usenet. And that frigin bug that they had in there news client that posted all those bone headed messages 9+ times. Someone should do a song: The Day Usenet Died. "Sorry to see you go, I hardley even knew ya. But it was sweet while it lasted". Thanks AOL. Not.

    As for Sun, IBM, Netscape, Macromedia, etc. Large companies have made some nice contrabutions to the world at times. But mostly they are just a bunch of self engraciating smoke blowers who rip off there ideas from the vast supply of niave college students of the world. I mean, what self respecting geek did'nt have the basic ideas for Hailstorm "mostly worked out" back in the 80's ( of course that was for a massive multiplayer online first person shooter with multi-crew vehicles, but it's close :)

    Maybe it's time for the geeks to build another cloistered enclave that the rest of the world might not notice for another 15 - 20 years. Or have they already done it :). It's time to move on when being a geek is "cool". We are supposed to be missunderstood! Something has gone terribly wrong!


  • A lot of hostility to the orginal poster. I think what he is trying to say is not that what Microsoft is doing per say is cool, but the idea that Microsoft is persuing is cool. I think that people or being blind to the future because all they see is Microsoft obstructing our view.

    He did'nt say, "lets implement Hailstorm only OSS", he said, "lets implement Hailstorm, only better". What would be better? Well, control over your info would be better, for one.

    Should we be spending all this time trying to stop Microsoft? I don't think so. We should treat MS like any thing else, a source of inspiration. Take what is good and leave the rest. I have heard it said that it is importaint to have an enemy (see anals of war: Apple vs. IBM, Netscape vs. MS). Well, again, I'm not so sure. There is a tendency to become more like your enemy during war then most people would like to admit. ( doh! I said, "Most people", but then I also said, "I have heard", but I tried to back that up with lame refs. ).

    We are creating a vision for our own future here. Lets take the ideas that are good. Ideas don't come from Microsoft, nor Sun or anybodies head. They are just ideas, thoughts of the possible. The rest is just ego.

    Some of the confusion may be that we are also learning ( or not ) to live some of our lives in anarchy. Maybe it's a phase, but I like that.


  • The funny part of HailStorm is now I don't see other companies just sitting around not providing competition. At the very least Sun and AOL cronies in the higher regions allready have something in the works as a response.

    I personally can't wait to see how they will bend over backwards to get at each others share of the pie.

  • is apparently, you can copyright an XML schema!

    Since schemas are simply data table definitions, that would suggest monopolies of entire industires could be achieved by simply copyrighting the first recordkeeping formats for that industry.

    Didn't MS extend the basic Username, Password record format in comming up with the HailStorm schema? How can it in turn prevent others from extending whatever baggage data MS has tied to UIDs and passwords? Just because its an XML definition instead of RDBMS layout or text file???
  • I also have a huge problem with copyrighting data structures.

    Presumably, MS's (pro side) argument might be that there would be no reason to catalog the data were it not for the company's unique and innovative business process.

    That would be like RSA saying that no one is allowed to track large primes and their multiplications, because until their business process was created there was no use that they could envisage as useful (There probably were some marginally useful uses).

    Because you can create a data model with unique applications depending upon it, does not mean you should have a right to restrain others use of that data model in any way.
  • Mine is candy coated, but where did your mom get one?
  • This concept seems to have taken the snide aside of "MSFT tax" to a literal extreme.

    Imagine, if you will, the fellow who conceives of paper money first. He sells his peers on the convenience of the exchange ("you don't have to carry the goat to the store anymore! Just hand them the bill!"), on the ubiquity of acceptance ("Even if Store Owner Joe doesn't want a goat, he can turn this 'money' into something that he does want!"), and the security of the medium ("Don't worry about watermarks/forgery! We'll be responsible for guaranteeing the media!")

    However, instead of us paying a single individual, or even a single company for these advantages, we are levied a tax by our government on each exchange that takes place. In fact, the analogy more closely resembles a per-check charge: we pay 50c a check for the convenience of not having to carry cash, the guarantee that it will accepted by most institutions, and the security authorization that our check is subjected to.

    That 50c is rarely accounted for in the cost of an item; it is a meta-charge, accepted as a necessity, and so ignored.

    So, Unca Bill is going to set up his own Internet Banking system, sell us (or developers, who pass the costs on to us) on the convenience, on the universality, on the security of his system, and collect 50c per transaction. How many billions of transactions take place everyday, between the billions of individuals throughout the world? And, even if he doesn't collect a per-transaction fee, how many of us pay a bank a monthly fee for the privilege of using our own money through checks? Why do we pay ATM fees instead of carry all our cash in gold bullion? For the same purpose that Gates envisions HailStorm as succeeding.

    PS--The common user (read: my mom) doesn't know that MSFT is really that less secure than Linux. But she has heard that there are "some complicated problems with theft on the Internet" and you better believe that Unca Bill is gonna have her convinced that they only way she can be really secure is to use his system. So what if people break in from time to time--he'll just absorb the occasional loss into the billions of dollars being made everyday, just as the insurance companies take a few hits, but make enough money through monthly premiums to both pay for those costs and still work 10-3. People rob banks, too, but people still put their money in them.
  • [Hrumph!]

    this comment is strangely similar to the comment someone else posted here

    God and Commander Taco help me find it in the archives, but I DO recognize the writing from sometime in the past six months or so. (I don't think the archives go back quite that far.)

    That said, Hailstorm is going in the direction of a Microsoft Planet.

    This is what they want. They envision a service oriented Internet where they are the toll takers.

    And they will take a toll. But they will not nickel and dime us to death. more like a buck fifty, and more.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • this comment is strangely similar to the comment someone else posted here. - God and Commander Taco help me find it in the archives, but I DO recognize the writing from sometime in the past six months or so.

    In fact I found the original comment here:


    It is about halfway down the page, Message number 74

    And it is called "Boiling Frogs"

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • The original story was about Hailstorm as well:

    Hailstorm: Changing Society's Privacy Infrastructure [slashdot.org]

    And refeances an article from this past April from the Seattle times

    "Boiling Frogs": A perfect example of plagerism and copyright violation with no credit to the original author.

    Since this was in a discussion about Microsoft, so it does not win extra brownie points for irony in a discussion about the RIAA.

    (Now to important matters)

    Could Microsoft use copyright issues for getting control over the personal information of people?

    Already we have seen the CDDB, built from the distributed contributions of individuals, turn ed around and taken private. What is to stop MS from placing their own copyright on this huge database of personal info and renting it to the highest bidder?

    One Idea I have is for everyone to register their MS software codes via a generic public user profile. Suddenly Microsoft ends up with a couple hundred thousand users registering via a single name, address, phone number. Something like John Smith. This would impact on the reliability of their database, certainly.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • From one of those guys who waited all night outside of COMPUSA for a copy of Windows95, I have to say I hope your right.

    I was thinking about switching to OS/2 years ago. I kept hearing about windows95 and for months before it came out all the computer stores had the weezer windows95 video clip on all computers screens. Remember Windows3.1 at the time could not display video like that at all. Me and practically almost every computer nerd I knew started drooling over windows95 except for some of my old MAC friends. :-)

    For several months before the launch date, Jesse Berst predicating it to be a unix killer due to its stability and after seeing the eye candy and hearing the hype I kind of bought into it sadly enough. I remember him mentioning how he put Windows95 in a file server to see how stable it was. :-)

    I was reading about protected memory, macintosh like multimedia and ease of use, cool interface, and all the vendors backing it up as the next big thing since sliced bread. I just was tired of re-configuring my autoexec.bat files just to play a game which used extended and not expanded memory. I wanted to get rid of DOS and windows95 I was hoping would fix it.

    I hated dos because of silly inconsitances like the extended vs expanded memory isssue I just mentioned above. I remember talking with my father a week before it came out that I would never have to confifure an IRQ again because plug and play work flawlessly according to Jesse Berst. I was in High School at the time and the lauch date was sooo important that even my goverment teacher talked about it and how everyone's life was gooing to be improved. NO joke! It was in the news like it was a huge story and night a silly press release. Looking back at it I find it absoletely incredible that everyone blindly believed the hype.

    Boy, was I in for a supprise. Want to know something?

    I am still waiting for those features today. :-)

    I am getting windows2000 but I discovered Linux in the process. If it weren't for abusive anti-consumer behaviors and poor quality I would of never tired Linux. Now, when MS makes a statment about XP being the best thing since sliced bread, I and a few million other users will know better. The Windows95 launch was like the emperors new clothes where no one quesitoned anybody. .

    What is odd is I remember that Windows95 was only 89 dollars for the msot expensive development effort ever taken by Microsoft. Today Windows98 cost I think 129 and its %95 windows95 code???

    This means someone is getting greedy and this and the new OFFICE-XP licensing scheme will turn alot people off hailstorm before it even hits the streets. I know I for sure won't upgrade to XP. They can put ad after ad and article after hype article. I won't buy.

  • Sorry, I don't think the manyserver/CD-server architecture would be a usefull one. Not for a terribly big site. It could work well, for let's say a personal webserver on a DSL line owned by someone who is really paranoid...someone with really too may 486 in spare ;-)
    • How do you update such webpage? It is on a CD and thus unwritable. You will need to make a new CD each time a single letter is changed. Of course one could postpone all changes until you have some significant changes...
    • Live changes: as seen often pages are put down (or up) very fast because of some reason (Incorrect information, important press release...)
    • Databases? How many serious websites are not at least partially using databases. How are you going to represent something on a CD-Rom that is as dynamic as a DB? You can't! And I didn't even start about synching updates....
    • How about performance? CD-Rom's are not fast at all. I realise of course that every server will have a local mirror of the CD on a fast harddisk that will be copied every time.
    • Security: the weak link in the chain is the CD-Rom server! It must have network access to the other machines. This means, you need to crack a server and have let's say 24 hours to crack (15 minutes, reboot? Come-one...not even Windows 3.11 needed that) which is for a good cracker probably not a problem. Once on the server machine, even not being able to write data to the CD-Rom, you can alter the scripts that copy the CD-Rom to the other servers to include defacing messages or so.
    I'm sure that my view is not entirely correct because I'm only responsible for a small server with the only restriction is that availability must be very high (but not 24/24 7-7). In my view, the setup you described, would be useful to keep a computerlab synchronized with a standard install, but that really would be it.

    But then, did I feel a troll?

  • I'm sympathetic to your point, but this is a problem I see in ip arguments a lot: you have asserted the harm without justifying it.

    What is wrong exactly with copyrighting a data structure? You seem to imply (but do not state) that even very simple data structures could be copyrighted if moderately complex ones could, and that this would be bad (inefficient?).

    The CDDB example is one which provides a pleasantly evil comparison, but it's not perfect- most people's beef isn't so much that they are copyrighting their database structure (although that's a problem), but that they stole community labor for the content of that database.

    I propose the following, and perhaps others can add to it: copyrighting data structures is unreasonable both because it creates the possibility of accidentally misusing someone else's data structure if it's too simple (such accidental duplication is vanishingly unlikely with a book or song length work), and because the metadata itself is not original content in the appropriate sense of the term- it is more like an algorithm (it's a rule-based system of organization) and thus more appropriate for patent consideration than for copyright.

  • Common sense says no, but what does the law say?

    Usually companies dont let it come down to that and ensure that there is no way to implement an interface without infringing on a patent instead... but even if that doesnt cover it they can first try to use trade secret (by NDA'ing through shrinkwrap all development information, like 3dfx tried with Glide) and in the end even if it comes down to copyright even if they dont have a real case now who says what a couple of billions worth of lawyers and lobbying can get them.
  • The problem is that if Microsoft gets enough marketshare then people stop catering to other platforms, which makes the alternatives much less useful. I am thinking of Navigator vs. IE in particular. One day I noticed that many pages stopped working correctly for Navigator and even though I hated the thought of using a Microsoft product I wanted the best possible web experience.
  • by reptar64 ( 220617 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @06:00PM (#188032)
    Did anyone else see the irony in this, at the bottom of the article?

    How will Hailstorm and Passport change the face of P2P, web services, and the Net itself?
    (* You must be a member of the O'Reilly Network to use this feature)
  • You bet it is. The article says:
    First, you cannot use a non-Passport identity within HailStorm, and at least for now, that means that using HailStorm requires a Microsoft-hosted identity.
    A single authority for identity, without which one cannot transact any business: Sounds a lot like the thirteenth chapter of Revelation:
    16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

    17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Yeah, I'd say that's scary. Maybe we can use this image to motivate some folks to oppose the juggernaut.

    [Most of us use both hands to type usernames and passwords, which we retain in our brains right behind the forehead. Pretty decent description for something written 2K years ago.]

  • Never cooperate with abusers. Cooperation encourages abuse.

    Once Microsoft delivers a real, working operating system (maybe Windows XP?), most people will never buy another one. To prevent the collapse of its business, Microsoft is trying to enter another business entirely.

    But this time, more people know how abusive Microsoft is. This time, there are more users who understand computers. Hopefully, people are smart enough to know that they should not cooperate.

    We Slashdot readers can help. If 100,000 of us each tell one non-technical person each day, at the end of a year we will have told 36,500,000 people not to cooperate with Microsoft's plans to dominate. we can make a significant difference in preventing abuse.
  • Apperently they don't get golf ball, baseball, and softball sized hail in Redmond. Here in Minnesota we duck and cover when we hear hailstorm.
  • Perhaps, but I honestly don't see the advantage here. First, for HailStorm to be the cash cow MS needs, they need to attract business users. You just have to wonder if they'll convince business customers that storing all their employee's info in a central DB is a good idea.

    Beyond that - what the heck will they use it for? Pay per use software - oh please. Why is it that the IT media has swallowed this concept hook line and sinker? Any IT mgr I've talked with thinks its a bad idea that'll just cost more money in fees and mgmt.

    Beyond that - who cares if MS copyrights their schema? So MS uses their schema to validate stupid users who pay by the month for the WIndows ZZ OS. Whats to stop AOL from setting up a SIMILAR system for their users to use for their services? Unlss MS gets a overly broad patent (ie they get a patent on pay per use software licensing) I just don't see how this flys.

    Sure the existing MS zealot developers will jump on the bandwagon. But I don't see ow this will GROW their market share. I mean why would a cellphoen service want to tie into Hailstorm?

    So yes - we all know Micro$oft wants to own every inch of the Internet and skim $$ off every transaction, but I just don't think Hailstorm is gonan do it for them though I know Bill got a woodie reading these white papers and dreaming all about what COULD be. Problem is it ain't gonna happen.

  • by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <r_j_prahad@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @07:53AM (#188044)
    When I was in college, I worked in the data processing department part-time to offset my tuition costs. This was back around the time of the beginning of the PC revolution, and I got to watch department after department secede from the university mainframe empire.

    When we asked them why they wanted to do this, there were some common answers that we kept hearing. "Your priorities are not our priorities", "you don't understand our requirements", "it takes you guys too long to implement changes", "your chargebacks are inconsistent and make it difficult to budget", "your support staff doesn't work on the same schedule we do", and my all time favorite... "we just want local control over our data".

    When I read about .NET and Hailstorm, all I see is the central data processing center of the 1970s carried to its illogical extreme. Except now there will only be one "glass house" to serve millions, and it will be in Redmond.

    I expect we'll have to repeat history once again, 'cause it looks like nobody learned anything from the last time.

  • Third, the world has shifted from "software as product" to "software as service," where software can be accessed remotely and paid for in per-use or per-time-period licenses.

    "has shifted", past tense? When did this happen? Have I been blacking out again?

    The last time I was awake, this is where Microsoft was trying to take things.

    Oh well. Glad I hopped off the MS treadmill 3 years ago.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Well, I mean HTTP/HTML/etc - the whole "web" thing. Mosiac was just a much more flexible and capable solution for viewing information and communicating with servers (ie. web-like functionality) than its commercial competitors at the time - say, CompuServe.

    [That's probably a good point, though, how HTTP is technically a fairly crappy protocol. Nearly ubiquitous despite it's technical flaws... somewhat like Windows. There's something profound in there somewhere...]

    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • True, now what incentive would companies other than Microsoft have to not support "gnuPassport" ?

    Well, let's take an example (this is an example they give on MSDN for Expedia with a few other options added in for good measure)...

    You book a flight on Expedia.
    The Expedia sites offers to do the following...
    - add it to your myFlights service
    - add it to your myCalender service
    - notify when appropriate with your myNotification service
    - send a detailed description to your myInbox service
    - get a list of your friends from your myContacts service and add information to their myCalender and myNotification services (assuming they've given you permission to do so)
    - add contact information for the airline and travel agent to your myAddressbook service.

    Now, to do that, all the services in that list and are going to have to support the authentication you've given them. In addition to making sure all the Passport sites work the way they're supposed to, are you going to want to do all the testing and support for the small subset of the population using the Open alternatives?

    Plus, it's going to be very difficult for gnuPassport to be free... the maintain the redundancy and security needed is going to require income, especially if it reaches any sort of scale to be competitive with Microsoft's offering.

    I'm not sure how valid the web browser comparison is. Many sites still support Netscape because many users still haven't switched stopped using it yet from back when Netscape was dominant - I'm sure the amount of effort put into making Netscape-compatible sites is doing down every year. And I doubt many commercial sites put too much effort into making sure their sites work with Konquerer or OmniWeb or even Mozilla. Standard mean they generally do, but unless the designer is a Linux person, say, I doubt he's put much effort into testing it with Konquerer.
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • by mech9t8 ( 310197 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @07:00PM (#188048)
    It's amazing how the overwhelming impression someone would get from all these slashot discussions is that your typical /.er is a technophobe.

    This kind of thing is *cool*.

    Should Microsoft control it? Of course not. But there should be a lot more enthusiasm on these boards for the capabilities these things represent; it's this sort of universal capability which is the future.

    Is there a security risk? Of course... but you could say the same thing about the postal service, the telephone, credit cards, etc etc. It's *going* to happen.

    But the OSS has to stop saying "Boo. Stop Microsoft. They're evil." and start saying "What Microsoft is trying to do is cool, but what we can do is *better*."

    That's (partly, anyway) why *nix dominates the web... Apache (and its predecessors) used a protocol (http) which was just plain better than all the commercial alternatives for information dissemmination, and when the commercial companies turned around and came to see how great the whole web concept was, the OSS community was already there.

    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • by mech9t8 ( 310197 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @08:15PM (#188049)
    You could emulate the interface, but you wouldn't have the keys to validate your authentication.

    So your gnuPassport couldn't be used on sites which only recognize Microsoft's Passport.

    And if you can't link up with other sites, you lose a lot of the functionality of Hailstorm and are just left with the .NET XML Web Service spec, which is fine, I suppose, unless you like IBM's or Sun's Web Service ideas better. Without the common Passport authentication, Hailstorm is no longer Hailstorm.

    ((And if you did get your hands on the keys, it would mean the collapse of the entire Passport security scheme.)
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • Microsoft... is trying to make a central repository of personal information... stored in redundant Microsoft controlled datacenters... including credit card numbers...

    So all I need to do is SE a domain admin password from *one* microsoft employee, with a *crapload* of them to choose from, and I get *millions and millions* of credit card numbers, addresses, perhaps even bank accounts?

    OK. I'm up for that.

    -Jade E.
  • by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @06:48PM (#188053) Homepage

    Well, we have to admit that software as service revolution is inevitable. This change will really revolutionize our world. The work *has* already begun since P2P "discovery" by Napster and such. It was then intensified by the invention of Java as "universal" programming language and XML as the "universal" data format. Naturally, if we have world-wide connections, universal programming language and universal data, we'd like to unify the framework, right?

    Recall in the OSI network layer we have "presentation layer" [cs.tcd.ie]. You can see that this layer has never emerge as a solid standard eventhough there were some attempts. Thus, this becomes the biggest stumbling block in the unification. However, after *the* invention, this should not be problem any longer.

    But, there is another problem: Control. With software as service, the service-provider company will exercise control over your data. Basically, your data is belong to us. Eventhough the provider does respect privacy, it won't let you get away without signing ToS which is basically make you agree to for a "responsible disclosure" from it. Even worse, the company seems to take the privacy pretty lightly [nwsource.com]

    Now, this has a serious implication: Government agents can pin down those service providers and possibly giving them monopoly access to ease them "keeping track of malicious citizens". Is this an indication? [slashdot.org] If so, then your privacy agreement is "useless" basically. Unless...

    If we agree on universal programming language, data, and protocols and decentralized P2P connection like Freenet [sourceforge.net] does. This case, our privacy will remain and we can defend it to our best. Just my 2 cents, though.

  • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @11:48PM (#188061)
    This is particularly alarming / revolting / pathetic / disgusting / enraging.

    They actually want to copyright a DATA STRUCTURE so that no one else can use it. That's just insane.

    I'm going to copyright the following data structure immediately:

    • EmpID
    • LastName
    • FirstName
    • SSN

    If I come across ANYONE using ANYTHING even REMOTELY like this, I'm gonna sue you and you will be owned.

  • Actually, soap is not the best lubricant to enter through a backdoor [slashdot.org] ;-)
  • Just put a lid on the pot when the water is cool. Plus the water boils faster that way

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."