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Microsoft

Microsoft Delays New Licensing Terms 269

Reader tempestdata indicates this CNN story, writing: "It appears Microsoft is facing quite a bit of opposition for its new licensing program." It looks like Redmond is granting a one-fiscal-year reprieve to the many companies who were caught off-guard by the announcement of new Microsoft licensing plans. Perhaps some of those companies would be interested in the new KDE 2.2.beta1 -- at least KDE and GNOME don't seem likely to institute monthly subscription fees.
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Microsoft Delays New Licensing Terms

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  • by El ( 94934 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:31PM (#102786)
    Microsoft does know how to work the beancounters..something KDE and GNOME really cant do yet.

    Uh, isn't that because you have to actually be charging money before you can "work the beancounters"?

  • by JohnG ( 93975 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:31PM (#102787)
    MS is treading on dangerous ground now, IMHO. On one hand they have acknowledged that Linux/Open Source is enough of a threat to start their FUD campaigns, (which has possibly served the opposite of what they wanted since IBM didn't seem to keen on the remarks and might just push Linux even harder.) and on the other hand they are issueing new licenses and registration requirements that are only going to push other people away from them.
    If the threat of the DOJ and the possible British anti-trust trials aren't enough to make them stop the insanity, at least something they have showed signs of fearing should. Oh well, a guess a leopard really can't ever change his spots
    Personally I would pay good money if Apple would come out with MacOS X for Intel. It wouldn't be that hard with Darwin already ported, and with Mac's ease of use, AND the power of UNIX, I imagine alot of companies and indeed average Joe Schmoes would choose MacOS over Windows.

  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:33PM (#102788)
    KDE and GNOME don't seem likely to institute monthly subscription fees.

    Isn't the whole idea of Ximian based on charging subscription fees for software services?

  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:34PM (#102790) Journal

    The Microsoft Algorithm:

    1. Float trial balloon with extremely controversial idea.
    2. Observe public reaction.
    3. If people are sufficiently upset to consider switching to Linux, tone down the idea and go back to 1, looking like the public-sensitive hero. Else implement the idea and make a bundle of money.
    4. Go to 1.
  • by El ( 94934 )
    Correction: they have stolen/borrowed/appropriated some really tight ideas... the only idea I know that was actually original to the boyz in Redmond was Bob... can anybody think of any others?
  • by neema ( 170845 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:36PM (#102793) Homepage
    ""Never in my career have I seen the customer base so angry at Microsoft," says Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Giga Information Group. "They were calling Microsoft things you wouldn't want your family to hear."

    Obviously not a visitor of Slashdot, now is he?
  • by faeryman ( 191366 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:37PM (#102794) Homepage
    yeah, thats my point. Microsoft panicks them with possible budgeting problems, then turns around and says 'oh, no, its ok for you to upgrade now if money was your problem etc'. granted its not hard to work the beancounters, but MS does a grand job of it.

    KDE/GNOME arent even considered at work because they dont cost money. as stupid as it sounds, if they charged for it we would probally use it. go fig. so KDE/GNOME dont even get a chance to play the beancounter game.

    yeah.

  • by Wansu ( 846 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:37PM (#102795)
    There are many organizations who haven't yet fully deployed Win2k and have no plans to deploy XP. The 4 year cycle cited in the CNN story sounded typical. The outfit I work for probably won't be in a position to deploy XP for at least a couple more years. The developers despise using NT/2k. A skunkworks development environment already exists using non-MS OSes. If MS turns the thumb screws, things could get interesting.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:37PM (#102796)
    are they just allowing *ALL* companies (except those w/the obvious resources to handle the new licenses) to wait a year?

    I honestly never thought that MS would go quite this psycho on licensing...

    Did you?
  • Just a small point - it's the "European anti-trust trials", not "British anti-trust trials"

  • by El ( 94934 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:40PM (#102800)
    Microsoft seems bound and determined to trigger another antitrust lawsuit with the release of XP/.NET. The first suit lost them 60% of their stock value... I wonder what the next DoJ action will cost them?

    Speaking of .NET, would you trust Microsoft with your data?

  • by Diomedes01 ( 173241 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:40PM (#102801)
    Unfortunately, I don't think that this really changes anything. Microsoft, for all we bash them here, is not stupid. Stupid companies go out of business. They may have shady business practices, they may not make the greatest software, but they are certainly not the imbeciles we often make them out to be.

    My guess is that they are doing this in order to gauge the marketplace reaction to their subscription model. Many people don't feel the need to upgrade, and it's possible they've got something under their belt that will change that in the next year (or at least they hope it will change).

    KDE is certainly nice, but for your average Joe Sixpack, it still isn't quite there, and corporations already have a huge installed workforce already trained and familiar with Windows. It will take Microsoft driving customers away (already begun) in combination with the maturation of one or both of Linux's desktop systems to really get things moving. Much of the software already exists, but the user base simply does not.

    This creates an unfortunate Catch-22, because many pieces of software are useful, but are certainly not polished for the masses, because the user base isn't large - and the user base isn't large because the software is not polished.

    One thing that Linux on the desktop needs more than anything else is a standard look and feel. Diversity is certainly a good thing, but it's hard to explain that to someone who has to learn a different set of menus for every single piece of software that they want to use.


    -------
  • by bbh ( 210459 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:41PM (#102804)
    It really does leave you looking for alternatives. At universities, often many labs are used for students to log into some web based instructional tools and to print up papers. It makes you seriously think about the viability of a lab with Linux, StarOffice, and Mozilla or Konqueror. I know in many states there have been budget cut backs and it leaves you wondering if it is best to completely avoid these types of Microsoft agreements. As all budgeting takes quite a bit of planning and red tape, this type of shifting of licensing agreements is a little scary. Does anyone know of any universities that actually use a set up like the one mentioned above?

    bbh
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:45PM (#102806) Homepage Journal

    The Microsoft Algorithm:
    1. Float trial balloon with extremely controversial idea.
    2. Observe public reaction.
    3. If people are sufficiently upset to consider switching to Linux, tone down the idea and go back to 1, looking like the public-sensitive hero. Else implement the idea and make a bundle of money.
    4. Go to 1.

    This is Microsoft. They're competent programmers. They know the best ins and outs of writing good programs. This skill is what has kept Microsoft on top all these years.

    So any Microsoft programmer knows you're supposed to add new line numbers by TENs, so that you have room to insert bug fixes later.

    So that's:

    • 10 Float trial balloon with extremely controversial idea.
      ... and so on.

    Get with the program, guys!

  • Sounds like Slashdot might be forced to remove your message because it looks like a copyright violation from one of Microsoft's advertising brochures.
  • Except that it's true. This has always been Microsoft's strategy as long as I've been watching them and I've been watching them as long as they've been around. Back before it was Linux it was OS/2 and before OS/2 it was DR DOS. They have a similar strategy that goes "code something nasty" "Did we get caught" "OH SHIT! WE GOT CAUGHT!" "Deny Everything" "Repeat"
  • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) <sg_publicNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday July 06, 2001 @05:54PM (#102812)

    Clearly Microsoft has been using the press to float trial balloons about controversial policies. Instead of discussing the policy with customers (like a company that doesn't have a monopoly has to), they formulate a Machiavellian policy, float it in the press, and watch the firestorm. If it looks politically manageable, they proceed. If not, they repeal it as a misunderstanding.

    Ziff-Davis had a story that described [zdnet.com] how Microsoft had to back off of SmartTags and their upgrade policy. Remember when Microsoft spammed their users (Infoworld, 1999) to encourage them to write to congress to promote their "freedom to innovate"? On the other hand, they're policy to rent software was a miss in 1997, but they're doing it now with Office XP.

    The result is that, these policies get postponed, but Microsoft just keeps trying. Either they're waiting for people not to notice an especially odious policy (or to be too jaded to care), or for their monopoly power to be so entrenched that it doesn't matter anyway.

    I'd like to think that this is an example of the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I suspect another expression will sadly become more appropriate; To paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It's good to be a monopoly."


  • While it is true that MS operating systems and MS applications tend to have a standard look and feel (but not always... look at the User Domain manager, or SQL Server Manager) that is not true for the platform.

    You will find that ANY piece of software will take a bit of time to master, whether it be Word or VI. I don't think there is a "single look and feel" for all applications. Borland apps look different, Quicken looks different. Games tend to have their own distinct look and feel that is sometimes out of the ordinary - yet average joe plays them with no problem IF THEY ARE WELL DESIGNED.

    Which is my point... standard look and feel doesn't matter jack jelly beans, unless the application is well designed.

    Pan
  • Stupid companies go out of business.

    Eventually, yes. Microsoft appears to my naive eyes to be getting stupider by the minute (this brain-drain is to be expected; with stock price dropping, stock options are worthless, and the better employees are jumping ship in droves). Just because they haven't gone out of business yet doesn't mean they're not stupid...

    Let's see here... Micrsoft stock plumented from $115 to to $40 during 2000... and that was before the economic slowdown. Seems like somebody must have been doing something stupid somewhere! Think Ballmer's so smart? Any CEO that would announce in public that their companies stock is massively overvalued SHOULD have been dismissed immediately by the board of directors. Only in a situation where his personal friend control most of the stock would he be allowed to stay on. Think Microsoft Bob and the talking paperclip were smart ideas?

    Yes, the cost of training users on a new interface is expensive (~$2000/seat). That's why I keep insisting that Microsoft owns the desktop, but Linux will take over the server and embedded markets, where retraining is not an issue. On the desktop, KDE can still win if it keeps a consistent user interface while Microsoft completely changes their interface from one OS release to the next, making it cheaper to retrain employees on KDE once, rather than every time Redmond tries to shove a new OS down thier throats...

  • Let me float this trial balloon, a recap of sorts of the last six months:


    1. MS fights like mad and lobby's like mad to get the results of Judge (I-Think-Bill-Gates-Is-Napeleon) Kaplan's trial overturned. Mission: complete.

    2. In lower court, challenge findings of fact and re-visit the "is or is not a monopoly issue." Mission: pending.

    3. In the public spectrum, declare Linux/OSS the "number-one threat to Windows/MS in the future". Mission: complete.

    4. Related to number 3, reinvigorate claim from first trial that "MS faces significant competition from outsiders, for example, Linx". See Number 2. Mission: complete.

    5. Attempt to put into the claim that MS can control market prices. Create an unpopular licensing scheme and watch customers revolts. Be responsive to those demands. Force the question: "Why would MS, as a supposed monopoly, be responsive to customer demands/needs? Answer: we have to because we aren't a monopoly!". Mission: complete.

    6. Brow-beat friendlier-than-last-time-around DOJ into dropping Sherman claims, plead guilty to minor technical infractions of business laws. Settle with a relatively minor fine to the Federal Government. Mission: pending.

    7. Settle with disheartened states, perhaps filing a motion to break the class due to lack of a favorable finding of fact. Pick-states off one by one, smallest first with paperwork/smallish settlements. Mission: pending.

    8. Rule the Interent, Desktop OS, Server OS, and portable market. Fullfill "Anywhere, anytime, on any device" claim. Regain position as most trusted, most valuable, most "innovative" company in the history of the world. Mission: partially complete.


    And of course, it wouldn't be possible without the zealtroy and undying hardwork of MS's number #1 and possible saviour from breakup, Linux. Congratulations, MS 0wnz j00u.
  • A peeve about your KDE remark:

    KDE is certainly nice, but for your average Joe Sixpack, it still isn't quite there

    Actually, it is there. Heck, it's more than there. KDE is probably 10 times more configurable and stable than Windows, and it's not for just novices. Believe me, this "Joe Sixpack" you speak of doesn't care about such configurability. All he cares about is that clicking an X in the corner of a window causes it to close. I believe KDE is overqualified.

    corporations already have a huge installed workforce already trained and familiar with Windows.

    This is the real problem, as well as your Catch-22 about Linux software.
  • Sure, give me also 16 years to reach where they have reached, to work at their terms (exclusive licensing deals which are legally questionable), money, and good sales people - and I'll get there..

    People always seems to forget how much Linux has been progressed.

    Go ahead - search on your CD archive or get Redhat 4.2, SuSE 4.0, Slackware 2.0 - and install it, see what applications you got (without upgrading to today's libs) and you can see how much Linux has been progressed..

    So sure, Linux won't get the desktop market tommorow - KDE and Gnome will get much more mature, and at the end, one of them will be dominant wether you like it or not, companies will get into one standard (as crappy as the standard will be), and there will be apps and Linux will get a bigger desktop market share.

    I hardly think it will take MS share, but I belive it will get a good hold within 2-3 years, which is a long time to make Linux more mature and friendly to newbies...
  • by El ( 94934 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:05PM (#102824)
    Yes, but Linux as a server OS and Linux as an embedded OS is already kicking Microsoft's ass... do desktops really have a future, or will 95% of PCs be replaced by embedded devices (e.g. web pads) ten years from now? Having a lock on the buggy whip industry doesn't do you very much good when everyone is buying cars... look at Novell, for example -- how much good is the fact that they used to control 75% of the NOS market doing them now?
  • ..."Redmond is granting a one-fiscal-year reprieve to the many companies who were caught off-guard by the announcement of new Microsoft licensing plans"

    Last time somebody "granted" me a reprieve was when I paid my taxes late, and it was the government. Am I the only one who has the distinct feeling that Microsoft takes itself for a state within the state ?

  • by Diomedes01 ( 173241 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:06PM (#102826)
    I wonder how many companies (small companies, most likely!) are considering the same thing?
    I think that small companies are where Linux is going to have to make inroads into the market. They are more nimble and able to adapt to changing conditions, and are thus more easily able to adopt a different development and/or desktop platform. It is the larger corporations that will find it the most difficult to change over. We can hope that a sort of domino effect will occur, but it will take a lot of effort, and a lot of luck.


    -------
  • I only know about the University of California at Davis. The computer labs are almost entirely Unix (HP-UX / DEC running CDE), with a new block put in last year running Linux and KDE1. I would venture to guess that *nix is already the favorite at all CS labs, so making the small step to Linux isn't too difficult.
  • I haven't delved much into the new licensing except for what is in the article. This sounds like mainframe software licensing where after the initial cost you pay a yearly maintenance fee. If you pay the maintenance fee then upgrades are no extra charge. Large IT (mainframe) shops are used to this. This actually helps them in allowing each user to keep current. In my group at work, different combinations (95/97/2000,etc.) of office are in use and sometimes there are problems when opening files. If we were on the same versions, then we wouldn't have the problems. The big cost in the upgrades will not actually be the software, it will be number of hours you pay someone to perform the upgrades. Upgrading a few mainframes is nothing compared to upgrading 5,000-10,000 PCs. Just my 2 cents.
  • by eap ( 91469 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:08PM (#102829) Journal
    The next time you sit down to your Windows PC at work, remember that these sorts of licensing fiascos cost your company real cash.

    The company has to make up for the increase in expenses somehow, and we all know how most companies are doing that these days.
  • by Liquid-Gecka ( 319494 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:10PM (#102831)
    makes my business professors argument that Microsoft has in no way hurt business.

    The protests over Software Assurance arose because the program and the 2001 deadline to enroll were announced after enterprises had set budgets for this year. That meant enterprises likely had to either raid existing budgets or trim workforce to enroll.

    If companies are laying people off just so they can afford the new Microsoft license system it is a sure sign that companies are being hurt by Microsoft's monopoly.

    I am sure this is an extreme example, but even still, it makes you think..
  • by El ( 94934 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:11PM (#102832)
    From a high of $120 in December of 1999, they are now at $66... I certainly wouldn't call that "recovered 100%". Check www.nasdaq.com, stock symbol MSFT, and ask for a 2 year chart...
  • Granted they're offering individuals a free trial subscription, but RedHat Network [redhat.com] is charging a subscription fee [redhat.com]for their Software Manager service. Pricing starts at $19.95/month for individual systems, with volume discounts of $990/year for 10 systems. That's the sort of money Microsoft is asking, is it not?
  • by Blue Neon Head ( 45388 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:14PM (#102836)
    This is a Red Hat ad in the making: Picture an IT manager looking to upgrade, and the friendly customer service representative chatting his ear off about licensing options. Or IT guys getting a call ("The system's down!"), sprinting and scrambling to a little closet to fix things up, only to find a screen blinking "SOFTWARE EXPIRED: MUST UPGRADE."

    And then ... the pitch: "Tired of being pushed around by your software? There's an alternative ..."

  • So true. We are just finishing our rollout of Win2000 Pro to replace our Win95 PCs. Still have a few to go. We started testing Win2000 Pro in early fall 2000, and will not finish a full rollover to 2000 Server anytime in the foreseeable future. We'll have our desks updated by the end of the month, though.

    --
  • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) <sg_publicNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:14PM (#102838)

    > "Microsoft is saying 'we made a mistake,'" says
    > Chris LeTocq, principal analyst with Guernsey
    > Research. "They listened to IT executives."
    > Those executives were saying they could not
    > afford the new licensing model this year.

    Any IT manager out there worth his or her salt should ask Microsoft for an extension, begging and pleading for time. Then immediately put together a task force to reduce their company's dependance on Microsoft's products. Maybe not completely (they do have a monopoly, you know), but be able to put your company in a position where you have a second vendor for any product Microsoft makes. That way you have a second vendor to keep Microsoft honest. That means instigating policies such as "all company documents should be stored in an open format like RTF or even PDF, but not like DOC."

    That way, the next time Microsoft floats a trial balloon, your company can have a credible alternative to give Microsoft in response.

    Remember, your first responsibility is to honor your fiduciary duty to your company's shareholders, not to Microsoft. A simple concept, but something overlooked in all companies I've worked for.


  • From a high of $120 in December of 1999, they are now at $66... I certainly wouldn't call that "basically recovered". Check www.nasdaq.com, stock symbol MSFT, and ask for a 2 year chart...

    does this [nasdaq.com] look "recovered" to you?

  • by poetic justice ( 143990 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:17PM (#102843) Journal
    I work for a DoD contractor. We build datawarehouses. We play with BETA's. We are a real company that makes a profit. You don't know what the hell you are talking about...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:19PM (#102845)
    ...considering that my company (20,000+ desktops, and 300+servers) is for the first time looking at linux on the desktop. We're primarly running netware servers and windows desktops with a few sun boxes for variety. Here are a few quotes from a standards committee meeting:
    "Microsquish"
    "...can shove it up Balmer's.."
    "We need some ALTURNATIVES"
    and most importanly:
    "if only Linux was viable on the desktop"
    I'm not making this up. Another concern was that the whole IT department would have to be re-trained for linux, in addition to a lot of other people, which would be very expensive. Someone quietly noted that it'd be cheaper than $10 to $20 MILLION in microsoft taxes. Someone else mentioned that the dep. of defence is moving over to linux (see, sometimes it's GOOD when people don't read the whole article). In case anyone had any doubts, there IS interest at the enterprise level.

    I probably shouldn't be posting this, but if it gives a few developers the extra motivation to hurry up and produce a 'consumer' linux...

    I'd put my money where my mouth is, and pitch in, except I'm working full time and working on an engineering degree at night...so no flames please.

  • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) <sg_publicNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:19PM (#102846)

    > Microsoft has pushed back the deadlines for
    > enrollment to its new licensing program by five
    > months

    You got an extension this time, but if you're late again, they're going to have to break your legs!


  • You forget, Taco will not remove posts at Microsoft's request. At the request of the Church of Scientology, on the other hand...

    --
  • Actually, it is there. Heck, it's more than there. KDE is probably 10 times more configurable and stable than Windows, and it's not for just novices

    This brings up an interesting quote that I believe I first read here on Slashdot:

    Windows sucks because the primary intent in making it was to generate revenue, and not a decent operating system.

    ---
  • So, use the price of a distributon CD if they want dollars to assign to it.

    Beancounter: So, how much would this new system cost?
    Sysadmin: Thirty dollars for the CD with the software on it.
    BC: Thirty dollars per seat? That's cheap.
    SA: Well, if you want a physical CD for each PC, but you only need one CD for the entire company.
    BC: Thirty dollars for an enterprise-wide license? How much do they hit us for upgrades?
    SA: Well, minor stuff we just download the upgraded packages from the vendor. Major updates we buy another thirty-dollar CD, but those only happen about once a year.
    BC: And we need to pay $BIGNUM per seat for MS software, every year...
    SA: Plus retraining people on the new way the new versions work, plus upgrading all the other software that won't work right on the new systems, plus upgrading the hardware because what we've got isn't supported on the new versions...
    BC: ...

  • The Microsoft Algorithm:

    Float trial balloon with extremely controversial idea.

    1. Observe public reaction.

    2. If people are sufficiently upset to

    3. consider switching to Linux, tone down the idea and go back to 1, looking like the public-sensitive hero. Else implement the idea and make a bundle of money.

    4. Go to 1.

    Excellent algorithm, if they keep it up they'll scare millions of new users over into our little world. But hey, whatever they feel works for them, right?
    --

  • Another bit of corporate backlash Microsoft got was the spamvertised 'active' desktop that shipped with IE4. IT Managers were not happy with MS selling 'their' desktop space to Disney, etc, especially if it meant that users would be distracted from work. MS had to release special corporate versions of IE4 and Win98 that had the adverts disabled.

    Note that Slashdot can make as much noise as they want and it's not going to affect Microsoft at all. It's really the big corporate customers and the OEMs that have the pull.
    --
  • Who modded this down? This isn't troll. It's the truth! Every once in a while this crowd needs a reality check: It is quite true that KDE and Gnome are not yet suitable for most businesses. Yet, when I say this, I get moderated down.

    I love Slashdot dearly, but every once in a while I want to quit the whole mess and get back to my regular life. This is one of those moments.
  • thus getting a big user base. better than free software. later they turn the screws. very smart cookie, that gates.

    I don't think that they planned on this, nor do I think that they realize how much this will hurt them. However, they don't really have a choice at this point. Microsoft has backed themselves into a corner (as far as business models go) and can't get out.

    Open source would not be where it is without one very positive thing from Microsoft. They came into an industry which was dominated by players who were interested in selling a few copies of their software to businesses for several thousands of dollars per copy and realized that most of their expense was in development. So they undersold their competition in order to dramatically increase the market size and take advantage of this economy of scale. This tactic has helped to make the personal computer as affordable as it is today and such operating systems as Linux possible (the development of the internet has also helped this dramatically).

    This model is only sustainable in a growing computer market. If the market ceases to grow, then it becomes harder and harder to maintain the revenue streams necessary to pay developers and still sell the software at insanely low prices. Microsoft executives know this and they know that their stock will tank or worse if they don't do something.

    So here is their plan:

    1. Cut down on piracy. This helps with the immediate cash flow.
    2. Try to dominate the middleware market with .NET (given that their plans to, in their words, "pollute" Java failed to some degree.
    3. Force people to pay them subsciptions for their software.
    These strategies hinge on #2, dominating middleware, and I doubt that they will be able to pull it off because #1 will alienate them from some customers and induce a lack of trust and they will be facing competition from a variety of sources, both comercial and open source. So they will have trouble collecting royalties.

    Anyway, this indicates that Microsoft is becomming aware of the problems that it will face with these companies but still has yet to grasp its full impact.

  • And of course, it wouldn't be possible without the zealtroy and undying hardwork of MS's number #1 and possible saviour from breakup, Linux. Congratulations, MS 0wnz j00u.

    Heh, well we need Microsoft too, without them people wouldn't be able to see the distinction between good and evil quite so clearly. Do you think there's any chance Linux would have grown at this rate without these guys being the way they are?
    --

  • Under the program, enterprises don't need to actually deploy the software, but they must have the license.

    It's a good thing that I'm licensed for Sid so that I can use my Potatoe!

  • by itsnotsammy ( 461541 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @06:45PM (#102865)
    listen guys, OSS is great, I use it for my all of my servers, and my database's... but, ya know what? Guess what is on my desktop?? Thats right, windows, 2000 pro to be exact. Ya know why? Because in general OSS on the desktop, is very badly implemented. Sure, there is KDE and GNOME, but think of what you have to do to maintain a working desktop... Sure, at first getting it up is easy, but maintaing it from the home users point of view- i dont think so. This may sound like a good/bad idea for you guys... but, get a central "company" (no, redhat doesnt cut it) that distributes a single distro of linux, get the KDE and GNOME guys together to create a SINGLE desktop environment, bind it to that version of linux, write *home* apps, that use a STANDARD interface, market it for the home consumer, and sell it for $20 a pop. If you want OSS to replace windows, and have true innovation, then do that.
  • >Besides which, if I'm trying to run a business, I >need a desktop environment that is suitable for >no less than 100% of my business's needs. I agree. Now what are you using, since MS doesn't work for this either? MS Word blows chunks on included images that StarOffice 5.1 breezes along over - either Word or Windows cannot reclaim memory correctly. Outlook, the alleged premier workplace claendar app, does not seem to allow a search for an available conference room, according to my company's IT drones.
  • KDE and Gnome? Are you suggesting business actually RUN KDE and Gnome? You are kidding, right? OK business world: Go install KDE on everybody's desk and watch your business crumble. Get real folks. KDE and Gnome are nice for the tech crowd but they ain't for the business crowd. The licensing is attractive, but whaddya expect for nothing. Mac OS X perhaps, assuming you can get the apps you need to run on that platform. But KDE and Gnome? I think not. For more businesses than not, Windows is still the only realistic option. Could Microsoft get away with this highway robbery if it weren't?

    I assume you are not trolling because your opinion is the most prevalent one I have seen in the business world.

    That does not mean that it is the truth. There are a few problems I have seen with using if for businesses but they are comparatively minor. Abiword is still in beta and is missing key features like footers which makes StarOffice the only reasonable office suite (I have had stability problems with KOffice, sorry, and OpenOffice still lacks spell checking capabilities). Windows is the only realistic option because people think it is. But that is not the case, and I have run a business entirely on Linux. When I have needed to, I have written basic CRM apps, etc. in PHP and run them off Apache.

    With the licensing issues, I run freely redistributable software as much as possible on my business machines. It exposes me to far less in the way of licensing liabilities, and prevents proprietary lockdown of my data. The worst problems I have ever seen with Linux in the business have been solely caused by workers being afraid to make mistakes, and so refusing to save their documents on an unfamiliar system. This is a problem but a 5 minute instructional introdution will reduce the worst problems here.

    The real problems are psychological, not technological.

  • My suspicion is that you are talking about MSOffice vs. KOffice. Otherwise, except for a bit of trouble with ppp, I don't see that windows has any advantage except being pre-installed.

    Back to KOffice: Have you looked at the more recent versions? A few months ago I would have agreed with you, but the current CVS version fixes most of the major problems, though, e.g., an indexing capability is still missing. Now I'll admit that I haven't used it much yet (the current version that I have was just downloaded yesterday), but it looks quite good. And it's still in beta. KWord 1.1 beta 3 using KDE 2.2 beta 1 to be precise. I think that it's already good enough for most of the work that is done around the office. It's that last 5% that's the problem. So it probably won't really be ready until version 1.2.

    Mind you, I don't really know what the features that others would need are. I just note that it doesn't have indexing, a feature I occasionally need, and assume that others will have need for some other feature that is missing. Change bars, perhaps. (Which I never use, so I don't know whether they are present or not.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • OK business world: Go install KDE on everybody's desk and watch your business crumble.

    Why would using GNOME or KDE cause all productivity to stop? I have been able to use these desktops to get work done. Can you give an example?

    Get real folks. KDE and Gnome are nice for the tech crowd but they ain't for the business crowd.

    What features that are needed for business are missing from either of these desktops that Windows has? There are database apps, office suites that are not so bad to use that people can not get work done with them. (Hint if DOS is still used by many buisness out there as I have seen then how would GNOME or KDE on Linux be worse?) You offer no examples, have no evidance and in a latter post complain that you got modded down. Unfortuanetly I have probably been trolled but if you can give some answers to my questions then I might change my opinion of you.
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • It's not the subscription charges that the companies are upset about, nor is it about the cost of the subscription. Read the article again! The real problem the companies had was the fact that Microsoft changed the terms after they had fixed their budgets for the year and doing this sort of thing plays absolute hell with the bean counters.

    These companys were already paying a subscription fee for their software (so they have the priviledge of upgrading whenever they want) at a fairly reasonable price (paying for the software about once every 6 years - a lot less than buying every 4 years costs).

    This anger isn't about the new "subscription" model they are planning for consumer software. This is simply about changing their pricing structure without enough advance warning.
  • Clearly microsoft is in the phase of Deminishing Returns with its R&D effort. Linux is grabbing the low hanging fruit of Usable GUI environment, GUI development tools (Qt and kde designer, and Glade for gtk/gnome/python), and other things like basic office applications - word, excel, powerpoint clones (Just to name a few).

    So how can microsoft innovate to sustain the lead it has over Free/OpenSource software? .NET is the glaring example of their new innovations. They want to suck web and back-office developers onto their windows desktop like a hoover vaccuum cleaner, and extend their developing experience with MS dev tools and servers for their High End OS line.

    When Bill Gates says he's betting the future of his company on .NET, he's not joking. There's really nothing he can do to curtail the future cloning and pac-man like action of Free/OpenSource software. Microsoft has to innovate itself to future growth by locking developers into a development model which is best served by microsoft (despite being open). We will see if things like Mono and Java will offer competitive stakes on the noosphere, and I beleive they will.

    Using Marketing to slow down competition, or outright kill it, is a mainstay at Redmond headquarters. Is Microsoft trying to kill Open Source or slow it down permanently, or is this all a ruse, while MS is off in some other place staking out new markets and lock-ins? Open Source bad, GPL is virus, Linux steals intellectual property -- meanwhile they come along with .NET and shared source, with a happy smiley face attatched to it to stop the bleeding of MS developers to perl, apache, php, etc. It's not working, but I may not even be tracking their real strategy.

    It seems to me that MS is in huddle mode, plotting future marketing thrusts, and product innovations, probably with the sole purpose of cutting off the Open Source airsupply (developers). It's a mind game from here on out, but once we fixate an image to MS's marketing ways, it will be hard for them to shake it off. Therefore, I encourage advocates to point out what subtle deceit and lies are contained in Microsoft propaganda and marketing campaigns, and for them to offer theories as to what their ulterior motives are. A Frank discussion of Microsoft's behavior and meddling is what's needed to exinguish their attacks. Big voices carry a larger impact. And the recent IBM call that Microsoft is exhibiting extraordinary arrogance is most welcome.
  • There are many organizations who haven't yet fully deployed Win2k and have no plans to deploy XP. The 4 year cycle cited in the CNN story sounded typical. The outfit I work for probably won't be in a position to deploy XP for at least a couple more years. The developers despise using NT/2k. A skunkworks development environment already exists using non-MS OSes. If MS turns the thumb screws, things could get interesting.

    I agree. Also note that 55% of office users are still using Office 97. People are not quicly upgrading just because the new product comes out, and the same goes for hardware. So Microsoft has to do something to increase its sales or else it has to raise the price significantly (which would be even worse for Microsoft). Microsoft's current business model is not sustainable (sh. Don't tell the executives... THey might decide to charge subscriptions for their software!)

  • by rodentia ( 102779 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @07:36PM (#102886)
    This is not bullsh*t. I've found myself lying and making up costs for the software libre work I've been doing. If you don't have costs you get two reactions: they either write it off as some unsupportable nerd nightmare that will require three PhDs to maintain or they hit pause and give you blank stares.

    This in an environment of severe budget constraints. You would think they'd be falling over themselves to adopt this model, but the fear of the unknown is palpable. They tell themselves that no one ever got burned going with MS. Besides, with the beast setting the upgrade schedule, they've got more time to work on their swing.
  • Blockquoth the poster:
    Sure, at first getting it up is easy, but maintaing it from the home users point of view- i dont think so.
    Hmmm, at first read, I thought the poster was describing Windows, not OSS. I'm not exactly a power user and I don't run a lot of freaky exotic software, and I still spend a lot of time every week keeping my NT box chugging along... I think we're really talking more of a perceived difference than a real one, in usability and stability.

  • Windows sucks because the primary intent in making it was to generate revenue, and not a decent operating system.
    Well, it does it's job well, no?

    --

  • A study by Guernsey Research shows that enterprises on a two-year upgrade cycle will save 19 percent in licensing costs, but that enterprises on a three-year cycle will see a 40 percent increase in costs.

    So with companies wanting to push to a three year cycle, and Microsoft wanting everyone on a two year cycle, there is a little truth to both sides of the argument.

    But Microsoft's argument requires you overlook the facts for an awful lot of companies. How convenient.

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

  • They'll feel better if you let them pay the $30/seat. I've actually done this, a few times. The guys buying the software feel good about it, and the Slackware or redhat guys get some money... Everybody's happy.
  • That's the sort of money Microsoft is asking, is it not?

    Except that a RedHat distribution comes with features that are more comparable to an MSDN subscription (which was running something like $2K per year a few years ago; I haven't checked lately). It's too bad that the features are skewed more towards a developer than your typical app user, however. (IIRC, MSDN came with a handy copy of MS Office that could be used for "testing" ;-)

    The good news is that RedHat software probably won't disable itself when it 'expires'.

    Personally, I'd probably pay the $19, because I'm too busy/lazy to keep up-to-date on every individual package I use.

  • KDE is certainly nice, but for your average Joe Sixpack, it still isn't quite there, and corporations already have a huge installed workforce already trained and familiar with Windows. It will take Microsoft driving customers away (already begun) in combination with the maturation of one or both of Linux's desktop systems to really get things moving. Much of the software already exists, but the user base simply does not.

    Whether KDE or GNOME is polished enough for the average Joe Sixpack to run is an open question. My parents (who were completely lost on Windows 95) run GNOME with fewer problems than they ever had on Windows.

    You are right about the user base, though. User base is everything in open source. The development is done by part of that user base. With increased user base comes increased development. This is the only concern I have with competing desktop environments-- that it reduces the development of the platforms...

  • Ok...this *is* offtopic (-1). But I saw some posts telling that KDE is there but not yet blah, blah...
    I work for a federally funded program to improve Math/Science skills in 10, 11 and 12 grade kids. We also have a computer lab (read win98 lab)for rudimentary work. I had installed KDE/Linux on one of the machines. The kids routinely come and chat on yahoo and browse the web and write reports etc., on the windows machines.
    I thought none of the kids would use the linux machine as it was *wierd*. But recently I have seen a girl who had been branded as *dumb* use the linux machine. I was surprised to see that she was listening to real music, checking mails, chatting on yahoo and writing a report using StarOffice. I asked her how she was doing she said ok and gave me this look as though I was picking on her. She also printed her report and just walked. Now other kids routinely use that machine also. They have actually grown fond of some of the games on KDE and now and then a fight ensues. My guess is a KDE machine with pre-installed StarOffice and working sound should be able to replace a win98 machine in public labs.
    But their only complaint is no AOL....now I can't help it can I ?
  • by Bob Uhl ( 30977 ) <eadmund42 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 06, 2001 @08:14PM (#102905) Homepage
    Heh. I'm no moral dualist--the idea that there is an absolute good and an absolute evil has always begged the question of how one can tell which is good and which is evil; really, for a Zoroastrian to serve Ormuzd or Ahriman makes no difference, as either way he is serving some nebulous power. I've always adhered to the idea that there is an absolute good and a whole lot of more-or-less not-goods.

    But Microsoft's software makes one think. It is neither so externally elegant as the least slime to have been quelled in the depths of Apple's R&D labs, nor so internally elegant as the least of the rejected patches to Linux, FreeBSD or any other Real OS. In many ways, one wonders if Microsoft is, indeed, the Absolute Evil without which Absolute Good is nothing.

    But I believe that after further consideration one realises that M$ is, after all, not truly an absolute ill but merely a very nasty thing gone horribly wrong. It does have its very few saving graces, however few and far between. And even Unix is not the absolute good. Our permissions model is positively antediluvian, to give one simple example (true, honest-to-goodness capabilities would be so nice). But for all its warts, Unix (the idea) and Linux/BSD (the children)--even Solaris and HP-UX (the natural children)--are far far better than Microsoft's cruft.

    One can see that, as Microsoft has failed horribly to reach OS decency, and Unix has failed far less horribly, that we are duty-bound to learn from the lessons and mistakes of Unix and progress along the path towards true OS perfection. On the one path, madness and misery. On the other, freedom and frolic. Which is the obvious, and correct, choice?

  • by iomud ( 241310 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @08:16PM (#102906) Homepage Journal
    Sure, at first getting it up is easy, but maintaing it from the home users point of view- i dont think so.

    apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade -y is too hard, how about we make it an icon? Seriously things are getting better just take a look at KDE 2.2beta1 it almost makes gnome look comical, as far as I'm concerned kde is the standard interface, they're not about putting airs they release early and often and are cranking out great stuff. Take a look at apps.kde.com and the thekompany.com. I'm all for a standard interface, I just think we can choose one that comes out of healthy competition because we all have our prefrences and no one can agree about all of them. Now... On to preemptiveness and low latentcy!

  • Microsoft only invented the most popular operating system in the world!

    That's not invention, that's development. And actually it's not true, they bought the core of DOS from some other company, and everything since then has been protection of market shares and adoption by questionable means and adoption of ideas from others.

    BTW. if what you say is true, Linus trovold didn't invent anything either.

    Largely true, actually. There's probably a couple of details original to him, but unlike Gates, he never claimed to be a big innovator either, as far as I know.

  • Small companies are a great potential market for Linux. However, these are the folks that don't have skilled system administrators sitting around, and the secondary support market for Linux is *way* too thin at this point to provide help for the small guys.

    I can see a future where you walk into the corner clone shop, buy a Linux server and sign up for a remote support plan and forget about it. Quick, cheap, easy, and painless for the small business owner. However, right now the Corner Clone guys have all sorts of Microsoft comp seminars and trainings, products specifically designed for the small biz market (don't tell me about that IBM POS with Lotus Domino) and probably 0 in-house Unix skills. (Note that both Novell and Microsoft put much effort into their "dealer network" when they were on the way up. RedHat or someone could do the same, but where's the money?)
    --
  • > The developers despise using NT/2k.

    Compared to what?! Are the engineers running Linux w/KDE/GNOME, BeOS, or some other variant of Unix?

    If you're forced to run a Windows OS, Win2K is the best version of windows M$ has put out to date (which isn't saying a lot, since it's easy to beat the crap they put out before.) It's relatively stable, and you can play all the latest games on it. (I haven't blue screened it in months.)

    As a game developer, all my coworkers will take Win2K over win99 (aka win98se) anyday. (Now if only VC++ 6 wouldn't hog the system when it's linking...)
  • One can see that, as Microsoft has failed horribly to reach OS decency, and Unix has failed far less horribly, that we are duty-bound to learn from the lessons and mistakes of Unix and progress along the path towards true OS perfection. On the one path, madness and misery. On the other, freedom and frolic. Which is the obvious, and correct, choice?

    Getting a life, turning off the computer, and enjoying vigorous recreational sex until 5am would be the obvious, correct choice.

    Alcohol and gender are optional; pick what you want...

    Si
  • 1. Float trial balloon with extremely controversial idea.

    Actually, when you think about it, this isn't much different than deciding terms for a contract, if you replace #1 with a discussion of how much money you're going to be making.

    Perhaps it's possible that Microsoft is trying to find the most offensive, yet acceptable ground to be on, and this is being done by trial and error.

    \\\ SLUDGE

  • You know, I have faced this exact issue in a startup (now bought up) that I was working for. Having to try and find affordable apps and platforms that the business folks will accept is damned difficult. The business crowd is very picky about what they will work with. It doesn't matter if it crashes or malforms table data or whatever- if it doesn't look the same way as the last thing they worked with, the office flaks just WILL NOT touch it. Consequently, they stop producing anything.

    This isn't any different with most IT/IS staff either. I did testing of OpenBSD/IPF vs. PIX vs. Nokia/Checkpoint...guess which one the senior management would authorize on a PO for an enterprise, 7x24x365 fw? PIX. Even though it finished last for stability and security and only a bare 2nd in cost. Same thing goes with other products as well.

    Unless the business and the founders START with open-source systems, they will likely default to MS for most things and other proprietary boxes to fill the gap. Just facts of life. Firms like KPMG will ding you on their audits if you don't run something that is "well-known" in the business world, and has a support contract from that specific business...this is how a lot of vendors keep their stranglehold on the market with clearly inferior products.

    Now, on the other hand, I know of a lot of artists and freelancers who are moving over to Open Source and BSD licensed products for their work. They don't have to answer to anyone in terms of how they produce, they just need to produce. This is the group of people also most likely NOT to buy into MS's wacky licensing models.

    If there is any place where Linux/BSD is going to find some inroads in the user market, it will probably be in the K-12 and 2 year college systems. These folks don't have the resources to keep up with an ongoing licensing issue that .NET represents to them, and they don't have to please corporate auditors. And, after having tried the latest KDE, etc, I have found that the features not to be too dissimilar, stability is about the same, and there is MUCH less product bloat in the Open Source apps.

    Having supported both MS and Unix products, I would have to say that once the admin is trained, it is MUCH easier to manage multiple workstations, servers, and applications over Unix. Cheaper too. Lets hope some more schools figure this one out.



    mrgoat
  • I saw this Cartoon:

    http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/images/cfin0004b.jp g [newdawnmagazine.com]

    on this webpage [newdawnmagazine.com], both of which are an interesting read.

    Point being, the cartoon reminds me of Microsoft Marketing Practices.

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

  • You don't understand, do you ?

    Microsoft operates with a 40% profit margin. That absolutely NEVER happens in a competitive market. Their only concern is not pissing people off so much they actually generate substantial backlash. There is literally almost no chance of that happening.

    Microsoft will back off a little, and be coercive. They will stop all support of new device drivers for older Windows. They will coerce PC makers into shipping XP. They will not support Office on Windows XP, only Office XP on Windows XP. Sooner or later you will upgrade. You will need Windows XP for some new device 2 years from now. Then you will enter the licensing program, and you will be forced to upgrade Office XP too. Maybe you will need Office XP to view new documents, and that will bring on Windows XP. They only need one chink in the armor, and all your desktop are belong to them.

    Sooner or later, you will be making the switch. It may take 3 years. It may take five years. It largely will not matter. Their profit margin will rise to about 60% once the switch is complete.

    In the computer industry, everything gets cheaper year after year. Everything except Microsoft products. The funny thing is that of the available products and operating systems, their is absolutely nothing so outstanding about Windows and Office to justify this monopolization. Just good marketing and sales.
  • by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @09:29PM (#102924)
    1. MS fights like mad and lobby's like mad to get the results of Judge (I-Think-Bill-Gates-Is-Napeleon) Kaplan's trial overturned. Mission: complete.

    Ahem, that's Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. Kaplan is the guy who heard DeCSS case.

    2. In lower court, challenge findings of fact and re-visit the "is or is not a monopoly issue." Mission: pending.

    The appeals court has upheld the findings of facts in full, and most of conclusions of law. They completely threw out only the remedies portion of the ruling. This is what the lower court will now hear -- remedies, not facts. The ruling is actually pretty devastating for MS, but with remedies being retried, MS has won time, and time is of the essence!

    3. In the public spectrum, declare Linux/OSS the "number-one threat to Windows/MS in the future". Mission: complete.

    They actually put an even beter spin on this. Open Source is the virus that threatens all businesses. As soon as you use OSS, it infects your business and forces all your code ever written to be released in public domain. So the Microsoft parrot claimed.

    4. Related to number 3, reinvigorate claim from first trial that "MS faces significant competition from outsiders, for example, Linx". See Number 2. Mission: complete.

    Yes! But I can't help but to recall Ghandi's words: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Just last year we were at the laughing stage. Now we have definitely entered the fighting stage.

    5. Attempt to put into the claim that MS can control market prices. Create an unpopular licensing scheme and watch customers revolts. Be responsive to those demands. Force the question: "Why would MS, as a supposed monopoly, be responsive to customer demands/needs? Answer: we have to because we aren't a monopoly!". Mission: complete.

    While this is plausable (and indeed an intriguing idea -- I hadn't thought of that before), I doubt this is what happened. It is more likely that Microsoft simply needs to find a better way to milk their customers now that there are fewer reasons than ever to "upgrade". Also, this trick wouldn't even accomplish what you claim, since the appeals court declared them a monopoly (see above). If anything, it would actually strengthen the argument.

    6. Brow-beat friendlier-than-last-time-around DOJ into dropping Sherman claims, plead guilty to minor technical infractions of business laws. Settle with a relatively minor fine to the Federal Government. Mission: pending.

    DOJ already won most of their claims. Nevertheless, that does not prevent a token settlement.

    7. Settle with disheartened states, perhaps filing a motion to break the class due to lack of a favorable finding of fact. Pick-states off one by one, smallest first with paperwork/smallish settlements. Mission: pending.

    See above. Findings of facts have been upheld in full.
    ___

  • by seanw ( 45548 )
    > the more entrenched the Microsoft/Windows mindset becomes in the minds of Corporate America

    yeah, until it doesn't anymore. by which I mean that we will not use Windows indefinitely. every product, however entrenched, has its eventual (and inevitable) decline, and the example is every product there ever was. the word "Windows" will someday be mentioned in the same way that "Atari" is today. and, while I don't think Linux can usurp MS, I do think it will be in an excellent postion to fill the vacuum that must someday be created when Windows eventually dies.

    sean
  • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @09:47PM (#102930)
    Most small businesses rely on small local consulting companies to help them set up their servers and workstations. Believe me no business owner is going to set up a network and wire the building and install NT. To the local consulting companies Linux is a big win. Their bids come in lower or they profit more with the same amount of money spent. Target the local consulting companies.
  • Except for the second one, you're still using the "old style" subscriptions Microsoft was thinking about using. As far as I know, most corporations will get volume licensing that doesn't "expire" after a certain amount of time, but they will be "encouraged" to upgrade (probably with the same discount system Microsoft is considering now).

    Not entirely better, but at least the software doesn't quit on you completely.

  • Unfortunately, it seems like Microsoft is getting into the "car" industry as well (Tablet PC and other ventures). You should see the icon for "My Computer" in the new Windows. They barely show the computer anymore, and instead focus on a huge, flat screen.
  • Actually, I think you can do without the line numbers in Quick Basic. :)
  • "Otherwise, except for a bit of trouble with ppp, I don't see that windows has any advantage except being pre-installed."

    I don't know. This XP interface is pretty good. There are definitely some things that KDE can borrow (like grouping like documents in the taskbar under a single program, and having animation to show which child window is "owned" by which parent window on the taskbar itself). I really like KDE2, especially with the Mac OS X theme, but there's still stuff they can borrow. Interface is everything to a new user.

  • Speaking from firsthand knowledge of Cal State Fullerton, I can say that the unix variant and workalikes of all CS labs. The setup here is one beefy Sun box, a few NT servers lying about, two labs full of Macs (that I know of. The open lab is rather dated. The instructional lab is full of G3's which I believe are being replaced with G4's soon), and lab after lab of Dell pentium II systems running...win95. Only recently has work begun on setting up a full-fledged Unix lab stocked with a bunch of Ultrasparcs.

    The problem: Most of the CSUF CS department (faculty and students alike) are really excited by two things: Windows and Java. It's all I ever hear out of them, and there's only a small (but dedicated) group of *nix lovers hanging about trying as best as we can to bring about changing this (I'm still looking for hard evidence on this one, but allegedly, back in the days before BSD was the hot ticket, there existed the Fullerton Unix extensions.)

    For what it's worth, you can walk into the back of nearly any lab on campus and look out upon the screens at what people are actually using it for: The usual breakdown is that half the room is talking to the other half over the AIM. Throw in some generic browser usage and the occasional VC6 user, and there you have it. I'm firmly convinced that a suitable Linux (or *BSD (or even BeOS)) replacement could be made...most of the people I talk to tend to follow two lines of thought:
    1) "But Windows is popular and Java is really easy to program! If I choose something else, won't I be limited to a really small number of jobs?"
    2) "What do you mean that you only use joe and gcc to do all of your projects? How can you keep track of three files at once? What if you need the online help?"

    [DISCLAIMER TYPE="RUMOR"]
    From what I hear, the school turned down a _free_ site license for metrowerks Code Warrior a few years back. Our speculation is that it would've put any agreements with microsoft in jeopardy.
    [/DISCLAIMER]

    I'm doing the best we can to either fix some of these problems or scare away some of the "Point 'n Click" programmers, because I'm in CS for the love, not to listen to a bunch of whiners out for money.

    -transiit
  • I really have to disagree. As a software engineer that works on multiplatform (win98, 2k, solaris, aix, irix, NT, ME) application, I have found the majority of bugs have been in win98 and ME. For whatever reason, they never show up in other OS's. Win ME had a particularily nasty spontaneous reboot 'feature' which happend when the physical memory was maxed out, which caused us to drop support at the last minute for this POS OS. I think the prospect of supporting XP for the home, and dropping 9x support (since XP can be used as a 'home' OS), has many developers creaming in their jeans. I wouldn't underestimate this factor, as it could end up causing quite a few mass migrations to XP once it comes out. I'm sure microsoft is banking on it.
  • On the other hand, RedHat don't charge a monthy fee unless you want to. I use RH in all my machines both at home an at work (where I'm the IT Director) and I've never paid RH anything, nor have they asked me to. If they charged for a service I need I would pay but they don't so I don't.

    You are confused as to what RH's commercial product is: it isn't Linux.

    There is no going back. You got that bit right.

    TWW

  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @12:05AM (#102948)
    Henry: Who was that at the door, Min?
    Min: It was a nice robber-man, Henry
    Henry: Did you tell him we have no money, Min?
    Min: Yes, Henry.
    Henry: And what did he say to that, Min?
    Min: He said he'd give us a year to save some up, Henry
    Henry: What a nice chap! We'd better get started; get your suspenders on, Minnie, we're going to Amsterdam.

    TWW

  • by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @12:14AM (#102950)
    Direct quotes from the article:
    Critics say the program is a response to customers that have not been upgrading to new versions of software, most notably Office, and a way for Microsoft to rectify that loss in licensing revenue. Microsoft has reported nearly $7 billion in revenue in the past three quarters this year for its desktop applications division, roughly equal to the same three quarters last year. The revenue accounts for 37 percent of its business, so that means 37 percent of Microsoft revenue has not grown over the past year.
    and, my favourite:
    A study by Guernsey Research shows that enterprises on a two-year upgrade cycle will save 19 percent in licensing costs, but that enterprises on a three-year cycle will see a 40 percent increase in costs.
    No matter what spin MS tries to put on this, it is clear that they tried to milk their customers for all they are worth and the customers rebelled.
    ___
  • Does it have an embedded component architecture, does it have an integrated web browser

    It doesn't have nor needs either. I hear people telling me how great it is that you don't need to program a printing mechanism, that you can just use the Gnome print libraries. Well I'm not all that impressed since I can just have lpr handle the printing, and avoid being Gnome-specific, modularize and avoid bloat.
    Why would anyone want an integrated browser? I thought that's why so many crucified Micro$oft. The best thing about Unix is that everything is modular. I can use Netscape 4, 6, Mozilla, Opera, Gzilla, whatever I like, unless I'm stuck with a damn integrate browser!

    does it have pretty icons and lots of online help

    It's got wonderful icons, and great backgounds. As far as documentation, in less than 20 pages it fits every single thing you could ever possibly want to know about it. Everything from installation to key combinations, in 20 pages (plus the standard GPL and disclaimers).

    does it have anti-aliased fonts

    No. It's based on GTK, so it (like Gnome) does not have anti-aliased fonts... But up until very recently KDE didn't, and everyone lived with that. Now it won't be long before GTK gets that support, and besides, I'm just as happy without anti-aliased fonts.

    is it as "easy to use" as Windows?

    I would dare say it is many times easier to use than Windows. And it's a no-brainer that it is hundreds of times easier than Gnome/KDE. It's configuration is done fully GUI which no other desktop can claim, even with Gnome and KDE I find myself needing to go to the command line for one reason or another. It's the single simplest desktop out there, and it still has every feature a user could need.

    I suggest that you use something before bashing it. Once people use XFce, they will keep it. Now we just need to spread the word.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @12:28AM (#102952)
    I realize that since most can't code, many of the Slashdot Hive mind seem to think that the business men that run their businesses are morons.

    Ya know something, not everybody can code, but I bet you they understand accounting and corporate strategy better than you.

    With a separate managerial ranking instead of promoting within the company, we do have the unfortunate scenario where front-line managers don't knows what their subordinates are doing. This eliminated the Peter Principle, but created a management vs. employee mess.

    However, they are not dumb. Most of them use the features of the Office suite that supplies their productivity.

    Guess what, your deal-maker CEO may not know much beyond e-mail and word, but I bet that your CFO crunches out spreadsheets with a degree of complexity that you don't understand. Maybe your administrative assistances can't code, but they problem use Outlook's Exchange support to administer their bosses schedule. As everyone is pressed for time, freeing up 2-3 hours of scheduling and planning is a lifesaver to 80-hour a week managers.

    Your analysts may not be able to run a Linux box, but they can problem use the Access databases that they had IT whip up for their data entry personel to enter information in, and export it into Excel for detailed analysis.

    If you are a small firm, whoever does your accounting probably finds Quickbooks (Win32 only) a life saver.

    These programs are extremely powerful with acceptable UIs.

    Sure, your random family with a PC and no real need for one (a bit of web surfing, e-mail, and the kid's school reports) may not need Office, but a corporate environment can really take advantage of it.

    Until spreadsheet designers actually TALK to the people that use them, they won't understand what is necessary. Merely trying to clone Microsoft's means that you won't overtake them. You may become good enough for home markets, but you offer no compelling reason to switch. If I am using version X of a program, and X+1 comes out, I'll decide if it is worth it. If your Free version is as good as X-1, no way I'll switch. It it is as good as X, no way I'll switch. If you are better than X+1, I'll likely switch. If you come between X and X+1, well, I'll have to decide if I want the new features.

    Guys, the costs of MS software aren't that significant per employee. Given the cost of an employee (office space, salary, perks, payroll taxes, etc.), the cost of equipment (computer equipment, furniture, etc), the $1000-$2000 in software to get them productive is rather small. Sure saving $500/employee for 1000 employees is real money., it's half a million. But if it reduces my employee's productivity a fraction, I will likely lose FAR more money in lost productivity.

    For company's with 10,000+ employees, sure MS costs a lot. But what is their revenue/employee. What reduction in productivity is necessary to wipe out the licensing gains?

    The real interesting thing here is that IT staffs know that as users upgrade on their own, they get a disaster. They also know that MS has them in a bind. If they don't upgrade, it'll happen anyway as a disaster. If they do upgrade, they'll likely benefit, but corporate accounting isn't that simple. Their department has a budget, a large change is problematic.

    The problem is NOT that it is not worthwhile to upgrade, these company's WANT to upgrade. The problem is that the budget process has made now a very bad time.

    Look, I love my BSD boxes. I also love my OS X workstation. I also like my Win32 laptop that lets me run my Win32 only applications.

    However, the sooner the community stops patting itself on the back and starts solving problems, the sooner Free Software will make a difference.

    Why should we win? It's morally better to let people help their neighbors. If I have software, giving a copy to a friend to help him out is the RIGHT thing to do. We want to win NOT to beat MS. We want to win because it will make the world a better place.

    Alex
  • by einTier ( 33752 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @12:33AM (#102953)
    I took a short contract at big blue a bit over a year ago... and there is an extreme undercurrent of hatred for Microsoft over there.

    IBM is a huge company, and has been around for a long time -- and an elephant never forgets. Trust me, they have never forgotten the burn that MS put on them five or six years ago. The hatred is more intense there than it's ever been here on Slashdot. It runs so deeply that only recently did they start using MS software in any real capacity, and certain applications are still generally banned. Believe me, they are waiting for the day they can push MS out of their buildings entirely. And, they know that day will come. Not today and not tomorrow, but one day.

    IBM isn't the biggest company in the world, but they are still huge, they have more money than they know what to do with, they have been down this road before, and they are just waiting, biding their time until the iron is hot.

    It might be Linux, if this is the right time, it might be something else if this isn't. When it happens, IBM will be prepared, and they will know what they are doing this time. The attack will fast, fierce, and devastating. I'm just waiting and watching. IBM is just waiting and biding time. They've got plenty of time, and plenty of money, and a burning hatred. Awakining a sleeping giant indeed.

  • Then I would say this: Goodbye. Slashdot is a bit rough at times, but that always makes it one hell of a ride. :-) BTW, I know from experience that StarOffice on Linux can easily be used to run a business. I've installed it on three systems (running 3 lightweight terminals off from a central application server for cost purposes) for a few untrained users, and it took them no more than two days to understand and productively use the setup from ground zero.
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @01:19AM (#102955) Homepage Journal
    Last time I checked, Gnome and KDE were both bigger than an entire Windows 95 OSR2 installation.

    I think a fairer comparison would be with a Windows 2000 installation, but its a fair cop that KDE is not a small installation anymore. Anyway my last RH7.1 installation of KDE came with KOffice and a true comparison would be to the total installation size of Windows 2K plus Office.

    But what do you expect when everyone has been winging for several years about how poor Open Source desktops are in terms of quality and features when compared to Windows ?

    Now KDE (and possibly Gnome) are getting close in terms of having large amounts of quality, decent software people are starting to winge about how bloated it is. My answer is to say "you know you've just saved several hundred dollars per PC by not installing MS Windows and Office ? Well spend $40-50 of those dollars on putting a 256MB DIMM in each PC".

    For years we've been saying that Linux desktops need to look as purty as Windows and have the same volume of quality software (and crash less often than Windows). Well now we're very close to getting what we want you can hardly complain about the amount of memory/ disk space it eats.

    Konqueror is slowly becoming my web browser of choice over Netscape and even IE [yes I know its an MS product, but IE is still a good browser]

    (looking forward to when KOffice can reliably edit MS-Word documents so I can kill my last Microsoft PC)
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @01:52AM (#102957)
    The only reason MS would hold off, it seems to me, is out of fear of reprisal from their customer base. They need people to upgrade constantly, to keep revenue steady.

    I get the feeling that the number of 'unnecessary bloated forced upgrade uprchases' a-la office2000, winME, etc, are starting to annoy normal people as well as us geeks... I know the whole office upgraded to office 2000 due to 'compatability' with other offices and document formats.. but nobody really had a reason for actually switching to office 2000 based on features.
    If MS pushes things too far, they might just cause people to seek more favorable licensing terms, considering the massive change in cost.
  • >Note that Slashdot can make as much noise as
    >they want and it's not going to affect Microsoft
    >at all. It's really the big corporate customers
    >and the OEMs that have the pull.

    I think you are completly wrong here, if you think this, things will never change ! Slashdot as the primary Open Source forum IS having a major effet on technical journalists opinions for instance, and many of them often read Slashdot to jauge how technically and freedom oriented people feel about certain issues.

    Many French journals for instance (like 01 informatique and sometimes libération) now routinly report some Slashdot opinions, albeight without mentioning the sources. I also noticed that French Yahoo now quotes Slashdot from time to time (Killustrator issue for example).

    So yes Slashdot is minority, but a Vocal one, and history thought us that it's Vocal Minorities who change history.

    And things are changing, of course slowly, and people are starting to get the message, you won't displace M$ overnight.
  • >Someone else mentioned that the dep. of defence
    >is moving over to linux (see, sometimes it's
    >GOOD when people don't read the whole article)

    I think it's very important for Linux to have stories like this. "Major corportaion throwing out M$ for Linux in the Desktop". Managers like to quote those stories to support their ideas. Remember a manager is always anxious, is he doing the right decision !? if a big corporation with probably a lot of smart people has done it, then it must a goog thing to do !
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @03:57AM (#102966)
    (Borrowing shamelessly from PvP:)

    [Guy 1]Hey, Fred, ready to go bar-hopping tonight?
    [Guy 2]Oh, man! No way! My Microsoft licenses have all expired, and I've been phone-tagging between IT and the 1-900 number trying to get them back. And all I need to do is give my boss this damned memo tomorrow morning!
    [Guy 1]Oh well, your loss.
    ...
    [Guy 1]Hey Sam, ready to go bar-hopping tonight? [Guy 2]Sure, I just finished up that 100 page report in AbiWord, and port scanned that 'lite hacker at 127.0.0.1, all thanks to Redhat Linux! Let's go find some babes!
    [Announcer]RedHat Linux 7 : Because someone is going to get laid tonight.

  • In Israel, a lot of organizations (military, small businesses and some industrial orgs) don't upgrade as soon as a new windows version is available.

    Some organizations don't even consider an upgrade in the near future at all.

    For example, the military (IDF [www.idf.il]) still has a large number of computers running win95. Only nowadays new computers start to come with win2k, skipping win98 entirely. Who knows when they'll upgrade (if at all?) to winXP.

    According to the article [cnn.com], MS makes sure that windows licenses keep generating revenues even if organizations don't upgrades every 2 years (which is usually the case for big organizations - MS main clients)

    Have you noticed lately a lot of people (certainly all my friends) don't rush to buy the newest, fastest PC available every 2 years anymore? I had a 450MHz machine until last month, then I upgraded to a simple 766MHz machine, first time I upgraded not to the max (today's 1.7GHz) not even to the faster machines (800m, 1.3g) - who needs 'em?

    The same thing goes for windows OSes, who needs 'em?

    MS should freely innovate some revolutionary feature or a business productive feature or just an increadibly faster, more stable, cheaper, easily extendable OS [linux.org] before they demand subscription fees for their software.

  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @04:11AM (#102969) Homepage
    I've found myself lying and making up costs for the software libre work I've been doing.

    I've been in the same situation, and I've found an easy way out that doesn't upset my conscience. You just buy lots of other junk in addition to the software.

    For example, you want to install a brand new web server. The beancounters can't comprehend that the software licensing costs are $5 for the CDR shipped from my local Linux distributor. So instead of confusing the poor people I just order the entire O'Reilly bookshelf. The beancounters are much happier when they see "Software+Manuals: $1500" and I get something to read while the CD installs.

  • by exMicrosoftJunkie ( 461707 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @07:07AM (#102983)
    ...for all their encouragement in switching away from its server platform over the last few years. We've now finally completed the switch, and are much happier.

    I'd like to thank Microsoft for all the help they've given us in this process:

    • The Halloween documents, which gave us the heads up about that wonderfully flexible and open server platform, Linux.
    • Attempting to use Java as a political tool, instead of focusing on providing customers with actual functionality. Of course, Sun used Java as a political tool too, but Sun provided value to customers at the same time, rather than treating their customers as expendable pawns.
    • Sending out lawyer's letters to companies, including the one I'm referring to, demanding licensing audits for no apparent reason, and following this up with very threatening behavior when said audit was not performed instantly.
    • Scaling up anti-competitive and anti-customer behavior to fever pitch in the past year or so, putting its business practices on the radar of top-level executives through critical articles in sources such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal. As a result, any mentioning in high-level meetings of reducing dependency on Microsoft, received approving nods without even needing to explain the reasons.
    All in all, Microsoft, you've done a wonderful job. Your PR and customer relations efforts are as masterful as your software.

    Here are the details of the switchover I'm referring to, for anyone else out there who might want to do something similar.

    Starting in early 1998, we began a redesign and rewrite of all in-house systems at a billion-dollar financial services company which I consult to on architecture and design issues. An important part of this redesign was to convert all in-house and customer applications to support web browsers as the primary user interface. At the time, the company was a 100% Microsoft shop, and IIS/ASP along with SQL Server was chosen as the primary server platform.

    However, on my advice, this company used Javascript as their server-side scripting language, and Microsoft Java (J++) to implement business objects on the server. The justification for this was the potential for portability in future. VBScript and VB would have been too uncomfortably proprietary. In addition, I recommended that as far as possible, they avoid use of MS SQL extensions, and do their data processing in Java rather than in non-standard MS SQL stored procedures.

    A year or so later, Microsoft effectively pulled the plug on their J++ product. Uh-oh, my recommendations suddenly didn't look so good. We now had two choices: bet the future on something called .NET, even today a proprietary vaporware product with an uncertain future. Or switch away from ASP and move to a more open solution, eliminating the pathological dependency on a single vendor.

    We chose the latter. We evaluated alternatives and eventually settled on a Java Server Pages solution, using Javascript as the scripting language. This meant the existing pages required only minor tweaking and changes to wrappers to be ported. We switched the business objects from from Microsoft J++ to "100% Pure Java", which gives us a choice of compilers and VMs (Sun, IBM...), and as part of the deal gave us a whole lot of Java 2 functionality which Microsoft had been depriving us of, by lagging the Java standard by years.

    Now, in July 2001, we have finally begun running one of our application servers on Linux, just as a proof of concept of the portability of our system. This has worked like a charm - a system that once seemed so reliant on Microsoft technologies - IIS, ASP, COM, J++, ADO, ODBC, MS SQL - will now run on most server operating systems, with any web server, with any Java compiler and VM (except Microsoft's!), and with any reasonably standard SQL database. A stunning turnaround!

    I should point out that the applications I'm talking about aren't simple web apps. They handle the back-office processing for some of the most complex financial transactions I've ever been involved with, and I've been consulting in the financial services industry for 15 years.

    This conversion has all been coming together over the past few months, so it's been wonderful to sit in meetings of company department heads and have questions raised about our dependence on Microsoft, and be able to answer by saying "we are no longer dependent on Microsoft for any of our servers."

    The IT manager is even beginning to talk about Gnome and Staroffice, now...

  • by zhensel ( 228891 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @08:34AM (#102991) Homepage Journal
    I think they're trying to say that the guy runs 14 ecomm websites spread across 79 servers and it runs so well that he has nothing to do except sit in his office doodling with his slinky. Now, most network admins would probably be taking the euphemistic approach to that rather than the literal, but who's to say?
  • by infiniti99 ( 219973 ) <justin@affinix.com> on Saturday July 07, 2001 @09:19AM (#102996) Homepage
    Last time I checked, KDE came with more applications than any version of Windows ever has, and the apps are much more useful and stable too. Out of the box, KDE is a working system. With Windows 95, all you have is solitaire.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Saturday July 07, 2001 @09:45AM (#103002) Journal
    Just want to agree that there's a certain Slashdot -> Trade Journalist -> IT Customer -> Microsoft (or other vendor) circle in place that is effective. (Hell, I was quoted once as "one Slashdot poster" once in ZDNet. Whoop.)

    The key bit there is the journalist. I see Slashdotters making hay about lots of important things, but only certain issues (Smart Tags or content protected disks for example) bubble through. Others, like DVD content protection or the DMCA are noops in the computer journalism world.

    When we get down to the issue of Microsoft's actual pricing schedule, Slashdot is not the place to go. OGG SAY MICRO$OFT BAD AND GATES SMELL FUNNY AND LINUX COSTS NOTHING is the attitude here, not detailed understanding of the price breakdowns and what it actually means to a business' bottom line.

    One thing to note is that if MS sees Linux as a serious competitor, raising prices isn't the obvious response. Either MS doesn't think there will be serious compitition in their core markets for the next couple years, or they are ceading the low end of the market. But that's a little too subtle.
    --

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