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Microsoft

Red Hat CTO Testifies at MS trial 273

An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann testified on behalf of the 9 states in MS's trial. From the article on SF Gate: "Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Michael Tiemann said Microsoft adds 'extensions' to critical communications methods that computers use to transmit security information, print, and perform other tasks. Those extensions are proprietary to Microsoft, he said, and despite recent actions Microsoft has not been forthcoming in releasing details of those changes.""
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Red Hat CTO Testifies at MS trial

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  • Were these words used at all in his testimony?
  • At this point, is anyone really suprised? Hell, I'd almost say that it doesn't even qualify as 'news' anymore. Let's hear it for capitalism!
    • by Znork ( 31774 )
      Capitalism? What Microsoft engages in isnt capitalism. If you look at the constituent elements in their strategies like total control of their market and 5 year plans you'll note their idea of 'capitalism' has more in common with an entirely different kind of economy. Which, of course, is why they're in court in the first place.
  • Nice to have someone bring up "Embrace and Extinguish " in a court of law. Now, at least, people other than geeks and techies know about it and can see it for what it is.
  • IMHO, It is implied that computers are performing their tasks with a certain level of quality / reliability, but without being able to view / test source code on the actual methods used for security, etc on Microsoft machines, there is no way to validate the quality or reliability of their software.
    Sir_haxalot
  • I thought most people knew about this already - so what's so earth shattering about it?
  • I'm sorry, but Redhat wasn't even a company, AFAIK, when Micro$oft did most of the things that they are on trial for (OEM stuff that killed OS/2, Be, etc. for example).
  • Interesting! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vkg ( 158234 )
    Looks like the players previously too cowed to come out into the open and talk about M$ tactics are now talking: in detail and in court.

    At this point, though, given how much Windows XP sucks, the FBI security warning about it, the slow rate of adoption in the corporate setting.... does it really matter what the guy from Red Hat says?
    • Re:Interesting! (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by xphase ( 56482 )
      I don't think that there is a very slow rate of adoption in the corporate setting for Windows XP. Most corporate settings are just now getting around to upgrading to Win2k.

      I held a job supporting Cigna Healthcare's last big upgrade, which was about a year after Win2k, and they were upgrading all client PC's to NT4. My current company still use NT4 on the PCs, Solaris 2.7(and we just upgraded to this late 2001) on most of the suns, and HP11i on the HP-UX machines.

      So corporate customers generally wait a long time to upgrade, to allow stability issues to be fixed, and to allow the applications that they use to catch up to the operating system.

      --xPhase
    • "..does it really matter what the guy from Red Hat says?"

      Yes it does! This has little to do with XP's adoption, it has to do with punishing MS for using shitty business tactics to stay ahead.

      I'm not sure if forcing the source code to Windows into the public is the right thing to do, though. Personally, I think fining the crap out of them is appropriate. They'll think twice about pushing people around when they lose billions of dollars.
  • by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @02:53PM (#3223262)
    I saw a Red Hat exec. on Fox News the other day talking with Neil Cavuto (sp?) about their just released financial results. He was rather unimpressive in his answers about Red Hat's results, its future, its business plan, competition from MS, etc. This is not meant as flamebait at all, but if I was a RH shareholder, I would have been very nervous after watching that interview.

    As the "flagship" company for Linux, with all eyes upon it, I hope RH has some top notch execs working behind the scenes. Running a business takes *alot* more than just great coders and passion. Especially when competing against one of the most ruthless companies on the planet.
    • " but if I was a RH shareholder, I would have been very nervous after watching that interview." - why would you be nervous? From what you've said it was just one exec who was unimpressive in his answers - he may just have been being realistic - and you're right a lot of eyes are on RH now - but you need people who like their job to make a company succeed - it sounds like this exec didn't - hopefully he's the only one.
  • by neophase ( 97476 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @02:54PM (#3223265)
    Proprietary protocols are but one of Microsoft's ways to keep customers nicely handcuffed.

    Just as an example, look at the hoops the folks doing the Samba development had to jump through in order to make Samba able to mount Windows shared drives.
    • Tired of those tired old fire eaters? No excitement watching trapeze artists? See the amazing Samba development team fly through but rings of proprietary code! This and lots more at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus!
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @02:59PM (#3223318) Homepage

    Quoted from The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]:

    Among other things, the states would require that Microsoft to auction off a license to Linux re-sellers to carry the Office package of programs, which would make Linux more attractive to computer makers and users.

    This is an interesting proposal that I hadn't heard about before. Does anybody have a complete list of what the unsettling states have asked for?

    • This is what you get when you get a group of completely technologically clueless people running an anti-trust case against a software company. There are so many things wrong with that one paragraph that I don't know where to begin, and whether to laugh or to cry.
    • Yes, you can find the complete non-settling state's proposal here [ccianet.org]. This is a redlined version as they made some alterations on this from their original one (not to be confused with the sellout DoJ/MS crafted settlement).

      Enjoy, fun read!
    • by rkhalloran ( 136467 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:45PM (#3223746) Homepage
      The dissenters' proposal has MS auctioning off a license to Office with source so a Linux port could be done. My take on this is that this just extends the MS 'viral upgrade' model to Linux.

      What would make much more sense to me is complete documentation of the formats used in Office, with a mandatory N-month lead time (they were convicted of monopoly, weren't they?) before implementing new, um, features [yeah, that's what they are, features...]. This would allow compatibility filters from the competing office suites, and remove the window of opportunity for new versions from MS while the others chase the changes.

      Oh, and the penalty for failure-to-disclose would be public source release of Office; that would almost guarantee they behave, since there'd be legions of open-source eyes looking for any inconsistencies.

      • I agree.

        I think that documentation of the document formats, etc. is the way to go. Actually forcing them to turn over the code to Office seems a bit too much of a trophy hunt for my tastes.
      • by krmt ( 91422 )
        In theory, this would work. But don't we know the .doc file format already? It's just a collection of COM objects. The problem isn't that the file format isn't documented. It is. The problem is that you have to emulate a massive chunk of windows just to view an Excel file.

        No... the monopoly problem goes way way beyond the simple "Document it and it'll be fine" solution. We need to get some real business and legal restrictions. OEM's need to be allowed to alter the desktop as they wish. They need to be able to install alternative OS's on their machines. There needs to be some serious inquiry in to .net and passport in general. And there needs to be a whole boatload of other things done at the sales and finance level that I don't even know how to approach.

        We tend to focus on the technical side of things here at /., and as a result we forget the contradiction right in front of our faces. On the one hand, some say "Microsoft's products are shoddy" and "nothing wins on technical merit" and then other people say "if you give us the file format, we'll win". The solution to this problem is not a purely technical one. We need real restrictions on how these people operate. There is some fundamentally wrong things in the way they do business, and statutes need to be set up so that no one else can do these kinds of things again.
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:13PM (#3223439) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, yeah, like this is news.

    We know that MS plays like this, Mike Tiemann knows this, and so do all the lawyers and judges hearing what he has to say.

    But the events of last week showed the judge was more interested in closely following a particular legal track.

    Are these allegations going to be entered into the proceedings of the court, or are they likely to be stricken out as "hearsay" because they do not very strictly address what the court wants to hear?

    Maybe I'm getting the 9 dissenting states' separate suit confused with the remedy phase of the original MS trial. My apologies and hopes that someone more knowledgeable can clear this up for me...

  • by AdamBa ( 64128 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:13PM (#3223440) Homepage
    First of all, this kind of disclosure of communications protocols is one of the things addressed in the Justice Dept. agreement, as is mentioned in the article. Now the 9 dissenting states are claiming that there is wiggle room in the agreement. OK fine, clean that up...you don't need to call for full release of IE source code and sales of stripped-down Windows.

    More importantly, what exactly is Microsoft so "guilty" of in this situation (I assume Red Hat is bitching about the Kerberos extensions). Read this article [usenix.org] by Theodore Ts'o, one of the Kerberos developers at MIT. Microsoft changed its Kerberos extension in response to feedback on its initial design. Now it is true that it did not document the extension fully, but if you think about that article, Ts'o is really saying that Microsoft is not doing a good enough job of embracing and extending...because if Microsoft documented its NT PAC, they would have eagerly helped make it a standard.

    Anyway, what Microsoft is doing with Kerberos is perfectly legal and allowed by the standard. Sure it might hurt Red Hat -- so what? Red Hat is a competitor of Microsoft!! It's not clear what Red Hat really wants from this case. Would they be happy with anything less than Microsoft going open source, releasing all their intellectual property, and a government guarantee of X% market share for Linux? If so, they are dreaming and I have little sympathy for them.

    - adam

    • by catfood ( 40112 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:27PM (#3223533) Homepage
      Anyway, what Microsoft is doing with Kerberos is perfectly legal and allowed by the standard. Sure it might hurt Red Hat -- so what? Red Hat is a competitor of Microsoft!!

      Once again.

      You are limited in your actions even if they might otherwise be legal if you do them to maintain your monopoly.

      It's not clear what Red Hat really wants from this case. Would they be happy with anything less than Microsoft going open source, releasing all their intellectual property, and a government guarantee of X% market share for Linux? If so, they are dreaming and I have little sympathy for them.

      Straw man.

      The nine states are seeking enforcement of good old standard antitrust law that has said essentially the same thing for nearly a hundred years now. If Red Hat asks for anything beyond the scope of the law be assured that the judge (you know, someone who has actually made a career out of studying this stuff) will surely show them the door.

      It's not as though antitrust law was dreamed up in the last few years just to "get" Microsoft.

      • It's insane.

        Basically: MS is a competitive business and has been competing for however many years. One day the government decies that, while MS has been using the same business practices all along, "Oh, well back on this day we've decided you were a monopoly. From this day forward the competitive practices you've been using were illegal. Maybe you should have recognized that you were a monopoly and immediately became non-competitive just in case. We're going to punish you now."

        It's totally absurd. The government should decide whether or not they're a monopoly, then set restrictions on the types of competition the company can engage in. They weren't declared a monopoly in 1995, so they shouldn't be punished for legal [for a regular business] actions they practiced in 1995.
        • Oh, well back on this day we've decided you were a monopoly. From this day forward the competitive practices you've been using were illegal. Maybe you should have recognized that you were a monopoly and immediately became non-competitive just in case. We're going to punish you now.

          They signed a consent decree around that time. There is a long road from monopoly to the DOJ becoming a plaintiff.
    • Yeah, they're free to do whatever they want with the standard, but...
      As someone who has the task of integrating Mircosoft's Stuff with RedHat's stuff with HP's HP-UX, I'd sure as hell want an open accepted uniform authentication standard.

      But there are too many people out there (and within my company as well) that just put the blinders on and let Microsoft tell them what the standard is (oh and it doesn't work with anyone elses stuff). Then these same people ask why the hell we need so many logons for stuff.
    • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:47PM (#3223769) Homepage
      I agree with you on almost every point in your post.

      It's kind of a Catch22, isn't it? By helping to punish Microsoft, RedHat and other competitors are actually doing the same thing that they accuse Bill & Co. of doing - gaining un-fair advantage by means other than technical superiority and value to the consumer. Doing this could be construed as approving of Microsofts methods. However, by doing nothing, they would be giving tacit approval to Microsoft's methods even more blatantly. Neither is really acceptable IMHO.

      One way around this is to declare that standards, and any extentions to accepted standards, should be documented, no matter the IP involved, no matter who's doing the extending. If it's a standard, it's a standard, period, full stop. If you want to keep your IP that extends that standard, don't use the word standard, or don't call it "standard". (This is the same equalising effect that the GPL has.) Fairness to all that way.

      From what I've seen, most of the industry is mad at Microsoft for their arrogant attitude and failure to not "play nice" with others. I remeber Ballmer saying he couldn't believe that the rest of the industry didn't rally around Microsoft when the DOJ went after them - and I thought "You're either a liar, an idiot, or think that I'm an idiot, Monkey Boy. Fuck you."

      When Microsoft drops that huge lever (with significant mechanical advantage) attached to Windows, other industry players may actually accept their role in the industry.

      Soko
      • I think that the one thing that could re-level the playing field (was it ever really level) is the following:

        If you make a new product that uses any type of file or protocol, the document format and/or protocol specification must be open to all competitors (all those interested).

        This would make a product compete on best implementation (ie: speed, stability, etc) instead of you can't read our formats, integrate with our protocols...Let MS keep their shit closed. If they have to use open formats and protocols, that'll hurt them more, while at the same time helping the entire industry (MS included if they're willing to play).

        -Ben
      • It's kind of a Catch22, isn't it? By helping to punish Microsoft, RedHat and other competitors are actually doing the same thing that they accuse Bill & Co. of doing - gaining un-fair advantage by means other than technical superiority and value to the consumer.

        Nonsense.

        When one side has acted illegally (which the courts have already ruled) and the other side is using the courts to get some relief from those illegal acts, how is that the same thing?

    • so what? Red Hat is a competitor of Microsoft!!

      Computers are quite a different beast than any of the technologies before them. Capitalism and competition get us a long way, but at very high environmental and social costs. I'm not convinced that competition is the best way to produce software. Infact, I'm convinced it's not. It saddens me that this country (culture) is so concerned with the details of the laws that we cannot think about real change, which is what is needed.

      Cheers, Joshua

      • Without Capitalism and competition we would be using UNIX by now (not many people would be using computers actually). No MS, no Apple, no Linux, no OS/2, etc.
    • "Anyway, what Microsoft is doing with Kerberos is perfectly legal and allowed by the standard."

      New mantra for you and others like you who are confused by all this:

      This is the punishment phase, not the trial.
      This is the punishment phase, not the trial.
      This is the punishment phase, not the trial.

      What you just said is akin to asking "Why should a convicted murder be put in jail? Travelling around the country is perfectly legal."
  • Free to do so? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nakhla ( 68363 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:14PM (#3223445) Homepage
    From what I gather, Microsoft is adding extensions to communication protocols that they developed. True? If that's the case, then so what? They are free to do so. They aren't modifying some existing standard so that it's inoperable with other products. They're not hijacking a standard (like they did with Java). So what's the problem? If Microsoft developed the protocol, aren't they free to do with it whatever they like.
  • Here's the Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The problem is that the states are spending nearly ALL of their time discussing issues that were not part of the initial trial, nor the appeal. Since this is the penalty phase of the case, new evidence will most-likely be dismissed by the judge, so while the topics being brought up make for great headlines ... it will amount to sensationalistic garbage come the end of this phase.
    • You have to look at this differently. Think about the testimony given during the sentencing phase of major trials. This testimony goes towards the character of the indicted person and to address the probability of repeat acts.

      The States are using this testimony to show that not only has Microsoft broken the law, but they continue to break the law in new and innovative (sorry, had to say it that way) ways. The idea here is to say that the punishment must be harsher and forward looking to address the illegal activities and ensure that these activities are not repeated in other markets.
  • Proprietary Software (Score:3, Informative)

    by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:33PM (#3223577) Homepage
    "Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Michael Tiemann said Microsoft adds 'extensions' to critical communications methods that computers use to transmit security information, print, and perform other tasks. Those extensions are proprietary to Microsoft, he said, and despite recent actions Microsoft has not been forthcoming in releasing details of those changes."

    So? What is wrong with using proprietary software? IBM has token standards (proprietary), Cisco has routing protocols (IGRP+EIGRP: proprietary). Do I need to go on?

    Just because something is proprietary doesn't mean its bad. Also, we don't need everything to be open. Some people actually like to make money off of ideas.

  • Another Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Syris ( 129850 )
    This [yahoo.com] is another article on the testimony, this time by Reuters at Yahoo.

    It mentions the barriers Microsoft tried to impose on getting linux pre-installed on a system.
  • I've read the word zealot used in reference to Linux people, but I understood it when I watched the interview a couple of months ago with Tiemann, Ballmer, and some of the other big names. I forget the particular open source event it took place at, but I remember feeling embarrassed for the guy because of the way he was acting. He was lashing out at Ballmer and MS and in that particular situation it was totally unprofessional.

    I wouldn't accept his testimony for anything other than blind/passionate MS hatred.
  • I am not a supporter of Microsoft and its products, but it seems sometimes that people are jealous of its success. Yes, ms stole windows from apple, but they stole it from Xerox. They played around with it, and now 93% of all computers on the earth run some version of ms windows. They were the ones who made it work, they are the ones that are making the billions, and they are the ones that make people jealous. I think we should back off, ms will fail one day, lets let them go down in flames on their own.
    • Yes, ms stole windows from apple

      That is not entirely correct. Microsoft strong-armed Apple into licensing to Microsoft the "look and feel" of its operating system. However, one must examine the context in which this was done. This strong-arming occured back in 1985, when one could say Microsoft was arguably insignificant. Microsoft threatened to stop writing software for Apple if this agreement was not made, Apple gave in, and the rest is history. To add insult to injury, a court ruled that this transaction was entirely legal when Apple tried going after Microsoft for allegedly "stealing" its look and feel.

      This odd set of factors, along with the stagnation of Netware in the early 90s, the low cost of PC-compatable hardware, and other such circumstances, in addition to Bill Gates' excellent business skills, all contributed to the rise of Windows. Very rarely do you see someone who is able to exploit such opportunity the way Microsoft has done.

      • Very rarely do you see someone who is able to exploit such opportunity the way Microsoft has done.

        Oh! Great gobs of bullshit! Pick up any history book to find loads of examples of nearly the exact same exploitation occuring in every revolutionary phase. It boils down to one lucky person realizing that some things are changing and then latching onto an aspect of that thing which they can use to manipulate great movements later on. The old land baron and sweat shops in the industrial revolution pop to my mind immediately.

        Bill Gates got lucky in getting his hand on the lever first, and he was smart in realizing that he had the lever in hand. But it is nothing spectacular or anything requiring genius. Really all it required was for him to hold on to what he had really hard. Big fucking deal.

        After he had the lever in hand, he used it to beat the competition out of the marketplace, just like the land baron, railroad tycoons, and oil executives that came before him.

    • You're just flat wrong. They (Microsoft) didn't make Windows work to the extent thatn 90% of all desktop computers runs it. The DoJ proved that in the trial. Microsoft rigged markets so that consumers didn't have a choice. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist.
  • According to this article [cnn.com] at CNN, MS is saying RH did little to popularize Linux.
    • Re:MS Blames RH (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WildBeast ( 189336 )
      They're somewhat right. RedHat at first was agressive on marketing Linux. However, the last couple of years they haven't done much for promoting Linux, except testifying at MS's trial. Nowadays you hear more about Mandrake in the news than about RedHat.

      RedHat must develop new products, put it's ads on TV, web, magasines, etc.
  • by iceT ( 68610 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @05:50PM (#3224807)
    I have noticed a trend in Microsoft's approach to 'standards' and that is that they completely ignore the 'spirit' behind the idea of 'open standards'. One of the key reasons to define open standards is to promote system interoperability. This interoperatility allows two different systems to interface with one another.

    Microsoft has begun using open standards as a multi-edged sword: First, to leverage the scalability of these protocols. Second, to save them the 'innovation time' required to develop their own protocols. Third, as a rallying cry/advertising claim/defense against criticism.

    The problem is that they are not using the standards to promote interoperatility.

    There are two strong examples of this: Windows2000 authentication and Kerberos. Microsoft decided to exploit a (graned) 'user-definable field' in the kerberos packet to store custom information for their authentication scheme. Perfectly legal. But then they listed the contents of the field (as they use it) as proprietary and therefore shutting out any other Kerberos server to provide authentication to a Microsoft client.

    A second example is in the Exchange 2000 server. All of the Exchange servers are now capable of using SMTP as their inter-server communication protocol. In fact, they have implemented the SMTP Pipelining RFC (1854) to increase message rates between servers that support that extension. Again. All very valid. Then they also created what they call ESMTP: Encapsulated SMTP. This is different from the ESMTP standard: Extended SMTP. Encapsulated SMTP makes the body of the message proprietary mime type and only another Exchange SMTP server can decode that message. No other server can read it.

    Where these aren't technically extensions to the protocol, they do violate the GOAL behind the open-protocols, which is what makes me believe that Microsoft might be even more malicious than people may believe them to be, and that all of these 'exploitations' are so subtle that the court, the general public, and even a lot of systems people will completely miss, untill it is too costly to remove the components from their infrastructure.

    • I'm curious, but do you have evidence that the extensions to Kerberos are proprietary and undocumented?
      • As most people know, Microsoft has decided to open it's extention to Kerberos. So, no, it is no longer proprietary or undocumented. But they used to be.

        And to me that just shows another facet of Microsoft's actions. There have been a few times when they have "embraced and extended" standards and have not chosen to release their extention untill they have rung them out for all their worth. This makes it possible for them to soley benifit from new "standards", and when the release their specs when the time is right to make it hard for others to complain.

        Yes, Kerberos is open now, but when it is convenient for Microsoft. You could make an arguement that they are a business and they're just trying to protect an investment. But this is a standard. You don't go around fucking with standards if it's not for the good of the entire community.

        And don't ask me for other specific examples. I'm not your Microsoft research lakey. When people ask for specific examples it's usually because they're trying to avoid the broader topic.
        • "As most people know, Microsoft has decided to open it's extention to Kerberos. So, no, it is no longer proprietary or undocumented. But they used to be."

          I see.

          So it's ok for me to say RedHat Linux doesn't do SMP because it used to be that way?

          "And don't ask me for other specific examples. "

          Or rather, you really don't know what you are talking about...

  • In terms of world demographic, if the infrastructure of the net continues to spread, then Open Source Operating Systems and Apps will win by dint of being more readily available to the less affluent states. In the long run the file types of Open Source will predominate. But as Keynes pointed out, 'In the long run we're all dead.' Put in this perspective the battle between MicroSoft and Open Source becomes a tug of war between two factions of the Industrialized First World Nations.

    It may seem mean and low and ugly but at least it's being played out in a supposed open and transparent fashion in the courts of the land rather than say, what might have been the case, a century ago, or the larger portion of the geopolitical world today. Who knows maybe we'll all learn to play nice and share?.... Yea, right.

  • Does Microsoft really care if they get sued? Probably not very much as long as the politicians that they purchased can limit Microsoft's liability.

    I had to laugh when I read that Microsoft was complaining that the states were bringing up new violations.

    States: "You are still violating the law!"
    Microsoft: "Put it on our tab."
  • In a CNET article, I've just read this:
    "Gateway also faulted another provision of the new licensing agreement, which requires PC makers to pay a Windows royalty on every PC shipped, even if it didn't include Windows. To top it off, to qualify for market development funds, PC makers have to put a Microsoft OS on every PC. As a result, trying to sell non-Windows PCs, or even PCs without software, is a financial loser for computer makers."

    "...isn't this where/"

    "/we came in?" -Pink Floyd, The Wall

    I laughed and laughed o_O

    When did the world go completely insane, and where can I get off? :P

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

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