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Declawing Windows: Impossible? 625

hyrdra writes: "This story on CNN seems to indicate the intentions of the nine remaining states in the ongoing anti-trust case against Microsoft: to produce a stripped down version of Windows that will allow 3rd party vendors to insert components such as browsers, media players, and IM clients. While this may not be news, Microsoft's defense is. Microsoft defends the solution by remarking Windows was not designed to be a modular system, and the current operating system is highly dependant on core technologies like IE and Windows Media Player. Removing them would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare."
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Declawing Windows: Impossible?

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  • Windows IS modular (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ashcrow ( 469400 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:03AM (#3260140) Homepage
    It really is. You can remove core parts of the OS and the OS has no problem. I remember playing around with Windows ME and removing media player, MSN stuff, and other things I had replacements for or didn't need. All MS has to do is add these things to the Remove Windows Components.
    • by qurk ( 87195 )
      Very true. I think the problem here is Microsoft not allowing OEM's and such to modify their operating system before they sell. I mean, look at the recent comments by some of the big pre-made computer companies, they get in financial trouble with Microsoft if they just want to distribute pc's with Linux. I hope that the Judge doesn't listen to this B.S. I know getting Microsoft to distribute Windows source code to the public is a pipe dream, but they could at least offer a skeleton version. The dozens of Linux distros is ample proof that even if a multi-billion dollar software company can't make a little diversity in it's operating system (what a crock) then someone will.
      • by Chas2K ( 233963 )
        We don't need the source code to be competetive with M$ programs if we were to write (I don't) programs to run in Winblows Anything. Just the -REAL- API. I don't have a copy of M$ since WinNT4.0 - can anyone say that when you load the kernel all these componenets get loaded at the same time or are they still seperate executables? That would be the proof.
      • by Kibo ( 256105 ) <naw#gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @03:36PM (#3261325) Homepage
        Not really.

        Things like cool bar are part of IE, but are also part of windows. If MS did what the states wanted it, whatever it would be, would not be windows. The users would have no way of knowing before hand if they had the right chuncks of the operating system to install supposedly windows software. The funny thing is, the market would kick this idea to death. Microsofts success is built on the idea that people want a common method to easily exchange information, and they care about the commonality and intuitive ease of use more than anything else, especially reliability. A hodge podge of frankenwindows would reduce that commonality, and everyone would flock to windows as we know and love to revile it on slashdot. Sure there might be a market for it places like cash registers, but that's a pretty small market that already has a lot of windows in it. Not to mention that all of this work the states ask microsoft to do will cost money, which will do nothing to push the cost of a windows license below 15 bucks, which is what 2000 goes for now, and ME etc used to go for. XP home is probably 15, pro maybe more.

        What's really stupid is, they've already got their wish of a sort of bastard windows. Wine on linux would almost certainly work better than randomly removing windows componants.

        Oh, and oem's do modify their versions of windows, in mostly cosmetic ways. (Adding things like support buttons to the "my computer" properties sheet. Almost every oem used to replace ms fax with something else etc.)

        Windows is the common marketplace where people sell their software, microsoft makes it's coin of making it common, and charging admission. The states are proposing to make it a marketplace where no one can be sure they can use the software other people are selling, and no one can be sure they are making software all the people can, and want, to use.

        But I don't think the states really want that anyway. My personal theory is that they see MS's $36B in cash and they see a quick way to make up their states budget shortfalls. The right or wrong of the matter doesn't really apply as they are lawyers and sophists by nature. They got a lot of money from the tabacco companies that most of the states didn't spend on "prevention" or set aside for health care costs. So search for another company with deep pockets, rinse lather repeat.
        • by YellowElf ( 445681 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @06:37PM (#3262049)
          The reason for all this confusion has to be that our definitions are all fuzzy. Microsoft seems to love fuzzifying things to allow its doublespeak. Of course removing IE will mean Windows isn't Windows, but then removing Solitaire also would mean the same thing in the same sense, even though nothing breaks.

          Windows has become (has always been?) more than an OS in the strictest sense: a set of interfaces accessible to code which allows other code--including itself--to control the various parts of the computer. For sanity's sake, an architecture of items such as user identity and authorization, component and subsystem abstraction, and consistent user interface are provided to promote a convenient and reliable operation.

          Obviously there are parts of Windows that, when removed, cause no problems--such as Solitaire. Some are required for normal user interaction, such as the GUI, but really aren't strictly necessary. (Other OSes work just fine without a GUI, thank you, and are in some cases, desirable.)

          Microsoft clouds the issue by pretending that these components can't be modularized, but they can. How else would something as "vital" as IE be downloadable and updatable, or something as "deep" as DirectX be installed with retail games? They also cloud the issue by claiming that they have to ship a broken Windows to comply, but that is patently false. No one is talking about breaking Windows, but replacing Microsoft's components with different, working ones. Instead of IE, you have Netscape; instead of Media Player, you have RealPlayer.

          Of course Microsoft's real issue is that they know this componentization will lead to readily substitutable parts, even of the OS itself. Such commoditization destroys their precious, precious, selfish cash cow because all the interfaces are defined for each module. Then they would actually have to compete on the merits, a situation that they have studiously made extremely difficult for anyone else to do. The monopoly would be destroyed.

          This also brings up a difficult, separate issue: who defines the interfaces? There's the initial Microsoft-defined ones, but after componentization occurs, what next? There is a benefit to a centralized control I think, but everyone wants to be in control here. Design by committee is notoriously difficult and slow--OpenGL 2.0, anyone?

          Another issue is, are we really ready to regulate what Windows as a product may or may not contain, and how it should be designed? Microsoft would have to make some effort to clean up its interfaces and design, as well as create the specification documentation necessary to comply with this request. They could do it, but they would cry about the trillions of dollars they would be losing in the process, only to commoditize Windows and see the selling price drop over time. Gosh, competition! But who is best to regulate this? John Ashcroft? The Microsoft Oversight Committee? Good questions, but really Microsoft has brought all this consternation on itself as it pushes every moral boundary it can find in the name of legalism.

          But the idea that modularizing Windows destroys the common interface that we all benefit from is preposterous. How does Netscape break the IE interface? How does RealPlayer counter common look-and-feel? And how does making these downloadable and updatable, in the same way that DirectX is, cause problems for the end user? It only requires a fully published API, which Microsoft steadfastly refuses. Who cares which one you have, as long as it meets the specifications? Oh, it's that merit thing again.

          It doesn't seem to me that the states want Microsoft's money. I don't see any compensation requests in any proposals. The real issue is that Microsoft makes people angry, mostly by its questionable borderline and over-the-borderline behavior. Then they put on their "who, me?" face, and complain about how everyone is unfairly against them. I'm not sure whether it's reasonable to allow the DOJ or other parties to regulate Windows, but since Microsoft won't control it's monopoly in a non-predatory fashion, whom else do you suggest?

    • by PHPee ( 559830 )
      Removing them would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare

      I don't see how removing bloated components is going to slow things down much more. 98lite [98lite.net] is a program that allows you to remove the bloat of Windows, allowing for a streamlined version that you can customize.

      By intertwining code to minimize overlap, he said, Microsoft makes a product that saves valuable disk space but becomes difficult to segregate.

      I'd hate to see Windows without this 'disk space saving' coding techniques.
    • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @01:40PM (#3260847) Homepage Journal
      Recently I've looked at a number of extremely complex software development projects. What I've seen - and this should be blatently obvious to any software development project manager - is that it is impossible to successfully develop complex software systems without making them modular.

      Not only is modular structure required for design by a large development staff, but it is also required in order to facilitate future patching and upgrades.

      Also, consider for a moment, the wording used my microsoft atourneys:
      [Windows] was not designed to be modular
      The question is not the design intent. The question is Is It In Fact Modular? I maintain that it could not have been written in a way that is not modular. While it might be possible to intentionally obfuscate it's mosularity, from a software design and loadbuild perspective, there is no way it could possibly function if it were not modular.

      This does not preclude the possibility that from a consumer perspective the system does not appear modular. In order to meet the demands of the ramaining states in the antitrust case, Microsoft may have to replace vertain functions with stubs to facilitate the consumer-side modularity. This should be a trivial matter for a software development organization capable of producing such a vast system.

  • by westcourt_monk ( 516239 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:06AM (#3260151) Homepage Journal
    a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare

    That about sums up windows now. For it to be faster, user friendly, and easy to support one must strip out all the crap.

    Of course having a zillion different flavours of Windoze might be a bad idea but forcing them to think modular is a good idea (I suspect they do anyway). Will anything really change?

    • by Brian Kendig ( 1959 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @12:17PM (#3260590) Homepage
      Will anything really change?


      The fundamental mistake people are making is that people are still listening to Microsoft's complaints about how oppressed it is.

      There's a lesson that everyone should have learned by now: Microsoft tells lies. Often. They also ignore the law, since they've learned that making the government curb their behavior is much better than behaving well on their own -- especially since the government's been completely ineffective in slowing the Microsoft juggernaut so far. Beat up kids on the playground for their lunch money today and you might get punished next year, if at all... so why bother holding back?

      Microsoft isn't going to release a stripped-down version of Windows, not in the sense that you think of a stripped-down version of Linux. Remember two years ago when Microsoft showed that removing the DLL's with IE code in them cripped Windows? This was because Microsoft went to a whole lot of trouble to take the IE code and scatter it all over the operating system, sticking subroutines in DLL's which had nothing to do with IE. The Windows code is made as difficult as it has to be to foil the government's attempts to separate out the parts which violate the 1995 consent decree. (Never mind for now that the videotape they used to show the Windows slowdown was revealed to be fabricated. Never mind for now that Professor Felton successfully removed IE from Windows early in the court case, then when he tried it again later he found that Microsoft had scattered the code throughout the operating system to thwart him.)

      In the Linux world, a stripped-down version of the operating system is easy to support, since it's much less complicated than integrating lots of modules and applications. But in the Windows world, Microsoft is going to make absolutely certain that a stripped-down version of Windows will not work well. They'll follow the letter of any judgement handed down to them, but they'll ignore the spirit and exploit any loopholes: they'll introduce as many bugs as they can in order to make sure that people won't want to use it, and when the government challenges them on this, they'll cry 'oppressed!' and another seven-year cycle of courtroom appearances will begin. Who knows, maybe they'll even consider the TCP/IP stack to be part of Internet Explorer, so their stripped-down Windows won't have networking support?

      The real solution is to require Microsoft to bundle only bare-bones applications with Windows, and sell their high-end applications on store shelves. They bundle Microsoft Write and sell Microsoft Word at a premium; they can do this with IE and Media Player. This would go a long way towards restoring competition.

      But Microsoft has learned that the government is completely ineffective against them. They've also learned that by misrepresenting the case to the American public ('freedom to innovate,' indeed), they can garner a whole lot of support and put a lot of pressure on state and federal government to settle the case against them. They're going to continue doing this while at the same time they continue underselling anyone in markets they want to own.

      In a few years someone's going to have a great idea for the Next Big Thing, some simple yet powerful advance which will revolutionize computing as we know it. That person is going to follow the American dream and go into business for himself capitalizing on his idea. Then Microsoft is going to copy his ideas and bundle them into Windows, and the guy is going to go out of business, and this will spawn another seven years of the DOJ trying to curb Microsoft's power and Microsoft viciously defending its right to give its customers great things for free.

      It happened with Netscape. It's going to happen again.

    • Modularity in Windows would fix about ten million issues. It would be the best thing that happened to consumers (Windows ones, that is). Does the start bar suck? Use one that someone else has written. Same for explorer, the command line shell, any anything else you like.

      Modularity always helps consumers, barring other factors. Integration and bundling helps one entity -- Microsoft.

      I don't disagree that MS could make a modular version of Windows that would suck, but if done properly, they'd actually have something that UNIX would have a tough time competing with for most users because it'd be so good.

      One thing that would be really cool is a goverment review board that would prevent any for-a-fee new versions of Windows from shipping until it passes review. No pass, no ship. Oh, MS would blow zillions on PR, but they'd be free to release service patches, so it'd hardly hurt anyone much. Plus, if the thing got rejected a few times, engineers would have time to actually test and debug those early copies of Windows that everyone always wants to avoid.
  • by bogado ( 25959 ) <bogado AT bogado DOT net> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:06AM (#3260154) Homepage Journal
    This is how it destroys other companies that are menacing them, why do you think they would abandon such power?

    Even if this would become true, I would think that something fish would be hidden in this "striped down" version.
  • by tzanger ( 1575 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:07AM (#3260156) Homepage

    You know, with IE; they said it couldn't be removed and it was proven trivial.

    I understand (and appreciate) the use of HTML for windows help; however there isn't anything you can't do in the help by using [JA]Script and CSS, and aside from ActiveX, that isn't anything that any other browser couldn't provide. And as far as WMP is concerned I don't see the issue; MP3/WAV/whatever can be played by lots of things. Window Media files may need WMP, but that's not monopolistic.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Surely whether it's hard or not it's M$'s problem and for them to sort out.

      "Obeying the law is pretty tricky" is would hardly stand up in any other situation.
    • "I understand (and appreciate) the use of HTML for windows help; however there isn't anything you can't do in the help by using [JA]Script and CSS, and aside from ActiveX, that isn't anything that any other browser couldn't provide"

      Yes, there is. Being able to embed the browser component into applications, just like it's any another widget. You can do that with Mozilla now, but not with Netscape 4.x.
  • Design? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by russianspy ( 523929 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:10AM (#3260166)
    I'm just graduating from Computing Science. I guess I do not know a lot about the "REAL WORLD".
    Isn't it a mark of a good design when a system is modular? I mean, if one component needs to be replaced/rewritter you just rewrite that one component and be done with it. I can't even think that a project the size of Windows, IE, Media Plaer combined as a spaghetti code could even run.
    Is it just me, or does it seem tha Microsoft is PROUD of the fact that they do not have a design?
    • Re:Design? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jmb-d ( 322230 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:50AM (#3260305) Homepage Journal
      Isn't it a mark of a good design when a system is modular?

      From a code design standpoint, yes.

      From a business standpoint, assuming that your business model depends upon absolute control of the whole shebang, no.
    • Re:Design? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WildBeast ( 189336 )
      hmmm, Linus doesn't think that designing software is the way to go : "the people who think you "design" software are seriously simplifying the issue, and don't actually realize how they themselves work. "

      http://www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/01 12 .0/0004.html
      • "the people who think you "design" software are seriously simplifying the issue, and don't actually realize how they themselves work."

        True, but people often work by breaking down a problem into pieces that they can understand and hold in their head. Unix itself, while as much a product of evolution as intentional design, is very modular: it's all in seperate pieces, loosely integrated. The shell is a separate module, the underlying low-level foundation for the GUI, namely X, is a module, and window managers and toolkits are modules on top of that.
    • You're right. Saying Windows was not designed in a modular fashion is saying that Windows was not competently designed.

      What I don't understand is the Rob Enderle quote--surely one of the points of modularity is to avoid replicated code.

    • Re:Design? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by p3d0 ( 42270 )
      Yes, modular software is better. However, good luck finding any in the Real World. People think modularity has to be this heaviweight headache like COM or CORBA, or perhaps Java.

      I think it is not widely understood that modularity can be fine-grained and pervasive while still being efficient, especially if it is done in such a way that module boundaries can be optimized away (eg. through inlining) at compile time.

      (Incidentally, speaking of inlining, gcc is actually a pretty good compiler to use if you want to take this approach. It has great inlining facilities, which makes up for its lackluster optimization capabilities. I had a system [toronto.edu] I wrote using fine-grained modularity that relied very heavily on inlining for performance. When I moved from gcc to icc (Intel's own C compiler) it became about ten times slower, even after some fairly careful tweaking of icc's command line options. The difference was that icc simply refused to inline most of my function calls for a variety of reasons.)
    • Re:Design? (Score:3, Informative)

      I mean, if one component needs to be replaced/rewritter you just rewrite that one component and be done with it.

      That is how Windows works. The argument from MSFT is not that components can't be *replaced*, but that they can't *removed*. In theory, you could find the DLL responsible for HTML rendering, rewrite it, and replace it. You would need to duplicate the API and maintain binary compatability (which COM lets you do), but it's certainly possible. (It's the basis of DLL Hell.) But you can't just yank out DLLs which provide comon functions to multiple applications.

    • Re:Design? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IDIIAMOTS ( 553790 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @12:10PM (#3260570)
      I'm not defending Microsoft and I'll admit that while I use their products I have quite a few gripes about the general state of Windows.

      However, much like you I too have just recently made a transition from idialistic world of CS to the real world of software industry. I'd like to present a different take on situation if you'll bear with me, one offered without wearing the pink-engineering-my-product-must-be-perfection-ise lf glasses.

      Over the years Microsoft has built up Windows into a commodity product (no glib remarks about marketing, please). The truth is, when the user buys a computer, I'm talking about an end-user purchasing a desktop system and not a server, they are purchasing an experience. The ability to write letters, check e-mail, listen to music, make home videos. How the machine helps them achieve these tasks is irrelevant. Right now, Windows plus some office suite (Works or Office) cover 90% of everything majority of users wish to do on their machine.

      Now let's take a look at the OEMs. They ship machines with 90% of MS software, and while the OEM is responsible for the support of the system, they know that by having an all-Microsoft cast on the system they are assured interoperability. The OEM, thus, is not in the business of working the kinks out of their particular "distribution" of "computer usage experience". While the users may think of buying a "Dell" or "Gateway", who do they bash when their machines become finicky? Why Microsoft of course. There's a single point of blame in the industry.

      If Windows on the desktop were to become modular, someone will have to pick up the resonsibility for ensuring consistent user experience and compatibility of middleware. Since modularizing Windows would mainly benefit vendors and through them users, it seems obvious that it is the OEM that should be assigned with such responsibility. Would Dell and Gateway really accept a new paragraph in their job description with profit margin being as thin as they are now? Call me a cynic, but I think in the end Microsoft will be stuck with this job. Moreover, the stigma of "I bought a Dell but it's Microsoft I blame" will hardly go away immediately once modularized Windows with 3-rd party middleware systems start shipping.

      So in the end Microsoft ends up with extra chores, which IMHO are not their concern, even as a punishment, dilution of their brand image by products that are out of their influence (and they truly are, as any attempt to bring misbehaving 3-rd party vendor would surely be interpreted as anti-trust violation). No surprise they are opposed to this particular remedy, monopoly non-withstanding.
      • Hmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Faust7 ( 314817 )
        While the users may think of buying a "Dell" or "Gateway", who do they bash when their machines become finicky? Why Microsoft of course.

        Maybe those users who have just enough technical awareness to know that Microsoft is the company that made Windows... but in my experience, a good chunk of users, indeed the vast majority of the kind that buy computers off retail shelves, don't know even that. Over the four years I've been at college, I've actually asked several non-techie students if they knew who made Windows. Total blank. What about their compter? Dell, Gateway, etc.? "Um, I think it's a Gateway... I'd have to check." They're barely aware of the existence of who manufactured their hardware, let alone their OS. When their computer crashes, they blame either simply "my computer," or the one BIG word that's flashed in front of their faces when they turn on their computer: "Windows." The association they form in their minds is simple: "My computer = Windows," whatever mysterious entity this "Windows" is--they don't know it's an OS, because they don't know what an OS is. When they call me for help, they say one of two things: "My computer's messed up," or "Windows is messing up." And the first is much more common.
      • Re:Design? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheConfusedOne ( 442158 ) <the.confused.one ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @01:49PM (#3260874) Journal
        Yes, let's take a loot at the OEM's.

        Microsoft has reduced them to mere box pushers. Over the years, MS has removed every option that the OEM's have had to customize their offerings. When OEM's tried to go their own way MS threatened to remove their licenses for "dilluting the Windows trademark". Compaq wanted to offer Netscape. IBM wanted to offer SmartSuite and OS/2 dual boots. Other companies created their own custom GUI overlays. MS deliberately and systematically shut them all down.

        So, Microsoft removed customization, they welded IE into Windows in an attempt to make it irremovable. Maybe they even succeeded.

        The problem is that all of these actions were done solely to maintain or increase their monopoly. These actions weren't undertaken to make a better product. Since these actions have been deemed illegal and anticompetitive, then too bad if it's difficult to undo them.
      • Re:Design? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Now let's take a look at the OEMs. They ship machines with 90% of MS software, and while the OEM is responsible for the support of the system, they know that by having an all-Microsoft cast on the system they are assured interoperability. The OEM, thus, is not in the business of working the kinks out of their particular "distribution" of "computer usage experience". While the users may think of buying a "Dell" or "Gateway", who do they bash when their machines become finicky? Why Microsoft of course. There's a single point of blame in the industry.

        "Distribution". Linux has distributions. There's a core set of code, and lots of companies and organizations (RedHat, SUSE, Debian, etc.) have sprung up to turn that code into a good user experience (aka a "Distribution").

        Perhaps if MS offered a stripped-down Windows, something similar would happen. "Pure" Windows might be hard to use (or not), but with Company X's "Windows Enhancement Pack", things would get a lot easier. OEMs buy enhancement packs from Company X, and all is well.

        Before you point out that this could lead to incompatibities among distos (as with Linux now), note that there's still a single company controlling the core Windows code. They could enforce standardization in several ways. For example, instead of a single mandatory web browser, they could have a "web browser integration" API (like KDE does, I think?) 3rd party browsers would have to either be compliant to this API or, well, be non-compliant and suffer the consequences, such as functionality not working, being labelled "non-compliant" by the press, and so on.

    • You are right from a CS standpoint. What a lot of people (especially anti-MS people) don't get is the fact that MS is talking from more of a market-driven standpoint. A lot of MS's technologies actually rely on the IE engine. They have no reason to remove or rewrite all of these features in their OS (not to mention all of the 3rd party programs that rely on it as well). Actually, the core engine of IE _IS_ actually very modular. With a few lines of code I can slap the engine into any of my apps. Programs that claim to "remove" IE from your system actually remove small parts of IE, not the core engine.

      In theory, they could easily remove IE "the browser", while leaving the browser engine for programs and features that rely on it. But then I have to ask, why? IE was way more popular then Netscape way before this whole integration crap came about (NSCommunicator sucked anyway). Opera wasn't around to really compete, and Mozilla wasn't that active either. Plus, Opera, a great browser, is currently gaining marketshare in what's supposedly an anti-competitive marketplace. I think the only thing that's been anti-competitive in the browser market is sub-par browsers trying to compete with IE. Within the last year this has really changed, and IE has been slowly loosing it's share (esp. in Europe).
  • M$ bashing 101 (Score:2, Redundant)

    by minusthink ( 218231 )
    "Microsoft defends the solution by remarking Windows was not designed to be a modular system, and the current operating system is highly dependant on core technologies like IE and Windows Media Player. Removing them would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare."

    While keeping the coretechnologies in would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare.


  • Not modular? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bloody Bastard ( 562228 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:10AM (#3260168)
    I doubt Windows is not modular (at least a little bit). They are using the microkernel concept since WinNT (a very small kernel and "servers" for the more advanced features) and dynamic libraries for most of the code (I think).

    Maybe they can arguee they cannot strip some stuff because of dependencies. I am not a Windows expert, but it seems they won't go too far away with those claims.

    But it is always nice to hear from M$ they don't know how to build a operating system =)

    • Re:Not modular? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, they've at least partially abandoned the microkernel since NT 4.0. They couldn't get video performance to where they wanted it without having the video drivers bypass the HAL.

      While this may make sense for a workstation and/or Playstation, it is idiotic for a server. It seems to me that they have enough profit to maintain a server version of the OS where a bad video call won't bring the entire freaking server down. Not to mention, why does my DB server need a web browser?!?!

      And, no, I don't run X on any of *nix servers, although it is usually installed.

  • by Khalid ( 31037 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:13AM (#3260181) Homepage
    Wine by just emulating the win32 API, can now, (thanks to Codeweavers) run MS Office 2000, IE, QT, Photoshop and many major windows running software ! so has the Wine guys managed to do what MS with its Billion $ not managed to achieve ?
    • by theCoder ( 23772 )
      Not only is it complete BS, it's a downright lie! The entire point of COM was to make the system modular so that components could be replaced with different implementations. If someone really worked at it, they could probably get IE to use the Mozilla rendering engine by writing a COM wrapper that implemented the right interfaces (I forget their names at the moment). I'm not saying it would be easy, but definietly possible. All of COM is like that, and hence all of Windows (since Windows relies so heavily on COM).

      Their other two points are more valid, though. The system would be less user-friendly (since MS and most of the world defines user-friendly as how close the interface is to MS software) and it would be a real PITA to support. How many things can go wrong with Windows when most all of the stuff is comes from MS? Now start adding in third party stuff into the system creating all sorts of new configuration permutations. Definitely more work to figure out what's wrong.
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:14AM (#3260188) Homepage Journal

    Yes, I know I pushed an old lady down the steps, but if you send me to jail I won't be able to drink beer, hang at the local bar, and work on my hot rod!

    What kind of defense is that?

  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <brento&brentozar,com> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:17AM (#3260197) Homepage
    If they can't put it out the door without bunding parts of IE and Media Player or whatever, then just don't put them on the program menus, don't put them on the desktop, and don't make them the default file handlers. What's so hard about that?

    It's a piece of cake compromise, and I sincerely doubt it's anybody's goal here to remove every bit of IE's code from Windows. If MS wants to use the IE code to display the user's desktop, or to show files in Windows Explorer, fine. Correct me if I'm wrong (always a given on Slashdot, people will even correct you if you're right) but I think the goal of the suit is to stop the anticompetitive measures, not remove certain lines of source code. Just start with the Start Menu, and go from there.
    • Those are exactly the terms of the preoposed final judgement that Microsoft and the DOJ have suggested to the court, though. The non-settling states really do want to demand that Windows be completely rewritten.
    • The article specifically addresses that point. In referring to the proposed final judgement offered by the DOJ and the settling states, it says:

      In written testimony, RealNetworks' David Richards said the proposed settlement doesn't give software developers enough incentive to make new products. That's because an application can easily sniff out and continue to use the Windows product rather than, say, RealNetworks' competing product.
  • keep it in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ericdano ( 113424 )
    My god, less friendly, slower!?!? Then leave the stuff in. I run windows XP. I hardly ever use IE. Mozilla is what I use. In fact, I hardly use any of uncle bill's software. Trillian [trillian.cc] is the little app that connects me to IMs (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc). I just run windows for games and a couple of music apps.

    I guess the real issue is that 3rd party companies never get a chance to really show people that their stuff is better. I know a lot of Windows users use EVERYTHING that came on the computer and don't even know that you can use different browsers, email programs, IM programs, etc etc.

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:19AM (#3260209) Journal
    The cartoon User Friendly [userfriendly.org] had a perfect answer to this just a few weeks ago:

    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20020310 [userfriendly.org]

    Which, of course, simple undoes all of the things MS has done that were not quite legal.

  • Now forgive me if my understanding of what Microsoft are saying is incorrect. Let me start with some assertions.

    • Windows is an operating system.
    • An operating system consists of a kernel and some libraries that expose the api of the kernel.
    • IE is a an application
    • An application consists of a core executable (IEXPLORE.EXE)
    • A set of libraries that provide re-usable components - (one of these may be the IE control - that doesn't matter though as the user can't run a library.

    So what is the prime difficulty of doing a piecewise removal of the core applications (the EXE's) and the libraries (DLLs) that support those applications alone?

    Of course you will not be able to remove the core dll's that may contain the IE control, but other applications depnd on that, but you still can't kick up IE and maintain your cookies, URLs and so on.

    The end result is what is required. The users get a system that they have to go through a second step to get a browser, IM client, or anything else installed, thereby giving the user a choice.

    I would expect that an addition to the 'click here to install the Microsoft Application' that Windows would have, there would have to be a 'view Non-Microsoft alternatives' that would have to be at that decision point.

  • by nathanm ( 12287 ) <nathanm@enginee[ ]om ['r.c' in gap]> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:20AM (#3260214)
    Like most software companies, Microsoft has worked hard to make its Windows system as compact as possible, Enderle said. By intertwining code to minimize overlap, he said, Microsoft makes a product that saves valuable disk space but becomes difficult to segregate.
    Is this guy talking about the same Windows everyone else in the world knows? The installed size has gone up with every release, up to 1 GB in XP. I don't know what this guy is smoking, but I want some.
  • Removing them would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare."

    So their argument appears to be that, if we try to enforce the law, they'll make their "stripped" Operating System such a joke (it costs $20, but there's no GUI) as to be useless, de facto forcing everybody to buy the full version.

    This isn't a troll or a flame...I've supported Windows for a living in the past. It's ALREADY a support nightmare. Any indication by MS that they're "going to make it worse" in a stripped down version of Windows is a serious threat... Imagine if your already sky-high Windows support costs went up 40% overnight...

    The best thing that could happen to the ulcers of IT people would be for Windows (and Microsoft itself) to go the way of the Do-Do bird.
    • So their argument appears to be that, if we try to enforce the law, they'll make their "stripped" Operating System such a joke (it costs $20, but there's no GUI) as to be useless, de facto forcing everybody to buy the full version.

      It's useless in a store. But to an OEM that can make contracts with Opera,Mozilla,Stardock and other places?

    • It *would* be a support nightmare.
      If you used all MS components (Windows, IE, Office, Outlook, and MSN Messenger), all you need to do is call MS for support. If "Mr. Wang's funky widget"(tm) that you installed to "enhance" your browsing experience decides to overwrite MFC42.dll with one that breaks Office, what are you supposed to do now?

      Remember as a govermental agency, you are supposed to assign *blame* as an excuse for lost productivity while dealing with this problem. Do you blame the IT help desk, luser, MS, or the ad-company that installed the widget?

      I have seen this in network support cases. The most notorious one being AOL clients that replace tcp/ip or refuse to do DNS resolution unless you are connected to their service or some other funny things. The way AOL used to tell you how to fix it made it worse (making *us* reinstall AOL, and then fooling around with the registry to re-enable DHCP).

      MS's defense is interesting because they clearly know that Govermental Agencies (e.g. the states) are a large client base but also demand higher standards of support. MS wishes to not be held liable for ripping out pieces of its OS and making things (more) unstable. For example, in Win2k and XP, you can't get rid of IE, because explorer hooks into mshtml.dll. Outlook also depends on mshtml.dll, so you'd break that too. Even though you can *disguise* the system into looking like it doesn't have IE, that is a far cry from getting rid of it completely.
      • so they rewrite Explorer and related dlls to separate IE from internal html uses. Problem?
        They rewrote a damn sight more to move video drivers into the kernel, making NT less stable between 3.5 and 4.0
        You know, usually, when you're found guilty of breaking the law you are required at minimum to change your ways a bit. But I realize we're talking about Microsoft.

  • It is possible to remove a whole lot of the default crap that ships with Windows.

    Before I switched to Linux full-time, I tamed my Windows box with 98lite [98lite.net]. To quote from the specs page [98lite.net], the current version allows removal of:

    * Internet Explorer
    * Media Player7 (Me)
    * MovieMaker (Me)
    * PC Health (Me)
    * Media Player2
    * DirectX
    * Direct Media
    * Task Scheduler
    * MS Cryptography
    * Web Folders
    * Internet Control Panel
    * Internet Search
    * Telephony
    * ISDN Configuration Wizard
    * Disk Defragmenter
    * Scandisk
    * ICM Color Profiles
    * Imaging Support
    * System Information
    * CleanUp Manager
    * Tune-up Wizard
    * Active Movie
    * Dr. Watson
    * Data Access Components
    * Connection Manager
    * Email Stationery
    * Windows Help Files
    * Legacy Windows 3.1 files
    * DOS command Files
    * Desktop Color Schemes
    * Desktop Tiles

    98lite allows the removal of the entire MSHTML engine and all the other Windows Media crap. So, if "the current operating system is highly dependant on core technologies like IE and Windows Media Player", I sure didn't notice it after I ran 98lite.

  • by Seth Finkelstein ( 90154 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:21AM (#3260223) Homepage Journal
    Just look at their PR:
    Product Overview for Windows XP Embedded [microsoft.com]
    (emphasis added)
    Windows XP Embedded is the componentized version of the leading desktop operating system, enabling rapid development of the most reliable and full-featured connected devices. Based on the same binaries as Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Embedded enables embedded developers to individually select only the rich features they need for customized, reduced-footprint embedded devices.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

    • Perhaps MS are telling the truth; in which case XP Embedded is "slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare".

      Remind me not to use it in my next prjoect.
    • How componentized? (Score:3, Informative)

      by crisco ( 4669 )
      According to the FAQ [microsoft.com]:
      Windows XP Embedded will provide starting configurations that help optimize a footprint by providing the lowest level of operating system services required to support various types of designs. Estimates of these configurations begin at 5 megabyte (MB) for extremely limited function devices, and go up from there as you add features and services to your configuration.
  • IIRC the mozilla control [www.iol.ie] thats designed for embedding in other applications has a compatible API to the windows version (or at least that was an aim to allow developers who use the IE component to break free).
    Now this wont be a simple drop in replacement but it could replace a lot of the built in html rendering uses. The problem is (especially with XP) ms seem to think its a great idea to replace previously normal windows dialogs and windows with HTMLised versions, I guess theres a lot of undocumented stuff going on there.

    I wish there was a 98 lite [98lite.net] version that would work with win2k SP2 or XP. I miss the old fast file explorer - I dont want or need a file explorer that renders websites but does its own job slowly.
  • by TummyX ( 84871 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:28AM (#3260247)
    The reason you can't remove those components from Windows is precisely because windows is so modular.

    Windows is HIGHLY modular and componentised which is EXACTLY why you can't remove certain components. It's all the component REUSE that causes windows depend on stuff like IE. You guys all think you're great software engineers but can't seem to understand that!

    Java is OO and very componentised. But that doesn't mean Java could exist without java.lang.String!

    Sure, you could replace java.lang.String with an implementation that acts just like it. That's precisely what you can do in windows too. You can replace the IE component with the Mozilla component (it has already been done). The only problem is that you're now forcing MS to sell a product that is made up of 3rd party components they may not want to be associated with their products. (Imagine what a nightmare it would have been to have the bloat that is Netscape 4.6 included in windows 98).

    Anyway. I just wanted to point out again, that something being componentised doesn't mean you can remove any components. (It only means you could REPLACE the component). You can't remove IE from windows, but you could replace it. Just like you can't expect the MOTOR component of a car to be removed and still have the car work.
    • by Ozan ( 176854 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @12:55PM (#3260724) Homepage
      IMHO comparing every software component with the engine of a car gives a rather distorted view on this issue. The engine of a car would be the kernel of a OS, and of course it is an essential component, but a program like MSN Messenger or Media Player would be more compareable to an A/C or a window lift than to a key component of a car.
      Of course a car needs engine, gearing and wheels, but theese aren't under consideration here at all here. We are fine with the kernel and the file system.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aallan ( 68633 ) <{ku.oc.milibab} {ta} {riadsala}> on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:29AM (#3260253) Homepage

    Microsoft defends the solution by remarking Windows was not designed to be a modular system, and the current operating system is highly dependant on core technologies like IE and Windows Media Player.

    Its an operating system, why on Earth is a Media Player a core technology? An OS is the layer that stands between the hardware and applications. If it does anything other than this, its fluff...

  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:32AM (#3260264) Homepage

    But, your honor, going to jail for my crimes would mean that I couldn't keep going to my job, and that I couldn't go to baseball games, and gee, it would make my life really hard!

    Somehow, it seems to me that inconvenience to a party found guilty of violating the law should be laughed out of court as a defense against a penalty.


  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:35AM (#3260269) Homepage Journal
    And they won't be worth much, certainly not billions...

    Now isn't that all anyone really needs to know about MS?

    Along with the question "Do you think Lying is OK?"
  • So you can't have windows without explorer, so what? If the applications are part of windows just remove GUI access to those applications and let other vendors install their own applications in their places. Done. I personally feel that it would best benefit the technology if Microsoft is forced to give back something (money) to various open source projects. Although deciding the projects/groups could be difficult. I also think it would be nice if Microsoft would discontinue some of their current anti competitive tactics giving OEM vendors the ability to ship computers with other desktop operating systems. I shouldn't have to purchase a copy of windows every time I buy an OEM computer just to format and install something else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:38AM (#3260278)

    Taken from that site:

    IEradicator is tiny, script that uses the Windows setup engine to surgically remove Internet Explorer versions 3 through 6.0 from Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium and Windows 2000(sr1).

    If you are one of the 70+% for which IE is the browser that floats your boat you can reinstall the version you prefer. If not, then you can bask in the inner glow of knowing you just secured your PC from all known and unknown, past and future, IE security bugs while claiming back 30+MB of closet space. Isn't it nice to have the choice?

    The removal process is elegant with all COM servers politely being asked to de-register themselves from the system registry using their inbuilt deinstallation routines before being eliminated from the hard disk. IEradicator then pulls out the cleaning gear and gives the registry a good polish before returning control back to you. The MS HTML Engine (shdocvw.dll and mshtml.dll) is left on the machine to provide needed functionality for other applications that render HMTL (e.g. Outlook Express) or that launch a mini-browsing window (e.g. Winamp's Mini Browser, Netmeeting's Online Directory).

    We will re-release a version that removes the shell integration like IEradicator used to do shortly. People complained the old IEradicator went to far, now people are complaining the NEW IEradicator is not severe enough...so be it, two versions it will be. If you are hard-core, you can rid yourself of IE altogether using the new 98lite Professional."

    My brother used it on some windows boxes and it worked great.
  • by rant-mode-on ( 512772 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:43AM (#3260283) Homepage
    It doesn't really matter if Windows installs can be made more modular (I say more modular, because the last time I installed it it asked loads of questions about what I wanted install). The reason it doesn't matter is because MS will just release versions without IE, Media Player etc, and then force you into installing them later:
    • "Notepad requires Windows Media Player to run. You must intsall Windows Media Player to continue. [Install] [Cancel]"
    • "Office requires a totally unrelated piece of MS bloatware. You must intsall some more bloatware to continue. [Install] [Cancel]"
    • "Blue Screen of Death requires Internet Explorer to run. Internet Explorer is an essential part of our BSOD technology, you will not get any BSOD's unless you intsall Internet Explorer. [Install] [Cancel]"
  • by Munelight ( 192694 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:44AM (#3260291)
    MSN Messenger ships with WIndows XP and likes bothering you to register a passport account. This is a pain in the ass, and it doesn't appear in the add/remove programs list. Luckily if you edit the sysoc.inf files you can find the msmsgs line and remove the 'hidden' option from it. Then you CAN remove it through add/remove programs. It seems to me that Microsoft is being intentionally misleading about what parts of their operating system can be safely removed and which can't.

    If it's discovered that they've lied in court I think the company should be dissolved for a period of time not less than what an individual caught lying in court would be sentenced to. It's time that corporations enjoyed some of the responsibilities of being considered 'individuals' as well as the rights and priveleges.
  • I don't buy it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by invenustus ( 56481 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:45AM (#3260293)
    As long as government offices take your money to buy Microsoft software, as long as government schools take your money to teach children to use Microsoft software and nothing else, and as long as government jobs that take your money require submitting a resume in Word DOC format, government will be helping Microsoft's "monopoly" as much as it hinders it. It makes me really suspicious that all "antitrust" actions are just attempts to increase the power of government.
  • Partly agree (Score:4, Informative)

    by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:47AM (#3260300) Homepage
    (NOTE: I'm not debating the issue IF tying IE's core libs to win32 was a WISE decision or not)

    The fact that IE's core libs are part of a greater lib-set (the shell extension libraries, part of win32) is discussed a zillion times and can't be denied the tying is there and there to stay. Removing 'IE' from windows by the tools available do not remove the core libraries because these are also used by the shell and a lot of 3rd party tools. Removing also these core libraries is not a solution, especially because 3rd party tool users on windows NEED the libraries to use the 3rd party tools anyway. These tools will break OR these users have to install IE anyway to use these tools, so the removal of these core libs is IMHO not that useful.

    Although I'm a sole win32 developer and like some of the Microsoft technologies a lot, I simply can't understand why they say 'Windows is not designed to be modular'. It IS setup and designed to be modular. The problem is: the modules designed are not designed in a way that they are usable :).

    Also: windows media player is a technology which uses codec's in the form of COM components. I simply can't see why windows media player can't be removed from windows: it's a shell around COM components.
  • by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @10:53AM (#3260319)
    I actually agree with this-between Office, Media Player, and MSIE; each of them provides vital system functionality that would be hard to replicate perfectly elsewhere.

    Microsoft doesn't want to have to support 3rd-party extensions to their core software-rightfully so. That's why overclocking voids your warrenty on OEM systems...it's an unsupported modification.

    So, let the OEMs who are modifiying Windows do ALL the support. "Sorry, we do not support modified versions of Windows."

    Let 'em continue selling a Microsoft-supported version; and for the same price let the OEM's pick either a full copy of a "modular" copy. Just, when the modular copy doesn't work because someone didn't follow the specs properly, they can't complain to MS about it.

    Windows 3.1-ish was relatively modular...there were available replacement environments and stuff. For more complex OSes, modular and workable (not necessarely stable) are different things.
    • Isn't this the way it is now? (referring to the OEM Support)

      If I go out and buy a E-Machine, Dell, or Gateway that has $WIN_VER preinstalled, and if $WIN_VER breaks, if I call Microsoft, they'll only referr me to the Computer Vendor for Support.

      Anyone who deals with OEM contracts care to expand on this?

  • If windows isn't designed to be modular, that means it's not designed to allow users to decide what software they want and don't want.

    Is that an admission that windows is designed to be Microsoft forcing software down users throats whether they want it or not?
  • by cyberlotnet ( 182742 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @11:02AM (#3260356) Homepage Journal
    Every time a subject like this comes up all the morons crawl out of the woodwork and show just how little they know about the whole Microsoft issue to begin with..


    I use Windows and home and Linux at work.. Why? Windows plays all the games I like to play and linux handles all my work better, makes development easy..

    I use linux, I would switch to linux totally if I could.. Do I hate Windows.. Its not the SOFTWARE thats on trial people its the Methods that made the software so popular..

    Linux people should stop saying windows sucks.. Thats not truly the issue at hand.. You should be saying Bill is a backstabbing, cheating ahole... But then if our president can get a blowjob and get away with it.. Why can't Bill screw over companys.

    Windows people have to understand its not windows itself that is pissing linux people off.. its the pure power Microsoft has over companys.. In essense they Had a button at hand that said you live or die by my word..

    If a company refused to obey microsoft.. They refuse to sell to them.. The company has to buy off the normal market.. there prices go up there sales go down.. the company dies..


    We made it wrong for Coke to tell stores if you want to sell our product you CANT SELL PEPSI.. why can't it be the same for Microsoft..

    That is ALL WE ASK
    • Wish I had some mod points right now. You just posted my own argument on the whole Linux vs. Windows thing!

      Speaking of "support nightmare" - I have had to support various versions of Windows since 1995. It has always been frustrating. The worst part was when I started using Linux in 1996. Suddenly, I was using an OS that was much more stable and easier to configure than Windows - yet I was still having to support Windows on other people's machines. Thus, my nickname on Slashdot was born...

      All the states need to do is remove Microsoft's power over the OEMs. Suddenly, you would see Linux shipping on computers, or you would see drastic price reductions on what Microsoft charged for Windows.

  • Let's not gloss over the fact that the states are attempting to do something that may be out of their power.

    The states comprise an association of territories under one government. They have given the national rights of enforcement in cases like this to the federal government via the constitution and laws.

    As much as something needs to happen what kind of precedent does this set if a state can dictate the law of the land over other states' rights?

    IT World has a great listing of blow by blow news accounts of the process. http://www.itworld.com/Man/2699/
  • Laughable defense. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @11:11AM (#3260387)
    Microsoft defends the solution by remarking Windows was not designed to be a modular system, and the current operating system is highly dependant on core technologies like IE and Windows Media Player.

    That is just so absurd on the face of it. Could anyone here, with even one CS course - hell, with NO CS courses - possibly imagine designing a general-purpose operating system inextricably intertwined with a web browser and media player? It would truly be the pinnacle of shitty design.

  • From the consuemr perspective, no one would prefer a version of windows without features if its the same price as one with features. It will be the same price.

    The solution will provide no consumer benefit whatsoever, so it is essentially retarded from that perspective.

    So why are states pushing for this stupidity? Simply put, the corruption of democratic lobbying. The effort will give power to computer makers, AOL, and Real, and they are influencing political action targeting MS, but in the end, computer makers will be the only ones benefitting since MS will be part of the bidding war in penetrating desktops with their apps, and at present, they have a quality advantage, and controlling the base OS, gives them an abundance of tactics to keep the relative quality advantage.

    Splitting up the company into an OS only group and other software group must be part of any such debundling plan, for it to serve any benefit to the software industry.
  • by HiyaPower ( 131263 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @11:45AM (#3260488)
    This is the penalty phase of the thing. The courts have decided that Microsoft is guilty. I personally don't care how costly it will be for them to do what is necessary. If you are a bank robber, extortionist or other such malafactor, it is not a concern of the court that it will be inconvenient or expensive for you to spend the next several years in the slammer.

    There are a number of reasons why you have a penalty phase: First it is to deter folks from doing something similar in the future. Secondly, they must make restitution to society for their crime. Both usually involve extraction of a degree of pain from the convicted.

    If Judge Jackson's penalty had remained in force (as it should have), you would be amazed how fast Microsoft would have done what they contend that they can't.
  • Last week, I read an article on slashdot about M$ beginning with a anti-unix campaign.
    One of their arguments was (IIRC) that Unix was inflexible, not modular, needed an expert to handle it etc.
    And now M$ says, windblows isn't modular as well. It would even be unmanagable/unsupportable if they stripped IE and WMP off Windows...
    They used to tell different faerie tales....
    Only a few years ago, one of M$'s campaigns claimed WinNT to be a better Unix than Unix.
    How better ? being less modular and managable than un*x ? So how should I interprete these conflicting stories ?
    Oh well, it's just another piece of FUD. Have a nice day.
  • "So what IM do you have installed? Not ours? Sorry, I can't help you" etc etc. Microsoft Windows has one very big advantage. It's one package which is designed to work together. Mozilla doesn't work like a windows application, nor does Netscape or AIM. And they are not only designed to work together on a binary level, but at a userlevel.

    For a second forget the fact that you will willingly put countless amounts of hours to change your system, compile and download odd pieces of software and patches. Think about someone who doesn't think computers are the most exciting thing in the world. Why would they want to buy a version of Windows without the applications they already, painstainkingly, have leared how to use in class, from friends, or from litrature? Why would they pay *MORE* in total to get what Windows normally offers? It's a bundle, it's meant to be good for the user, and it is.

    A real choice would be MacOS X, Windows XP, and _ONE_ linux distro with _ONE_ desktop. We computer geeks can shout and scream, but we are no longer a majority. Be happy that Linux does exist so you can have it as a hobby (and some work with it), but don't go assuming what you want is the best for everyone.

    Don't be afraid of Microsoft, they just wanna sell products. Be afraid of the companies that wants to control the media, to control the masses. They are scary, look at Berlusconi (no idea how it's spelled, sorry all Italians) and what he is doing in Europe right now. What AOL/Time Warning is doing in the states.

    If you want to make a statement, make better software for !windows, use !windows, and the day there is a better OS for me than XP I will switch (and I will be the only one making that decision, I know far too much about computers to let anyone else do it. Just as you probably do. So I would be just as pissed if you told me to use Linux, as you would be if I told you to use XP).
  • I thought MS was offering a version of XP for the embedded markets...where you paid for a modular OS that came it nice little pieces to fit in yer embedded hardware?

    I think I saw a comparison of embedded solutions from MS against linux embedded offerings recently...

    If MS can offer a modular embedded product to compete in that space...then they sure as hell can design the desktop OS around the same modular ideas.

  • Microsoft says it can't be done? Ok, then hire a competent firm of programmers. Give them the source to windows, a time limit (say, six months from receiving a version of the source that compiles to windows) and $5,000,000. If they can't do it, then Microsoft only has to pay the $5,000,000 in penalties. If they can, then Microsoft has to ship the version they come up with in those nine states.

    -- Spam Wolf, the best spam blocking vaporware yet! [spamwolf.com]

  • If Microsoft's products are not modular, that's Microsoft's problem. Why should Sun, Netscape, Real, Apple or anyone else suffer because Microsoft can't cope?
  • Replace the shell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @12:56PM (#3260727) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure this integration that M$ talks about, if it really is a full integration, is in the GUI, not the kernel.

    Solution - new GUI.

    It would be interesting to see the nine states put forward a solution to port Xfree86 to windows and make win API compatable, or to have M$ utilize Wine to make Apps work.

    I know this last bit is just a pipe dream. But the GUI is the problem. How does M$ fix it?
  • Is there anybody with connection to people who have a voice in these proceedings? If so, the court should be aware of Microsoft's own instructions on how to make a customized version of XP [microsoft.com]. I'm not sure whether it's dishonesty or stupidity on Microsoft's part, but how come they are arguing against something that they themselved have a tailor made solution for?

    The sad thing is that they will be caught lying again, stand corrected and we'll all just move on. Is there any penalty in these proceedings for lying to the court (usually a serious offence [lawlinks.com] for you and I) or will they get just get their wrist slapped, like they did for the faked video [zdnet.com].

  • What diff? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oldstrat ( 87076 )
    "Removing them would result in a slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare."

    Really?!? If your going to tell a lie at least make it believable. No way it would be slower...
    And support would have to exist before it could become a nightmare.

    Microsoft Windows is a support nightmare period.
    The closed API, the closed specs all across the board mean that error codes are simply, 'it's broke' indicators, not debugging information that can provide a fix.

    Less MS windows means more reliability, and more support (from someone other than MS Non-Support).

    Apparently the Maxim will have to change...
    There are Lies, Damn Lies, and Microsoft P.R.
  • .....slower, much-less user friendly Windows that would be a support nightmare.

    And this would be different from a typical new Windows version how?
  • Support Nightmare (Score:3, Interesting)

    by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @02:06PM (#3260937)
    Well here's the one concession to Microsoft's defence. The more 3rd parties are able to modify the layout and content of Windows, the more it will be a support nightmare. It's just a fact that, at my workplace, one quarter or so of windows users calling tech support don't know what version of Windows they're running and wouldn't know how to determine said version. It's also a fact that around one half of this category, when asked to right-click 'My Computer' on their desktop, will deny that such at icon exists. At this point, they must be told that this icon does in fact exist and that they are a moron. What do we do when the users are using Dell Windows XP, Micron Windows XP or (God help us) Circuit City Windows XP? Trying to support an OS the layout of which may be modified at all is a pain (Windows XP's minimally modifiable GUI is a big enough one), but trying to support an OS stripped apart and reassembled by the OEM to have their logo in every nook and cranny could be the nightmare Microsoft mentioned. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a maximally modular OS, I just think my users should have to take an IQ test before they're allowed to use one.
  • Ironically (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @02:12PM (#3260955) Homepage Journal
    I recall saying that the exclusive/secret OEM contracts should be the first to go, as a penalty.

    True to form, this comment was ignored. No big deal.

    Recently, when Gateway's CEO spoke up on this very issue, I saw my comment on abolishing OEM contracts "paraphrased verbatim"...including the 10 year moratorium I'd suggested.

    I found this amusing, but it also got me thinking of how this could be improved.

    Well, frequently invoked or ignored is the "grandma/joe6pack" arguement and could best be brought to the attention of those it affects the most:
    1) No exclusive/secret contracts between ms and oems, period, for 10 years.
    2) No OEM preinstalls/rescue disks on/for machines for those 10 years.
    3) force ms to *support* all its OS's (9x/NT) for 10 years after release (this will decrease the upgrade treadmill, I think)
    4) If windows is to be put on a machine (as per #2): The customer will have to purchase it directly from MS (thus getting rid of the EULA loophole where refunds can't be give because you did not "buy it *directly* from MS" and make people aware of the actual *cost* of the software).
    5) and finally: Bugs/Features/security holes should be *fixed* in a timely manner.
    By this I mean; if I don't want Outlook/OE, IE, WMP, .NET, IM, IIS, PWS or anything else (I, or another customer requests be removed) MS *must* provide the tools to remove it, without "crippling the os".

    I'm sure the 98lite team would be perfect for providing insight on how to do it, if they need help. :)
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @02:32PM (#3261014) Homepage Journal
    you might have a very high bar raised for those who would write core Windows components. For example, Netscape would have to be written in such a way as not to break the thousands of applications that have been written that make use of IE's low-level components. For example, I wrote an intranet application that uses the address bar, back & forward buttons, etc. You can't tell that IE is part of it, but it is.

    This program WOULD NOT RUN if you stripped IE out of Windows. I think it would be neat if you could just drop in another browser and have everything work. But are the 3rd party players going to be willing to support all the functions, features, etc to create drop-in replacements? They just might be getting into more than they bargained for.
  • A Modular System (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Sunday March 31, 2002 @05:17PM (#3261788) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has made a big push towards component architectures. Everywhere you look in the Microsoft world they are pushing components of some kind. Talking with some Windows fans at work, they have convinced me that components (if done right) are an excellent idea.

    Fine. Then why not make Windows a component/modular system? If it's not possible to remove IE from the base system, then it's not modular. Making Windows into a truly modular system would be a very good thing for the quality of the OS, as well as injecting some bits of competition back into the equation.

    Unix is already a very modular system, particularly the Free unices. Use a different file system. Use a different desktop. Use a different MTA. Etc. At the risk of sounding like I support Microsoft, I think a true componentized Windows would be a good thing.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"