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Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles 1023

parking_god writes "MIT prof Stuart Madnick, testifying on MS's behalf, was caught out twice when a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions." Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense ;)
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Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles

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  • by DLWormwood ( 154934 ) <`moc.em' `ta' `doowmrow'> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:32AM (#3450452) Homepage
    He missed an invaluable opportunity to hold his tongue.
    -- Andrew Lang

    Talk about perfect timing for a random draw from the fortune file...
  • a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions.

    Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix? Where exactly do you draw the line? Discuss.
    • by radja ( 58949 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:39AM (#3450516) Homepage
      THE shell? would that be bash, ksh or tcsh?

    • by adam613 ( 449819 )
      The shell is a program that runs on top of UNIX and can be replaced with a different shell at the discretion of the computer's user. I don't have to use bash; I could use tcsh if I wanted to.

      IE is a program that runs as an integral part of the Windows kernel and can not be replaced by a different browser. Or so the states are trying to argue.
    • Possibly not, but you can very easily remove whichever shell you don't want on the system, or just opt not to use it. The same is true of the graphical equivalents. Specifically, I'm thinking CDE. The operating system works just fine without it. The only OS I can think of which you can't separate out functionality is Microsoft's various offerings.
    • I agreem but try to remove that shell. Gnome and Kde you can simply remove if you don't wan't to use them. But all Linux setup engines allow you to install without Kde and Gnome.

      So there are two aspects of shell, removable and not removable. And because IE is so tightly integrated in a shell that makes hard way to be competitive for companies like Netscape. Don't you agree
    • by BusterB ( 10791 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:42AM (#3450554)
      Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix? Where exactly do you draw the line? Discuss.

      Does Unix require one type of shell over another? You could write init scripts that used csh, ksh, bash, tcsh, or something else entirely. You could use python interactively, or make emacs the default shell. There is no requirement of one over another fundamentally.

    • Alright, the shell is part of Unix - which one do you like best? I prefer bash, but korn is not all that uncommon, and the regular csh is still around - then there's... ah, I don't feel like listing 50 something shells. The point's been made. Yes, the shell is critical to Unix, but you can pick whatever shell you'd like.

      Another consideration is that Konqueror is an integral part of KDE (not the OS as noted in the article - I realize this. But it fits more into the M$ gui thing), yet it's a lot easier to get Netscape on there than on Windows. Reason? Konqueror lets you remove its icon from the desktop, and doesn't step on Netscape's toes (not that I like using 128 megs of RAM to use a browser like Netscape...)

    • by Sabalon ( 1684 )

      IE is just a wrapper around the HTML control. You could remove IEXPLORE.EXE and all the icons, put netscape on and the system would run - which is why doing on and on about this is such a joke. It's trivial to replace IE with Netscape. Much less trivial to replace ALL html with Netscape, since Start|Run|C:\ is an explorer window, and putting http://www.yahoo.com in the address bar of that window pulls down web pages.

      The underlying HTML control is deeply tied into the "OS" - where OS is the desktop as well as the kernel. Remove that and you're probably screwed.

      The shell in unix is just another program that may get launched. There is nothing stopping you from removing it. At bootup, the init program will get called as the first process. If nothing in there, or any other part of the initialization of your system requires the shell, then you could do away with it.

      Of course, all the rc.d/* stuff, and much of the system startup files would need to be rewritten in C or something, since they are just shell scripts...but it could be done. Yes...it is more trouble than it is worth, but at no time does this affect the OS.

      Now...if you had said is the HTML control any less a part of windows than the init program is a part of Unix....
    • by Trilaka ( 172371 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:08AM (#3450800)
      I agree that this whole trial has taken the wrong line of attack in this case. Yes, IE is just part of the shell...the interface between user and OS. Microsoft should have every right to make this an integral part of the product that they ship in the box labelled "Windows."

      The part which is unreasonable, is the strong-arm tactics happening between Microsoft and the OEM world, where PC manufacturers are not penalized for things they do with a system after Windows is installed and before the product ships.

      e.g. "We'll give you this incredible price as long as you don't support any of our competitors in your system configuration. That means, no removing IE from the desktop, no placing Mozilla/Netscape/AOL there, etc. If you do not comply, you can get our standard rate, which, as you can see, is far less generous. Now, do you want to stay competitive in the hardware business, or not?"

      In this way, Microsoft is able to undermine the free market, taking choice away from the consumer.

      As an analogy, say you wanted to buy a puppy from me. I give you two options, you can sign this contract or not. If you do sign the contract (which includes provisions to make sure the puppy is the only pet in the household currently, that you will not shop at any competitors stores, etc), then you get a 50% discount. Otherwise, you pay full price.

      Note that this approach is markedly different than frequent buyer type programs, which reward you based on your business relationship with the company offering the program. What Microsoft does is punish customers for doing business with anyone else. That is clearly an abuse of monopoly power, is it not?
    • IE is NOT a shell (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:38PM (#3451555)
      Your shell is Explorer, the UI developed for Chicago (Windows 4.0 AKA Windows 93 AKA Windows 95). It has been tweaked in different versions, but it is still called explorer. On task manager (or equivalent for DOS based Windows), look at your tasks, one is entitled "explorer.exe" and one is entitled "iexplore.exe." If your desktop freezes, killing and restarting explorer.exe resets it. If your web browser freezes, killing and restarting iexplore.exe resets it WITHOUT reseting your desktop.

      Indeed, Microsoft still separates it. If you enter the registry:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft there is an Internet Explorer folder/group.

      If you want to find the Explorer information, it isn't in the Microsoft folder with the other applications, it is in the Microsoft\Windows folder:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Wind ows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer

      For added fun, it is NOT in the Windows NT folder, just the Windows folder. This indicates that Explorer on Windows and Windows NT (4.0+ of course) likely share a significant amount of code, the settings are grouped there.

      What is interesting, is that in Windows 3.1 (and Win95 presumably, I saw a shell= registry key) there was a line in System.ini that set the shell. You could replace the shell with another application. I once setup winfile.exe as my shell, and many companys had alternative shells. A friend of mine with a Compaq Presario once had a completely odd shell placed on the system.

      Unix allows you to use ANY shell that is POSIX compliant (matching what sh originally did).

      Windows pre-monopoly allowed you to use ANY shell or ANY web browser. After Windows 95 and Office 95 established the Windows monopoly (before that DOS/Word Perfect w/ Novell servers was just as common a combination), they leveraged this to sell everything. They refused to update the Novell Client (which they needed when Novell was the NOS of choice to get Windows into corporate America) to push NT Server sales, they prohibited OEMs from replacing the shell (and later removing as far as I can tell the technical capacity to easily do so) to establish explorer as the only interface, and locked IE into the OS.

  • Quote: "I'm not trying to be evasive," Stuart E. Madnick, a computer science professor at MIT, said at one point. "I'm just trying to be precise."

    He's working at the wrong place, he should be in someone's [microsoft.com] PR department.
  • by stew77 ( 412272 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:35AM (#3450482)
    Yes, this guy obviously doesn't have a clue what an operating system is. However, it's true that any KDE-based distro is in the same situation as Windows is: Sure you can remove the browser, but that will kill certain other programs that need to be replaced as well (e.g. the file browser) and other programs using the browser functionality will also lose freatures (e.g. no more HTML help in your IDE).
      • it's true that any KDE-based distro is in the same situation as Windows is

      It's 100% true... less a few tiny differences.

      1. KDE isn't an operating system.
      2. KDE isn't a monopoly operating system.
      3. KDE isn't an illegaly leveraged monopoly operating system.

      So apart from it being completely, utterly different to anyone but an uninformed hermit, it's exactly the same.

      • This is sort of like arguing Ford wasn't responsible for installing Firestone tires on the Explorer because tires aren't a car.

        Yeah, didn't make sense to me either.
  • surprised? (Score:2, Funny)

    by pstreck ( 558593 )
    Is anyone actually surprised by this. I mean come on, he's probably an MCSE too ;)
  • asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed

    msLacky: Well of course you cant remove Netscape from the Mozilla Operating system.

    No sir that isnt an OS

    mslacky: But its EVIL!!! Ill get That damn Dragon and his little penguin too!!!!

    Thats enough sir you can step down

    mslacky: Dont you see him that peguin hes making fun of me... oh Mr penguin stay right there ill get you, bad Mr penguin
  • Huh?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adam613 ( 449819 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:36AM (#3450490)
    If someone who is a CS prof at MIT doesn't understand what a window manager is, I fear for the future of CS research. I have friends who are English majors and could explain that KDE, Gnome, and XFree86 are all prograams that may or may not be installed on a particular Linux system.

    Although I have to wonder what sort of deal did Microsoft offer him to forget the difference between Windoze and KDE? :)
  • wait a second... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:37AM (#3450496) Journal
    Gnome does not necessarily even have a built-in browser for its desktop. Galeon gives you the option of being the default browser but does not have to reside on the same system with the rest of the desktop. Nautilus is the same way. If you still use GMC you have no built-in browser sucking up space.

    I thought with KDE you did not HAVE to have Konquerer though it is by default the file manager/browser for KDE. There are other file managers that can be used with KDE that do not have built-in browsers I think.

    I understand fully that KDE and GNOME are desktop environments for the Linux OS. Even so, even if the desktop could be considered the OS, his examples still do not apply.

    Am I wrong on this or is this guy just the clueless MIT professor ever?

    This is not a Troll I would actually like to know if I am wrong.

    ________________________________________________ __
    • Re:wait a second... (Score:2, Informative)

      by adam613 ( 449819 )
      KDE makes no requirements about what browser you use with it. I use Galeon in KDE all of the time, because Galeon works and Konqueror doesn't.

      Not only that, KDE has that menu that allows you to PICK BETWEEN DIFFERENT BROWSERS TO VIEW WITH when you copy a URL to the clipboard.
    • This guy is clearly out of his depth. Here's his homepage [mit.edu] at M.I.T. He seems to be more of a management expert than anything else (kinda like a graduate-level PHB).

      However, he is the auther of the classic textbook "Operating Systems". So classic that it was written in 1974, and has been long out of print. What the hell was MS thinking? This guy wouldn't know a GUI if it bit him!
  • Each time I see another story about this I can't believe it.

    The whole idea that an operating system (Windows) is dependent on an application (Internet Explorer) is a complete joke. I can't believe they have spent so much time and money arguing about this.

    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cjpez ( 148000 )
      Well, I don't think that Windoze is really dependant on the application Internet Explorer; more the libraries that come bundled with it. I've been forced to spend a lot of time in Windoze 2000 lately (need to access some PCAnywhere machines, unfortunately - I should see if there's an opensouce PCAnywhere client, but I doubt it), and I've noticed that IE's rendering stuff is everywhere. When you open up "help," when you're browsing around on your computer . . . The libraries that IE uses to grab webpages and show them on the screen have been re-used to hell and back again, which realy is an acceptable thing to do.

      I don't know why Microsoft keeps on claiming that the application itself is nonremoveable. Just delete the IE binary; of course it's removeable. What they should do is have some kind of "Internet Services Pack" or whatever which is a basic, nonremoveable part of Windoze, and then just have IE be the shell that accesses those components. There, problem solved. I'm guessing it'd just be a matter of repackaging some things.

      I'm guessing that MS is still claiming that IE the application can't be removed just because they want to keep everyone using it by default. Keepin' the resellers down and all. Or hell, I don't care if IE keeps on getting shipped with Windows, just let the poor OEM people install Mozilla by default! Anyway, yeah.

      I could be totally wrong about all that, but that's how it seems to me.

      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:40AM (#3451064)
        That's so right. The really sad part is that I think the states would be happy if MS would just let the OEMs remove the IE shortcut from the desktop when they set up their customers' computers. It isn't even about removing IE, it's about not having IE staring you in the face and preventing any other browser from appearing anywhere. If MS wants to use IE for internal stuff so that it pops up when used automatically, who cares? Just let Dell and Gateway put Netscape on the desktop and remove IE from the desktop if they want. All of this bitching is over default icons on the desktop. :P
  • Know-It-Alls (Score:5, Interesting)

    by colmore ( 56499 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:39AM (#3450520) Journal
    Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense ;) Well given that this man is supposed to be an "expert witness" *some* knowledge of major competing OSes might be expected. The vast majority of Microsoft's business tactics are legal yet unsavory. I respect that. This is capitolism after all. What bothers me about Microsoft is their monolithic view of their role in computing. The honestly believe that without them, no innovation would have occured between 1985 and now, and so we should just let them walk over consumers and competitors out of gratefulness. I know it won't happen, but what I'd like to see come out of this trial would be a Microsoft not split up, shackled, or fined out of existance, but a Microsoft scared into respecting other's place in the industry. In all honesty they've done a better job than anyone else at creating a useable desktop OS good for a wide range of activities on a large variety of hardware. I'm not quite sure how they've been so successful in the server market, though. Advertising, I guess. And for my money, they still make a damn good mouse.
    • *slaps head* forgot to put in HTML line breaks.


    • Re:Know-It-Alls (Score:3, Insightful)

      You don't just get scared. You are scared because you fear something happening that you don't want to.

      What don't they want to happen? Microsoft split up, or shackled.

      They would actually like to be fined massively (as a final, no other restrictions remedy) - out of existence is almost impossible given how much cash they have, and without the shackles, they'll just tack it onto the cost of the next version of windows and office.

      So if Microsoft know that the situations that they fear are not going to happen, they're not going to be scared, are they ...

      Of course the expert doesn't understand the difference between an application and an OS. The concept that there is a difference is alien to the entire Microsoft argument at this point ...
    • Re:Know-It-Alls (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:49AM (#3451166) Homepage Journal

      I'm not quite sure how they've been so successful in the server market, though.

      The answer lies in your analysis of their success in the desktop OS segment. Here's how it works:

      • You are a business with 50,000 users. 99% of those users use some flavor of Windows.
      • Microsoft shows up at your door one day, and suggests that you change all your servers to NT. If bribing the CIO into forcing the change down IT's throat doesn't work, and/or this suggestion is resisted...
      • Microsoft threatens to do a license audit of all your PCs. You can either:
        1. Find 50,000 license certificates spread among 15 campuses, 10,000 of which are remote laptop users, and 1,000 of those are overseas, all within the two week preparation period Microsoft gives you before the audit
        2. Swallow the blue pill and become a 100% Microsoft shop.

      Cisco employs similar tactics, but since they don't have the license audit leverage, they engage in character assassination of IT people who resist Cisco implementations. Isn't capitalism fun?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:40AM (#3450524)
    He is an MIT Sloan School (business school, department 15, management) professor. Many of us from course 6 (EECS) are happy to disavow him.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@nOspAm.email.com> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:40AM (#3450527)
    I've been submitting stories for awhile now (all rejected) on the ineffective witnesses that Microsoft has been using during this phase of the trial.

    They've had several industry witnesses who were forced to admit that they'd never read the settlement or the states proposals. The economist who testified for Microsoft had to admit that all of his research in this area had been funded by Microsoft, the Autodesk exec who after defending Microsoft had to relate how screwed over he felt by them excluding Java from Windows XP (needed for some Autodesk software). The most fun was the former Microsoftie, now head of his own company, who testified that the states plan would lead to the "balkanization" of Windows. On cross, he admitted that the Microsoft lawyers wrote the first draft of his testimony, and that he hadn't even know what balkanization meant.

    How much are these Microsoft lawyers getting if this is the level of their trial prep?

  • Simpsons (Score:3, Funny)

    by hotsauce ( 514237 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:40AM (#3450532)
    *Bully from Simpsons voice* HA-ha!
  • by Merk ( 25521 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:40AM (#3450535) Homepage

    So lemme get this straight -- this guy is a CS prof at MIT, home of the FSF. He voluntarily agreed to testify on Microsoft's behalf, and then didn't know the difference between an operating system and a desktop environment?

    Man, this guy's courses must be popular! I bet you really have to fight to get in to: "Introduction to flicking on the power switch thingy 101" and "How to click on the start menu 304"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:04AM (#3450769)
      Madnick is a has-been professor in Course 15, the Sloan business school, and he has nothing at all to do with Course 6-3, the computer science department at MIT. He teaches "MIS" style courses to accountants and economists.

      He is most famous for co-authoring the book mostly called "Madnick and Donovan" which was some sort of IBM 360 OS bible back in the way-back days of punch cards.

      BTW, it is might be interesting to note that Richard Schmalensee was the MIT professor who humiliated himself on the stand in the first phase of the trial, and he is also a professor of management in the same school at MIT. It's really not a bad school, they only look bad when they whore themselves for Microsoft money

  • by smak ( 193931 )
    I am not a lawyer, but what I would like to know is, how much MS pay a witness like this, to testify on their behalf? (if anything.)


  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:41AM (#3450544)
    I have been following the trial in the general business press as well as the IT trade press and of course the Linux-centric sites. Although the IT trade press is reporting that Microsoft's witnesses are doing a mixed job and are taking some significant hits in cross-examination, the general business press is taking the line that Microsoft's legal team has everything under control this time and is crushing the States.

    My guess is that the judge's viewpoint is going to be closer to the general business press than the IT world (much less Slashdot), so I am not holding out much hope for a meaningful order here.


    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:19AM (#3450895)

      > the general business press is taking the line that Microsoft's legal team has everything under control this time and is crushing the States.

      Let's not forget that the business press exists for the sole purpose of keeping stock prices high. It's hard to imagine that they would say anything different no matter what was going on.

      But of course, they have the DoJ's desire to throw the game to give them confidence that they're going to be right this time anyway.

  • "Asked to evaluate language in the proposed settlements, Madnick studied the documents, then shook his head and said, "I somehow think there's something I'm missing, but I can't spot it at the moment."

    The pre-prepared script from Microsoft that they had e-mailed to him perchance?
    This mail was of course lost when someone sent him a malicious VB script entitled "How to make quick easy money".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:42AM (#3450555)
    He is affiliated with the Sloan School of Management (Course 15), and not the EECS department (Course 6). Hence, the lack of knowledge about the OS itself. He's probably trying to get some more funding from Microsoft for the i-Campus [mit.edu] initiative Here's his personal home page [mit.edu], FYI.
    • by phasic ( 314732 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:08AM (#3450793)
      Trying to associate him with only sloan does no good. Look at his qualifications:

      Dr. Madnick has degrees in Electrical Engineering (B.S. and M.S.), Management (M.S.), and Computer Science (Ph.D.) from MIT. He has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), University of Newcastle (England), and Technion (Israel).

      C'mon, a doctorate in comp sci from MIT, with just one management degree compared to the 3 EE/comp sci degrees. He must know something about the subject, if not to the specific degree slashdot would like, but maybe we're not getting the whole story.
    • by Kris Warkentin ( 15136 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:49AM (#3451167) Homepage
      Co-Director, PRoductivity From Information Technology (PROFIT) Program: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/research/profit/index.html

      Co-Principal Inbestigator, COntext INtercharge (COIN) project: http://context.mit.edu/~coin/

      PROFIT and COIN - yep. Must be a Microsoft shill.
  • by CptLogic ( 207776 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:43AM (#3450563) Homepage
    >>Madnick testified that Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) probably would not be able to develop and market a workable version of Windows under the terms proposed by the dissenting states. He believes the requirements -- such as building Windows in such a way that computer manufacturers could alter it -- are not technically feasible.

    And he's right, it's not technically feasible because Microsoft will not relinquish control of the necessary source, preferring to keep everything black boxed, the hell away from people who could alter the product that carries their name. It's about controlling how you can use the product that they are associated with, because, "hell, a third party could screw Windows up and Microsoft could get a bad rep."

    We know Microsoft are control freaks, there's no way they'd allow Windows to be opened up like that, and without that unlocking of the black box, it *is* not technically feasible for a computer manufacturer to alter Windows, and the reason for this is "technically" MSFT are not legally bound to release their source, and "technically" could charge for any SDK they may choose to never release that would allow that access.

    "technically" this poor bastard who's been set up to fail, trying to defend the indefensible, is correct. In an "I did not have sexual relations..." kind of way.



  • by cheesyfru ( 99893 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:43AM (#3450564) Homepage
    This has been bugging me forever. Nobody is saying that they need to remove the browser from the OS, they just need to disable it. How hard is it to remove the icons for it, and disable the "internet http browser" aspect until the user voluntarily downloads a tiny piece of plug-in code which enables the browser to work with internet protocols? If the world's largest and most powerful software company can't figure out how to do this, then how in the world are they getting big business to pay them millions of dollars to manage their mission critical software?
  • Try removing the browser from WebTv devices.
  • Reaching way back to Windows 3.1 days: Microsoft called it "Microsoft Windows 3.1 Operating System" right on the front of the box. Of course, it was just a GUI that ran on top of DOS.

    Based on that reasoning, KDE and Gnome could be considered operating systems too. They're GUIs that run on top of *nix.

    It's wrong, but they're using the term consistently. Perhaps they have some adgenda to redefine the term "operating system".
  • As far as I know, you *can* remove the browser in windows. or at least replace it with gecko :)

    All you have to do is replace mshtml.dll (the html rendering engine for windows) with one that is based off of gecko code. There! Now windows uses gecko instead of whatever they call explorer's rendering engine.

    Problem is, i have no clue how to do this :). But it shouldn't be so hard for someone with windows expertise.

    Now all someone needs to do is write a VB app that lets you "choose" which rendering engine you want and sell it to the DOJ as a MS "remedy." Voila! Quick cash.
  • by Root Down ( 208740 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:47AM (#3450609) Homepage
    Microsoft deliberately designs its products to interfere with technology made by other companies, forcing people to use Microsoft products...

    This is not an uncommon practice. Don't believe me? Try installing Real Player (Real One) and watch the default installation - that which the majority of users would use - take over every media file in your system. This is directly interfering with the use of other media - now requiring extra steps to use anything but the default. Try unassociating - no obvious route exists. This is just one example.

    Counterpoint: You are still able to use these alternative media, even though there is a "performance cost" involved in having to take extra steps. Don't like it? Don't be an idiot and use the default install.

    Both are worth considering in the overall sense of programming specifically to exclude the competition and its prevalence in the computer industry - especially given the foreknowledge that the majority of your users will not consider themselves 'advanced' enough to select options in the non-default setup. It's another question of ethics that really has not been given a great deal of attention - though we've likely got more pressing issues to consider (e.g.: DMCA, etc).
  • Try This... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScumBiker ( 64143 ) <.scumbiker. .at. .jwenger.org.> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:52AM (#3450648) Homepage Journal
    If Internet Explorer is so tightly integrated into Windows, how come you can upgrade it? I just upgraded the browser on my NT workstation here at the office from Internet Explorer 5.5 to Internet Explorer 6.0. Does that mean I also upgraded my operating system? Do I get better performance reading large files? Can I crunch data faster? Is there better communication between my hard drive controller and my memory sub-system? Microsoft is SO full of shit.
  • by ProfMoriarty ( 518631 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:56AM (#3450696) Journal
    Madnick argued that perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility. "It would be surprising if two different products behaved exactly alike," he told the court Wednesday.

    Ok then ... so what about the examples that you gave earlier ...

    But KDE is a computer program designed to run on top of the Linux operating system, as Hodges pointed out. Madnick conceded that was true, and instead suggested GNOME as an example. But GNOME performs the same function as KDE on a computer equipped with the Linux operating system.

    This is VERY funny ... on one hand, it's "theoretical impossibility" to have TWO INDEPENDENT systems that can "be substituted for each other with no performance degradation" ...

    Yet he uses the PERFECT example of doing such ... KDE and GNOME.

    This stuff is so funny, it writes itself ...

    On a bit of a serious note, IS there any performance degradation between KDE and GNOME?

  • by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:05AM (#3450777)

    I thought this was wierd, so I did some checking on this guy. I looked for him on MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty list, but couldn't find him. So I looked him up in the people directory and found this:

    name: Madnick, Stuart E email: smadnick@MIT.EDU phone: (617) 253-6671 address: E53-321 department: School Of Mgmt title: J N Maguire Prof Of Info Tech url: http://mit.edu/smadnick/www/home.html

    His department is not EECS, it is the School of Management! His research is in areas such as Total Data Quality Management and Productivity From Information Technology. Here is a bio description from his web page:

    http://mit.edu/smadnick/www/home.html [mit.edu] Madnick finds ways to integrate information systems, giving organizations a more global view of their operations. He is leading a project that develops new technologies for gathering and analyzing information from many different sources, including conventional databases and the World Wide Web. He is also testing these new technologies in industries such as financial services, manufacturing, logistics, and transportation.

    Microsoft basically found anyone from MIT they could because it is MIT. I'm surprised they didn't find a janitor from MIT to testify.

    Brian Ellenberger
  • by ceswiedler ( 165311 ) <chris@swiedler.org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:08AM (#3450801)
    Konqi serves the same purpose in KDE/Linux as Internet/Windows Explorer (same thing these days) serves in Windows. It does file management, web browsing, help, and html email rendering. Both do all of this through a component architecture.

    What would KDE be without Konq? Same thing as Windows. Not really usable the way it was intended.

    The article ribs the witness for calling KDE an operating system. Well, no, KDE is a user interface / window manager / shell sitting on top of the Linux (or other) kernel. Same as Explorer, which is a user interface / window manager / shell on top of the Windows NT kernel (in NT/2000/XP anyway). Perhaps he should have said KDE/Linux, but do we really want to go there?
    • by klaun ( 236494 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:28AM (#3450961)
      The article ribs the witness for calling KDE an operating system. Well, no, KDE is a user interface / window manager / shell sitting on top of the Linux (or other) kernel. Same as Explorer, which is a user interface / window manager / shell on top of the Windows NT kernel (in NT/2000/XP anyway). Perhaps he should have said KDE/Linux, but do we really want to go there?

      Well, I'll go right out and buy a copy of just the Windows NT kernel with no MS window manager and install that other window manager for the Windows/NT OS from ... um ... Oh I guess there isn't another window manager for MS OS, and come to think of it Microsoft doesn't offer their OS without a Window Manager. Come to think of it they claim a Window Manager is an integral part of an OS. Strange that... guess all those systems with no console don't run an OS.

  • by CaptainAbstraction ( 43162 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:09AM (#3450812)
    This has been said several times, but must be said
    again and again. Madnick is not a computer
    science professor at MIT!!!! I find this
    frustrating, especially having graduated from MIT
    in CS. I'm so sad that this guy is spoiling the
    reputation of the MIT CS department.

    He teaches management!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [686 parkerlocal@waikiki Documentation]$ finger madnick@mit.edu

    There was 1 match to your request.

    name: Madnick, Stuart E
    email: smadnick@MIT.EDU
    phone: (617) 253-6671
    address: E53-321
    department: School Of Mgmt
    title: J N Maguire Prof Of Info Tech
    url: http://mit.edu/smadnick/www/home.html
    alias: S-madnick
  • Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:16AM (#3450868) Homepage Journal
    I would think that all you'd have to do to replace the browser would be to code your replacement to export the same APIs that IE does. If those APIs were documented, replacing the browser would be simple -- the Mozilla people probably would have already coded to those APIs if they were available. The desktop should just call an API to perform browsing functions. It should not care who wrote the program providing the API.

    Seems to me all you'd have to do is force MS to publically document the API. Actually they should be forced to document APIs, file formats and protocols BEFORE their products are released, and they should be compelled to use only protocols and formats unencumbered by patents or copyrights (for things like XML DTDs.) The documentation should be unencumbered by any license and should be freely available on their web site for all to download.

  • by Pachooka-san ( 88633 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:17AM (#3450876) Homepage
    If you check Stuart Madnick's homepage [mit.edu], he's not a CS professor. He's a professor of management. Need I say more?
  • by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:24AM (#3450926) Journal

    How's this for a ringing endorsement of Microsoft's products?

    [Madnick] showed the judge a diagram that depicted Windows as a system made up of dozens of oddly shaped, interconnected pieces.
    Madnick said the diagram showed how Windows was like a "house of cards" that could collapse if any of the pieces were removed.

    Emphasis mine. Source: ZDNet: Microsoft's MIT prof gets grilled by states [com.com]

    Mind you, this was a witness for Microsoft. Amazing. Microsoft is so arrogant, it can claim gross incompetence to avoid incrimination, and still look forward to getting away with it.

  • Apples and Oranges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:28AM (#3450962) Homepage
    Windows is a GUI system with emulated DOS. Linux is a kernel, shell, X, then a windowing system. There are multiple layers involved where you are free to build on one as you please. Explorer is a larger more integrated part of what is known as windows. I, like BeOS really don't see the problem with MS making explorer part of windows because that's what works for performance. I have my gripes about the way MS does some things but this is not one of them. To me this is kind of like going after the mafia for tax evasion, if it's the only thing that holds water go with it.
  • by SwiftOne ( 11497 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:47AM (#3451135)
    I'm not surprised that an MS witness didn't have perfect understanding of a different software paradigm.

    I am surprised (pleasantly) that the lawyer recognized and was able to deal with the situation. I mean, sure, I have little doubt that the lawyers have been briefed, but this lawyer:

    • Had to know that GNOME and KDE existed
    • Had to know what they were, generally
    • Had to understand that the answer was wrong
    • Had to be able to articulate that the answer was wrong, with enough accuracy/confidence to have a witness with Comp Sci experience admit his error
    I haven't been wowwed by this trial (I think MS has stiffled the industry, and I think the charges have focused on the wrong elements of MS behavior), but I am pleased to see that the legal staff has assumed an apparently comfortable amount of non-MS technical familiarity. This is a rare bit of good foreshadowing for future technical cases.
  • So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Silver Slurper ( 564792 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:49AM (#3451163)
    I really can't believe that we're still arguing about browser bundling in Windows. This point may have been significant 5 years ago, but the battle has been over for awhile.

    KDE and GNOME may not be "operating systems" in the strictest sense of the term, but for the end-user they form the most critical and recognizable part of the operating system: the desktop. What part of Linux is the OS anyway? Is it the underlying kernel that provides support for your hardware and devices? Is it the set of GNU system tools and utilities that you use to maintain your system? Is it the window manager and desktop shell?

    Linux was designed to be more modular than Windows, but this additional freedom and flexibility come at a price. What parts of a bundled Linux distribution can be removed or replaced by other work-alike components? Almost everything, but when modern applications come to depend on the existence of other "operating system" components, the complexity of setting up a system can increase exponentially. The operating system itself, however, is not useful in the general sense; it is only necessary. For a computer to be useful, you need applications.

    Microsoft has chosen the route of providing a consistent base of OS and applications which are always installed and, in some cases, cannot be easily removed. Consider this the lowest-common denominator approach that bundles every basic tool that the average computer user may need. This includes (in Windows XP): video and audio player/editor (Media Player, Sound Recorder, Movie Maker), basic text editor (Notepad and Wordpad), e-mail (Outlook Express), web browser (Internet Explorer), file manager (Explorer), image/photo viewer/editor (Picture Viewer and Paintbrush), and communications software(Hyperterminal and MSN Instant Messenger) among other things.

    Out of all of these commonly bundled applications (after all what desktop OS distribution doesn't include one of these applications in some form or another), the web browser has assumed a unique and important role in the modern computing environment. It has transcended its role as a mere user application and has become a vital system component that other applications have come to rely on. Will your operating system work without a web browser? Yes but, as I stated earlier, the operating system *doesn't matter*.

    People use computers to get work done. Work is done by using applications. Applications rely on the operating system to provide basic system services. HTML and HTTP have become basic system services for a large number of applications to provide online help systems, downloadable updates and enhancements, and even application user interface. Because a web browser is included as part of the operating system, Windows application vendors can rely on its existence to provide features to their own applications. Is this not, after all, the entire purpose of the operating system?

    The states and the DOJ can force Microsoft's hand and make them remove Internet Explorer from the operating system, but does this really make any sense? Users have always had the ability to use another browser when they surf the web, but an integrated HTML rendering engine and HTTP protocol implementation that it guaranteed to be bundled with the OS makes so much damn sense I really, truly don't understand what all the fuss is about.
  • standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mach-5 ( 73873 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:54AM (#3451199) Homepage
    "Madnick argued that perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility."
    No, it is not a theoretical impossibility, it is called a "standard", and there are hundreds of groups out there working hard to create these.
  • Missed in the hubbub (Score:3, Informative)

    by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:58AM (#3451231) Homepage

    It seems to me that one point that's been missed in the hubbub about whether KDE and GNOME are desktop environments or part of the operating system is that the witness was wrong about the web browsers' removability. It's quite possible to pull remove the web browser from either KDE or GNOME. If I decide that Konqueror is taking up valuable space that should be saved for Mozilla, I can just rpm -e kdeaddons-konqueror and it's gone. Similarly I can remove galeon with rpm -e galeon. I'll lose some functionality by doing so, true, but neither one is so deeply entwined into the system that it's unremovable.

  • The Dead Cow (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:08PM (#3451315) Homepage Journal
    You can read the whole transcript [microsoft.com] on the Microsoft web site:

    Q. You mentioned in paragraph 20 TCP/IP. Could you tell us what is TCP/IP?
    A. Well, the initials stand for transmission control protocol slash Internet protocol, and these are the two primary protocols used in the Internet for computers to communicate with each other.
    Q. Is TCP/IP something that is part of the operating system or part of the Web browser?
    A. In... I guess I would say part of the operating system in the sense as this section has illustrated, the functionality of operating systems have constantly increased over the past decades, and I believe almost every operating system, commercial operating system, I know of today provides TCP/IP whether or not, because -- if I can -- there are many other functions, such as FTP and others, that rely upon IP in order to do their job.
    So there are many other functions besides browsing that operating systems rely upon these things, so therefore it would have to be part of the operating system.
    Q. As part of the operating system in Windows 95, is that your testimony?
    A. It was added, as I mentioned, over time. I don't -- I believe it was added into Windows 95. I forgot exactly which version it was added into.
    Q. And in the current version of windows today, it's part of the operating system and not part of the Web browser. Is that your testimony?
    A. As I said, as in many other -- most other commercial operating systems, I believe it is part of the key functions of the operating system.
    Q. Let's turn if we could to paragraph 22 of your testimony, which is at page 11. Professor, at paragraph 22 you mention IBM's OS/2 Warp 3 operating system. Do you see that.
    A. Yes, I do.
    Q. And you say that IBM's OS/2 Warp operating system included Web browsing software. Do you see that?
    A. Yes, I do.
    Q. Was the OS/2 Web browser removable without impairing the functionality of the IBM operating system?
    A. I do not know that. I did not study that aspect. My point in this section was to illustrate that these functionalities are included in operating systems in various ways.
    Q. Since you don't know about OS/2, is there any other operating system you're aware of in which the Web browsing functionality is commingled with the operating system?
    A. Yes, I do, if we take the view that the Web browsing functionality is also relied upon in other parts of the operating system.
    Q. Which operating systems would those be?
    A. Well, some examples, and there may be many others, would be the KDE user interface or GUI that exists on the Linux operating system.
    Q. Now, KDE is not an operating system; correct?
    A. I think I -- every definition in this court it would be middleware, in which case it would be a platform software.
    Q. KDE is the graphic user interface, graphical user interface, for the Linux operating system; is that correct?
    A. Yes. It's one of the interfaces available.
    Q. It can be removed and replaced; correct?
    A. Well, it can be -- if it is removed, of course, by -- if it's just removed, then the user will not be able to use the system. You could replace it by others and, in fact, most of the others I'm aware of likewise have, as you would call it, commingled Web browsing with their functionality.
    Q. In Windows can you remove the graphical user interface?
    THE COURT: Are you talking about now?
    MR. HODGES: Today, correct.
    A. As I understand -- I believe it's either yes or will soon be. I believe the provision that the Microsoft has agreed to as part of the settlement is that the end user would be able to remove access to the browser, if that was your question.
    Q. My question is: Can the graphical user interface of Windows be removed?
    A. I'm sorry. No, I do not believe so. It would no longer be Windows.
    Q. Has it ever been the case that the graphical user interface of Windows could be removed?
    A. I guess the answer might be yes in the sense, as I said again in this session, at one time operating systems had no graphical interface at all if you go back to essentially the original MS-DOS. So this is the examples of the kinds of functionality that operating systems have increasingly provided to users to enhance their effectiveness. So, yes, there was a point in time where it did not exist and there's a point in time where it was added to the operating system.
    Q. If KDE is removed from the Linux operating system, then its Web browsing functionality is also removed; is that correct?
    A. Well, the Web browsing that's provided through the interface is removed, yes.
    Q. The Web browsing provided through KDE; correct?
    A. That is correct.
    Q. Now, you say that, in paragraph 24 -- it's actually on page 12, paragraph 24. I'll read this to you. "One cannot delete the Web browser from KDE without losing the ability to manage files on the user's own hard disk." Do you see that language?
    A. Yes, I do.
    Q. Now, isn't it the case that files can be managed by using standard UNIX command in the shell even if KDE is not installed?
    A. That is correct. The assumption here was we are talking about the user using the system as a modern operating system which requires access to this kind of interface.
    Q. We've talked about Windows and we've talked about the KDE interface, and my question is: Can you name any operating system, other than Windows, that commingles a Web browser with the operating system?
    A. I have not attempted to identify all the others. As I indicate in this whole section, these are examples of the kinds of innovative features that vendors constantly add to the systems. Some have reached that stage of benefiting from the kinds of interactions possible, some have not. These are the ones I've identified as part of the study so far.
    Q. Based on your experience as a computer scientist and as a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are you aware of any operating system, other than Windows, that binds the Web browser into the operating system? MR. LACOVARA: I'll object. We have now shifted from commingling to binding without a definition. It may have just been inadvertent on Mr. Hodges' part.
    MR. HODGES: It was inadvertent, and I appreciate that clarification.
    Q. If I change the word from "binding" to "commingling," let me ask you, are you aware of any operating system, other than Windows, that commingles a Web browser with the operating system?
    MR. LACOVARA: I would object to that. I think it's the third time he's asked the question. Asked and answered. THE COURT: I'll let him to proceed. But this is the last time.
    A. Okay. If I recall the question, I think I answered it in terms of identifying KDE and I believe GNOME, which is another interface on Linux, also has the Web browser functionality integrated. So those are two examples. And, once again, this was not an attempt to exhaustively study all the others or systems that are under development today.
    Q. GNOME is a -- it's spelled G-N-O-M-E; correct?
    A. That's correct, yes.
    Q. It's not the way most people would pronounce that word. GNOME is also a graphical user interface for Linux; correct.
    A. That is correct. It provides that kind of functionality.
    Q. And it is also, like KDE, a removable graphical user interface for Linux; correct?
    A. It's removable in the sense if you remove it you no longer have access to a graphical user interface.
    Q. It's not an operating system; correct?
    A. Well, it is part of what we described as middleware under the understanding of the terms being used, and we go from there.
    Q. I'll try to stay in order, but I need to flip back to page 11 and paragraph 23 if I could. You say in the second sentence --
    A. I'm sorry. What page?
    Q. I'm sorry. It's page 11, paragraph 23. I can tell you, Professor, it also appears up there on the monitor in front of you, so whatever is easier for you is fine.
    THE COURT: The small monitor has it, too.
    THE WITNESS: It's sometimes helpful to see the context. That's why I like to look at the documents.
    Q. The second line of paragraph 23 -- the second sentence, I'm sorry -- you say that Windows, like all commercial operating systems of which I am aware, ships with a simple text editor, Notepad in the case of Windows, that is a relatively self-contained block of code that is easily removable. What's the basis for that statement?
    A. It's a long sentence. Is there some particular part of it you're having a question about?
    Q. Yes. I want to know what's the basis for your statement that the Notepad is easily removable?
    A. The fact that there is a file -- I can't remember it's name, but it's probably something like Notepad.exe -- that in theory one could delete without having any other effects upon the operating system.
    Q. Is this based on your review of the Windows XP source code?
    A. Not specifically.
    Q. Professor, have you had an opportunity to review the direct testimony of Robert Short of Microsoft?
    A. I have seen it.
    Q. Mr. Short is the vice president of Windows core
    technologies. Does that sound right to you?
    A. Yes, it does.
    Q. Are you aware that Mr. Short testified that there are
    cross-dependencies between the Notepad and Internet Explorer?
    A. After I wrote my report, I believe I remembered hearing
    that mentioned in his report or his testimony. Yes the answer
    Q. Do you disagree with Mr. Short?
    A. I assume he knows much more about the internals of Windows
    than I do. I believe my point may still be true, although I've
    not consulted with him, in that I believe the removable of
    Notepad does not impact any other part of the system.
    I believe in his testimony -- I think he was trying to
    illustrate that other parts -- using my earlier diagram of HTML
    Renderer, for example, or Shell Doc Viewer -- that removal of
    other parts of the middleware that might seem to be unrelated
    might cause Notepad to fail.
    Am I clear on the duality here or the differences? Am
    I clear on the differences that removing Notepad may not cause
    other parts of the system to fail, but that removing other
    parts of the system that may appear to be file removed from
    Notepad might cause Notepad to fail. I think that is two
    different issues.
    Q. Are you aware that Mr. Short used the term
    A. I don't recall what exact term he used.
    Q. If there are cross-dependencies, doesn't that apply that
    Notepad relies on Internet Explorer and Internet Explorer
    relies on Notepad?
    A. I can't speak for him.
    Q. Is that what the term cross-dependencies means to you?
    A. That would be a one interpretation, yes.
    Q. And if there are cross-dependencies, wouldn't it be the
    case that removing Notepad would affect other parts of the
    Windows operating system product?
    A. That might be true. I was only trying to give a simple
    example here. If that one doesn't apply I'll have to find some
    other example.
    Q. I take it you were not aware of any cross-dependency involving the Notepad?
    A. No, I was not.
    Q. Is there any technical reason that there needs to be a cross-dependency between the Notepad and Internet Explorer?
    A. As I said, this is not an area that I have studied. If you would like me to speculate or to try to conjure up a reason, I could try to do so, but it would be totally ad hoc thinking.
    Q. I don't want you to speculate. I want to ask if you are aware of any technical reason that there needs to be a cross-dependency between the Notepad and Internet Explorer? And if you don't know, that's acceptable.
    A. What might be helpful is the realization based upon my many years trying to understand all of the inter-dependencies that go on in a complex product is extremely difficult, and often I've been quite surprised myself to realize that one part of the system was able to make use of another part.
    So, you know, with some careful thought it is possible I might find that there actually is a reason for cross- dependencies. But it was not something that immediately came to mind.
    Q. So you could speculate that, but you don't know. Is that an accurate summary?
    A. As I've said, I have not studied that issue.
    Q. Now, you have reviewed the Windows XP source code; correct?
    A. Yes, I have. Though I will not say I've looked at every 36 million or so lines of code carefully.
    Q. Is it 36 million or 39 million?
    A. As I said, a million here, a million there, it adds up after a while I guess.
    Q. Pretty soon you're talking about real lines of code?
    A. Exactly.
    Q. What exactly have you done?
    A. The main purpose of looking -- once again, given both the limited amount of time and the size, was really to better understand the way in which a system was modularized, the way in which it's broken up into individual routines and the types of interdepencies that exist, so it's more to get a feel for the overall structure of the system.
    Q. Is there any way you can quantify how much effort was involved in your review of the Windows XP source code?
    A. Physical amount of time, probably 8 or 10 hours.
    • Re:The Dead Cow (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sheldon ( 2322 )
      Interesting reading...

      Clearly this witness was a lot more intelligent and knowledgeable than the slashbot responses suggest.

      With regards to some of the final questioning there on the cross dependencies between Notepad and IE, I think the most obvious thing is if you were to delete Notepad from the system... View-Source would no longer function within IE. So yes, Mr. Short from Microsoft was technically correct.

      Is there a technical need for the cross dependency? Well assuming we are talking specifically about View->Source. Then yes, in so much as the browser needs to have some way to display the source. The method must be well known, and exist at the time IE is installed to the system, or installed in conjunction with IE. Notepad is an obvious choice. Otherwise, the IE team would have to recreate this functionality within the program.

      Can it be done? Yes. Is it a technical desirable solution? No... application modularity is very desirable and makes development more efficient instead of constantly recreating the wheel.

  • by g_bit ( 253703 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:14PM (#3451364) Journal
    Why do OEM's care so much about altering the desktop? It's M$'s product, the OEM's shouldn't be allowed to mess with it.

    The fact that you can't be a licensed Windows PC Provider AND sell naked PC's or PC's with Linux or ANY OTHER OS on them when you sign the contract with Microsoft is the issue they should be looking at.

    If I told you that you could sell PC's with Mandrake on them but if you signed up to do so were then legally inable to sell naked PC's or PC's with Windows on them you'd be pissed too.

  • A simple request (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:21PM (#3451418)
    Would everyone who wishes to point out that Stuart Madnick is a business professor, and not a computer science professor, please check in at the desk, take a number, and wait in line over there along the far wall?

    Thank you.
  • by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @01:55AM (#3455629) Journal
    This link was provided by someone who replied to my post. For those of you who haven't notice, CNN pulled the original article and replaced it with a more Microsoft-friendly one. Total bullshit. I am sure MS offered them a chunk of cash to keep this on the down-low.

    Go grab it here: http://sage.che.pitt.edu/~harrold/tmp/73B9A1D4d01. html [pitt.edu]

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.