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Slashback: Norwegian, Nader, Handheld 242

Slashback below with a handful of updates on Walmart's OS-free PCs, another X-Scale PDA, Ralph Nader's plan to slip the Big Government carpet from beneath Microsoft, and how you can help save Norwegian history. Film88 gets slapped down by the copyright barons, but 802.11b gets a reprieve. Read on for the details.

Putting it all online. "As earlier reported on Slashdot, poor Ottar Grepstad has difficulties getting into his database. Now they're available for download! This is one geeky challenge you don't want to miss. :-) You'll find the story here (click on 'the password mystery'). 'use Xbase;', anyone? :-)"

The loyal opposition. Helmholtz Coil writes "Yahoo! is carrying a rebuttal to the letter James Love and Ralph Nader wrote to the OMB, from the fine folks at ZDNet. Some interesting points, very interesting tone to the whole piece. The question is, though-when can we expect a rebuttal to the rebuttal?"

They need a Free OS focus group :) Gecko writes "Remember the PCs without a pre-installed operating system, selling at Wal-Mart's? OSNews got their hands on one of these and they test Windows, Linux and BeOS. Apparently, the company behind these products had immediately replaced the on-board winmodem with a hardware PCI one, in order to be compatible with Linux, but their new AthlonXP/Duron PC models now come with a newer S3 Savage4 DDR integrated graphics card that is not supported by XFree86. One keeps wondering why they sell these PCs without Windows, if they are not able to test their hardware with other OSes before sending them to Wal-Mart for sale."

A new meaning for Pocket Rocket. Hot on the heels of XScale introductions and announcements from Toshiba and Fujitsu, Brian writes "Acer, Inc. today announces the Acer n20 series, eight months after announcing support for the Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 platform, the announcement also made Acer one of the few manufacturers to support both the Palm and Pocket PC platform. PDA again has the scoop and the photos :)"

I hope the pace picks up on the introduction of machines based on Intel's XScale processor.

Dog Star. DHR writes "An update to an earlier story shows that Sirius the satellite radio provider has finally come to their senses and withdrawn their petition to restrict the 2.4GHz band."

Intermission. bubblegoose writes "Yahoo has a story about Film88 being taken down by the MPA. They say it's because the servers were in the Netherlands, I think it more likely due to a good /.'ing."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Norwegian, Nader, Handheld

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The anatomy of Pac-Man is very simple if one does not consider how Pac-Man moves, sees, hears, melts, etc.. The primary function of Pac-Man is, of course, eating.

    Body - Pac-Man is exoskeletal. The "skin" is actually a thick yellow shell, which in addition to offering protection to predators, allows Pac-Man to hide unseen in a box of jawbreakers or Nuprin.
    Mouth - This is Pac-Man's only visible external organ (unlike some of his clones and successors, who had the luxury of eyes.) Some believe that the opening and closing of the mouth, in addition to allowing Pac-Man to eat everything around him, also propels him forward.
    Brain - Pac-Man's tiny brain helps him distinguish dots from ghost monsters, keeps his mouth moving, and does very little else.
    Jaw Muscles - Pac-Man's only muscles are located in his impressive jaws. They are strong enough to move rapidly for long periods of time without any noticeable fatigue, and allow Pac-Man to injest blue monsters that are the same size as he is!
    Appendix - Pac-Man's appendix doesn't do anything, but hasn't caused him any problems yet.
    Stomach - This is Pac-Man's largest organ, taking up nearly 90% of his body, and is basically a storage space for dots, fruit, ghost monster flesh, keys, etc. until it can be digested. Pac-Man's digestive system, amazingly enough, actually utilizes EVERYTHING he eats. No waste is generated.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:08PM (#3656454)
      Pac-Man's digestive system, amazingly enough, actually utilizes EVERYTHING he eats. No waste is generated.

      NO SHIT!
      • Pac-Man's digestive system, amazingly enough, actually utilizes EVERYTHING he eats. No waste is generated.

        NO SHIT!

        hehheheheeh if only I had mod points...

    • by cetan ( 61150 )
      No waste is generated.

      This is completely wrong. The waste generated, aside from the pheromones it produces to attract the ghosts is, course, the ghosts' eyes, which we all know are completely indigestible.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

    Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

    Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

    Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

    • by bakes ( 87194 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @02:33AM (#3658076) Journal
      and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you

      Are you sure they wouldn't keep it in Norway?
    • I simply refuse to put up with limp, Satanic, fellow-travelling shit like this piece of sub-human garbage in your pewling, idiotic post:

      "Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) "

      Let's count the errors, shall we?
      1. The Earth does not "rotate". If it did, we would all be blown around ten ways to Tuesday by the winds created.
      2. If the Earth did rotate, then one would expect to see tornadoes in the area at the centre of rotation. This would imply that Kansas is the centre of the Earth, a thought pleasing to my personal sympathies, but contradicted by scripture. There has never been a tornado in Jerusalem
      3. Joshua asked Our Lord to stop the Sun, you ignorant asshole, not the Earth. What possible good would it have done to stop the Earth from moving?
      4. Your blasphemous statement that the Moon "reflects" light from the Sun directly contradicts Genesis 3:16, in which it is made perfectly clear that "he created the moon, that the slimy crawling things by night might see". Which part of "he created", don't you understand? Your pathetic advocacy of the fraudulent theory (and it IS a THEORY, not some bourgeois, East-Coast elitist idea of a "fact") is sickening
      Your evil whinings are, quite frankly, tantamount to liberalism.

      Yeah, I didn't write this, but you didn't write that [].

  • by Hollins ( 83264 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:14PM (#3656504) Homepage
    One keeps wondering why they sell these PCs without Windows, if they are not able to test their hardware with other OSes before sending them to Wal-Mart for sale.

    I don't think Linux users are the target buyer for these PCs. I suspect most of them are being sold to:

    1. Folks with a PII/300 who want to upgrade and are planning on installing their OEM Win98SE
    2. People who intend to install a pirated windows, most likely a copy from the office or a buddy

    Both of these categories are in violation of MS EULA, but I would guess 80% of the machines end up with Windows on them. Most people who install an OEM copy of Windows will have no idea that they're breaking the law, which I believe is a large part of the reason click-wrap licensing gets away with so much.

    I'm curious, how prominently are these PCs advertised as not having an OS? Is Wal-Mart getting many returns because nothing happened when the machine was turned on?

    • by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:30PM (#3656703) Homepage Journal
      Both of these categories are in violation of MS EULA

      We really need a court or two to weigh in on this issue of reinstalling the OEM OS on a new PC. I can see how Microsoft wants to protect their revenue stream by selling you a new OS when you buy a new PC, but I'm not sure if that's solid enough legal ground to stand on.

      What, aside from Microsoft's assertion, makes the OS and the PC inseperable? If this is legally possible, why don't we see it all the time? For example, it's well-known that a car that costs $15,000 has got $30,000 worth of parts in it. Yet the auto manufacturers make no claim that you can't take the fuel filter from your old Honda and put it in your new Honda, or sell it on the street, or make a funny hat out of it.

      Additionally, what is meant by the term "computer?" Is it the CPU, or the HD, or the RAM, or the MB, or what? If you upgrade all those items, one at a time, are you then required to buy a new OS because it's essentially a new computer now?

      I (and many others) don't think Microsoft's assertion that an OEM OS is only valid on the computer it was sold with is legally viable. But until a court addresses the issue, we'll just have to take their word for it. Or not, like the people buying OS-less PCs at WalMart. I'd love to see their faces when the U.S. Marshalls break down the door.

      Maybe a highly ethical Wal-Mart employee out there will feel compelled to provide the BSA with the names and addresses (via credit card receipts) of all those who've purchased OS-less PCs, thereby ensuring that our economy doesn't lose untold more millions due to software piracy.
      • For example, it's well-known that a car that costs $15,000 has got $30,000 worth of parts in it.

        Huh? How can that be? Can you cite some sources? I have to assume a $15,000 car has less than $15,000 worth of labor, parts, and marketing costs in it.

        • Only if your an auto company. :-) What he means is, if you want to build a $15,000 car, you'd have to buy $30,000 worth of parts, and that's not even counting labor.

          Similarly, a computer with an OS costs less than a computer and an OS (each sold seperatly), not even counting the labor required to install it.

          Now, some companies think they have some "rights" to a package of parts they sell you, and have some say over what you can do with it, above and beyond any laws that might govern your use of it. With a car, you can do anything you like with the car OR the parts, as long as you don't break laws. But some computer companies are attemting to restrict what you can do with the bundled parts they give you, even when you aren't breaking any laws: i.e. installing an old OS on a new computer.

          Common sense says this ain't going to fly. Unfortunatly, it may take a while before that becomes the case.
          • Thanks all for the replies. I get it now -- ebay. Technically I gather the car is worth $30,000 retail minus the opportunity costs of your time in parting it out. But gosh, it sure is nice to operate in a world where your rights are respected.

            I keep waiting for all the "true" libertarians and "true" conservatives to come out on the side of individual rights -- my mistake I guess.
        • He means if you part it out. If you take all the parts off a new car and sell them, you should recover considerably more than you paid for it. The difficulty and reason more people don't try to do this for a living, is that you'd have to sell nearly every part of the car. It would be easy to sell the first 25% of the parts, but it would get progressively harder to finish it up. Not worth the effort for most people. The reason the parted out car is worth more in parts is due to the mark-up on replacement parts. The car company has quantities of scale working for them, after-market replacements do not enjoy that benefit. Hence, a replacment bumper might cost $300 to replace, when it only cost the factory $100 to make the original.
        • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:00PM (#3657164)
          The spare parts cost more. If you take your car apart, and sold the parts, they would be worth more than the car. People don't do this because it's too labor intensive, and most folks don't like used parts all that much. So to turn it around, if you bought all the spare parts you would need to build a car, it would cost more for the part alone than the whole car.

          Which is just like with a PC and Windows. The PC and Windows are worth more apart than together, due to the steep discounts on OEM versions of Windows. But auto manufacturers can't stop you from parting out your car. Why is M$ allowed to stop you from parting out your PC? I should be able to buy a Dell, put Linux on it, and sell the new copy of WinXP for whatever I can get. Just like I can buy a new Ford, put in an Alpine stereo, and sell the OEM stereo.
          • Actually, if you buy the bits from a dismantled car, they will be cheaper. If you buy them from the factory dealer, they will probably total up to twice the value of the car.

            I only ever buy safety-critical components new (brake parts, for example). Even at that, I try to buy them from third party sources (a set of Citroen brake pads in a box with a Lockheed sticker on them costs about #20, a box with a Citroen sticker costs about #60). Comparing a hydraulic pump for the suspension - #450 new (not including fitting - apparently 6 hours work), #25 from a scrapyard (fitted myself in about 30 minutes).

        • Huh? How can that be? Can you cite some sources? I have to assume a $15,000 car has less than $15,000 worth of labor, parts, and marketing costs in it.

          I think this compares the wholesale costs of the manufacturer to the retail cost of the replacement parts. If you go to you local service dept. with a list of all the parts in your car, the cost would be far more than you paid for the car. Just b/c I had to pay $310 this week to replace my alternator, doesn't mean that part costs GM even half as much to make.

          • Just b/c I had to pay $310 this week to replace my alternator, doesn't mean that part costs GM even half as much to make.

            Was it gold-plated or something? The last time I replaced an alternator, it couldn't have cost more than $ was probably a little less than that.

        • Buy an Accura, and find out how much your car is worth -- disassembled -- to the 'leet-rice-boy Honda crowd.
      • The car is a physical product that you purchased. The OS is a 'license to use'.

      • I'll buy the OS less PC and use my same monitor and keyboard, To me it looks like the same computer(tower is under desk) I just replaced a worn out part of it(the tower) So I'll call it the same computer, so I'm not breaking the license, just reinstalling it on the same computer after a rebuild. Hell I'm a dumb consumer, monitor = computer, tower = CPU, I just bought a new CPU the computer is the same. How can that be illegal.
        • by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @02:25AM (#3658062) Homepage Journal
          Well said systemaster. Except, anything that isn't the keyboard, mouse, or monitor is the "hard drive."

          I see the situation as pretty analogous to some leases I've signed over the years. They have clauses saying that if I don't pay the rent, the landlord can take posession of the property and all my belongings, and so on. Well, it may say that in the lease but the landlord-tenant laws will override the parts of our agreement that are illegal.

          The thing is, we're sailing into uncharted waters with all this IP legislation stuff. We've already seen the corporate power grab embodied in the Sony Bono Copyrights Forever Act, which if I'm not mistaken will be before some high court any day now. We have laughable patents on ridiculous "business processes" and there's patent pending on the pop-under ad, which according to the story here on slashdot is all of two lines of javascript.

          Hey, look, a soapbox called History... People, we are living through a revolution akin to Gutenberg's invention of movable type, and Martin Luther's reformation of the Catholic Church. What am I talking about? Prior to Gutenberg, it was prohibitively expensive to create printed matter; teams of monks dedicated their *lives* to copying important texts. Concomitant with the scarcity of literature was a vast illiterate population, who had to be told what the bible meant by their local clergy.

          Gutenberg stood the status quo on its ear. Now, anyone with some molten lead and a few hard workers could turn out in days the same "content" that used to take YEARS to produce. People could now be taught to read the bible for themselves, and didn't have to rely on the interpretation spoon-fed to them by the Church. In short, people gained an incredible freedom, the freedom to THINK FOR THEMSELVES, and the all-powerful Catholic Church (you know, the guys who changed the calendar in October 1582) (look at your unix calendar, it's there) was dealt a blow from which it has never recovered.

          How exactly does all this relate to IP law and the RIAA/MPAA DMCA Gabba Gabba Hey? I'm not quite sure, but you bet your pinhead they're related. The Church didn't need IP lawyers and patents, they would simply Darn You To Heck! if you got uppity. They had a copyright, if you will, on the freakin' alphabet! To us that sounds ridiculous, but a copyright and a horde of rapacious IP lawyers provides the same "Game Over" result today that Excommunication did five hundred years ago.

          Revolutions of this sort play out over decades, and we are riding the first waves of this one. Meanwhile, I'm stepping down off the soapbox before JonKatz starts pelting me with AOL Platinum 7.0 CDs.
      • indicate that these types of restrictions will be unenforcable. The recent Adobe case indicates that, on its face, the true nature of a transaction involving the purchase of software is that of the purchase of a copy of a copyrighted work. Cases reaching back as far as Scribner v. Straus (1908) [] indicate that attempting to case a sale as a license will not get around the first sale doctrine.

        Under Federal Law, when you purchase a copy of software, you already have the right to install it and use it in the way it was designed to be used. You may remove the software from PC A and install it on PC B. A contract of adhesion which purports to abrogate this right is unlikely to be found enforcable.

        Now, I don't agree with those who think that all EULAs are unenforcable. Terms such as limitation of liability and perhaps even forum selection terms require very little notice. Small print on the back of a cruse ship ticket was found to be sufficient notice for a limitation of liability. But the majority of unconscionable terms will never be raised in an actual court case becuase the companies know that they are out on a limb here and will never get them enforced.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Most people who install an OEM copy of Windows will have no idea that they're breaking the law

      And you and I have no idea that they're breaking the law, either. Unless someone has evidence that you agreed to the EULA, then the EULA is irrelevant. You bought the software, you installed it, and no laws were broken.

    • "Both of these categories are in violation of MS EULA"

      There's a third category of people installing retail copies of Windows that've been removed from the previous machine. That's 100% legitimate, as far as I know.

      The question is whether or not there are many people like that out there. Retail boxes of Windows tend to get decent placement in computer stores, so theoretically there are people buying them. Also, for a novice user (which I suspect includes a lot of the Walmart PC customers), it's generally easier to buy a new PC rather than upgrade pieces. So it's not unreasonable for there to be a number of legitimate purchases of the system for Windows use.

    • Most people who install an OEM copy of Windows will have no idea that they're breaking the law, which I believe is a large part of the reason click-wrap licensing gets away with so much.

      This isn't illegal almost anywhere. Copyright doesn't prohibit you from wiping the old PC and installing the software on a new computer. The EULA's are not contracts except for a few regressive southern states(USA). So you aren't even violating any contract. You won't get support for OEM software on new hardware, but that is probably long expired anyway if you're retiring an old PC.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:17PM (#3656548)
    The winmodem issue was bad enough, but if there isn't Linux support for the video chipset that's awful! But it all brings up the question, why sell an OS free system rather than just including a free OS (Linux) on the drive? Certainly geeks who want a different flavor of Linux would have no problems with this. You might have to include a simple utility to kill the Linux partition for appliance users who will be instaling a flavor of Windows, but with Linux on the system already, maybe a few of them might decide it was less painful learing a stable system than installing Microsoft.

    And Linux on the drive would certainly help address the issue of support for the shipped hardware!

    • If they installed a Linux on the drive they'd get a boatload of people calling their tech support lines asking how to use it. I don't care how big and obvious the sticker that says "we don't support the OS, just the hardware" is, people will still call, and those calls cost money. If they ship it blank, they sidestep the whole issue.
      • Re:Maintenance (Score:2, Insightful)

        That's certainly one possibility, but how many people make the same call when they take the computer home, turn it on, and it doesn't boot up?

        At least a nice GUI could display a helpful message, and confirm that the box you bought works before you shell out as much as $299 for a MS OS (yes, I know there are less expensive ways to legitimately buy XP Pro but many customers apparently do not).

        Seems like a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. I still think the manufacturer should consider pre-installing Linux. While I would like to see it be a full blown OS with lots of extras (certainly a browser and a full office suite at a minimum), maybe the best thing to avoid the "How do I use this calls" could be to ship a stripped down version with no useful applications - the GUI could inform the user that the system clearly works but that they will need to install their own OS to actually do anything with the computer.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I installed Mandrake on my new Walmart PC.
      It thought the video was a "Trident CyberBlade (generic)"
      but it works just fine.

      I was disappointed that the SIS 650 wasn't supported,
      but I've got video that works up to 1600x1200.
    • I had a similar issue with the BTC computer I'm posting on now. It actually came with Linux preinstalled, and a Winmodem! They apparently had a driver that worked, but the Linux they supplied was a very trimmed down, information appliance thing. Anyway, it was no big deal to install Mandrake, then buy an external modem for $30 on e-Bay.

      I hope nobody has any illusions about what's really happening here. Linux's share of the desktop is 0.5%, and Windows' is 95%. I suspect the figures are about the same for people who buy no-OS computers. It was painfully obvious from the documentation that came with my BTC box that they expected most users to erase the mini-Linux and replace it with Windows.

    • The winmodem issue was Worse than this. the latest OS-less PCs have a chipset that isn't 'auto detected' by XSetup, yet clearly does work, (for 2-d) if you pick the right driver manually. I have no quible with them using newer GPUs on the mobo, even if it causes hicups with Xfree. anyone actually installing linux on this has read a few sites, and will turn to those to figure it out.
      Microsoft has always tried to make the OEM versions of windows only run on the hardware the specific vendor supplied. They know that when the OS can be sold as a seperate component they'll loose aftermarket value. People will buy new PCs, then sell the legit copy to someone else, and maybe not delete the copy on the Pc they bought. And if they ever had problems with the system they'd call techsupport and demand a new CD because they 'lost' the old one. And remember, while reselling software you've installed is immoral, and illegal, it isn't a Criminal offense until you've traded $5,000 worth in goods over a 9 month period of time. That means they can't get any help from the government tracking you down. This is why they've got 1-800 anti piracy numbers, because anonymous tipsters is the only way they can go after 'every' software pirate. They then have to drag you through civil court without any means of gathering evedince against you, because as I've said, you haven't commited a criminal offence. Should they manage to come after you due to an anonymous tipster, and they 'lie' to the poliece to get warrents to search your house and computer, then you can take them to court in a counter suit, because they illegially inlisted the aid of the police to harrass you. you can even sue the police for wrongful search and seizure.
      Without evidence they just can't win in civil court, and without partcipiting in a criminal act, the police can't help them obtain the evidence they need to sue you. So one the cat is out of the bag there is nothing in the world microsoft can do to stop people from buying a Dell PC and then reslling that OEM windows copy, as a 'mail-in rebate' kinda deal. while still using it. Obviously you should be able to resell used copies of windows, afterall I've converted many PCs to linux or FreeBSD. But once you make it legal to do that everyone who lacks an ounce of scruples will be selling the oem copy of windows on e-bay. That would make the oem copy worth about $3, and kill the market for $399 'retail box full version' $199 'upgrade' version market... because the OEM version Is a full version.
      I guess I've gotten sidetracked enough for now. Micrsoft would loose some profitability if it became legal to resell OEM copies, and more OEMs would support linux if the licensing issues were finally resolved in a sane matter.
      EULAs are really the bane of the modern era, they've gone from being disclaimers of no warrenty (the original intent) to becoming a binding contractual agreement between the end user and the software company. Since that was not the spirit of the law the supreme court needs to come down hard on the EULA and make them completly non-binding, and that breaking them simply ends your relationship with the software company. EG: you break the EULA and they don't have to provide tech support. that's it... it's meant to be a non-binding agreement in the first place.
  • by pyrrho ( 167252 )
    The ZDnet article doesn't take into account that the OBM should decide what's in their best interest to demand, and demand it. Nader quoted sensible reasons besides "do what the DOJ is failing to do", such as security monocultures, and espc. the long term viability of public information stored in proprietary formats.
  • Savage unsupported? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dadragon ( 177695 )
    It seems that the Savage4 is supported. Is the Savage4 DDR not or something?

    How long would it take XFree86 to add it?
  • Hurdle number one in Database Password Retrieval:

    The file you download is a zip file containing 3 floppy disk sized images. The file format? Microsoft Backup 1.0, which made it's debut way back in the MS-DOS 6 / Win 3.1 days.

    Time to dig out the old disks, guys :)
  • by alouts ( 446764 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:27PM (#3656675)
    ...was not total disagreement, and could hardly be called "the opposition". They were arguing only with half of what Nader was saying, but agreeing with the overall thrust of his actions.

    Basically, they agree that the OMB could, and should, weild their budget power to ensure security is maximized and to lower prices, increase interoperability, etc. But where they differ from Nader, and the only real disagreement is whether there should be any mandate on forcing Microsoft to release source, sell source, etc. They're arguing that the OMB should absolutely try to sway Microsoft's behavior, but that it should do so only through well-reasoned business cases, not through pseudo-enforcement of anti-trust violations.

    • "But where they differ from Nader, and the only real disagreement is whether there should be any mandate on forcing Microsoft to release source, sell source, etc. "

      If this is what they were arguing against they were beating a straw man. Nader did not call for that. ALthough his letter was primarily about MS that particular section of his letter dealt with "office software" in general terms. He was suggesting that the govt might be able to buy the source of some "office software" cheaper then buying MS licenses year after year. Personally I think that makes a lot of sense. If let's say open office isn't good enough could the govt buy the source code for wordperfect office or smartsuite for less then what it costs to equip the entire govt with MS office? I bet it would. As a bonus the source code would become public domain. An all around good deal for everybody.
  • walmart pc's (Score:2, Interesting)

    Good for them, replacing the win modem with a hardware modem. Not only can you get on the internet with linux, if you have a dos partition, you can use Arachne 1.70 to quickly get on the web, and send and receive e-mail. You don't need windows at all, MS-DOS 6.21 will do fine, in as little as 30 MB for a dos partition for Arachne. I'm sure it won't be long before a linux distro comes out that will support that graphics card. On that subject, I wonder if Arachne can support it, usually it can get almost any card to work, but I would be interested in finding out from someone who has purchased one of these machines. Low priced machines have a tough time if they have to come with XP, which would account for say 20% of the price... Walmart sells good graphics cards in their stores, I'm sure one of those would do until the one supplied is fully supported in mainstream linux distributions. Most folks that are going to add an OS will partition, and also will make some hardware changes to these machines.
    btw, I am making this post using iCab 2.8 on a Macintosh Quadra 660av, with an Accura 14.4 modem. Made a new start page that will look good in these 68k mac browsers: MSIE 4.01, Netscape 4.05 and iCab 2.8:

    • Re:walmart pc's (Score:2, Insightful)

      btw, the cheapest one at Walmart is $400.00. (without monitor). I for one, would want to shop around at say, for a barebones machine, if I had $400.00 to spend. Also, they have some information about Windows (not included or installed) that will give some of you a laugh. Anything I get with a 40 gb hdd is going to get partitioned, and I'll have both Windows and Linux on it.
      P.S. If, and this is a big IF, I ever got one of those new emacs, I'd partition that with Mandrake first thing.
      • P.S. If, and this is a big IF, I ever got one of those new emacs, I'd partition that with Mandrake first thing.

        Mandrake comes with emacs, not the other way around :)
  • From the news site:
    The association sent a letter in the last day to Netherlands-based ISP TrueServer, and the site went dark some time Thursday, European time, Litvack said. TrueServer and Film88 could not be immediately reached for comment. But according to a note on Film88, the site is down because of technical problems.

    And then from Slashdot:
    Live from Iran, Film88
    Posted by michael on Wednesday June 05, @04:51PM

    Coincidence? ;)
  • it drives down the final price of the computer. Most people go to walmart expecting lower prices than the competition. In order to maintain that image, walmart decided to drop the windows license out of the cost of the computer, effectively lowering the price for the same hardware. People see the better deal at walmart and don't think twice about how they are going to get windows on there, illegally.
  • From my experience, most of the people who shop for pc's at retail stores such as walmart are not very experienced with how they work. Generally the more experienced users either build their own system from scratch or get one custom made for them. Most people I know who buy pre-assembled pc's have no clue how to install WINDOWS, let alone linux. And most linux users know enough about pc's that they would not buy a pre assembled one from wal-mart.

    I am not certain who they intend to market these pc's to, as the type of people who buy them generally would want windows anyway. There is no point in forcing these people to go through the windows install, no matter how easy it is. And I doubt they would make much business with linux users, as most would not buy a system from a retail store.
    • I am not certain who they intend to market these pc's to, as the type of people who buy them generally would want windows anyway.

      I don't know who they're marketed to either, but I think it's a weird conclusion to jump to, to think they might want Windows. Unless they take their office work home with them, they probably have no preference at all. Maybe it's Aunt Cleo, who just wants a machine to surf te web and email her nephew. Windows has no advantage for that sort of thing.

      Here's my guess about the target market: it's anyone who is ignorant enough to buy it. Mark buys the machine from Walmart because w/out Microsoft tax it is cheaper than what Target is selling then takes it home and "it doesn't work." Now they need to buy get an OS, and Walmart's advantage evaporates. But Walmart already has the money.

    • Walmart is not best buy, though. Walmart has the fastest distrobution system of ANY retail chain, and they sell more goods per shelf unit than any other retail chain too. I would agree that given a choice I'd always build a PC myself. Still, there is a market for these PCs, or else walmart wouldn't be selling them.
      The way I see it these PCs are really for 'second time buyers' people who learned from the last PC they owned, and have a copy of OEM windows lying around. If they recyle the old box, or sell it with the drive wiped of all data, they're entitled to use that OEM copy of windows on the 'upgrade' PC they bought. Still, since it violates the EULA, that means they (should) get no tech support from redmond.
      I guess wal-mart just sees things the obvious way, you can sell without gasoline, as long as they know that they have to buy/bring thier own. but if you have an old car, that still has gas in it, legally you could siphon the gas into your new car. there isn't anything stopping you from doing that, after all. except of course the dealer charging double the going rate might frown on you bringing your own gas can, and insisting on being sold a car without being sold gasoline. Still, they can't legally force you to buy gasoline when you buy a car.
  • What I find curious is that the article makes and appear to be 2 completely different animals that host the same content, yet I thought that the owners of moved to (as well as to a different country.)
  • Dan Farber is right. We deserve choices, but Nader's proposed increase of government regulation will not accomplish that. Don't get me wrong. Capitalism in its most efficient form depends on competition and consumer choices, and sometimes government regulation is needed to stop monopolies from squelching such competition. But dictating what can and cannot be purchased hardly works toward that end.

    I would like to see someone with some clout put together a proposal on just how much $ can be saved with alternatives to Microsoft. Then go to the media with it. Everywhere. Make the case and illustrate just how much of our tax $ is being squandered on a company with already $40 billion plus in cash reserves.

  • Looks like the three files for the database were created by Norton ... backup? I just downloaded the freeware version of Backup Key [] key recovery program which claims to have found a Norton backup password in the file. Of course it won't tell you what the password actually is unless you pay for the program.
  • by marm ( 144733 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @08:54PM (#3656875)

    although not in the main XFree86 4.2.0 release.

    Download the driver here. []

    Note that, according to the author of the Savage driver, he has no ProSavage DDR hardware to test on, so don't bet on it, but hopefully it should work (as with most drivers, it's just a matter of adding a hardware ID to make it work, assuming the hardware vendor hasn't messed around too much since the previous version, which is unlikely in this case)...

    Hope this helps some people...

  • "Film88 is at least the second Internet video-on-demand site to spring up in recent months. The MPA in February worked with the Taiwanese authorities and its hosted ISP to get rid of, which also streamed feature films to consumer desktops for $1 each. This year the association, which represents seven major Hollywood studios, has sent 40,000 letters to ISPs hosting what it deems rogue operators, compared with 50,000 letters for all of last year."

    just something I found amusing, isn't film88 owned by the same people that ran movie88 the first time? do they even double check their stories?


  • ZDnet's editor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DustMagnet ( 453493 ) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:17PM (#3656987) Journal
    But technology doesn't mix well with government regulations that dictate how to build and distribute technology products.

    He clearly missed the whole point of Nader's argument. Nader didn't ask the government to regulate anything, except it's own purchases. Nader himself said it was better than government regulations.

  • ?path=0%3A3944%3A3951%3A41937%3A86796%3A86798&dept =3944&cat=86798&sb=61&bti=0 [] is the
    Microtel PCs Without Windows category and the first PC there boasts Windows XP Home Edition.
  • look! you have to be careful when you say runs Linux....

    to be exact, if it runs the kernel I can say it runs Linux... in fact the Wal-Mart PCs run Linux Properly...

    they just don't run XF86... but XF86 is not part of Linux

  • I went shopping at my local Walmart (Margate, FL for those Walmart employees listening who want to fix the situation), and checked in the Electronics section. They have a bunch of brand-names (Compaq, HP), but the salespeople looked at me funny when I mentioned what I had read here.

    What percentage of Walmarts actually carry this PC? Any sightings?

    • They are apparently only available online. This is probably nothing more than a trial balloon to see if selling OS-less PCs is worth the effort. Wal-Mart doesn't seriously get into a business unless they can undersell the competition, and the only way to underprice Dell is to sell computers without an operating system.

      If they get enough support, then we will probably see Wal-Mart push these machines more aggresively. After all, Wal-Mart has nothing to lose. They can afford to piss Microsoft off because they don't make a living selling PCs.

  • by ctar ( 211926 )

    I write in response to your recent article 'Why Nader's Microsoft plan is flawed'. I think its unfortunate that the twist of the article is that Nader's plan is flawed, when Mr. Farber makes many points which agree almost exactly with what Nader and James Love are saying.

    Your conclusion is right on: "If the courts don't provide sufficient protection for consumers, then start voting with your checkbook." Thats precisely what Mr. Nader is asking the OMB, as a representative of the American people's government, to do. While I agree that punishing Microsoft through changes in purchasing is a flawed argument, the main points of Nader/Love's letter are to examine the current status of technology spending and make sure other viable and possibly cheaper alternatives are not being overlooked.

    In addition to this, they ask that some of the specs of proprietary "file formats of its office productivity and multimedia programs" be released in order to allow for competing products to not be ruled out by incompatibility. They do not ask, as you suggest, for Microsoft to "give up or sell its intellectual property" or place any limits on purchasing or spending. Nader and Love understand the extreme importance that file (specifically word processing file) format interopability has on the potential for competition in the software and desktop market. When they do mention purchasing source code, they do not specifically say Microsoft Office's source code, they suggest purchasing the code to a "high quality office productivity package".

    Again, while I understand the difference between the charges of the OMB and the DOJ, you can't help but agree that some coordination between the two is at least a creative idea. With the antitrust case against Microsoft going on several years now, (and the possibility of retribution for the known, and countless unknown companies who were forced out of the marketplace by anti-competitive behavior being zero) it may not be entirely unrealistic for some creative and forward thinking regarding a strategy or solution to resolve the true reason to break up a monopoly; to make sure innovation and healthy economic growth continue.

    Aside from these main points, I find your editorial or article or whatever you think it is, as particularly schizophrenic. You say government regulations shouldn't "dictate how to build and distribute technology products". But, you also say that various branches and departments could "use their clout as a huge Microsoft customer to exert some leverage" by using Openoffice or StarOffice instead of Microsoft Office. How does this differ from Nader and Love's suggestions? You also go on to cite recent news items about other countries saving millions of dollars in licensing fees. Again, this is one of the main points of the letter to the OMB. I won't even try to decipher your Krispy Kreme analogy...

    As you say, "Nader has the right idea. Consumers of technology should have choice." So, then why do you try to discredit him? He is one of the few that actively and successfully petitions the government for the rights of consumers and the potentials of technology.

    -Chris Tar
  • The reason why Wal-Mart doesn't include an OS on the PCs in the first place is the fact that Wal-mart tries to make them as cheap as humanly possible. This is how Wal-Mart has taken down the competition (ala K-Mart) by cutting corners wherever they can.

    If Wal-Mart didn't have this strategy, they'd be including Windows XP on these systems.
  • This is what I posted to one of the ZDNet forums. Jamie

    Who said the government should buy MS Office outright? Ralph and I didn't. Maybe the author of the commentary should read the letter again. There is difference between buying "the code for Microsoft Office outright," and asking OMB to consider "Buying outright the code for office productivity products." I think Dan Farber should have understood that the likely source for such a purchase would not be Microsoft, a company that makes billions off its MS Office platform, but more likely other products, such as those offered by Lotus or Corel, which are pretty good, and not that profitable. In any event, that was only one of a pretty large menu of things the US could look at, including much more incremental steps such as requiring disclosure of file format information (an option he ignored), a relatively modest step that would be quite feasible, and would make competitor's products more interoperable, a major barrier for non-MS products now.

    On the issue of putting caps on the number of units purchased by a single company, this is not really an innovation in terms of federal procurement policy or law. FAR 6.202 is designed to promote alternative sources of supply, so as to keep the government from dealing with a monopolistic supplier.

    6.202 Establishing or maintaining alternative sources.
    (a) Agencies may exclude a particular source from a contract action in order to establish or maintain an alternative source or sources for the supplies or services being acquired if the agency head determines that to do so would-
    (1) Increase or maintain competition and likely result in reduced overall costs for the acquisition, or for any anticipated acquisition;

System checkpoint complete.