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Microsoft

MS to Implement Some DoJ Settlement Terms Preemptively 353

lysurgon writes: "The New York Times (free registration, blah blah blah) is reporting that Microsoft will today announce it is taking some steps in implementing parts of the original DoJ settlement, a settlement which is still under review and not yet official. It's seen as a tactic to influence Judge Kollar-Kotelly's deliberation on the more stringent restrictions asked for by nine states attorneys general. Looks like MS wants to get off making some cosmetic changes (no surprise there), but given their rather stormy relationship with the judge, it could backfire. The other interesting thing is that at this stage, without an official ruling, no matter what they do or why they say they're doing it it's legally voluntary." Update: 08/05 17:00 GMT by T : HeUnique adds a link to another story on ZDnet which tosses in a few numbers while remaining fairly vague on what exactly will be released and under what terms.
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MS to Implement Some DoJ Settlement Terms Preemptively

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:32AM (#4012161)
    I'm not optimistic about the whole settlement, but is it possible MS is changing? Seriously, is it possible MS is taking a different approach and is softening? Given the huge amount of attention on security by the government and the public, is MS actually changing? Not that anyone at /. would for definitively, but what is really happening with the latest move?
    • Re:Good and Bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Helter ( 593482 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:40AM (#4012225)
      I see most of their current actions as nothing more than a bid for some quick good faith.
      Many of the .Net and Palladium structures that they're trying to push through have been met with an extreme (and understandable) amount of skepticism and mistrust. I think that they're trying to force a quick image makeover so that people will be less likely to look at their plans in a "worst case scenario" kind of way.

      Just the opinion of a professional MS boy.
      • "I see most of their current actions as nothing more than a bid for some quick good faith.

        I see it more as a WagEd/Bldg 8 PR gimmick, and it is probably also aimed establishing MS' "Stret Cred" at the Court of Appeals and beyond...

        "Gee, look we even tried to implement the Settlement BEFORE it was Official, and our Evil, No Good, Court-manipulating Foes wouldn't even accept our 'Good Will' gesture."

        "I think that they're trying to force a quick image makeover so that people will be less likely to look at their plans in a "worst case scenario" kind of way.

        Closer, but Microsoft has won every round of this so far, so everything they do here will be based upon on the notion that they are going to just keep "going up the ladder" and burning more time until some future (and distant) Supreme Court takes the case.

        This is just another "Brick in the Wall" of their legal defensive strategy. It's been incredibly pricey (both in their rep and actuall $$$$$), but they won everywhere they've need to win.

        It has little (or nothing) to do with any internal movement towards "openess" or towards the OSF world.

        Just more guys in tassle-loafers doing their thing, stalling this process until it becomes even more irrelevant to the Real World.

      • I see most of their current actions as nothing more than a bid for some quick good faith.
        Many of the .Net and Palladium structures that they're trying to push through have been met with an extreme (and understandable) amount of skepticism and mistrust.


        MS's competitors should take advantage of that by calling Microsoft "to software what Enron was to accounting".

        MS does so many things that could potentially make them look bad in the press, but its competitors rarely fully capitalize on them. Perhaps because the competitors have their own skeletons, or perhaps because MS can turn the thumbscrews hard on a company if they wanted?

    • is it possible MS is changing?
      They certainly are - a few years back they actually starting writing their own software from scratch instead of just buying other applications (like excel) and altering them a bit. They actually learned from the lessons of IBM and now actually do research, instead of just writing software. Still - most of what is called research (almost everywhere - not just MS) is just product development.
    • Yeah, M$ is changing just like Saddam Hussien in the South Park movie.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The whole MS monoploy lawsuit has come down to removing a few icons from the desktop. Like that is going to create a great deal of problems for MS? The States that oppose the settlement are right. Nothing but an OS, no browser or media player. If you want that then MS must sell it on the open market. MS isn't going away and the lawsuit must force a more level playing field.
    • by edremy ( 36408 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:08PM (#4012430) Journal

      The States that oppose the settlement are right. Nothing but an OS, no browser or media player.

      I've said it before, I'll say it again. What's an OS? Just the kernel? Are you allowed to add a file browser? A GUI? A network stack?

      Every one of these used to be available as an extra-cost add on for Windows and other OSs. Trumpet used to make good coin with Winsock: do we make MS strip the TCP/IP stack from Windows? (It wasn't just MS: we paid serious dollar$ for a TCP/IP stack for the VMS cluster I used to admin.)

      Indeed, perhaps even the kernel is removeable: Win3 ran fine with DR-DOS underneath instead of MS-DOS, despite what MS said.

      I have a really hard time with this: where *exactly* do you draw the line on what you include? Does that line move? Selling an OS without modem support and a network stack would be suicide today, but it wasn't ten years ago.

      A web browser IMHO has reached the point where it should be included as part of the OS: there isn't a single OS on the market today that doesn't bundle one. A media player might be under the umbrella. Just try and strip Quicktime out of MacOSX and see how far you get.

      • Win 1-3 were almost certainly NOT OSs. They were just applications running on top of MS/PC/DR-DOS. Windows NT, 2K & XP are almost certainly Operating Systems. Windows 9X is not so clear cut.
      • Yeah, I'm torn on this topic (and if you look at my posting history, you can see I'm no microsoft flunky).

        It's really nice, for example, to be able to just open up a COM object of InternetExplorer.Application from something as simple as a VBscript and send HTML to it and have it render for you...

        But I also see the danger in having one company control the defacto web display technology. The web is supposed to be device independent and we're moving away from that.

      • A web browser IMHO has reached the point where it should be included as part of the OS: there isn't a single OS on the market today that doesn't bundle one.

        Yes, this is true, a modern OS needs a web browser, but which one? The one you(r company) want(s) or the one MS wants? The issue here isn't whether windows should come with a TCP/IP stack, the issue is whether you should have a choice whose TCP/IP stack you want to include. And to some extent, whether you should have to pay for MS's TCP/IP stack if you're not going to use it.
      • What's an OS?

        In UNIX, this is easy to answer. The OS is the kernel and its API. Everything else is an application. Even /bin/sh is an application; hell, anything that the user sees is an application. The things the user sees that might be considered the operating system are really side-effects of the operating system, such as process scheduling and file system caching.

        The term "operating environment" is more accurate for what we call Windows or Solaris, for example. These are the operating system plus bundled applications that make the system useful.

        There is an important distinction to make between Windows and Solaris, however. Sun is slow to integrate third-party applications, such as Perl, into Solaris and does so only after enough users demand it. Microsoft, on the other hand, is quick to add things driven by their desire to dominate a particular market. This distinction makes is clearer how to deal with Microsoft.

        The lines dividing what to package and what not to package should be divided by market. Can Microsoft include the operating system? Of course. Can Microsoft include a web browser (a distinct market), also, after being convicted an illegal monopoly? Yes, but it must be completely modular and completely optional. How about a trial contract with MSN (a distinct market)? Yes, but only if it is clearly separated from other applications and clearly documented (currently, they try to make it part of the Windows "experience"). How about an office productivity application (a distinct market)? Yes, but it should also be completely modular, optional, and have an open documented file format.

        When you consider that Microsoft is trying to dominate several markets simultaneously, dividing what is and isn't "part of the OS" becomes pretty simple.
      • I've always felt that the proper definition of "OS" is "the minimum set of services that an application developer can expect, or demand, from a particular platform." I realize that the definition I'm proposing is somewhat circular, but I still think it's a useful starting point.

        For example, if I write an app that somehow depends on MS Mediaplayer (the player itself, not DirectShow et al,) that's an additional system requirement, and users who don't have a working copy of Mediaplayer installed have a valid complaint.

        On the other hand, if I write a program that makes use of, say, the Windows taskbar, and a user complains that it's incompatible with his third-party replacement shell, that's his problem. If you're not running explorer.exe, you're not running Windows. (Of course, the boundary changes as the market changes, as edremy points out in his post.)

        According to this guideline, Internet Explorer is right in the middle. In some respects, it can be considered a component of the basic OS (almost all Windows apps use it to display help, for example.) As a web browser, though, it is not yet a feature that developers can take for granted.

        Of course, even if a component is "part of the OS," such as explorer.exe, that doesn't mean it can't be replaced by a third-party. However, it's still up to the OS to abstract the differences and handle communication between apps and the third-party OS component, which is a model that neither MS nor its competitors seem terribly interested in these days.
      • I've said it before, I'll say it again. What's an OS? Just the kernel? Are you allowed to add a file browser? A GUI? A network stack?

        And the reason you keep saying it is because you still don't understand what Microsoft got in trouble for.

        The court case was not about the bundling of the browser. It was about the forceful tactics used by Microsoft against OEMs who wanted to ship Netscape Navigator. The OEMs were told - in no uncertain terms - that they would ship IE instead of Netscape or Microsoft would force them into bankruptcy.

        OEMs should have the right to change bits as they see fit. Microsoft removed that right. This is the same reason why the so-called argument that "KDE ships with Konqueror!" is so idiotic. Vendors like RedHat have the option to ship KDE with or without Konqueror. OEMs like Compaq were not given that choice with IE on Windows.

    • Nothing but an OS, no browser or media player. If you want that then MS must sell it on the open market. MS isn't going away and the lawsuit must force a more level playing field.


      Sell it on the open market for what? The going price of the next-largest competitor? So, for a browser you're looking at... free. For a media player you're probably looking at ads + nag screens or $10 to remove them.

      The actual result of the DoJ settlement proposal is more along the lines of allowing people to remove access to these components from everything except those functions that will not work with any other company's replacement (Windows Update is usually a good example of this, since it doesn't seem to work with other browsers). There are a few other points in there, but that's the one that will be most visible to most people (the majority of it has to do with contracts with ISVs, ISPs, and OEMs, so people won't really see the changes there unless their vendors make changes to other developers' software because of the contractual changes).

      Personally, I think the judge should choose something more of a middle ground between the DoJ proposal and the 9 states' proposal. Unfortunately, there really isn't much to go on in the case that the DoJ originally made (after the appeal threw out quite a bit of it), and the majority of the case was built upon contractual items excluding (or making very costly) competitors from the market. The case didn't lay a good groundwork for opening up code and breaking applications from the operating system, primarily because the easiest thing to prove is what's written down and given to other companies, the contracts they had with them.

      Other than that, antitrust law isn't about 'a more level playing field', it's about keeping the biggest player on the field from preventing other players entering the field. Microsoft made contracts with other companies that made it prohibitive for them to use or sell other people's software when it competed with their own, and opening the source code to Office (part of the 9 states' proposal) doesn't address that situation (though both proposals include contractual changes that will address it).
      • The actual result of the DoJ settlement proposal is more along the lines of allowing people to remove access to these components from everything except those functions that will not work with any other company's replacement (Windows Update is usually a good example of this, since it doesn't seem to work with other browsers). There are a few other points in there, but that's the one that will be most visible to most people (the majority of it has to do with contracts with ISVs, ISPs, and OEMs, so people won't really see the changes there unless their vendors make changes to other developers' software because of the contractual changes).

        And this will prove to be a wonderfully useless "solution." I can just hear all of the customers out there screamning "ooh, ooh, I want fewer features in my copy of windows! No browser? Cool! I have to download the free (10 Meg) media player? Sign me up!"

        Other than that, antitrust law isn't about 'a more level playing field', it's about keeping the biggest player on the field from preventing other players entering the field. Microsoft made contracts with other companies that made it prohibitive for them to use or sell other people's software when it competed with their own, and opening the source code to Office (part of the 9 states' proposal) doesn't address that situation (though both proposals include contractual changes that will address it).

        Exactly right. Telling MS to offer a stripped down version of Windows is sensless, since almost no one will buy it. What the DoJ needs to do is stop MS from keeping other vendors off the desktop, or off the system alltogether. MS doesn't like Java? Fine, don't bundle it. But there are a lot of OEMs that will see the value in having Java on their computers, and MS should not be able to stop them from putting it there.

        They also need to go after all of the price schemes they seem to be hitting vendors with. What MS is charging Dell to put Windows on their boxes should not be a trade secret, and the only price break MS should be allowed to give one OEM over the other should be due to volume discounting; none of this "Don't put Linux on your machine, or you'll loose you 'special discount'" stuff.
  • by Valiss ( 463641 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:34AM (#4012180) Homepage
    Microsoft is about as clear on details as this Monty Python quote on politics:

    "I think that all good, right thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that all good, right thinking people in this country are fed up with being told that all good, right thinking people in this country are fed up with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not, and I'm sick and tired of being told that I am."
  • alternately... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:35AM (#4012190)
    Here's an article from CNET, with an interesting quote from a Jupiter analyst.

    http://news.com.com/2100-1001-948328.html?tag=fd _t op
  • Dangerous move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Saurentine ( 9540 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:36AM (#4012199) Journal
    Given that Microsoft has in the past stated that all of the DOJ's proposed remedies were unacceptable to them, isn't this a dangerous move to suddenly implement these previously unacceptable remedies voluntarily?

    What is to make supporting multiple versions of Windows unacceptable in the future, given that these remedies were once unacceptable in the past?

    Is there something I'm missing, or could their legal department really be that incompetent?

    I hope that *finally*, their arrogance and insane, childish brinksmanship through this whole process comes back and bites them in the ass.
    • What makes you think that MS is complying? Look at the details of disclosure, especially the loopholes for security and to whom access to the code will be granted.

      Fileformats are a key issue and do not seem to be addressed either. It's not just an issue for competitors. How many MS users have upgraded because of changes in MS-Word, MS-Excel, or MS-PPT file formats? Also, if you go over to renting software, License 6.0, the day you give up your subscription is the day you lose access to your own data...unless those files can be read by a non-MS program. Additionally, the DMCA probably could be used as a hinder unless the file specs are public.

      Apply Occam's Razor to the ZDNet and CNet articles and you'll see that, like most such press releases, there's really nothing there but a few kernels buried here and there. From the ZDnet article : if other companies got too much access to the inner workings of the operating system. It said that would allow them to "clone" Windows, prompting Microsoft to stop investing in research and development on the operating system. Perhaps this is a form of not complying or a softening up to the end of the MS-Office and MS-Windows product line.

  • by brejc8 ( 223089 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:38AM (#4012213) Homepage Journal
    I think this is an admission of a loss by M$.
    They know the DoJ demands are not going to hurt them but they might hurt their shares.
    So placing an outline stating that M$ is happy to do somethings that it thinks it will be expected to do will soften the blow by the final decision.
    When the decision comes they can tell their share holders "We were goning to do that anyway".
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:43AM (#4012248) Homepage Journal
    load up the page of comments and see an ad of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
  • win 2k SP3 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:44AM (#4012251) Journal
    It looks to me that some of the things implement in the SP3, that Personal Settings icon, is precisely that sort of Windows dressing trying to preempt the Judges decision.

    Not that I hope this tactics works.

    Personally, I hope it backfires

    [shrug]

  • Influence.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by donutello ( 88309 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:46AM (#4012265) Homepage
    It's seen as a tactic to influence Judge Kollar-Kotelly's deliberation

    Rather, one of the terms of the settlement with the DoJ was that the terms of the consent decree would be implemented immediately (in the next release) without waiting for the settlement to be approved.

    IIRC, Microsoft would have been in violation of the settlement if it hadn't done this by now.
    • IIRC, Microsoft would have been in violation of the settlement if it hadn't done this by now
      It's kind of hard to be in violation of a settlement's terms before the settlement is made final.
      Not flamebait, nor flame. Just pointing out that there is no final decree against microsoft yet.
    • (* Rather, one of the terms of the settlement with the DoJ was that the terms of the consent decree would be implemented immediately (in the next release) without waiting for the settlement to be approved. *)

      You mean they would start following something that they agreed to 8 years ago? Or, are you talking about a new decree?

      I hope the gov found clearer terms to replace "integrated". That has got to be the most clever legal wiggle-word ever.
  • From the article:

    The company's proposed settlement with the Justice Department would give computer makers more flexibility to add icons and menu entries of their choosing to Microsoft's Windows operating system.

    It would also prevent Microsoft from entering into certain restrictive and discriminatory pricing agreements, require the company to make some disclosures about its software code and restrict the company from retaliating against competitors.

    So basically, it's saying that they are just changing the paperwork of their contracts with computer manufacturers (which is no work on their part) and releasing bits of code out to the public (also no actual work being done). But we're not saying which of these we're doing, how much of these non-mentioned goals we will accomplish, or exactly when we can expect these non-mentioned amounts of non-mentioned goals to be completed (or at least expected to be completed).

    I will be anxious to hear what is produced from the phone call happening later today, but right now, there is too little information to assume too much.

  • by duckygator ( 171704 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:47AM (#4012271)
    The article can also be found on Netscape's news site here [com.com].
  • see this story: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=5 78&e=2&cid=578&u=/nm/20020805/ts_nm/microsoft_code _dc_13
  • They really don't have an option. Assuming an unbiased judge, if they force the judge to make a judgement, any judgement would be more expensive that just about anything they could offer for an out-of-court settlement. If there is a judgement, it must be one "in the public interest".

    On the other hand, if there is a consent decree, there's no restriction on what the terms of such a consent decree must be.

    What bothers me is that the consent decree route is supposed to be an incentive for a defendent to avoid the cost and time of a trial. It hardly makes sense for them to consent at this point, unless they know it's the only way to avoid a harsh judgement.

  • Microsoft must be making the assumption (very bold IMHO) that it can control/win the appeals process up through the Supreme Court. Which would further indicate that this has been signaled to them by the parties involved.

    Therefore, the purpose of this move would be to antagonize the current judge into doing something which would call her decision into question, as Judge Jackson's was after the trial.

    Very very confident if you ask me.

    sPh

    • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:58PM (#4012779)
      Microsoft has prevailed numerous times, and in numerous higher-venues, with very stakes, in the appeals court.

      People have this misconception that MS lost this trial with the Fed's. This is incorrect.

      MS won the trial. The DOJ/States wanted a breakup. That was the big stick they were trying to beat MS with. Jackson delivered this victory. However, the appeals court viciously, savagely, and without doubt struck down the premise of a breakup. The essentially laughed it out of court.

      This means effectively MS won, because the only penalty that could really hurt MS was taken off the table.

      There is no possible ruling that the judge could pass down that is (a) sustainable in court and (b) able to harm Microsoft.

      MS won this trial.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @11:54AM (#4012342)
    Please don't throw me into that briar patch, your honor!
  • They must have just made the conference call before I wrote this. Logged onto yahoo and saw "Microsoft to reveal Windows source code" and immediately cleaned up the half-chewed chicken melt pieces that fell out of my mouth and onto my lap. anyway, here's the link (sorry, I'm very rusty with HTML)

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid =5 80&e=3&cid=580&u=/nm/20020805/bs_nm/microsoft_code _dc_13

    It's still unclear as to what parts of windows will be "revealed" and under what terms or even to whom. IMHO it looks like play-the-good-guy-and-smile-real-big-for-the-camer a legal manuevering.
  • CNET LINK (Score:2, Informative)

    for those who don't want to register at NYT:
    here's a link at CNET [com.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think MSFT is doing this on purpose. Much like they force standards by pushing them into the market through the power of their channel (if everyone is using them, they're standards right?), I think they are complying with the weaker restrictions to A) make themselves look friendly, B) to make it look like the case is over, and C) to make the states that are clinging on to stronger sanctions look like bullies. My guess is that it'll work and the pressure for more restrictions will be dropped by the end of the year.
  • by Stephen VanDahm ( 88206 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:08PM (#4012428) Homepage
    I don't want to troll, but I for one have lost hope that anything good will come out of the Microsoft trial. Their stranglehold on the Desktop market is pretty invincible, in my view. The penalties proposed by the States are too little, too late.

    If they release a stripped-down version of Windows without a web browser, what good will it do? Microsoft already owns something like 95% of that market, and its only competitor, Mozilla, isn't so much better than IE that anyone will switch back. I suppose that they haven't won the "Media-Format War," for lack of a better term, so maybe a version of Windows without WMP might help. But I don't think it'll make that much difference.

    The real reason that the Microsoft monopoly is invincible is that there are no competitors. Linux on the desktop isn't working out too well. BeOS is out of business, and while there are Open-Source BeOS clones, they aren't ready yet. OS X is frickin' sweet but it doesn't run on i386 hardware. None of these options, even if viable, would allow users to run their old Windows programs.

    The best case situation is that Microsoft behaves a little better towards the folks they've already beaten. Nothing in the proposed penalties (that I've heard about, anyway) will keep Microsoft from crushing competition in the server/Enterprise area, or from implementing their Palladium project.

    In my view, an effective set of penalties that solves current and future problems would contain the following:
    • Full Disclosure of their APIs. There should be a mandatory waiting period between the release of a modified API and the release of MS software that implements that API (so that competitors have time to implement them too). Proprietary HTML extensions count as an API for this purpose.
    • Ensure that Palladium is a fully open system. It should be compatible with Linux and other Open Source projects both at the technical level and at the legal level. In other words, GPLed software should run on Palladium-enabled hardware without violating the GPL.
    • Ensure that .NET runs on UNIX. Even the graphical applications.
    • Anyone should be able to write software that understands Microsoft file formats.
    • Windows network protocols should be well documented in such a way that other companies can write software that interfaces with Windows clients (like SAMBA) and Windows servers (like Ximian Connector).
    These are the penalties that the states should be demanding. These are the penalties that will allow for the creation of competitive alternatives to Windows. Until this happens, we're fucked.
    • This is pretty much exactly what I was going to say. Unfortunatly those items are pretty much a wishlist and I don't think they will ever happen. All MS has to do is claim "security" and the DOJ will be forced to roll over for "national security concerns". You also forgot to mention open the MS Office file formats.

      IMHO this trial has been a waste and no real change will come from it. The only thing that will break MS's monopoly is when the compter Desktop dies. That is at least 10 years away, so lets hope some of the other handheld/phone/PDA/appliance makers get their shit together. Then again with $40 billion in their coffers, it will be tough to keep MS from competing in any new market.

      You know, originally I was against a physical breakup of MS, but now I think they should be broken up into 4 different companies. A desktop/app , a server,a handheld, and an internet company. Maybe that is the only way we can restore fair competition?
    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @02:32PM (#4013466)
      I wonder if we're really looking for Microsoft competitors, or just looking for Microsoft to act the benevolent part of being a benevolent dictator.

      While everyone wishes there was a viable desktop alternative to Microsoft, there isn't one and NO set of DOJ terms (except, maybe, open-sourcing of Windows) is going to bring forward a desktop alternative.

      I think most people would be happy if MS would just appreciate that they own the market for PC desktops and many corporate server installations and quit trying to own the *world*. If MS actually focused on producing quality, secure products, providing sane documentation (more sane than "see technet article xyz123 involving registry key additions and changes...") for products and APIs, and licensing terms that didn't feel like sodomy I think most people could live with it.

      The computer biz largely thrives on standards; you don't have to guess or reinvent the wheel every day, and I think the MS desktop standard is certainly not that much worse than any other monopoly desktop standard would be other than the bloodthirsty, all-your-base-are-belong-to-us marketing philosophy.
  • It just means that Microsoft will start making the url links to the Windows and MFC API documentation on MSDN [microsoft.com] BOLD. :)
  • by nkhorman ( 598532 )
    that with SP3 you can now remove Internet Exporer, Outlook Express, and Windows Media Player using the windows component wizard in add/remove programs... Has anyone tried removing Internet Explorer yet, and how does it affect the system?
  • Yahoo! is reporting [yahoo.com] M$ will reveal over 300 "pieces" of Windows source code as a part of the settlement.

    SHWEET!

    • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:37PM (#4012619)
      InitWindows() {
      long futzLevel = 0;

      if(RealMediaIsInstalled()) {
      futzLevel++;
      ReclaimMIME();
      }

      if(QuickTimeIsInstalled()) {
      futzLevel++;
      ReclaimMIME();
      }

      if(NetscapeIsInstalled()) {
      futzLevel++;
      AddMSIEIconToDesktop();
      }

      if(AOLIsInstalled()) {
      futzLevel++;
      AddMSNIconToDesktop();
      }

      if(JavaIsInstalled()) {
      futzLevel++;
      SetIEFailureLevel(GetRandom(7));
      }

      AddBriefcaseIconToDesktop();
      AddMediaFavoritesToIE();

      SetBSODInterval(futzLevel);
      SetRandomDiskAccess(futzLevel);
      ShuffleDLLs();
      SendInformationToMicrosoft();

      if(UserIsHotmailUser())
      AddToGlobalSpamList();
      }
    • Depends on what they're opening up. Does anyone has a list of protocols that will be opened, and under what license? As with typical big media coverage, there is not a single link to something with information.

      They say they're going to open up 113 protocols, somehow I don't see them opening up their crown jewels. SAMBA is already kicking their ass performance and pricewise, without an open protocol, can you imagine if the SAMBA guys got the specs to play with? Imagine every mailer out there being able to play with Exchange server, including all the groupware features. I don't see MS opening these protocols up.

      I think what we will see is things like MS_BOB_API.DLL and old COM garbage.

  • This Reuters Market News article [yahoo.com] says "Microsoft said it plans to disclose 385 bits of computer code and internal operating rules, previously kept secret, that outside software developers can use to write programs to run on Windows."

    I calculate this (385 bits) to be about 48.125 bytes. I'm not impressed. :^)
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:56PM (#4012771) Homepage
    Here's the list:
    • The OS/2 emulation subsystem.
    • The POSIX emulation subsystem.
    • The OpenGL emulation subsystem.
    • The 16-bit emulation subsystem and all 16-bit code.
    • The TCP/IP stack.
    • NetBIOS.
    • The screen savers.
    • MFC
    • The MSVC library.
  • In related news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @01:20PM (#4012931) Homepage
    A convicted child molester awaiting final sentencing has voluntarily stopped giving cherry flavor lollypops to children. He continues to insist that prison time and losing his job as school teacher are unacceptable.

    He further argues that it would be inappropriate for the sentence to place any restriction on his freedom to use candybars to lure children. While he admits he has used candybars in this manner, the district attorney got his conviction based on solely on cases where he used cherry lollypops. Candybar evidence was never presented in court due to budgetary constraints the complexity of the numerous brands and flavors of candybars involved.

    -
  • Now if they could only get Word to Reveal Codes I might not actually hate it.

    WordPerfect 5.2 forever!

  • I know the courts pretty much follow the Id Software philosophy of "When it's done" ... but is there any rough timeline of when a decision is expected in the trial being decided by Judge Kollar-Kotelly?
  • In the ZDNet Article, they said "Microsoft said it plans to disclose 385 bits of computer code and internal operating rules, previously kept secret, that outside software developers can use to write programs to run on Windows."

    This is exactly what they will be releasing (from an inside source)
    the secret code to Microsoft Windows XP is......
    MS actually lied...they only released 384 bits (48 Bytes). The last bit is just null
  • Undocumented APIs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Florian Weimer ( 88405 ) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Monday August 05, 2002 @01:30PM (#4013024) Homepage
    Didn't the FTC examine those APIs in the early 90s, and didn't Microsoft claim that there wasn't any reason for them to use undocumented APIs in their applications, or something like that? Internal APIs are hard to avoid, and you can get into deep trouble if someone relies on them (because you cannot change them after that). If Microsoft was using these APIs for applications (and not system components), then they knew that they made two fundamental errors: they violated the previous FTC agreement, and good software engineering practices.

    Both errors are hardly surprising, though.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday August 05, 2002 @03:00PM (#4013662) Homepage Journal
    What I'd really like to see opened up is either the MAPI extensions used for calendaring/scheduling, or the Exchange wire protocol used to do the same. If either were opened up, we'd be able to extend groupware servers like Citadel [citadel.org] to handle Outlook calendaring/scheduling with the same capabilities as an Exchange server.

    Let's go, Bill: put your money where your mouth is. Is your software good enough to stand on its own merits instead of being propped up by platform lock-in?

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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