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Microsoft

Halloween VII 519

mjh writes "ESR has reviewed the latest Microsoft leaked Linux strategy document. A very interesting read. Summary: OSS is winning some battles, but Microsoft is poised to bring out bigger and nastier guns." To the extent that people read it and gain some insight into what Microsoft is actually thinking about Linux and Open Source Software, it's useful. To the extent that anyone draws a conclusion from this document like "we've got Microsoft on the run", that's just idiotic.
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Halloween VII

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  • by terraformer ( 617565 ) <tpb@pervici.com> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:34PM (#4609109) Journal
    Maybe she will understand how badly she screwed up!
    • she didn't screw up, she knew exactly what she was doing.
    • Unlikely! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lysol ( 11150 )
      First off, she was placed - no nevermind. No point in debating the fact that she was not qualified to sit on this case.

      Anyway, even if she did care, nothing can be done about it now. It's over. The US has shown its' love for the almighty dollar once more. As asshcroft said - it was a victory for the American consumer.

      All one can hope for is that m$ will fall by its' own hand. With substantial world unhappiness this can happen soon. I mean, really, how can poorer countries be expected to shell out >=$75 ever other year for stupid upgrades and fixes? Economically, their business is not sustainable.

      Unfortunately, we're gonna have to wait for that to happen - which is the worst! Ugh, waiting...
  • Looking for proof. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tshak ( 173364 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:35PM (#4609115) Homepage
    Although this seems legit at-a-glance, I can't find any proof that this is truely an internal MS document. Time for me to start querying the insiders :-).
    • Speaking from a completely outside-the-loop observer, I'd conclude that it looks legit... if only because it is *so* dense with M$-speak. If it's a fake, it's an elaborately constructed fake... but then, it wouldn't be on /. if it weren't. Catch-22.

      What I found interesting was near the bottom:

      Copyright 2002 by the Open Source Initiative

      Wouldn't this technically be a derivative work, based on a prior Microsoft work? I know I could copyright a work derived from a public domain work (like an annotated version of "O Danny Boy"), but does the M$ doc count as a public domain work?

      I'm sure there's something in the EULA against that...
      • by br0ck ( 237309 )
        Perhaps it's only marginally a derivative work since he's attempting to use the copyright statement to show that the work is his own as commentary and satire. From the FAQ [opensource.org]:
        Would you please make un-annotated versions available?


        No. As it is, my defense against a copyright-violation suit by Microsoft would have to make rather creative use of the exemptions in copyright case law relating to journalism, satire and commentary. I fear that making un-annotated copies available would place me at significant legal risk.
    • There's really no proof that the first set of Halloween Documents [opensource.org] were truely an internal MS document either.

      It's unlikely that we will ever see proof. The documents always come from 'a confidential source'.

      If the confidential source is exposed, some poor MS employees will be fired, sued, and probably dumped into Puget Sound with a lead weight around their ankles.
      • by KoolDude ( 614134 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:24PM (#4609621)

        Here is a Web Archive link [archive.org] to the MS document that *somewhat* validates the first set of Halloween documents, obtained from the Haloween FAQ [opensource.org].
      • Uh, no. (Score:5, Informative)

        by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @02:24PM (#4610321)
        Ed Muth admitted that "No. These documents do not represent an official Microsoft position or road map. They are technical analyses written by a staff engineer that represent the thoughts of one individual at one point in time. They were intended to encourage an informed internal discussion of issues by marketing and engineering middle managers." Of course they tried to make it sound as though it didn't really mean anything.

        They have since pulled the press release from their site but Microsoft did admit it was authentic document. I've read it myself from the horse's mouth on Microsoft's site.

        Here is the Wayback Machine's archive:

        http://web.archive.org/web/19990117031504/http:/ /w ww.microsoft.com/ntserver/highlights/editorletter. asp

        Is this proof enough?
  • by aiken_d ( 127097 ) <brooks@tangen3.14try.com minus pi> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:35PM (#4609125) Homepage
    Halloween VII, posted by Michael, eh? Where's the theme music?

    Cheers
    -b
  • by levik ( 52444 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:36PM (#4609131) Homepage
    I really think this is what MS staffers do for fun at the Halloween party! They probably draw straws, and the one to draw the shortest one has to write up the "leaked strategy memo on Linux" for the year!

    Has there really been 7 of these things already?

    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:10PM (#4609477) Homepage Journal
      Well, MS admitted that one was real, but I agree that this may simply be something they do to pull the wool over Eric & Company. Strategy documents at HP were appreciably longer than two pages. Also, I got to see some MS strategy (under NDA to HP so you won't hear about it as much as I'd like to tell) and it didn't look like this.

      Bruce

      • To clarify: MS admitted that one of the memos was real, long ago. They haven't said anything about this one.

        Bruce

      • by gol64738 ( 225528 ) <QUOTE minus punct> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:46PM (#4609888)
        i don't know about that, Bruce. i follow MS PR closely, and this document seems to fall exactly in the right place.
        except for the twisted logic, everything in the document appears true (what marketing tactics fail, etc).

        winning the TCO argument is not just something mentioned in this document, it's what MS is really trying to do right now.
        the TCO argument is a win/win for MS if they can pull it off.
  • by MagicFab ( 7234 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:37PM (#4609139) Homepage
    ... but mostly incorporating ideas and concepts into their OS. Maybe sometimes OS projects should also pay attention to succesful companies (from marketing, not technical point of view).

    Remember a lie repeated 1000 times can become truth ;)
  • Reportedly (Score:5, Funny)

    by CySurflex ( 564206 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:38PM (#4609152)
    Reportedly The Leaked Stragey Document only runs on an ATI RADEON 9700, and is pretty slugish even on the most high-end 3Mhz PC's. Oh wait - that's the leaked Doom 3 Alpha, never mind.
    • Re:Reportedly (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You should've left the last sentence off("Oh wait..."). We all know what you're talking about, and with that little bit of ambiguity, it would've been a lot more funny.
    • ...And Doom 1 won't run on my 286!!!
  • Even though it may look legit at first glance. WHen you read it again, it seems apparant that almost someone who put time and effort into writing this article, could easily have made up the percentages, figures and results.
  • by Adam Rightmann ( 609216 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:38PM (#4609157)
    Don't criticize Open Source software, it can backfire.

    The Germans, French and Japanese are tending towards Open Source Software.

    We can share some of our source code and make inroads on Open Source software.

    All in all, a rather vapid document, but at least ESR restrained himself on the asides. Funny how losing 99% of your paper wealth can make one more humble.

  • by Chris_Stankowitz ( 612232 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:38PM (#4609162)
    Whats the chances of this "Leak" being intentional? M$ isn't to be underestimated, especially not with pockets as deep as theirs.
  • by NWT ( 540003 ) <tom.syntax@lu> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:39PM (#4609165) Homepage
    Due to the sensitive nature of this information, please forward with discretion only to those people who can clearly gain value from it...

    Ah, gain value? They mean *head-shaking* or *laughing* geeks? Oh, well ...
  • On the Run (Score:3, Funny)

    by nightsweat ( 604367 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:41PM (#4609179)
    We've got Microsoft on the... oh, sorry, never mind.
  • by deanc ( 2214 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:42PM (#4609187) Homepage
    The essence of the document was that MS's attacks on the viral nature of the GPL weren't working and that they'd do better to extol the virtues of their own product.

    Notice that, for the most part, the exact opposite strategy works for Linux advocates.

    This is because Microsoft, as the dominant player, has to justify it's own existence again and again, whereas Linux as the (initial) underdg, had nothing to lose by tearing down its rival. After all, as a multi-billion $$$ company, everyone knows that Microsoft can financially dominate the PR world to badmouth its competitors.

    Does this spell the end of "Linux is Bad/The GPL is unAmerican" propaganda from Microsoft? That coul dbe a disaster, because then we wouldn't have anything to flame about on slashdot anymore! :)
    • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:52PM (#4609313) Homepage
      I dissagree. I think negative attacks don't work well on either side, and that each competitor needs to focus on making their products the best, instead of cutting the other product down.
      • I dislike negative attacks as much as the next guy and I hope we see less of them and more positive Linux-building comments, but I do believe there is a case to be made that they work better for Open Source advocates.

        Almost anyone who has ever used MS products has had at least one nightmarish experience with their products. Many newbies assume these experiences are their fault (especially when they were told such by a lying error message deliberately written to blame it on them). Many people just blame computers when this happens to them. Others carry it as a secret guilt.

        When such a person hears an anti-MS rant, it can be a revelation giving them the "right" to question their own assumptions about Microsoft. (Remember: They have been told this is a great company which makes good products.)

        If you include a positive Linux message at the end of your rant, you may even make an OSS sale.
  • Are you kidding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selectspec ( 74651 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:43PM (#4609194)
    While this might be a document produced by one of the thousands of MS minions, by no means is this the MS linux strategy document. Anyone who thinks so is incredible foolish.

    The MS linux strategy document is probably 1000 pages and is divided into three huge camps:

    1. enterprize server market (.net)
    2. deparment server market (win2k server)
    3. desktop OS

    They are probably closlely looking into the latest desktop linux distros from red hat and ximian and shitting their pants.

    They are still trying to figure out how to roll out .net.

    They are maintaining share in the department server market, but are aware that the eventual TOC issue is going to hand them their lunch soon.

    A company with 40 billion in cash and a 20 billion/year business doesn't write 2 page strategy documents.
    • They are probably closlely looking into the latest desktop linux distros from red hat and ximian and shitting their pants.

      I can't speak for Ximian, but I was rather underimpressed with Red Hat 8--and I've never really even tried Linux before. (For the curious, I've got Mandrake 9 on my Linux partition now, although I don't use it very often.)

      Sure, MS has real competition for the Intel-based PC now--but that's a good thing for them, not a bad thing. Competition means that they've got a challenge, which drives innovation, and good enough competition means that they're not a monopoly, which means that they can do more things than before.

      They are maintaining share in the department server market, but are aware that the eventual TOC issue is going to hand them their lunch soon.

      Really? Gee, and here I was thinking that the "easy to use" aspect of Windows, and thus less of a need to hire on Linux experts, put them about even...

      or that a company with $40 billion in cash can figure out a way to justify their own existance.

      A company with 40 billion in cash and a 20 billion/year business doesn't write 2 page strategy documents.

      Of course they do. The best strategies are simple and flexible, while having enough for the decision makers to "all be on the same page."

      Now, their entire "business plan" probably is a bit more than two pages, but the "summary document" could very well fit on about two pages.
      • "but I was rather underimpressed with Red Hat 8--and I've never really even tried Linux before"

        The second part explains the first part.

        If you had been using linux for any length of time you would recognize Redhat 8 as the breakthrough distro that it is. Sure we've had distros like Corel who showed that you could make the linux desktop workable. But now with Redhat 8 you have the leading distro putting out a release that's usuable right NOW by any small business who just needs access to the basics like web, email, and an office suite. Its also their first real attempt at making a linux desktop.

        So while its still not eveyones cup of tea, especially home users, you need some perspecive on why the rest of the IT commuity and well rounded linux users see what's right about it.

      • I get so tired of the Microsoft VS. Linux arguement. I really don't know what the big deal is. I run Windows 2000 at home. I've yet to have systems crash yet with it. I'm almost to 4 months uptime. It runs all the software I want without lame ports, emulation, or cheesy rip-offs. It found all my hardware when I booted up and uses it to its full potential. With the exception of graphics drivers, I can update peripheral without having to reboot. I can switch network settings as will without having to reboot.

        My experiences with Linux, however, have been hellish nightmares:

        Debian: Nice system, install ridiculously and overly difficult.
        SuSE: First boot up I had 4 arrow icons for my mouse flying everywhere. SuSE guys next to me that had sworn by it shrugged and went back to Tux Racer.
        Redhat: Can't push X past 800x600, resulting in icons the size of quarters. Keep in mind I have a geforce3.

        Now, the majority of you will go you "you could've fixed this and that by editing this and changing that and rewriting these 30 lines of code yatta yatta yatta" but who gives a fuck. It's a computer. It's supposed to make my life A: Easier or B: More Fun.

        Until the day when Linux supports any and every piece of hardware the day it's released, the installations can be done my grandma, and all software hits store shelves in both Windows and Linux version on the same day, Linux will never be a contender for the desktop market.

        Reply to this, don't mod it down because you don't agree. If you really think you're right, you'll be able to prove it.
        • Now, the majority of you will go you "you could've fixed this and that by editing this and changing that and rewriting these 30 lines of code yatta yatta yatta" but who gives a fuck. It's a computer. It's supposed to make my life A: Easier or B: More Fun.

          Nah, I'm not going to say that. I don't really know what I'd say, all that stuff you mentioned (except for debian) has always worked fine for me and my friends. I had to go download the official nVidia drivers to get good performance, but you have to do the same on Windows (except from CD instead of the net). I'd guess sometimes Win2K installs go awry too - or do you really think Windows is perfection itself?

          Until the day when Linux supports any and every piece of hardware the day it's released, the installations can be done my grandma, and all software hits store shelves in both Windows and Linux version on the same day, Linux will never be a contender for the desktop market.

          Wrong. Linux already is a contender for the desktop market. Most people don't buy hardware on the day it's released, and for most apps there are either Linux equivalents, the maker is considering porting it or it's close to working under Wine. Note: I said *most*, not all. Most apps is good enough for most people.

          Anyway, the next battle isn't for people like you, it's for the business desktop, where stuff like the cumulative cost and TCO of Windows (2k or XP) is a big issue. Maybe in a few years we'll have all those issues nailed, and then you'll find that Linux makes your computer easier and more fun too.

        • Re:Are you kidding? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by metacosm ( 45796 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:40PM (#4609821)
          This is a troll -- but I will bite.

          First of all, what is the total cost of the software you run?

          If you built your own PC out of parts, you have to purchase your operating system, office, development tools, etc. Lets do a ballpark on just those 3 things (from Microsoft.com). Microsoft Windows 2000 Pro (319), Microsoft Office XP Pro (579), Microsoft .Net Pro Studio (1079). Now assuming you don't do anything else, you just spent 2 grand on software.

          You could probably easily spend another 5 grand on other useful tools (depending on your trade) such as Oracle, ESRI, and much much more...

          Do you steal software? That is illegal, and to some people that is unacceptable, so they use linux, rather than simply stealing what they want.

          The interesting thing is that "Warez" is probably helping Microsoft by adding to network effect. If everyone had to purchase all the software they used their would be a much faster migration to linux (I believe).

          Despite your personal beliefs, I think that linux is becoming a contender on the business desktop. For an array of reasons. The most important of these reasons is cost. Google(run on linux) for information about successful linux deployments, lots of big companies are starting todo it.
        • Re:Are you kidding? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pavera ( 320634 )
          All I know is that the last time I tried to set up a wireless nic in windows XP it took 5 hours, 7 different drivers, and 2 reinstalls of service pack 1, and that was with a 2 year old wireless NIC, same nic under linux (since redhat 7.1) comes up during the install, thats the only hardware problem I've had with either system, on 6 different machines... but it was windows that didn't properly support the hardware.. not linux.

          As far as desktop apps, the only thing I'm waiting for is good financial software, and then I can totally ditch windows... and so can all of my clients, and all of my family members...

          Open Office is very much good enough for at least 90% of computer users... web browsing with mozilla is better, email/calendaring is getting close (if evolution had a server product like exchange, to share calendars it would be much better) but its still passable right now as a small/medium sized business solution and certainly for home use its great.

          If Intuit ported Quicken/Quickbooks tomorrow, 4 law offices, and 2 accouting offices that I do IT work for would all be moved to linux by the end of the year. So its really getting close, and its not nearly as far off as you make it sound.

          TCO is much lower for linux, 2 of these offices have linux file/email/web servers running on old p200's with 64mb of ram... the other 4 have windows 2000 servers which require much better hardware, and are constantly breaking. I haven't even looked at the two linux boxes for 4 months (well, ok I've ssh'd to them and typed "up2date -u " to get the latest packages...but that takes less than 30 seconds, and is included in my monthly retainer fee), but I've seen each of the win2k servers in the last week... so you figure who's paying me more money... yeah the windows users...

          point is, its getting close, closer than I think most people realize...
      • I can't speak for Ximian, but I was rather underimpressed with Red Hat 8--and I've never really even tried Linux before.

        This is really incredulous to me.. I remember showing Redhat Linux to some friends, who had never known anything but windows and macintosh systems.

        They were blown away. They were totally incredulous that such a distribution of OS, development tools, and large array of real applications was 100% Free and largely developed and maintained by worldwide communities of independent programmers.

        If you are not completely astounded by this fact, then you have some serious entitlement issues to work out.

        The fact that linux is better at some things than the MS operating systems and worse at others is insignificant in comparison.
    • They are still trying to figure out how to roll out .net

      You must mean ".NET My Services" because .NET as a technology has been rolled out and has been receiving wide acceptance.
      • You must mean ".NET My Services" because .NET as a technology has been rolled out and has been receiving wide acceptance.

        I'm guessing he was talking about marketing to the IT Pros/PHBs, many of whom are still scratching their heads about what to do about it and wondering where the install disk is that will make their software run on Web Services. Others don't want to use .Net because they'll have to use Passport. The rest are now saying "Whatever happened to .Net?" (I was actually asked this by a fairly tech-savvy MBA recently). Yes, I know all these are untrue, but most non-techies don't understand this real purpose of .Net or what it is supposed to be (a product? a new version of Windows? something to do with the Web?)

        The truth is, they should have pitched it as a new API replacing Win32. Not as sexy, but much closer to the truth.
    • A company with 40 billion in cash and a 20 billion/year business doesn't write 2 page strategy documents.

      Do you want to bet? It wouldn't surprise me if they have a LOT of people working on knowing everything there is to know about Linux, it's only smart considering that it's the only real competition.

      This document is nothing special, in fact it's so boring I'd be surprised if it was faked. Maybe it was leaked intentionaly, maybe not. I dunno. What I do know is that it's quite likely they do multi-national surveys on Linux awareness/favourability quite regularly. In fact, one thing that puzzles me is that the tone of the document is one of "we haven't done this before", and this line:

      "The study fielded between late-July and September 2001"

      makes me think huh?? Who the hell waits a year before presenting a 2 page document like this? It can't possibly have taken a year to analyse a survey like that.

      Anyway, don't have any doubt that they know all about Linux. They have some people monitoring the wine-devel lists as it is, and apparently a large number of their senior tech guys are well briefed about it. I know one of the Passport heads is familiar with WineX :) I expect they have people who's job actually involves reading slashdot. Funny in a way, but why wouldn't they? Easiest place to get news on open source happenings.

      /me waves - hi there Microsoft person! Hope you're having fun :)

  • by SailorBob ( 146385 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:44PM (#4609218) Homepage Journal
    In the memo it's stated that:

    While respondents cited OSS's 'low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)' as one of the best reasons to support OSS, an 'alternative to Microsoft' did not lag far behind. A plurality (40%) of all respondents felt that a low TCO was the best reason to support OSS. One-third of all respondents cited 'an alternative to Microsoft' as one of the best reasons to support OSS.

    I think that yearning among home and business users for, quite simply, "an alternative to Microsoft," is one of the strongest cards we have to play. Unfortunately, Linux is only really an alternative in the server markte at the moment. In the desktop market it's still not quite there. And that's where we need to put our efforts.

    • You're right. The alleged document seems to indicate that it's a dead heat between "low TCO" and "ABM".

      Internally, theres an acronym called "ABM", meaning "Anything But Microsoft". ABM is the attitude most slashdotters seem to have, and it is a very real problem that MS faces when talking to some customers.

      This is interesting because Low TCO is an objective, measurable, business related reason. ABM however is a bit more of an emotional reaction that may or may not make any business sense, and may or may not be the result of due dilligence work.

      So of the people surveyed that liked OSS, objectivity and irrationality were about neck and neck. I find that interesting, and honestly, not surprising.

      Incidentally, ESR got the letter and the meaning of acronym "BDM" wrong. It's unfortuneate that so many people pay him any creedence, because he's a bit of an over-the-top blowhard.
  • by ocie ( 6659 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:45PM (#4609231) Homepage
    scary piano music in the background...

    Deep voice: Just whn you thought it was safe to turn off your computer..

    Someone in a Bill Gates mask jumps out from behind the desk and starts chasing the user while brandishing a giant paperclip.

    Paperclip: You look like you're being hunted by a madman in a Bill Gates mask. Do you need any help?


  • Messaging that discusses possible Linux patent violations, pings the OSS development process for lacking accountability, attempts to call out the 'viral' aspect of the GPL, and the like are only marginally effective in driving unfavorable opinions around OSS, Linux, and the GPL, and in some cases backfire. On the other hand 'positive' OSS, Linux, and GPL messages are very effective - both across geographies and audiences.


    Viral... hehe..
    What a great idea. Anyone want to start a project on SourceForge for an OpenSource Outlook virus?
  • by Helen O'Boyle ( 324127 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:45PM (#4609239) Journal
    The statistics cited are from a study in July-September, 2001. Wonder how much more favorable toward open source the world has gotten since then....
  • Free Windows (Score:2, Insightful)

    Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages that contain transparent, audience specific proof points.

    I suspect that this is more evidence the MS will eventually give away Windows-x for free,

    -- OR --

    release a free (dummed down) version and a Professional/Server version (not free).

  • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:46PM (#4609246) Homepage
    Well, it was all pretty sane up to that point; it's nice to know our opponents are still smoking crack -ESR

    I'm sorry, but if I was an IT manager of a corporation and if I was reading this commentary I would assume no credibility to ESR after this comment. Grow Up.
    • by cduffy ( 652 ) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:22PM (#4609608)
      "Smoking crack" isn't a random insult along the lines of "your momma", but rather an element of established jargon (indeed, I'm more than a bit suprised that it's not in the Jargon File). It may be a bit more of an in-crowd-targeted piece of commentary than need be, but by no means is it childish. "Grow up" thus probably isn't the appropriate response -- at least not targeted at ESR.

      Perhaps I've been lucky thus far, but most of the upper-management types I've known thus far either were once hackerly types themselves (particularly in the case of tech companies) or rely heavily on their (current or former) hackerly types to provide advice on related issues. Hence, I see this not as so serious an issue as you paint it to be.
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:47PM (#4609256)
    From the memo:

    Messages that criticize OSS, Linux, & the GPL are NOT effective. Messaging that discusses possible Linux patent violations, pings the OSS development process for lacking accountability, attempts to call out the 'viral' aspect of the GPL, and the like are only marginally effective in driving unfavorable opinions around OSS, Linux, and the GPL, and in some cases backfire. On the other hand 'positive' OSS, Linux, and GPL messages are very effective - both across geographies and audiences.

    (reviewer's comment):
    {I've suspected for a while that the anti-Linux, anti-GPL FUD campaign was actually rebounding on Microsoft. This seems to confirm it.}

    I think this speaks also to the fact that WE should not be anti-Microsoft, but be pro-OSS. Being positive does a lot more than being negative. I find that this is a challenge for me personally, but I am working on it.

    • I think this speaks also to the fact that WE should not be anti-Microsoft, but be pro-OSS. Being positive does a lot more than being negative.

      Might as well shut down Slashdot, in that case...

    • "I think this speaks also to the fact that WE should not be anti-Microsoft, but be pro-OSS."

      That does well for people who are actually Pro-OSS, but what about people who are just Anti-Microsoft and Nuetral on OSS?
      Counter-statement: "Most people on /. are Pro-OSS, though"
      Counter-Counter-statement: Well then they're already pro-OSS, no need for your post.
    • "I think this speaks also to the fact that WE should not be anti-Microsoft, but be pro-OSS."

      I've been saying that all along, only in a different context. Slashdot's behaviour of reporting flamebait MS stories isn't doing much good for the community's credibility. It feels like a "it's cool to hate Microsoft!" club.

      Frankly, any story about MS these days causes lots of people to roll their eyes. Then, it's balanced with a "Hey look, another guy got Linux up and running!" story. It paints the picture that MS = Bad because Linux = good. Unfortunately, that won't do a whole lot to convince MS users to switch to Linux. It's a religious debate. Inject some professionalism and objectivity into Slashdot, and people will make their decisions more intelligently.

      Let me put it another way: MS's updates to the SP3 EULA are an annoyance. They are not a reason to switch to Linux. However, Linux being free and not caring about how many copies I have is a reason to switch to Linux when I get my next computer. The difference is subtle, but it's there.

      Choose your battles. Fight everything and you'll gain nothing.
  • by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:47PM (#4609258) Homepage
    Among those aware, favorability was highest among the Germans, French, and Brazilians

    What? No Finns? How terribly unpatriotic of them!

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:49PM (#4609274) Homepage
    This is more the result of a survey than a strategy document. This reads like something a low-level manager tasked to subcontract out a survey would write. Unlike the original Halloween memo, which was a higher-level document, this is just an internal report.

    The high rate of acceptance of Linux in Japan is significant. Be thinking about the implications of that.

    What happens if you submit a good kernel patch in Japanese?


  • Has anyone posted a version without ESR's self-serving commentary? I'd like to read the whole thing and draw my own conclusions.

  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:54PM (#4609332) Journal
    According to the article, here are some interesting statistics:

    64% say they like Linux because it's "Not Microsoft" -- some obvious discontent!

    30% of French, 27% of German, and 23% of Brazilian respondents believe that a Linux solution offers a lower TCO than proprietary software -- obviously, they know about administration costs.

    Linux favorability among the Linux familiar was 95% -- looks like it has some diehard fans :)

    93% of Swedes, 84% of the French, and 75% of Germans and said that messages that rely on an abstract discussion of intellectual property rights are effective -- obviously the product of socialism, but it nevertheless shows that open source philosophy may have a chance.
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:54PM (#4609340)
    I was surprised the reviewer didn't comment on this section:

    Closing, those who are familiar with OSS and Linux are favorably predisposed towards them. Linking this work with other on-point research, we can assume that in the majority of cases this reported 'favorability' is more emotional than it is rational. Given this context, we should not expect rational arguments focused on undermining support for OSS, Linux and the GPL to perform well. In the short term, then, Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages that contain transparent, audience specific proof points.

    Excuse me? Because people in Microsoft's survey were supportive of OSS, that means that they were predisposed to like it, and therefore is based on emotion and not rationality?! This doesn't make any sense. What is this trying to say, that people who like OSS are simply using it to make a statement, and not becaue they legitimately prefer it? That is a pretty arrogant assessment of the FACTS if you ask me. I use OSS because I find it to be a better product, for several different practical reasons. And since when is it a rule that you can't be rational AND emotional about something?

  • by warmcat ( 3545 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:55PM (#4609348)
    ESR says in his preface:

    Developer: A non-manager. In this survey, a disjoint category from "IT Pro'. Therefore, it probably means anybody with a technical clue.

    In fact by 'Developer' Microsoft means: 'person who writes software'. Its really interesting (in a good way) that ESR makes no mental distinction between a user and someone who can contribute, whereas for MS they are totally different categories.

    • thus ESR is wrong. it is indeed interesting how ESR is totally out of touch from the real world.
    • Its really interesting (in a good way) that ESR makes no mental distinction between a user and someone who can contribute, whereas for MS they are totally different categories.

      ESR is confusing the issue and I agree with you, probably mistaken. "Anbody with a technical clue" could have a many many levels. Half of the pimply-faced college students that comment on slashdot have a technical clue (ie. maybe use free software in some capacity), but that doesn't mean they hack OSS or even care about code at all.

      Microsoft is obviously looking at the 'people who write software's opinion, as they are the ones directly affected by SharedSource. The other people with a clue are only indirectly affected by work done by the code writers.
  • by httpamphibio.us ( 579491 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:59PM (#4609377)
    Watch any documentary about the infancy of the computer world and you'll hear the phrase "killer app" about a billion times. The real goal should be to get to the point where the line between it and Windows is transparent. The fact that Linux is free and more stable obviously isn't a selling point for most computer users, but get to the point where the desktops are just as intuitive, where all the apps people want to use are available in their Linux form and can interact with Windows apps: the basics: Office, AIM, Solitare :), and more importantly the more advanced stuff like Adobe's software, Macromedia, High end audio and sequencing software like eMagic Logic, and Cycling 74's Max/MSP...

    Most people that buy a Windows computer with Windows preinstalled aren't going to switch, or at least most will be absolutely intimidated by the idea, so you have to get them when they purchase the computer. Get Linux boxes into stores and available through the channels people buy through online, if somebody is looking at two identical computers that have the same stats, can run the "same" programs, and one of them costs $300 less because it doesn't have to bother with MS, then you have a winner.

    The real issue isn't what MS does to combat open source, the only people who understand the arguments about OSS are people already involved. The average computer user just wants something to run Office and get on the web...
    • by schlach ( 228441 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:37PM (#4609790) Journal
      The real goal should be to get to the point where the line between it and Windows is transparent.

      You know, I can't figure this out at all. Here we have the Linux community who, in large part, is not being compensated for their contributions. Therefore they are free to make whatever sort of contribution they want. And you know what sort of alternative to Microsoft platform they come up with? Something that attempts to look and feel identical to its Microsoft counterpart!

      Why? Why, why, why? We have the freedom to explore completely different paradigms in computing and user-interaction, and we insist on just writing open-source applications that clone their MS-equivalents. So the best that anyone can do, on any platform of their choice, is the Microsoft vision.

      "But we have to clone MS so that we can get Mom and Dad, and Pointy-Haired Boss, to switch to Linux!"

      -- Why?

      "Well, duh, so that we can kill Microsoft!"

      -- Why?

      "Because Microsoft is Evil, like the Nazis!"

      -- You lose.

      Why are we competing with MS on MS's own ground? When did Linux shift from being an alternative to being a clone? When did we stop being a bunch of people that wanted an OS that did what we wanted it to, and start being a bunch of people whose only driving goal is to kick MS off the desktop? What do we have to gain from that? I understand that RedHat has a financial interest in making software that looks and feels like Redmond's - they want enterprises to switch, so that they can sell systems, and enterprises will switch if it's not hard. Simple. But why does everyone else, that doesn't have a financial incentive, jump on that wagon? Why do people invest their limited time and energy, not to writing better software, but writing same software? Why do people in the Slashdot community constantly talk about how much better the world will be when there's no difference between Linux and Windows?

      The best software on *nix does it differently. Look at Apache. Anyone who wants it can figure out how to edit an httpd.conf file. It's not terribly hard. Why would anyone want to give it an IIS-like interface?

      I like linux because all the security tools are written for it, they're free, and I have the source to them. It's a hacker's playground. These tools don't have GUIs, let alone ones that look like they came from MS. Doesn't bother me. I'm going to use Linux so that I can use these tools, and when I write tools, I'm going to build them from the ones that are already successful at what they do.

      As an aside, anyone notice how much better the command-line paradigm deals with chaining/piping programs together? When something terminates at the GUI, it's really hard to make use of it without rewriting it. Maybe if everyone on Windows started using COM and .NET whenever they wrote anything, it wouldn't be as difficult to make a program collaborate. But a lot of people don't bother, often because it doesn't occur to them that someone would want to chain their program together; or because they don't want other people using their program in a non-approved way. Do we want to clone that paradigm? That apps should be feature-laden, bloated, and only useful in one specific way? As opposed to the typical Unix "do one thing really well (and make it a link in a chain)" paradigm? I dunno...

      Those are my questions. If you have answers, I'm all ears.

  • After reading this, I'm surprised that I haven't seen more about the lawsuit risks from the NDAs and IPR restrictions involved in gaining access to 'shared source' if Microsoft interprets your actions as a competitive threat. Has anyone done a more in depth analysis of this?
  • by mark_space2001 ( 570644 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:03PM (#4609414)
    > In fact, their [Microsoft's] figures indicate that we [OSS] are winning. It looks like all we have to do is stay the course.

    This is wrong. The leaked document does show that OSS is winning. The same document also shows that Microsoft knows that OSS is winning, and now Microsoft will changes it's strategy, possibly to something far more effective than it has used before.

    The author of the article, who I quoted above, is wrong. Now is not the time for OSS to rest on it's laurels. Now that MS has realized it's blunders, you can bet they will be doing something about it. MS ain't stoopid, and they've got lots of money to power any initive they can dream up.

    OSS projects should redouble their efforts. The community needs stable, useful technology now more than ever to battle MS with.

    • "stay the course" means "keep doing the good work that you are already doing". It does not mean "rest on it's laurels" or "sit on your duff doing nothing" or even "make some radical change in how we are dealing with MS".

      That good work already includes respond to verbal, legal and whatever other action comes along, be adaptable, and continue to make good software. If you want to encourage supporters to do MORE OF THE SAME GOOD WORK, then "Stay the course"!

      [This is about the interpretation of "Stay the course", not the rest. Encouraging more work and action is always good.]


  • First, they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.
    --Ghandi
    This quote has been mentioned many times in the context of M$ strategy, but this document indicates to me THEY think things are in the middle of stage 3. was a policy document, not some shiny PR.
  • Hmm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:05PM (#4609428) Journal
    "To the extent that people read it and gain some insight into what Microsoft is actually thinking about Linux and Open Source Software, it's useful. To the extent that anyone draws a conclusion from this document like "we've got Microsoft on the run", that's just idiotic."

    Thanks for clearing that up for us. I suppose we can now just do away with the comments section of /.; doesn't seem to be needed anymore.

    (From m-w.com)
    Editor: 1 : someone who edits especially as an occupation

    Edit: 1 a : to prepare (as literary material) for publication or public presentation

    I suppose it just bothers me when those we expect to be acting at least semi-impartially while in a professional capacity (an editor for instance) decide to arbitrarily prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of opinion. Editors often add extra information or links (when publishing online) before publishing in addition to the usual typo/spelling-corrections and such, but I suppose I'm just not too thrilled seeing opinions cut down as "idiotic" within the posting of news. To the best of my knowledge, editors are allowed to post in the comments section, and I certainly wouldn't complain about seeing the above statement there, where I believe it belongs.

    Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:07PM (#4609443) Homepage Journal
    I run all my webservers on linux/php/mysql, but occassionally I get an itch to be different on my desktop, last time it was when XP released SP1 and I was so frustrated at M$ trying to keep me from pirating their software I thought i'd try and say "Fuck em!"

    So I downloaded the new redhat Iso's when they came out, burned them, and wiped my system for redhat. To summarize that last month, let me just say I think having my balls cinched in a vice may be more pleasurable than trying to be productive with linux as a desktop.

    Now my system is not some weak POS. It's a p4 with ultra 160, so it's very nice. The first thing I had to do was install the drivers for my nvidia card, oops that don't work, docs don't say anything, read the nvnews forums, oh ok gotta

    rpmbuild --rebuild NVIDIA*.src.rpm

    Ok it works.

    Then it was onto my CDBurner. Again, not crappy hardware, brand spankin new Plextor dvd/cdr. ide-scsi emulator? WTF is that? Ok, I read some more, I know what it is, ok great, it's working.

    Repeat process for my bt878 card and firewire.

    So at this point, I pretty much had my hardware working as best it could under linux. I started setting out to get some applications going under linux. I needed some audio editing, video editing I started poking around and found some stuff that looks sweet.

    tar xfzv reallysweetproggy.tar.gz ./configure
    **Exit error 2**
    you need to install some library.so

    So i'd dig around, find the library, then find out that library wanted this library and ect and so on. Some of the stuff i'd click on the page to download it and the page would be gone, making the software I wanted to try useless.

    I thought it would be cool to burn some homemmade karaoke VCD's. Previously I had used a screencapture to avi program in windows coupled with powerpoint, or a karaoke plugin with winamp and AVS.

    Well, open offices impress sucked dog balls compared to powerpoint, and when it came time to burn a VCD again, the howto was linked to dependancies that returned a 404 instead of what I needed.

    So with the help of a friend I gave up on linux on the desktop. Yeah it runs nice, but not nowhere near as good as how windows runs. I can tell a big difference in how UT2003 runs under XP compared to linux, and sorry but the penguin is slow here too.

    I hope linux gets over these problems on the desktop, it would be cool if it actually were an freely availiable OS for download, but linux just isn't that right now.

    And if you don't believe I use linux, click the link on my sig. All PHP/postnuke/MySQL goodness runnin on linux, not my desktop. For now that's how it has to be.
    • I love posts like this, they're easy to respond to. I've never had a problem with linux as a desktop. And I am incredibly more productive with linux as oppsosed to Windows.


      Not that my one testimonial of a good experience is worth anymore than your bad one, but the point is for every bad experience, at least one good experience can be produced. I'd be willing to bet that for every bad experience more than one good one can be produced, otherwise the number of linux users would be shrinking rather than growing.

  • I'm an idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:07PM (#4609445)
    To the extent that anyone draws a conclusion from this document like "we've got Microsoft on the run", that's just idiotic.

    Why, exactly? If genuine (and I expect it probably is, since I can't see any benefit to Microsoft of leaking this), this document highlights what many of us already thought - Microsoft is having a tough time coming up with an effective response to Linux and OSS.

    The strategies it suggests (making more noise about Shared Source, trying to win the TCO argument) aren't really hard hitting, but then, what else can MS do? People suggest that it will start using patents and IP law to get heavy with OSS projects, but I doubt it - it's too important for them to improve their image and stop being peceived as the bad guy, because that is why many people are considering OSS and Linux in the first place.

    It suggests we're got Microsoft on the run to me, it basically says they recognise Linux/OSS as a strong competitor, and most of their weapons are blunt.

  • Hey ESR, can you provide the next doc with XML and a couple of stylesheets so I can eliminate your comments? Sometimes they are good, but mostly they are just irritating cheerleading - we are quite capable of drawing our own conclusions thanks.
  • I really do hope that MS sends there little minions upon Linux. That way it gets evidently clear that they will do anything possible to stifle any competition no matter how small. Linux isnt a threat to Microsoft at the moment at all. Its just a player in the same industry and i dont think that Microsoft is afraid of linux. Im more suspicious that the real fear is if linux succeds in open up he internet and gets some solid standards into place. If i wore to make an OS today i sure would make it POSIX compliant. That way i have thousands of applications at hand from day one.

    I really thinks thats what MS is really afraid of. Not linux but lets face it, there are plenty of room for innovation in the OS arena and especially in the GUI field that has almost grinded to a halt. All we have are new colors and fancy addons but the basic principle is ancient in computer time.

    A serious new OS needs applications (the barrier to entry) and with POSIX you have instant applications with little work. You dont have to muster developers to start coding if applications from Linux runs on your OS.

    Microsoft is afraid for the next step, when someone whips out something new and they are left behind. They have proven that they are totally incapable of inventing anything. The day that someone runs away from them they are doomed because of their complete lack of ingenuity.

  • BillG: memo to self, "Linux sux!"
  • biz dev definition (Score:4, Informative)

    by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:11PM (#4609490)
    Eric Raymond, clearly impressed with his own wit, writes, "BDM Business Development Manager: fancy term for IT salespeople and IT sales managers."
    Biz dev and sales are quite different. Think strategy (biz dev) vs tactics (sales). Business development, well, develops new business. New markets, possibly new products, new partnerships. Sales executes, possibly getting into new markets but not on the level of biz dev.
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:29PM (#4609698)
    In the short term, then, Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument

    (snip)

    {So they're going to try to beat us up on total cost of ownership! Well, it was all pretty sane up to that point; it's nice to know our opponents are still smoking crack about some key issues.

    Whilst Windows will never be cheaper than Linux it could be argued that it can have a lower TCO if you make the assumption that a persons time is worth something.

    In other words, if I have to set something up and it takes 4 mouse-clicks under Windows and 2 hours under Linux (extreme I know, but bear with me), then they could claim (rightly so) that their OS has saved my organisation money by making me more productive. Its the whole "Windows is easier!" mantra.

    Of course, OSS will catch up, but they want it to always play catch up and then this is another point MS can use in their favour.

    I could be totally wrong, but I'm pretty sure that they have a perfectly sensible reason for stating that they could beat TCO. Considering ESR wasn't actually in that review, he has no idea what was discussed or the finer points around it and therefore would be a tad premature to dismiss it as them "smoking crack".

    It's not an entirely professional suggestion to make either. Makes him sound like a spotty faced 15 year old.

  • Why so OS centric? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:31PM (#4609726) Homepage
    I don't really understand why this document is so OS centric? The biggest TCO achilles heel for MS must be their Office Suite franchise, but maybe they don't want to "publicly" say so.

    Office account for 60%+ of MS' profit and they are so far up the diminishing return curve that this is where the attack should be. There is a Office 11 beta review [pcmag.com]today that pretty much says that the user benefits of upgrading is small and more geared at developers and requires total MS on the backend. This is excellent as they are playing right into Open Source's strength: The backend. Foil this and Office 11 will have little to offer over OpenOffice et al.

  • Snared Source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Airline_Sickness_Bag ( 111686 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:39PM (#4609811)
    One important thing about the memo is that we need to do a better job explaining the difference between shared source, and open source, and how it really is "snared source" in terms of the potential legal entanglements.


    -asb

  • by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <techstar25.cfl@rr@com> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:53PM (#4609980) Homepage Journal
    Now we've got Microsoft on the run!
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @01:56PM (#4610009) Homepage Journal
    The alleged-MS document says:
    In the short term, then, Microsoft should .. continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument..
    And ESR says:
    So they're going to try to beat us up on total cost of ownership! Well, it was all pretty sane up to that point; it's nice to know our opponents are still smoking crack about some key issues.
    I think TCO is still a major unresolved issue in the Microsoft-vs-OSS-vs-EveryoneElse debate. Computers, at least in business, are still very expensive to run and require experts. The cost of these people absolutely dwarfs the retail price of MS Windows. Microsoft's products are still pretty hard to use and take a lot of expertise, but everyone else's (including the popular Linux distributions) are still pretty bad too, except maybe Apple's.

    If Microsoft makes a serious effort to make Windows easy to use, they could theoretically win the TCO fight, or at least beat the penguins. As far as I can tell (at least from what I've seen of XP) they haven't really tried yet. But don't get complacent.

    If you want to ensure beating Microsoft on TCO, then quit being smug about the Microsoft's pricetag and EULA. Instead, look at your OSS projects from this point of view: Will deploying this software help a business to justify firing some of their IT staff? It's cool that someone can troubleshoot a user's machine by ssh-ing into it instead of having to go to their office, but the fact that they have to be around to do it at all, means their employer didn't really save money.

  • what are you doing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by r5t8i6y3 ( 574628 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @02:01PM (#4610060)
    as a consultant i am ACTIVELY moving my customers (small businesses and home users) over to GNU/Linux.

    how do i do it?

    i give every customer a free 1/2 hour of consulting to bring them up to speed on the state of the computer industry. all of my customers love getting the free 1/2 hour. after the talk they feel empowered to make informed decisions about the computing technology upon which they rely.

    what do i tell them?

    just the same stuff most folks on slashdot already know. some details about Microsoft's focus on customer lock-in. details about long-term computing reliability via the GPL (since most folks have experienced a forced Microsoft upgrade cycle, this is music to their ears). i note that large reputable corporations are switching to GNU/Linux (IBM's seal of approval carries a lot of weight). also, i use simple analogies like Microsoft products being automobiles with the hoods welded shut.

    after that 1/2 hour talk my customers usually want to make the switch immediately.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @02:51PM (#4610603) Homepage Journal
    But TOWARDS us, swords drawn.. not running away in fear as we would hope..

    Be afraid, very afraid of a coporation that has no restraints on its actions.
  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @03:09PM (#4610784)

    It would be great if open source operating systems could exist, Windows (and possibly others later) could exist, and each of them attracting those who find the respective operating system most helpful to them.

    But that's not entirely possible. Because of the great freedom afforded by the internet for thousands of programmers to create anything, and distribute them, combined with the free architechture of open source operating systems - the applications on these formerly hobbyist-only OS' have been infringing on the markets most prized by propietary software vendors. It can't be helped - people are interested in such applications, so they develop them to use in their favorite open source environment.

    In response, companies like Microsoft have been working on legal, finantial, and legislative grounds to hinder or halt many forms software and idea development. After all, they can't just explain to their stockholders that they just can't convince these potential customers to pay for their proprietary software, and that there's nothing special to that they can do to stop that.

    So, now open source software needs advocates. Advocates in the legal world, in the finantial world, and in the legislative world if any expectation of free development is to be expected.

    These voices don't have to work the same way proprietary software advocates do - they just have to get others to understand why they need the freedom to believe the way they do... because the simple freedom to develop is almost all that is needed for open source software to exist. This is most unlike proprietary software, that needs a certain dollar value, and constant increase over time on top of that for stockholders.

    It's unfortunate that advocates are needed, but they are - stories like this show the mindset that forces this need.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @03:56PM (#4611261)
    Having worked as a contractor for Microsoft, I have seen just about all of the relevant sales strategy documents concerning *NIX and OSS. In fact, anyone works at MS and who cares to do can see them on MSW. (MS's Intranet)

    This is not one of them.

    While I cannot divulge what those documents actually contained [NDA], I can tell you that they look nothing like Halloween VII. In fact, the OSS / Linux doc was a couple dozen pages, and did not mention anything that this document does.

    Rather, the very general thrust of the documents was to highlight *NIX (including Linux) weaknesses.

    And what weaknesses there are.

    Most people don't know this, but most of the senior MS developers are *NIX experts, usually with a decade or more systems-level development experience behind them. They know *NIX inside and out, and can easily point out flaws most OSS advocates have never even heard of.* They cheerfully feed their sales drones needed info (which is better than what most of you would believe).

    *My team's tech lead had about 20 years on *NIX.

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @04:12PM (#4611392) Journal
    but one strong possibility is that the term has simply fallen out of use both at Microsoft and in their survey population

    or, MS didnt want to include the Free Software meme in its Survey (thereby replicating it).

    They would like to see Free Software only be Open Source - because they have (some) answers to Open Source.. but none for Free Software.

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