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MS kills Linux demo at PIII launch 193

An anonymous reader writes "Spencer F. Katt has written a piece that among other things describes how Microsoft forced Gateway and Micron to demo their PIII machines running NT intead of Red Hat as had been planned. Nice to see the DOJ case is teaching them nothing. "
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MS kills Linux demo at PIII launch

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    For that matter, do we expect the DOJ case to really make any difference at all in the way MS does business?

    Surprisingly for some, I for one believe it will. This time things have gone too far. I've heard rumors that the states will settle for nothing less than a breakup or comparable remedy, plus hefty punitive damages. And all the gains that Linux has made, and all the losses MS's credibility have made, are just too much to reverse totally. However things are going to be in the future, they can never be like they were before.

    And I for one say "Hallelujah"!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not just nonsense; but important threads are getting lost.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (As I'm a moderator myself, and moderators are
    supposed to be anonymous, it will say AC on me.)

    Yes, I agree some moderators have gone off track. However, Rob has just added a message, telling moderators to 'watch' each others. Let's just hope it works out. Meanwhile, set your rating to -10 or anything...

    -Anonymous Moderator
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm mad at Micron. Just go to their site; search for "LINUX". Nothing. They are not only not supporting Linux, they are actively suppressing it! Try to find Linux drivers for their latest chip sets: an exercise in frustration. As a once die hard Micron fan; I'm seriously considering going to DELL who in the past were big Microsofties. It seems like they are giving Linux a small chance by providing it with some expensive machines. I'd still like to see it on a $2000 machine; but a start is a start.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd really like to hear the whole account, first, before judging Gateway. While I don't particularly like them, and while I haven't ever purchased anything from they, I have noticed they sell systems with your choice of WordPerfect suite or MS Works Suite...the WordPerfect systems are cheaper (or come with more for the same price).

    It's hard to believe, offhand, that one of the first MS puppet companies to: change the desktop, offer netscape, and offer alternatives to MS applications, caved in so easily.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    On the one hand I'm a Linux Geek. On the other hand I own, let's just say, many many Microsoft shares. I love and worship Linux on it's technical merits but money is kind of cool too.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree, some of the moderators are out of line, but hopefully it's just a few, and Rob will weed them out.

    All I'm try to do is save you from having to read "first post!" and "your mama is a crack whore!" every 30 seconds...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm also a moderator, but I logged out to post this because we moderators are supposed to be staying anonymous.

    At any rate, I agree with most of the above suggestions, except for point #3. I agree that a voting system would be better, but 20 votes is a bit steep, and it would take forever for those stupid FP/MEEPT posts to be gone.

    My modification to that suggestion is to be a bit more forgiving of logged in users, but to allow ACs to be knocked down without a vote.

    Posts from logged-in users should require a majority vote by, say three to five moderators (look at them as a "strike" system, perhaps... three strikes and you're dropped a point or two). AC posts should only require one moderator's decision.

    If a moderator wants to blow three points in dropping a post, they can, but it will still take two more votes from different moderators, and then it will average the number of points spent by the majority of voters. (I spend 3 points, phil and ralph each spend 1, and the post gets dropped by 2) Every positive vote would of course counteract a negative vote.

    I'm happy with most of the moderation. I think it's been doing a good job of clearing out some of the crap that was stinking up the place. As others have said, part of the problem now is that we've got some moderators who shouldn't be, and some moderators who haven't quite figured out how this should work yet. I know I'm still treading lightly.

    I'm learning to leave most posts alone, because most of them are harmless. Part of the fun in reading slashdot's comments is finding the outrageous threads that are sometimes completely off-topic, but interesting nonetheless. I feel fairly confident that things will sort out and settle down in the next couple of weeks.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I posted the "Needs Some Work" message.

    Your points, and your alternative ideas are good food for thought.

    Regarding the time it would take to get rid of MEEEP, I didn't mean that we had to wait for 20 votes to build up before taking an average. If the first vote was '-2', then it's '-2', until the weight of other votes changes it.

    Here are a couple other alternatives:

    1. Instead of the first 20 votes, use the latest 20 votes. The score would then tend to stabilize over time. Note that if the up-one/down-one vote was replaced with a number, then there needs to be a limited range (e.g. -2 to 10) to prevent someone from entering 1000 to beat the average.

    2. Don't keep track of whether a given moderator has already voted. Now you only needs to store two numbers to maintain a running average, the total of the votes, and the total number of voters. That way, if a moderator felt strongly enough, he could come back and vote again (though with less and less impact as the number of votes grew). Moderators would be discouraged from abusing this by the fact that it would get them thrown out.

    Personally, I like the idea of having moderators, and I support Slashdot for implementing it. I am speaking here as a reader, and not as a moderator. When I am in a hurry, and I want to skim a subject, I look for the high-scoring messages. When I really care, I read them all. And, when I have the time to do a decent job of it, I moderate.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wow... it's amazing to see people post things like "Running MS products is horrible..."

    I agree that MS tends to use it's power and money to attempt to push it's own products. But so does EVERY OTHER COMPANY. It's called business. Yes, MS plays hardball. Yes, sometimes they do very nasty thing to their compeditors. And yes, I think that they need to be careful. But I also think that not using a product simply because of who makes it is horrible. Slashdot happily had stories about the new semi-vaporware Netscape. But not a SINGLE article about the non-vaporware IE 5. IE 5 is an excellent product. It was released for over 15 different platforms simotaneously (sp?), and is currently the best browser. Period. I don't care who makes it. Any mention of it on a web site that boasts "Stuff that matters."? Nope. Now that's horrible.

    - CoolAss (only a coward because I didn't feel like registering)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What happened to all the "ZDNet spreads FUD" posts? A bunch of fair-weather friends it appears. A good number of slashdotters cry FUD if it is against Linux, but claim it must be true if it is for Linux.

    My comments are not in agreement or disagreement with the article.

    Sean Farley
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Part of the problem with the moderation is how the moderation function has been implemented. What non-moderators can't see is that, at the bottom of each comment, there are five radio buttons to change the comment's score. These are labelled --, -, 0, +, and ++, and they allow the moderator to increase or decrease the score. The page works like a big form, so the moderation entry does not take effect until one reaches the bottom of the page, and hits the "moderate" button.

    The problem is the following. Say a moderator decides that a comment has some minor problems (say it's repetitive), such that he feels it should only have a score of zero. He thus enters a '-' to lower its score by one, and continues reading down the page. The problem is that by the time he reaches the bottom, and enters his change, three other moderators may have done the same thing, such that the message ends up with a score of -3.

    Another problem is that, as a moderator, I am reluctant to second guess the choices of other moderators, and start a one-up-one-down bidding war.

    I would like to suggest the following changes:

    1. Set a lower limit of -2, so that AC's don't have too far to go to reach the bottom. We don't really need anything beyond 0 (nothing special), -1 (lame), and -2 (MEEEP/really obnoxious).

    2. Replace the +/- system with one that allows a target score to be entered. The moderator can enter a large or small number, but his entry will only change the score by +/-1. If the message is already at the target score when the request is entered, then the entry does not reduce the moderators vote count.

    3. Consider replacing the current system (one-up, one-down, limited votes) with one that averages the first x (say 20) votes for each message. This could be implemented by attaching a vote segment to the message, and storing up to x (say 20) vote+moderator# pairs. Moderators would have unlimited votes, but would be limited to one vote for a given message.

    4. The display of the radio buttons seems to really slow down the browser for a large (e.g. flat) page. I don't really have a solution for improving it, but you might consider replacing the radio buttons with a link to a moderator voting page. Right-clicking the link would allow immediate entry for the moderator, without leaving the comments page. The link would carry the cid# to the voting form.

    An Anonymous Moderator
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @07:36AM (#1967712)
    This latest stunt (it would be *wonderfull* if the DOJ could confirm it and use it as evidence during THE trial) is just Yet Another Facet of M$'s Grand Plan to maintain absolute control over the market.

    First, you lock the competition out of the most convenient distribution channels: hence the pre-loading agreements. (This also has the convenient side effect of garanteing (sp?) you a constant incoming flow of cash, while the competition has to sell its wares through stores... but how do you compete against something that's already loaded and perceived to be free?)

    Second, you prevent your competition from getting any exposure whatsoever. Hence killing this demo, or preventing NetScape from appearing (sp?) on the desktop.

    This was not just a simple childish fit on M$'s behalf. This is preventing the unwashed masses from learning that there is something else than M$ out there. As long as Joe Schmoe Consumer is unaware of the existence of alternative, he will not think of asking for an alternative.

    Get it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @06:07AM (#1967713)
    If VA research could get in the conference and demo oracle8 and redhat in the next booth it might make quite an impression.

    If oracle/linux blew away gateway and micron servers both MS and GW/micron would look bad.

  • I'd love to see them run side by side on identical hardware. Maybe many folks would be interested.

    Maybe some others don't want such comparisons to be so public?
  • When a news source publishes an _opinion_ about any given technology, an opinion with a lot of unsubstantiated BS and opinionated spin, it is FUD.

    When a news source posts a snippet about a factual event, sans spin, sans BS, it is news.

    This is a news snippet about two vendors who did a 180 and are now changing their plans regarding the showcasing on a *new* technology at a public event. This is not FUD. This is not an opinion.

    Perhaps /.'ers applaud news and abhor FUD. I see nothing sinister about this.
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    They're running scared. I never thought I'd see the day that Microsoft was put into ultra-paranoid panic mode, but here we are.
  • They just promoted a buttload of people to moderators, so there's bound to be some rough edges. Try setting your threshold to like -400 or something. :)
  • Hello McFly, ACs can't set preferences because they don't log in. Even if you could set preferences, then they would be changed about 3 times a second by all of the AC d00dz. Plus, after seeing the site with a -1 threshold, I'm glad for the moderation. Personally, I don't need to see the:
    You all suck!!!!!
    Microsoft rules!!!!!
    How do I hack into systems?
    That article sucked, Rob is an idiot, I am a god!
    posts that are consist of 99% of the moderated content. Keep the moderation up Rob, keep the losers frustrated!
  • You can keep reading moderated posts. Hell, I do -- I'm used to navigating the /. s/n ratio as it is, and I'm worried that I might miss something.


  • Microsoft still has the OEM's nuts in a blender;
    all they need to do is hit "frappe" and it's all
    over. I don't think that Gateway or Micron could
    survive having their license prices for Windows
    jacked up.

    I mean, do you let the kids keep eating or do you
    gamble it because you have to push Linux right
    now? Besides, we can wait. Staying power is the
    OSS movement's biggest advantage.


  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:26AM (#1967724) Homepage
    Alright! This is a GoodThing(tm) if we ever need
    to prove what sort of monopoly control Microsoft

    Besides, I don't think the OSS community ought to
    get involved in the marketing sham that is the
    PIII. I don't have anything against Intel anymore,
    they're not the monopoly they used to be, but this
    chip looks like a slightly souped up PII that
    they're selling for hundreds more and using to
    change sockets yet again...

    I wonder if, in the long term, all this socket
    changing will hurt them instad of their
    competitors. I mean, AMD asking for their own
    socket a few years ago would have been suicide,
    but now....


  • Micron would not even entertain my question about a problem with my parallel port, because I had installed Linux. Hence, my machine was not in 'as shipped' configuration and their policy is not to provide support. [I could, however, remove the second hard drive that has Linux.]

    Linux just helps to confirm something is amiss with the LPT1 port. The problem is that my HP Tape is no longer detected under Windows.
  • I already posted several messages on Micron's refusal to even consider my question on a parallel port problem, because I installed Linux. [That is, no longer the original configuration, hence, no support.]
  • Just another random fluctuation due to the "tech" stock weakness. Don't get you hopes too high, too soon. They may eventually drop when the vested become unsure of the wisdom of leaving their potential wealth in a single paper issue.
  • They're not paranoid in this case -- they're still in the denial stage of things: Don't want to admit to anyone that there's an operating system other than Windows.
  • by doug ( 926 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:26AM (#1967729)
    While I wouldn't be surprised if BillyG and the boys did something like that, what sort of supporting evidence is there? Articles like this seem to be so much hearsay, wishful thinking and hype. Does anyone have any more concrete references?
  • >Could someone in charge post a list of criteria the moderators use for censoring posts if there is any criteria?

    Note that just because there is a document explaining the criteria, it doesn't mean Rob has any power to enforce it, save one: taking away moderator privileges from those who abuse it. It's possible this may already have happened, and thus the problem may be going away already.
  • by smartin ( 942 )
    Most likely it was something to the effect of, "Oh, I see you are using Linux. How nice, I guess you won't be wanting to renew your '98 license then".
  • I'd like to set my threshold lower, but it's an unfortunate fact of life that I have finite time to read. Rob's suggestion that moderators set their threshold low is a good one, however, so I'm afraid that I won't be doing much moderating.

    What I'd really like (and I hope I just missed it) is an option to filter all AC posts ONLY. Another option that might come in handy as an alternative would be a personal preference for the anonymous "penalty" (which currently is 1 point). Setting it to 3-5 points would allow filtering most of them out. It's a bit parasitic, to be sure, but it's an unfortunate fact of life that anonymous posts tend to be a lot less content-intensive than signed comments.
  • I sent messages to three journalists, asking them to investigate.

    Stephen Shankland of c|net (

    Andy Patrizio of CMPnet TechWeb (

    David Berlind of ZDNet (
  • by robin ( 1321 )
    I want to know how their special 3D instructions are going to help my shoddy internet connection. [...]

    If you were foolish enough to have bought^W been sold a WinModem you might find that the addition of some DSP-ish `3D' instructions to your processor would significantly speed up your computer while you were using the net. snork

    Marketing dorks.


  • they can raise enough outrage amongst the other OEMs that an organized temporary M$ boycott would be in order

    Not likely -- the other OEMs would chuckle and pat their fat wallets with glee. "Oh look, Gateway has to bump their PC prices by 50 buck. Should we help them, or take their sales..." I don't think there's much doubt as to which option the others would go with.


  • err, there was nothing in the article to suggest 'force'. maybe microsoft just said 'please' nicely.

    (the author said 'thumbscrews' but he was clearly lying)

  • I think the issue is that generally pro-Linux articles on ZDNet have some basis in fact and show some level of thought, whereas the anti-Linux ones are frequently FUD-ish.

    Just what I've observed.
  • I just sent a few letters off to Micron and Gateway... I'm sure if we /. them with letters... they'll change their minds about doing this again...


  • If I was a big monopoly like MS and loosing the DOJ case THIS bad.. hell I'd do everything in my power to exert influence on anyone I can for as long as I can.. since this "power" won't last much longer. Call it going out with a BANG!


  • Correction... you WERE a moderator ;)
  • Hey, yeah, there's a good idea! Then you wouldn't have to worry about seeing any conflicting viewpoints!

    No, I don't agree with everything I see here. And some of it really gets me steamed. But if I never see things that challenge my position, I'll never know how right (or wrong) I am.
  • Hi all,
    My personal experience with new moderated /. is a dramatic boost in comment qualitiy. Especially if you set your preference to "Highest Score up". Lots of crap has vanished. But anyway, to avoid misuse of moderator status, I suggest to make it public which comment had been down- or upgraded by whom. Anybody down- or upgrading a comment should be held fully responsible for his doing.

    Total misuse of moderator status is impossible by now, because moderators just own a certain amount a points for up- or downgrading.

    FYI I am a moderator myself but so far I made a very reserved use of this status. (That means if you post a reply with a different oppinion than mine, I will censor you down :-]] )

    Dont take my last comment too serious!! I am a strong representative for freedom of speech, but anybody should take responsibility for his speech. I dont see why "Freedom of Speech" should equal in "Flood of crap comments". My time is scarce, so I prefer reading stuff thats worth it.
    Anybody interested in the criterias for moderation? /. team posted a "code of honor" for moderation, but I am too lazy to look now. If there is a strong demand I or someone else will post it to all others.

  • Take a closer look on the zapped comments.Most of it is useless crap. Ok, there are victims but their count is small. IMO so far moderators did a rather good job.
    Moderation works much better than I expected and means so far a strong boost in comment quality.
  • Thx for posting the criterias. About the moderators it is very simple. The bad ones will soon run out of ammo. But anyway I am convinced the majority of moderators did a dammed good job so far. Dont always mention the bad things that happened. How about someone telling his comment had been upgraded and therefore had been read much more /. readers? And thats the fact even about *THIS* thread.
    Do you really think this thread would have been paid that much attention if not the initial post had been upgraded to 5 points???
  • you can see the zapped posts by setting your threshold to -100000000

    perhaps this should be the default for ACs

  • This is exactly the point. People whine and moan about their comments being deleted, but that's just it. They aren't deleted, they are just scored, and if you want to see everything, crank your threshold down. I use -10 myself, because I prefer to see everything and decide for myself, even if a lot of those negative posts are really annoying, but that's the beauty of the system: It's MY choice. The people who in the end get to decide what gets seen are the viewers themselves. Sometimes people may not see everything because they don't realize how the threshold system works, or are too lazy to change the settings, but everything that was said is available to be read by everybody, so the system of moderation here is not exactly censorship, because nobody is prevented from reading anything he/she wants as long as that person is willing to make the effort.
  • If you think this is a problem, then clearly you aren't cut out for politics. As long as MS can keep "convincing" OEMs not to demo Linux without getting caught, they'll keep right on doing it, while simultaneously parading the mere existence of Linux (whether or not OEMs will ever be able to promote it without losing their valuable Windows rebates) as evidence to the DOJ that they don't have a monopoly. If you're clever enough to do so, you can often have your cake and eat it too.

    Like most of MS's past faux pas, I predict that you won't see any major news source carrying anything about this, and it will have been completely forgotten in a week.


  • nice touch, to see someone checking and verifying what appears to be an uncredited article.

    I'm somewhat cautious in commenting until there are more substatiated confirmation. I read the article. I could not see any news source quoted here. I could not see any journo's name credited.

    it's often said the first casulty of war is the truth....interested to see what the journo's report
  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @06:52AM (#1967749)
    "Microsoft still has the OEM's nuts in a blender; all they need to do is hit "frappe" and it's all over. I don't think that Gateway or Micron could survive having their license prices for Windows jacked up."

    Hard to disagree with that.

    OTOH, Microsoft might be in for some interesting discussions with its licensees in the next few months. From what I could read in theregister and the WSJ, several of those vendors had "most favored nation" clauses in their Windows9x contracts, such that no other vendor should have been able to get a lower price. Given that most of the hard data is still under seal, it still appears that Microsoft may have violated some of those agreements, promising several vendors a different, "lowest" price.

    Unlike the antitrust lawsuit, this would be quite easy to demonstrate in court, and compensatory damages easy to figure. If a Dell or Gateway hits Microsoft with a breach of contract suit for $1b or so, M$ could find itself in real trouble.


  • They're going to run out of points at some point and they're going to have to post a LOT of comments to get more of them.
  • What is what?

    What is a good comment? What is bad? Well, its hard to tell. It's ambigious and up to the whims of a given moderator. But we've tried to createa system that will keep everyone in check.

    Messages can largely be grouped into three catagories.

    1.Good messages that are insightful, well written, and add value to the article they are attached to. (Score: > 1)

    2.Average messages might be slightly offtopic, but still might be worth reading. They might be redundant. They might be a 'Me Too' article. They might say something painfully obvious. They don't detract from the discussion, but they don't necessarily significantly add to it. They are the comments that require the most attention from the moderators, and they also represent the bulk of the comments. (Score: 0-1)

    3.Bad Comments are flamebait. Bad comments have nothing to do with the article they are attached to. They call somone names. They ridicule someone for having a different opinion without backing it up with anything more tangible than strong words. Bad comments are repeats of something said 15 times already making it quite apparent that the writer didn't read the previous comments. They use foul language. They are hard to read or just don't make any sense. They detract from the article they are attached to.

    Now, having said this, I'll say that I've shown the respect and consideration that is due to the rest of /. by me when I was promoted to moderator- that is, I've largely left things alone. Why? Because most of the posts don't need moderation. I'm not entirely sure what's going on in my fellow moderator's heads, but it's not all in keeping with the above criteria. I had a simple post that was a one-liner yesterday about the topic being just more FUD from ZDNet- and it got moderated almost immediately to -2. My only thought is that they wasted several of their points (either collectively or as a single individual) to mask out something that was neither offensive, inflamatory, etc. The post was, per the criteria, in the second class- I won't argue that, but someone was so "bothered" by it that they hammered the post below the normal threshold as if it fit into the third category. Got to wonder about these goings on...
  • I just got this new toy and I've not (ab)used it yet. ;-)

    I was just quoting from the guidelines Rob handed us.
  • That would imply they had any to begin with...
  • MS just wanted to ensure maximum innovation at the demo.

    kudos to micron and gateway for their public display of spinelessness. it's good to know who to avoid when making those expensive hardware purchases.
  • by Dawn Keyhotie ( 3145 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:33AM (#1967756)
    That's all this is. Microsoft, champion of the downtrodden and friend to the poor, would never do such a vile thing. Microsoft has always been honest and completely above board. They have never lied to anyone about their ultimate plans for total world hegemony, and the elimination of all possible competition in all possible markets of all possible types of computers and media. ;^)

    Seriously, though, I think raising these second hand rumours to the level of a /. headline is probably uncalled for and unproductive. People who would believe it already hate MS/Borg, and people who won't believe it are already totally supportive of MS, the last defender of innovation in the computer marketplace.

    When I want slanted news stories and unsubstantiated rumours presented as fact, I already know where to go. (Hint: Starts with 'ZD'.)

  • While it disturbs me that M$ is still hitting below the belt, it is not surprising at all. However, it still is a damn shame. Having a PC running any M$ product is 10 times worse than running a non-M$ OS. I wonder if the demo machine crashed because of windows again. Heh.
  • Have you tried running any kind of comparison (informal, even) with the same hardware? With Linux and Solaris both x86 or Sparc?

    Just curious.

  • #2 sounds like an excellent idea.

    In fact to speed it up (I think, I don't really know how the browser works) this can be a pull-down menu of levels instead of a lot of buttons, with the current setting preselected. The moderator can then pick a different setting if desired. When the scores are reported back the score is moved one point toward the score the moderator picked.

    The menu should be limited to the range -1 to 10 (?). To allow numbers outside this range there could be an item "higher" that acts like 11 unless the score is already >= 11 in which case it adds one. There could also be a "lower" but I think a concrete bottom of -1 or -2 is a better idea.
  • by golliher ( 4239 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:24AM (#1967760)
    The article doesn't mention how MS coerced Gateway and Micron into switching the demo. Until I hear more details I'm just as cheesed off at them for caving as I am at Microsoft for applying pressure.

  • The immediately obvious solution to keeping "your" AC preferences seperate from "that other AC's prefs" is to store them in a local cookie.

    Some people fear cookies but I don't think there's anything to worry about when the website documents their use (plaintext cookies are self-documenting...)

    Moderation sucks, also. I've had "on-topic, non-flame, non-potty-mouth" postings moderated or deleted. Of course, I was participating in the "wrong side" of the " oversight board" which, um, includes a prominant Slashdot advertiser and the owner of Slashdot itself.

    (I STILL think elections for the oversight board are a good idea -- we need 1 RMS on the board to keep everyone honest :), and VA Research's FAQ only states the makeup of "The Board"... not how they were selected, what veto powers they have, and under what conditions the makeup would possibly change. I'd like to know these things to allay my fears that it will eventually be co-opted by the business majority members.

    It WAS pleasently reassuring to see the head of this thread, regarding moderated posts, had a +5 modifier. This tells me some moderators suck less.
  • by CoffeeNowDammit ( 5514 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @06:54AM (#1967762)
    Y'know, if this is more than just a
    rumor, any OEM could thwart MS's tactics
    rather easily, especially with DOJ
    looking so interested:

    "What? You want us to run NT instead
    of Linux? Well, before we do that, we'll
    need to get it on tape. Be sure to state
    your name and your employee ID, okay?"

  • These stunts that Microsoft pull are shameless.
    Like the guy at the bar that walks up to the woman you are talking to and compliments her eyes and leaves with her, somehow these stunts are effective.

    How can we, while maintaining our honour, fight against such tactics?
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @06:39AM (#1967764) Homepage
    What we really need (though I don't expect it will arrive any time soon) is collaborative moderation.

    When reading comments, you can say 'I like this comment' or 'I don't like this comment'. Then Slashdot will match your likes / dislikes against other people with similar tastes, and will guess on your behalf which comments to show, based on what others with the same tastes as you have chosen. That way, there is no central moderator for people to be pissed off with. Occasionally, Slashdot would show a comment even if it thought you might not like it; if it turns out you do like it, that signals that your preferences have changed from what Slashdot thought.

    Kind of like's recommendations: 'other people who liked this comment also liked these comments'.
  • I doubt "a group of techies" could have talked the marketing and PR department into making an announcement :)

    If the managers at these two companies are like managers everywhere else, their program remains constant come hell or high water. Well, hell came :)
  • Suppose you are the manager for a project of this sort -- a demonstration that will sell hundreds, thousands, etc. of new processors and new software, the success of which will directly impact your marketing program. You are going to want to make sure EVERYTHING works as promised. So at this point there are two options:

    1. Gateway and Micron were in on the FUD program with MS and just gave an appearance of Linux loyalty.

    2. Gateway and Micron were pressured into folding by MS.

    Option 1 falls apart for Gateway because of their past commitment to Linux. I don't know Micron's stance. But option 1 also gets Gateway into a lot of trouble with any demo attendees who were expecting Linux, if they deliberately lied all along.
  • I have a suggestion that you may or may not abide by. As a moderator, you have been given oversight power here at /. You should therefore not respond to these types of comments as then you become part of the issue. Your role as a moderator means (to me at least) that you should exercise self-constraint in the face of postings dealing with moderation. I also feel that you comment about stop whining was inappropriate. It might have been okay if I had said it, but from you, no.

    Good luck in your thankless but important role as moderator.

    And please, don't respond to this.:-)
  • Rob, how about providing a date/time filter field on the comments page. This would allow us to come back to a page later, enter a date/time, and only view the comments that are new, even if they are buried in the hierarchy.
  • Rob, now that I've gotten started, and I've had time to think, here's what I really want:

    Beside each "Read More..." link on the main page, add a second link named "Select...". The "Read More" link would operate as it currently does, based on the user's defaults. The "Select" link would open a selection-criteria page. The story-id would be specified in the URL, but the user would then enter the other filtering criteria. I believe that this would not only give me more flexibility, but would also reduce the load on your system, since users would no longer have to download a page one way (e.g. threaded), then download it again another (flat).

    The criteria I would like to be able to specify are:
    - Threaded or flat
    - Page threshhold (solves AC's problem)
    - Headers-only or messages
    - Sort by newest/oldest/score
    - Newer-than date/time
    - First 50 msgs etc. (i.e. first/last msg seq#)
    - Later than cid#

    The last two points would make it easy to come back later and continue reading. If you wanted to implement it perfectly, the criteria would be "messages listed after, or >= time of, cid#".

    Other suggestions:
    - Include msg scores on the headers-only display.
    - List every msg on the headers-only display, with a flag (*) to indicate which ones meet the filter criteria.
    - On the message display, always include the cid#. On the flat display, also show the parent cid#. This would allow users to piece together the thread without having to opening a second brower page for a threaded display (showing hierarchy level#s would normally be an alternative, but it falls apart when messages can be filtered out).
  • Rob, I posted this secure in the knowledge that you have nothing better to do than to wait for my suggestions, and cater to my needs :^). Waiting eagerly...
  • Once upon a time, there were a group of about 22 people known as Slashdot moderators. Within the last week, CT decided to give every registered user with a positive score moderator status, too. That added almost 460 new moderators.
    This first week or two is going to be filled with many more moderated comments, whether moderated correctly or not.
    Don't think people are intentionally being "censors", but the vast majority of moderators are greenhorns. Just give it time to work itself out.
  • And to prevent any claims of bias, invite each OS vendor to install and configure their own OS. That way, each OS should show the optimum performance, making a fair comparison.
  • I couldn't have said it better myself. Some of these people are so two-faced.
  • by scrytch ( 9198 )
    Except there's no proof. Maybe MS offered them a cross-promotional deal?

    Am I the only one who'd actually prefer to see them running side by side? I mean if you're going to demo a machine, it makes sense to show that X, Y, and Z will run on it.
  • Perhaps one should make a pro-microsoft news website called \. then :)

  • What if the supreme court (or pick your favorite high court) issued decisions without telling you how each judge voted?

    I want to see who changed the score of a post, when, by how much, and maybe even why.

  • by Si ( 9816 )
    Whilst I agree this is most probably what will happen in this case, the other OEMs should be thinking "what if this is me next week", and act accordingly.

    'course, since the get-rich-quick CEOs will have made their moolah by then, they won't care. But if they have any long-term interest, they might just Do The Right Thing(tm).

  • Just so you know...

    I'm running RH5.9 (Starbuck) and it includes both Gnome 1.0 and KDE 1.1. RH has hired a couple KDE developers onto it's staff to port it to QT 2.0 as well.

    Also, if running xdm, gdm, or kdm on 5.9, you can select which desktop you want to run on every login. Current choices are Gnome, KDE, AnotherLevel, and Default (last picked). I'm sure this will be configurable.

    All I'm saying is that while going with Gnome for the default, they're also supporting KDE and various WMs, and making it easy even for a pure newbie to experiment... trying each one till they figure out what they like. And not just enabling choice, but making it pretty darn easy.

    I think that is a good thing. I like gnome, and that's what I use. (Well, usually. For the most part, I run whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it.) But I like choice more. (Choice meanining picking out whatever you wish, be it good or evil, or whatever your point of view, and living with the consequences either way. Remember Clockwork Orange? That's what I mean.) And I'm very happy to see these recent developments for the upcoming 6.0.

    My two bits, for whatever they're worth...
  • I agree.

    Also, whilst stupid, some posts are just plain
    fun to read. When your stuck at work, writing yet another "Trial Vender/Customer/etc Account Balance" report for users that are more interested
    in cosmetics than data, some of the cleverer stupid/silly posts can give you your only laugh
    in the day.

    Allan (SAP/ABAP FI/CO/MM/SD/BC/etc(SAP for linux, Hurrah !))

  • maybe i should be able to decide what i want to read, not you.

    Then bump your threshold lower. Nothing is getting deleted -- it just gets points marked up or down. True, ACs can't set their threshold in the prefs and must do so manually, but that's one of the privileges of setting up an account.

    As for people needing to register to get a user account, what's the big deal? If you're that worried about invasion of privacy, set up a decoy Hotmail (or Yahoo) mail account to register.

    As far as I can tell, Rob is doing exactly what he said he's doing with the "real" email addresses (as opposed to the ones that you get to see under the poster's name); if you lose your password, that's the address he sends the password to.

    Jay (=
  • Isn't that basically what happened in the Linus Hood (or whatever the real title) story that was posted on here a few months ago?
  • moderation.

    I enjoy reading Slashdot, and one of the greatest things about it is the ability to discuss the articles.

    Although I haven't been censored (yet), anyone interested might want to set their "comment threshold" (found by following the "Preferences" link at the top of the page) to something like -10, look at some previous articles' comments, and see how busy the moderators are at censoring what you read. They seem to be indiscriminately lowering people's scores below 0, so that their comments don't show up for most readers.

    Now I agree that some of the posts are just silly, like "first post!" and "MEEPT!", but I have noticed quite a few comments that contained insightful conversation without profanity or flaming, that have been moderated down below zero. There really ought to be some accountability here with regards to who is moderating and how they moderate.

    Could someone in charge post a list of criteria the moderators use for censoring posts if there is any criteria?
  • As if it weren't obvious before, now it is even more so. Anyone that can stand and say with a straight face that microsoft does not hold monopoly power has got to be blind. I'm wondering if a few thousand plesant emails from the slashdot community to Micron and Gateway would be enough to change their minds. I'm sending them each a message and encourage everyone else to as well.

  • I keep my threshold at -99 because I (a) can handle the first MEEPTs and might miss something interesting as well (often controversial discussions ends up in -1, especially if it's offtopic) and (b) I want to keep an eye out for people who are minusing articles. My policy is to only minus truly obnoxious articles, like the first couple hundred ``I think I'm first'' articles and obvious trolls/MEEPTs.

    It's a lot more fun to plus or plusplus well-composed and clearly-thought-out articles anyway.

    Of course, if you're an anonymous coward, it's rather difficult to read with a low threshold because of the hassle. That's why you should get a user account! You can still post as an AC with a user accout, and posting with a user account doesn't mean anyone actualy knows who you are (names like ``Anonymous Cowherd'' certainly aren't going to compromise your privary--but do fear the cow).


  • They're going to run out of points at some point and they're going to have to post a LOT of comments to get more of them.

    For some reason I had a bunch of points this morning even though I had zero last night. I've so far been looking for and promoting good posts with good writing. I must confess that since we got the new /. (new box, new user-features, more moderators) the user comment forums seem to have really improved--and I keep my threshold at -99. I just seems that ``first post'' is less fun when you automatically get sent to -5 land, and so the |)00|)s have stopped doing that.

    Joshua (who is getting antialiased fonts working. XFree86 4.0 is going to be good stuff...)

  • by jerodd ( 13818 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @05:55AM (#1967787) Homepage
    On the one hand I'm a Linux Geek. On the other hand I own, let's just say, many many Microsoft shares. I love and worship Linux on it's technical merits but money is kind of cool too.

    ``Money certainly is cool. That's why I traffick children. Now, I love children, and wouldn't myself do anything to hurt them--but hey, business and business, and I have to eat! Most of the children don't have much of a future anyways. They're so easy to round up and they do fetch a good price--$50 a head on the open market. You can find some deals of mine on eBay, and please be sure to leave me some good feedback.''

    Please, please, please, don't be one of those people who live for stock prices. It hurts everyone involved, and the stock price does eventually come down. I personally could make lots of money by spending my life doing Windows NT coding for a product that doesn't yet have any NT port. The product is currently suffering, and I do believe I could go in and ``fix it''. But I don't want to. I'm also torn--I could get a good foot in the door in this company, and might even get them to use Linux. But I don't want to do NT coding if I don't have to.

    This reminds me of coder(at)'s policy: he's been a profitable SI valley consultant for 20 years, and he won't even go near a machine using any Microsoft software. He goes so far as to block all mail from a Microsoft-controlled domain (*@*; *@* Even I don't go that far.

    <sigh> This is a bit of a rant. Go ahead and moderate it, people.


  • ...Linux and Solaris both x86 or Sparc?

    Sorry, can't say that I have. There are inherent problems with trying, at least for me, because I tend to use low- to mid-end Linux hardware (basic PC stuff, sometimes SCSI, sometimes not) and higher-end Solaris and Digital Stuff ($20,000+ servers w/ 9+ physical disks, etc).

    Benchmarking database performance on a single hardware platform is difficult, because there are so many variables that come into play. How well your database is designed, how it's laid out across physical disks, and whether it's generally a CPU-bound application (lots of calculations) or an I/O bound application (lots of data moving around on the network and across the hardware bus) or both... All these factors and more make it very hard to benchmark on a single hardware platform, much less across multiple platforms.

    What I do know: Barring hardware problems, I find the Oracle for Linux product to be AS STABLE AS SOLARIS on Sparc. Don't bother doing Solaris x86 because it pretty much bites. I've tried and I hate it. Stick with Linux on the x86 hardware.

    Example: I ran a development DB at work (MCI Worldcom) on a low-end Linux box I brought from home (don't ask... cheap bastards!). It had a paltry 2 GB of disk, 800 MB or so were taken up by our data tables. I switched our development DB to this box because our Oracle/NT box crashed 5 to 6 times A DAY. I didn't tell anyone, I just made the changeover and let it run. It ran, non-stop, 24/7, for 5 MONTHS with not a single crash. I had to extend the tablespaces a couple of times, but that's a common problem on machines with not enough disk space for your applications. The hardware? A basic P166 motherboard and only 32 megs of RAM. More would have been better, but it ran pretty well. IDE disks (2 1GB). And this was the Oracle for Linux Beta (alpha?) that they sent me to test.

    Not bad at all.
  • I know for a fact that Oracle for Linux beats NT, AND Solaris.

    I'm not so sure about this. Certainly Oracle for NT sucks and they ought to be ashamed that they even release the product and call it an enterprise solution. Between Solaris and Linux... I use both (and Oracle on Digital UNIX) and it's a tough call. I can't really pit Oracle for Linux up against my Sparcs because it's hard to draw a hardware comparison that's truly fair.

    I do think that the Linux solution is just as good for mid-volume applications. And it's definitely cheaper. But, Solaris scales up WAY past what you can currently do with Oracle on Linux. As Oracle continues to support Linux, you may see that change. But for now, Oracle for Linux remains my first choice for personal projects, and Oracle for Solaris remains my first choice when I need a very-high-volume-and-uptime solution. And when spending a large corporation's money.
  • These all seem like really credible ideas that would potentially make moderation work a lot more smoothly. I particularly think that suggestions 2 & 3 have merit, although #3, since it would require storing quite a bit of additional information about who has voted might be slightly difficult to implement or have too much overhead. Given that, I think that #2 is worth exploring. The idea of moderation is a good one, but it seems like there is a lot of agreement that the current system could use some fine tuning.
  • I couldn't have said it better myself. Some of these people are so two-faced.

    I think it is more telling that about the only really reliably worthwhile part of ZDNet and PC Week is usually Spencer F. Kat. A cartoon. Sad really.

  • I asked for his source...Needless to say, no response yet. I will send his response and anygthing else I can dig up.

    I bet this is more FUD, but in the other direction. Consider: micros~1 sets these things up, paying (or asking loyal Men-NTites) reporters to say these things, and get the Linux community enraged, and then in an ensuing investigation be clear of wrongdoing.

    I wouldn't put it past 'em.
  • That's the problem with handing out wholesale moderator privileges. You get a bunch of dorks on power trips handing out numbers (both positive and negative) just 'cause they can.

    And since we all know who the moderators are, we're all sooooooo impressed and awestruck by their display of moderatory prowess.

    Urk. Too much sarcasm. Must drink more coffee.

  • What I want to know is why do high-end server systems need special 3D-rendering instructions?

    I want to know how their special 3D instructions are going to help my shoddy internet connection. If their ads are to be believed, all I need to make the net come alive is a P-III chip. Wow! I guess I can stop coveting a cable modem or ADSL connection, then.

    Marketing dorks.

  • by tuefry ( 19505 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @05:40AM (#1967796)
    What a crybaby.

    Doesn't matter much to me what a post is set at. I can see them all. I've seen other "systems" in which they try to maintain anonymity & freedom for people to say what they want, and it goes down the tubes anyways. Guess what, they either tend to lose the anonymity side, they start censoring things, or they turn into such a useless forum everyone stops using it (except people spamming in their url's).

    When I first started reading /. I was quite pleased with the way things are handled. And yes, I have my threshold set down so far I can pretty much see anything that's being said. However, people who don't want to see flamebait, statements made on behalf of idiots, OT comments, etc., can for the most part, whisk it away.

    Certainly, moderators are going to give things improper ratings at times. Its all a part of being human. But then again, let he who is free of sin cast the first stone.

    I'm not saying be blissful and ignorant of mistakes. However, if you think you will accomplish anything by giving snide comments, well, its not going to work, welcome to life. If you perhaps, suggested a solution, it might.

    Moderation on /. is very simple, it gives you choice. I can choose to see comments made by people that several moderators have rated. I can choose to see it to varying degrees, or even read only the best comments. I can always pull out all the stops and read whatever comments I want.

    Pulling this type of moderation on /. would be akin to forcing someone to watch only one channel on their TV. I want variety, I want to be able to see what I want, and I want my neighbors to have that choice too.

    PS: If I get moderated down, great, I was continuing an off-topic thread anyways. But at least I have the *freedom* to write that, and people can choose whether they want to read something not relevant to the topic or not.
  • by Beef ( 19842 )
    but this chip looks like a slightly souped up PII that they're selling for hundreds more and using to change sockets yet again... PIII runs in the same Slot 1 that PII runs in.

    What I want to know is why do high-end server systems need special 3D-rendering instructions?

    As for M$'s bullying tactices, I think Gateway and Micron should thumb their nose at Microsoft and go ahead with the demo. If M$ actually revokes their OEM status for doing so... fine. A) They can take Redmond straight to court for it, B) they can raise enough outrage amongst the other OEMs that an organized temporary M$ boycott would be in order. See how long M$ will hold out while all of the PCs on the shelves at Best Buy are running Red Hat!!!

    That's what they would do, if they had any Balls.

  • I think this was an excellent opportunity for Linux to get some media attention. Linux has been in the news a lot lately, but I've been hearing newspapers saying things like how it can make you 486 useful and requires less expensive hardware. This was definitely a good chance for Linux to prove itself on high end hardware.

    I am truely disgusted by Microsoft.
    Jeers to Gates and friends.
  • My take on this is that they wouldn't change their minds. Why? The fact is that 95% of PC users use Windows, and both of those two companies are based around selling Windows machines. From a business point of view they cannot afford to risk anything. For business reasons, standing up to Microsoft is not an option for them. This is the result of questionable business practices combined with a monopoly on desktop machines by Microsoft. I'm not blaming Gateway or Micron, I'm blaming Microsoft. But neither Gateway nor Micron is about to change their mind.

    Still, try sending the letters, PR might give you a good explanation with some specifics.

  • this just reminds me of the IBM quote that Linux wouldn't take 1M hits a day. . .

    MS is getting large enough that they also are in the boat where the right hand doesn't even know there is a left hand.
  • "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..."
  • by Stephen Williams ( 23750 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:27AM (#1967803) Journal
    MS cites Linux as evidence that it doesn't have an OS monopoly. By "convincing" OEMs not to demo Linux on their machines, MS surely gives the appearance that it does have an OS monopoly. How does it want to be perceived - as a company which has a monopoly, or not?
  • by Yoganaut ( 28823 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @01:47PM (#1967812)
    We all need to remember that it's the dire prospect of simply not making as MUCH money that has the m$ board of trustees and associated bigwigs worried.

    When you're so rooted in an industry as to almost be considered a utility rather than a company, you don't just suddenly go bankrupt one day. Look at the dinosaurs of IBM and AT&T--cut into pieces, forming new divisions and discarding old ones, but still unshakeable.

    It could be reasoned that the only way the m$ entity could screw things up for itself is by ruining the trust the Public seem to have in it. As more and more of what has been going on in the DOJ proceedings comes to light (or is supressed, whatever the case may be), MicroSoft is becoming less like the Big Brother you play catch and drink beer with and more like the Big Brother from a George Orwell novel.

    This is just another example of m$ demonstrating that it doesn't really deserve that trust. If they don't feel that the Public have enough sense to make intelligent buying descisions, or even have the right to see competing products outperform and surpass their own on an even playing field--then where does that leave us?
  • Oracle for Linux kicks the crap out of Oracle for NT, and that's what they're afraid of. When everyone starts seeing how good Linux is at running serious enterprise solutions, they'll switch. We should get some real numbers out on the web... I know for a fact that Oracle for Linux beats NT, AND Solaris.
  • by CocaCola ( 30016 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @01:19PM (#1967821)
    excerpt from MS vs. DOJ trial transcripts, Dean SCHMALENSEE, economist, top Microsoft witness, makes the following sworn statement on record (quoted transcript in capital letters): BOIES quotes Gates: 'POPULAR NEWCOMERS SUCH AS LINUX POSE NO THREAT TO WINDOWS. LIKE A LOT OF PRODUCTS THAT ARE FREE, YOU GET A LOYAL FOLLOWING EVEN THOUGH IT'S SMALL. I HAVE NEVER HAD A CUSTOMER MENTION LINUX TO ME,' Then BOIES asks SCHMALENSEE: 'IS [this] CONSISTENT WITH YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY?' answer: 'YES'. Uhm, gonna be interesting for him to explain recent Microsoft actions ... (he is being called back for rebuttal)

The absent ones are always at fault.