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Microsoft redefines Open Source 277

DaBuzz sent us a fascinating little article where you can read that Microsoft is exempt from trademark law. Talks about Open Source having a variety of meanings, and how MSs definition differs from Linux.
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Microsoft redefines Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not that I like M$, or Ed Muth, but who the hell are you people to criticize something that Linux doesn't even have yet?

    For example, Muth made the statement about any shrink wrapped software running on any computer running Windows, and that it is due to a central hold on the Windows source tree. When you think about it, he is right. Can anyone tell me of a time a off the shelf product for Windows didn't work on Windows?? I can't. But I can tell any of you countless stories of how a rpm package may or may not run on any Linux installation. And we make fun of M$?? Deb and tar packages are no better.

    Like I said, I am no M$ fan, but you have to give credit where credit is due.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it's their intention to co-opt the "open source" moniker then they're dumber than we thought.

    This would be a good (albeit seedy) play if the roles were reversed i.e. if Open Source was the dominant trusted icon of desktop computing and MS as the upstart. The way things are now, I believe MS in unintentionally doing more good than harm.

    By throwing around the term "Open Source" they're probably trying to regain developer interest and turn some Linux popularity wave in their direction. The backlash of this is that if the PHBs here MS saying "open source", all of a sudden "open source" sounds good to the PHBs.

    Nevermind that it isn't really open. The developers will see right through it. Noone will work for MS for free. But now the term "open source" is less scary to a lot of people.

    IMHO, MS is shooting themselves in the foot.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So long as you don't mind if other (potentially MUCH better funded) companies using the same name as your own perhaps successful product, then fine.

    You'd probably be singing quite a different tune if you spent a lot of time and effort to create a lucrative market making "Sheldon brand Widgets" only to have it overrun by a large established company coming in making "Authentic Sheldon brand Widgets".

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a great article... because it calls into serious doubt MS's willingness to adhere to an open source model *before* the judge considers it as a possible remedy. (Assuming, of course, that virtuous MS actually loses the case to those anti-innovative forces in the goverment and industry. :-)

    Now, the DoJ can take steps to prevent MS from being ordered to perform some remedy... then trying to redefine the terms of that order. The mere fact that Muth suggests Windows is "open source" because it's available to a handful of sites under a highly restrictive non-disclosure, non-IP license demonstrates how far they are willing to twist terms. I was surprised there was no mention of the "open source" Melissa MS Word Macro worm. (Oh yeah, mentioning a MS Word virus which requires MS Outlook and MS Express to propogate is probably not a good idea right now...)
  • If such would happen, you can guarantee ZDNet, MSNBC, etc would be right behind MS. And who's Joe Schmoe going to believe, some band of Linux weirdos at Slashdot and similar sites, or the supreme being, Mr. Gates, and trustworthy names like ZD, MSNBC, CNN, etc?
  • Isn't this the same Ed Muth that blabbered on about how Linux was
    a Force to be Reckoned With(tm), until he figured out that it wasn't a
    10 year old's entry into a soapbox derby?
    Who gives a rat's ass what Microsoft considers to be Open Source?
    They're a dying breed..
  • OK, I think the time has come to "draw a line in the sand."

    I will say, right here, right now, that, if Microsoft releases the source code to any component of the Windows 98/NT/2000 operating system, and proclaims it to be "Open Source," and their license fails to meet the Open Source Definition or the Debian Free Software Guidelines in even one particular, I will not download it, I will not look at it, and I will certainly not work on it.

    I don't think Microsoft has the cojones to release their code under a license that even comes close to meeting these criteria...and, if they are bound and determined to do their damnedest to "embrace and extend" (i.e. "conquer and assimilate") the concepts that are the very underpinnings of our community, I will not lift a finger to assist them, and I will do what I can to convince people to do likewise.

    I encourage all of you to stand up, declare yourself, and take this "pledge" as I have done. We can show Microsoft that any attempt they make to coopt our community in order to further their greedy, monopolistic empire will be an exercise in utter futility.

    Who's with me?


  • Honestly, I don't think Microsoft will ever open their source to any usable degree. Their past tactics have shown that they're only interested in everything being proprietary [] to themselves.
  • > (at least, they've been using the OSS.NET name >since 1993, and I assume that they only used that >name because of their corporate name).

    You know what happens when you assume.
  • Forget about Linux distro's....
    Every damn system is different! We got libc5
    libc6. Different widget sets, window managers,
    hell even different windowing systems (MetroX,
    XFree86 et al)
    A lot of boxes run kernels so well tuned
    you can't even boot it on another machine!
    I guess is too bad it all works, after all thats what really counts.
  • This is precisely the method used by authors at the start of the computer era such as Steven Levy, who wrote 'Hackers' on an Apple II. Back then you broke documents up into little bits so the software could deal with them.
    In some ways it's heartwarming to see that we're still there...
    ...or _you_ are. Me, I don't do 'word processors'... my text is text, and whether it's Linux tools or BBEdit Lite, the stuff _I_ use can deal with multi-meg documents without flinching.
    Ironically, I still like to write novels with chapters as separate files, which I guess illustrates that you _can_ fool all of the people all of the time, especially if most of them don't really care all that much, or expect any sort of progress over the years.
  • The term "open source" or "open-source" when used in conjunction with software predates its use by the Open Source Initiative(tm) and its registration as the Open Source(r) trademark. Take a look at dejanews - you'll see several uses of it in reference to Free Software, several of which date from nearly ten years ago. I'm starting to doubt that Eric and Bruce "invented" the term several years ago when other people used it long before.

    Somebody had posted a link to a very good article about this issue on slashdot a long time ago, but I don't see to have it bookmarked.
  • Well, it's not accurate to call win95 and win98 separate OSs, since they both run the same software. WinNT runs much of the same software as well.

    It would be equivalent to saying that GNU/Linux is extremely fragmented because there are several hundred versions of the Linux kernel.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by smartass:

    They say that because it's shrink wrapped, that's why it runs...

    My last install of wine took a half dozen tries and about 24 hours.
  • Posted by LarkMan:

    As an AlphaNT user or sysadmin can attest too. Not all M$ OS are created equal mean they only begrudgingly support the Alpha and would probably drop it if they could. Hey they already dropped MIPS and the PPC platforms. BTW, nowhere in Microsoft's much vaunted Checklist for Windows 2000 Device Driver Development [] is Alpha compatibility mentioned.

    My feeling is Muth is probably speaking more openly about what M$ is really thinking behind closed doors, than Ballmer's "let's make peace overtures". Muth probably believes in all sincerity that the world is better off with a single processor, single OS, and single source of Apps.

    Besides we couldn't even mentally handle the burden of knowing what is going in the underlying source code. You see we aren't smart enough only "select group of computer scientists, researchers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and engineering partners, who are offered the code under a set of restrictions that prohibit them from commercializing the technology in any way" are. M$ is doing us a favor by protecting us from ourselves.

    If you follow Muth's logic to its logical conclusion, then Linus, Alan Cox, RMS, and even JWZ are idiots. They dared develop and then gave back the source.

    I have to give Muth credit as at least he doesn't mince words or dodge what he sees as the company line. Ballmer is no better than Al Gore. Both pander and speak words that will make them look like good guys.

    Where are Perens and RMS when we really need them???


    P.S. Zapman: DOS 6.22 and WfW are still on the company's active offering list. So there you go two more.

  • By spreading misinformation about the meaning
    of open source it looks like they're trying to
    bait OSI into suing them. Maybe they figure they can drag this into court and exhaust the communities resources.

  • by Tim ( 686 )
    Didn't X Windows come onto the scene before MS Windows? I don't remember for sure, but what if it did?

    Just speculating.

  • Win 95, Win 95 OSR, Win 95 with Service Pack, Win 95 OSR2, Win95 OSR2.1, Win95 OSR2.5, Win 98, Win 98 Second Edition... do I need to go through all the betas in between?
  • Try large corporations. Typically they will only have a 5 year upgrade cycle, which means they could still be running Win 3.11 and apps. Once when I was interning at Intel I found out that they had banned Windows 95, so I was forced to write 16-bit code for the programming project I was hired for (which didn't make me happy at all)
  • Can anyone tell me of a time a off the shelf product for Windows didn't work on Windows

    Uhm, yeah - several:

    • Microsoft Flight Simulator expansions (there are several) have never worked for me. They always end up breaking the whole install when I put them in and it's time for re-install-all-of-windows.
    • DirectX. It's quite a maze to find out if your hardware is supported or not, and even when it is, you've got bugs all over the place. (shaded polygons that have no overlaid texture so they are all shades of grey - I got that in Tomb Raider and Thief under several different kinds of cards.)
    • "Robot City", a storyline kind of game, required the installation of some add-on to the video driver that ended up hosing Windows every time I tried it (this was Windows 3.1). I've never run the game.

    Easy to use, my ass.

  • We're not saying (at least most of us) that Windows is too fragmented. We're attacking Microsoft's arguement that Open Source leads to fragmentation by turning it back on them.

    There are different Linux distributions, but they all work more or less the same way (once installed) and run the same software.

    There are different flavours of Windows (Windows95/98, NT, CE, more coming...), but they may or may not run your "Windows" software and good luck trying to use your knowledge of WindowsCE to help you administer an NT box.

    Yes, the fragmentation arguement is bogus. That's the point. As long as you have standards, fragmentation (aka. "competition" or "choice") is OK and can even be positive.

  • >Remember when Compton's tried unsuccesfully to trademark "multimedia"??

    Compton's were granted a patent (later overthrown based on prior art) to multimedia, not a trademark.

    >How many M$ executives does it take to change the definition of a word?

    Trademarks are identifiers for products, not licenses to set definitions.
  • >If I were to create a new Linux distribution, and call it "Windows X" in all the press releases and press briefings

    Trademark law protects name identification of products. Naming your operating system product the same name as mine leads to confusion as to whether it's a new product of mine. Clearly you would be violating the Windows trademark if you named your product in that way. There's no open source "product" to protect, so trademark law is irrelevant.

    Open Source is a certification mark. That means if I claim something is *certified* as Open Source and if the SPI hasn't approved it, they have legal grounds for a complaint. That's not what Microsoft is claiming.

    Now, you might argue that Microsoft's use of the term implies certification. But the term is just too close to plain English for that to stick. When you first heard the term, did you have at least some impression about what it meant? If the term was "Tux Approved", then yes, Microsoft saying "we're thinking of creating Tux approved software, by which we mean..." then you would have grounds for complaint for diluting a certification.
  • My four year old son thinks a window is a hole in a wall. I doubt he's the only one...
  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @02:15PM (#1941340) Journal
    ...I find the alternative even more scary.

    Ok, Microsoft is trying to leverage some of the buzz surrounding the open source movement. But fundamentally, they're still using english words in a conversational way. While Microsoft has a trademark on Windows used as a name for a commercial OS, you and I can talk or write about windows in another GUI without ever having to acknowledge the Microsoft trademark. How is Microsoft to refer to what they're planning to do? To trademark a fairly generic term and then claim all uses of that term must refer to a specific set of conditions strikes me as a bigger assault on freedom than anything Microsoft has ever done. A trademark doesn't allow you to define the language.
  • So Ballmer and Muth aren't reading off the
    same PR script this week, no big deal, but
    you can at least see that Microsoft is flirting
    with the Open Source idea, tossing around the
    ol' boardroom and debating about it internally.
    They won't fully pursue it but they do know
    how much it really matters to real IT people.

    I expect Microsoft will release some code soon,
    certainly not enough to apease the Open Source
    advocacy crowd, but enough for Microsoft to get
    some PR points from clueless tech journalists.
  • ...without sanitizing it first. I wonder just how many "features" windows has designed into it that do nothing but thwart the efforts of their competitiors?


  • by sterwill ( 972 )
    The idea that "Linux has good coders working on it, MS has shit coders" holds no water whatsoever.
    May I suggest you try Microsoft products?
  • MS is a big company, but when a target enters the inner zone on its radar, watch the fsck out. This is slowly starting to happen w/ Linux and Open Source.

    Soon as they figure out a strategy, the folks at MS will "turn on a dime", as one poster put it, and...... well anyone remember Netscape?
  • I don't think they will, because (a) they are greedy, and (b) they're probably embarassed. I would be too - I'm sure that Windows' source code is an utter rats' nest.
  • Consider the phrase, "If it compiles, ship it." Apparently, an M$ program/product manager was said to have told someone on his group just that (of course, that probably wasn't the first/last time). Gives you the ol' warm-fuzzies, doesn't it?
  • They would also have to do some heavy sanitation when it comes to security holes as they could no longer rely on security through obscurity to protect them. Not that security through obscurity has worked for them, but it would be infinitely easier to find holes if the source were out there - all it would probably take would be somebody with a copy of slint. This would leave current Windows users in the precarious position of seriously needing to upgrade as a lot of the holes that are there now were probably there before. In a perverted kind of way, that might make Microsoft happy as it will force a lot more users to upgrade than would have otherwise.
  • ...I wonder if we will find any GPL'd code in there buried somewhere deep :) Probably not, GPL code works well, unlike some other bits of code...
    I recall someone writing something a month or so ago about running strings on some of the Microsoft DLLs, and turning up some suspicious results. Unfortunately, I don't have the reference right now, and I don't have the time to go ahead and do a proper job of it right now; it would take hours to do it right, and this is the middle of proposal season ( ;-/ (so why am I posting on Slashdot :-))

    Can someone be persuaded to try it and post the results?

  • I hope they do open up their code. I need a good laugh on occassion.
  • Axis and Allies (Hasbro) gets only to an animation sequence and hangs.

    And my Windows95 installation is *very* vanilla. All that is loaded on it is the g200 driver that came with the card, Trophy Bass, GospeLink, and CivilizationII gold edition.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~ ~^~
  • Opps, really one and a half becuase Trophy Bass also hangs now and again...
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~ ~^~

  • MS's OS division earns more money than some countries. Does anyone really think that MS would allow a RedHat or Caldera distro of Windows?
  • Did they still have the source for this custom written application? I'm sure it wasn't a question of whether Linux could run it, but rather the programmer made an assumption for a Slackware system that was no longer true on the Redhat System.

    On a seperate note, I've taken code from repositories, and compiled them for Linux. Old code. Really really old code. Most of it worked (except for the X code that was looking for some screwy Sony sponsored Xaw libraries).

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • The trademark application, as i understand it, is for "Open Source." "open source" is a term that was in common use prior to the application, and could not receive a valid trademark in this context. It is also, as near as I can tell, what MS said.

    I'm not going to touch the question of whether the "Open Source" trademark is valid . . .
  • No, I'm not.

    While the use of a word in the language does not prevent it from becoming a trademark, or being registered as a trademark (the two are not the same), a trademark cannot push aside such prior use.

    I cannot obtain or register a trademark for "tennis racket" in any way that will stop a manufacturor from selling what we now know as tennis rackets under tha tname. I could, however, use it as a trademark for a microprocessor.

    Similarly, no registration of "Open Source" can stop it's use in the manner prior to the registration.

    The ownership & validity of a trademark come from its use, not registration. Registration is a way of notifying the world that someone claims a trademark.

    It is not rare for a national or regional chain to have a properly registered trademark, and find, upon trying to expand in a new market, that there is already a business there with the same name which predates the registration. The chain's trademark is not valid in that region; the local owns it. The typical result is that the chain pays far more than the small business is worth to either buy it or to get it to change its name.

  • Yo moron! Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason netscape may be so "buggy" under linux is because it's *NOT* a native linux program, but a port of a Windows program? Of course there are going to be problems cropping up because of the nature of the porting process. Just take a look at lynx and some of the problems people have getting it to run correctly on their machines in the lynx-dev mailing list, especally the MSDOS and Win32 ports of lynx.
  • I hate to point out the obvious, but this illustrates the problem with the term "open source". While "free software" is ambiguous, "open source" is just plain inaccurate so companies like Microsoft can come along and decide on a new definition for it and most people won't realise that it's wrong.

    Sure, "open source" is just as strictly defined as "free software" but because the term doesn't accurately describe what it actually means this allows people to be able to get away (in terms of public perception) with creating their own definitions.
  • Not to mention the fact that OSI does not own a trademark on the term "open source". They can make it a service mark if they want, but that means nothing. Please can use it any way they want - they only need to meet the OSI definition of Open Source if they want to call it "Open Source(sm)" instead of "open source".

    This is similar to how I can refer to the things open on my screen was "windows", but because they weren't put there by Microsoft software, I can't call them Windows(tm).
  • I called it the "perens/raymond" organization becuase I couldn't remember the exact name, and I didn't want to get it confused with any of the other organizations with similar names. Sorry if it offended.

    Anyway, as to the other matter, I quote some email I got from a friend who is an intellectual property lawyer, who was speaking off the cuff, not giving a professional opinion:

    Anyway, I'm pretty skeptial of Software in the Public Interest's claim to
    "Open Source" as a trademark. First, as far as I know, that registration
    is still pending. So there's no finding that it's a legitimate mark --
    just that SPI has applied for registration and is claiming that it's a
    mark. Hell, I can apply for a registration for "IBM" and claim it's a
    mark. Doesn't mean I'll get it.

    Second, there's a company called Open Source Solutions who has apparently
    used that name for at least five years before SPI's first use of it (at
    least, they've been using the OSS.NET name since 1993, and I assume that
    they only used that name because of their corporate name). I would expect
    they would have something to say about SPI's attempt to claim the words
    "open souce" as a trademark.

    Personally, I believe that the term "open source" has been used
    generically long before SPI's first use (February 1998), and that SPI has
    no trademark in the term, notwithstanding its application for

  • Nobody owns a trademark on the term "Open Source". The Perens/Raymond organization has applied for a trademark, but they're never going to get it. There is prior use of the term, such as the "Open Source System Inc" company standing in their way.
  • ..."they only need to meet the OSI definition of Open Source if they want to call it "Open Source(sm)" instead of "open source"."

    Please... IANAL, (well, in fact, not even an American), but would you think I am free to name my software Windows if I don't call it Windows(TM)?? Of course not.

    Talking about "open source", with whatever capitalization, and attribution, in connection to a software distribution/development style, they are obviously talking about Open Source(sm)/(tm)/(whatever); and if they insist they are open source, when they are not, it's clearly a violation of the trade (whatever) mark. I can clearly see the intention to make the expression a bit muddy, and that's why it needs to be protected.

    Also, why should SPI/whatever wait until they get the mark itself? It just gives more time for this shoddy corporation to misuse the mark, and damage the value of it; certainly it's urgent to act immediately. Or, would you suggest I'm free to capitalize on "patent pending" patents, and turn down the claims later?

  • Well, if Open Source can be used how ever they want, can we rename the GNOME project "Windows"
  • Maybe Bill Gates sees the division inside the Free Software community over the term "Open Source" and is now trying to add to the confusion.

    Anyway, Open Source (TM) is Free Software (Freely Redistributable Software, or FRS) [].

    Open Source is a trademark of the Software in the Public Interest.

    And Microsoft is testing the water on violating the trademark. Microsoft is looking for a fight?

    Is is time for the community to put aside differences and to stand together in preparation for the coming direct conflict with Microsoft?

  • Actually with the exception of a few *smart* people who stick around universities.. in general Universities are places where *dumb* people stagnate.

    All the smart people leave ASAP to get well paying jobs.

  • I don't think so.

    Perhaps 2 years ago, before the trial, and before the Linux blip appeared on the radars of mainstream reporters.

    Now? Linux is big, and MSFT is resented.

    Even excluding that, there's one thing who's ass gets infinietly more kissing than MSFT's.


    MS vs. OSS is the dominating theme througout most mainstream discussions of Linux. It is, albiet very toned down, a war.

    The press *loves* war.

  • First off, you're comparing apples to oranges. A shrink-wrapped commercial package should install more reliably than an RPM produced by some person out there who thought it would be cool to provide the software.

    Second, you're wrong on the off-the-shelf part. I've had lots of Windows programs fail upon installation. Never mind that lots of Win3 programs don't work on NT (MS even admits this), and that certain NT programs don't work on 9x, and that certain 9x programs don't work on NT.
  • I think it's absolutely ridiculous to be able to take common english words and prevent people from using them.

    It's frankly even more stupid than software patents.

  • Hmm... A friend of mine installed Linux about 3-4 years ago at a company to run a simple customer database of some sort.

    He used a commercial package to help write this software at the time, and this ran under Slackware.

    Last year the multi-port serial board died in the computer. That model was no longer made, the new model did not have drivers for this version of Slackware with a 1.x kernel.

    There were drivers available for RedHat 5.0, and so someone tried to upgrade the machine to that.

    Well the new serial board worked. But the custom written software did not. It actually reported a rather interesting error:

    "This is not a Linux system."

    I can still run software written back in 1983 on my Windows NT machine. Not all of it, some of the stuff that uses funky Pharlap memory extensions and such does not always work well.

    But even so, backwards compatibility is a design consideration that Linux has ignored.

    And not just Windows, most of the commercial Unices, especially SCO, have tried to incorporate backwards compatibility within their systems.

  • I think the most pathetic faliure I've had on a windoze box was when I upgraded my CPU from a P133 to a P200 (or something like that), and on reboot it decided that I'd changed video cards on it (which I had not), and locked up. After that, it wouldn't even go into safe mode. I ended up having to install W95 from scratch (which worked, so there was no problem with the hardware).

    Meanwhile of course, the Linux installation that was also on the machine didn't even blink.
  • by Zapman ( 2662 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @02:12PM (#1941370)
    What's that I hear? Microsoft not fragmented?

    Let's see: Win95, Win98, WinNT, WinNT64, Win2k[1]


    [1] "Why are they naming an operating system after the greatest computer disaster in history?"
    "Not to mention the year 2000 problem..." (Dialog on a.s.r.)
  • I've always wondered how they got batch files to do so much, now we can find out!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • by aheitner ( 3273 )
    My last install of wine (and the dozen before that) have all taken 30 seconds:

    $rpm -Uvh wine-031599.rpm

    I was very impressed when the last version I installed made MS Dev Studio start working :)
  • This is pretty funny, like the old "telephone" game. Balmer must've been having lunch with some journalist and asked someone to "open the souce on the window", the guy from ZDNet, heard "Open Source of Windows", wrote an article, then Slashdot had it's discussions, which caused ESR and friends to write the open letter to M$. And all Balmer wanted was some jelly for his toast.


  • > Why am I replying to this? No idea. I work on
    > Visual Studio, so Office2k is nothing to do
    > with me.

    Oh. So *you're* the one who made a C++ compiler that generates code so bloated that a 20 line program cannot be compiled on a floppy disk.

    VisualStudio is an abomination. You should see the poor dupes at school trying to use it...their machines lock up 2 or 3 times before it will ever load successfully. Probably because the machines are pitiful P90s with 16 megs of RAM, and we all know that that's nowhere near anouth hardware to develop programs on, right?

    I hope nobody ever tells my 386/25 laptop that, because it can run emacs, gcc, g++, perl and python just fine in its 8 megs of RAM and 120 megs of hard disk.

    Go away, Microsoft Boy.

  • I'll not defend my intelligence but I will back up my claims about the inefficiency of Visual C++.

    While I cannot provide hard numbers, as I do not have any machines which use any Microsoft products and only use Solaris machines at school, I can provide the following evidence (albeit anecdotal to all of you, it is first hand to me):

    I have seen two people attempt to compile simple, introductory C++ programs with VC++ and have it fail because there was insufficient space on the floppy they were using for compilation. *NOT* because of the final executable size, but because of the several 200-500k intermediate files left behind by the compiler. I cannot say what these files were (they didn't end in ".o") or what they did.

    They were using new 1.44M floppies, btw. I have *seen* an 8-incher once - on an old Osborne 1...but that's neither here nor there.

    I have also seen students spend 30 minutes trying to figure out how to use VC++. You can't just open up a new source file, type and compile. Visual C++ may be the finest tool available for high-end Windows development - I wouldn't know - but it is completely unsuitable for use in this situation. Of course, this is not Microsoft's problem, but rather my school's. It does, perhaps, point out a problem with IDEs in general, IMHO.

    As for the ad-hominem assaults, I apologize. That was uncalled for and I graciously accept your calling me an ignoramus. We tend to get hot-headed when things we love are threatened, ne?

    Thank you for the dialogue.

  • Don't forget to paint it pink first (nt)
  • I don't think it's accurate to call it the perens/raymond organization any longer, if it ever was. I agree that the legality of the trademark is in question for various reasons, but not for the reason you state - Open Source Systems Inc. is in a different trademark category and would not prevent the issuance of an Open Source trademark for computer software.


  • As someone currently at University, I would object to this statement. Yes, smart people go to universities, but so do stupid people. A lot of them. More than the smart people.

  • Forget about Linux distro's....
    Every damn system is different!

    Damn straight. I'm using bleeding-edge releases of my kernel, the C & C++ libraries and compilers, and a few other things at home that I won't be installing at work until they've been hammered on a while. My system here is using Window Maker, at work it's FVWM2, and my roommate is using KDE. He also drives a different car, wears different clothing, and likes different food. It's called "freedom of choice", and we like it.

    For the record, all of the systems we own or run execute the exact same software binaries fine, (and the LinuxPPC systems run the same software code fine after a recompile).

    We got libc5 libc6.

    You forgot libc4. That's right, we've got old systems that only run libc5 binaries, ancient systems that only run libc4/a.out, new systems built around libc6, and new systems that run all three. We've got the same programs recompiling with few or no source code changes on the newest systems, but getting the technical benefits nonetheless. Read up on the technical differences between C libraries, and try to stretch your mind to encompass the concepts of "progress" and "backwards compatibility" at the same time. Once you've grokked that, email Microsoft and ask them why most of their drivers, DOS, and Win16 programs don't work with Windows "New Technology". Then ask them why most of their Win32 programs still don't work with "Windows 2000" without source code changes. Then ask them what's going to happen to that 32-bit specific API when they finally push 64-bit NT (a separate project from Windows 2000...) out the door three or four years from now.

    Different widget sets, window managers,

    Yeah, yeah: "Ein MFC, Ein Windows, Ein Microsoft." Great world for everyone to be forced to live in. Different widget sets and different window managers fill different needs of programmers and users, accomodate wider sets of preferences, and in general foster competition and evolution of software. Anyone horribly confused by a GTK program sitting on the same desktop as (or an adjacent virtual desktop to) a Lesstif program should probably just give up entirely and get WebTV.

    hell even different windowing systems (MetroX,
    XFree86 et al)

    If you think those are different windowing systems, you need to go back and do some more reading. The exact same programs run on either and can't tell the difference. Most hardware works with either happily. In fact, chew on this: not only are different X servers not incompatible, they are so compatible that I can run decades old HP-UX programs on the same desktop next to new Linux software, with the only noticeable change being that Qt and GTK look better than Motif.

    A lot of boxes run kernels so well tuned
    you can't even boot it on another machine!

    Yes, boxes whose owners have chosen to make those tuning changes themselves. Nobody's holding a gun to your head to force you to use 486 or Pentium II specific instructions, or to get rid of your EIDE drivers on a SCSI-only machine, you know.

    I guess is too bad it all works, after all thats what really counts.

    Try not to sound too disappointed.

    I really don't understand the backlash here - for most people, if Linux isn't for you, don't worry about, ignore it in the papers and the trade rags, and it won't bother you again until they start advertising idiot proof distributions in 2005. If you're a Win9x user and happy that way then Linux just isn't a factor.

    If you're an NT server programmer watching your world start to crumble, on the other hand, I can recommend several good books on the POSIX standard that you may find of interest in the near future.
  • > have seen two people attempt to compile simple, have seen two people attempt to compile simple, introductory C++ programs with VC++ and have it fail because there was insufficient space on the floppy they were using for compilation. *NOT* because of the final executable size, but because of the several 200-500k intermediate files left behind by the compiler. I cannot say what these files were (they didn't end in ".o") or what they did.

    HA! I have used VC++ some, and I have some idea what these are. The first culprit is the .pch - pre-compiled headers. These can easily grow over 1Mb, and all it is is pre-processed headers. I once had a directory tree with about 15 projects, some with several executables, and .pch files were taking about 400Mb, almost all of it exact duplicates. Turning off .pch's in all the projects was a major pain in the arse, it took me about 2 days just locate all the files that had pch generation turned on.

    The next candidate is the .ilk, itermediate link - a device to speed up the linker that tends to once again eat tons of disk space with if you have lots of projects.

    Next in line are the .bsc - browse source, which speeds up source browsing in projects. I don't find it that useful, and usually turn it off.

    There are about 10 other extensions, .ncb, .pdb, etc etc, each of which was designed to speed up some part or other of the IDE. All of them are turned on by default, and the just chew up massive amounts of disk. I have noticed very little preformance decrease by eliminating many of them, if you have enough memory and CPU. Maybe if I had a pentium 66, 8Mb RAM and a very slow disk they would speed things up, but with 128MB RAM , a fast CPU (PPro 200 or better) and a decent hard drive, the performance benefits of most ofthese monsters are pretty marginal.

    It would be nice if there was a common panel somewhere in the IDE that would allow me to control whole classes of files - .ilk, .pch or .bsc, for the whole environment, rather than having to deal with them on a by project or by file basis. It would also be nice if there was an option to delete all of theses files at once, rather than having to delete them manually if I decide to archive a whole projects directory. It is convienient for me to archive whole project trees at once, and having to archive all the only marginally useful, or automatically regenerated IDE speedup files is a pain in the ass.
  • Tell me if I'm wrong, but in a nutshell, didn't they just say that they benefit from people paying them to improve their (P)OS? It talks about universities doing that very thing... That can't be true though... Universities are supposed to be where the *smart* people flock.

  • heh, your right, it was an over generalization on my part...

    your post freaked me out for a second though. Orion is my first name... course you could care less... if you want, me mail and I'll send you a scan of my birth certificate
  • This definately looks like a case of MicroSoft attempting to dilute a trade marked term for their own advantage. If a closed product (available on under a highly restricted license), is allowed to be called open source because MicroSoft decides to redefine the term that we heading down a road for disaster. The term will quickly be called a generic for any time the source is available to even one person outside the company.

    By their definition, open source is available to a limited set of people (a select group of computer scientists, researchers, and original equipment manufacturers). Those select few cannot redistrubute it (thus commmercializing the technology). They have no rights to the work or derived works. Their ideas must be review before being incorperated back in. Sound a lot like a closed license to me.

    One would wonder though if this isn't a good chance to counter charge the other direction. If they can redefine "open source", can we not redefine "windows", "office" and "explorer"? Let them come a attack us with the counter charge that they are diluting trademarks in exactly the same fashion. Which has greater value, Windows or open source?

    Unfortunately, MicroSoft is the 800 pound goralla. Most likely it will try to both get itself labeled open source and keeps its our trademarks intact. Lets just hope it doesn't get a seat on this bus.


  • by Teflik ( 4823 )
    Yes, X was first, but it's called "X". (Or "X Window System" or "X11". The X Consortium has trademarked "X Window System".)

    Mark Fassler
    fassler at frii dot com
  • Mildly Burnt out are we? First off Take a few breaths and relax. Second I think alot of people have these problems and I really thik it comes in the order of what's installed on a system seeing as new dll's cause there to be an almost infanate amount of different windows installs. I myself have a network running a bunch of 98 boxes at my work. Unfortunatly about a week after I installed them they started crashing right and left. No idea why. Had to re-install on three machines. and the sad art is these people don't even know how to install software so nothing was installed on it after I left. I really hate windows.
  • Then why is their software so buggy?

    I bet their quality control system consists of:

    * Check if it breaks 3rd party apps: OK

    * Check if Word doesn't break writing letter to mom: OK

    * Convert to hungarian notation: SHIP.
  • by Ross C. Brackett ( 5878 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @03:10PM (#1941387) Homepage
    Food for thought:

    1. However, [Steve] Ballmer said the company was coming to realize that giving source code to users creates a "certain level of comfort" for many of them.
      --IDG.Net article 'Microsoft open to open source for Windows?'

      At present, we have plenty of ``keep quiet'', but not enough freedom talk. Most people involved with free software say little about freedom--usually because they seek to be ``more acceptable to business.'' Software distributors especially show this pattern. Some GNU/Linux operating system distributions add proprietary packages to the basic free system, and they invite users to consider this an advantage, rather than a step backwards from freedom.

      We are failing to keep up with the influx of free software users, failing to teach people about freedom and our community as fast as they enter it. This is why non-free software such as Qt, and partially non-free operating system distributions, find such fertile ground. To stop using the word ``free'' now would be a mistake; we need more, not less, talk about freedom.

      Let's hope that those using the term ``open source'' will indeed draw more users into our community; but if they do, the rest of us will have to work even harder to bring the issue of freedom to those users' attention. We have to say, ``It's free software and it gives you freedom!''--more and louder than ever before.

      --Richard Stallman

    This is a dangerous time for our community. Microsoft is going to try to blur the line between what's good for them and what's good for us. In fact, I believe that this is Open Source's main pitfall - it implies that allowing people to look at the source will expand profits by making the software better, and people happier. This kind of makes sense for a company who *needs* open development to stay alive (like Netscape), but this is not the case for Microsoft. All the wishing in the world won't take away the fact that Microsoft is not genuinely interested in improving their product in any meaningful way. They are interested in making money - an improved software package would be merely a pleasant side effect. By making their product Open Source, they are interested in making those who are intolerant of Microsoft change their minds and at the very least stop working against them. They are interested in sucking mindshare and synergy away from us. That is all. There is a reason why Bill Gates is the richest man in the world - it's because he is a cutthroat businessman. If we forget that, even for an instant, we are doomed.

    RMS isn't an idiot, he's seen this scenario coming from a mile away. I sincerely hope that recent events are making it more apparent that, for all the downsides there are to Free Software, it at least provides a good method to keep Microsoft, and others like them, from subverting everything we've worked for.
  • ..that Linux doesn't even have yet? That would be:
    (a) locked-down control by one company whose priority is profits, not performance?
    (b) a second-rate GUI designed on third-rate principles?
    (c) a FUD/PR engine working day and night to promote it?

    Muth's statement that shrink-wrapped software runs on any Windows computer is demonstrably FALSE. One great example: at my office our highly-paid consultants worked for days trying to figure out why neither MS Access nor Pervasive's ODBC engine setup programs would even run under NT, regardless of who was logged in (even Administrator). One of the techs finally fixed it, but he had no idea how.

    MS Access qualifies as "shrink-wrapped software". It's made and marketed by the same people who produce the OS it was to be running on.

    I can tell you countless stories of how RPM files work great when you install them, but more than that -- if an RPM fails, I can grab the SRPM, rebuild it, and figure out what went wrong. Failing that, I can use the large number of free debugging tools (gdb, etc.) to figure out why the program doesn't run.

    So let's give some credit where credit is due.
  • by bgarrett ( 6193 ) <> on Friday April 09, 1999 @03:12PM (#1941389) Homepage
    Backwards compatibility? Hm. Around here I just recompile, and stuff works :)

    Not knowing the nature of this custom software you're describing, I can't say anything except the fact that open source software wouldn't run into problems like that -- the customer could rebuild his own app, and/or find out why the app apparently decided it wasn't running under linux (despite the fact that "uname -s" would have revealed it was, whatever the version).

    Backwards compatibility is fine. BEND-OVER-backwards compatibility is not something I feel any operating system needs.
  • Is it me or does this article basically say Microsoft would consider opening up their source to a select group of computer scientists and specialists who will work on extending the OS and it's technologies with no hope of receiving recognition or payment for any of the work or its derivatives in the future? Pretty sweet deal for MS if you ask me. They "allow" some people to extend their OS for them, and then sell that work as their own. I never knew Open Source could be so closed.
  • Is the service pack shrink wrapped? Oh, and how much does it cost?

  • The headline of the article is enough to get the chuckles started. After you start reading the assinine drivel attributed to Mr. Ed (my apologies to the horse by the same name, since the horse made infinitely more sense) you can hardly keep yourself from rolling in the floor.

    Given the known instability of Windows products the statement about "quality control" is the biggest load of garbage I've seen in a long, long, time.


  • May be Muth and Ballmer need to have a conversation once in a while or may be this plain ol bs from ms!

    "I find it hard to believe that some of the best computer scientists in the world will want to do their work for free," he said. "Without a long-term technical road map,without multimillion-dollar test labs, someone wants me to believe these visionary programmers and developers will want to do the best work of their lives and then give it away. I do not believe in that vision of the future."

    ed muth, msoft,4153, 1014079,00.html

  • ``There are many definitions of open source...,'' Muth said.

    That statement is completely true. ``Open
    Source'' is a pending trademark; `open source' is
    not. Neither will ever be certified as a
    trademark. If they are, it will be yet more proof
    of the USPTO's incompetent boobery.

    Whatever ``Open Source'' may have meant, it
    ceased to mean anything the day Eric Raymond
    appeared on the same stage as Steve Jobs.
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • What in the name of all that is holy do you DO to a machine to screw up installs that badly? Try to plug in a new video card while it's still on? Kick the hard drive? Either you're a liar or you're purposely screwing up things in ways I can only imagine.
  • No shit. Anyone still using win3.1 apps needs to move on to a newer version. At a certain point of age, it's useless to try to make something work on current machines. MS markets nt to professional users. I've yet to see a professional user purposly use a 4-5 year old outdated app. There are better and newer things out here. You don't still use dos 3.0 or linux 1.0, do you?

    As far as 9x not working well with nt, the vast majority of 9x apps will work quite happily on nt. The ones that don't usually have an nt version around. 9x and nt are different operating systems, so of course there will be incompatibilities.
  • Microsoft's Style Sheets Patent (number 5860073 at the USPTO [] -- coudn't get the hyperlink to work) is on the techniques and technology used in their implementation of style sheets, using the WC3 specification [] as a guide and reference. They do not hold a patent on the concept of CSS. Another company should be able to follow the specification and come up with their own implementation using different techniques and technology.

    Even if 'window' was used in GUI terminology pre-MS, unless a company specifically named their windowing system "Windows" prior to MS, the trademark claim is still valid. Instead, "window" was used to describe one aspect of the GUI, rather than the entire GUI system or the whole OS. Here's an example: the Linux trademark fiasco. Because "Linux" had already been the name of the OS/Kernel for years prior to the guy from NJ trademarking it. This is what proved his claim fraudulent. If you can find a pre-MS GUI product named "Windows", then someone can take MS to court over it.

    Anyways, the article itself didn't say anything about trademark. as long as MS doesn't claim "Open Source", they're in the clear. "open source" as a phrase is not trademarked. They may be stupid often enough, but they know well enough that use of a trademarked term will have to go hand-in-hand with complying to the terms of use of said trademark.

    IANAL. I am not infallible. I admit that I could be wrong about this. Corrections (with evidence, counterevidence, etc.) Welcome.

  • Agreed --

    Netscape is virtually the only non-alpha program I've ever had serious problems with on Linux.

    I used to get Bus Errors out the wazoo. Upgrading to 4.5 and then more recently to 4.51 helped, but only some.

    Then there was the strange problem of certain sites with complex HTML (cough cough, Slashdot, Freshmeat) also causing bus errors.

    This one stumped me for a long time, then eventually I figured out what to do. Save your bookmark and address book files out of .netscape, then rm -r ~/.netscape

    Worked for me, at least. I haven't had Netscape crash in a good long while.

    Also, switching to XEmacs for my mail / newsreading / HTML composition also gave me some peace of mind. Too often I'd loose important mail / HTML documents I was writing because a browswer window freaked out.

  • Actually because Open Source is a registered service mark, you can sue on the basis that it is an issue that causes confusion in the mind of the public (consumers) as to the brand identity.

    The registered service mark means that Microsoft is treading on thin ice right now with their ill inspired tactic of attempting to water down what Open Source means. Having spoken to many insiders at Microsoft I have been told they have NEVER had any intention of releasing the source code, rather this was a tactic cooked up by management to attempt to fight the OSS phenomena. I would still like a process of discovery upon a filing for disassempling or issuing a supenea for Microsoft Source Code for NT and for other products to see if any GPL code exists anywhere in them. If so Microsoft would not have a choice but to make their products Open Source. Not that I would particularly care for their products anyway but I detest Balmer, Muth & CO. arrogance.

    Any other thoughts on this?

    Linux Data Systems
  • Folks this is a test. It is a test of your resolve and the resolve of the whole Open Source Movement to fight for the ServiceMark of Open Source Software... M$ knows that Open Source is the best marketing tool we have right now...

    They DO NOT have permission from Eric or anyone else I know of the use the term Open Source in relationship to their products. This is a legal fight folks... The first of many to come.
    Don't be reactionary, be responsive and overcome these idiots by using the media against them, and using the law! Because that is exactly what they are trying to do to you..

    First they will create a confusion in the minds of consumers about who and what is open source, then they will use their little Linux think tank known at to come up with some hair brained scheme to associate Linux with thin clients only and how their NT is just "Too Good" to be used as a thing client but Linux is a small, admirable, pitiful attempt to make a free thin client thus obscuring what OSS and Linux really is.... A SERIOUS THREAT to Microsoft's empire...

    Let's get with it folks. Take it from a guy who bet his whole business on Linux... and won!
    I deal with the CEO's of other companies every day. They and the purchasing managers are the ones you have to make things clear to as they are the ones who write the checks. They are influenced by a number of things including public impression.
    Let's do this in a civil, appropriate and mature manner but fight this as a tradmark infringement which is what it is...

    Nick Donovan
    Linux Data Systems

  • by Tiger ( 9272 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @01:59PM (#1941402)
    Having your name next to the words "Open Source" is turning into the computing world equivalent of a politician having his/her photo taken shaking the hand of the Pope. Though the two may have nothing in common with the other, nonetheless showing the two together lends an air of credibility and endorsement to one (often at the expense of the other!)

    MS may also be muddying the water here. But after the "Al Gore" website, I think it's mostly word association. Muddying of "Open Source" is a secondary benefit on their part.

  • After reading this article, it occured to me that MS may be using its tried and true tactic by embracing the term 'Open Source' then extending its definition. If it starts talking its own version of open source to everyone, claiming Windows is just that, then the public will believe them. They probably figure that the OSI group will not attack them for trademark infringement.

    By altering the very definition of what is/isn't Open Source, MS may be trying to attack Linux and other OSS projects from a completely different angle. As well, if they cannot change the definition outright, then muddling the definition may be enough. MS hates to play on other peoples terms, they try to fit the terms to their own needs.

    That being said, I somehow doubt that the OSI or the community in general would sit quietly by if such a thing were to happen.
  • by raistlinne ( 13725 ) <lansdoct.cs@alfred@edu> on Saturday April 10, 1999 @11:45AM (#1941417) Homepage
    Would you please post the win9x workstation install? I enjoyed reading your server install.
  • by raistlinne ( 13725 ) <lansdoct.cs@alfred@edu> on Saturday April 10, 1999 @11:57AM (#1941418) Homepage
    So you're claiming that something to the effect of
    if(test `uname -r` != 1.0.3) then
    echo This is not a linux system
    exit 0
    Is Linux's fault? Yes, that's shell code and the program was probably written in something else, but if some moron inserts a brain-dead test to see if a system is a Linux system, that's not Linux's fault. Moreover, you should never quit after determining that the system isn't what you anticipated, you should print a warning and just try to work until you get an unrecoverable error (such as can't open a necessary file, etc.). If they have the source, this is probably a 1-line fix. Just remove that stupid check. Otherwise, well, they're screwed. But then again, try running all sorts of DOS binaries under NT, you'll have a very hard time. Furthermore, try running them that check for specific files, a specific FAT table type, or a specific verison number (say by looking at your binary or some other stupid method).

    No OS is ever going to protect you from idiots writing your code.
  • by jerodd ( 13818 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @06:43PM (#1941419) Homepage
    Microsoft can never kill GNU. They might be able to kill the current Linux hype, but they cannot even touch GNU. Why? Because GNU is free software (and Linux is also). No matter what Microsoft may do, I and my freed software comrades[1] will continue to develop, improve, and implement freed software to replace proprietary software. You can kill Netscape (or Apple) by killing their revenue stream--but when your revenue stream is funded by donations, or when you don't have a revenue stream (e.g. the Slackware folks or the Debian folks, to an extent), big, bad companies can't do much to hurt you, other than abuse patent law (which the courts will most likely reject).
  • I think Muth is making a bogus argument, and I think he knows it.
    The problems within the source trees of each MSFT OS are pretty well known.
    The commercial Unix OS's I have worked with have source trees that are just as broken.
    Mozilla released portions of Netscape's source and it was broken too.
    Consider any argument against Open Source that claims any quality or consistency benefits from having a single business entity controlling the source code bogus.
    Distributing development of an OS in a way that forces independent justification and review of code changes has a positive impact on quality and consistency.
  • So this moderation system really seems to work. If there were another post by CmdrTaco about moderation, I would post it there, instead...

    Now that my words actually have value, I find myself carefully reviewing, reading other arguments, and then posting a calculated post...

    I also see something quite amusing here.

    Anyone read Ender's Game? More specifcally, the sequal, in which Val and Peter Wiggins assume carefully crafted personas on the worldwide network, and through careful usage of word and opinion, gain rank, respect, fame, and influence?

    I'd take the Peter Wiggins role, which I believe was called Locke, if anyone else wants to play Valentine's Demosthenes? As in the story, the game would involve getting higher and higher post values, carefully creating consistent personas, trawling the web not only for current info and viewpoints to manipulate and take advantage of, but also to post to /. and to know what to expect to appear at /.

    I have no plans or expectations for a hegemony or world conquest, as Peter did, but only to have fun, and see how cool it would be. Of course it would require people to take new personas, accounts, and names.

    Random brain fart.

  • by Anonymous Shepherd ( 17338 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @03:17PM (#1941431) Homepage
    For it's part, I think M$ is misusing the term, but in reality, I also think everyone is mis-interpreting M$'s speculation.

    If I recall correctly, M$ is considering releasing it's source to valuable customers, sort of a good will gesture and as a service. Home users don't quite qualify as valuable customers, yet. It's main use would not be the improvement of their OS, per se, but of a total quality cycle in which developers and massive deployments can rely on the source and being able to either debug, or at least accurately report to M$, a problem.

    They are considering opening the source to their valuable customers, and not making their product Open Source(TM), IIRC.

    As a business move, it's no different than an independent software house providing source alongside with binaries when doing proprietary stuff.

    It would also, on M$ part, tie the relationship closer to it's customers, for good and for bad.

    It might also lead to some really good improvements in the future of the Win OSes if large organizations such as SGI, IBM, HP, Dell, Compaq, etc., were able to examine the source, offer improvements, extensions, and patches, without M$ spending much on it, and these companies will get the ability to differentiate their products.

    SGI would be able to extend and expand their Visual PC, for example... And still maintains some level of compatibility with the Win32API, if for example M$ rules that the APIs stay fixed and only the implementations can be free, sort of the way that OpenGL is currently, with the API well defined, each vendor responsible for designing and releasing an ICD/MCD, and also with each vendor being able to release and offer extensions using the OpenGL extensions capability.

    It may mean that a valuable customer is someone to whom M$ has been paid to see the source, like a down payment or lease or deposit to ensure that the source isn't leaked.

    It's not a bad move, I think.

  • OK, let's apply critical thinking here...

    The problem is that Open Source (as the term is used by 99% of the people on Slashdot) actually has multiple meanings -- there's the trademarked one, and there's the "Open Source == GPL" one, which is alas, completely and utterly *wrong* [Open Source is a superset of GPL].

    Indeed. Now how does that show that the term 'Open Source' has multiple meanings? Unlike most words in natural languages, terms like this are NOT defined by usage. Just as 'binary tree' or 'MSCE' in certain context means exactly one thing -- in a similar manner, 'Open Source' in this context means one thing, and this meaning is not dependent on the term's common usage.

    Problem 1: There's no actual quote from Muth on the "definition of Open Source" -- he's just stated as saying that "open source" has a variety of meanings -- now take it as a quote from someone who's not well versed on open source -- BSD and GPL are different "meanings" of Open Source. So, that's what he could be talking about.

    Wrong. BSDL and GPL (and QPL and MPL and others) are examples of OS licenses -- just as both Tokyo and New York are examples of cities. All this means is that 'Open Source license' is a set rather than a primitive term, and specific licences are its members. There is only one -- rather rigid -- set of criteria for the membership in the set 'Open Source licenses'. No confusion or plurality of meanings here -- that one set of criteris is the meaning of 'Open Source license'.

    Strike one...

    Problem 2: The paragraph that starts out "Differing Definitions"... 'But its definition of "open source code licenses" means making the technology available to only a select group of computer scientists' -- this DEFINITELY looks like bad reporting to me. Look at the test that goes before it: "Microsoft says it has, for the past five years, been licensing some or all of the underlying programming...." -- sounds like the journo decided that this "licensing" must be what MS meant by open sourcing its stuff!

    Note that the full sentence goes like this:

    But its definition of "open source code licenses" means making the technology available to only a select group of computer scientists, researchers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and engineering partners, who are offered the code under a set of restrictions that prohibit them from commercializing the technology in any way,
    Muth said.

    So, if we are to believe the letter of this, the reporter seems to merely be paraphrasing Muth's statement, rather than imposing his/her own interpretation of the state of affairs. You cannot get away with blaming the reporter's assumptions here -- the only way to ditch this paragraph, is to say that the reporter paraphrased incorrectly, rather than drew an invalid connection -- to say that the reporter misrepresented rather than misconstrued, to say that the reporter lied.

    Strike two...

    Solution? You all need to read/get hold of a transcript of the interview before blowing your stacks in future. Or at the very least, take what you read with a pinch of salt.

    Actually, as I have shown, your attempt at analysis here is not quite up to par with the standards that you proclaimed in the message's title. The solution thus is to read the article more carefully, rather than to attempt such a badly-done (likely due to personal bias) deconstruction.

    Strike three -- and yer out.

    Dude, when you accuse others of lack of critical thinking, you better be damn sure that your own arguments are sound, and that your analyses are bulletproof. It's, like, obvious, dude!

  • Try installing the latest service pack. It works WONDERS.

    Yep, wonders like: breaking RAS, breaking IIS, breaking DAO...

    Last time I called Platinum for IIS support (because it was soaking 100% CPU and answering requests only for static pages, not ASP), the first thing they said was "Install SP4 or hit the road."

    SP4 wouldn't install.
  • by Cowards Anonymous ( 24060 ) on Friday April 09, 1999 @03:17PM (#1941466) Homepage
    Can anyone tell me of a time a off the shelf product for Windows didn't work on Windows?

    Let us make a list, then, from personal experience:

    1. Windows itself; it usually takes 4 or 5 tries to install, not to mention the hours necessary for debugging the driver situation.
    2. Microsoft Office 97 Service Release 2. Maybe a third of installations result in measurable brokenness.
    3. Microsoft Internet Explorer. 65% of installs fail. Half of successful installs break the machine. Nuff said.
    4. Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 and Active Server Pages. If it installs, which it doesn't often do properly, there is inevitably something or other wrong, often the scripting engines. Want to see a sample broken site? Microsoft [] has one.
    5. Microsoft Java Virtual Machine. Can anyone get this to work?
    6. Games. They have about a 50% failure rate on average because of varying driver requirements.
    7. Drivers of all kinds, especially video drivers. In fact, the drivers that ship with Windows are usually broken!
    That's quite a few just off the top of my head. With effort I'm sure I could find more applications that don't work out of the box. I think nearly everyone has a story about them!

    For example, Muth made the statement about any shrink wrapped software running on any computer running Windows, and that it is due to a central hold on the Windows source tree.

    Note that a majority of my list is comprised of Microsoft products? Given that they have central hold of the OS source, wouldn't you expect that they could do better?

    But I can tell any of you countless stories of how a rpm package may or may not run on any Linux installation.

    I can think of maybe three or four times I've installed the wrong RPM. rpmfind has a way of coming up with TurboLinux or SuSE packages that don't work well with Red Hat, but they're easy enough to back out. In every case, I simply located the RPM for the distribution I was using (in these cases, Red Hat) and had no trouble at all using them.

    Compare and contrast with two weeks of wrestling with Microsoft Option Pack 4.0 to get IIS installed on an NT server. Nothing shy of a reinstallation of NT would convince OP4 to install, since it seemed to fail to correctly register its DLLs during installation.

    I don't know enough about Debian packaging to speak with any authority towards it, but I can't imagine it is much worse than RPM, and I've had nearly no problems at all with RPM, and certainly none that compare to the troubles I have when building and configuring Windows boxes (except for how badly rpm segfaults when you build it under pgcc. Maybe it's time to upgrade the compiler on the buildbox, eh?)

  • It's all about the shareholders - since many of them are employees of Microsoft (stock options -- many employees of Microsoft are receiving good stock options, as opposed to great pay), it'd be devastating if their stock went to shit. The employees would be furious, and/or leave.

    They'd do anything to get people to demand their stock. They even split it the other day. It might even be surmisable to perceive the possibility that the latest drop in stocks is accountable to Microsoft (et. al) selling shares elsewhere in the stock market, and buying up their own.

    With the DOJ trial, press happy Linux, and the relative freedom of major vendors, I would not want to own Microsoft stock right now. To keep the price up, to keep investors from worrying (the slow/dumb ones worry, the smart ones have already moved on), Microsoft provides the billion $ buffer to keep the stocks from dropping a penny.

    The buffer doesn't last forever. Serious consumer contempt exists, as does corporate distrust, for MS. You can't take their history of nearly pure corporate evil (in my humble, but correct, opinion), and turn it around on a dime. If it ever happens, it'll be down the road.
  • You have a different definition of "Open Source"? Fine, I have a different definition of "Windows". After all, the word "windows" is a common english word -- much more common than "open source". I have windows in my house. I have windows in my car.

    Therefore, I am going to create a window manager for free operating systems and call it, "windows". By your own logic, you can't stop me. There are many definitions of "windows" and my software just happens to use a different one.

    This is "Embrace and Extend 101". It's the same tactic that MS used with Java. Embrace your threat ("open source"), then extend it with your own proprietary stuff (highly restrictive licenses). Tell the public you're just trying to "make it better" by destroying the standard.

    /* Ok, my rant's over. I'll go back into "impartial observer" mode now. */
  • Yup -- sounds like you're bitter alright. :-P

    You know, I have *NO* idea how Word2k will operate on a 100 page document. But let's see, shall we? (Just got to finish installing Win2k, so please bear with me).

    First of all -- how much memory, and what processor are *YOU* running so we can compare?

    Secondly, if there are indeed still problems, as a workaround you can break up your document into chapters, or whatever, save them out as separate documents, and combine them in the Master Document view. Helps if your read the docs, you know.

    Why am I replying to this? No idea. I work on Visual Studio, so Office2k is nothing to do with me.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith