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Business Week Online Laughs at Win2K 242

ethereal writes, "Business Week Online has a really humorous article about how we're all going to end up running Win2K. There's a small pro-Linux wrap-up at the bottom, however. " The surprising thing about this article is that it was written by Sam Jaffe, who is a stock market writer, not a tech guy. I had one nit-pick with the story (that I'm sure many of you will pick up on), but it was minor. This was such a blatant Linux plug that I almost (but not quite) felt sorry for Microsoft after reading it.
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MS: Windows 2000 "the most important program ever

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  • I want to know what will happen when the Win2K embedded in your Xerox copier crashes...Will it just start printing out blue sheets of paper?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To me it has not yet been proven that a uniform look and feel is a good thing. This is just an assumption so far. There are tradeoffs associated with the 'standardization' that is uniform look and feel just as there are tradeoffs with any other standardization. The primary type of tradeoff in standardizations is flexibility vs. uniformity related. Since GUIs are inherently 'artsy', and the best tend to be games with no look and feel standards at all, I think a strong case can be made that a standardized look and feel is not better than 'a multitude of window managers, apps, etc, but no coherent look and feel'.

  • "Linux is also a favorite among techies because its so-called source code is open to anyone and everyone"

    So-called? wtf?!
  • ...features that customers want, not just what we want.

    i think that "customer's features" are (at least now) conflicting with "our" features thus implementing them means poluting system.

    i'm not against "linux for dummies" or "linux for exWindozers" but i think that better solution is to leave BE, MacOS or whatever to "windozers" and linux, FreeBSD, ULTRIX, Solaris or whatever to "techies".

    i prefer set of optimised tools rather than one universal tool (for everything but not doing anything good).

  • There are probably other factors involved, such as what exactly is being served.

  • There are very few applications where a different GUI style is justified by increased efficiency. Take Truespace. The totally different style is neccessary becuase of the difference between a 3D modeler and a Office app. But often, the time saved by having to click less does not justify the time spent learning the application. Plus most programs let you edit the interface to suit you. You can make macro in HotDog pro and then assign them to a icon. Then complex operations can be done with the click of a button. Also you can move elements around, make links to oft used options, etc. Elements like that really make the whole arguement against standardization kind of fall apart.
  • I guess sarcasm isn't in your vocabulary.
  • so there is a way to make windows unfortunately for MS, there are those of us who don't like their entire systems crashing in the first place. Give me a stable Unix anyday...ext2 works well enough for me, and the kernel is stable enough that I really don't see a need for a fs that recovers quickly.

    MY Unix server is running on a 486, and I plan to upgrade to 2.4
  • I've seen some (dare I say many) Win9x boxen where you don't even have to mess around with them - just constant use for a few months is simply enough to make them go mad, and all you can do is just blow everything away and reinstall fresh.
  • My typical Linux screen has Netscape, Kdevelop, Licq, X11amp, and about 12 "Konsoles" open. The GUI allows me to see several CLI's at the same time, and size them to whatever size I want them to be. I can work at the console if I need to (for example, on Linux boxes that are hard-core servers), but I find it annoying and limiting, even with 6 virtual consoles, and I eventually start my laptop into X-windows and ssh into the server if I need to work there for a prolonged period of time.

    Just because you are running X doesn't mean that you can't (and aren't) using the power of the cli.
  • COBRA, OLE,COM etc kick ass over fvwm and xterms any day. Nowhere in linux (except the forthcoming KOM) can you take a picture from one program, embed it into another, or take a spreadsheet and embed it into a document, while still retaining the features of the spreadsheet program. I do WORK with computers. But some people like your self seem to think that work only means clicking away at your CLI making programs or editing the files in the /etc directory! It is incredibly arrogent that you think that yours is the only kind of work people do. Try doing 3D modeling in your precious little xterms. Try editing avis, make documents that have embeded spreadsheets, etc. Sorry but Linux HAS to atleast catch up with windows in the GUI department. It has to get OLE, Object based programming, context sensitive actions, and a easy to learn interface. There are different ways of doing things, but in each catagory you can usually compare two things. Even if they do things differently, one is better or worse than the other. CLI will always be better for somethings. (I find my self typing cd .. in explorer) but a good GUI has to be totally integrated, easy to learn, and consitant. Windows,OLE, COM, and COBRA are technologys that are far ahead of fwvm and even KDE in that regard.
  • I think a high line count is a strong negative factor when evaluating software. Every line is a potential bug. The more lines you have, the more bugs you have.

    It amuses me that Microsoft constantly touts how many lines of code their software has, as if that were somehow a feature, or a positive thing. To me, it's just a measure of how unlreliable the software is likely to be.

  • Ok, so Linux has more programmers working with it. But does it have 30 million lines of code? Hah!
  • This article sounded like a sobering reminder to all of us, that if we don't "adapt" (as it's called in the article), Win2K will do to Linux what Win95 did to OS/2.

    Let that be a clarion call to developers everywhere to make Linux the most feature-rich OS around...
    ...features that customers want, not just what we want.


  • by CabanaBoy ( 33592 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @06:04AM (#1805372)
    99.9%, aka 999/1000 sounds like a nice ratio, until you consider that (as every programmer worth his salty snacks knows) the /real/ problems occur in the boundary conditions. You know, that eventuallity that you didn't plan or lay code for? Like trapping certain nasty but rare exceptions?

    Now this really _is_ nit-picking, but what eventuallities does this 99.9% cover? Successive pings? I don't really care about the ordinary stuff that users do. What happens to /me/ when I hit one of those boundary conditions? Do I get to sleep that night? That *week*?

    Now, the Journalling-NTFS will help... Maybe... I'd feel better about it if MS had a better history of writing good file system standards and disaster recovery code. Do I really trust MS to rollback dirty writes?

    The answer is typically 'No'.
  • It's funny that KDE didn't exist until recently. I guess I was using something else two and a half years ago when I first started using KDE. Silly me. Also, their description of a journalling file system (not journal filing system) wasn't all that great, but the guy writes stock market articles, so what can you expect.
  • ok yes he got alot right which he should be comended for !

    why although was it not made clear the pressures that M$ is under.

    windows is becomeing the expensive part of a sub $500 machine

    win2000 interface has serious drawbacks

    the vunerbility because people discovering the bugs dont tell or fix them

    my thoughts ^

    john jones

    a poor student @ bournemouth uni in the UK (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • I don't think he meant to cast doubts on whether or not it's real source code. I think he was just writing for people who might not know the term. It probably would have read better if he'd written,
    Linux is also a favorite among techies because the "source code" is open to anyone and everyone.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think what they meant was that since IE is component based, you can re-use its different COM objects. At one place I used to work, we had used IE's COm objects to have an application diplay some HTML in a window. Pretty cool.

    By contrast, netscape is a big monolithic application.
  • but because it was incoherent. This is writing? I could hardly glean a point from this rambling babble, although it was more or less inocuous and mildly entertaining. It reads worse than some of the anti-windows rants on usenet, which (sometimes) are funny.
  • Apologies for missing the subtleties in your point. However, I'm still not convinced that it 'holds' with regard to the WinWord versus WordPerfect/DOS comparison:

    WP/DOS required a fairly steep learning curve even to get a decent looking document on a laser printer (mainly do to being designed for monospaced line printers). However, figuring out how to do tables also was a steep climb. Furthermore your knowledge about tables didn't really help you with mail merges and so on. The curve to reach efficient use of all features seemed pretty linear, and steep. People were justifiably proud of their abilities to master WordPerfect, but there was no inner circle of improved efficiency once you learned all of the bits it could do. (Unlike, say, unix commandline usage.)

    WinWord (and WordPerfect for Windows, etc.), on the other hand, presents the feature set in a much more accessible fashion. Just having a wysiwyg view on your work makes it easier to experiment and learn what the functions are. The curve is still linear (until you get to the macro language), but is much shallower.

    The biggest problems with Word is that it just doesn't scale very well, so much of it's huge feature set is really moot, because no one in their right mind would try to do a very long document in it. That and all of the auto-correct stuff, which actually makes the program less predictable and harder to learn, IMO.

    (Referring to "lazy Word drone who couldnt go up a curve" is uncalled for, and appears to be an elitist attempt to diminish GUI and/or Microsoft users. A two page memo shouldn't take anything more than a drone, and the drones aren't doing the complex stuff. Using Word as the target of derision is especially bad, because it's probably the most customizable and extendible GUI program I've ever used.

    Disclaimer: I'd rather use FrameMaker anyday for most of my writing work. But since my average document is less than 100 pages, I deal with Word for the standard file format compatibility reasons{99.5% of my customers seem to use Word}.)

  • Since when does NT take 100MB of RAM? I have W2K Beta 3 running right now on a 128MB computer. No swap file activity with AOL, 4 IE windows, and Visual Studio 6 open.
  • Yeah, the one that coasted for a longtime before their big comeback.
  • Well if you don't use windows it's kind of hard to use IE now isn't it. I think he was refering to that fact that Win98 has IE wrapped tightly around its bloated little heart(-Boot Magazine, Win98 Preview) and the fact that a lot of program require IE before they even install.
  • It is, declares one Microsoft executive, "the most important program ever written."

    yes, it is quite humorous. unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be that way...

    ..................................@ @
  • Let's try that with an Apple coffee maker.

    Power on coffee maker.
    [3 min boot up]
    Drag icon of filter basket to trash.
    [Warning, another program is using the basket. The basket can not be ejected at this time.]
    Restart coffee maker and hold down brew switch to force eject the basket.
    Load with hard to find Apple JavaBeans.
    Double click brew icon.
    [Decaf or regular?]
    [Sorry, error type 10 in Burner, Restart.]
    Restart coffee maker, drag carafe to AppleScript brew folder.
    [Carafe autofills with water, and java complier starts. This is Apple's version and takes all day for one pot.]

    Make mental note to upgrade coffee maker to QuickBrew 4.0, choose startup carafe, and to turn off Appliance Linking.
  • I'll take that bet. How much do you want to put on it? Make it easy on yourself. How about 1000 shares of MS stock. If you are right, they will be worthless and you won't be out anything.
  • Have you ever installed Windows 9x from scratch? It's not that easy to get started. With most current Linux distros, it's at least as easy to install. Partition, assign into the FS tree, start the install. It's easy.
  • Are you kidding? Games are the single area of consumer computing where performace is most crucial. Gamers aren't going to bother with $500 machines. They want SBLive's and TNT2 and a processor that can keep up the the TNT2's rendering. The lowend market is more suitable for light applications use. For the basics, Linux is already suitable.
  • by davie ( 191 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:11AM (#1805392) Journal

    When I read this article yesterday, I was surprised to learn that Linux hadn't had a widely-accepted GUI until six months ago, when KDE and GNOME were born (I suppose that as far as some writers are concerned, nothing exists until it's been hyped in the media).

    I'm sure Mr. Jaffe will receive hundreds of polite emails like the one I sent with a short background on X, window managers, etc.

    My quandary is, where do these trade writers keep getting these silly notions about Linux not having a GUI? Is the MS FUD that pervasive?

  • I don't think you caught what the previous poster meant by X. X refers to some generic task, not the X window system in particular.
  • That's 1,000 angry and unhappy customers, not 10,000. 0.1% of 1,000,000 is definitely NOT 10,000... :)
  • You do realize that Be interfaces with standard keyboards. Thus if you keyboard is not standard (It takes advantage of undocumented stuff in they standard) then it will not work without an operating system that reproduces the undoumented features. Linux does, Windows does, however BeOS is clean and keeps things that aren't from being used on a BeOS system.
  • " Its greatest advantage is that it has tens of thousands of programmers throughout the world who can adjust and improve it in their free time. Poor Microsoft, by contrast, can afford only 4,000 programmers to work on the code for Windows 2000. "

    I gotta say I like that... Linux programmers outnumber (and outcode?) windows 2k programmers. That's gotta sting.

  • Oh please. Many novices don't even know they can do things like object imbedding. For an ubersuite, it's not even useful as all the components are part of the same deliverable anyways.

    The Windows consumer mentality makes object reuse technologies much less valuable than they could be otherwise.

    For the most part, it's a marketing bulletpoint more than anything else.
  • Though I think we /. readers may find it amusing, I do not think the article was intended to be a humorous satire, but real speculation about the future of w2k... Just because we like the linux part does not mean that is the only part we interpret as serious when it seems pretty clear that the entire article had the same tone to it..
  • Yes Linux is sure more faster and more flexibler and more stabler!
  • I nominate "Hello, World!", since that appears to be the way most programmers get started at their trade.

  • When he says that one of the reasons that IE has become popular is because it's embeddeble (SP) ..
    Uh...huh huh...I'm sure the fact that it's shipped by default with almost every computer over the past couple years has nothing to do with it...
  • That seems like an odd reason for its success. The fact that they bundle it with every personal computer sold in the world seems like a more likely one.


  • Exactly! Why should we care if Windows is the dominant OS? We can still use Linux or BSD. What is the point in even trying to get desktop acceptance? If people want to use Windows, fine, let them, it doesn't have anything to do with us.

    If they want to use Linux, that's good too. And if they want to use Linux but have it look like windows, they can write the necessary bits. Some do, some have. But it's nothing to get excited about.
  • I can't really decide whether this article was meant to be funny or not, but it certainly managed to be so... 30 million lines of code being "embeddable" is a laugh :)
  • Everyone who owns a computer less than a year or two old has Internet Explorer on it, and most of those people probably use it. That's what I was saying.

    I don't doubt that many programs embed Internet Explorer - I had an application where I did myself, and it is remarkably easy to do. But I don't think the bulk of users browse the web with HomeSite, Notes or Quicken.


  • ..this is the /. - here everybody wins several cookies! Just look at your cookies.txt: sexual orientation, visa number, religion, etc. it's all there! God bless you Rob.
  • um
    isn't NTFS just HPFS with some extra fiddleybits in it?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Strange... I had 7.

    1) sooner or later, you'll likely be using it when you boot up

    2) Windows 2000 .. has no established competitor

    3) Linux has quickly gained a foothold in the server OS market

    4) Linux has grown quickly, mostly at the expense of other Unix operating systems

    5) it's a far cry from the feature-rich Windows 2000

    6) Just six months ago it had no widely accepted graphical user interface

    7) If Linux can make changes like that .., then it could become a legitimate competitor to Windows 2000

    I guess I shouldn't be too rough, though...
    not everyone can have a clue.

    I fear, however, that this article was NOT intended as humour...
  • Yes, I think most of us know (though apparently someone didn't) that NTFS is a journalling filesystem.

    If you use a nice distro (like, oh, Debian []), you might not have such a hard time setting up a PPP dialin account (pppconfig is pretty damn easy - simple Q/A setup).

    Unix (and by proxy, Linux) wasn't designed for "non-computer users". It's getting more user friendly (tho I'm not sure I like all the baggage that brings), but as it is now, Linux assumes you, the user, actually have something called a CLUE.

    Journalling filesystems are being developed for Linux (journalling extensions for ext2, reiserfs, and ext3). As one other person said tho, I'm not sure I'd trust a Microsoft product to take care of dirty writes like that.

    Just picking products off the NT HCL doesn't guarantee jack. Do you have an MCSE? Or do you just believe everything you read?

    I'm glad your NT server (server? what are you serving? how much? what kind of load?) is so stable. As for some of the rest of us, we'll let you dink around with NT 5^H^H^H^HWindows 2000 and we'll be happy with our Linux installs.
  • As I've mentioned before, IE for Unix can hardly be called a "port". It's just IE compiled against Win32 compatibility libraries for Solaris/SPARC or HP-UX. They really overexaggerate what it takes to do that.
  • So? BMC doesn't have any problem 'reusing' Netscrape on Solaris? ORB's aren't the only way to reuse components.
  • Well, that is certainly interesting, but hard to quantify. Is that including EVERY component that you can install for Debian? (at least, every item from the Main install tree) Because that would include a WHOLE lot more stuff than Windows, even Windows 2000, includes.
  • Disclaimer: my company is a "Microsoft Partner".

    I've had a chance to work with the latest Beta (Beta 3, I think), and it's quite stable. Our W2K team believes it's a release candidate, so 4Q '99 is easily believable.[1]

    Present strategy is (I believe) to eke out at least one more major release on the W95-W98 base, then start herding consumers toward a "personal" version of W2K, after which there will once again be "only one Windows". But it will come in at least 5 and maybe more "sizes", from personal to SOHO to enterprise. It may be a bit confusing, but certainly no MORE confusing than the present situation.

    [1] None of this should be taken to mean that I love W2K. I "like" it only in that it's a clear improvement over NT4.
  • I will vigorously disagree with your contention that people are "lazy" and that is why they want to use a Graphical Interface to work with the comptuer[sp].

    If you've never been a sysadmin (especially in a public school district) you have no idea what you're talking about. People are most assuredly lazy. 99% of people, given the option of 2 ways of doing something, will pick the one that requires the least expenditure of energy, I assure you. And don't tell me that doesn't qualify as lazy.

    Perhaps a simple text-based menu work work as well as the GUI in many cases.

    Sorry. No matter how much you do to try to make things simple, there will always be those that are just too dumb/lazy/etc. to pick up on ANYTHING. You seem to be convinced that no one can be just plain stupid. I hate to say it, a lot of people won't want to hear it, but it's true - there are a lot of just plain stupid people out there.
  • Good point -- it is nice not to crash in the first place. But there are certainly enterprise-level and other mission-critical functions that will require a JFS safety-net. We shouldn't lose sight of that. Crashes aren't all due to the OS, remember (ever have a backhoe twenty miles away take down your WAN?). And even if Linux is only X% as likely to crash as NT -- that's no comfort to the IS director for whom one crash, at the wrong time, could be professional suicide.
  • Well I have to use both at work, and there are several notable things that MS could and should fix with their OS in order to make it hold a candle to Linux and Solaris, the two major unices that I use. My major gripe with NT and other Windows OSes for that matter, is a phenomenon I call ' OS Rot '. Windows is the only OS I've ever used that has a tendency to become more unstable the more you try to tweak it. Granted you can screw up any OS in a big way if you do the wrong thing, but here's an example similar to the 'Router as Serial Mouse' problem. I can't ever upgrade the NT machine I have at work because it just simply refuses to work. After installing and uninstalling various service packs and option packs, the damn thing BSOD's every weekend without fail, and every time I reboot I have to reinstall the display drivers. This is not making my job easier.
    Needless to say, every problem I've ever had with Solaris or Linux is due to me goofing something up, .
    The Windows Rot phenomenon is what really burns me about Microsoft. It IS possible to build an OS that doesn't do that, yet they don't.
    Also, just put in my 2 cents on the 'average joe won't use Linux' opinion: I just installed Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 on my formerly Win98 machine, and it was painless and fast. Up and running and on the net in about an hour. Everything was there, and it all worked. It absolutely rivals Win98 or NT for setup ease ( I mean, click-click-click you're there). Don't be too sure that Linux can't make better headway into the desktop area, if this is the wave of the future. Now, all I need is Baldur's Gate for Linux and I'll never even think about Windows again.
  • you know, this reminds me of the Voyager spacecraft. I vaguely remember that the amount of memory on those things was something like 4k or 16k or something like that. And yet they controlled the whole planetary explorer from orientating its dish to Earth and taking high-res pictures.

    Ahhh..... 'course, if Voyager IV was sent out today with W2k ... the thing would have 256GB of RAM and still manage to require rebooting every day.

  • Try reformatting the drive first. W2K is to unlike NT4 to work as un upgrade. And W2K does "fucking boot" as you so eleqoently put it. You just have to set it up right.
  • If only we could recompile Windows kernels for ourselves. Then we could enable only those options we need!

    Anyone use a VISCA VCR w/ their 'puter?

    I wonder if the compile would work though.
  • Let's also consider that he's focusing on Linux's penetration in the server market. Anyone who's ever run a non-windows server knows that a headless box needs no GUI :). IMHO, that's one of NT's biggest weaknesses and always has been. the fact that you instantly allocate 30MB (in earlier versions) to 100MB (more recently) of your RAM to run a GUI that will never see the light of day. On a low-end server, those are precious megabytes that could be far better used running a few extra processes (such as httpd).

    I know I'm just asking for flames here, but Linux is not ready for primetime as a desktop OS for your average user. To support my net habit, I support around a thousand users at a major Unix workstation distributor, about a 50/50 mix of NT and Sun boxes. The Sun boxes are running Citrix MetaFrame/Terminal Server. So, effectively, 99% of our users are running some form of NT. They have a hard enough time figuring out how to use that GUI. Linux has some wonderful GUI interfaces. However, using it as a workstation client will only increase the load on the already overburdened support staff in most major corporations.

    Linux, however, is marvelous at running day-to-day server tasks. Once we iron out the wrinkles in the kernel on boxes with lots of processors, and get HA capability, Linux will see some bigtime action.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @06:27AM (#1805439)

    If KDE and GNOME are GUIs, then GUIs are terrible, clumsy get-in-the-way-of-work systems. It's by biggest disappointment that so much energy has been spent imitating the Windows interface, as if it is the best thing ever to come along. Just as Jaffe points out:

    ...most companies in the world will eventually end up using Windows 2000 -- or a competitor that by necessity will have been heavily influenced by it.

    I cannot and do not believe that anyone that works with a computer really thinks that a Windows/CORBA/whatever 'environment' is better than fvwm and eight xterms. If linux must follow Windows, it will never surpass it. Sorry, but it's so bliningly obvious.

    I really beleive that w2k will kill Linux. I think it's sad, but, there will be little reason to choose Linux over W2k except the ones we little people like (open-source, cheaper.) But w2k will be a better server, will be leaps and bounds beyond Linux as far as consistent GUI goes and it will have great games. Wish it weren't so, but I see KDE and GNOME as being the defeating tactical "catch-up" error. You must look way ahead---it's how Linux got so good to begin with. Pray for plan-9.

  • I have three computers I've owned for fewer than two years and none of them has Internet Explorer on it.
  • I don't care about look and feel so much as functionality. Personally I could give a rats ass about Gnome's "official emailer" Balsa, because it doesn't do anything worthwile and crashes a lot trying to do even that. :P
    Thank you, I'll suffer through a crappy looking toolkit or a text based program like Pine or Mutt rather than lose the features I need to get things done.
    GUIs are about empowering the user to get things done quickly without typing a lot. Moving files around within deeply structured directories is a lot easier with a file managing program, because you get a quick idea what else is in directories and can see the directory tree structure (eg. does this go in /bin or /usr/bin.. umm) . Also, chmodding/chowning manually is annoying and by comparison toggling little boxes is super easy. (some people just don't understand what chmod 666 does, and some will think it satanic.. :P)

    I for one have a few favorite apps that have to be GUI.
    1) FTP -- right now gftp is the most functional and stable.
    2) E-Mail -- I think this goes to Mahogany
    3) Web browser -- Lynx is useful, but not always useful. Hard to navigate art sites with it, hehe. Mozilla is looking nice, but is taking its sweet time.
    4) Compression utility -- guiTAR is pretty nice
    5) File manager -- kfm is less prone to crashes, but neither kfm or gmc can associate mime types and file types as easily as windows explorer. I think I prefer gmc's interface, but I don't like how Gnome apps don't like to play very well with window managers other than Enlightenment. I for one dislike how hard it is to configure E, and prefer Window Maker's elegant simplicity.
  • A GUI is not just a Graphical User Interface. It is a work environment.
    Say what? Since when did GUI stand for anything other than Graphical User Interface? Perhaps you meant "A good GUI is more than a windowing system," which is true, but please -- PLEASE -- don't go around making the acronym "GUI" mean more than it means.

    If you want a different meaning than an acronym, don't use the acronym, but rather something else. How difficult is this?
  • It probably means that .1% of the code is violently unstable. And at 30 million lines of code, that comes out to be a mear 30000 lines of code, and is probably something like the start menu and the My Computer icon.

  • Well, I know this might have annoyed a few of you:

    "Of course, the Unix version that has gained so much attention lately is Linux."

    Linux isn't a version of Unix, it's a Unix flavor. It was written from scratch, and not based on the BSD kernel.

    Anyways, it's still a pretty interesting article. We recently received Windows2000-Nt-server at work for testing, and I don't really like it.. It takes up 600 megs of HD space, and on a P2 333/64megs, it's very slow. (although I'll let the benefit of the doubt that it might be badly configured)

    I'm also curious about the price, but hey, corporate people just love paying too much money, they feel more secure.

  • For your info I am a college student, and it seemed like the proper term at the time. Possibly if you guys stopped breathing ASCII air once in a week, you would laugh. Just my thoughts. I still rest my case that Windows is pathetic, said correctly or not.
  • I'm pretty sure they were refering to programmers working on all of Linux and all of W2K. If you want to talk about the number of Linux kernel developers, talk to MS and see if they will give you the number of people they have doing W2K kernel development. I doubt they want to give out those numbers. I also think the moderator mislabeled when they boosted the post.
  • Well to counter your two points: First, who needs to type long command lines for linking? You write your makefile once, and are done. From then on it's only "make " (or C-c C-c for people which have hotwired emacs the one true way). Of course it takes slightly longer to write a makefile than to click a dialog box (if you know where to find it), but then you can express arbitrary dependencies in a makefile, not just some predefined resources for one particular kind of dependency.

    As to interface consistency: That is admittedly a problem for UNIX. However, it has nothing to do with GUI vs. CLI - both can offer consistent or inconsistent interfaces. In UNIX it is pretty bad, because lot's of very independend-minded people have written lots of independend programs. For MacOS it's pretty good, because a single company (mostly) controls the interface.

    A LISP machine might make a good example for a consistent CLI...

    1. I am not trying to be pedantic -- I am trying to correct your dissociation of GUI and the phrase it stands for. To say "A GUI is not just a Graphical User Interface" is to be, well, wrong.
    2. If a person refers to a GUI and means a User Interface with graphical features, I am in no way surprised.
    3. If most people refer to a GUI and mean a graphical user interface, but most people assume it means a graphical environment with drag and drop, then I am confused because how do most people assume one thing, but also assume another thing with some suggestion of difference?
    4. I was attacking your suggestion that a GUI isn't a graphical user interface.
    There is no "metaphor" involved in comparing a GUI to a graphical user interface; they rather share the simpler relationship of "acronym."

    Most people assume that a GUI provides the ability to shar resources between applications, and do drag and drop, etc.; this is logical. People don't assume that a GUI is not a graphical user interface.
  • embedded objects are the core of KDE and Gnome's functionality. You may not see it as an end user (although I think it will be hard to miss in KDE 2.0). It's useful for a lot more than just dropping a chart into your documents.


  • Metaphors are neat. You can "prove" about anything using metaphors. Maybe that's why they're so useful in politics.
  • I don't care what the dominant OS is either. This isn't about that.

    If some people are happy just playing MP3s and surfing the web, I'm happy for them.

    If some people are happy with a powerful stable server OS for their website, I'm happy for them.

    But I need different things from my system than that. Some of those things are already available in Windows, and I'd like to see them in Linux.

    Those features will come to Linux inspite of all those who think it's just fine already, because, frankly, those of us who are programmers understand the technology better, and will endeavor to include it in Linux, even if many end users aren't interested (yet).


  • "Another key feature of Windows 2000 will be its "embeddability." That means it'll be possible to embed it into other programs or hardware. Already, Xerox has signed on with Microsoft to create Windows 2000 copiers that will have the OS built in and will operate seamlessly with a Windows 2000-run network"

    (I already posted this to the defcon list, but thought it'd be good here, too)

    Oh, yeah, that's what I want, W2K appliances. Like, say, coffee machines.

    [Try to take out used coffee grounds from yesterday]
    "Alert! User has requested to open basket which is currently in use. Continuing this action will cease all programs using this basket! Continue? {Y/N}"
    [grumble, wipe sleep from eyes, press No by mistake]
    [Remove grounds, take two]
    "(Windows repeats itself, this time you hit the right button)"
    [Add coffee grounds, reinsert basket]
    "Warning! Cannot autorun this coffee. Please remove from basket and try again {OK/Cancel}"
    "Warning! There is no water in the carafe. Please insert MS Water v.H-20 build 4535 into Carafe {OK/Cancel}"
    [grumble. take carafe out]
    "Alert! User has requested to open drive which is currently in use. Continuing this action will cease all programs using this drive! Continue? {Y/N}"
    [hit Y.]
    "Another program has requested a drive that is unavailable. Coffee production is halted"
    [fill carafe, ignoring Windows, begin to fill reservoir]
    "Warning! Any malicious water you pour into the reservoir may be contaminated and could possibly kill you. Continue with this action? {Y/N}"
    [hit Y, HARD]
    [Replace carafe under basket, hit "Start"]
    "Sorry, but the carafe was previously removed, cannot fulfill request at this time"

    [It's now 8:30AM, late for work, and now coffee. Leave anyway, grabbing some easily portable java on the way to work...]

    [While at work, the home coffee machine power-cycles randomly and finds that both the basket and the carafe are actually inserted properly, and begins making coffee. It's cold by the time you get home... Try to remove it to place into a Linux microwave to warm it up]
    "Warning! Any coffee reheated by non-Microsoft compliant appliances may not be the same. Loading webpage for MicroSoft CoffeeHot! countertop appliance..."
  • True story: (read this Bill!)

    I used the windows uninstall utility to uninstall a demo I'd stuck on the HDD some time ago.

    "Are you sure you want to remove program X?"


    "Removing wheelmouse driver........"

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Fine. Whatever. I wasn't trolling, actually. Sorry to disappoint. In my whole life, I have never found evidence in studies, life experience, the experiences of others, anecdotal evidence, or common sense observation that a GUI was faster and thus able to get more work done in any area other than graphic layout than a CLI, and I would tend to categorize my experience as extensive (as would the people who pay me). Ergonomic and time/work studies agree over the last fifty years. IBM and the Army agree (and yes, they only care about work done). For work done, which business tends to be about, a CLI is superior. It has disadvantages, largely in training and difficulty, and some people will refuse to learn, even at peril to their jobs. If this is too much trouble (or not worth the trouble), GUIs designed to remove choice (that isn't a slam, I mean that literally -- a GUI that has been designed to limit choice to keep a user out of trouble) is a better tool. Obviously, you need a GUI for layout or CAD/CAM -- it sort of misses the point otherwise. But for things that take 90% of the time in most businesses (spreadsheets, databases, email, word processing), a CLI produces better results. I wasn't aware that most people, except for Mac users, were still suggesting otherwise.

    No, I was not suggestion that we hunt down all GUI users and put them in camps. AFAIK, I was stating things that have been true well into the dim and distant past.

    I wish I could say that I was sorry that I offended you, but I really am not. It would be like saying that I am sorry for offending someone who takes exception to my describing Bill Clinton in a negative way.

    Perhaps you should stop peering under the bed for trolls -- I know that life is more interesting when you think that someone is out to get you, but we really aren't.

    To my original point (which seems to be clear from the post):

    As most people prefer a simpler interface (as evidence tends to show), for whatever reason (tending to be a lack of willingness to embrace virtuosity and a good tool)

    As most people need to do work

    As a CLI requires more work to get going with it (which most people don't like and some will refuse to do)

    As most people regarded Windows as a rescue from DOS

    It is not surprising that there has not been to much to contradict Microsoft's assertions that a GUI is more modern and useful

    Thus it is not surprising that people who have only a passing familiarity with UNIX would consider it important to have a GUI

    Thus a little FUD can go a long way and the writer deserves to be enlightened and not flamed.

    Also, I pointed out that I thought that all of this supported my feeling that CDE was a step in the right direction. CDE is a GUI that is common on commercial UNIXes. CDE stands for Common Desktop Environment. It was designed to be similar across different UNIXes to make it easier for people to get work done in X. I WAS ADVOCATING THE GENERAL USE OF A GUI, YOU PINHEAD.

    There needs to be an age limit for posting here.
  • You guys just don't get it do you?

    >I too almost feel sorry for Microsoft, they are
    >like a little child who keeps trying to get it
    >right, but never totally does.

    If they "got it right" the first time, there would be no need for upgrades! It is not profitable to make a perfect product.

    They can make a product that purports to do the job. They sell it. They make an upgraded product that is only a *little* better than the previous one; they say it's vastly improved and offers better performance. True, but only a little. They sell it. They, then, make an upgraded product that is only a *little* better than the previous one; they say it's vastly improved and offers better performance. True, but only a little. They sell it. They, then, make another upgraded product that is only a *little* better than the previous one; they say it's vastly improved and offers better performance. True, but only a little. They sell it.

    Get the picture? Their revenue stream *DEPENDS* on upgrades. They must convince folks to upgrade - that's why they try to put more junk into the OS - to convince folks to upgrade.

    I think of Linux like this: A technician who is as easily at home at the keyboard as he is in the hardware. He has his well stocked toolbox ready to go. He can grab a pair of needlenose pliers, a hardened phillips or an allen wrench if he needs it - the right tool for the job. He's also affordabe.

    I think of Windows like this: A guy who walks around with all kinds of tools protruding from his body - permanantly. Sometimes, he can't get his hands in the case because of all the junk attached to it. He has a pair of pliers welded to his hand that doubles as a hammer and a screwdriver. None of his tools is especially designed to do the job right but seems to be barely "good enough". He frequently looses his balance due to his overweight condition, falls over and leaves telltale impressions in the concrete wherever he goes. This guy is very expensive.
  • by styopa ( 58097 )
    He mentions that most people won't buy it until after Y2K. That would be a mistake, last I heard 95 and 98 were not Y2K compliant, and that NT was only fully compliant with SP5, which I have heard is fairly unstable.

    Also, just a quick question. Isn't W2k supposed to be the OS that you buy once and pay for the rest of you life. By that I mean, isn't it set up that you need to get a new license every year in order to use it? Funny how no one ever mentions that.

    As for a Windows computer working on a server with 32 processors. Do I even need to touch that? I am kind of curious where they are going to find an x86 machine that can do that.
  • Aiee! It's the dreaded Blue Sheet of Death!

  • No no no, time scale doesn't work here. He's talking about an arbitrary set of states, chosen by microsoft for testing purposes, like "on" or "off" or "upsidedown". But since he says %99.9 of computer situations, it means he must have tested every possible set of situations a computer could be in, like, "underwater, on jupiter while the sun is exploding."
    But wait, I guess that wouldn't be a "computing" situation. So what does he mean by that? Well, why would you want to use a computer in microsoft? Hmm, that's a tough one. Let's say 50% of computing situations at MS involve solitaire. Well, I've never had a problem playing solitaire, so that's 50% covered. Another ~50% would be devoted to consuming idle cycles while the coders, go to the washroom, eat lunch, spin in their chairs, etc. If there's one thing windows does extremely well, it's consume idle cycles, so that's ~100% covered. So the final 0.01% must be the rare time someone actually tries to code, or compile a kernel, or open a menu, or do WORK.
    There, that's all cleared up now.
  • The only thing I've used my pre-installed copy of IE for was to download Netscape.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Articles like this one shouldn't surprise anybody. It's fashionable at the moment to bash Microsoft. But fashion is a fickle mistress. By this time next year it'll be considered passe' and everybody will have forgotten all about Linux (except the hackers who will still be having good fun with it.)

    As far as mainstream attention, the fact that it's currently so trendy to be out there singing the glories of Linux is actually a serious threat. It will soon be uncool and kinda dorky to advocate Linux. Like wearing tshirts with the sleeves ripped out or peppering your vocabulary with 'cyber.' Only the socially crippled will admit in public that they actually use Linux.
  • I don't know about that, I think a fast G3 running OS X Server is a formidable setup. That hardware may not be cheap, or the software fully featured yet, but at least we know both of those factors will improve before W2K even ships! Apparently the author can only see hype, and all else he is blind to.

    And if that doesn't work as an ideal solution, you can always keep the hardware and install a variety of OSS OSes on it.
  • Edlin is and always has been a piece of crap compared to ed, let alone ex.
    I've used ed for fifteen years. I've written a couple of versions of ed. Nope, edlin is no ed. Anyone who says otherwise has never used one or the other, or is trolling.

  • As a Xerox Support Engineer, I must say this...

    If your W2K embedded in your Xerox product crashes, several processes will take place, all in an easy to follow manner. They are:

    1) Product will fall off of desk/table/etc., in hopes on landing on the user.

    2) Product will then take control of any computer nearby, and start to duplicate it's programming onto it. (read: eat up all the disk space and ram, then print a message saying that the computer requires several upgrades, to insure "Futureproofing, compatibility, and that Freedom to Innovate will succeed."

    3) Product then starts playing the default windows "start sound", while simultaniously spewing forth blue sheets of paper.

    4) Product then holds your data/printout for ransom, demanding all non-microsoft products be either A) burned at the stake or B) thrown out.

    5) Finally, Product will send an E-Mail to Bill Gates praising him for his "Forsight in the Computer Industry", cc'ing Rick Thoman.

    Hope this answers your questions. =)
  • "Hello, World!" May not be the most functional program ever written, but it is definitely the most portable and most widely ported. It may be the single most popular program considering the number of times it has been re-implemented from scratch by different programmers.

    I'd venture to guess the almost every programmer has written hello world apps in more programming languages than any other program.

    But, now that I start thinking about it, we really need an I18N version of hello_world and we need a manpage to hello_world. Better yet, we need sgml docs for it that can be converted to html, info, tex, and manpage.

    I'm concerned about the license that hello world is distributed under, though. I'd hate to think that someone could take the free hello world, enhance it, and start selling it. Worse, yet... Imagine if some commercial company included "Hello, world" in their commercial software, and didn't redistribute the changes. I think hello world needs to be GPL'd to protect it.

    Then we need a hello world daemon that when queried, responds with a "Hello, world" - hmm, could be a modified ping.

    root@my_dumb_whitebox #> hello_world gatekeeper
    gatekeeper responds "Hello, World!"

    and... of course we need a hello_world gui so that we can welcome all of the non-unix gurus to linux. Please everyone, let's avoid the silly toolkit wars. I think it's good for linux to have both a khello and a ghello, and using corba, they should both be able to communicate "Hello, World" with each other.

    and then we could have hello_world broadcasts from servers, and all clients on the network would respond with a storm of "Hello, World!" responses (no, wait, we already have that.. it's called Netware)
  • by nadador ( 3747 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @07:07AM (#1805498)

    Sometimes I think slashdot readers are like Pittsburgh football fans -- it doesn't matter whether they win or lose, they complain afterwards.

    So an article written by stock market analyst with presumably no technical background comes close to being a reasonable interpretation of the truth. Factually not entirely correct, but the difference between the truth and his version of the story is only wide enough to cram a couple of 14 year old script kiddies in.

    In a non-technical article, a non-technical writer managed to adequately and intelligently discuss both Windows2000 and Linux, without bowing to almost any FUD. There was no "Windows is so easy to use" or "The command line is scary." There was no "Linux is so hard to install" or "There are no applications for Linux." He managed to avoid the most oft-repeated, mind numbing FUDs, and you still complain.

    I just don't get it. Be happy that for once, someone without any techincal credentials almost got it right. That means we're starting to win a couple of battles.

    Andrew Gardner
  • I haven't moved up to the 2.2X kernels yet, and am curious what the avg. line count for a full build (including a browser and a GUI) compared to M$'s -- 30 million lines in W2K? (I suppose if W2kK is supposed to blur the distinction between the server and the desktop, we ought to include Apache as well, to be fair)

    Numbers, anyway

  • I meant to say

    ...numbers anyone?
  • by landley ( 9786 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @08:04AM (#1805505) Homepage
    I'd like to point out that a Journaling filesystem is a high priority on NT for the same reason that parachutes and fire extinguishers were high priorities on the Hindenburg. If the primary cause of system crashes is a backhoe taking out the power, quickly recovering from crashes isn't a primary development priority. On a system that crashes in the presence of large flowers or brightly colored wallpaper, rapid crash recovery is a big time development priority. On Linux, JFS is primarily for bragging rights, isn't it? We're focused on not crashing in the first place. Rob
  • Correct me if I am wrong... but wasn't Windows 2000 once called NT 5.0. I remember reading an article when Microsoft changed the name of the OS that said the name change would probably make people forget the numerous delays from NT 5.0. I didn't believe it at the time, but it seems that the article was correct. A simple name change can easily make the general public forget that the product has already missed numerous production dates. Well, just thought I'd at my two cents.
  • by bushido ( 23357 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:27AM (#1805516)
    and here all this time i thought there was such a thing. jeez, do i feel silly (and have i been wasting a lot of time with this whole CS degree). why do some many writers put quotes around terms that are even very technical like "operating system" or "source code". i think the average reader can figure it out from the context.
    if it wasn't "so-called source code", it must just be computer elves then. i heard if you leave a 486 under your pillow, they will leave you a new p3.
  • by eponymous cohort ( 8637 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:31AM (#1805521)
    I haven't spent any significant time using W2K betas, our local copy took several minutes to display the start menu after clicking the Start button, but what do they mean by feature-rich? It seems that a good Linux distro comes with far more tools and Applications out of the box than any version of Windows I have ever seen.

    Are they talking about these wizards that can "automatically configure XYZ" for you then fail or crash during the auto-configuration because your system is slightly non-standard?"

    True story: I've used a serial mouse, and just bought a PS/2 mouse. When I booted Windows, Windows detected that I had new hardware, and automatically removed the video driver for me! It took about six reboots to get the system right.
  • So why does M$, Apple, and every other major vendor like the shallow learning curve over the more efficient use?

    I think it's the *customers* (aka computer-using white-collar) businesses that want the shallow learning curve. The vendors are responding to this demand. Consider back in the DOSsy days, being able to do a presentable document in WordPerfect was actually a marketable skill, with a higher salary to go along with it. Using MS Word is just another $7/hour job.

    Now, I don't think anyone would disagree that system administration or programming can be more "efficient" with a GUI. However, normal users do very little system admining or programming. In fact most users don't even copy files all that frequently, instead managing their files through the File+Open and File+Save commands (and even back in the DOS days, after a four hour class most folks could 'get' COPY, XCOPY, and DEL.)

    But can you say the same thing for text-mode user applications with psuedo-GUIs? Is WordPerfect or pine* really anymore "efficient" or powerful than a GUI equivalent? (Hint - users like WYSIWYG printing). You mention vi - how much more efficient can the expert vi user be over the moderate WIMP text editor user (assuming the WIMP editor has the same feature set)? You might be saving a few seconds with vi prowness, but I doubt it's even that quantifiable.

    In short, once you're talking about user-level applications with any complexity, the whole GUI = inefficient argument goes right out the window. (And nobody is going to take the CLI stuff out of Linux anyways.)

    (* I mention pine, because my sister failed in using it because nowhere in the app does it mention that the caret, "^", actually means hold the control key down. So, she couldn't figure out how to send her mail. Of course, every old timer knows this, but in this case it was hours wasted on the learning curve.)
  • > "... great OS for servers with a limited number
    > of processors, usually less than 16"

    Much ado about Nitting.

    Great OS for servers? *cough cough* That's highly debatable as anyone knows. Adequate - well OK.

    Less than 16? Well, that's true, as 4 16 is a true statement. Less than 4 is more accurate. I've heard rumours of 4+ proc Wintel servers roaming the woods in the Pacific Northwest, but I've never seen much evidence apart from a few footprints and a bad fuzzy video. But 16? I'd sooner believe Sasquatch wanders onto the Redmond campus for high tea with Bill on Thursday afternoons. Call me a cynic.


  • Ed Muth, group product manager for Windows 2000, claims that the most recent iteration of its NT operating system is crash-proof in 99.9% of computing situations.

    So by this quote I can assume that since the 'situtation' on a computer is in reality changing constantly, I can be assured that for every 1000 seconds I am running a Win2K machine it will be in a crashable state for 1 of them? Of course we should be realistic and scale this down to instruction cycles instead of seconds, it is a Microsoft product after all...

  • Saying that MS will be gone in 5 years is stretching a bit, but bad things could happen:

    1) Customers skip Office 2000 upgrade - lots of missing revenue
    2) Customers go ahead and slowly install Windows 2000 workstation, but skip the Windows 2000 file+print server upgrade (quite possible, it happened to Novell with NetWare 4.x) - more missing revenue.
    3) Customers start to use more Linux/Unix for database servers, application servers, etc (already happening) - Win2000 never gets the big piece of the midrange market that MS is betting on.
    4) MS+DOJ comes to settilement, Microsoft's ability to tie products together is limited.
    5) MS's investments in MSN, MSNBC, cable companies, and so on fail to show any profit.
    6) Stockholders start to notice that revenues ain't as good as they used to be, stock price drops.
    7) Loads of talent betting on their stock options coming through see that the options aren't worth so much anymore, quit and go work for someone competing with MS.
    8) More projects get delayed or off track = revenues fall further in the long run.

    So, Microsoft could look a lot less invincible in 5 years, but they've got enough cash in the bank to coast for a long time. (See Apple.)

  • by Mr. Punch ( 58068 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:33AM (#1805553)
    It seems to me that Mr. Jaffe did a pretty darn good job with this article. He's not a technical writer, yet it seems that he has kept himself fairly well informed about the state of the OS market. (Is "market" the right word for a system containing a free product? Hurm. Might "situation" be better?)

    He talked about Windows 2000 in ways that would make sense to businessmen, and I bet they wouldn't like what he said. Similarly, he talked about Linux in comprehensible terms, and he painted quite a pretty picture of it. While errors and misinformation are not good, in this case, he made Linux look *better* because of it -- he wasn't saying "There is no GUI," but rather "Look how quickly they made a GUI!"

    This article is exactly the sort of thing Linux needs if it is to gain credibility in the business world. System administrators need opinions like Jaffe's as ammunition to fire at the managment of their corporations in order to convince them that Linux is a workable responce to their needs.

    I'll be pretty disappointed if his next column is about how he was brutally flamed for one minor error in an otherwise sterling article.
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:33AM (#1805554) Homepage
    It states the obvious facts (that win 2K WILL, whether we like it or not, be used on a great many computers in the near future). However, after mentioning the positive aspects of it, it starts to display its disadvantages and even takes the occassional jab at the operating system. I like the Sysadmin quote.

    And the take on Linux wasn't the usual FUD. The article pretty much sticks to the facts, that Linux is growing and is slowly becoming the only major competitor to Microsoft's server market, but that it still lacks in features by comparison. The author also doesn't make the usual claim that linux will eventually be overcome, and even presents a few good reasons why.

    I also like the "Poor Microsoft" comment. If that doesn't say something about the efficiency of the company when with all their money and power, Linux is still creeping up on them and investors, whom the article seems aimed toward, should be careful to notice.

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @05:41AM (#1805561) Journal

    Granted, as others here are sure to point out, this probably wasn't intended to be a humorous piece. Any article which contains It is, declares one Microsoft executive, "the most important program ever written." can get a laugh out of me, however. Microsoft: we're nothing if not overweening.

    (first submission!)

  • My Stars! Another CLI vs GUI troll. Just because a person does not want to learn bizzare commands does not make them not want to think. As a matter of fact, I would say that most users DO want to think...what they want to think about is another story. You and Imay use the CLI for some things because we, as programmers or IT professionals, find it easier or more powerful to do what we want it to do - we want to think about the commands, how they work and what they do. My wife, on the other hand, would prefer to think about graphic layout, ad placment, ad costs and potential income reports (she's in advertising) rather than how to move a file or find a program or how to compile. For her the computer should be a tool to do what she wants to do, not an end in itself. She would like it to be easy, almost thoughtless to use so she can concentrate on her job of producing print/tv/radio ads not on "chmod ugo+x" stuff. Her jobs is to use her computer for work, not to administer and set it up.

    For her, a simple thoughtless GUI is the RIGHT WAY. Pushing the CLI as the only RIGHT WAY is as wrong as pushing a GUI as the only RIGHT WAY. There's room for both. If you don't want to use a GUI, don't. But don't be an idiotic CLI snob and say that people who use GUI don't want to learn or are too stupid to use a CLI. Its just not true.

    Remember, Linux is about choice.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin