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ESR says Microsoft is right, for once 277

geekd sent us a link to a Linux Today story by ESR where he says that Microsoft is right. Here is a quick quote from the article: "Indeed do we live in interesting times. Today Microsoft, the Borg from Redmond, is on the right side -- the open-source side -- of a dispute about network standards. I expect water to begin flowing uphill any second now, and look out for pigs on the wing." Its about the Internet Messaging battle between AOL and MS. Check it out.
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ESR says Microsoft is right, for once

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  • ...AOL has a valid argument based on their well known and publicized security policy regarding giving names and passwords to 3rd parties.

    But why isn't AOL screaming that GAIM and all the other "unsupported platform" AIM implementations are evil, because they are written by a third party and ask for your password? The whole username/password thing is a smokescreen. AOL has a few (very few) valid points in this argument (as does MS), but the "password hijacking" one is not a valid argument unless they enforce it across the board, with all AIM clients.

    AOL really only has three valid options here:

    1) Change the "standard" and not allow anyone else to write clients. Return it to a proprietary protocol. AOL loses a (sizeable?) chunk of user base, many of whom migrate to competing (Microsoft) technologies.

    b) Open the protocol completely and let anyone and everyone write clients. Microsoft wins this battle, but AOL's AIM servers are suddenly flooded with many, many more users, many of whom aren't seeing AOL's advertisements, and therefore aren't a revenue stream. The system might eventually collapse here.

    III) Close the protocol, and only allow "licensed" authors to write clients, approved by AOL. This would be a major headache for them, as they would have to negotiate agreements with every programmer who wants to make a Perl/Tk implementation, or a Python version, or a KDE/QT client, etc... The upside is AOL could charge MS a license fee to help defray the cost of the additional load on AOL's servers.

    Am I missing any other options?

  • "You can be today's instant winner of $5000! Just download and set up this FREE program now, and check your Hotmail e-mail account to see if you've won!"
    Look at that...M$ is trying to bribe people into downloading their Messager service...while I do agree that them going open source for this project is a good move, I do not think they are "right". Once M$ has got the overhand to AOL, they will dominate the market just like they have with everything else. M$ realizes they aren't the leader in Instant Messaging Service, so they are trying to dominate, its as simple as that. AOL did make a bad decision by closing off its servers but who in their right mind would let M$ in anyway? Just my opinion
  • Exactly. Ever the hypocritical company, Microsoft calls for a standard when they're not winning, only to provide an incompatible hack of a program supposedly based on "standards" and flood the market with it. Then, ta da, one more market under their control. Gee, can you even feature it?
  • I think AOL is clearly in the right to protect its servers from traffic that doesn't make it money (via advertising).

    But I also think it'd be nice if we DID have an open, inter-operable IMing standard with distributed load.

    So my question is: How do we do this? I'm not very familiar with IRC other than to say that I find it far too difficult to use. Would it be possible to set up a distributed load system for instant messaging? What would it involve?
    I'm not too familiar with the details of this sort of thing and would be interested in hearing about it.
  • The only "non-published" spec M$ is using is the one AOL made up internally that doesn't follow the published spec. IE, as I understand it, they published a spec for the world to use, M$ did, so they changed the spec internally without publishing the changes, and M$ reverse engineeed teh deviation from the open spec.

    If this is not correct, please explain. I DON'T like M$, they can rot in hell, but I don't see how they did anything other than what AOL wanted for free, other than being bigger and meaner.


  • There are ad-free IM clients around there, including GAIM for Linux. All of them use the published AOL protocol, and so far AOL has not complained about these clients asking for users's passwords. Now MS wants to use the same protocol; and AOL is whining.

    Microsoft is right here, folks. If AOL has concerns about security, they should have prevented open-source people from using this protocol, too.

    You can download MS Instant Messenger client from Microsoft's web site; but can't use it, since AOL does not feel secure about MS asking you your password. Yet you can go and download precompiled "Supa-Dupa IM Client Thingy" binaries from a script kiddie's free Web page; and it will also prompt you to enter your password; but hey, AOL is perfectly fine with it. Ridiculous.
  • Except this has NOTHING to do with open source. Also, apparently Microsoft didn't use the mostly-open TOC protocol that clients like TiK use, but the unpublished one that the "official" Windows/Mac AIM clients use. It has to do with protocols, at least mostly. I bet AOL wouldn't have cared as much if Microsoft had used the TOC protocol instead, but that's just not good enough for Microsoft, I guess...
  • I've spoken with the Project Manager for MSN Messenger, and have a good understanding of where Microsoft is heading and what their plans are for future extensions. Also, I have a current copy of the protocol they are using, RVP, based mostly on the HTTP-DAV standard.

    Being heavily involved in the Instant Messaging arena via Jabber [], I can understand Microsoft's need to deploy this functionality and keep it as open as possible, since the fight is against the entrenched closed systems.

    So far I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that they are doing anything sly here, it appears that they honestly want to deploy an open messaging platform, using their own protocol until a standard one is available. An upgraded client should be out this fall along with a server component that works with Exchange, but anyone is free to develop an independent server and/or client that interoperates, and that is exactly what I'll be working on adding into Jabber.

    I can't guarantee Microsoft will stand behind their plans or keep it as open as they are saying, but I know that if they didn't it would cause a bigger press headache than AOL is experiencing over this, so I doubt that will happen. I think it's safe to say that for once we can look at Microsoft as a partner in this battle against closed instant messaging platforms.

  • AOLSunNetscape (there's gotta be a shorter way to do their name)

    Like 'SUNetscAOLpe'?

  • I'm using ICQ right now on my Linux box. I'm talking with people that have Windoze, Solaris, Linux. I never see an advertisement. And more people use ICQ than AIM. Right?!

    Did I miss something, or did Micro$oft miss the boat? Why couldn't they make an ICQ clone? Why not make that the open standard?!
  • Nothing is all good or all bad... how true.

    But in this case, mistaken. Microsoft isn't wrong for apealing for open standards; they are wrong for:
    TRESPASSING on AOL's servers
    STEALING AOL's add dollars
    STEALING AOL users' passwords

    Standards should be opened, and a big fine slapped on Microsoft for the burden put on AOL's servers by Microsoft users and for forcing AOL users to violate their Terms of Service with AOL by requiring AOL users to give their passwords to Microsoft.
  • Well, even if they released their MSN Messenger client as open source (not likely), it'd all be Win32 code, so a lot of it would have to be rewritten into other APIs (POSIX APIs for system interaction, Qt/Gtk+/Motif/etc. for GUI, and whatever else)... so it wouldn't be pretty. I certainly wouldn't want to mess with it.
  • NFS and NIS are open standards that have been recreated in free and proprietary versions. But I have no obligation to open up my NFS and NIS servers to anyone else to use. Microsoft has framed the debate over the protocols, but I don't see the hotmail servers allowing me to relay my traffic via their ports. Why not? So should AOL have the right to say who and how customers access their servers? Sure thing.
  • This is not about "open standards." I wonder if Microsoft paid off ESR? This is about access to AOL's servers. The AIM protocol requires access to AOL's server's and anyone using an AIM client does so with the permission of AOL. Why on earth should AOL give free server cycles to Microsoft, a competitor? This has NOTHING to do with open source/standards and everything to do with Microsoft illegally using AOL's computers. If a script-kiddie broke into some bank's computers and illegally used their CPU time, they could and would be prosecuted. Why is Microsoft any different? ESR just went down several notches of respect.
  • Sorry for misunderstanding the issue...

    Then why doesn't AOL charge for the use of the AIM servers and keep the protocol open? That'd give them a return on investment for the development of the servers, and with clients available everywhere AIM would be even more popular. Of course, with an open protocol, they might start getting competition from other AIM-compatible servers, but since most people are using their servers, few people will want to change.

  • The only reason this unpublished protocol exists is because AOL got pissed that someone took them at their word and used their published protocol. Is that not so?

    What's the point of publishing a so-calld open protocol if you change it the minute someone uses it?

  • They did it themselves, voluntary, in the greedy (and perfectly normal) expectation of getting free clients written by others for their own purposes.

    Once someone took them up on that offer, they whined and changed the supposedly open standard.

  • I think the TiK AOL Instant Messenger (written in Tcl/Tk, uses the TOC protocol) client is still available, and there're other clients available that also use the TOC protocol (gAIM, for example). There are also open-source ICQ-compatible messaging tools (LICQ, GtkICQ, etc), as well as Jabber, which intends to support as many instant-messaging protocols as possible - I think TOC and ICQ protocols are both supported (check out their pages, though - I don't use it myself).
  • There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

    But he's right, gotta go with the Open Standards

  • 1. Microsoft is more wrong than right
    MS delivers a messaging service. They know they can't compete with the established userbase that AIM and ICQ have. Since nearly everybody else does those, why should a newbie choose MSM over where all their buddies are? So Microsoft decides that if they could just hack out a bridge to AIM (why not ICQ?) they could market it as a feature and get a better userbase. Eventually they'll integrate it into something to make MSM the "obvious" choice of instant messaging and kill AIM. Typical Microsoft business-as-usual.
    So why in the devil is MS wrong? It's virtual tresspassing for MS to invade AOLs servers with messages from non-AIM users. Not only that, MS will be stealing revenue from AOL by not displaying AOL banners in MSM. AOL has the right to dictate how their servers are to be used. By tweaking the protocol, AOL is trying to say "Stay off our servers, Microsoft! They're not yours to play with." They have that right. What AOL should do is back up that No Tresspassing sign with a shotgun, instead of trying to put up bigger barricades for Microsoft . . .

    2. AOL is more right than wrong
    As previously stated, AOL is right in defending their servers and tweaking their protocol to keep Microsoft off their property. What Microsoft is accusing AOL of, is using proprietary protocols. So? There is no law against proprietary products? If that was so, MS would have been long long gone a while ago. AIM users have made the choice to go with the proprietary solution. It doesn't mean jack for Microsoft or any oss/fsf/linux pundits to say "Hey AOL! Open your protocols or you're a mean, bad company." Ooooh, what a threat! Microsoft is a mean bad company and they're alive as ever. AOL can just shrug it off and say, "Don't like it? Go somewhere else." Nobody using AIM is going to go anywhere else, they've got all their buddies on AIM. No one can force AOL to do anything, so they'll keep on doing what they're doing and gain more AIM users everyday.

    3. ESR has a deeper meaning than "MS is right"
    ESR is saying "Microsoft is right about open messaging". Sure they are. Open protocols are good. However, you can't force another company to use open protocols, especially if you're trying to get at their userbase (read: MONEY!). What Microsoft doesn't realize, but ESR and AOL do, is that by turning instant messaging into an open protocol where all the servers talk to each other and it doesn't matter what client you're using; nobody makes any money. It's just like IRC. Nobody makes money from running IRC servers and you can use whatever client you want. If Microsoft was really smart, they would look at what happened when they tried to "embrace and extend" IRC with Microsoft Chat. It didn't work. MSChat users are the bane of IRC users when they're in Comic Mode. Eventually, they all just hang out in microsoft-only chat servers. Exactly what would happen to instant messaging under Microsoft's plan. Now you tell me, out of all the IRC users, what percentage use MS Comic Chat? :) AOL knows where their money is, and they'll be dammned if they change to throw it all away.

    So, what does all this add up to? AOL is defending it's property rights. Microsoft is trespassing on those rights. ESR is championing Microsoft stepping on their own oxygen supply.

    Microsoft is trying to open up the instant messaging protocols on the internet and unwittingly trying to create a unprofitable medium where the servers are run without any capital gain and the clients could be written by anybody. This is good for us! Bad for business.

    Eric is right. You can cheer for Microsoft this time, because you're cheering for them and AOL to lose.

  • I read your comment and I thought you were
    right. But there's just one thing that

    You are forgetting that AOL _pulished_ the
    specs to their client. They were trying to
    promote use on Unix boxes. Microsoft didn't
    commit industrial espionage to get the specs.
    IMHO, AOL should have seen this coming a mile away.

    I still don't agree that MS is the "right" one
    in this case, but AOL isn't the victim that your
    post makes them out to be.

  • We know the only reason MS want open standards on this one is so they can gain market share from the market leader. Perhaps their argument would be good in court to insist that they open up their standards to remove the monopoly and increase competition?

    Anyway, my main point is why don't we use this situation to try and persude MS to release their messenger as open source. As they seem to want to push for a standard to gain market share lets make them realise that the best way to do so is an open source solution.

    My reasoning for this:
    1) if a standard does arrive it would be very easy to port an open source instant messenger to Linux.

    2) It would be harder for them to make undocumented extensions to their messenger as they'd have to revert to closed source and that would be very bad publicity for them.
  • Ok, let's take it a step further. All people who use MS-DUN (millions!) are giving their ISP username and password away to Microsoft every time. The difference is, MS-DUN isn't

    a) leeching off someone elses resources without their approval
    b) competing against another "dun" service which generates revenue from it's grown user base

    One step further would be that everyone is giving out their username/password to their phone company everytime they dialup.
  • The main difference is your mail client (Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, whatever) is not directly linked to a competing service and simply leeching off the existing market leader's users and network resources to gain share.
  • Microsift get's on the soap box when someone screws with them...

    Ohh they arent helping us with ipv6 by implimenting a beta driver are they? nooooooo...
    they are as interested in open standards as Bill is interested in the contents of his refridgerator... it's mildly interesting to them and looks like something that would taste good for a snack. But Open standards aren't what they are based on... Microsoft is based on closed and prepitary.
  • Ahem... it does...
    Most systems are run under a metro-X server with almost every expieriment using Linux now.
    This is old news though.
  • The simple answer to this debate, is what is best for the end users? I could give a flying shit what MS's motives are. For me, and the millions of other IM users, open source is right, and therefore, MS is right.
  • Because they want to hit AOL where it hurts.
    It's war, it's business. Compete with and overt
    your enemies strengths not his weaknesses.
    I would reason that AOL makes more money from
    AIM than ICQ.
    Superstition is a word the ignorant use to describe their ignorance. -Sifu
  • If Instant Messenger is supported by advertising, and not displaying those ads is theft of service, then why would they want to allow the open source Unix clients?

    I would assume that the Unix clients are every bit as guilty as the MS clients when it comes to not displaying AOL's ads.

    I assume the real problem is volume - there aren't too many Unix users out there, so the lost revenue doesn't make much difference. Obviously if MS is hijacking both their users and ads, this is pretty crummy for AOL. At the same time, if Linux grows to the extent that there is a significant number of desktop users (from AOL's point of view), I wonder what would happen.

    I think AOL should have licensed the protocol on the condition that the ads be displayed by any client that was written. Then they wouldn't be in this fix, and the result would have been fair for all.

    I'm not inclined to take Microsoft's side on this one, though. AOL did the open source community a favour by releasing the protocol, and got burned by our pals at MS. ESR or no ESR, I can't say that's a Good Thing.

    I'm going to show symbolic support to IM by downloading a Unix client for it today.


  • While I completely agree that it's time for open instant messaging standards, AOL's security reasoning behind blocking MSN's messenger makes sense since MSN's messenger asks for your AOL screename and password.

    AOL has been trying for years to educate their 400 ba-zillion "newbies" to never ever give out their name and password to anyone, ever. Now Microsoft wants it. Should AOL now go against this policy and allow MSN to ask for user's names and passwords? I don't see the value in that.

    My .02, no change will be given.

    |DaBuzz| []
  • True, we'd be real happy if the shuttle was running Linux. On the other hand if it was running nt, i'd be running out to buy a hard hat :)
  • AIM is popular because
    1)It's built into AOL which is itself popular 2)bundled with other software like Netscape Communicator
    3)It's pretty and easy to use (unlike IRC software)
    4)It's free

    If they charge for access to the servers people will either switch to AIM-alike servers which are free or switch to a whole new instant messenger system. There is too much competition in the category trying to advertise their way to riches for AOL to go another way.
  • but that still feels bizarre on my tounge. "Microsoft is right." "Microsoft is for open standards." And I thought it was kind of bizarre when IBM started to convert...
  • LICQ (yes this is what it sounds like)
    or JAVA ICQ

    GAIM (again this is what is sounds like)

    Java AIM


    TALK , or IRC
  • ESR: Now, you may think I'm harshing on Microsoft too much here. If so, you can refute me instantly by pointing me at the Web page where Microft has published the wire protocol for its Exchange message servers. Hey -- turnabout is fair play.

    Maybe they haven't released their wire protocols, but it's not as if (as with AOL) you have to use Microsoft's clients. You can use SMTP/POP, MAPI, or IMAP4, and there are COM objects for programming Exchange.

  • I have to agree with ESR's point. Motives aside, we have to support MS on this argument. In this instance AOL seems to be trying to "Microsoft" the instant messaging community. It wasn't good when MS did it on other projects so it can't be good for AOL to do it now. Open protocols are central to a functioning Internet. Efforts to keep protocols open should be supported regardless of the intentions, real or perceived, of the participants.

    D. Keith Higgs
    CWRU. Kelvin Smith Library
  • "forcing AOL users to violate their Terms of Service with AOL by requiring AOL users to give their passwords to Microsoft."

    Forcing? How? Are AOL users now required to use this messaging client? News to me.
    Most of the people who would use this client are not AOL users, just people who want to use instant messaging.
    What AOL should do is patent the idea of sending messages to others... That would solve all the problems.
  • Why support AOL IM? It's the most widely used instant messanger system there is. MS has a history og going where the market is. Adding support for Yahoo! and Prodigy systems should be relatively simple, especially if a common protocol can be agreed upon.

    Meanwhile, who really cares if MS bundles MSIM with Windows? Just so long as it's uninstallable and replaceable. There's nothing there the OS is dependent on so that should be possible.

    Anyway, open protocols are good for the Internet. Efforts to promote open protocols should be supported regardless of the perceived motives of the participants.

    D. Keith Higgs
    CWRU. Kelvin Smith Library

  • How about this for arrogance:- my Windows NT box lists all *.html files as being of type "Microsoft HTML Document 5.0". Since when did Microsoft own HTML?

    Netscape's no better with this particular problem. I seem to have a whole bunch of "Netscape Hypertext Document" files on my computer. :)

  • Why not just change the terms under which you look at the protocol to include that if you write software to connect to their servers and use their user database, it must show THEIR ads and it MUST be opensource(so they can look through to make sure its checking their ads if they want). That way they are protected from getting screwed on the hardware end by giving out free service and putting money in someone elses pocket, yet at the same time, people can write clients for whatever platform they want. They should also request that MS release the protocol for their service and write the functionality to be connected to both services at once into the next AIM client. This would be out of hand at first, but if a standard was approved(IETF or someone) then it would be easy to just pick which service you want to connect to, and have the client handle looking across the different DB's for people online using whatever service they might be. So long as the ads are displayed from the server you are using, the $$ people wont mind. Hell, I bet someone would throw up a server(im:// and display some nice OS community ads(fm,t.o,/.,etc..)
    -Matt Jankowski
  • I agree that AOL has no obligation to allow MS to 'borrow' their servers, and had good reason to dis-allow it. The correct response though would have been to have their servers refuse connections from outside of AOL. Mucking with the protocol (security by obscurity) is weak in any case, and reflects the wrong attitude.

    The best response would have been "get your own servers, and we'll peer them.".

  • >From reading the copyright notice it appears that AOL did indeed release this under GPL. Unless somebody is just saying "copyright by AOL" which is unlikely. How, then, can AOL make changes to GPL stuff without releasing the changes?

    To release a software product under the GPL it is not necessary to surrender rights to that product.

    :. They can still release updates to their pre-GPL version.
  • I think you're right. There is a difference here. Releasing specs to the open source community in order for them to write clients in order to allow Linux/*nix users to communicate with the AIM community is not the same thing as allowing Microsoft or some other commercial entity to write a client. The difference is the advertising space. AOL doesn't mind the OS community using AIM to communicate because we aren't exploiting it to sell ads. They do mind being exploited by a competitor though. Microsoft has it's own online service and community (even if it is a fraction of the size of AOL's), and that makes them a direct competitor.

    This makes me ill. If Microsoft wants open standards, then they should lead by example instead of whining and complaining when someone else is actually doing better than they are in something. I don't see Microsoft opening their protocols to allow for open access and standards. When they do that, then I'll back them up completely when they want someone else to do it. Until that day comes, they need to quit complaining about getting some of their own medicine.

  • Either you are joking, or you should give evidence that the MS PPP dialer sends your ISP password to Redmond.

    Yes, I was being overly dramatic to make a point. I don't have any proof *yet* that MS has my ISP username/password. *grin*
  • >And if Microsoft isn't smart enough to do that,
    >someone in the open-source community (a group
    >very good at reverse-engineering) will be -- at
    >which point Microsoft will get to use the
    >results. So AOL loses either way.

    Wait a second... the open source community codes a client that gets around AOL's blocks, releases it under the GPL, which Microsoft uses to derive its own client?

    I can see it now! You're presented with the EULA during the install which reads:

    Microsoft Instant Messenger 1.0

    The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users.


    Do you agree?
  • I am really sorry. But, there is not way in Hell that Microsoft could possibly be right - at least on this case. I downloaded the MSN Messenger on my PC at work - the only good thing I found was the fact that it was much smaller than the AIM client.

    It seems a bit hypocritical that MS downs AOL for breaking standards. Yes, America Online did publish information on their protocol to the public, but they didn't mean for it to be used to make Macintosh and Windows clients.

    Microsoft will do what they always do. If America Online bows to their will, Microsoft will make the MSN Messenger, pack it with two or three advertisements, and bundle it with Windows 2000, or whatever comes next. This will ultimately kill AIM.

    As much as I would like for AIM to be 300 KB in size, it is more important that it remain the Mac and Windows client. I say this because AOL spent the money to make AIM, not MS... And MS wants to steal all of that.

    Mind you, that Prodigy is joining this "open-standard initiative" that Microsoft began, too... Is it just me, or do all of these companies simply want a free ride? I didn't see them interested in making AIM bigger and better when it first started out... Now that it has a few million users, though... And the possibility for advertising... Yeah, now they want it... They want it all.

    For once, America Online is right. For yet again, Microsoft is wrong. My suggestion, also, to Prodigy, is to back off or make a private deal with America Online. Anyone who joins Microsoft's side is asking for trouble.
  • Thanks for the clarification!
  • There are, as I understand it, two protocols. TOC and OSCAR. TOC is the one they've released. OSCAR is the one the Windows AIM client uses. Microsoft reverse-engineered OSCAR instead of using TOC. I'm not sure what the difference is, though.
  • GAIM or Licq.. Look around on freshmeat (

  • There are 2 protocols, TOC and OSCAR. There have been for a really long time. GAIM and TiK et al use TOC, the published protocl. The Windows AIM client and now MSN Messenger use OSCAR, the unpublished protocl. Microsoft reverse-engineered that one. They've both been around for a while. And you'll notice that GAIM hasn't stopped working because they haven't had to mess with TOC.
  • Quit being so indignant and acting like they're doing something wrong. It's called business, and they just happen to be better at it then most.

    Are you saying you must be a hypocrite to the nth degree in order to really good at business? So AOL is actually doing well at something that Microsoft has not done very well at. Microsoft has been saying all along that they aren't invincible and that they can't control everything. But as soon as they find something they haven't been able to control, they whine and moan about how unfair it is. They aren't businessmen... they're a bunch of spoiled brats.

  • AOL did open the protocol and I think AIM is the product that resulted from that. Now a monster like Microsoft comes along and wants to suck your life giving blood from your body to feed its minions. The best thing to do is build a mote. If Microsoft had a different history AOL might have acted differently. Open protocol standards are good but one has to be able to make money from a idea. Maybe there should be an allowance of X years before the protocol is opened when over 50% of the market uses the protocol? AOL should be allowed to make money off its property but not allowed to control the market.

    This is not new for Microsoft. They do this whenever they aren't in control of a popular product. This is not new, they're doing it with Java also. It's in their financial interest to get a protocol open so they can 'enhance' it so it will only work with Windows apps. Look at FrontPage and how it only posts to NT servers instead of the standard ftp protocol as others do. Microsoft is NOT your friend just because they want someone to open up their protocol and they are NOT doing this for our sake.

    A better solution needs to be found for the opening of dominant network protocols. That solution must apply to Microsoft, Sun, IBM, and all others. Personally, I applaud AOL for doing to Microsoft what was done to Bill Gates in Belgium (in your face, succa). They deserve it and more for all they have done to others in the past. IMHO

  • This just goes to show what we already knew:

    Open standards benefit everyone. Closed standards benefit the owner of the closed standard if they have a majority of the market share. In this case Microsoft is on the opposite side of the issue from usual.

    - Ken
  • If you wanted to use some other vendor's implementation of those protocols, it would be listed under a different vendor. Choose one of the the IPX versions listed under Novell, for instance, if you like. Or take the "Open" choice and click "Have Disk."
  • Very true. This is the only really substantive argument against what Microsoft is going, and it is a valid one.

    However, as you can see by the topic of this thread, it's not the one AOL is using.
  • > Anyway, open protocols are good for the Internet. Efforts to promote open protocols should be supported regardless of the perceived motives of the participants.

    Blah blah blah. Care to respond to his points, rather than spewing religious dogma? What is so magical about open protocols that somehow make them immune to critical reasoning about how, when, and if to support them?

  • MS simply wants the same thing everyone else has.

    No, everyone else has access to the client code and can make use of the AIM network for communication, not for commercial profit through advertising. That's what MS is doing that is wrong. Not to mention the fact that MS is notorious for hijacking other companies' ideas and tech. That alone is good enough reason to fight them off on this one.

  • I am fairly certain that AOL did not change their IM protocol because they wanted to "limit consumer options" and make it so only AIM users could use the IM protocol. Rather, AOL had a somewhat-legitimite reason for doing what it did.

    IM clients must access a database which tells users who is logged on, who is ide, etc. Currently, this database is only located on AOL's own servers. Servers cost money, not only to buy, but also to maintain and upgrade. With 20 (?) million users, this server has to be tuned tightly. I think we can all reasonably assume that this maintaining this server takes more than just an AOL janitor kicking it until it works.

    Agreed, AOL should not mutilate standards for its own gain, but I can understand why they would be pissed about other IM clients using their servers. M$ and other IM client-making companies should create their own servers and work with AOL to develop some sort of back-end protocol for inter-server cooperation. Either that, or they could all pay AOL a fee for the added load. I'm sure there are other, better ways of solving this, also...


  • Maybe I am just obtuse, but aren't there already "open standards" for "Instant Messaging"?

    I am pretty sure that IRC is open standards based, and if a DCC chat is not an "Instant" message, than I don't know what is. My IRC client alerts me when people on my alert list log on and off. Granted, if I am not on a server with a nick-serv, I may get alerted to a logon by someone using a nick that is not a buddy of mine. I still fail to understand what the big deal is about ICQ and AIM. I don't use either. If you want to chat with me, come find me on EF-Net, I'll be the guy called CountZer0.

    If it's a features issue, it would be VERY easy to make an IRC client that acted just like AIM. (esp if you used a server-net that had a nick-serv)

    As far as Microsoft embracing and extending "open" protocols, doesn't anyone remember their failed IRC client "Comic Chat"? You could use it to connect to any IRC server, but if you used it on MS Comic Chat servers, then everyone had a dorky avatar and graphical emotes. Nothing new about MS using open protocols for its own gain. Anyway, maybe someone can clue me in as to what all the fuss is about.

    Yes I have tried ICQ and AIM, so I am speaking from a position of knowledge. These things just didn't impress me. They both seem to be limited versions of IRC clients. AIM is at least moderately useful in that it allows me to chat with clueless morons who insist on using AOL. Then again, why would I want to chat with clueless morons?

  • I agree, I was just rereading the Halloween documents, and I remembered the bit about "decomoditizing protocols." MS is trying to act as if they want standards here, when they have clearly stated in the past that having "commodity" protocols is not one of their long term goals.
  • Being a hypocrite is not a prerequisite for being good at business, but it is sometimes obviously necessary.

    It may be necessary for the company to continue its sucess at any expense, but I wouldn't say it is absolutely necessary. It should not be tolerated. If Microsoft wants open standards, let them open their own protocols and formats. Otherwise, what right do they have to use their influence to badger another company to do what they still refuse to do themselves?

    Such an admission would no doubt hurt them earings wise, and no one with half a brain would expect them to lose money for honesty's sake.

    Here's where you and I definitely disagree. You seem to be saying that businesses are there to make money by any means necessary and if honesty gets in the way, then we should expect it to be sacrificed. I don't think I'm being too idealistic when I say that this is absolutely the wrong way to look at these things. It's this kind of thinking that has brought us to the point we're at. If we start assuming that businesses will lie, cheat, and steal and do nothing about it, then we deserve to be the ones getting screwed in the end. We should be able to point out the hypocrisy and demand that Microsoft either explain their actions or shut the hell up.

    It's a pity we don't have a law against hypocrisy. Unfortunately, if we did have one, it would be misused and nobody would ever be allowed to change their minds on anything, or at least they wouldn't be able to admit it.

  • Let me point one thing. I hate AOL. I can't digere in any way their network. But in this particular point AOL is probably playing relatively fair.

    Let's point the difference between a UNIX AIM client and M$ one. The *NIX clients are not bound to one platform. They are not promoting a particular product. Besides it seems that AOL is less interested on client support in this world. So AOL is making a good job letting the protocols free. I don't need any Windows crap to look at someone at AOL. Frankly it looks to me as a good agreement between my freedom to choose and AOL's interests.

    But this does not go with M$. First they are promoting MSN, at least indirectly, through the "feature" of their client. It looks too much as hypocrisy to lay behind "open protocols", a feature that promotes a direct concurrent to AOL. In fact has anyone noted if any MSN or HotMail features are easily accessible by AOL users? Are any "open protocols" in the services M$ provides? Can AOL use them?

    Besides it seems that this feature looks quite "on the side" of some rules AOL determines for its AIM client, in this case is completely the inverse of what OSS has done. Yes we do hack things. We overcome limits, barriers, bugs and tons of features. But we don't go against the stream of the creator. If someone claims OSS is playing against its desires, we usually let him die slowly and lonely. But M$ is not hacking. It is CRACKING!

    AOL has told M$ to stand outside of their system. What they did? They broke the blockings. They didn't say a word, they didn't come to the public to state any opinions about this. They just picked their client and implanted a new crack. This is not OSS. This is the typical script kiddie MazzDie world with its codebreakers, serial numbers and cracks. This is not open standards. They even didn't tried to be diplomatic. At least in public. What they did is just the same crackers do.

    Frankly, anyone can pick CdC press release and replace "BO2K" by "M$ client". The philosophy is the same. Now we know the spring that feeds all this world...

  • I think you're right. There is a difference here. Releasing specs to the open source community in order for them to write clients in order to allow Linux/*nix users to communicate with the AIM community is not the same thing as allowing Microsoft or some other commercial entity to write a client.

    AOL did not release specs 'to the open source community'. They released specs. Period. If they didn't want people/companies to use them in a certain way, they should have put an NDA on the site or some such thing, and then they would have true legal recourse against Microsoft, Yahoo, Prodigy, and whoever else writing a competing client used the specs.

    And I'm sure that if if a popular unix AIM client came about, and AOL then decided that the market was worthy and ported AIM to unix themselves, they'd have a fit about that competing client using "their" protocol.
  • The specs AOL released, the ones TiK is based on, are the specs for a protocol called TOC. The protocol that AIM uses is called OSCAR. TOC was the only spec that was ever released. Microsoft's client does not use TOC, it uses a hacked version of OSCAR.
  • Microsoft should be able to write a client. They just shouldn't be allowed to exploit AOL's servers for commercial gain by using the client for advertising purposes. If Microsoft would just open their protocols then they would have no problem getting people to back them up when they call for others to open their protocols. In this case, they look like complete hypocrites and don't deserve any backing.

  • The main difference is your mail client (Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, whatever) is not directly linked to a competing service and simply leeching off the existing market leader's users and network resources to gain share.

    You're leaching off of a competetor's mail server when you send email messages to their members. Hundreds of millions of non-AOL email messages use AOL's mail servers every month. You don't hear about them changing SMTP to block email from competitors. Why should instant messages be any different?

    "Direct connection" is a red herring-- if I send email to someone at AOL, my mail agent is making a "direct connection" to AOL's mail servers. The only substantive difference is that they queue the message for later retrieval rather than generating a screen pop.

  • But if you really look at it, then what you're saying is that we shouldn't be allowed to use open-source/linux/whatever clients with AIM or ICQ as well. Granted, it is AOL's right to decide who can use their stuff, but they should at least be consistant about it.

    Okay they are consistant:

    • gaim: yes
    • Microsoft: no

    But let's think about the real issue here. They are willing for Open Source clients to be developed to work with their *servers* allowing a greater ability of diverse people to use the service.

    But let's not be foolish here. Instant Messaging is a very important communications tool. To who? Consumers. Microsoft, as always, is late to the market. They need to crush AOL's instant messaging just like they "crushed" Netscape and Java.

    Now how difficult do you think that it'd be for Microsoft to develop their own instant messaging protocol and bundle clients with Windows and Hotmail? So how I can't believe that that would be too difficult for Microsoft. Then why don't they do it? Soon they'd have 95% of the market running MIM instead of AIM because Windows runs everywhere and AOL would have near 0 users because MIM runs everywhere and no one needs 2 IM services.

    Why then would Microsoft use AOL? Tricky Microsoft. Having their own IM Service means servers, administrators, money, money, money. By "using" AOL's protocol they soon have 95% of the market anyways, without the "costs" running their own backend. Yes! Microsoft strongest competitor's paying to run Microsoft's Instant Messaging service. What could be better? Advertising Heaven Baby!

    So what's AOL going to do? If they let Microsoft get away with this, they no longer have an advertising base. They will than shut the service down. Microsoft Scores Again! They just destroyed their biggest competitor. But how will this leave Microsoft's instant messaging service? I would not be surprised if they had a second "proprietary" protocol (new and improved!) embedded in the client so that is soon as AOL was out of they could flip switch on their servers and everything would be just perfect.

    How does an Open Instant Messaging Standard fit in with Microsoft "plans." Ah, just like web browsing they'll make sure that their client is alway "better" then everyone else's. Through bundling they are guaranteed the greatest marketshare. No one else will be able to "compete" with Microsoft, and Microsoft wil be guaranteed dollars, Dollars, DOLLARS!

    Nope, sorry, Microsoft isn't dumb. They know when to use "open standards," their power to "innovate", and shrewd "marketing/bundling" to not only destroy competition, but to guarantee that they will be *the* "market leaders".

  • discover that somebody generally has to win

    This is true, however, I have about zero interest in helping Micros~1 win. I think those who don't know what I'm referring to should look up the word "choice" in the same dict :o)


  • Let us not forget that looking out for its own interests is what any company in this society is *supposed* to do.

    Well, certainly, but nevertheless MS claim that they their success is based on listening to customers, not listening to shareholders :)

    If you don't like it, go live in a tarpaper shack in some communist country...

    No, please stay where you are and make a difference!

  • Umm... yes, they are. 6/ []

    But as far as your comments on Microsoft and closed systems, they are correct. However, if you look at the software development community as a whole, most companies still share the same view. Hence the importance of evangelism...
  • He said that Microsoft is using the open AOL Instant Messenger
    protocol. This is not true!

    AOL did release a special public version of the AIM protocol called
    "TOC" that connects to special TOC servers made for that purpose and
    even released several open-source clients to connect with that special

    The AIM clients for Windows and Macintosh connect to another set of
    servers whose protocol is undocumented. MSN Messenger is connecting to
    that other set of servers with the UNDOCUMENTED protocol. Microsoft
    reverse-engineered that protocol, in fact.

    The story should state that:

    1) Yahoo Messenger and Prodigy were using the publically-published TOC

    2) MSN Messenger is using a reverse-engineered protocol.

    Kriston J. Rehberg []

  • I just run an IRC server on my box. If someone wants to get hold of me, they can log into my IRC server and /summon me.
  • This would be a good position, if it were accurate. MSN is not using the published protocol -- they are using AIM's unpublished protocol.


    Kriston J. Rehberg []

  • I'm sounding like a broken record, but MSN is not using the open protocol. MSN Messenger is using the unpublished, proprietary protocol that AIM uses to make themselves look like a real AIM client.


    Kriston J. Rehberg []

  • If you're downloading an AIM client from anywhere but AOL, you run a much greater risk of getting a trojan anyway.

    When I can get packages like the newer versions of Netscape to stop automaticaly shoving down my throat an AIM client that I then have to manually delete from the system, I will start taking your sentiment seriously.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    --I agree that AOL is wrong for keeping things proprietary. But I almost can't help but root for them on this one, simply because if Microsoft has CONSISTENTLY used closed standards to get a strangle hold on the market. The "its ok for us, but not everyone else" attitude is just annoying. Open standards are great, but MS should try DOING it before whining about others.

    just my 2c.
  • A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Seriously though, Microsoft may be right, but they certainly do look hypocritcal as hell when they in general like to make their products proprietary and only advocate open standards when they can't get into a market any other way.

    When they start opening up the formats for their office products, then we can start saying they are for open standards.

  • *Sigh* It was so depressing when I first got my "I wanna suck your hot cock" messages with a URL on ICQ. Did I have my email listed? Nope. All they have to do is "Add Users" and type in a random name like "Doug" or "James" and they get a stack of people whose names start with "Doug" or "James" whether or not your email address is entered. Sure, they can't email you. They'll just ICQ you instead.

  • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:02AM (#1779451)

    I agree with ESR, basically, although I do have some reservations. This is, at the moment, not much more than a pissing contest between two giant corporations that would like nothing better than see their competitor have to pull in their horns. The free software community is pretty much just being stomped on by one or the other giant (which one it is depends on the phase of the moon, the position of the constellations, etc.)

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least for MS to come out with an "improved" Internet messenger protocol within days of stomping AOL into the ground. That's the way it works - they're just looking for an advantage, any advantage, and they both have less than zero concern for "right" and "wrong".
  • Actually, it's not what you think - my comment started at 2, as will this one I expect. If you have enough highly-ranked posts you can increase your default score from 1 to 2. This was a lot easier a month or two ago when there was more moderation == more chances to be marked up. I'm not sure how long it takes for the lack of positive moderation to shift your default score back to 1. I haven't had any posts moderated up in a while but I still end up defaulting at 2. Since this post is completely off-topic, I expect my default will change soon :)

    That being said, I preferred /. a few months ago with more moderation, rather than less. More moderation increased the delta between good posts and bad posts, so that it was pretty clear when the comment quality was falling off rapidly. Now with less moderation, good posts usually get marked up and poor posts sometimes get marked down, but not often enough. Result: you have to dive deeper into the 1 and 0 level posts to make sure you see all the good comments.

  • ...they KEEP the standard open once they have it. If they force AOL to open the standard, and then capture the market with their own messenger, and THEN close the standard once more - then everyone loses...
  • If you completely ignore the whole server thing. It's more like someone reverse engineering Microsoft's own Exchange server and using that as a relay.
  • That could be interpreted wrong. I meant to say something like finding a way to use's own Exchange server as a relay for SPAM or something.
  • Yeah, Microsoft is right. But not about the neitre thing. I mean, yes, they're asking for an open source messenging protocal. And yes, AOL probably should not have changed their server protocol to break Microsoft's code(though one could argue about the ethics of poaching on someone else's service like that. Did Microsoft contribute anything towards the maintanence of AOL's servers before they did this? I think not). But should we consider the ethics of including your messenging software bundled with your OS, your browser, and your email client? And yes, I know that AOL did the same thing, including their client with Netscape.

    I suppose my point here isn't that AOL is right. It isn't that Microsoft is right. Its that *both* companies suck and that we *ought* to just develop our own solution and tell them to go away.
  • err, that's not assimiliation. that's cross platform ability (something which NT has been losing). Assimilation is if linux took every peice of software it came across and integrated it into itself, which is what MSFT has tried to do.
  • This happens a lot. I have a Linux Today slashbox set up at the top of my /. page, and I always wonder why the /. folks don't do the same to get the news at the same time. Maybe it's journalistic courtesy - if somebody else gets the scoop, you let them have it for a while before publishing your own article?

  • by talks_to_birds ( 2488 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:10AM (#1779487) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft right for once?
    "Microsoft's stance in this brouhaha is, of course, hypocritical to the point of being nauseating. In the past, Gates's minions have been notorious for sabotaging and corrupting open networking standards at every possible opportunity, and Microsoft's own "Halloween Documents" explain why with almost brutal frankness."
    Microsoft is just serving it's own interests, as it always does, and is just playing the "open source" gambit here, to serve itself.. It's not that Microsoft is suddenly so right, it's just that AOL is more wrong..

    - t_t_b

  • All people who use MS-DUN (millions!) are giving their ISP username and password away to Microsoft every time.

    Either you are joking, or you should give evidence that the MS PPP dialer sends your ISP password to Redmond.
  • Yes, but it's AOL's own AIM client asking for the password.

    What happens when some script kiddie hacks up a visual basic dialog box to look like an instant message client and gets people to download it. All it will do is gather AOL names and passwords while giving the user an error when trying to connect.

    It's a security policy issue in my opinion. If MSN could find a way to jack into the network without asking for their AIM username and password, I'd be all for it. Open messaging standards would allow all IM networks to talk to one another so no one ever gives out their username/password to a client not provided by their network. MS is simply hacking into AOL's IM infrastructure to make a product marketable.
  • by Greg Merchan ( 64308 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:15AM (#1779500)
    ESR goes to the Redmond campus, and now this!!!

    --- disclaimer ---
    This is a joke. This is only a joke. Had this been a real conspiracy theory the subject would have read "Clone!!!" and been followed by statements attesting to first-hand knowledge of a MS janitor's claim of creating the clone or disposing of the bodies and being fired for threatening to go public about those and the theft of GPL'ed genentic code.
    --- end of disclaimer ---

    Have a nice date!

  • by Goody ( 23843 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:16AM (#1779502) Journal
    Microsoft is absolutely right in this case, but their intentions are definitely not in parallel with the spirit of OSS. Here's the plan :

    1. Give it out as a free goodie.

    2. Package it in Windows.

    3. When everyone has it, throw proprietary extensions on it. Remaining non-M$ clients have to switch to the M$ client to get the cool functionality.

    4. Rename it, integrate it into everything from Bob to Office to MSN.

    5. Hey guys, look at this neat new product we created ! Aren't we innovative ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...that Microsoft is not only poaching AOL's user-base, they're piggy-backing off of AOL's IM server farm as well. So, as MS adds users, who interact over Instant Messenger, AOL has to handle the increase of traffic by purchasing new servers and new bandwidth. And AOL doesn't get the benefit of getting ad revenues from the new users to make up the costs.

    Microsoft gets the user-base, with none of the work, while AOL has to sit and watch MS win a market yet again. Microsoft is the fox in the henhouse. Are you surprised AOL has reached for the shotgun?

    The Open Source issue is a canard. Don't let it fool you into believing MS is right on this issue. As usual, their Open Source posturing is for their benefit only. Do you think they'd be implementing a standards-based protocol if Instant Messenger didn't exist? Their new Messenger's own protocol isn't standards-based.
  • by BluBrick ( 1924 ) <> on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:24AM (#1779512) Homepage
    Microsoft are indeed interested in open standards up to a point. That point being once they have a decent slice of the marketshare. Once they have that, open standards appear to go right out the window.

    Does anyone here really believe that Microsoft will remain faithful to their current stance on open standards for Internet messaging? I don't! I predict that their righteous stance will win them their little tiff with AOL. After that, they will gain a decent marketshare, and (surprise, surprise) begin to introduce closed "enhancements".

    For these reasons, I refuse to say that Microsoft is right, they are just less wrong than AOL. Microsoft will not be right about open standards until they are consistent in their stance.

  • This isn't about access to the standard,
    it's about access to AOL's servers. Why should
    they have to give up space and cycles to an
    MSN-branded messaging service? MS are trying
    to make it look like AOL are blocking use of
    the protocol, but they're not. They're
    trying to stop DOS attacks against their IM

    ESR's got the wrong end of the stick. If he's
    interested in open messaging protocols, he
    should promote the IETF proposal, or the use
    of IRC. He shouldn't be wasting everybody's
    time trumpeting Microsoft's cause, just
    because it's vaguely similar to a mutated
    version of his own.

    How come there's an "open source" entry in the
  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:50AM (#1779547)
    Those 12+ Million users of AIM didn't just come out of the sky. AOL Spent millions, if not billions of marketing to get people to use AOL/AIM.

    AIM is a closed proprietary server. The only servers for AIM exist on AOL servers.

    There are companies that spend a great deal of $$ to advertise on the AIM client.

    Now Microsoft comes along. For free they want access to the 12+ million people that AOL has. They want to use AOL's customer base to promote hotmail(you need hotmail to use Microsoft Messanger), and to get thier foot into the mix by just hijacking the millions of AIM users.

    All of the time, all Mircosoft did was code a client. All these people that are using it are using AOL's servers. It's wrong for AOL to go "Mircosoft is getting these ad dollars, while we have to have the increased load on our servers for free? We aren't putting up with this"? Maybe if AIM servers were all over the place like IRC, this wouldn't be a conern. But they aren't so it is.

    Now AOL has to go to their advertisers and go "We now have 15 million useres, but now, even though it's our service and server, you can only reach 12 million of them" While now, Microsoft can go to the same people and go "Get our ad space and reach the whole 15 million, and it will cost you less"

    So, to stop Microsoft, they changed thier own protocol so MS Messanger wouldn't work. AOL said "We spent billions to get this user base and to where we are now. We'll be damned if we are going to let Microsoft come in and take them for free."

    This isn't like TiK, where it was a totally free program, that in the whole scheme of things not alot of people used. This is Microsoft. They will put this program on every install of Windows2000. It will be installed by default in the next version of IE. Wouldn't be surprised if in the next consumer Windows release, MS Messanger was "part of the OS"

    So it's still ok for AOL to sit back and let this happen?

  • by Wokan ( 14062 )
    What you are describing is EXACTLY has MS will do it. People will still be able to chat with each other, but if you don't have MSChatCrap v1.3, you won't have access to all these "extra" features.

    All told, this is weird. I don't like AOL, but at least they're playing fair on this one. It's their chat, and they are free to do what they will with it. Too bad that may render my Tik client useless though. Hopefully they release a binary for Linux/BSD/Unix so I can keep in touch with my less fortunate family members caught in the AOHell.
    Digital Wokan, Tribal mage of the electronics age
  • Okay, so AOL runs the AIM servers. But you still have to have an AOL account to use the AIM servers, even if you use the MS client, right? So if I'm paying AOL the same for the use of their AIM servers, what difference does it make whether I use the AOL client or the MS client?

    The only difference is in market control. Since AIM is so popular, AOL wants to use AIM's success to force people to use the rest of their services. To do this, they have to make sure that no other company can integrate AIM into their services that compete with AOL. That's the same integration and control strategy that MS is using with IE: forcing people to use a competitive product (IE/AOL) because it's integrated exclusively with a monopolistic product (Windows/AIM).

  • Hands up anyone who doubted it? Let's face it, there was never any doubt about this one; if it was anyone but MS who was wronged there'd have been howls of outrage by now. But it takes someone like ESR to point out the obvious before we listen.

    Sorry, I must admit that I doubted it. Microsoft has never, ever, supported "open standards," except of course when it allows them to strangle them. Think of Java. Do we need to go through that again with Instant Messaging? Do we need to have a more "compatible" AIM client than AIM?

    How about standards for Microsoft? I think it would be much more beneficial for Microsoft to form an "industry" standard for it's Office products that all applications can read and write to. That seems of much more benefit than a little IM protocol.

    But I agree with ESR here. This is a new world order. Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. AOL is doing what they need to do to "compete" and be able to continue to "innovate." However, they need to look away from the past, and look toward the future. It is not anti-competitive behaviour that allows you to compete anymore, it is open-source.

    Yes, we need Open Messaging Standards. But we can't just say "Yes, this is a good thing, and then leave it be," we will need to get out there and protect our investment in Open Messaging Standards. When Microsoft tries to break it, we need to stand together against them.

    ESR is right. We need Open Messaging Standards. But Microsoft *isn't* going to keep it "open." AOL needs to leave it open but let the Open Source community protect their investment

  • by qnonsense ( 12235 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:39AM (#1779572)
    Microsoft is, I think, trying to make us (the "Open Source Community (tm)") believe that we have to support them in their call for "Open Standards (tm)" because if we call for them in one area, (OS APIs etc.) we must call for them in all areas. They are trying to make us think that we need to be "consistent" in our argument to open standards.

    What they don't understand is that we are too smart for that. And ESR has fallen right into their trap! We do not need to be consistent. Consistency is the mantra of the small-minded. We need to say to Microsoft that we can see right through them. We cannot be blinded by our own argument in one area to the obvious differences here. This is a matter of Microsoft trespassing on AOL's server space!

    It is not "open-source" vs. "corporate bullying." It is Microsoft assuming that we are too stupid to see the difference. AND ESR HAS FALLEN FOR IT!

    This is not a call for openness. This is not a call for standards. And AOL has one remedy that ESR totally forgot: the courts. AOL could probably get a restraining order against Microsoft for trespassing on AOL's servers.

    Support AOL: We cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by our own argument. We must be able to see the difference OR WE WILL ALWAYS FAIL!
  • I was just thinking of an old quote...

    "The Devil can quote scripture for his own purposes."

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle