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Caldera

Caldera vs. Microsoft Goes to Jury Trial 141

aculeus writes "TechWeb reports that Judge Lee Benson has dismissed all eight of Microsoft's motions for summary judgment on antitrust grounds, clearing the path for a trial to begin in Utah on Jan. 17. " Yes, the other court battle, the one that doesn't get talked about as much. The judge's decision to go with a jury means that he thinks that Caldera has basis for their legal complaints - a good sign, I suppose. The case itself is based upon Caldera's ownership of DR-DOS and fighting with Microsoft over that.
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Caldera vs. Microsoft Goes to Jury Trial

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  • One case that didn't get dismissed is the DOJ case. the judge is supposed to give his verdict today. Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen. the stock market could get real nervous today.
  • Deliberately stifling a competing OS by altering a package they control so it will only work with an OS they control.

    So that's the definition of "tying"? Gotcha.

    That's anti-competitive behaviour, and while it may or may not be legal (up to the jury) it certainly sucks. Got it now?

    Well, I've always gotten the part about why it was a crummy (and not very intelligent) thing to do; I was just wondering why it's illegal, or at least civilly vulnerable.

  • Then again, this is Microsoft, so we have to rejoice at the fact that it's harder to buy off an entire jury than it is to influence a single judge!

    No, you are gravely wrong. It is much harder to buy of a judge than a whole jury, because...

    ...a jury finding of fact might be fairly irrational; influenced more heavily by emotion than fact.

    Juries are extremely fickle. Microsoft will try to sway the decision by arguing, not facts, but that MS is unfairly beaten upon. The jury will then decide that it's true, why *should* these companies be allowed to keep suing MS for being successful, and Microsoft will get a vafourable decision.

    -Brent
    --
  • Yikes! Maybe not even that!

    Maybe not a shill for any particular interest.
  • Well, of course I don't actually want to kill M$, and nothing anyone will actually do _could_ kill them. Your proposed remedies are, in fact, much harsher than anything that's really likely to happen, though they sound good to me ...

    But what those remedies would do -- and what I hope a combination of DoJ action and private lawsuits _will_ do -- is kill M$ _as it exists now_, as this giant rampaging monster crushing the rest of the computer industry. I wish Gary Kildall were here to see it ...
  • I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advise. See a lawyer licensed in your juisdiction if you need some.

    >What did they mean by "tying", as in what MS did
    >to DOS and Windows 3.1?

    U.S. antitrust law prohibits the "tying" of other goods to monopoly goods, even if the monopoly is legal. Tying is the refusal to by the monopoly good (DOS) unless the tied good (windows) is also purchased.



    >Seriously, though, I wonder how many people
    >believe that this is just a money-grubbing ploy
    >that is just now being filed by spoil-sports
    >Caldera? I mean, to the man on the street, I'd
    >imagine that a lawsuit concerning competing
    >brands of DOS is pretty silly.

    Only until you explain it. DR-DOS had 10% of the market, and growing. It worked better.

    What are the damages for stealing this? Ten per cent of today's desktop OS market?

    It's the remedies that really become interesting here. How do you put DR-DOS where it would have been? A full, royalty-free, license to all windows source code? An ownership interest in ms to reflect that share of the OS market--which would then be tripled (as an anti-trust verdict)? Or perhaps just 10% (before trippling) of microsoft's DOS revenue since then?

    Then again, maybe microsoft shows the allegations aren't true and wins . . .
  • 95% of the people who hate Microsoft hate it because it's successful. And of course, paradoxically they also hate Microsoft because it's unsuccessful (it's products are 'unsuccessful' because they don't run properly 100% of the time on 100,000 different hardware combinations). It's one of those paradoxes of American culture.

  • >By what moral principal should we (the people, therefore the government) be allowed to limit what they do to their own work, no matter how heinous?

    That's really the question, isn't it? I think the answer is in the fact that MS has/had a monopoly. When millions of customers depend on Microsoft products, and MS can make one little code snippet that effectively scares people away from their competitors product, then that is illegal. It's not our moral principles that should then be questioned but theirs.

    For example, BeOS could have little messages showing up saying that their OS won't work if Windows is installed on another partition (even though it certainly does, as win3.1 did with DR-DOS), and it's not illegal, because there aren't millions of customers who are effectively being forced/scared into using BeOS and deleting their Windows partitions.

    At least that's my take on the whole situation.

    LL
  • That's the biggest load of it that one can imagine. Caldera could not have afforded DR-DOS if it wasn't a failed product (for various reasons I am not going to dispute here).

    This is a corporate-sized case of the ambulance chasing lawyer. With or without Microsoft's guilt, Caldera should get nothing.

    Ray Noorda (the soreheaded ex-Novell exec who runs Caldera) is engaging in this activity because of his personal hatred of Bill Gates. It's really unfortunate, because Caldera is using Linux as a budgeon to pound on Microsoft for the exact same purpose. They don't have any of the vision of Red Hat.
  • I would say, offhand, that you've nailed the exact reason(s) why MS is in dire straits. You can only defend so many fronts at once; that's basic military strategy. No one company will ever be the end-all server / desktop / game / application / content author all at one time. They've simply spread themselves too thin, and are probably terrified to realize that they're now competing against extremely agile, tightly-written and narrowly-scoped projects, such as Sendmail, Apache, PS2, etc. (I deliberately left Linux and BSD out of this - I wouldn't exactly call them narrow in scope, although some might debate it).

    No, I don't think that it's the DOJ who is writing Microsoft's eulogy. Their own half-baked global domination scheme seems to be doing it quite nicely.

  • Well, I've always gotten the part about why it was a crummy (and not very intelligent) thing to do; I was just wondering why it's illegal, or at least civilly vulnerable.


    Disclaimer: IANAL
    I believe the reason it's illegal is because it was artificial. Windows didn't require anything MS-DOS-specific in order to run; Microsoft merely implemented some checks and utilized some poorly-/un-documented tricks in order to prevent Windows 95 from operating on DR-DOS. Similarly, IE was hacked into the existing codebase of Windows for the "inseperable" defense they used in the DOJ trial.


    If a product legitimately requires some underlying product to run, then I don't believe it's tying.


    The whole Caldera case, in that light, is about whether Microsoft legitimately had a reason to glue MS-DOS and Windows 95 together, or whether they introduced some artificial dependencies/incompatabilities in order to destroy the market for other *-DOS operating systems. A similar theme was brought up in the DOJ trial with regards to IE, and whether IE has a legitimate reason to be so heavily "integrated" with Windows, or whether Microsoft resorted to some cheap hacks and word games to get a leg up on Netscape.

  • I'm a lawyer, but this isn't legal advise. etc. read the rest of the disclaimer elsewhere in this thread.

    A summary judgment motion is an attempt to win without a trial. It claims that the evidence being offered by the other side, even if believed (at least the portions that a reasonable person could believe), isn't enough for the other side to win, and that judgment should therefore be entered now.

    Microsoft filed separate motions for each claim made by caldera, claiming that that particular act didn't violate anti-trust law, and that therefore that portion of caldera's claim should be dismissed. On many of these, microsoft would be right if the facts were viewed on their own. However, it is the combination of actions (the course of action) that was called illegal, and thus microsoft failed.
  • Pardon the boldface, please.

    I must've accidentally typed a instead of a
    when doing some formatting.

    *sigh*

  • Ack!

    (I think I'll just stop, now that I've made an ass out of myself...)

  • What does it mean when it says "dismissed all eight of Microsoft's motions for summary judgment on antitrust grounds"? Were the motions for dismissal made on antitrust grounds, or does it refer to the reasons for dismissal?
  • by Mija Cat ( 94021 ) on Friday November 05, 1999 @03:37AM (#1561389)
    Yep, in my second life I was one of the brave souls who installed DR-DOS and tried to run Win 3.1 on it.
    There were minor compatability problems, but Digital Research (the DR in DR-DOS) had solutions for 'em.
    Of course, telling a PHB that you have to tell the OS to lie to the application didn't go over well, and within a year we were a pure MS shop.
    The DOJ suit was, well, interesting...but this one has teeth and claws. DR went bust, in part because of this, so there's definite claims for damages.
    And as for the MS FUD of "it's old technology", dog $hit! Caldera is positioning DR-DOS as a low-end embedded OS. Think about it...an army of experienced programmers, a well-tested well-understood very small kernel. Makes sense.

    Meow
  • I'm amazed Microsoft haven't taken the easy way out on this one and just gone out and bought America. :)

    About time that this case got resolved one way or another... by the time this one comes out, nobody's even going to be using dos-derived systems any more and Red Hat will be the new Ultimate Evil. At which point it'll all have to start over.

  • I have to say that things are looking grim for Microsoft. First this, then today (according to CNN this morning) is also the day that the findings of fact for the main show are supposed to come out.

    Its going to be really interesting to see what happens. Most people seem to have pretty much accepted that Microsoft will come out on the bottom of the "Findings of Fact", and these are pretty difficult to challenge on appeal. In fact, the judge was apparently openly sceptical of Microsoft during the trial!

    Personally though, I think the just punishment would be to make Microsoft port everything to Linux, including Bill G's "Smart House". Hold it... That would make them ... Competitive! Ack! We don't want that.

    Anyway... I really hope that they do something real this time, and not the kind of slap on the wrist they did in the early nineties -- they basically said "Bill, play nice now" and he said "alright dad" and that was the end of it.

    What was absurd about that was that the original judge turned down the settlement as too lenient and they had to take it to an appeals court to get the settlement approved. Outrageous!
  • Have you ever thaugt every time you purchase a MS product a significant percentage of the amount of money you pay is destined to the continuously growing lawyers group in charge of defending MS against each of the continuously growing in number lawsuits against MS.

    If this situation keeps growing Microsoft's sales will hardly be enough to pay all the lawyers working for them.
  • I think it means that the judge dismissed their summary of judgement motions based on the judges decision thinking that there is some antitrust in this case.
  • Bah. Unlike Microsoft, AT&T actually DID innovative things!
    Cutting-edge computers, AT&T UNIX, communications satellites, multilayer digital switches, etc.
    What did the breakup do for you and I?
    Doubled the phone rates.

    These are MY opinions and not those of AT&T, unless they want them.
  • "Deliberately stifling a competing OS by altering a package they control so it will only work with an OS they control."

    Um..isn't that kinda like Ford parts only fit on Ford automobiles.

    I don't think that the fact that Windows 3.X would work only on a MS operating system is anti-competitive. Should Windows 3.X been made to also run on OS2 and whatever else that there was available at the time? Is Windows 3.X considered an operating system by itself? I Don't think so simply because it does need a version of Dos.
    You may disagree.
    The arguement put forth is MS simple developed a piece of software, granted a very influencial piece of software, that ran on a MS operating system(MS-DOS). Isn't that what software companies do to-day. A product is developed to work on a certain operating system. Be it Linux, Windows, Mac ect.. The software manufacturer has the right to decide, usually decided by consumer demand, what operating system/s that their software is compatible with.

    MS has done some incredibly anti-competitive things in the past. They deserve support from no-one. But, in this case, I think that Caldera are simply ambulance chasing hoping to nail the jack-pot. A large part of their case seems to be "He said, She said". I hope the justice system hasn't collapsed to the point that that's all you need.

  • This is why many people I know deliberately avoid going into business, making "too much" money, etc. Why bother? The more you make, the more is taken; and from the moment you go into business, everything you do is illegal or immoral. "Downscaling" isn't just because people are learning to live with less, though that's certainly a significant component -- the less you have, the less of a target you are for criminals, both in and out of the State.
  • First read, and think before reacting...

    That would prevent blunders as this one....

  • What did the breakup do for you and I?
    Doubled the phone rates.



    I think you are quite mistaken here. Phone rates have gone down dramatically, especially for long distance. Local rates were largely unaffected for many years because of the lack of competition at that level until recently. Now that there are CLECs giving the RBOCs competition, we are starting to see local rates go down as well. It has taken longer than it should at the local level, but I don't see any evidence in my phone bill that consumers have seen anything but benefits from the AT&T breakup.

  • off course, except if MS deliberately put an DOS checking code in win 3.1

    If that is the case, it is more comparable of a Ford refusing to drive on tires not authorized by the Ford Motor Company...
  • "Deliberately stifling a competing OS by altering a package they control so it will only work with an OS they control."

    Um..isn't that kinda like Ford parts only fit on Ford automobiles.


    No, it's more like Ford cars work only on Ford gas and Ford roads - in the 50's, when you more or less HAD TO buy Ford if you were in US.


  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday November 05, 1999 @05:23AM (#1561407)
    > 95% of the people who hate Microsoft hate it because it's successful.

    I'm not sure I believe this. It's certainly not the reason I despise them. (OK, maybe you weren't talking about me and my ilk -- you said hate, not despise.)

    Also, don't forget that the media made BG a star a decade ago on account of his success. He was portrayed as a culture hero for being a nerd that dropped out of school and climbed to the top. Yes, I know he started higher up the slope than most of us will ever rise, but the media has always played that down. This does not sound like a jealous response to his success either.

    I just don't think the jealousy explanation holds water.

    I think geeks despise BG & MS due to the quality of their products, their tendancy to deliver denials and excuses rather than fixes, and the stiffling impact that they have had on various facets of the business. And admittedly for some selfish reasons too, because we don't want to spend the rest of our lives using and supporting crappy MSware.

    And I think the same feelings are spreading into the non-geek population. Probably only a few understand the bit about stiffling various facets of the business, but many, many, many are getting sick of years of losing their work and/or waiting for a techie to come around and re-install Windows so they can get started reproducing that lost work, and all the while shelling out for product upgrades year in and year out, to the accompaniment of endless promises of "forget what we promised (and failed to deliver) last time -- this time it's really going to be everything you ever hoped for!"

    The non-geek population aren't fools. They hear the "ease of use claims", and wonder why their computers are such a pain in the butt to use. Some of them try phone support, and find out first-hand what we geeks discuss in the forums. Some overhear tech support's wry comments about "you expect that kind of problem with Microsoft" (I heard that very thing this week, AAMoF.)

    If Microsoft's success is to be blamed at all, it's not because of jealousy, but rather because success has made their warts available for close inspection by such a large portion of the public. If MS had directed some of the tangible rewards of their success into wart cures over all these years, they might now be one of the world's most loved corporations rather than one of the most despised.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • But why should every computer user be punished for the "wrongs" Microsoft committed?

    Not every computer user would be punished if Microsoft was punished. Every Microsoft user might be, but not all of us are, contrary to popular belief. What would the downside for Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Mac, BeOS or other non-Microsoft OS users be?

    As for Microsoft users, one could argue that they were an enabler of Microsoft, and therefore any punishment to Microsoft that flows down to them would be fair.

    I'm not sure I would completely buy that argument, because I think that most Microsoft customers were more or less unwitting or essentially forced into it (due to bundling deals and peer pressure).

    At any rate, it might not seem like it in the short term, but in the long run consumers would benefit if Microsoft was forced to play in a competitive market.

  • Well, the point is: Not only didn't Win3.1 work on DR-DOS, it was a deliberate "feature", as well. Microsoft actively crippled their product so not to work with a competing product - To use your car analogy, it would be like you wanted to buy a car - but all the gas stations in the nation have refitted their equipment so the gasoline handles (whatever the english word for it might be) only fit into Ford car gas tanks. You'd be forced to buy a Ford, even though you wanted Toyota - Just because there's only Ford gasoline around.

    See the problem now?
  • I became aware of another potentially anti-competitive thing MS did some years back, which, as far as I am aware no one else has mentioned in the press before. If it wasn't anti-competitive, it was at least stupid, and MS users are the ultimate victims.

    A standard proceedure for saving files used in "single user" apps, like word processors and spreadsheets, was developed many, many years ago, and used almost universally. The proceedure was you DON'T just overwrite the old file, you do the following:
    * write the new file to a temporary file name
    * Delete the old file -- or rename it to .BAK (first deleting any old .BAK file).
    * Rename the temporary file to the original file name.

    This made sure that at no time was the only copy of the file on the disk deleted or dammaged. If the program crashed durring the save cycle, the original copy still existed. Great idea. Saved a LOT of people, and this is why it was used almost universally, and at Microsoft through Office v4.3.

    Starting with Office 95, however, they changed the saving proceedure:
    * Reset file pointer to beginning of file
    * Overwrite existing file with new data

    Obviously, this leaves the system at a fairly delicate point, should the app or OS crash after the file has started to be overwritten.

    So far, things look just stupid. However, if we remember one of MSs chief rivals, Novell, and a feature of Netware 3.x and above, things look a little less innocent. Netware has a very nifty "undelete" feature, they refer to as "Salvage"ing files. Unlike most other OSs where this feature is provided by third party add-ons, with Netware, this is a CORE part of the OS. A deleted file is marked as deleted and put into the free disk space pool, but it isn't overwritten until the entire disk has been used, at which point the oldest deleted files are overwritten (Actually, Macintosh does much the same thing). Novell provides you a nifty utility (SALVAGE in NW3.x, FILER in NW4+) which can bring these files back up to the point they are physically overwritten (or Netware is told to "PURGE" the deleted files).

    This is a really neat feature, or at least, WAS until MS re-did their file writing process. This ment you could bring back virtually ANY revision of a document, often weeks old. File get corrupted at 4:00pm? Don't loose an entire day's work by going to last night's tape, just SALVAGE the previous save! As far as I am aware, no other common OS has this kind of recovery feature standard (as I indicated earlier, Mac has 90% of it, but you have to get a third party program to actually recover the file). This was a clear advantage of Netware over NT as a file server, and it is something I walked people through many times, to much praise, I might add. 8) Obviously, SALVAGE doesn't replace a good backup system, but it is an appreciated feature.

    It doesn't work any more. Word and Excel in Office 95 and later seem to go out of their way to never "Delete" the old file (thus, making it availble to SALVAGE). I'm not pleased with this. And, knowing Excel's tendancy to corrupt files, it is a very sorely missed feature.

    In case you were wondering, Lotus Smart Suite DOES follow the "Temp file/Delete/Rename" proceedure, so it isn't an issue of Windows 9x API.

    As I said, I can't prove that it was an attempt to minimize a Netware feature or if it was simple incompetence, but it is gone. It appears that MS has shot themselves in their customer's foot.

    Nick.
  • I think this is one of the motions that the judge turned down because of bigger anti-trust issues, no?

    The issue, for some, isn't the market value of DR-DOS, but rather a consistent pattern of behavior [theregister.co.uk] on the part of Microsoft. The current value of DR-DOS is a symptom, not the core issue.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • Maybe phone rates went up for you. But in severely rural areas it's been quite different.

    My mother paid $90+ for the priveledge of haveing
    a phone. No long distance, no local tolls. That was her base rate + phone rental (the area she livs in didn't allow personal ownership of the phones). Almost any call was LD since anything more than five miles was considered LD. (There was nothing to call within 5 miles except Cows in the field).

    Since the breakup that has drop to around $30. (Base rate, no phone rental since they change the rules).

    I totally agree that AT&T did some amazing things, but so did IBM and I can only see good things coming from the fall from grace of big blue.

    [Poss. Bias Note: My father was employeed by IBM until the early 70's]
  • Is cheaper, and works better too.
  • Disclaimer: IANAL.

    I think the basic principles of antitrust law in the US are: It's ok to get a monopoly through the standard free-market techniques, but once you've got it, there are certain things you can't do with it.

    So, for example, if so many consumers buy Acme hammers that Acme gets 90% of the market share, that's just fine. Once that happens, though, if Acme goes to Sears and says, "you can only buy Acme hammers if you buy Acme nails to go with them", or pulls various other tricks that take advantage of its monopoly position, then the Federal government takes an interest.

  • A lot of people out there who hear about this trial are going to say "DR-DOS? WTF is that? And if it's basically a dead product, isn't this Caldera or whatever you call it just trying to milk Microsoft's cash cow?"

    In a way, I think this is true - DR-DOS is a dead product. However, I do think that Caldera has the right to sue Microsoft over this because of the development practices Microsoft had with respect to DR-DOS (ie. making applications that would work on MS-DOS, but break on DR-DOS, where the only difference in the code was some assembly that found out which operating system the product was running on).

    In any case, what could the trial mean to Caldera if they win? OpenLinux is a good product and hopefully, the money Caldera would win from this trial will be funneled (in part, at least) to the development of more easy-to-use features for Linux.
  • in the 50's, when you more or less HAD TO buy Ford if you were in US.

    Ford lost their dominance of the US auto industry in the 1920's and 1930's. The companies that would be put together to build General Motors were able to push Ford into second place because Ford was too slow to improve their designs. Who would buy a 4 cylinder Ford Model T, which was available only in black when you could get a 6 cylinder Chevrolet in any one of several available colors for only a little more money?

    Frankly, there was a lot more competition in the US auto market in the 1950's than there is now, in that there were 7 or 8 credible players (GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nash, Hudson, Studebaker, Packard, etc) and now there are only 3. Of course even that is a much better situation than what we have in the desktop OS and desktop office software markets, because even at their strongest, none of the big 3 auto makers controls more than 50% of the domestic market, and that is without considering competition from imports.

    It would be nice if the computer industry was able to self-regulate that way, but it doesn't seem like it can when the only OS that seems to be able to make any headway against Microsoft is one that is essentially available for free.


  • It uses NetWAre filesystem as it's antive filesystem, on which you can mount namespaces, like, for example, Sun's NFS, Mac, OS/2, and VTAM (I believe, or some other IBM badass mainframe-related filesystem) and others.
    Today with NetWare 5 you have the option of using NSS (NetWare Storage Services) which is an incredibly scalable and fast native filesystem. It uses a balanced tree database instead of a FAT/Directory. The database is object oriented, and allows mount times of about 15 seconds for volumes of Terabyte size (which Novell actually demonstrated a year ago).

    Will I be flamed if I say Novell rules!?


  • Thanks for the links Bill. And no, I don't want you to speak at my University.

  • I wish they were just GUIs. Windows would be so much nicer to deal with if you could just kill the GUI when it misbehaved, like you can under Unix.
  • I think you've hit on the exact reason that this legal stuff is just an interesting side-show. A few years back, I was beginning to think that legal action was the only thing that was going to rein Microsoft in. Now, I'm returning to my libertarian roots. The free market is handling the monopoly. I think they're pretty much at the crest, and are going to go the way of IBM. They'll always be powerful, and even dominant in some industries, but I think the time is coming soon where Microsoft will become one of the "old guard".
  • The Register [theregister.co.uk] has been posting snippets of some of the MS-internal e-mail that has been revealed by the case.

    Interesting reading, indeed.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • This just doesn't fly. If you look at the "Forbes 400" list, Micheal Dell is right up there, just a couple notches down from Gates. Yet you don't see any long rants about the evils of Dell computers.

    There are plenty of successful companies that don't get the negative attention that Microsoft does. There's a reason for that.
  • The NetWare client worked poorly under Windows 3.1 because Novell didn't really care about writing a good Windows driver. Eventually it got sorted out, and it worked OK.

    The other problem was that many NetWare admins were unaware that they even had to install Windows drivers for client. Many installs were done by hand or with batchfiles and didn't get all the *.386 files in the right places. This would cause Windows 3.1 to choak on network access.
    --
  • for the clarificatoin. I admit that I am ignorant as to US history of car-industry. I guess I know better the IT history. I'm glad you cared to correct me.


  • I would say, offhand, that you've nailed the exact reason(s) why MS is in dire straits. You can only defend so many fronts at once; that's basic military strategy.

    I've thought about this...why they would do it, that is. I think the idea (Microsoft's) has been that they would try to corner as many technology markets as possible. Certainly they knew they wouldn't win every battle, but they would be able to take over many and tie them to Windows, the center of their empire. Since geography isn't really an issue this could actually work. Except that their center (Windows) is beginning to rot.

    Of course this leads to an interesting idea--if everything is tied to Windows and Windows dies out, where does that leave the rest of the empire? Well, at that point I think Microsoft will cease to be an empire and become just another big software company instead.

    numb
    ?syntax error

  • Well, what is good for most people isn't always good for everyone. I think that in general most consumers have benefitted from the breakup of AT&T, but as you note, that may not have been true for everyone. Unfortunately, the $3 long distance network access fee you are talking about isn't even something that is imposed by the phone company, but rather a sort of tax imposed by the feds.

  • Apparently my example wasn't clear.

    I don't mean to imply at all that BeOS doesn't work when Windows is around (in fact it is set up to be pretty compatible with Windows).

    What I was trying to illustrate was that a smaller OS who doesn't own the mindshare of every computer user _could_ do whatever they wanted - "no matter how heinous" - it would be up to the market to decide whether the change was for the better.

    With MS, that isn't the case. If Windows changes, 99% of users just take the change, better or worse.

    Sorry for any confusion.

    LL
  • Bill, will you please stop posting! And NO, I don't want you to speak at my office Christmas party. geez...

  • by B1 ( 86803 ) on Friday November 05, 1999 @05:54AM (#1561438)
    There's a good article [ddj.com] in Dr. Dobb's Journal about the code which tests whether Win 3.1 is running on MS-DOS/PC-DOS, or a competitive DOS. It makes for an interesting read.

    The DOS-detection code in Win 3.1 (aka the "AARD" code), had the following interesting characteristics:
    • It tested an undocumented (and as far as I can tell irrelevant) DOS function that would only work properly in MS-DOS.
    • It was XOR Encrypted, to trip up any attempts to use a disassembler
    • Once decrypted, the code was self-modifying and obfuscated to make reverse-engineering difficult
    • It was written to disable a conventional single-step debugger, making it that much harder to trace through the code
    Dr. Dobb's goes into much more technical depth than I did, but it's pretty clear that this was a deliberate effort by MS to hide the AARD code.

    I would love to hear MS's spin on all of this...why did they feel such a need to hide an irrelevant check for a competitive DOS product?
  • After reading some of the quotes, the only surprise is that none of the MS execs are up on criminal charges of conspiracy and fraud, in addition to the current crop of actions against their corporation.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • I'm going to summarize some thoughts expressed in this and the other MS/legal thread, and speculate.

    Let's look at it like MS getting it's fingers tied off and immobilized, or at least impared:

    1. DoJ trial is giving MS fits, despite the spin-doctoring. Exposure of arrogant attitudes towards gov't investigators and some really weird Alice-in-Wonderland shenannigans.

    2. This case now going to trial with some very specific legal meat wrt provable anti-trust actions on MS's part.

    3. Win2k not being all that MS promised - more vaporware-type pronouncements from MS. Ship-dates slipping and features being dropped.

    4. Corporate IT folks more concerned with Y2k fixes rather than going through another Sisyphus-like upgrade dance wrt NT 4.0 -> winy2k

    5. More and more high-profile hardware vendors slipping into bed with Linux/*BSD for a quickie - and realizing it feels better.

    6. More and more anti-MS press - not just the usual complaints, but talk about Alternatives!

    7. Linux, and as a result other alternatives oses, getting a lot of media attention as well as financial/corporate recognition.


    Hmmmm..... seven fingers? Not too bad. With that much clout tied down or impared, I think the time is just right for even more alternative os business planning on the part of the major hardware and applications vendors.

    Even if the trials that MS is involved in last for months, or years, this is still good. The more MS is distracted, the more mistakes it will make - publicly. The more distracted MS is, the more breathing room hardware vendors will have to really look at alternatives - and promote them. And, more importantly, the more time alternative oses have to make inroads on traditional MS territory, the less impact, economically, a break-up of, whatever-punishment for, MS will have.

    Nothing new here, but just my Friday $0.02.
  • the $3 long distance network access fee you are talking about isn't even something that is imposed by the phone company, but rather a sort of tax imposed by the feds.

    So? The fee was a direct result of the breakup, and it came out of my (then-impoverished) wallet. I can't get enthusiastic about a fee^H^H^Htax imposed on the people who aren't using the service. Something about subsidizing those long distance savings for others really bugged me.

    Pete
  • The term "operating system" is not a rigorous one. There is no clear definition of what does and does not constitute an OS. Is the shell part of the OS? Is the GUI part of the OS? How about networking code -- both code bundled originally with the OS and, say, networking code bought from another vendor? Certainly the kernel is part of the operating system, yet the FSF plans to call their system "GNU/HURD", totally ignoring the Mach kernel at the center of the Hurd (almost as if the kernel weren't really the OS, but the things surrounding it were).



    If an operating system is code designed to load programs and provide mechanisms for things like task-switching, file management, and power cycling, then even Windows 3.1 is an OS. It provided (non-preemptive) task-switching, a mechanism for starting and stopping programs (double-clicking the icon), file management, and cycling power.



    Not to get too cosmic, but I'm reminded of what Tanenbaum once wrote, that there really is no disctinction between software and hardware. Similarly, operating system layers (like Windows 3.1, BASH, or the DOS shell itself) become the operating system. That's all an operating system every really is: An abstraction layer.



    (None of this is meant to imply that MS wasn't being predatory with IE-bundling in Win98. Putting something as unintuitive as a web browser interface on a file manager is a totally monopolistic move, regardless of how "operating system" is defined.)
    Doctors amputate Turkish earthquake survivor's arm [This story contains video]

  • Thanks Bill, everyone has already read your manifesto. And NO, I don't want you to speak at my A.A. meeting! Geez...

  • This is a side effect of using just about any file system. Most file systems do not zero out a file's blocks when it gets deleted, but rather add them to a free list. The difference here is in the free block allocation policy supported by the particular fs. If you're relying on rm or del or whatever to eliminate all traces of a file, you're being very foolish.
  • On the other hand, the competitive long distance networks coming into existance is one of the things that made the growth and commercialization of the internet possible. If you look at the big backbone bandwidth providers like MCI WorldCom, Sprint, AT&T, etc, they are almost all outgrowths of long distance providers. Without the breakup of AT&T, it is likely that there never would have been a competitive market for data networks and the internet as we know it would not have been commercially feasable.

  • Welcome to the ISO-standardized mechanism for file handling.

    1. Create temporary filename.
    2. Create temporary file.
    3. Copy entire file into another temporary file.
    4. Dance on that file for a while.
    5. Delete Original File.
    6. Rename Temp file to Original filename.
    7. Touch the file to update the file modification date and creation dates to match the original file.

    Failure to use this mechanism will result in a slow and painful death, as administered by Nick, because as we all know, in computing there's only one TRUE way of doing anything, and anything other than the way you know and understand is obviously (1) inferior, (2) error prone, and (3) the spawn of Satan.

    Pending Standards:
    Mouse button click duration; accurate to the nearest millisecond. Button-clicks by users outside of this 1ms time window will be ignored.

    Standard function names. All function names must begin with the word "Fondue" for no apparent reason, other than because when I started programming 9 years ago, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    All programs must be written in C. No other languages are allowed.

    When performing large file updates, you must create a delta file, which you then run through and create a "child" file from, by comparing the delta file to the parent file. You then must backup the parent file. You must perform all actions as three separate processes: add new records, sort, remove duplicates. Preferably overnight, when most people won't be using the mainframe time. (Oh sorry - home users don't have mainframes? Well, tough titty).

    I became aware of another potentially anti-competitive thing MS did some years back, which, as far as I am aware no one else has mentioned in the press before. If it wasn't anti-competitive, it was at least stupid, and MS users are the ultimate victims.

    You should get out more. You'll be telling me that it's anticompetitive to support HTML 4.0 in web documents soon, because "Mosaic 1.0 doesn't support it".
  • Ford Parts only work on ford autos, but another company could create compatible parts that worked on ford autos. Microsoft software only works with microsoft operating systems, however, they don't want any one else to provide software for their OSen.
  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <hawk@eyry.org> on Friday November 05, 1999 @03:47AM (#1561455) Journal
    I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advise. If you need some, see a lawyer in you own jurisdiction.

    That a jury will be empaneled means two things
    1) that one party ortheother demandeda jury,
    and
    2) that there are "questions of fact" to be determined--i.e., someone needs to determinewhich sides' version of what happened is true.

    In the DOJ case, the judge was also the trier of fact (2). In this case, my guess (someone can go to the courthouse and check the pleadings to make sure) is that Caldera demanded the jury, expecting sympathy for the little guy (if I represented ms, I would want a bench trial [judge instead of jury]).

    Once the jury decides the facts, the judge will then decide how the law applies to the facts.

    The way the judge's opinion would enter at this point is in a ruling for summary judgment. If the facts as alleged by caldera were insufficient for caldera to win, the case would be dismissed. This could also happen if the evidence produced during discovery showed that no reasonable jury could find in caldera's favor.
  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <hawk@eyry.org> on Friday November 05, 1999 @03:51AM (#1561456) Journal
    [replying to myself] See the very end of my post. This is the summary judgment motion. The basis of microsoft's motions were to claim, act by act, that the acts were insufficient to show abuse of monopoly power. The strategy was to eliminate each act from the case on its own.

    The problem is that caldera wasn't suing for a bunch of different bad things, they were suing over the course of action consisting of *all* of the bad things *put together*. Once more, microsoft seems to have been represented by the law firm of Larry, Mo, and Curly . . .
  • Multiuser DOS, which I used to do support for, was built on to DR-DOS, and we never could work out why Windows 3.1 would not work with it. Now we know, but it is rather a lot too late.
  • On the fact that Windows 3.1/95/98 are NOT OSes and are simply GUIs running on top of MS-DOS. Maybe they'll file an injuction so MicroSoft has to call it the Windows GUI System rather then the Windows OS? *S*
  • Cullinan reiterated Microsoft's position that Caldera's claims are ... based on an attempt "to get money from Microsoft."

    Well, I figured that we were well past the "suing for an injunction stage".

    Furthermore, he said the case is about obsolete technology.

    I guess this wouldn't be the first MS person to admit it.

    Seriously, though, I wonder how many people believe that this is just a money-grubbing ploy that is just now being filed by spoil-sports Caldera? I mean, to the man on the street, I'd imagine that a lawsuit concerning competing brands of DOS is pretty silly.

    There were a couple of items that I'd appreciate some clarification on:

    • What did they mean by "tying", as in what MS did to DOS and Windows 3.1?
    • People ask me why I think MS should be liable for actions that, although unsavory, appear to not be inherently illegal. Anyone have a link I could check out?
    • I am not a MS sympathizer - at all. However, I have a hard time defending some of the laws they allegedly broke. I mean, DOS and Windows are their products. By what moral principal should we (the people, therefore the government) be allowed to limit what they do to their own work, no matter how heinous?

    I'm quite sure that some of this has been hashed out in great length already. Therefore, a synopsis or a pointer to the discussion would be very welcome.

  • The basis of microsoft's motions were to claim, act by act, that the acts were insufficient to show abuse of monopoly power. The strategy was to eliminate each act from the case on its own.

    "No individual raindrop ever considered itself responsible for the flood" - originator unknown.
  • DR went bust, in part because of this, so there's definite claims for damages.

    But can Caldera demonstrate that they lost out because of DR going bust? They probably picked up DR-DOS (from Novell, IIRC) for a snip because of that!
  • In response to the first question in your list, what MS did was make it such that Win3.1 would not run on anything but MS-DOS. As mentioned in another post, it was possible with various patches and such (not from MS) to make Win3.1 think it was indeed running on MS-DOS when it was actually in the presence of DR-DOS, but the damage was already done.

  • In a sense this is what AOL was trying to do to MS when they kept tweaking their IM protocol so it wouldn't work with MS clients. I don't recall anybody stating that AOL was doing anything illegal, amusing...yes... illegal.. no.

    No, not illegal, but I don't think it compares directly to the Caldera-MS thing. In the case of IM, every client had to access servers owned and operated by AOL. So, when a "clone" client came out, it could be argued that every time that client was used to access the server it was incurring an expense for AOL, and expense which could not be offset by using the client to carry ads, or using the client to reinforce the AOL "brand". Those privileges suddenly belong to someone else who is not incurring the server and network costs!

    In the case of Windows 3.1, MS was not protecting itself against an expense, it was protecting itself against a loss of sales of MS-DOS. If Win 3.1 could run on DR-DOS installations, they would get money for sales of those copies of Win 3.1, and their brand (not Caldera's) would be what the user saw when they used their computer in Windows.

    However, it could be that the mishandling of this whole issue by AOL was part of a larger PR scheme: make it look like AOL is under attack by MS, and maybe some people would forget why they don't like AOL - enemy of my enemy and all that.

    On the Caldera case, my wish is that somehow courts or legislators could decide that interoperability and thoroughly documented, published APIs are consumer, and developer RIGHTS where commercial software is concerned. No more hidden APIs that only an OS developer insider knows how to use properly. No more strange behaviour because somebody decided to "customize" or "extend" a standard necessary for interoperability. No more "upgrades" that break properly-written 3rd-party software in order to force adoption of a product or gimmick written by the OS developer.

    Also: end to all wars, eradication of poverty ...

  • Bill...your really starting to piss me off! No you can't speak at my barmitzva!

  • I think you may have read his statement incorrectly - I know I did the first time through.

    He says, "For example, BeOS could have little messages showing up saying that their OS won't work if Windows is installed on another partition (even though it certainly does, as win3.1 did with DR-DOS)..."

    What he means is, "For example, BeOS could have little messages showing up saying that their OS won't work if Windows is installed on another partition (even though it certainly does work, as win3.1 did with DR-DOS)..."

    Does that make things clearer?

  • Nice to read a rational, well thought out post. Well stated!
  • Anonymous Coward (how very appropriate):

    I did not know that there was a statute of limitations on anti-competitive behaviour. The bottom line is that Microsoft gets away with far more heinous acts than they will ever be brought to trial for. Any form of justice and/or retribution is just fine by me and I suspect a lot of other people as well.

    I did use DR-DOS and it was far superior to what Microsoft was offering at the time. Just another casualty of MS dirty tricks left on the information highway....
  • I think you are quite mistaken here. Phone rates have gone down dramatically, especially for long distance.


    Aye, there's the rub. For many years, I had an almost nonexistant long distance need, and I was paying about $5 bucks a month for service. After the breakup, one of the key things implemented was an access fee for long distance. IIRC, I was paying an extra $3 bucks a month for the long distance service I wasn't using, even if I never called out of the area.

    Yes, my long distance charges went down. However, my wallet was thinner for many years because of the breakup.

    OTOH, breaking up MS wouldn't bother me so much...

    Pete Brooks
  • MS-DOS 6.x had an undelee, because FAT keeps deleted files until they are overwritten.
  • Bill, if you insist on continuing this course of self-promoting posting, I'm going to have the teacher take away your crayons! No, I don't want you to speak at my annual physical. Geez...

  • and loose the piranhas of war.

    No one suit (not even the DoJ's) is likely to bring Microsothoth down, but enough of these attacks will nibble away at them until they're too weak to stand, and then it's all over ... and that's a _good_ thing. I really don't care about the merits of Caldera's suit, pro or con, but MS is plain _evil_, and needs to be brought down by any and all means available.
  • Dear Microsoft,

    If DOS is obsolete technolgy, why is it being used as your flagship OS with a GUI, and why is it in use in 90% of home PC's? Shouldn't you be selling us new technology (NT), or maybe you can't get that working properly for the home.....

    ------------------------------------------------ --

    Seriously, Windows 9x is an illegal MS-DOS/Windows combination, as Windows 9x is just a GUI for DOS. But, how come no-one has written or altered a version of DOS so it can replace MS-DOS 7 on a win9x install? Even if there was no technical bnifit, I would run the 9x shell on DR-DOS, just because it is less M$...
  • Unfortunately, juries aren't selected completely randomly. Lawyers for both sides get a chance to reject people they consider "biased". I got to watch this happen on a trial I sat on as an alternate that involved some pretty heavy expert testimony involving biomechanics. I remember watching them throw out anyone with any sort of scientific knowledge. Hell, the plaintiff's lawyer told me after the trial that the only reason he hadn't sent me home was that he had run out of challenges. Pretty sad, considering that science background is all in cognitive science, and I don't know a heck of a lot about biomechanics!

    What this means here is that you can bet that anyone with any sort of computer background won't make it on that jury. What you'll get is a panel of neophytes whose only knowledge of Bill Gates is what they read in the papers. These will be the people who think that Bill Gates invented the PC, and then went on to invent the internet.

    Personally, I'd much rather a judge were trying this case, for this very reason.

    (I've actually used Dr-Dos, BTW. It was round one in my quest to have a Non-MS PC. I'm on round three, now.)
  • IANAL.

    Could it be that Microsoft asked for a jury trial if/once their summary motions for dismissal were denied? They haven't fared so well in their latest DOJ bench trial, if the press has been at all accurate about the judge's reactions.

    Trial by a jury "of your peers" doesn't mean they'll get a bunch of techies. More likely they'll get a panel of people who don't know an awful lot about computer science or engineering. And these would have to be people who, if they have ever heard of DR-DOS, have no decided opinion one way or the other about Microsoft's conduct.

    So isn't it at least remotely possible that Microsoft requested trial by jury? Perhaps in the hopes that average citizens could be swayed by Microsoft's assertion of the need for compatibility, or an argument that the only way Digital Research could have created DR-DOS to be as compatible as it was, was by--gasp!--hacking?

    Just a thought.

  • The market makes guesses about what the true value of something is. On any given day it's up or down but usually it's around the true value.

    Occasionally the holder of an asset is spectacularly wrong about the true value, IPO offerings being a familiar case but you might also look at the value of the UK pound a few years back, the sad case of Bre-X, or the wild ride of Barings bank for some examples.

    DR-Dos seems to be one of those cases if Caldera wins. Novell can then add the selling of DR-DOS to their long line of missed opportunities.

    TML
  • Does anybody remember the PBS documentry "Revenge of the Nerds" about the development of home compuers? During the section about the IBM PC, ms needed an os to demonstrate ms basic on the pc for ibm. Not having such an operating system, they bought one called QDOS, aka Quick and Dirty Operating System. A rather large percentage of QDOS used code "borrowed" from CP/M-86, made by Digital Research. If you poke around on the Caldera website, you will discover that Caldera now owns CP/M as well. Interesting.....
  • So justice has an expiration date? And on internet time no less. There are people collecting judgements for crimes committed against their parents and grandparents in WW II. Should MS be treated to a different standard of justice?

    TML
  • We experienced exactly the same thing. However, we knew where the blame lay, even back then. (The number of MS products that required 'tweaking' to get to work properly on NetWare networks (which then had 70-80% market share), and being told that it was tested and worked fine on their LanMan network (which had something like 5%)....Some 'tweaks' or fixes made it seem as though they had _deliberately_ tried to cause problems).

    I called MS to report the problem and they said I had to "upgrade" to MS-DOS. I phoned the DR-DOS rep, and within less than a day it was all working again. Everything worked fine in the earlier beta versions of Win 3.1.
  • I'm glad we have a lawyer involved in this discussion. Isn't there a substantial risk that a fact-heavy case such as this one might be a crap shoot with a jury? I've heard that cases involving technical evidence (molecular biology, DNA, thefts of code, etc.) can be difficult for juries to grasp. (I personally served on two juries, and would hate for those folks to have to judge the evidence in either Microsoft case.)

    Isn't is possible that a jury finding of fact might be fairly irrational; influenced more heavily by emotion than fact? If that's the case I see it going either way--I know a lot of corporate types who think that all this "persecution" of Microsoft is way out of line.
    (Of course I try to avoid them whenever I can!)

    Then again, this is Microsoft, so we have to rejoice at the fact that it's harder to buy off an entire jury than it is to influence a single judge!

  • The only reason Caldera renamed it back to DR-Dos, was to make it simple for the court to see that they owned that same poor product.

    Once Caldera and Microsoft are through playing,
    Caldera may open up OpenDos again, possibly GPL it.
  • I mean, DOS and Windows are their products.

    Windows is their product, yes. MS-DOS also. DR-DOS was a competing product written by Digital Research. Completely (well, 99.x%) compatible.

    So what does MS do? Set up Windows 3.1 to read the make of the DOS it's running on top of, and error if it's not MS-DOS.

    Deliberately stifling a competing OS by altering a package they control so it will only work with an OS they control.

    That's anti-competitive behaviour, and while it may or may not be legal (up to the jury) it certainly sucks.
    Got it now?
    Meow.
  • By what moral principal should we (the people, therefore the government) be allowed to limit what they do to their own work, no matter how heinous?

    Ordinarily, I'd agree with you. However, MS abused a monopoly position to try and put their competitors (Digital Research, among others) out of business. It's the monopoly position that makes the difference. They're behaving in a means that is not in the public interest, and the only way to stop them is through the laws set up to prevent it. That's what this (and the DoJ case) is all about.

  • yup, you failed to mention beowulf clusters ;)

    //rdj
  • >Will I be flamed if I say Novell rules!?

    Not by me, you won't!

    Netware is my choice for file and print services.

    I don't do NT. I have yet to see an NT network I'd have been proud to put my name on. (I told this to an NT installer once. He listened to my points, agreed with them. Then said "Yeah, but you make much more MONEY with NT!")

    I haven't become comfortable enough with Linux and FreeBSD's problem recovery process to put it at my clients as a file/print sharing system yet. But hopefully, soon. 8)

    Nick.
  • It does! I'm gonna go get DR-DOS right now. This proves (for the judge, everyone else knows it) that win9x and dos are seperate things!
  • Yes, MS-DOS had an undelete program, but it made no effort to avoid overwriting the old files. MS-DOS (and apparently, Windows 9x) uses the lowest number available block (closest to track 0, outer edge of the disk) first when writing files. So, if you delete a file (physically) at the beginning of the disk, it is overwritten VERY quickly. If you delete a file physically near the end of the disk and there is lots of free space earlier up on the disk, you may be able to recover that file for quite some time. Your ability to recover a file under DOS was based on luck and what you have done since then. There is no deliberate plan to avoid overwriting deleted files.

    Hmm....now that I think about it, DOS v6 *did* include an optional device driver which would track deleted files in a comparatively primative way, but it was there (and I assume it worked, at least if you remembered to load it BEFORE you made a mistaken deletion!). I'm curious if it worked only from the command line (i.e., it watched for use of the DELETE command, like the Win9x recycle bin) or if it worked at the API level (so a program (like MS-Office 4.x) that deleted a file would have it tracked). No idea -- I never played with the deletion tracking feature of DOS. (In case you were wondering, the Netware deletion tracking tracked at the API level..doesn't matter if you DEL *.*'ed or the program deleted the file, Netware tracked it. Netware even tracks the file if you delete its parent directory).

    Virtually any file system on any OS can have files recovered from deletion if new files haven't actually overwriten the "ashes" of the old files. This has not a thing to do with the MS-DOS FAT file system. DOS's file system was simple enough, however, that it was fairly easy to write undeletion programs. The first one I saw was a customer of mine wrote one on MS-DOS v1 (a FANTASICLY clever kid, but a bit clumsy when it came to deleting files). Under CP/M, undeleting files was SO easy, I always just used a disk editor (I think undelete programs existed, they were just barely needed).

    Netware is rare in that it actually TRACKS those old "ashes" and keeps them around and intact, with all information (including the userID of the deleter!) so they can be reliably and successfully recovered as long as possible (or until told to do otherwise).

    I do seem to have wandered well off-topic.. I wasn't writing in praise of Netware (I am very willing to do this, as people have undoubtably noticed!), as I have the knawing suspicion in this forum, most people wouldn't care. My point was to bring up Yet Another potentially anti-competitive action of Microsoft. The idea of writing a temporary file before deleting the original would give you an improved likelyhood of being able to undelete a newly replaced file even under DOS if you got to it soon enough. However, this Temporary/Delete/Rename process did WONDERFUL things when combined with the Netware deletion tracking system.

    Nick.

    Y'all can wake up now, I'm finished.
  • My point exactly--I fear that a jury will be influenced by slick M$ lawyers and decide not on fact, but on emotion. My snotty aside was a product of my disgust with the slimy tactics employed by M$ dirtbags. I used to think that the most disgusting, soul- wrenching job in the universe would be to defend rapists and child molesters. Then I decided it would be to represent oil or tobacco companies. I now have a new candidate: M$ lawyers. Anyone who reads or hears the dreck produced by these slugs (inlcuding the testimony of Bill himself) cannot help but retch. It's about time.
  • Actually, a better analogy would be:

    GM Makes Cars. Ford has a monopoly on engines for GM cars. Ford also makes roads.... so does Honda. So Ford designs its engines so the break down whenever they are not on Ford roads. Honda gets forced out of business.

    Fair?

    Or better yet, Ford designs it's roads so they cause engines from any other manufacturer to break down.

    Howz that?

  • Just wondering what qualifies RedHat as the new ultimate evil?
    1.) Is it the amount of development they've contributed to Linux?
    2.) Is it the fact that they are at the forefront of trying to broaden the Linux user base ( I know how we all hate that?)
    3.) Or is it the fact that they've somehow made billion$ on their IPO selling software that can be downloaded for free from any ftp site or for a buck at cheapbytes.com?

    Don't hate them because their successful....if U have to hate someone hate MS for selling an OS in which the disk check utility overwrites your boot sector with garbage (Win98 ScanDisk bug bit me 2wice) or where power management is so screwy your machine turns of and random (had to spend more $$$ on Win98 SE)...

    Oh yeah hope everyone's still boycoytting Amazon.

    Bad Command Or File Name
  • Any case with a jury is a crap-shoot :)

    I don't think that this case will really have all that much technical evidence--it's really the conduct of microsoft that'sin question. That is, the jury doesn't have to know how the alleged code worked, but decide whether or not microsoft put it in there. Th DOJ trial, on the other hand, hade to adress issues such whether or not IE is really part of the OS.

    And I can think of judges I've known who would be much inferior to a randomly selected jury . . .

    Also, even though juries deciding certain cases might be scary, that's not as scary as a system without juries. The jury's most important role is as a check on the system, and as a limit on the potential for judicial corruption.
  • Hate to tell you this, but win95/98 are OSses. Not good one, but OSses none-the-less. They have their own memory managment, filesystem code etc..
  • >But can Caldera demonstrate that they lost out >because of DR going bust?

    yes, and it's trivial to do so.

    >They probably picked up DR-DOS (from Novell,
    >IIRC) for a snip because of that!

    And here you almost answer your own question. Part of the value of DR/DR-DOS was the claim against ms. This is reflected in the price paid by Novell, and then by caldera. DR didn't have the resources for the fight, and Novell didn't want a fight with ms and/or didn't think the chances of winning were good enough. Caldera disagreed, and bought the asset, claims & all. It's an x% chance of relief, with Caldera and Novell disagreeing about the value of x.

  • Regardless of if Microsoft is a monopoly in the desktop market, can they win every battle they've chosen to fight?

    In the handheld market Palm is not only surviving against Windows CE, but thriving. A few years ago a lot of people took it for granted that Palm would be road kill. Now if you were developing for the handheld market you wouldn't think about ignoring Palm's huge market.

    In the low-end server market NT continues to be strong, but Linux & the BSDs are making progress in shops which a few years ago wouldn't have chosen anything but NT. Cost of the OS and the lower system requirments make NT a less attractive alternative to a lot of people.

    In the high-end server where cost is less of an issue, the commercial Un*x makers & OS/390 continue to be the standard. They've got amazing reliability and can deal with many more users than NT currently can.

    In the gaming market Microsoft is aparently fearing the growing power of game consoles like the PS2. Now they're reportedly making an entry into that market as well.

    The desktop is one area where Microsoft really isn't facing a competative threat. Here the government & Caldera are persuing them for antitrust violations.

    On the portal phase I don't think MSN has ever turned a profit despite a large amount of investment by MS.

    Sure, MS makes tons of money and they certainly won't disappear from the market, but can even they fight so many battles? How much money can they spend on new markets, lawyers, & unprofitable segments before the markets they currently dominate start to suffer?
  • In the DOJ case, the judge was also the trier of fact (2). In this case, my guess (someone can go to the courthouse and check the pleadings to make sure) is that Caldera demanded the jury, expecting sympathy for the little guy (if I represented ms, I would want a bench trial [judge instead of jury]).

    Watch out though, the outcome may not be what you think. A jury tends to, especially in high-visibilty cases, base their decision more on public opinion. A judge will decide on facts and rule of law.

    Because Microsoft has a high public opinion, it is more likely that the jury would decide for them. After all, it's just the little guy picking on a big guy who did nothing but be successful, right?

    That's why I'm glad the DOJ trial did not have a jury. If it did, I would predict the outcome would have been strongly in MS' favour. The judge though will look and facts and laws, and not how MS is doing in the polls.

    -Brent
    --
  • *****I am not a MS sympathizer - at all. However, I have a hard time defending some of the laws they allegedly broke. I mean, DOS and Windows are their products. By what moral principal should we (the people, therefore the government) be allowed to limit what they do to their own work, no matter how heinous?*****

    Well...as much as it pains me to say this... I would have to say that I really don't understand that either. But then again I'm not a lawyer.

    In a sense this is what AOL was trying to do to MS when they kept tweaking their IM protocol so it wouldn't work with MS clients. I don't recall anybody stating that AOL was doing anything illegal, amusing...yes... illegal.. no.

    I would be interested to see how much Caldera is spending on laywers. Lawsuits like this tend to hurt the smaller company more because they are spending big bucks for lawyers that could be dumped into R/D. Meanwhile time does not stand still. Even if they win a large settlment they have lost time that cannot be recouped. Seems like a pretty big gamble for Caldera.

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