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Microsoft

Microsoft up to Old Tricks Again 314

Anonyous Coward writes "According to ZDnet UK News, Microsoft is up to its old trick of breaking competing products by changing Windows. This time it's NT service pack 6, which strangely has a problem with Lotus Notes. It denies users 'access to Lotus Notes on NT unless they have been granted administrative access to the entire network.' So much for the 'findings of fact' putting Microsoft under pressure to stop this sort of thing." Related news: CEGadgets.com publishes the latest NT security hole.
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Microsoft up to Old Tricks Again

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  • "Old tricks" is right. Years ago, they used to say, "DOS isn't done until Lotus doesn't run."
  • it's a tradition now.

    MSFT - jack of all software, masters of none.

    Chuck
  • 19,999 of the "users" were computer-generated, using an expanded "Hello World" script.
  • ... this is better, as it demonstrates the true heart of darkness in Microsoft; by being so insolent, they're just digging their own grave.
  • All that money has gone to Bill Gates head. Now with the imminent discipline by the Gov. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bill throwing a full blown temper tantrum, kicking and screaming on the floor.

  • With the world watching them for any possible "dirty tricks", they slide one out in a service pack. They'd better hope the Judge doesn't read the computer press, or he's going to flay them for that, when it comes to the final verdict.

    Or maybe that's their hope. Infuriate him enough, and provoke him into doing or saying something rash, so that they've better odds in the appeals. It would be sneaky & underhand enough.

    If that's what they're doing, you've got to hand it to them, for being devious and manipulative, above and beyond the call of profit.

  • "Old tricks" is right. Years ago, they used to say, "DOS isn't done until Lotus doesn't run."

    Ah, after all these years, Microsoft can say that they were successful in at least one goal.

    -Brent
    --
  • by anewsome ( 58 ) <{moc.emoswena} {ta} {emoswena}> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:15AM (#1528857) Homepage
    It looks like Roblimo might be a little paranoid in his claims about Microsoft. I have a really strong feeling that Microsoft did nothing intentional to break the Lotus product, and I'll even go out on a limb and say that Lotus probably made the problem themselves by using outdated or unpublished API's even after being warned not to by Microsoft.

    On the other hand, either way the end result is still the same in that Lotus gets broken, and that should have been caught in the extensive (yeah right) testing done by MS prior to releasing this beast on the world

  • I go to a college that uses a window's NT network. The sation in my libary only lets me run Internet Explorer. This is the only program can run, and that is run on this computer. It is a HP with a Pentium 2 and 64 meg of RAM. If I open more than one or two windows with Internet Explorer, it crashes. I have to use the task manager to kill the program. NT itself doesn't go down, but if Micro$oft can't get its own programs to run right why should they get others. Just my 2 cents.
  • I disagree that its a dirty trick. I think, instead, its an example of their continued negligence. They advertise that they have the widest software availabilty (unlike that hippie OS) yet they don't bother to test things. The fact is, if you make the OS, then everyone's software has to work. Thats part of the OSS movement that I never hear talked about - the API is right there, you can be sure if something is going to work, because you can see whats happening!
  • The PCWeek dead tree edition from last week had this info in it. I don't have an url link. It also mentioned that it caused problems with Compaq's Network Teaming when used with load balancing causing BSOD's. Compaq did issue a patch for that, though. One of the few times I have seen ZDNet recommend to delay putting it in until MS issues SP6 fixes.
  • by Psarchasm ( 6377 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:17AM (#1528861) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft up to its old tricks? Has Slashdot finally sunk to such depths that it needs to create bogus headlines like these?

    Please name me one operating system that has to, and in many cases succeeds in inter-operating with so many other systems. The weight that Microsoft carries and the scrutiny under which it carries that weight should be a warning to everyone who wants them out of the way.

    Asinine headlines like this one from "Roblimo" only have a place with the rest of the quacks looking for "the smoking man" and UFOs. Because you are making the rest of us look like those quacks when you post that garbage here.

    Here is to hoping that Atlas shrugs.

    (And take note this post was written in Netscape, under Linux 2.3.x)
  • We've just installed the 6 on some test servers where I work, and they've caused more problems than they fixed.

    While all of this is going on we are trying to go to Lotus R5. Which there have been some problems with that, too, without even trying to upgrade them to service pack 6.

    It's definitely going to be an interesting New Year...

    t
  • That it's just standard Microsoft incompetency, and not a conspiracy? I think it more likely that there's some bug in SP6 that breaks Lotus Notes, unintentionally. Some poor idiot just got a promotion, because his .dll patch breaks Notes. Anyway I think the one QA tester employed by Microsoft is probably really overworked. :-)
  • by generic ( 14144 )
    Lets see how they remedy this one.
  • Microsoft has been bullying other copanies for so long that it will probably be impossible for it to stop the process.

    I don't know what Mr. Gates is thinking. During a time when you expect the Frankinstein Monster to hide from the rampaging mobs and their torches. Here we find it standing out in the open shouting at the top of its lungs.

    Of course maybe Gates does not care. After all he is a multi-billionare. What does he care if his copany is broken up and chaos ensues. This is the man who made his money by stealing the ideas of others (Apple). He may think that we "Can't handle the truth!".
  • First off, I have a problem with trying to blame Lotus... why would they do this to themselves?

    Secondly, even if it is lotus's fault, it makes MS look bad. After the FoF, how the hell is going to believe them? When we can see that their horns have knocked their halo to an angle?

    Myself, MS has done this to me numerous times, and I haven't been using outdated or unpublished anything. They are just sloppy with most of their service packs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is no different to Linux. Different distro's competing for market share and breaking their installs and compatibility. Hell, we even have the new CEO of Red Hat saying that he wouldn't like to see the LSB benefit Red Hat's compeditors.

    Linux is little different than Microsoft in this regard. But on /. it's mandatory to hate Microsoft and heap praise on Open Source (no matter how bad the actual code is). Reality has long since been kicked aside by Open Source arrogance and ego.

  • I couldn't have said it better. Lately Slashdot has been a breeding ground of, oddly enough, nothing but extremely biased, opinionated, anti-MS FUD. Yes, FUD. That's exactly what it is, and it's so insanely hypocritical that I'm sitting here laughing my silly patootie off just thinking about it.
  • This isn't exactly a security hole. It's the old thing: If you tell any program to store a password locally, it must be insecure, for this program needs to send the password and needs to decrypt it then. You could use something more complicated than xor, but it doesn't change the fact. The only issue is that they should have warned more explicitly before letting you store the password locally.
  • I wonder if the DOJ will still be willing to settle, noticing that even after the Judge's ruling they have not changed their predatory business practices.

    Although it will be expensive for the government, they are going to have to monitor Microsoft very closely, to make sure they don't continue their predatory behavior. Microsoft has shown that if they are left alone, they will use any dirty trick in order to crush the competition.

    On a side note, could this be grounds for a lawsuit from IBM/Lotus? They don't even have to prove they are a monopoly.
  • I am so glad there are alternatives to windows. You can run linux, BSD, Solaris, BeOS and others.

    These are great times we live in.
  • If it was deliberate, (which it probably wasn't,)
    it would have been planned weeks or months ago.

    But like they say, DOS isn't done till Lotus doesn't run. So does this mean they're still goig to have DOS hidden somewhere, cos from what I remember, Lotus 123 is still running fine.

    Iain
  • Oh for the love of god, that looks like crap. Sorry about that I was in a hurry. It should read:

    First off, I have a problem with pushing the blame onto Lotus... why would they do this to themselves?

    Secondly, even if lotus made the boo-boo, it makes MS look bad. After the FoF, who the hell is going to believe them? When we can see that their horns have knocked the halo off to an angle, why believe?

    MS has done this to me numerous times, and I haven't been using outdated or unpublished anything. They are just sloppy with most of their service packs.
  • first, I want to admit that I have not checked to see what it is that SP6 breaks in Lotus.

    BUT: My company sells a piece of software that will not run (at all) if certain versions of Lotus notes are installed. We don't use or interface with Lotus in any way, we don't replace any system libraries.

    So should we attack lotus for breaking our software?
    Lotus clearly does things that are just dumb dumb dumb, so I am not suprised that small changes in windows-nt could potentally break them. Someone needs to show that MS did this on purpose before we point too many fingers.

    (The details of my problem (not the SP6 issue) are that Lotus installs a buggy "hook-dll" that gets linked into all running apps on the machine (can you say virus) and it makes our app crash while it is loading. If you are familar with Win32 programming I am sure you have encountered these stupid hook dlls.)
  • If anyone hasn't noticed, Microsoft has also been working on it's own portable document format, which they conveniently call something else -
    Microsoft Reader with Cleartype [microsoft.com]

    I see M$ going after the PDF format next year.

    I am sure a great running linux version of the reader will be available from M$ as well. =)
  • Who said "Never assign to maliciousness what cannot be explained by stupidity".

    While the first link on this page could be explained as an MS consipiracy, the second points to the most likely reason. Namely, poor programming and testing.
  • Question:
    First off, I have a problem with trying to blame Lotus... why would they do this to themselves?

    Answer:
    Secondly, even if it is lotus's fault, it makes MS look bad.

    ;)
    Steven Rostedt
  • When he does, it's not going to be the VIPs at Microsoft going on strike. When your product is entirely based on spin and marketing finesse, rather than a brainchild of productivity, creativity, and pride, you're just another looter.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Referring to
    http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/jk-12.11.99- 000/

    this behaviour is a bug of Service Pack 6 and does not only affect Lotus Software.

    on heise they suggest to use the AFD.SYS from SP5 as a workaround.
  • ^on post do sarcasm

    I'm just sitting here trying to figure out why you reply which stated: "I couldn't have said it better." ended up with a score of 2 - While my original post is still sitting at one. Sounds like a conspiracy to keep me down.

    The hippies are trying to keep me down! Help! Help! I'm being opressed!
  • Of course you're right, Roblimo has it entirely wrong. What he should have said is that the criminals at Microsoft are again proving themselves little better than mobsters and their blatant violations of the law and criminal conduct should result in serious jailtime for everyone from the programmers who lent themselves to these activities to the ones who decide it.

    And please keep your sophmoric naive Ayn Rand to yourself.
  • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:31AM (#1528887) Homepage Journal
    It's really hard to believe that this is intentional on the part of Microsoft.

    It was probably a mistake.

    If it was intentional, then it sure lends credence to the speculation that there are those in MS who really want MS to be broken up. The theory goes that Bill Gates is tired of running Microsoft and would rather be a media/on-line/banking mogul. He really can't go into those markets as aggressively as he would like while there is continual anti-trust review of every move. Remember that the Intuit deal was quashed by the Feds, and that was Microsoft's gambit to enter on-line banking.

    I find that theory a bit far out. How do you really run a conspiracy like that? I mean, it only takes one MS engineer who was familiar with some testing or development effort that would break Lotus to go to the press. Remember, the Halloween documents were leaked from inside MS.

  • Seems to me Linux works with a lot of systems - very nicely too, most of the time. The "weight" that Microsoft carries is all of their own making. By keeping their API's secret, their open to this sort of "mistake". Secrecy, constantly changing them - they put the burden of making things work squarely on their own shoulders. If they were more open, the onus to make software that works on Windows would more naturally rest on the makers of said software. But that is not what Microsoft wants.
  • As much as I think Microsquid is evil... I don't think this was a targeted screw up. I noticed this problem with SP6 and Wall Data's "Rumba" about a week ago. I think it's just a matter of the SP did more harm than good.

    Big suprise there
  • Is this a matter of arrogance, or merely incompetance? I don't really know... But what I do know is that things like this are bound to happen given the spaghetti-like nature of the Windows OS. When you've got random hooks running to and fro, with technical decisions being made for marketting reasons, as in Windows, it is more amazing that things work at all then that they fail in peculiar ways.

    I know that my own company's products have had troubles with certain service packs, and Bill Gates doesn't even know who the hell we are. The problem is the monolithic nature of the OS and the determination of Microsoft to sacrifice real backwards compatibility for marketting reasons.
  • Well, this certainly puts Lotus Notes in new light.

    In its wisdom, Micro$oft has now declared Notes a tool of such power that should never be wielded by ordinary users.

    Apparently SP6 does exactly what it should: plug a security hole.

  • by Myddrin ( 54596 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:36AM (#1528893) Homepage
    Please name me one operating system that has to, and in many cases succeeds in inter-operating with so many other systems. The weight that Microsoft carries and the scrutiny under which it carries that weight should be a warning to everyone who wants them out of the way. Erm... excuse me? The Mac, Novell and *nix actually interoperate with more operating systems and do it in a more efficient manner.
    Can you boot your windows box from a ext2 floppy? Can you read Mac disks (w/o third party software). What is this? Do you work in systems integration? Do you realize that most SI work is done with *NIX leading the way and the other OS's following? Asinine headlines like this one from "Roblimo" only have a place with the rest of the quacks looking for "the smoking man" and UFOs. Because you are making the rest of us look like those quacks when you post that garbage here. Even though it is well documented that they did this to DR DOS (could some one through up a link to the article in Dr Dobbs about the code?). Come on buddy, quit checking your MS stock prices and look around.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I love these petty little conspiracy theories you little bastards continously improvise. If a Linux patch broke some application nobody would whine these idiotic theories. It's a bug - Microsoft is embarassed by it. Why would they temporarily disable Lotus and release a patch? Are you mildly retarded?
  • I don't really think that MS did this purposely to take down Lotus. Especially because of the FoF. But this is just a situation that happens when you control the OS and the applications. You do things for your stuff and your stuff alone. You don't care if you hurt someone on the way. MS is trying hard to get companies to develop on their OS again, since most are scared to. If the get a good product, then MS will either buy them out (a good thing for them) or come out with a clone and destroy them (a bad thing). And MS is wondering why noone is developing for them. Of course they don't want Lotus to develop on their OS, since that competes with their stuff.

    Thank God that MS failed to buy Quicken. Its the only product left that I use on the MS platform. Someday (hopefully) they will port to Linux ;)

    Steven Rostedt
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Study your history.

    Bad programmers have always tried to perform end-runs around the system. Back in the DOS days this was generally accomplished by using undocumented functions of system calls, or lower-level BIOS calls, to perform functions in a piece of software. All an OS vendor can do is document the 'hooks' that programmers are supposed to use to access system resources. And OS programmers can't be hamstrung by bad applications written to perform illegal calls to layers of the OS that need to remain subject to change.

    A lot of the early animosity directed towards Windows NT by DOS programmers was based on the simple fact that their little tricks and feats of magic involving end-runs around the API that they were supposed to be coding to didn't work anymore. They couldn't rely on TSRs, calls to the BIOS addresses, direct writes to hardware, and other tricks they'd used in the past. Most of those guys are gone, though. If they thought Windows NT was a nightmare in this regard, they'd never, ever, stand for what Unix does to their crofty methods.
  • Are you claiming that Lotus plained this before the FoF was even out? How long ago was that software written????

    I'm sorry to play Scully to your Mulder, but that seems to be stretching it.

    Honestly I think it's a mistake, just sheer negligence. I know MS has done this to me over a half dozen times.
  • by SSKennel ( 22926 ) <roger AT bcah DOT com> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:40AM (#1528899) Homepage
    Apparently, SP6 locks out all ports above 1024 unless you are logged in as Administrator.

    Microsoft is promising [microsoft.com] a hotfix.

  • That's a very good point. Creating problems like that, with the intent of breaking other software, would NOT drive people away from Notes to Exchange, but would drive people away from NT toward other OS's to run Notes on.

    Come on people. Microsoft isn't anyone to defend, but everyone here is starting to appear as the typical anti-MS zelots. This type of stuff destroys our credibility, and does nothing but make us look like bigoted fools.

    --knick

    ..my car blew a headgasket, and it has to be MS's fault, becuase the auto company uses NT to run the servers that the engine designers saved thier meeting minutes on. DAMN YOU MICROSOFT!!!!..
  • I am an NT administrator in a Terminal Server environment running Citrix Metaframe, and this exact same error occured when you attempt to connect to the Terminal Servers. As far as I know, there is not a Microsoft competing product for Citrix. (ie, I don't think this is targetted at Lotus, just a general screw up)
  • I find it kinda hard to believe that something this specific could be a simple mistake on MS's part. Although on the other hand it seems pretty stupid for them to intentionally do this what with the FoF just freshly released.

    I don't know, all I'm saying is that seems way too localized and specific to be an oversight.

  • This is just another bug, which is almost certainly not designed to destroy Lotus. Why would they warn Lotus users and then scramble to patch SP6 if this was malicious? Why would they intentionally do this with their position with the DOJ?
  • It's really hard to believe that this is intentional on the part of Microsoft. It was probably a mistake.

    If SP6 would have disabled, say, Exchange, then we would have all laughed and exclaimed, "what a bunch of bozos". However, a mistake that "disables" a competing product is just to much of a coincidence.

    -Brent
    --
  • There's no excuse for it; we simply can't say that Microsoft did it on purpose even before they've been officially accused. Certainly, that's not to excuse their sloppiness, but I'm sure this is not malicious. They know very well that Lotus Notes can be run on many Unices, and they need the revenue. Now if the promised fix doesn't come in a week, then we can start the conspiricy engines. But for now, sloppiness is the only decent explanation.

    And if they did it maliciously, or incompetently fail to fix the bug, who the hell cares? People can go on using service pack 5 until they have Lotus Notes working on Linux.

    -Ben
  • I knew about this one over a week ago. Here is a description [att.com] of the cause from the VNC mailing list.

    Cheers,
    Ben
  • I don't know...Service Pack 4 was alright...eventually.
  • Please name me one operating system that has to, and in many cases succeeds in inter-operating with so many other systems. The weight that Microsoft carries and the scrutiny under which it carries that weight should be a warning to everyone who wants them out of the way.

    Huh? NT is supported on one platform. You get to interoperate with it. If MSFT doesn't like you, it breaks things. Ask Samba about MSFT games with SMB. You can run Linux on more machines than you can run MSFT software.

    Here is to hoping that Atlas shrugs.

    If MSFT shut down tomorrow the world would be a better place. Marketing companies do not improve the economy.

  • Although with MS you never really know. Maybe SP6 had a list of current competitors it wanted wiped out. :)

    Honestly though, where I work we were told not to install SP6 because it caused serious network connection problems with NT machines that don't have SP6 installed.

    I think at this stage with the trial and all MS can do nothing which will not be taken as them throwing thier weight around.
  • Breaking Lotus might have been Just Gravy, but more likely was an accidental result to a proactive security fix.

    I was reading about the SP6 fix earlier, and am desperately trying to remember which other application was having the same problems Lotus was but have so far failed. Essentially, Microsoft had been granting all user level applications raw socket access of some type--"raw ports" was the term being used. Likely, they discovered there was some security issues exploitable via this method.

    Unfortunately, people were using this system for legitimate purposes, which caused a good chunk of programming to crash and burn all over.

    We probably shouldn't be too harsh on MS for SP6--after all, how painful was the libc5->glibc upgrade effort? How many times did StarOffice mysteriously stop working?

    That being said, it's extraordinarily likely that, with Microsoft's enormous test labs, they found that Lotus Notes broke with the new service pack, and intentionally neglected to inform Lotus that they'd need to put out a fix.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • Quite the contrary. It will be their developers. Just as Atlas isn't always a he. It (the concept) doesn't always represent those directly connected to the company. Atlas shrugging in this instance could just as easily be all the Windows NT developers out there developing for Microsoft suddenly developing for Linux.
  • PC Week article [zdnet.com]

    It discusses the Lotus Notes bug in SP6. The MS web site says that a hot fix will be available next week.

    One of the explanations forwarded by this article, is that SP6 denies access to TCP/IP ports including 1352, which Notes uses, to all non-admin accounts, but the article goes on to say that IIS (I think?) could use that port with no difficulty.

    Unconfirmed, but I have heard that SP 6 also prevents Domino (the Lotus Notes Server) from loading as a service.
  • Are you claiming that Lotus plained this before the FoF was even out? How long ago was that software written????

    No, you can see my views here [slashdot.org]. But I just thought it was funny that you asked a question, then stated something that could be the answer.

    Steven Rostedt
  • oops.. that a really good point.
  • ... that the for last few weeks, the microsofties seem to have come out in force to defend their master?

    It's not just this topic either. All over the rest of the boards, you see a much higher concentration of microsoft FUD than before.

    Prehaps bill has finally taken notice of /. and ordered his minions to carry forth the windows banner and to battle with the resistance?

    Bring 'em on....

    Hey Lotus... about notes for Linux. At least you can rest easy that Linus won't try to rape you like bill has so many times in the past and present.


    john
  • Apparently, SP6 locks out all ports above 1024 unless you are logged in as Administrator.

    And no-one at Microsoft noticed this? Or does Quality Control run everything as Administrator 8-)?


  • Actually, Office 95 was very very good. Whereas I don't have enough experience with 2k to judge, and Office 97 was a piece of crap that needed 2 service packs and stil is nightmarish. Matt
  • You would have thought that a service release for any OS would under go testing by the OS vendors prior to it's release. If I were a server OS vendor then I would want to make damm sure that all the software partnerships that I had formed were not killed off by something as stupid as this.

    I am very suprised that this service release ever made it into 'the wild' so to speak. They issue beta CD's to all their major partners before anyone else gets them. Surely someone somewhere noticed this before today! Lotus/IBM must be a major Microsoft partner and must have seen this! If they did and they can prove that they did then the DOJ case could get all the more serious for Microsoft.

    I previously worked in Quality Assurance within the a life sciences company. Whenever any modifications were made to the QA managment system, the golden rule was test, test and test again. Okay, the service patch may well work great of the QA managment system but that's no good if it fucks up internal email!

    I was under the impression that these sort of "accidents" or "mishaps" would rapidly come to an end following the DOJ 'Findings of Fact' but I was obviously wrong. Microsoft need to take a good long hard look at all aspects of every group in every department within each and every division of it's self in order to ensure that things like this do not happen again.

    When all is said and done...wouldn't we all like to see an IBM/Lotus vs Microsoft law suit?
  • Hear, hear.

    I find it profoundly depressing that there are so many closed minded, bigoted zealots on Slashdot. Folks, believe it or not, Windows NT is not a complete dead loss. It works, it's reasonably security, it's reasonably reliable. It's about as good a desktop OS as Linux is a workstation / ser ver OS. The only reason I'm trying to work away from it is that it's not Free/open. Linux is exellent for many things, but has faults of it's own. Please, keep your knee jerk rantings to yourself. You just bore those of us surfing at 0 or 1.


    --

  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:01AM (#1528935) Homepage Journal
    The reason we label these as old tricks for Microsoft [microsoft.com] is because they have intentionally caused these incompatibilities before. The question here is whether this service pack's incompatibilities with Lotus Notes are intentional or not. Microsoft won't give us the right answer, just like they hid the tying of DOS 6.x and Windows 3.x from everyone.

    They released Windows compliance specificiations for other DOS makers, but didn't tell them that Windows actually checked a couple obscure memory mappings (where the character map was for one) to see if it was running on Microsoft's DOS product or not. If not, they put up a BSOD warning which scared people away from non-MS DOS products, eventually allowing them to do a full integration product, Windows 95 (DOS 7.0 + Windows 95 shell).

    Read my comments [slashdot.org] about Microsoft in the earlier 90's re: DOS / Windows, etc.

    If indeed Slashdot were making blind accusations, this would be bad. However, knowing their history, it's not a bad guess.

    - Michael T. Babcock <homepage [linuxsupportline.com]>
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:02AM (#1528936) Homepage
    MSFT has been collecting the benefit of the doubt for so long (i.e., 'trusted', as in trusting the fox to guard the henhouse) that now the tide has turned and even HONEST MISTAKES are perceived as wilful and malicious anti-competitive measures.

    Spread enough FUD and it'll eventually come back to haunt you!

    Chuck
  • >Please name me one operating system that has to, >and in many cases succeeds in inter-operating >with so many other systems.

    Uhhh, Linux?

    I'd mark your post up as "Funny" but I'm out of moderator points. Microsoft has too much of a history of pulling this sort of crap for people to dismiss it as a coincidence. I remember the "coincidental" SP4 NT Loader "patch" that refused to load a boot image that wasn't Win32, and the Loader "coincidentally" was not fixed during the uninstall script. So I blew away NT and started running it in a window, while I grabbed all the disk space it used to eat up and put Oracle on it.

    Note that NT Loader 4.00 was perfectly well able to load a Linux boot image. This was a totally deliberate change and it was BAD FOR THE CONSUMER.

    My, what a coincidence!

  • If you saw the doe-eyed little Microsofties on C-SPAN dutifully tossing warm and fuzzy bunny softball questions at Algore and telling him how they come to work every day just to make the world a better place, you know this must be an innocent error on Microsoft's part.

    Does anyone else remember, I think it was in the mid-eighties, when a PC Mag. column published a rumor that Windows was doing something to progressively decrease the performance of Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually crash it? Deja vu?

    Microsoft: Making the World a Better Place, one B.S.O.D. at a time.

  • by Myddrin ( 54596 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:05AM (#1528941) Homepage
    My theory is that MS hired the Castaways (Gilligan's Island) for QA/QC.

    The Howells cashed in their stock options.
    The Professor took one look around and quit.
    Mary Ann found out about the FUD and quit because she didn't approve of the lies.
    Ginger mysteriously disappeared, but strange grunts and groans have been heard from various execs offices.

    Leaving the Skipper and Gilligan in charge of QA/QC.
    :)
  • Domino runs almost everywere (NT, 4 or 5 Unix variants, OS/2, Netware), so I don't think it's NT version uses strange tricks to authenticate users. Besides, Notes/Domino authentication is a lot better/sophisticated than NT one.

    AND, proposing that a NT admin would give Domain Admin rights to its users is plain NONSENSE. He would rather deinstall/not install SP6.

    [GUESS MODE ON]
    I do not think this has nothing to do with the server: very probably it has to do with an option the Notes client has, that is authenticate using NT services instead of native Notes authentication. That's a feature I personally never used, since it would be something like using telnet to logon as root when you have ssh up and working.
    It's a feature Lotus put in in the NT version of the client to mimic Exchange features and to avoid an additional password prompt. While having one less password prompt is IMHO a Good Thing, using a knonw-to-be-flawed auth engine it's NOT...
    Moreover, if you (as a Notes Security Admin) have issued valid passwords to your users upoun creation, then disabling the SP6 ruined auth method is as simple as changing an INI file line inside a text file.
    [GUESS MODE OFF]

    Ciao,
    Rob!
    P.S.
    This article reminds me of the kind of quality you usually get from Italian economical/political journalists. Yes, this is quite an insult... ;-)
  • by afniv ( 10789 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:06AM (#1528945) Homepage
    Is there ever going to be a separate Micro$oft section on /.? It would be nice for the some folks to get their fix in one place, and have highly applicable M$ stuff show up on the "front page".

    This constant new old news gets, well, old. But when I have the time, I definitely like the laugh/throbbing veins, depending on the story.

    ~afniv
    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
  • by Keel ( 11611 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:10AM (#1528950)
    Or perhaps people who actually have systems expertise want their voice to be heard over all of the extremist, reverse-FUD that has been going around /. for too long. Many of us use Linux because we like, not because we hate Microsoft or anyone else. Many of us are tired of this silly little war. Many of us are not afraid to admit Linux's shortcomings, or Microsofts strengths. Many of us are actually doing something about it besides bitch bitch bitch.

    ----

    • God you people are pathetic.

      God you people are priceless!

    Will you Anonymous Cowards make up your minds? Which is it? Are we priceless or pathetic?

  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:15AM (#1528954) Homepage

    I don't know if this was deliberate (I kind of doubt it), but if it's not deliberate it betrays an incredible degree of incompetance on Microsoft's part.

    One of the reasons NT is so expensive is the heavy duty testing that goes into the product. Are we really to beleive that MS didn't notice that they broke a major application?

    If they didn't notice, they deserve to be lynched for gross incompetance. If they did notice, they should have either 1/ fixed the service pack, or 2/ notified Lotus well before the release so Lotus could issue a patch.

  • This is just another case of MS shooting itself in the foot. Some people have been criticising MS for their testing practices, but this was the first SP that I received a beta of in the 9 months I have been receiving Technet as a MCSE. See, we are all running Win2k beta, so we can't be testing NT 4 SP6 beta, can we?

    Seriously, if this was an attempt by the evil empire to slap Lotus around, why on earth would they wait til now, when every major corporation has a complete lockdown in anticipation of Y2k. Places that would be affected by this should have in place major review of any system patches due to y2k lockdown.

    MS sez they will has a hot fix available next week, which probably means if one were to call their support lines, one could obtain it free of charge. (Note that normally MS charges per call, but will release hot fixes to people who can prove their need for them. Then hot fixes generally are released into a post SPx dir on MS's ftp server, and then finally folded into the next SP. I have no desire to discuss people's woes of fee based customer support, experience with customer support, or MS's hotfix practice. I am just telling it like it is).

    http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/nts/downloads/ recommended/SP6/allSP6.asp

    That is where MS sez the hot fix will be available next week.


    The real problem here is how MS implements changes. Some people have claimed that an article says that every port over 1023 now needs admin access to open. This may well be true, but MS's readme file says absolutely nothing about this. This approach to security is insane. Learning about security in MS products is a gotcha! endeavor. They make changes by stealth. aieee


    matt
  • I am not affiliated Lotus corporation. I just have to support it on Unix and NT. I just grabbed SP6 and tried it with Notes, and here's my answer:

    SP6 requires you to have Admin rights to open a TCP port higher than 1023. That means things like IRC, NFS, Ingres, SNA, Lotus Notes, and hundreds of other things are affected.

    Since there's that "magic" number of 1023 in there, I think it's more likely a programmer gaffe than a "Let's Sock it To Them" attitude from Microsoft. Lotus Notes uses port 1352 to communicate. There's an RFC that lists all the services, but most of you can `more /etc/services` to get a fair listing of TCP ports, and get an idea of which ones are affected.

    Anyway, it's not just a Lotus vs. Microsoft problem.
  • I was concerned until I saw that you signed your post "Loser", which seems appropriate. My opinion is that if you have read Slashdot long enough to form a general opinion and post as an AC then you are indeed a Coward.

    As for you point, all you need to get a +2 karma is to post a lot of halfway decent messages and not get into stupid flame wars like this one. So call me overactive, but don't call me a suck-up.
    --

  • Nope. It breaks even if you are not using the "Notes Single Logon" service. As others have said, it's a problem with Winsock and TCP ports above 1024.

    (Notes never uses real NT Domain authentication, like Exchange does. The single logon service just caches your local password and passes that to the Notes client, which then authenticates with Lotus' directory.)
    --
  • I don't know about you guys, but the fact that some MS weenie used this scheme, and on top of that used Pegasus as the key, is funny as hell !!! MS is supposed to be the leading software firm in the world and they have no idea what is going out their door. All I can envision is a bunch of programmers giving clueless managers code that they have no idea how to test.

    I, for one, am staying as far away from Win2000 as possible. It's clueless stuff like this fiasco that makes it impossible to trust MS. Without being able to review their code, I will never buy another product from them as long as I live. The sad thing for them is there are going to be a lot of people like me in the next few years who will apply that logic to business purchases as well.

    MS is in a heap of trouble.
  • It's just another indication that Microsoft doesn't have a real idea about security, which is why they are constantly getting hammered on security issues.

    How many buffer overflow bugs would be fixed if MS put a test in their compiler or DLLs to look for it?


    ...phil

  • I agree with this mostly, except that (esp. for DOS & early Windows systems) even decent programmers had to "end-run" around the API occasionally because it wasn't providing the basics necessary for certain kinds of functionality.
  • Maybe the libc maintainers should remove unsafe functions like strcpy() and gets() from the standard C library. Force developers to use safer versions like strncpy(). Am I overlooking something here? Isn't strcpy() the most common buffer overflow problem?

    This would be a painful libc upgrade, but maybe it would be worthwhile. A possible upgrade path could be to leave strcpy() and friends in "libc7", but remove it from the headers. This would allow binary compatibility, but not source compatibility. Then in "libc8", remove the code for strcpy() and friends from the actual .so library! Backwards compatibility is important, but sometimes safety requires a little extra work.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @09:45AM (#1529058) Homepage
    http://www.ddj.com/articles/1993/9309/9309d/9309d. htm or just click here [ddj.com].

    Chuck
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @09:48AM (#1529059) Homepage
    Microsoft is so focused on rushing Windows 2000 out the door, how could they have time/people to test "every" NT application on new NT4 service packs? Remember how crappy SP4 was? SP5 was OK because it was much smaller, but I'm not surprised SP6 is crappy. The press is turning up the heat as Microsoft continues to slip the Windows 2000 ship date. If you were Microsoft what would you do, focus on NT4 SPs or Windows 2000? From a financial perspective, Microsoft will make big cash money with Windows 2000, while NT4 SP development time/people/equipment is just a cash sinkhole.

    Windows NT is a huge house of cards. Microsoft can't touch the code without a few cards falling. Here is a great article by Nicholas Petreley from the now defunct magazine "NC World": Will Windows NT develop into a super-OS or an unmanageable disaster? [ncworldmag.com]

    Also, to quote Microsoft's own Jim McCarthy in Dynamics of Software Development [amazon.com] (an insightful but "fluffy" book, BTW): "Shipping a product is like watching a large-sized serving of quivering Jell-O. Gradually, the Jell-O slows its vibrations. But then you fix a bunch of bugs, and it starts quivering again. Then slowly, ever so slowly, the quivering subsides. You wait, focused and primed, for the instant the Jell-O stops shaking. Then... you ship it! And then it starts shaking again."

  • No, it is not well documented because it didn't happen. Microsoft never released a product that deliberately broke a competitor's product.

    It very funny that the very next post after yours contains a link to the Dr. Dobbs article that not only shows that it was done but how it was done.

    The anti-MS folks are relying on the fact that if you repeat something enough times, some people will start to believe you. Unfortunately, their immoral tactics seem to be working.

    No, they are relying on the truth. I've been an MS developer since windows 3.1. I've watched them do these things. I've seen them do everything they can to kill the competition. Well, now finally they are caught (the FoF, not this story which is probably just a mistake on their part) and good lord, talk about the whine that was heard around the world!

    Have you read the history of the Dr.Dos case at the Register? [theregister.co.uk] It uses documents from the Caldera case... which is about... ta dah exactly what we are talking about.

    I hope this help clear up any misconceptions the Microsoft marketing department may have caused you.
  • It looks like Roblimo might be a little paranoid in his claims about Microsoft. I have a really strong feeling that Microsoft did nothing intentional to break the Lotus product, and I'll even go out on a limb and say that Lotus probably made the problem themselves by using outdated or unpublished API's even after being warned not to by Microsoft.
    On the other hand, either way the end result is still the same in that Lotus gets broken, and that should have been caught in the extensive (yeah right) testing done by MS prior to releasing this beast on the world



    So Microsoft has the right to order companies to use X api? Yet they can arbitrarily alter their Api's at will... So what if they told Lotus to use the 'Special Lotus Notes API' and then made sure that the service pack would fuck it up? Doesn't seem all THAT far fetched.... After all Lotus DOES compete with MS.

    Kintanon
  • "When you say `I wrote a program that crashed Windows', people just stare at you blankly and say `Hey, I got those with the system, *for free*'" -- Linus Torvalds

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Oh. My. God.

    This is not rumour mongering. The situation with respect to DR DOS has been established already, and is being rehashed in a lawsuite brought by the makers of DR DOS (since acquired by Caldera).

    Reference the consent decree (which Microsoft appears to have violated) as well as the Findings of Fact in the currently ongoing DOJ department.

    Unfortunately, the Microsoft Astroturfers and Apologists are relying on the notion that if you repeat something often enough, some people will start to believe it. Fortunately, their immoral tactics aren't working as well as they used to.
  • They can't have a full test suite of every app. but certainly they should cover the basics. Lotus Notes is a common application among business users - the same business users who are the target audience for NT Workstation.

  • MS has released the 'hotfix' patch for the Winsock problem. You can dload either the Alpha [microsoft.com] or i386 [microsoft.com] versions, or read their Knowledge Base article [microsoft.com].
  • > It's really hard to believe that this is intentional on the part of Microsoft.

    What planet did you grow up on? How is this different from what they did to DR-DOS, or their documented intent to make using Netscape "a harrowing experience"?

    It's too easy. Make a "mistake", fix it a week later, cry innocent when they inevitable accusations arise... but most importantly, leave that corporate IT manager worried about being left in the lurch if he uses a non-MS product in the future.

    Good plan, Bill. Even half the /. readers are falling for it. Al Gore and the major media should be pushovers.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • To all those chalking this fiasco up to a "mistake" on MS' part, check out this article [ddj.com]. I believe some of you may be familiar with the "AARD" incident.

  • If a Linux patch broke some application nobody would whine these idiotic theories. It's a bug - Microsoft is embarassed by it.

    It's analogy time! A hypothetical guy (George) has a criminal record. He has been jailed three times for robbing a liquor store and hitting the cashier over the head with a 2x4. Each time he broke the glass door with a brick to gain entry.

    Now, you come across a liquor store, broken front door, brick on the floor. Cashier unconscious and bleeding from his scalp. George is standing over him next to a bloody 2x4. What do you think happened?

    Perhaps the story that George reformed, came across the liquor store, ran in to help the cashier and etc. etc.

    Perhaps George would be more believable if he didn't have such a record.

    Perhaps MS would be too.

  • by hanway ( 28844 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @11:26AM (#1529088) Homepage
    Despite what the headline implies, I doubt that MS deliberately broke Notes. They probably just didn't catch it during testing. My guess is that their test coverage is pretty good for other Microsoft products, but not great for non-MS stuff. A certain amount of that is to be expected. They can't test tens of thousands of programs for compatibility with every bug fix they release.

    However, my suspicion is that MS hardly cares any more whether its OS works well with anything other than MS products. Now that they have the dominant office suite, the dominant web browser, and are pushing MS alternatives to practically every other mass-market software there is, why should they care whether anybody other than MS can compete and develop stable programs for Windows?

    They don't adequately test 3rd-party software compatibility, and the problem is that they can get away with it.

    The ridiculously high number of API calls for Windows (and the fact that they're constantly increasing) only makes sense if they don't care about 3rd-party developers being able to keep up.

    Think about it: if Windows didn't have the monopoly on desktop OS that it enjoys now, would anybody in their right mind choose to develop software for it? Would they really want to learn the 2500-or-so API calls, only to have an unknown number of them be obsolete when DirectWhatever 9.0 comes out in another month (timed to coincide with the splashy release of MSWhatever 1.0)?

  • They couldn't rely on TSRs, calls to the BIOS addresses, direct writes to hardware, and other tricks they'd used in the past.

    The same dirty tricks that MS used in it's products?

    Difference is, MS application people get a heads up on what's going to break, and know which part of the undocumented API is subject to change, and which part is just undocumented to give them an edge.

    I used to use some of those methods when I did DOS programming. I'm not worried about Linux not allowing it, since Linux provides me with a sane and documented way to do all of those crazy things and more.

  • Because they broke into my desk while I was at lunch?


    ...phil
    • What planet did you grow up on? How is this different from what they did to DR-DOS, or their documented intent to make using Netscape "a harrowing experience"?

    Well, I guess you buy into the theory that Bill Gates wants Microsoft to be broken up then.

    Boy that seems pretty brazen. I guess, after the faked videotape demonstration [salonmag.com] episode, I could believe just about anything of MS.

    The problem I have with this is that this incident could come up during settlement talks between the DOJ and MS. The DOJ might ask for a potentially embarrassing dump of all email and source code changes surrounding SP6. Seems that if you had IBM/Lotus engineers pouring through the code and email discussions, you could pretty much prove that SP6 was designed to break Lotus, if MS did intentionally break Lotus software.

    Proving something like that would make it very hard to settle, give basis for additional anti-trust charges at a later date and make appeals of any forthcoming decision against MS much more difficult.

    The only way I could explain such an act would be to believe that MS managers want the company to be broken up.

    I guess that's not so far fetched, but if MS wanted to be broken up now, they could just suggest it during settlement negotiations. You could argue that they want to be broken up AND look like victims to their army of supporters. It's possible, I suppose.

  • I assume you haven't read any of the references I gave in my initial comment.

    Undocumented DOS is the best reference.

    Watch the Caldera suit against MS for many more. Search news.com or another older online news source for references if you wish. Search through your old PC World magazines. There are many references to the tactics MS used to make other DOS operating systems not work with the Windows "platform" so they could then finalise the pressure with an integrated platform. Note: Windows 95 is no more integrated than Dos 6.1 and Windows 3.11 ... just that its on one installation CD and Microsoft decided to combine its revenues into one product with the initial Caldera (and other) law suits at the time.

    - Michael T. Babcock <homepage [linuxsupportline.com]>
  • > Well, I guess you buy into the theory that Bill Gates wants Microsoft to be broken up then.

    No, I subscribe to the theory that the only things he is going to do voluntarily is be careful what he puts in his e-messages, and be careful about deleting any he receives on certain topics as well.

    With MS still denying the FoF and apparently hoping to come out unscathed by pushing the "innovation", "freedom", "big evil government", and "sore losers" buttons loudly and often, I don't see much reason to posit any uncompelled changes of behavior on their part.

    And anyone not in denial of the FoF will recognize that this incident fits perfectly into their long-established pattern of behavior. The simplest theory is usually the best.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
    • The simplest theory is usually the best.

    The simplest theory is that it was a mistake.

    With Microsoft's considerable quality problems, it's not hard at all to believe that SP6 - the last in a long line of rushed out Service Packs, many of which were known for breaking various software - would not have been tested carefully against Lotus software.

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