Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

The Return of Microsoft 674

Posted by JonKatz
from the -the-company-formerly-known-as-America- dept.
This week, Microsoft unleashes a virtual onslaught of new products and initiatives, from gaming to small business software that will likely leave the company dominating the world of computing for years. Bill Gates, on the ropes just a year ago, is now the undisputed King of the Net, the CEO of the Corporate Republic. He's created the first but surely not the last truly Unaccountable Corporation, a vast entity that is, in fact, above the law and more powerful than the government which enables it. If you thought Open Source was a good idea a few years ago ... (Read more.)

Remember that scene in The Return of Frankenstein where the terrified villager spots the monster, years after he's been burned alive and buried below the rubble of Victor's castle? He rushes back to town, shrieking "He's back! The monster is alive!".

"But that's impossible!," thunders the incredulous mayor. "I saw him killed with my own eyes!"

"You fool," retorts the villager. "Don't you know he can never be killed?"

Bill Gates, exposed just a year ago as a ruthless and less-than-candid corporate predator, is today the King of the Corporate Republic, the CEO of Internet, Inc. He and his company are about to launch one of the most ambitious campaigns in the history of business, one that should leave him firmly in control of the digital universe.

If everything works as planned, Microsoft software will shortly control nearly every point at which a consumer or business interacts with the Web. That puts Microsoft at the center of all computing. And soon, the company may even escape the break-up threat hanging over its head. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule momentarily on the company's appeal, and based on the questions asked during oral arguments, the court is expected to reverse Judge Thomas P. Jackson's findings that the company illegally "tied" its browser into its operating system, and acted illegally to maintain its Windows monopoly.

This, say competitors like Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, is where we started, only more so. "It appears they're doing all over again what they did when they previously went into foul territory," McNealy told congressional investigators, according to Business Week. Microsoft's new Internet strategy is the boldest move yet, he says, to leverage the company's Windows monopoly to create a bottleneck that will constrict the Internet.

McNealy might as well be talking to himself -- the Bush administration is hardly going to curb Microsoft's new juggernaut, which can proceed unimpeded for at least four years, by which time the company may well be beyond any control, if that's not already the case.

Microsoft has transcended the economic realities of our time. Even with the NASDAQ down 9 per cent, the company's stock price has risen more than 60 per cent this year. In the quarter ending March 31, MS earned $2.45 billion on sales of $6.46 billion.

And thanks in part to a media that has utterly failed to grasp or cover well the real issues involving the soft- and hardware that governs the Net and the Web, the public has no idea that they will be spending billions for years on things they could have -- ought to have -- for free.

There are now real questions whether corporations like Microsoft, Disney, and AOL Time-Warner are vulnerable any longer to government regulation, or to any other kind of curb. Microsoft seems to have convincingly demonstrated that is is, in fact, above the law, and means to stay that way.

Even bitter critics of the government's attempt to break up Microsoft concede that Bill Gates was arrogant and dishonest in his Federal court testimony, and whatever the ultimate judicial ruling, mountains of evidence presented at the antitrust trial showed how Microsoft squelched competitors and discouraged both innovation and competition. Yet it all seems to have had no more impact on the company than a pea bouncing off an elephant, or a torch on the monster.

We saw this company humbled and carved up with our own eyes, and celebrated it's being brought down to size. Boy, were we dumb. Microsoft is stronger than ever, and, as a consequence, so is Linux and Open Source.

Just a year ago, Microsoft was so embattled -- its revenue growth had slowed to 8 per cent, Jackson had ordered the company split in half, $250 billion had vanished from the company's market value -- that Microsoft called 20,000 of its employees together at Seattle's Safeco Field. There it showed a motivational video that included scenes from a documentary about the mythic l974 title fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.

But on the Net, a year might as well be a century.

So the monster isn't only alive, he's stronger than ever. It's the Microsoft Era, Part Deux.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Return of Microsoft

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Right on. I like what you've said for a few reasons:

    1. You've contributed to the GNU/Linux codebase in some way. No other Slashdotter in history has. You now have credibility with me, assuming you're telling the truth.

    2. You're rational. Good. Even more rare among Slashdotters.

    3. You are strong enough to admit that M$ has its' good points (they are few, but..). GNU/Linux gets killed by M$ in many ways by features that our coders don't seem to care about, but which are VITAL to the adoption of GNU/Linux by corporations and individuals.

    4. You actually USE a Free Software OS. (Of course, most Slashdotters are lazy bastards who write in from work, screwing their boss over for the sake of having a "first stinkin' post!", which may be why the numbers are skewed in favor of IE...)

    I would like to say, however, that although I try not to take part in the unintelligent M$ bashing, I strongly believe that computers are dramatically changing the world; a foundation for our new eSociety must be built, and it CAN'T be a Microsoft foundation. That would be INSANE, and yet, the politicians have no problem with it.

    Microsoft already has far too much power (as do many large multinationals). If anything, our foundation should be based on a FSF "openness and respect" ideal, just for the political and ethical aspects of it. It is a GREAT restriction on freedom to say that upon birth, you will be issued a Microsoft Card without being given a choice. And this is what our kids will be facing.

    If M$ can succeed at .net and her even BIGGER plans for the future of computing, there will be no GNU/Linux. *NONE*. What's the point in GNU/Linux, when you can't use it for *anything* once M$ succeeds in getting the hardware specs concealed, proprietary formats controlling the net, and app and hardware vendors unable and unwilling to make a non-windows version of their product for fear of offending the mega-corporation in charge of all the world's business and trade?

    Even the Slashdot bosses, who should be role models (like STALLMAN is, I might add), use Windows for games and crap. They're as bad as Bill Gates, worse even, because they are figureheads of Open Source (since they disavow the FSF) who should know better. They should think about the ramifications of what their favorite game or windows app or whatever ethically COSTS them in the long run. I do. And I'm a nobody. But I'm not complacent, like most.

    I'm not as hard on Mac guys because, despite the proprietary closed hardware (blah blah blah), at least Apple gives the impression that they're trying (It's hard to reconcile the two worlds of free and proprietary). So I'm okay if Katz uses a cute little Titanium PB, but at least dual boot with GNU/Linux, would ya? Try, dammit! Learn an OS based on ethical factors rather than ease of use (MacOS) or availability of pirated warez (guess who?)!

    At one time, I thought Slashdotters were so smart and were fighting the good fight against a cruel and inhumane enemy who was out to control the world forever, crushing superior technology and individual freedoms to the detriment of all mankind.

    Now I know that Slashdotters couldn't care less, save Stallman and his fringe element of FSF guys. These guys stick to their principles, but they're seemingly alone in their fight, and that is why Slashdotters will always be dual booting (until GNU/Linux is gone - not Windows), with secret cravings for Windows and MacOS' proprietary simplicity and nice GUI. Two or three can't win a war against millions, when even their army of Slashdotters don't believe in the cause.

    Slashdotters better wake up, because you have NO IDEA the things that are brewing in Redmond and elsewhere politically and technologically. It's soon going to be VERY UGLY out there.

    Bitterman

    GNU/Linux without the GNU is just a shitty windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:21AM (#171982)
    Poor, stupid, programmer. If he had spent just a little more time actually reading the release notes he would have seen that the patch would give him the exact results that he got.

    But, instead of reading and understanding the release notes, the programmer scanned the notes and assumed a great deal. This is typical of so many programmers. I have to admit that even I am sometimes guilty of this.

    I must also admit that when I read the release notes and saw that the patch would block functionality that I used, I decided not to apply the patch. Sorry you missed that part.

    The point is, although I can come up with a thousand valid reasons to bash M$, your failure to properly read the notes isn't a reason to condemn the company or even that particular patch.
  • Not Microsoft.
  • That's nice to think but the chemical companies, tobacco industry, and automobile industry (to name a few) have been killing people for decades with little or no repercusions. Granted, MS has (probably) not killed anyone but thinking that no businesses are "above the law" is a tad naive.
  • Hell, I did vote for Nader. Will do so again given the chance.

    Things simply weren't bad enough yet for everyone ELSE to vote for Nader, too.

    Microsoft is like a cyber-Wal-Mart, it's all about sucking money out of communities and squirreling it away. It leads to poverty, the stratification of classes, and the collapse of the infrastructure it feeds on.

    Eventually this becomes obvious, just as it does in ghost-towns at which everyone works at Wal-Mart and gets laid off together when they can no longer purchase enough goods from Wal-Mart to justify keeping that many employees part-time. (A hypothetical case, as Wal-Mart usually cannot destroy _all_ independent business in a town.)

    The question is, how much damage do you allow before taking action?

    It is NOT a foregone conclusion that the government will let Microsoft do this. After all, the government is Microsoft's competitor, and if it wishes to act as Microsoft's 'partner' it's going to get raped like all the rest. There's got to be a shred of self-protection in there. It's _really_ unlikely that the government will blithely let itself be replaced, marginalised. Again it's a question of how much damage is permitted- to what extent does the U.S. Government allow the communications and IT infrastructure that its economy depends on, to be replaced by a privately controlled entity that has no reason for loyalty to the USA? It's got to the point where the USA is holding Microsoft back. MS can't grow to another ten times its size without stepping into the role of government, and so they hold pep rallies and chant "Microsoft, kill 'em! Microsoft, kill 'em!" (who would have _believed_ that in '95?) and how can they not take advantage of, say, the ability to gain control of U.S. military communications and threaten to sell the information to Iraq unless the government moves over politely and lets MS run the show? ("You keep on dealing with stuff like roads and such- that's boring"). It is simply too profitable an opportunity to pass up. Once MS controls the communications and IT of countries, and technically controls the Internet, they can easily gain access to _everyone's_ information (picture the USAMC and Iraq's military secrets residing on the same server somewhere in Redmond. Who can offer more to gain access to the secrets of the other?).

    One possible safeguard is that the USA has an army, non-computer weaponry, etc. whereas Microsoft tends to consider challenges to its authority impossible. That means in the event of Microsoft demonstrating high treason, the army could surprise it by literally invading with very unsophisticated weaponry.

    At the same time, there is much concern elsewhere in the world about how a 'US' company is gaining such control. It is not unthinkable that some Middle Eastern country might declare war on Microsoft specifically- and you'd see terrorist actions, such as bombings of the Microsoft campus. This would force MS and the US government closer together, but it would also be a very effective form of attack against Microsoft, again because they do not tend to consider challenges possible. Their worldview is psychotic- although they are in fact faced with seizing power on a geopolitical level, to themselves they are still the scrappy little vendor. They can push around entire COUNTRIES and still they are imagining some sort of greater competition 'forcing' them to do it. It's an unhealthy situation, but it's also a suggestive situation: outsiders are not always fooled by Microsoft's own self-deception. They can see that MS is slightly closer than even the WTO to the goal of a global totalitarian governing body, and the fact that Microsoft isn't aware of its size and scope and consequences makes it VULNERABLE to attack AS a global power. For instance, they have bodyguards and security but I really doubt they have aircraft or the ability to defend against air attack, and I don't think they'll be getting it, again because to themselves they are the scrappy little software company writing word processors.

    It is sure an interesting time to be alive- in the sense of the old Chinese curse. (another idea- what does China think of the whole world being assimilated into a 'US' company's control?)

  • Communications is everything. Microsoft just happens to be in an extremely important strategic position. That doesn't mean they will _succeed_, but they're trying to, and in many ways they have a greater will to power than any of those other corporations. Not one of those other corporations has a small-business mindset, not one of them can adapt and react with the speed and effectiveness of Microsoft.

    If the other ones are army infantry, Microsoft is Navy SEALs, or some sort of special forces unit. That is why they are dangerous. They're on nobody's side but their own, yet they have a striking force that's equal to far huger organisations, and a positioning that could give them personal authority over the world's electronic communications, and thus the world's economies.

  • ...not without entirely scrapping rule of law.

    You're making a lot of weird assumptions that aren't based in reality. Come back when you're over 21 and see if you still remain confident that you understand everyone's motives in the whole wide world :)

  • Especially since the copy of RedHat I purchased came bundled with Lynx. REDHAT IS STIFLING INNOVATION BY ILLEGALLY TYING PRODUCTS%#!#%!
  • by phil reed (626) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:24AM (#171990) Homepage
    I don't remember when, exactly, but a couple of years ago there was a huge stink: Microsoft was going to figure out a way to insert themselves into every monetary transaction that happened in the U.S. Then they would charge to provide a service to make those transactions happen. Even if they only charged something like $0.0001 per transaction, there are so many transactions per day that the resulting cash flow would be huge. Everybody railed at the thought, but since there wasn't anything immediately obvious, the issue fell off the radar.

    Now, it looks like Microsoft may have figured out a way to actually do it.


    ...phil

  • by Stormie (708) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:00AM (#171991) Homepage

    Microsoft is dead and buried! You know it's true! Jon Katz said so!! [slashdot.org] "Microsoft was brought down by the arrogant, delusional monomania of its founder, a man who had clearly come to believe in his own immortality and was unable to grasp the realities of the world."

  • by Wansu (846) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:32AM (#171992)

    I can see it now. Bill Gates will get a cabinet post as the head of a new federal agency. If you like the EPA, you're gonna love this.
  • Maybe there's not been a strike at MS because...this is going to shock you.

    They are not Unionized!

    "How do you think you got your shiny new ride, and your cool apt. during our last big ecomomic boom? On the back of Microsoft. Whether you used their products or not, they legitimized client/server and internet development."

    Actually I got my shiny new ride the same way my family has been getting them for the last 90 years, from wheat farming, and the prices havn't gotten better because of MS.

    ""I never use MS products, I only use blah-blah-blah to write software". What do you think the users that buy from your e-commerce store use? What do the IT drones that use your intranet apps use? That's right, suckas: Microsoft products."

    The IT drones in my area use Linux/Novell/Apple. Sorry. But yes...I am posting this from IE 5 for the Mac...so you are right...Microsoft is as important, perhaps more important than the very Sun that gives Earth light.

    As for Sun/Apple/IBM/Netscaple blowing it...no, unfair business practices from MS had nothing to do with the downfall of Java/Netscape/OS2...naw...nothing.

  • Your sentiments might have some justification but you make them worthless by blabbering on about Africa, when he only mentioned India.

    One has to wonder which would be more insulting - the notion that Indian culture was worthless and backwards and needed to be subjucated by some western company, or the inability to distinguish between Africa and India. Why is that ? some kind of - "they're all wogs anyway, what's the difference", or what ?
  • Open Source advocates have been heard to mutter that people like Stallman and his FSF are an embarrassment, yet IMO it is the Open Source people who are the real embarrassment. They claim that giving away software and source code is a good business model. Now that argument may have briefly held water in the heady anything-goes Internet boom of 1999, but now people are more sensible, and most companies built on Open Source are in-trouble. Why? Because you can't really sell something that you are also giving away for free.

    However, the Free Software argument is much more persuasive, this isn't about money, we don't give a shit if it makes a good business model, this is about freedom, let Microsoft argue with that.

    --

  • Hold on here. If you look at economical stats you can find something very peculiar. It seems countries with biggest economy (corporations and industry) have on average the highest standard of living for all its citizens.
    Beware assuming a causal link where there is none. Note that the disparity I describe also takes place at an international level, with wealthy countries like the US getting wealthier, and poor countries like many of those in Africa, getting poorer.

    --

  • So you're trading one set of groupthink for another? How open of you
    I am trading a site which moderates up views which I find laughable, for a site that doesn't. I don't think that open-mindedness has anything to do with it.

    --

  • by Sanity (1431) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:07AM (#172002) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is not "above the law". How foolish. They're nothing more than one of our great success stories, a hugely visible embodiment of the American Dream.
    I remember the days when the idea that a company whose greatest coup was repackaging the "Quick and Dirty Operating System", whose success was basically off the back of another huge monopoly's (IBM) miscalculation, was the embodiment of the American dream, would have been modded down as flamebait.

    Corporations making money is not good for everyone, corporations making money is good for the corporations and their shareholders. This kind of "trickle down" economics is a lie perpetrated by the wealthy to justify them getting more wealthy while the poor get poorer. And it is the power of corporations which make the US the Corporate controlled laughing stock its political system has become. Not the American dream, but quite possibly the American nightmare.

    Tying a web-browser to their operating system may make a better product for their users, but it is also leveraging a monopoly to extinguish competition in a different area, and that is illegal under US antitrust laws. They broke the law.

    Every day I see a new reason to wave goodbye to /. and say hello to Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org].

    --

  • If many (or most) Windows installations are 'pirated', and Microsoft can coerce people into paying for more of the installations they make, then their revenues go up. Since most of their money will come from the coroporations which are tied to Microsoft through complex site licenses, revenues are almost guaranteed to go up.

    Of course, it could just as easily work out that people will simply stick with the versions that they are using now. Microsoft's biggest competitor isn't Linux, or Corel, or Sun. Their biggest competition comes from previous versions of their own software. This is especially important because Microsoft knows that part of the reason that they can charge huge money for their office suite is due to the network effect of being the market leader. In order to easily share information businesses and individuals currently need to be on the same version (or similar versions) of MS Office. If no one upgrades to new versions of MS Office then Microsoft all of a sudden has to battle the same type of market penetration problems that Sun has had with Star Office. Their new versions simply won't be the "standard."

    Similarly, if people can't 'pirate' their Windows or Office, and those people (who wouldn't pay anyways) migrate to Free alternatives, Microsoft can point to the growth in the Free userbase as proof as a vibrant and growing competition.

    Microsoft doesn't want the alternatives to grow. They aren't going to have problems with the DOJ, and they know it. However, losing users to free software alternatives is a serious longterm risk. Microsoft lives by getting its customers to upgrade. But with each upgrade Microsoft upgrade GNU/Linux becomes a more and more attractive proposition. When I first started using Linux in 1995 you had to really want to use Linux on your desktop. Nowadays, it's much more comfortable. Windows has made some improvements in that time as well, but it has not advanced nearly as drastically as Linux. And Linux is much more cost effective a solution than Windows.

    Now, I am not saying that Linux is ready to take over the desktop (yet), but it is giving Windows some competition and Linux's price will always work in its favor. Microsoft really can't afford to be upsetting their customer base at this point, and yet that is precisely what they are doing. I don't expect to see a lot of customers switching to Linux when Windows XP rolls out, but I do expect to see a lot of them sticking with what they already own. And for Microsoft, that's nearly as bad.

  • by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:08AM (#172005)
    If you adjust your account options you can have it fail to show stories by certain contributors.

    Katz and Roblimo have always been the two most notable nutcases, so just ignore anything from them.

    Then maybe ignore anything tagged as Microsoft news.

  • And gosh, why does every post that says something positive about Microsoft *immediately* gets moderated down as Troll?
    I am surprised why I still waste my time here.
  • by ultrapenguin (2643) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:25AM (#172009)
    Why is it that every Slashdot article posted related to microsoft always talks about how they are stomping on our rights, choking innovation, killing off Linux, etc etc. Perhaps its "cool" to bash Microsoft these days but do you people actually USE some of Microsoft products? Their office suite cannot be matched by anything available for Linux in stability, user-friendliness, and many other factors. Remember, for most people cross-platform means it runs on Windows and Mac, and they could care less about other things. So stop bashing and start using Microsoft software because believe me, they are NOT going away anytime soon. And if you really want to make Linux software as usable as Microsoft one, Linux UI designers might want to check out http://msdn.microsoft.com/UI.
  • My beef isn't with the counting of the votes - it's with a system that is broken.

    Gore won the popular vote. That means that more American citizens voted for him, than for Bush.

    Bush won the Electoral vote. That means more members of the Electoral College voted for him than for Gore.

    Bush becomes president, even though another candidate got more votes from the citizens of the United States.

    Now - the virtues of the Electoral College can be debated. Personally I think it's stupid. One of the principles that this country was founded on was that "...all men are created equal..." - well, I don't see how our VOTES are equal - especially when a Gore voter in Texas is essentially throwing away their vote. Even if 49% of the voters in Texas voted for Gore (or someone else) - ALL of the Electoral votes would have gone for Bush. Is that fair? I don't think so. (Disclaimer: I don't live in Texas - it's just a very convenient example) Admittedly, it can be argued that if you reverse the situation, they'd all go for Gore, but that's not the point.

    A vote in a state with more Electoral votes is worth more than a vote in a state with less. That's why the campaigns specifically target the states with more Electoral votes.

    IMHO, it cheapens the system. You live in State A, your vote is worth more than if you lived in State B. Therefore citizens of State A are, in a sense "more valuable" than those of State B, at least in the eyes of the candidates.

    Sure doesn't sound like "equality" to me.

    In addition, there are certain states that "traditionally" go one way or the other. Texas, for example, is a Republican state, traditionally. It would have been very easy to predict, before a single vote was cast, which candidate would "win" Texas.

    So if you live in Texas, and you voted for someone else - guess what? Your vote didn't matter. Your state went for Bush and you had better well like it.

    I'm not complaining that Bush "won". It does no good to complain about that. I'm complaining about the system that let it happen. A system where supposedly everyone is equal, but in reality it's only a facade.

    I was also attempting to be witty, but I failed dismally ;P

  • Interesting - I didn't know that. I'd been under the impression Texas was staunchly Republican for quite a while now - I stand corrected on that fact =)

  • by Genom (3868) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:07AM (#172014)
    Choice is important, but majority rules. That's the way America runs.

    So...that explains how the elections ran last year, eh? =)

    Not that I think either one of them was qualified - but that's beside the point.

  • Microsoft can't take over the internet like a hick sheriff's son (and thug friends) can't turn a public highway into a toll road...

    Unless of course no one complains, no one stands up, and people vote for the sheriff again...

    Flame wars are good, people who don't think so have somthing to lose/hide.

    "linux is bad", "Microsoft is bad", and "you all suck", are a world better than "We shouldn't have this discussion." That's the biggest troll of all!!!!

  • Actually, with true laissez-faire, MS wouldn't stand a chance. It's the government interference with granting copyrights and patents that causes this. Calling non-thing "property" is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.
  • by Kid Zero (4866)
    Preaching to the Choir, aren't we?
    -----------------------------
  • tech.slashdot.org, where people like me can hear the real news for nerds; and paranoia.slashdot.org, where ...

    Would that be the stuff that matters then? :-)

  • If corporations are the problem--which they are; one doesn't need the remedial Business Ethics class to see that (which is something most MBAs blissfully ignore, anyway)--then they should be removed.

    Oh, Lord ... look out for those e-e-e-v-i-l corporations! They'll suck out your eyeballs and spoon out your brains! They'll be rude to your mother and tease your dog! They'll spit in your ice cream and piss in your whiskey!

    I'm part of a corporation. I guess you could say I'm the CEO, since it's a partnership and I'm one of the partners. Now that I'm and Evil Overlord, I probably need to brush up on the Rules [eviloverlord.com] before I go plundering across the countryside.

    My corporation is merely a legal fiction by which I can avoid losing my house if a client gets a bug up their ass and sues us. I stand behind my work, but I'm not willing to bet *everything*, every day! It's conceptually similar to playing Russian Roulette every day -- are you willing to do that?

    A corporation like Enron or GlofaxMegaThorp is simply a scaled-up version of my little LLC. Even if they do something low down and evil (which does happen, I'll admit) it's not likely to be as dangerous or as permanent as what a government can do (put another way, Three Mile Island 0, Chappaquiddick 1), and in the end you can sue them for damages to yourself.

    Please try to not be so shallow and reactionary as to claim that corporations need to be removed.

  • No, read it again. Slowly, if neccessary.

    I stand behind my work, but if a customer decides to screw me (people are not, by nature, always nice, reasonable, or kind to animals), I am not willing to get shafted by one malcontent (rim shot!). If a customer is not happy and sues, I lose my business -- is that no enough? Must I lose my house because a client doesn't like how I designed his brochure? Is that justice in your world?

    Did I get that right?

    No. You either deliberately misunderstood me or are particularly obtuse. A corporation is not a "dodge" for responsibility any more than a programmer's "suitability of purpose" disclaimer is a dodge. To be logically consistent, if you are a programmer, you should be held personally responsible for every bug and misuse of your program. Are you willing to do that? If not, then stuff it.

  • Have I Just Grown Up? ...Or has Slashdot regressed?

    You know, I was wondering the exact same thing.

    Slashdot has gone from being News for Nerds and devolved into some sort of anti-corp opinion tabloid.
  • by Synn (6288) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:21AM (#172029)
    I've been with Slashdot a long time(user #6288) and have slowly seen this site turn from being News for Nerds into some sort of political rag.

    This article was done in extremely poor taste.

    And I wish I could say it's the exception, but most any other Slashdot article dealing with corporations, the music industry, telecoms, Microsoft, copyrights, patents, domain registrars, are equally bad and leave me feeling like I'm reading some 3rd world country's anti-whatever propeganda.

    First you create the enemy.
    Then you fight the enemy.
    Then you are the enemy.

  • But, instead of reading and understanding the release notes, the programmer scanned the notes and assumed a great deal.

    Ah. So you understand every word of the US Federal Register, do you? As a US citizen, you are obliged to know it all and consequently can be jailed for rules you have no hope of knowing (enough pages are added every day that you would have to do nothing but read (no sleep, probably no meals) to keep up).

    But even more pointed, OutLook is so fundamentally insecure and badly structured internally that any ``real'' security patch absolutely has to be a bastard. Ditto for Word, Excel, name it. One reason for this is that Windows, on which these all rely, is fundamentally a single-user system.

    Even derived-from-VMS NT has been knackered down to a fancy kind of single-userness. This (and a good deal of the excess baggage in W2k/XP) has been necessary because their premiere apps have depended on it. Remember the brouhaha about MS apps ``cheating'' by using undocumented OS calls...? Well, the biter has now been bit.

  • Fellow-consultant of mine spent about two years assembling a large system using MS-only development tools. Four weeks before commissioning, MS announce that (1) said tool won't run on next version of OS, which final client is currently rolling out; (2) next version of tool will run on new version of OS; (3) next version of tool is incompatible with current version; and finally (4) there will be no upgrade/migration tools. Consultant had not written events like this into contract; I doubt client would have stood for it anyway.

    Bottom line: consultant had to rebuild the entire app for free (meanwhile somehow continuing to eat, pay off house, run car etc), which took him just over a year, after paying for a complete new set of tools.

  • About year ago, a different fellow consultant, an NT expert who also does Linux, was losing hair over a network connection port-forwarded from a Linux gateway box to a masqueraded NT 4.0 server running a Pick app.

    An aside: the company concerned (call them BB) had been told to buy an NT box for their app, even though it cost several thousands of dollars more than running it under Linux. Two weeks after commissioning, the provider was bought by a Linux shop, technician from which promptly asked MD of BB why he hadn't bought the Linux version, because it was more reliable and used less resources. Gngnngnngnngn!

    Anyway, problem turned out to be that the NT box was gatewayed to... 127.0.0.1! No problem, change gateway to point to the Linux box. Still no go. At my insistence, NT guru does ROUTE PRINT from the command line; system is still gatewayed to localhost. Hmm. Reboot (this is Windows, after all). No change.

    Redo the route from the command line... viola! Life and happiness! We wound up running a BAT file on startup. Yerk, but it works.

    More recently, similar story with an NT 4.0 DHCP server, changed to nail down a server to allow port-forwarding, fix gatewaying and generally coalesce the bizarre and disparate settings on all of the Windows boxes on that LAN around a sane concensus. No matter what we changed, the DHCP server still allocated the wrong settings. Amongst other things, DNS service was aimed out through the gateway and twice across the Nullarbor to an ISP that this LAN hadn't been connected to for at least 2 years...

    Finally, we had to (1) create a new subnet; (2) empty the DHCP server config completely, starting with the old subnet; (3) reboot (surprise: stopping and restarting the service wasn't enough); (4) make a new subnet (and yes, the settings defaulted to the abberrant ones so had to be overridden by hand); and (5) stop and restart the DHCP service.

    The usual Linux equivalent of the NT graphical route editing tool (linuxconf) pulls its config from the text tools, so they cannot disagree (and has the additional advantage of a low-bandwidth/low-hardware 2D non-graphic mode if you want it); the usual Linux DHCP server (daemon) keeps config in a text file, and reliably reconfigures itself on a hangup signal. Of course, you have a choice about (and source for) both of these services.

    Reading any Microsoft release notes (no matter how carefully or how many times) would have left us entirely unprepared for either of these eventualities. Neither would have assuming or not assuming any amount of stuff.

    In short, you're talking out of your fundment. Poor, stupid Anonymous Coward, Microsoft don't provide either config for the filter to temporarily or permanently reduce its enthusiasm, or any means of backing out the patch.
  • by uradu (10768) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:42AM (#172047)
    I guess I'm confused about what exactly JK's opinion regarding OS is now--or did he merely throw in the terms as a checklist item?

    I think he's drawing some premature conclusions about Microsoft's imminent success. There are two major bet-the-farm strategies Microsoft has embarked upon, and they could succeed or fail to various degrees: .NET, and compulsory registration. If .NET fails or doesn't take off as imagined, Microsoft could be in serious poo-poo.

    Regarding compulsory software registration, that's yet another case of sticking the head in the sand: large corporations like MS simply refuse to acknowledge how much of their market share is really due to full on or gray piracy. Once you will literally be forced to buy a copy of Windows and Office for EACH machine in your household, rather than just using the CDs that came with one of them, let's see how many people will still have the latest Windows and Office on all their machines. And that's not even considering the Big Brother aspect of it. I think Microsoft will get a sobering reality check within the next year or so (especially after Windows XP turns out not to be the expected cash cow).
  • I deserved that. It seems I need to remove the plank from my own eye.

    I disagree. As one who has travelled to both places and would be the first to point out just how very different they are, I have to say it was crystal clear in the context of your statement that you were describing colonialism in general, not India/Africa specifically (beyond citing historical examples of colonialism which refute and highlight the stupidity of the comment you were replying to). You certainly weren't guilty of equating the two, beyond alluding to the fact that both Africa and India (and of course other places such as China) suffered immensly under European colonialism, which did, in fact, destroy much older and arguably more civilized societies in favor of its own model of government and culture. You made this point well, and only someone with the head in their ass would have missed this and think you were somehow saying "all former colonies of european powers are alike." They do all share the one attribute you discussed, namely the damage of one degree or another to their own (often older and more venerable cultures) by europe's imperialism, which after rereading your comment is the only equation of the two places you imply.

    The plank wasn't in your eye until you were distracted from the subject at hand by a meaningless and pointless diversion from the subject at hand. That, if anything, is far more insulting to everyone than anything you wrote or may have implied to those who are more interested in picking apart the literal semantics of your words than in having an intelligent discussion.
  • We were forced to upgrade to FreeBSD 4.3 because we could no longer find a hardware vendor that would sell us new hardware that would also support FreeBSD 3.2.

    You chose to purchase a new machine and/or upgrade your hardware, and are complaining because that choice also entails a software upgrade? (Other possible choices you could have made would have been to buy used hardware or shop the components yourself and put together something your old OS supported). That is a very, very far cry from having your vendor coerce you into changing to a new platform because all support of the old one is being discontinued and, without the right to examine and modify the source, you are completely beholden to them to fix any problem which may arise.

    We have GNU/Linux boxes that are still running 1.2.x of the kernel and haven't been touched in years (the uptimes exceed two years and would be longer were it not for having to physically move the machines a time or two). When we choose, we will upgrade to new hardware and, yes, probably new versions of the Linux kernel and GNU software. And yes, that will require some time, effort, and work to do so.

    The difference is that we will ourselves choose if and when to do it, not our hardware or software vendors. And who knows ... if the requirements don't change, the machines may never be upgraded at all ... merely discontinued when their purpose is no longer relevant to the business. That has happened several times already, much to the amazement of one of my colleagues. A machine in use for five years, then retired when the service was no longer necessary, with never an upgrade and never a crash. A far cry from the days of running SunOS/Solaris/Windows and being compelled every six months to upgrade this or that package, occasionally with disasterous results as one required "upgrade" was completely incompatible with another, both of which were necessary to the underlying service.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:53AM (#172050)
    If we are going to argue this from the open source perspective (peer reviewed methodology produces better than secret sourcecode) rather than the Free (as in freedom) software perspective (free software is about fundamental freedoms), then we will find we are playing Microsoft's game on their own terms and our arguments quickly become moot. Microsoft can and, if dubious reports are to be believed, may perhaps actually be getting their software reviewed by other professionals, peers if you will, in a source-available-under-onerous-conditions approach, with the result than Windows 2000, while still inferior to GNU/Linux/FreeBSD/etc, is vastly improved over its predicessors. The open source argument can and likely will be made moot by a little agility on Microsoft's part coupled with a tremendous amount of cash.

    That does not, however, affect the underlying issue of freedom at all, which actually has much more compelling business implications. One of the major reasons my employer moved away from Sun and Microsoft products and toward free software (Linux and GNU software in particular) was not because the software was technically superior (although it was), but because we would no longer be beholden to our vendor and have dictated to us when and to what we would upgrade.

    Many people do not realize just how onerous and expensive such lack of freedom is for a company. When you are developing in house software for mission critical systems and you are told "platform x will no longer be supported as of this date, port your stuff to our new platform y" this can result in deployment delays and huge amounts of money spent on hiring enough staff to get the changes made in a reasonably timely manner. The cost is very real, and very significant. By switching to Linux and GNU we enabled ourselves to deploy in-house apps in a quick and timely manner, and we upgrade when we decide we need to, not when our vendor decides to pad their bank accounts at our expense.

    I will reiterate: the major cost isn't the "upgrade cost," it is the actual time, effort, and work involved in moving an entire codebase from platform x to y, and being forced to do so over and over again every two or three years at the behest of one's vendors. Whether it is Sun, Sybase, Oracle, or Microsoft doing this is irrelevant, it delays important work and sucks up valuable resources.

    The freedom of free software in allowing a company to preserve its own autonomy and not be beholden to its vendors, and to have a free, competitive marketplace in which to obtain and/or provide its services (as opposed to a monopoly) is IMHO a much more potent argument that the "peer review makes free software better than proprietary software," since, as Microsoft is showing, they can at least create the perception (and, if they wish, the reality) that proprietary software can also be peer reviewed.

    I think sometimes we loose sight of real value of using free software vs. proprietary alternatives: the freedom itself, and how it enables us to do business and lead our lives in a much less encumbered fashion. Technical superiority is nice, and certainly important, but even in a case where proprietary and free software are both peer reviewed and a parity in quality is achieved, the free-as-in-freedom is still preferable because of the significantly lower drain it places on a companies resources and IT personnel, and the greater flexibility and choice it affords its users.
  • It has little, if anything, to do with the technical merits of the OS.

    Good time to bring up the quip about "a collection of poorly debugged device drivers". Come to think of it, the last time the technical merits of the OS really mattered was when PageMaker 1.0 shipped for the Mac Plus.

    Somewhere I read that Linux was UNIX for the DOS generation, and to some extent it's advocate community is stuck in the same 1980s OS-centric worldview as Microsoft and everyone else in the PC camp (including Be). The fact is the OS (which ever one it is) is finished technically, and so are the OS Wars. Repeat: "It Just Doesn't Matter. It Just Doesn't Matter."

    For years I've thought that Microsoft's horrible attraction to their own monopolies was the one thing holding them back from producing really good technology. It's been an unfortuante history of somewhat good ideas turned into just another way to sell copies of Excel or get someone to cough up $100 for the next incremental Windows release.

    But, now even Microsoft got wind of the irrelevance of it all (well, after Andreeson stuck his finger in their eye), and have reached a state where even MS, the king of operating systems, doesn't even want to be in the OS market anymore. It it wasn't for that troublesome billions of dollars of annual revenue they'd be totally off on the next thing by now.

    Fighting over what's left as if it was of central importence is not very broad thinking. Microsoft is the alpha and omega of PC Operating Systems and that's the way it is. The real battleground is in the middleware and content delivery markets. Sun, where the Network Is The Computer, and the rest of the market has been sitting their waiting for Microsoft in the apocolyptic battle royale to end all battles royales. Meanwhile, the Linux/Be/MacOSX crowd is running around trying to perfect something that Microsoft did half-assed 10 years ago and is completely missing the big picture.
    --
  • Perhaps this is because Corel's WordPerfect is what MS made a cheap knock off of when they made Word.

    I am sick of seeing some punk claim that Word is a knock-off of WordPerfect. Did you even use early versions of either program? Or are you going on something your big brother or some other slashdot moron told you

    First of all, neither Microsoft or WordPerfect invented modern word processing. That's probably Xerox, or maybe even Charles Simioni, employee of Microsoft for a number of years. The first front runner in PC word processing space was WordStar, a program in many ways better than WordPerfect ever dreamed to be.

    Word was the first "full-featured" GUI word processor for PCs, taking Xerox and Apple innovations and adding all the feature checklist stuff. WordPerfect for DOS operated on a very different user interface and text processing model. The first GUI versions of WordPerfect shipped years and years after Word did, and if anything have never been more than a cheap knock-off of Word.

    Now, I have no doubts that WordPerfect 9 is an excellent program. I also have no doubts that Word is laden with a lot of crap that actually makes it less appealing than earlier verisons. But trying to attribute Word as a rip-off is completely moronically wrong.
    --
  • Well lets see.. they released Ultimate TV a while ago... go here http://www.ultimatetv.com/trailer.html

    They win the browser war as AOL slows down its goals of being a browser builder.. needless to say that mozilla should be called slowzilla instead (troll comment but am I lieing here??)

    They are taking on Real with Windows media player...

    They are basically branchine into every tech area that there is and some that aren't there just yet. Needless to say that the new US goverment has a hands off policy when it comes to big business so they wont do anything to stop M$ and they will discourage anyone else from doing so.

    If this keeps up those same people that are letting M$ do what they want are going to be the ones that are hurt the most...

    Just watch M$ take on AOL time warner in the soon future.. I can see M$ getting into broadband DSL/CABLE networking somehow..

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • The problem with Microsoft's current position and it's ongoing practices is that it tends to reduce choice in the industry. I will admit that I use windows and many other Microsoft products, sometimes by choice because they are better, sometimes because it's the only option.

    As you point out, Office is the best office suite around, bar none. But why? Is it because nobody else has the skill that Microsoft does? Perhaps. But is it possible that nobody else bothers because they can't hope to compete. The risk involved is enormous and the reward is miminal. It's so bad that Corel decided to develop its own flavor of Linux just so it could have a platform where they could sell their word processor (that's not necessarily a fact, but it's my impression).

    As for Office competing against Linux equivalents, what features do the Linux equivalents lack that you are concerned about? My biggest problem has simply been incompatibility with the Microsoft document formats. I have to keep a copy of Office around because some work I do requires having Office (otherwise I'd purge it). Is this a good thing that regardless of the quality of Microsoft's product I really have no choice but to have a copy?

    If Microsoft's software was the best in all categories, I would still use Linux. Why? Because I like having a choice.


    ---

  • No, I have no objection to them being a successful busines. Read what I said. What I object to is not their success but rather the elimination of choices for me. If their success didn't come at the price of my freedom, I'd be very happy to support them.

    Let me give you an example of why this bothers me. When I recently went job hunting, I had to send a copy of my resume to recruiters in Microsoft Word format. I had to own a microsoft product so that I could get a job... Do you see the problem here?

    ---

  • What would the Clinton administration have done if Bill Gates had contributed money to Clinton's campaign fund?

    I don't like Microsoft, but I really don't think they require a break-up. And even if they were broken into separate companies, what would we really gain? We'll benefit if they put a stop to their anticompetitive practices, and I support that.

  • by Hugonz (20064) <<hugonz> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:40AM (#172072) Homepage
    Yeah, right.

    It was once stupid that MS could dominate the OS space: "look, there's PC DOS, DR DOS, CP/M, MacOS, and eventually we'll be using some kind of UNIX". Look what happened (well, they were partially right on the UNIX thing, only they expected it in 1986, not 1996)

    It was once stupid that MS could dominate the application space: "look, there's Quattro Pro, Ami Pro, WordPerfect, Lotus 123, Paradox....Netscape... all of them are BETTER than the MS alternative" Look what happened.

    I don't see why the Internet could be any different. Customers are clueless. For them, the Internet is that nifty little AOL or whatever icon you click, as well as explorer.

    Just my two céntimos

    Hugo
  • by Pugget (21006) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:54AM (#172073) Homepage
    Lets not all forget the lessons of history here. In 1954, under the Eisenhower administration, the United Fruit Company demanded assistance in Guatemala after a change in power braught a new liberal government into power. The US ended up helping UFC overthrow the new, popularly elected government, killing 100's in the process.


    The end result? A Dictatorship was created, but UFC gets their land back. Look up PBSUCCESS for more info on the web.


    There are plenty of more examples where the US gov has stepped up to the plate for huge corporations, or ignored their deeds, with more harm than good resulting. Microsoft may not be killing people (yet), but their economic practices may someday be just as deadly.

  • by r2ravens (22773) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:02AM (#172076)
    Why? Because all that is necessary for evil to prosper in the world is for good men to do nothing.
  • by r2ravens (22773) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:35AM (#172077)
    This is weird. How come there is so much pro-Microsoft Astroturfing going on the early posts under this article? Initially, I get the impression that so many people have blocked Katz's stuff that all that are left are trolls and Microsoft apologists. Did I say apologists? Maybe I meant employees...

    The only other time I have seen this many people come to Bill's defense is on bad days at ZDNET's Anchodesk.

    As one other poster indicated, the real problem is with the corpratist system completely unchecked by government. I know that's an essential element to what Jon is saying, but, whether you consider Microsoft evil or the best thing since sliced bread MS is merely a symptom, not the disease. To see what is happening, follow the money. And that's exactly what the officials you elected are doing, following the money.

    Microsoft is apparently above the law - because they can buy the law. If you own it, you have nothing to fear from it since you control it. Thanks, G. W. (Our first unelected president since Gerald Ford.)

    America is changing from a Democracy/Repulic to a Corporatocracy. (And so is the world mostly) That's the real danger. If we were truly a democracy or even a republic, the officials we elected to represent us would carry out our desires and work for the benefit of the *people*, not the *corporations*. (Who, strangely enough, are "people", but not subject to the same rules that you and I are.)

    I know, there are those of you who will say that the stockholders are people and they *are* the corporation. But very few stockholders have enough of those little scraps of paper to influence the direction or behavior of the corporations they have invested in. That is reserved for the rarified few who have *lots* of those little scraps of paper, and they seem to have lots of little scraps of paper, but few moral or ethical beliefs and most a desire to collect more of those little scraps of paper. The average stockholder has *absolutely* no input into the corporation they invest it.

    I think I heard this somewhere before, "We must all hang together, or we will certainly hang separately." It's never been more true than today. It's too bad that it seems that today, apathy reigns supreme.

    It's gonna be an interesting ride, I hope we can survive it.
  • Katz points out that MSFT is up 60% this year, but doesn't mention the fact that it is almost exactly where it was one year ago today, and comfortably below its 52-week high of nearly $83/share. See Yahoo's one-year chart of MSFT [yahoo.com] for the real story.
  • The death or incapacitation of Bill Gates would bring M$ to a screeching halt. Let us assume that he is 'only' the company visionary, and it's really being led by Ballmer. Doesn't matter. He is the Sun King, the royal emperor, King Arthur, the (dare I say it?) the Linus Torvalds.

    Sure, things will go on, but without the fanaticism and cult-like tones (notice that this can be applied equally to Linux. Interesting.) No longer can the media speak of the 'boy genius programmer'.

    Perhaps more importantly, Bill is there to provide focus, unity, and discipline. Look to Wal-Mart. Following the demise of Sam Walton, the formerly united management front became fractured and embroiled in legal bouts and in-fighting. Sure, the company is still quite successfuly, but it derailed them for a while.

    Look at IBM. Following the death/resignation (forget which) of the guy who led the company from the 30's until?? they became rudderless and run by the buracrats (sp). Took a long time (until they found the current guy, with the power and charisma to unify the company) to get back into fighting shape.

    Look at Apple. While getting rid of Jobs was the best thing they could do (and Amelio got a REALLY bad rap) because of his less than stellar management techniques, it turns out that his personality and drive were more important to the company.

    And while Alan Cox could easily take over Linus' role from a technical standpoint, let's face it, the press loves Linus.

    Which brings us back to Bill. If he were to meet with an unfortunate accident, M$ would be in shambles. Until someone could grab the reins. While Ballmer may be able to run the company, I'm not sure that he could rally the troops in the same way.

    So while Gates et al. may know how to capture the world, he is thus far forgetting one thing: how to preserve his legacy. Great conquests (be they military, business, or whatever) frequently only last until the death of the figurehead.

    I wouldn't advocate Bill's death. But I would advocate extraditing him to the former Soviet Union and have him sent to a gulag.

    Short of this, I don't see a solution.

  • I think Jon works for himself (freelancer) but I'm not sure.

    To answer your other points: I agree that corporations are a boon to tyranny. I see two problems (at least in the US. That's my POV, deal with it) with corporations that are somewhat related.

    First, corporations are legal 'citizens' with rights. This is a new idea, and not the way corporations were intended. They were intended for the narrow purpose of surviving the owner of the corporation. This eventually got extended to include the 'right' to be taxed and the separation of liability (in some instances).

    Now, the problem arises as courts and legislatures have continuously extended what it means for a corporation to be a 'person' under terms of law. Corporations have the right to free speech (including lobbying rights) they have various civil rights (absurd, since a corporation, if it is a person, is a slave, owned by one or more people). They also have the right to welfare (witness the level of protectionism on trade that exists in the US. Calling it welfare is perhaps unfair to the people who do need and deserve such a service.) This is the first big problem: corporations have tons of rights. They can do almost anything except vote. Due to their financial might, their voice carries more weight than the voice of a human person.

    Combine this with point two: corporations have none of the responsibilities of a human person. They don't have to pay taxes (in theory, they do, but how many corporations pay taxes on a level anything like you and I?) They no longer have to be in the public interest (like their original mandates) and they certainly are in no way subject to criminal penalties.

    This last is the most harmful. Civil penalties are incomplete, and allow the offender to continue their piss-poor behaviour. (Witness the behaviour of the baby bells and the behaviour of microsoft following civil 'penalties') Businesses must have criminal penalties (limiting their ability to do business, or simply to exist) and they must be used by the courts.

    And about this, there is not one fucking thing the average citizen can do. Not one. Not voting, not killing people (see my post in this topic).

    Personally, I'm thinking of moving to MT and stockpiling some large caliber weapons.

  • Given your staggeringly high user number, I'll assume that you haven't heard this before:

    Filter out Katz stories. Filter out Michael stories. Filter out whatever type of stories you don't like.

    The story filters aren't perfect. But they work fairly well. Well enough that you shouldn't even notice the paranoid ramblings. As a matter of fact, you may want to disable everything except tech and hardware.

    Try this: http://slashdot.org/users.pl

  • c. You have regressed.

    It's Jon Katz. He doesn't speak for Slashdot. He speaks for JK. (And sometimes he likes to speak for the downtrodden nerds in high schools)
  • They shouldn't have to censor Jon Katz any more than the Washington Post censors George Will on the editorial page. But most of JK's stories should be classified as 'editorial' or 'commentary', rather than a 'feature'. At least in a site that claims to be a NEWS site.

    Some people would answer your second point with k5. I wouldn't. Just never liked it that much.

    Finally, while JK retains copyright on his postings, it doesn't prevent the fair use copying and pasting of them to other sites in order to disseminate and discuss them. It should even be legal to deep-link directly to his stuff.

    But yeah, given the lack of competition, there is no downside (that I'm aware of) to OCL'ing much of the content of Slashdot in general.

  • But neither does the west treat people with respect. Look at the conservative movement in the US, there is even talk of making it law for women to stay home after having children be barred from working (here [salon.com]). Is descrimination still present? What about xenophobia or isolationism? The West is not the be all, end all of civilization. Just another silly stage.
  • by ArchMagus (32772) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:29AM (#172091)
    Ok, I'm not that big of a Microsoft fan, but some of the things Katz says aren't really that strong, especially without backing up. I'm going to be inviting the flames with this, but ah well, here goes...

    Katz calls Microsoft the first company that exists above the law. Where does he get this. They were taken to court in an antitrust suit because they bundled their *free* web browser in their OS. I admit that this is a bit of an underhanded move, given that it pushed Netscape out, but what market did they push them out of? Browsers had been free for quite a while prior to the bundling, so Netscape wasn't making any money there (I know netscape made cash from selling ads on their homepage, but people could reassign homepages quite easily, so that one doesn't stand up that well.) The point I'm making in this is that the antitrust case for the browser is pretty weak. More powerful than the government?! What exactly makes him say this, the fact that they lost one antitrust suit? "Undisputed King of the Net"? What about the big-wigs at AOL-Time Warner? They're pretty high up on the food chain themselves, not to mention they're also monopolistic whores who have their sights set on MS. While I agree that Micro$oft is too big for its breeches, and probably should be broken apart, the efforts put forward thus far to make it happen have been pathetic at best. Why not go after Office for it's monopoly instead? It's not free, and MS sure did drive the competition out of that space.

    I guess there really is no great point to the above, except that Katz should learn that using adjectives doesn't make his point any more solid...he should use facts instead, they work much better.
  • What if the Goverment made a website, which required IE, and planned that in the future, you must interact with this site if you wish to do your taxes on line. It could never happen you say? Think again. [theregister.co.uk]
  • How many times has Microsoft said 'no more 16 bit code'. How many times has more 16 bit code been found? Why would anyone think that it would be any different for the move to 64 bit code?
  • by Malcontent (40834) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @09:49PM (#172109)
    "Microsoft is not Satan, Hitler, Stalin, Big Brother, MegaCorp(tm), or anything of the sort. It's a software company"

    MS is a megacorp and much worse. Hitler and Stalin are evil becasue they killed millions of humans which is a profoundly evil thing to do. What Bill Gates wants to do is much worse. He want's to kill what separates you from the animals in the first place. The ability to communicate and pass on information freely from one human to another and from one generation to another. It's one thing to kill humans it's another to kill what makes you human in the first place.

    Even if you totally disagree with me, even if Bill gates is not as evil as Hitler or Stalin he is still a pretty evil person who has committed evil acts against other companies and people. At a minimum he is a criminal (perjury) and his company has comitted criminal acts (evidence tampering, witness tampering). These things should not be so easaliy dismissed.

    Even if you disagree with the fact that they are criminals not even you will deny that MS is a threat to open source software and an enemy of open source. They cleary think you, me and millions of other programmers are communist, un-american and a threat to the american way of life. They are spending millions of dollars bribing congress, advertising and spreading lies about the open source movement. This alone makes it important that every open source developer fight them at every opportunity to do so.

    And finally I don't think that nybody would argue that Bill Gates, Jim Allchin, Steve Ballmer etc are liars. They have lied publicly, frequently and effectively all of their lives to further their own agenda which is nothing less then accumulating as much money as humanly possible. Well last I checked the bible said the love of money is the root of all evil. I guess you are going to have to take it up with your own God.
  • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:30AM (#172115) Homepage
    if they were doing seriously Wrong things like killing people then they would catch heat.

    Ha! Ever heard of Union Carbide and what happened in Bho Pal?

    Of course, Microsoft doesn't do that sort of thing, but corps *can* and *do* get away with it.

    -grendel drago
  • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:24AM (#172116) Homepage
    First we get mad when MS calls us a 'cancer'. Then we call MS an evil, unkillable menace.

    Yeah, real mature.

    Grow up, Jon.

    -grendel drago
  • by brianvan (42539) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:09AM (#172119)
    <BLOCKQUOTE> And thanks in part to a media that has utterly failed to grasp or cover well the real issues involving the soft- and hardware that governs the Net and the Web, the public has no idea that they will be spending billions for years on things they could have -- ought to have -- for free. <BLOCKQUOTE>

    Now wait a second. I know MS is pretty much jacking up their prices ludicrously over the next few years... but maybe that reflects the worth of their product. Why must people have their operating systems for free? This is like saying people must have free paper since they can go into their backyard and chop down a tree themselves... it's not quite logical. Yes, there's a free alternative OS (actually, quite a few free alternatives) and free OSes aren't in danger of disappearing soon. But MS has put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their product... and even if it wasn't that much effort to make, they can still charge whatever they want for it, and if consumers are fed up, they have options still. That is why Linux and the Open Source movement are both successful in their moral goals. But in the meantime, I think MS is OBLIGED to charge for their OS, and charge whatever makes them the most money. Hell, you can set up a graph in Excel that tells you how much to price any kind of service or product at, it's taught in basic Microeconomics classes. If all that's too unethical for you, then you're just wacky...

    No, wait a second. MS makes Excel too. Theoretically, they could have set up Excel such that economic graphs always show higher prices so that they overcharge... yea, that's it... and they know where the UFOs are kept too...
  • by xtal (49134) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:26AM (#172128)

    Get a grip, Katz. I can't handle this drivel much longer. Bill Gates is not the frigging antichrist, and Microsoft is not the only point of contact between business and the web. Companies may choose to make microsoft their only point of contact with the internet, just like they might chose to use nothing but custom developed IBM systems. If it's cost effective, all the power to you.

    The internet can't be "taken over" by Microsoft. That's just stupid. If you want to use the services and products provided by Microsoft, then do so, but there's lots of alternatives, and if there aren't alternatives, then go write your own! Maybe it won't have all the bells and whistles, and it might cost an arm and a leg, but you can do what you want. Microsoft has a long way to go before you have no choice - and the open source movement has come a long way towards guaranteeing that.

    Nobody said computing has to be easy. Bah. Microsoft fills a need just like linux. Get over it.

  • by xtal (49134) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:49AM (#172129)

    You're missing my point. It doesn't matter if Microsoft has a dominant share of the OS market. If for some reason you feel constrained by Microsoft, be it in the OS, Browser, Office Software, Development Tools, Gaming, whatever, arena, go write your own stuff. If enough people dislike what MS is doing, then your stuff will get better and have more features, like linux.

    For most people, Microsoft is fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Antitrust issues aside, most people just want a simple OS that they can use to do a few things. I want a complicated OS that gives me a lot of power, and I want nice development tools. You might want somthing different.

    It's about choice. You're free to choose to not use MS stuff, and use something else instead, or write that "something else" from scratch. Contrary to what most people thing, programming is not rocket science. It's more time consuming than anything else.

    I'm sick of people whining about MS dominating this and dominating that. Spend less time whining and more time working on things you wouldn't like to see dominated by MS, like Mozilla. Nobody said the choice had to be easy.

  • by Hard_Code (49548) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:30AM (#172130)
    "the CEO of the Corporate Republic. He's created the first but surely not the last truly Unaccountable Corporation, a vast entity that is, in fact, above the law and more powerful than the government which enables it."

    Oh please, we have the LEAST to fear from Microsoft of all corporations in the "Corporate Republic". Oh no our software won't be Free! Millions will starve! No way, Microsoft is FAR from the first. The ones we have to fear are the ones that bury toxic materials and cover it up (*cough* Erin Brokovich *cough*), destroy the environment, fund wars, sell weapons, imprison people, control the food supply, etc.

    The issue with Microsoft is a fairly obscure ideological issue. The Corporate Republic has been around far longer than Microsoft, and has much much scarier players.
  • by AnalogBoy (51094) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:47AM (#172141) Journal
    The best, most powerful, candidate survives. If office or windows did not serve the needs of the business community - it would fail. If it suits the needs of the business community, it thrives and pushes its competitors out of the market. Have you thought, just for a microsecond, that instead of always bullying people out of business, microsoft actually makes, what the majority of corporate users consider, a superior product? Wether or not you consider it a superior product is irrelevant. The business end-user community has practically standardized. There is nothing better out there for the generic, end-user market right now.

    UNIX: Great for servers.
    MacOS: Great for graphics.
    Windows: Great for end users.
    Linux: Adequate for an introduction to basic UNIX concepts.

    A certain cow-orker of mine at one time posed the question to me as to why Linux isnt a better choice for End User desktops. The list of reasons is large.. mostly, there is no linux standards base. Most GUI's lack intuitive behavior most of the time, more concerned on asthetics than functionality. Microsoft has invested $$ in intuitive functionality for windows. Most of the time, the windows all behave the same way, either SDI or MDI. GUIfied linux lacks stability. Prepackaged KDE crashes on me. constantly. And why do i use prepackaged, you might ask? Well, i don't believe you should have to compile every application you want for every computer. Such is the power of the Win32-PE. Compilation is, 80% of the time, a huge time sink.

    The closest thing UNIX has to a stable, smooth, standard GUI is CDE - and thats not saying too terribly much. For one, the front panel is clunky and simple task switching many times isnt. My point is that Windows has all these things:

    A single, Standard, intuitive GUI
    Centralized Development
    Big-name support.
    Enterprise Functionality

    In summary, Windows right now is the best choice for the generic desktop EU environment.

    (Just in case your wondering, I admit MS has some pretty nasty tricks up its sleeve when it comes to business practices. But nobody ever said the world was a nice place to live).

    Flame on!
  • by wass (72082) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @09:52AM (#172165)
    First we get mad when MS calls us a 'cancer'. Then we call MS an evil, unkillable menace. Yeah, the level of emotional tenderness around here always surprises me. There's the neverending stream of rage and hatred directed at Microsoft. They're evil! We hate them! We're going to destroy them! I mean, look at the freaking icon for Microsoft articles!

    Well, there is a large difference between the president or CEO or whatever his title is nowadays, Steve Ballmer, representing MSFT, calling an entire movement a cancer, in a very public announcement. Joe Schmoe, on slashdot, venting his rage against some company doesn't even compare.

    One expects some measure of courtesy or honesty of one at the helm of a large entity, which Ballmer has clearly not shown by referring to linux as a cancer, and by fudding his way to create confusion between gpl/free-software/open-source.

    And finally, STOP! associating everybody on slashdot as having only one mentality! We're all different people. Anti-linux articles bring out the linux defenders, anti-windows articles bring out the windows defenders, and so on such forth for everything from emacs/vi to gnome/kde to democrat/republican to tastes-great/less-filling. There is NO one slashdot ideology here, so stop assuming it!
    __ __ ____ _ ______
    \ V .V / _` (_-&#60_-&#60
    .\_/\_/\__,_/__/__/

  • by jdfox (74524) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:14AM (#172168)
    >Quite simply, we live in a capitalist system

    "We in the USA", you mean.

    > and corporations making money is good for everyone at the end of the day,

    Good for many in the USA, yes. Not everyone in the USA. Certainly not everyone in the rest of the world.

    > Without companies like Microsoft, AOL, Time-Warner and Cisco, do you really think we would be able to maintain the world dominating position we are presently in?

    "We in the USA", you mean.

    Do you understand now why European governments are investigating the security issues of using Microsoft software? Do you understand why Europeans don't always share your enthusiasm for Microsoft's dominance of the desktop market? Getting locked into a foreign country's product makes us dependent on that country, the way you're dependent on foreign oil. So there is much enthusiasm here for building Linux into a viable product on the desktop: much nicer than tearing the shit out of Alaska, don't you think?

    > a hugely visible embodiment of the American Dream.

    Well, I certainly agree with that. Microsoft is indeed the hugely visible embodiment of the American Dream: take other people's ideas, package and sell them well, buy the support of governments, viciously fight your competitors with lies, half-truths and innuendo, sew up the distribution channels, winner takes all, and fuck the losers.
  • by selectspec (74651) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:07AM (#172170)
    This week, Microsoft unleashes a virtual onslaught of new products and initiatives, from gaming to small business software that will likely leave the company dominating the world of computing for years.
    Microsoft doesn't dominate the world of computing now nor will they for years. They only dominate the Personal Computing market.

    Bill Gates, on the ropes just a year ago, is now the undisputed King of the Net, the CEO of the Corporate Republic.
    Bill Gates is Chairman with Steve Ballmer as the CEO. Gates' role is removed from the day to day operation of the company, and he is no longer driving strategy. His primary job is hiring and firing the CEO.

    He's created the first but surely not the last truly Unaccountable Corporation, a vast entity that is, in fact, above the law and more powerful than the government which enables it.
    Microsoft is accountable in so many ways, one could not list them all here. Ultimately they are accountable to the shareholders. Microsoft is not above the law. The US government spends roughly 8x the total market cap of MS each year. To suggest that MS is even a spec compared to the power of the government is laughable (but Ted Kennedy wants you to think that).

    Remember that scene in The Return of Frankenstein ...
    This is a horrible analogy, because Microsoft was never burned at the stake. Microsoft was never "destroyed" and they are still here.

    Bill Gates, exposed just a year ago as a ruthless and less-than-candid corporate predator, is today the King of the Corporate Republic, the CEO of Internet, Inc. He and his company are about to launch one of the most ambitious campaigns in the history of business, one that should leave him firmly in control of the digital universe.
    Exhagerate much?

    If everything works as planned, Microsoft software will shortly control nearly every point at which a consumer or business interacts with the Web. That puts Microsoft at the center of all computing.
    While Microsoft probably does have a plan to control all aspects of the market (what company doesnt), it's rediculous to assume they would ever be able to succeed. There are some other big fish in the pond who wont let that happen.

    And soon, the company may even escape the break-up threat hanging over its head.
    Soon? This issue is dead. No breakup.

    The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule momentarily on the company's appeal, and based on the questions asked during oral arguments, the court is expected to reverse Judge Thomas P. Jackson's findings that the company illegally "tied" its browser into its operating system, and acted illegally to maintain its Windows monopoly.
    What an idiot that Judge was in the first place. If that egomaniac had just kept his mouth shut and not spoken to any journalists for his stupid book, the case would have gone a different way.

    This, say competitors like Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, is where we started, only more so. "It appears they're doing all over again what they did when they previously went into foul territory," McNealy told congressional investigators, according to Business Week. Microsoft's new Internet strategy is the boldest move yet, he says, to leverage the company's Windows monopoly to create a bottleneck that will constrict the Internet.
    McNealy is more on target that you are, but I don't hear him saying undisputed King of the Net.

    McNealy might as well be talking to himself -- the Bush administration is hardly going to curb Microsoft's new juggernaut, which can proceed unimpeded for at least four years, by which time the company may well be beyond any control, if that's not already the case.
    Ah, I was waiting for this to come along. /. liberal shows its colors. Of course, the Clinton administration was right on top of this issue! Give me a break. This is an issue for the courts not the commander in chief. Let Bush appoint some real judges, and you'll see Microsoft tremble next time its at the bench.

    Microsoft has transcended the economic realities of our time. Even with the NASDAQ down 9 per cent, the company's stock price has risen more than 60 per cent this year. In the quarter ending March 31, MS earned $2.45 billion on sales of $6.46 billion.
    The stock is still off by about 45% from its high last year.

    And thanks in part to a media that has utterly failed to grasp or cover well the real issues involving the soft- and hardware that governs the Net and the Web, the public has no idea that they will be spending billions for years on things they could have -- ought to have -- for free.
    Microsoft's lock on corporate america (office) is its stronghold, which supports the lock on the residential market. The corporate market is well informed.

    There are now real questions whether corporations like Microsoft, Disney, and AOL Time-Warner are vulnerable any longer to government regulation, or to any other kind of curb.
    Only from socialists like yourself.

    Microsoft seems to have convincingly demonstrated that is is, in fact, above the law, and means to stay that way.
    Maybe you should write this out several dozen times to get your point across.

    Even bitter critics of the government's attempt to break up Microsoft concede that Bill Gates was arrogant and dishonest in his Federal court testimony, and whatever the ultimate judicial ruling, mountains of evidence presented at the antitrust trial showed how Microsoft squelched competitors and discouraged both innovation and competition.
    Nobody doubts Microsofts guilt. The remedy is what people can honestly disagree over.

    Yet it all seems to have had no more impact on the company than a pea bouncing off an elephant, or a torch on the monster.
    I doubt that it is operation as usual at Microsfot. First of all, Bill Gates stepped down as CEO. That is significant. Second, they've had serious personel problems since the trial.

    We saw this company humbled and carved up with our own eyes, and celebrated it's being brought down to size.
    ?? When was this

    Boy, were we dumb.
    Ah, we agree on something. You were dumb and you still are.

    Microsoft is stronger than ever, and, as a consequence, so is Linux and Open Source.
    Yes, Microsoft is stronger than ever. They are positioned well. And they have a great deal of competition in front of them. Linux is a major part of that competition. The "King of the Net" is in fact not King afterall.

    Just a year ago, Microsoft was so embattled -- its revenue growth had slowed to 8 per cent, Jackson had ordered the company split in half, $250 billion had vanished from the company's market value -- that Microsoft called 20,000 of its employees together at Seattle's Safeco Field. There it showed a motivational video that included scenes from a documentary about the mythic l974 title fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.
    The horror, the horror

    But on the Net, a year might as well be a century.
    The time it takes your articles seems like a century too

    So the monster isn't only alive, he's stronger than ever. It's the Microsoft Era, Part Deux.

    Wow. Lots of sustinance and good solid reporting here. Wonderful editorial (full of interesting facts and insites). And the prose! Shakespear stand down!!! Katz is here

  • by selectspec (74651) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:18AM (#172171)
    Thankfully, we do live in a free market system, and the system will hopefully take care of this for us. VA Linux is feeling the pressure, so they are sure to eventually weed out the Katz factor.
  • by AugstWest (79042) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:51AM (#172174)
    Jesus Christ, man, has someone stolen your lithium?

    .NET will not even approach the internet development being done in Java today. This year's JavaOne conference in San Francisco had too many attendees for the space. They're pursuing battle on grounds that are unproven, uknown, and largely already taken up by Sun Microsystems.

    Look, here's Windows 2000... no, wait, look, here's Windows Me, no, wait, OVER HERE! It's WINDOWS XP!

    Open your eyes, they're running scared and pursuing a business model that, in all likelihood, will drive them out of the industry if they stay with it. Noone wants to pay a monthly fee for software. It's hard enough being a specialized ASP in today's business world, nevermind trying to be an ASP for virtually *every* application on a single computer.

    Personally, I believe that they're shooting themselves in their collective feet.
  • by webword (82711) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:23AM (#172189) Homepage
    I've been thinking about how to talk about Linux and Open Source in reference to profits and Microsoft. I've made some of those thoughts available here [slashdot.org], but I'm not satisfied with the outcome. I'm going to try again. Join the conversation, flame me, or back me up. I don't care. I just want to try to parse things up appropriately.

    First, I keep forgetting that Linux is only one slice of Open Source. Indeed, in many ways it is a small slice. Similarly, Linux isn't necessarily competing against Windows. Linux is an operating system and that is the way it should be treated. Linux isn't going against Microsoft.

    Second, Open Source is not a business philosophy. Therefore, it also does not compete against Microsoft. I thought it did, but it can't. Open Source is a philosophy with business implications, but it is not strictly a business model. Therefore, if you hear that Open Source is fighting Microsoft, you are hearing lies.

    Third, companies such as Red Hat are competing against Microsoft, at least in terms of operating systems. Note that Microsoft has not really attacked folks like Red Hat. They are considered insignificant competitors. Instead, Microsoft attacks the Open Source philosophy because that deflects attention on their attempts to dominate software and the internet.

    Fourth, if you attack Microsoft, you are attacking capitalism. Not the roots, but some of the side effects; the leaves, if you will. The injustices of Microsoft can be handled in the marketplace (e.g., IBM versus Microsoft) via products, sales and services. Or, it can be fought in court. Open Source cannot fight Microsoft because it isn't about money. The Open Source philosophy can't win because the philosophy can't beat capitalism. Recognize this important idea: capitalism is both a philosophy and an economic description of reality. Capitalism is business.

    Fifth, even if Open Source was a business philosophy, it does not have the resources to fight against Microsoft or other major corporations. If it truly a war, an economic war, and I think it is, then Open Source is feeble. You have people waving the banner of the Open Source philosophy -- "share, share, share" -- but that does nothing in terms of marshaling resources.

    Sixth, in light of the pervious point, there is no centralized leadership. The fact that a whole community needed to respond to Mundie exactly fits my point. The fact is, even when people replied to Mundie's comments about Open Source, it made no difference. Since the Open Source community has little in the way of economic resources, it cannot effective battle against Microsoft. Remember, a philosophy cannot fight against a business. Even large groups of people (with limited economic power) cannot fight against Microsoft. Without centralized power, and centralized resource, and focused plans of attack and defense, Microsoft will continue to dominate. Simply put, perhaps there are some leaders, but there are no generals. Remember, at least for Microsoft, this is war.

    Seventh, Microsoft is defending its pocketbook. It is fighting for itself and it is fighting for its stockholders. There are thousands of people, outside of Microsoft, that want Microsoft to do well. How many Open Source folks own Microsoft stock? Some percentage of people do, either directly or via mutual funds. You cast stones, but are you hoping they miss?

    Finally, while I say "Microsoft" again and again, the fight, if there is one, is with all corporations and all monopolies. Microsoft just rubs us the wrong way. There are many reasons for that. But the point remains. Open Source, being a philosophy, cannot effectively compete against corporations. It doesn't stand a change.

    You might shrug this all off. You ignore this posting. But I warn you that Open Source might not be what you think it is.

  • by webword (82711) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:35AM (#172190) Homepage
    Doc Searls [weblogs.com] writes:

    "Here's something else to consider: Microsoft has so rarely had worthy competition from other Big Boys that the total rounds down to zero. They had it from Novell when Craig was running strategy there (one Microsoft guy told me "he kicked our ass"), but that was back in the 80's. They had it for a few minutes from Netscape when that company creatively ubiquitized LDAP. But they never had it from Apple (which for the Jobs interregnum was more of a bad partner than a good competitor). For brief and shining quarters they had it from Borland, Lotus and WordPerfect; but all of those companies lacked the endless supply of adrenalin a company needs to stay in the game. I'm not saying those weren't valuable companies (some still are); just that they were never in the same league. Frankly, nobody is. And that isn't Microsoft's fault, any more than it was Michael Jordan's fault that nobody could take him one-on-one or Mozart's fault that he was surrounded by Salieris. As competitive companies, Microsoft is in a league of its own. If you're like the other 99% of PC users out there, the proof is right there in your pixels."

    It's kinda what The Emperor calls a Fully Operational Battle Station [weblogs.com]

    ...man, Doc has a way with words.

  • by BoyPlankton (93817) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:26AM (#172209) Homepage
    Can someone please explain to me why Katz has a problem with Microsoft showing their employees motivational videos?
  • by zpengo (99887) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:54AM (#172219) Homepage
    ...Or has Slashdot regressed?

    Microsoft is not Satan, Hitler, Stalin, Big Brother, MegaCorp(tm), or anything of the sort. It's a software company. As of the past few years, they've actually been making pretty good software. Windows 2000 is a respectable operating system. Internet Explorer won the browser wars (because it was better, not because it was "integrated"). Sure, they ran into some trouble because they acquired a bunch of companies and were accused of being a monopoly, but that doesn't justify the puerile namecalling that we typically see in posts like this.

    Talk about knee-jerk reactions.

    We hang on every Microsoft-sponsered word that refers to Linux as "inferior" or "a cancer" or anything else, but then turn around and make exactly the same accusations, with just as little basis.

    Nothing in the software world will change as long as people like Katz and the karma-whores continue to treat Microsoft like an evil villain; It's unrealistic, and any approach that has such flawed logic at it's core is destined to fail.

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:33AM (#172222) Homepage Journal

    I must admit, this one hurts.

    Microsoft is not indestructable. They are powerful yes, but not indestructable. The king of the Corporate Republic? No. Gates is merely a prince. The people that control Pharmacutical companies, the oil industry and the auto makers are far more evil.

    For once we need to think outside of the box. Form grass-roots advertising campaigns. Its not that expensive either. Local LUGS hold community conferences and put up some signs. BANG! Instant linux users. We have something M$oft will never have: a world-wide loyal developer/user base. Most people use M$oft because they think its the only thing there is... we need to show them otherwise! If we listen to Katz we might as well take our programs and go home.

    <sarcasm> Lets take our programs and go home, M$oft has won, no way we can beat them </sarcasm>

    Seriously Jon, you've had some much better articles lately but this isn't one of them


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

  • by Dr_Cheeks (110261) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:14AM (#172235) Homepage Journal
    Man, where does Katz come up with this stuff? I used to quite enjoy his articles over on Hotwired, and he never bothered me too much here, even with his Geek/Jock fixation.

    But this......
    This is just Jon writing an easy essay to score points. It's largely his opinion, with the actual facts of the matter sadly lacking (as numerous other posters have mentioned). I'm wondering; is there a karma system for the editors as well as for us mere mortals, cos if so Katz is acting like the biggest karma-whore alive. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of M$, but this article almost amounts to a troll.

    Next time Jon, try the following:

    • Research - don't just try to use a B-movie as a metaphor and stretch it to 300 words; find out about the subject and provide us with new and useful information.
    • Links - repeat after me; HYPERTEXT. When you've researched your article point us to information to back it up or further reading that we might find interesting.
    • Go For A Harder Target - C'mon, dissing M$ is like shooting fish in a barrel round here and there's plenty of other folk who've said it a thousand times before. No-one (except the secret M$pies lurking) here loves them.

    I doubt Jon reads all these little posts that don't get above 3 points, so please could Hemos or Rob or someone tell Katz to try harder. Cheers.

  • by small_dick (127697) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:11AM (#172260)
    > What mindless, pathetic drivel. This is a new low,
    > even for Jon Katz.
    Like beeds like, I guess.

    > Microsoft are guilty of several dubious business
    > practices (the OEM lockin for instance) but
    > their core business has succeeded by a shrewd
    > knowledge of what their customers want, a
    > cunning marketing campaign and quality products.
    > Yes, that's right, quality products.

    But of what quality? Try pulling a floppy out of the drive while WinDOS 98 is writing it. Now do it on Linux. Now that's quality.

    OEM lock ins are not all there is to the story. They cheated IBM, Stac, Borland Novell...seriously. To the point where they had to settle out of court to prevent a conviction. Try settling out of court, if you ever get arrested. Must be nice to have all that cash...the fruits of crime...at their disposal.

    Very few of their decisions are based on what their customer's want, rather they are based on increasing market share.

    > Quite simply, we live in a capitalist system and
    > corporations making money is good for everyone
    > at the end of the day, as it benefits us in
    > services from tax revenues and general growth of
    > the economy. Without companies like Microsoft,
    > AOL, Time-Warner and Cisco, do you really think
    > we would be able to maintain the world
    > dominating position we are presently in?

    Actually, we live in a regulated capitalist system, meaning that a corporation (in theory) can't do "anything they want" for profit.

    At the end of the day, people sometimes die due to corporate irresponsibility...placing shareholder profit ahead of the customer.

    The truth is, without Microsoft (and the others you mentioned) I think their would be far more software and tech companies...in the US and elsewhere. That would be good for just about everyone, and would far closer match a free marketplace, than what we have now. This is actually, as far as models go, much closer to the former USSR.

    > And if Microsoft come to dominate a set of new
    > markets (a hell of a lot less likely than it
    > made out here), then it'll be because they've
    > again produced what the customer wants.

    I think Bill Gate's position on wants vs. needs goes something like "Make them need you". When you need a bit of technology, and there is only one choice, it's really easy to say "Well, Microsoft did a great job of providing what the customer wants". Circular logic at best, since without a free market of competitors, it is impossible to ever know what would best serve the customer.

    > Microsoft is not "above the law". How foolish.
    > They're nothing more than one of our great
    > success stories, a hugely visible embodiment of
    > the American Dream.

    If the American Dream is federal criminals paying off both sides of a two-party system, if it's false "Astroturf" campaigns designed to lie to politicians, if you smile when state laws are broken to ruin a competitor, if your "Dream" of America is the choice "one size fits all" made famous by the Soviet Union, then yes, Don, your dream for America is coming true, courtesy of Microsoft.




    Treatment, not tyranny. End the drug war and free our American POWs.
  • by EvilAlien (133134) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:20AM (#172270) Journal
    I think not... if they were doing seriously Wrong things like killing people then they would catch heat. Merely doing business like cutthroat bastards is the American way. Enough jealousy over MS's successful exploitation of the ignorance of the masses.

    Besides, without Microsoft, who would we use as a baseline of evil to make us feel elite and pure?

  • by fleener (140714) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:27AM (#172288)
    You won't be so smug after your muscles tighten and leave your hand permanently bent in that contorted "ergonomic" position due to prolonged use of your Microsoft Intellimouse.

    The "twisted hand" will be the new Gestapo-esque salute in the Microsoft era. Raise your right arm straight toward the sky. "Heil Gates!" The poor souls whose hands are not bent into the sickle-shaped Microsoft position will be easy to spot and haul away to the innovation camps.

  • by Eloquence (144160) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:46AM (#172295) Homepage
    Idiot. Sort the posts by score and then check which ones are moderated highest. Pro-Microsoft astroturf. The worst part is that most of it is probably not even paid.

    --

  • by blunte (183182) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:54AM (#172341)
    You obviously haven't spent much time using them.

    Let me tell you a little story.

    Once upon a time, a very busy programmer with several projects and many active email conversations decided to make full use of this program called Outlook 2000.

    This programmer set up folders for each project, and sometimes for each contact. Then he started using the Tasks feature to keep track of activities.

    It was all very good... he could send message with attachments, he could receive messages with attachments. He also discovered how convenient it was to create Tasks with URL attachments (drag-and-drop that URL from the address bar of IE into the task.)

    The power of information was at his fingertips.

    Then one day he happened along the Microsoft Product Updates website. Hmm, he thought, here's an "important" security patch for Office. After reading the release notes for the patch, he realized that this security patch was a good thing.

    So programmer downloaded and installed the security patch. All appeared well. The patch installed without a hitch, and everything seemed fine.

    Programmer continued his work briefly, until he needed to refer to a task and the information associated with it. Programmer opened the relavent task and looked around for the attached URL link.

    Then programmer noticed something interesting written at the top of his window... "Outlook blocked access..."

    I'm tired of storytelling. Suffice to say that virtually every fucking attachment, including the most benign of attachments, the URL link file, was completely and fully blocked from any kind of view by Outlook. This special "security" feature wasn't listed in the release notes. Essentially all the information storage that I had done to make my work more efficient was lost. Links to old facts were lost (hidden.) Files I had sent and received were effectively lost.

    All because Microsoft needed a "fix" for all their ILOVEYOU and such viruses. If you want to be amazed, look at the list of file types that are blocked... Q262631 [microsoft.com]

    Now, if you think that is one cute little example of pain and suffering related to MS products, reply to this message and I'll provide you another good story. And another. And even another. I bet I can give you more stories than you want to read.

    So where does this leave us? Even though MS admittedly has the best browser, no contest, I'm writing this in Mozilla. And in my job search I have lately been telling recruiters I'd like to avoid MS technologies (at a cost of job opportunities and perhaps even $5/hour in pay.)

    If the software MS sold was actually good all around, perhaps the fact that their business practices were so evil wouldn't matter to me. But the only thing MS is good at is making money for their shareholders. They're not good at making software, don't confuse the two.
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @07:22AM (#172361) Homepage
    The reason the Court of Appeals will reverse Judge Jackson's rulings is simple - they did not act illegally in tying IE to their operating system. Quite simply, having IE as part of the OS makes it a better product for users! What a concept!

    Sorry, just because something produces "good" results for some people doesn't mean it's not illegal. Morality and legality are separate concerns. Not that I don't think the ruling might be overturned, but if that's the reason - 'it did some good for some people, ergo, it's not illegal' - we've got a sad court on our hands. :)
  • by Mactire_Dearg (211446) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:25AM (#172381) Homepage
    ...what do you do about it? Until someone comes up with a legitimate political party that is willing to do the job of governing the American society rather than pandering to anyone willing to write it a check we are SOL. 'course in order for that to happen the general public has to be want it to happen. Right now they are fat, dumb and happy with life a it is, so as a whole they are unwilling to rock the boat.

    Gates & Co. have learned the real way to take over the world, keep people employed and happy and they will over look each little step on the long journey to where ever they are being led.

  • by Dan Hayes (212400) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:33AM (#172384)

    What mindless, pathetic drivel. This is a new low, even for Jon Katz.

    Microsoft are guilty of several dubious business practices (the OEM lockin for instance) but their core business has succeeded by a shrewd knowledge of what their customers want, a cunning marketing campaign and quality products. Yes, that's right, quality products.

    The reason the Court of Appeals will reverse Judge Jackson's rulings is simple - they did not act illegally in tying IE to their operating system. Quite simply, having IE as part of the OS makes it a better product for users! What a concept!

    Quite simply, we live in a capitalist system and corporations making money is good for everyone at the end of the day, as it benefits us in services from tax revenues and general growth of the economy. Without companies like Microsoft, AOL, Time-Warner and Cisco, do you really think we would be able to maintain the world dominating position we are presently in?

    No.

    And if Microsoft come to dominate a set of new markets (a hell of a lot less likely than it made out here), then it'll be because they've again produced what the customer wants.

    Microsoft is not "above the law". How foolish. They're nothing more than one of our great success stories, a hugely visible embodiment of the American Dream.

  • by flatpack (212454) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:20AM (#172387)

    Why is that you twits never bitch about the fact that government tax the piss out of you yet bitch and moan about some evil corporation.

    Why would I bitch about taxes, when I fully agree that they are needed in order to provide essential services that allows those who don't have the same resources as I do? Unlike the so-called libertarians here on /. I fully accept that by living in a society, I have a moral obligation to other members of that society. I don't selfishly expect to reap the benefits whilst giving nothing in return.

    Don't buy their product and the corp ain't really going to care. Don't buy into the government line, or send them your tax money and your in jail.

    Don't buy into the government line? Move to another country. By living here you accept the social contract.

    HELLO. Slight screw up in priorities mr. commie

    Oh how sad. Name calling. And an ad hominem attack as well. Boo-fucking-hoo, I'm devastated.

    And next time, learn what communism actually means before using it as an insult, okay?

    BTW - free market is millions and millions times better than the crap that tanked the former Soviet. (let alone the crap tanking Europeans now - socialist governments are expensive and stifling)

    Which is of course why France has the world's fastest growing economy. And where did the USSR enter into the conversation, other than as a strawman for you to attack?

  • by flatpack (212454) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:58AM (#172388)

    As if we needed any more examples of the rampant excesses that the supposed "free" market has bought us in the last century (and before, as the comment about the East India Company points out).

    Time and time again, we see that corporations become large enough to strangle anything even resembling free trade, and that without a strong government to regulate them, a corporate dictatorship ensues, in which a coporations control over vital commodities gives them immense power over the lives of the proletariat.

    I was pleased when I saw that the DOJ had finally moved to block the excesses of Microsoft's reign of terror over the computing industry, but in this new regime Gates and co have friends in the highest of places, all to willing to let "market forces" and the "invisible hand" determine the future.

    Let me tell you, the invisible hand will bloody its knuckles against the hard rock of Microsoft's monopoly, to no effect.

    Only by ensuring the market is tamed by regulations and a strong government can these kinds of abuses be tamed. A free market is not an unregulated libertarian paradise, for the only freedom that gives is the freedom to abuse. In an unregulated market, it is simply a race to gain the greatest market share, followed by a systematic procession to monopoly and corporate domination.

    US corporations are famous for their abuses of power, especially against countries that cannot afford the resources necessary to combat them. And with corporate frontmen like Bush in charge, you can expect to see more government operations designed to allow US corporations to "increase profitability" through the exploitation of the poor and vulnerable.

  • by Deskpoet (215561) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:32AM (#172393) Homepage Journal
    Jon, you have an amazing grasp of the obvious, but your lament falls short of placing the blame where it really exists: the System Itself.

    The giants you mention--Microsoft, Disney, AOL--and the literally thousands you neglected are only doing what they were desigined to do: create profit for a few without concern for the Whole. Corporations are the greatest creation for social and economic control ever created, and their success at manipulating governments (which isn't difficult, as they are little tyrannies in their own right) has only increased over the last 100 years as their powers have expanded. They are doing what they were designed to do.

    The real question is: what do you do to reverse the trend? If corporations are the problem--which they are; one doesn't need the remedial Business Ethics class to see that (which is something most MBAs blissfully ignore, anyway)--then they should be removed. But are you going to do that? Aren't you wringing your hands in public for PAY from one of these evil monstrosities?

  • by update() (217397) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:05AM (#172401) Homepage
    First we get mad when MS calls us a 'cancer'. Then we call MS an evil, unkillable menace.

    Yeah, the level of emotional tenderness around here always surprises me. There's the neverending stream of rage and hatred directed at Microsoft. They're evil! We hate them! We're going to destroy them! I mean, look at the freaking icon for Microsoft articles [slashdot.org]!

    But as soon as anyone at Microsoft voices a criticism of Linux or free software, everyone turns into a bunch of traumatized crybabies. Of course, as it happens:

    • The vast majority of Slashdot readers are running Windows/IE
    • The editors seem to spend more time playing Windows-only games than they do with anything related to Unix
    • Jon Katz, last we heard, had abandoned Linux and gone back to his Mac. I'd guess he probably wrote this rant in Word; certainly not on a free system. (Jon, since you're the one editor who actually reads comments, let me know if I'm wrong.)
    It's funny that I'm one of the big MS defenders here. As it happens, I haven't touched a Windows box in months and I have far more code in any Linux distribution than any 20 Slashbots together. (16 of whom, as I said, are reading this in WIndows.) But I have no objection to using MS products when they're superior to the alternatives (MacOS IE) or simply flat-out excellent (Excel). And I can't stand the smugness, self-righteousness and outright dishonesty in the Microsoft bashing around here.

    In another chapter from the can-dish-it-out-but-can't-take-it-dept., I notice that the GNOME developers, who built their position in large part by an endless stream of anti-KDE FUD are now considering disabling reader comments in Gnotices [gnome.org]. Partly because of crapflooders, mostly because they're opposed to allowing any negative messages to be expressed.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:41AM (#172403) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has to continue to sell product. Currently they are in direct competition with their past, and no doubt trying to find a way around that. Too many users, myself (at work) included are still poking along on Pentiums or Pentium II systems (200 MHz! Yow!) with Win95 (ok, apparently it was Y2K compliant, because it's still going) Very hard to convince anyone with our budget being what it is that we need to upgrade while what we have still works.

    Discontinuing official support isn't going to do it, either. With a large enough market to support others will step in, and do. The only option left is for Microsoft to offer something essential, which business can't live without, alas, 10-15% of all features is about all anyone uses and they're happy with that. It's all been done. Now the beast of Redmond will begin to collapse under its own weight. The new strategy, of Microsoft licensing the software per annum will generate some revenue, but if that were to cost us $100,000 a year we'll be saying, thanks, but we'll just stick with Office 97. Without enough revenue to support the staff, Microsoft will finally restructure, perhaps yielding the opportunity competitors and OS should be in place for.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by virg_mattes (230616) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:44AM (#172425)
    > The best, most powerful, candidate survives. If office or windows
    > did not serve the needs of the business community - it would fail.
    > If it suits the needs of the business community, it thrives and pushes
    > its competitors out of the market. Have you thought, just for a microsecond,
    > that instead of always bullying people out of business, microsoft actually
    > makes, what the majority of corporate users consider, a superior product?
    > Wether or not you consider it a superior product is irrelevant. The business
    > end-user community has practically standardized. There is nothing better
    > out there for the generic, end-user market right now.


    Very well said, but I disagree with your point, and didn't even need a microsecond to think about it. First, you consider "best" and "most powerful" to be synonymous, and in this case, they weren't. In virtually every case (excepting Windows 3.1, which beat out its competitors right off), Microsoft put out a weaker product and then leveraged its advantages over competitors to force them out (recall the now-infamous "DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run" t-shirts). It's true that the Microsoft products overtook their competitors, but hills of documentation were presented in the trial that this could not have happened if MS hadn't actively submarined its competitors' products by manipulating the OS underneath it, and the market. The reason WordPerfect stopped getting better is because MS made it so that WordPerfect Corp. and then Corel had to spend so much energy dealing with the undocumented additions to the OS that it became unprofitable to continue innovating the product. In brief, you're right that there's nothing better out there for the end-user any more, but you're wrong to assume that would be the case if MS hadn't been able to control the OS, and that's why we're bashing Microsoft about their new initiatives today.

    > Just in case your wondering, I admit MS has some pretty nasty tricks
    > up its sleeve when it comes to business practices. But nobody ever
    > said the world was a nice place to live.


    We're way beyond "nice" by this point, which is again why we're so anti-MS. When the company presented a forged videotape of performance issues within Windows, someone should have gone to jail for perjury, and someone working for a company with less money and influence would have done so. More recently, Steve Ballmer himself, whom I've heard is a rather intelligent man, can't seem to understand that Linux and the GPL aren't the same thing, since he uses them interchangeably in discussions, but I suspect it's more likely he knows full well and says the things he does to add to the open source confusion. Like I said, we're way past "nice" by now.

    Virg
  • by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:49AM (#172434) Journal
    The bigger the fall.

    This statement might seems obvious and redundant, but take a look on what happened to large empires of the past.

    Egypt, Romans, Great Britain, Nazist Germany, France...

    They all built (or tried too do) large and powerfull empires, some of them endured for thousands of years, some of them for only a few. And I ask: Why did they fall ?

    IMHO there's a few key reasons:

    - Size: When and empire becomes too large (like the british empire, the largest one ever) it becomes hard to manage and to defend (in a military sense) which exposes it to internal and external atacks.

    - Brutality: No one like a ruthless empire. Sooner or later other nations join forces to fight this empire. Even if individually they can't fight the opressor togheter they can. This is what happened with Nazi Germany and Napoleon.

    - False sense of security: When you build a large and powerfull empire you might start to think that no one ever will dare to atack you, this can make you relax your defenses, exposing you to atacks. It's what happened with the roman empire.

    As katz said "on the Net, a year might as well be a century. ". So give the Net a year, and we may see this "Microsoft Empire" crumbling appart.

    --
  • by Apreche (239272) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:35AM (#172444) Homepage Journal
    You know why Microsoft has a monopoly? For one thing, they dont' have a superior product. And in my opinion Microsoft software is just as easy to use as Mandrake 8 (which rox). And with guys like Loki software there really isn't a reason anymore to keep that windows dual boot. So how is microsoft controlling the net?

    Marketing. Microsoft advertises their product. They have a big name that almost everyone in the world recognizes. Nobody but us nerds and geeks realize that we can get everything free. And the main thing that keeps open source down, is that in order to use it you need to understand source code. However taking microsoft out would be fairly simple. What do we need?

    Television commercials. We know the world is full of stupid people. They are stupid because they do what the television tells them to. They do things because they are trendy and they want to fit in with the crowd. If everyone was intelligent and did things they actually liked instead of just trendy things, then no corporation would be able to make profit. If everyone listened to music they LIKED instead of music MTV told them to like, then the record industry would have to sell so many different bands and so many different CDs. And a fairly equal number of each would be bought. But the cost of producing all those different CDs would ruin them. So they make people like shitty Boy Bands by using TV, then They make a billion NSUCK Cds and make a zillion dollars.

    In order to have Linux take over the world just make television commercials. YOu will have to have lots of commercials. Especially Super Bowl commercials. It will cost lots of money we don't have. But if we make them they will come. The commercials have to show flashy screenshots of different desktop environments showing that Linux is as easy to use as Windows. We will have to drive home the point of free software. We will have to show people they can do just as much with linux as with windows. We have to throw dirt at microsoft about invading privacy of users. We will have to tell people that there are a lot of people using Linux out there, and they aren't paying money for software, why are you? Then the idiots will switch to linux, because of money. The one thing everyone understands.

    Windows - 100$
    Linux - 0$
    Microsoft Office - 500$
    Star Office - 0$
    Adobe Photoshop - G-d knows how many$
    The Gimp - 0$
    Borland C++ Builder - I don't want to know$
    Visual Studio - 1000$ I think
    gcc, JDK, KBasic - all 0$

    Not having Microsoft invade my privacy - priceless.

    Yeah the mastercard thing is old. But it really helps you drive home stuff.

    I think the best way to start is if Sun put commercials saying this.

    Microsoft Office XP just came out, and upgrading to it will cost you 100s of dollars. Instead go to sun.com and get Star Office for free. It is every bit as good, and did we mention that everyone in the world can download it for free, with no tricks whatsoever? Bill Gates doesn't need your money.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @08:07AM (#172453) Homepage Journal
    Why is that you twits never bitch about the fact that government tax the piss out of you yet bitch and moan about some evil corporation.

    Don't buy their product and the corp ain't really going to care. Don't buy into the government line, or send them your tax money and your in jail

    HELLO. Slight screw up in priorities mr. commie

    BTW - free market is millions and millions times better than the crap that tanked the former Soviet. (let alone the crap tanking Europeans now - socialist governments are expensive and stifling)
  • Tell me Jon, which one of these takes my money by gunpoint?

    Lets see, Bill Gates is a man, most if not all of MS employees are human beings. Versus the USA I don't think they have a chance in hell, do you?

    If you want something legitimate to moan about, then moan about oppressive governments that take a third or more of peoples income and gives them little or no choice in how its used.

    Its anti-capitialist like you that forever put us under the heels of oppressive governments by painting corporations as evil so as to distract the common populace.

    Let me guess, your in league with the idiot newscasters who go around spouting 53% profit increases at oil companies without explaining that that really means they went from 4.8 cents on the dollar to 6.9 cents (which is still lower than most other companies in other fields).

    Spread fear, doom and gloom, the corporate state will kill and enslave you all, only the nice gentle, caring, and lovable government can save you, your children, and your neutered dog Fluffy

    GACK
  • Choice is important, but majority rules. That's the way America runs. The bad happens when the majority is so much more powerful than minority that it is given governmental 'rights' to tell the minority what to do. Barrier to entry into the market, like M$ being allowed to dictate who can or cannot write new code is bad. That is, of course, not reality, but I think that's what we're saying could happen if we had a completely laisez-fare economy.

    What could be really bad, is if a company like M$ became so powerful as to dictate who did or did not get elected for public office based on their monetary contributions and political clout.

    Capitalism is an economy based on greed. I supply you with product X to make money for myself, you buy it because you want it for yourself. I'll continue to raise the price as long as you're willing to buy it. If one group gets too powerful, they'll take advantage of the other group for their own benefit. On the other hand, if you use communism as your 'economic' model, it's supposed to keep everyone equal economically. But then the minority (heads of state, usually) become the ones taking advantage of the masses because they make sure to filter the most money to themselves. So it's the reverse bad situation. Therefore, the only solution is a middle of the road system. It's like walking a tightrope, and is very difficult, but so far America has managed to pull it off. The big problem is that people on either side of the issue, tend to get pissed off easily because at any one time one side will have just a little more power than the other. Personally, I'd rather take the temporary pissed off approach than the constant screwing of a pure laisez-fair or communist economy. Having said that, maybe it's time to pull the reigns in on M$ just a little, to provide more options again to the consumers.

  • However, it was a good company in its effects. It brought taxation and simple democracy to India. It breathed the first light of the west's wisdom on those dark and primitive lands.

    I thought you were being sarcastic as I started reading this, but after finishing your whole post I think you mean it. The cultural imperialism you have just displayed is astonishing. Those lands weren't primitive. Many African cultures had longer, richer histories than all of western society -- I intentionally didn't use the word "civilization" there. The African cultures were described as primitive simply because they were different from that of the invading armies.

    I won't bother to expand on your assumption that introducing taxation was a self-evident improvement, other than to point out that the people suddenly forced to pay the taxes to their new colonial "masters" would probably not have agreed with the assumption.

  • by s20451 (410424) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:33AM (#172544) Journal

    I like to hear about advances in technology and cool hacks, and not so much to hear paranoid ramblings about how the government and big business are in some grand conspiracy. Regrettably, such as is the case with this article, it seems to me that Slashdot is lately engaging too much in the latter rather than the former.

    How about Slashdot split itself into two sites:

    • tech.slashdot.org, where people like me can hear the real news for nerds; and
    • paranoia.slashdot.org, where people can work themselves up over their dystopian worldviews, and plan the next revolution without disturbing people who don't care.

    Just an idea.

  • by cREW oNE (445594) on Wednesday June 06, 2001 @06:33AM (#172559)
    I have to agree. Office XP is simply the best when it comes to office applications. Windows 2000 aint half-bad either. IMHO Open source zealots need to put their actions where their mouths are - and start to release, promote AND support software that bests the commercial equivalents.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

Working...