Saturday, November 04, 2006
Microsoft Backs Novell's Linux Platform
November 03, 2006 8:54 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft Corp. has embraced Novell Inc.'s open-source software platform, forming a technological truce between two longtime antagonists who want to make it easier for the still-dominant Windows operating system and the increasingly popular Linux system to work together.
The agreement announced Thursday between the world's largest seller of patent-protected software and a leader in the open-source software movement has potentially important business, technical and legal implications.
"This builds a very important intellectual-property bridge between the open source and proprietary sides of software," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said shortly before the companies formally announced their alliance in San Francisco.
Financial terms of the arrangement weren't disclosed.
The alliance is primarily aimed at the growing number of major companies and government agencies that rely on elements of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's Windows and Linux to run their computers.
"It all comes down to recognizing there is a mixed environment out there," Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said during a Thursday press conference.
The partnership's impact on consumers appears to be inconsequential except for a commitment to improve the interaction between Microsoft's top-selling suite of Office software and a free alternative known as OpenOffice.
Microsoft's stamp of approval, extracted after six months of negotiations, represents a coup for Waltham, Mass-based Novell as it touts the advantage of its version of Linux over other varieties made by competitors such as Red Hat Inc.
After news of the deal leaked, Novell's shares shot up 92 cents, or 15.7 percent, to close Thursday at $6.79 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where Microsoft's shares dipped 4 cents to finish at $28.77.
Under the partnership, Microsoft's sales team will offer its corporate customers a chance to license its Windows operating system as part of a package offering maintenance and support for Novell's Suse Linux platform.
Novell primarily relies on the fees for customer support to make money off the Linux software, which is developed by a global community of programmers who aren't tied to any single company and freely share improvements to the code.
Ballmer stressed that Microsoft will first try to convince corporate customers to use Windows exclusively before relenting to the notion of a hybrid system using Suse Linux.
To encourage more companies to embrace Novell's open-source platform, Microsoft has pledged not to assert its patent rights over any of its technology that may be blended with Suse Linux.
The concession is meant to address the concerns of many corporate users who have been reluctant to use Linux because they feared Microsoft might retaliate with patent-infringement claims.
"This is a big day for Microsoft customers," said Stuart Cohen, chief executive officer of the Open Source Development Labs, a Beaverton, Ore. group trying to expand corporate America's reliance on Linux. "They are being told by Microsoft that they can use Linux and not worry about it. That's a big statement."
Microsoft's patent waiver only applies to users of the Suse Linux platform.
The new partners have a stormy history.
In 2004, Novell reached a $536 million settlement with Microsoft over antitrust complaints in Europe and then sued its rival again in the United States. The U.S. suit alleged that Microsoft withheld technical information about Windows that Novell needed for its word processing program. Novell has since sold WordPerfect, but its antitrust claim remains alive.
Microsoft's decision to work with Novell reflects the increasingly important role of Linux's open-source software in corporate computing systems. About 20 percent of corporate America relies on some form of Linux, Cohen estimated.
Because it's available for free, Linux software long has been has been a source of consternation for Microsoft, which makes most of its money from the sale of its proprietary software.
"I have had a lot of conversations with (Ballmer), and I can assure you he wasn't usually smiling when we were talking about Linux," said Shane Robison, chief strategy and technology officer for Hewlett-Packard Co.
But Microsoft has been under increasing pressure to loosen up, and not just from customers who want to be able to run Linux with Windows.
Online search leader Google Inc. also is giving away more Web-based software, including word processing and spreadsheet programs, and last year promised to work with Sun Microsystems Inc. to help distribute OpenOffice.
Just last week, Oracle Corp. provided the Linux system with another major lift by offering steep discounts on product support of the Linux platform provided by Red Hat Inc.
Microsoft's backing of Novell's Linux platform may raise even more worries for Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat, whose stock price has dropped by 17 percent since Oracle launched its assault.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
By JORDAN ROBERTSON (AP Business Writer)
From Associated Press
October 20, 2006 11:59 AM EDT
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Microsoft Corp. is no stranger to antitrust skirmishes and complaints from competitors about unfair business practices.
But the latest fight over its upcoming Vista operating system pits Microsoft against an unlikely adversary: the security software vendors who are some of its most intimate partners in protecting its notoriously vulnerable systems from attacks.
As Vista's planned release nears, the company is facing a backlash from such vendors as Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., which argue that even the concessions Microsoft recently made to appease European antitrust regulators won't do enough to help them best protect their customers.
"We've been talking to them for over two years on this issue," said Rowan Trollope, Symantec's vice president for consumer engineering. "And now (with) basically a very short amount of time before the operating system comes out, we're not in a good position to provide that security to our customers."
Ultimately, consumers will decide whether Microsoft's own security measures are adequate to combat increasingly sophisticated Internet threats and keep personal data safe from hackers and online criminals.
But the showdown also marks an important turning point in how computer users buy security software.
Microsoft now competes directly with Cupertino-based Symantec and Santa Clara-based McAfee with its own product, called OneCare, posing a substantial threat to vendors who have been vital to protecting generations of Microsoft operating systems.
European antitrust regulators have warned Microsoft not to shut out rivals in security software and other markets, and the European Union so far has fined the Redmond, Wash., company $970 million over the current flavor of Windows.
To quell EU concerns about Vista, Microsoft pledged to make key changes, but the vendors remain unsatisfied and have threatened antitrust lawsuits. McAfee issued a statement Thursday complaining of the company's failure to live up to "hollow assurances."
Industry analysts said Microsoft's new dual role could inadvertently make the operating system more vulnerable.
"Microsoft's priority should be simple: Fortify the operating system, make it secure, make it as impenetrable as possible, but work with the third parties," said Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research.
Vista will be Microsoft's first major upgrade to its flagship operating system since Windows XP's release in 2001. The company touts Vista's sleeker looks, improved search capabilities and simplified organization as key upgrades over previous systems.
But several key security changes prompted Symantec and McAfee officials to launch withering public attacks in recent weeks.
Executives accused Microsoft of unfairly promoting its own security software with a dashboard that couldn't be disabled by vendors. The company pledged technological information to turn off the feature, designed to help customers easily see what protections are switched on.
Vendors also howled over an icon on the welcome screen linking to Microsoft security products. Microsoft refused to remove the link but has vowed to link to other security companies.
The biggest - and currently unresolved - fight hinges on vendors' claims they have been locked out of access to the core, or kernel, of higher-end, 64-bit versions of Vista.
A new feature called PatchGuard is meant to protect the most sensitive information in the guts of the system. While blocking out hackers, PatchGuard also keeps out security vendors that have traditionally been allowed inside to retrieve necessary information.
Vendors said their products will thus lack advanced security features for 64-bit users (The 32-bit version that consumers are likely to get does not include PatchGuard and thus offers access to the disputed data).
Microsoft said the methods previously used were undocumented and unsupported and left the system less secure and less stable. Customers, the company said, demand better security.
The company has agreed to permit limited kernel access, but will not provide a "blanket exception" or turn off the feature entirely, said Stephen Toulouse, a senior program manager in Microsoft's Security Technology Unit.
"We did look at that, but we got consistent feedback that that wouldn't be a good option for the customer," he said. "We want to make clear that we will work with those vendors. It will take some time, but we're committed to making that happen."
Microsoft held online briefings with security vendors on Thursday to address their concerns, though technical difficulties booted some vendors out.
Security vendors said their engineers are going to have to scramble to update their software once the technical tools they need become available, which could be months away.
Vista begins shipping to computer manufacturers and larger businesses next month. Consumers should be able to buy the new operating system in January.
"We're turning blue holding our breath waiting for something to happen," McAfee chief scientist George Heron said in an interview. "And frankly so are the users. This is the 11th hour. Now is not the time to crack open the designs."
In the meantime, third-party vendors said their products will work but won't have maximum protection. Microsoft said its products will adhere to the same rules and won't have an unfair advantage.
Security experts said it's unclear whether Microsoft's stance on protecting the kernel will make Windows more secure, though it will likely challenge hackers to try to crack it.
"No matter how secure any operating system is, if it has been built by man, it can be broken by man," said Ken Dunham, director of the rapid response team at VeriSign Inc.'s iDefense Intelligence. "While it might be a major improvement, there is no silver bullet."
Vendors said customers are likely to agree.
"It's a little bit like the fox guarding the hen house," Symantec's Trollope said. "If Microsoft can control the ways that companies can innovate, if they can control the dialogue of security with the customer, you end up with a security monoculture. And that's unacceptable."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
By Joris Evers, CNET News.com
Published on ZDNet News: June 20, 2006, 5:09 PM PT
Zone Labs has fixed a bug in a recent upgrade to its security software that is causing trouble for some Eudora and McAfee users.
The problems relate to ZoneAlarm 6.5 products released last week, the company said Tuesday. One glitch means the software won't install alongside McAfee antivirus products, while another interferes with date and time stamps in Qualcomm's Eudora e-mail client. Users had complained about the issues in Zone Labs' forums, a representative for the San Francisco-based security software maker said
All English-language versions of the products are affected. Zone Labs, part of Check Point Software Technologies, on Tuesday released software updates for all its ZoneAlarm products to address the problems.
"The update is live on the Web site," the Zone Labs representative said. "It will also be pushed out to existing customers--if they have automatic updates--in a rolling release schedule."
The conflict with the McAfee software was caused by a security feature in the ZoneAlarm products, the representative said. Installation is halted by a protection mechanism that kicks in when a known incompatibility exists between ZoneAlarm and another software program. "In this case, this was in error, as no incompatibility exists," the Zone Labs representative said.
People who don't have automatic updates can download the latest version of ZoneAlarm products from Zone Labs' Web site. The 6.5 versions includes some innovative features, including some that promise to help protect people against identity fraud on the Internet as well as offline.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Posted: 25 Jan 2006 09:46 PM
OK - we all may not have the perfect job. But I took a position a year ago after being out of work for a while due to an acquisition with my previous company. After being on the job for about 3 months, it was obvious I had been mislead. Nothing I am doing is remotely related to the job description. I have been told that "due to the politics of the situation, you'll be doing something different." I can't stand my boss, but there are other opportunities within the company.
SO...how do you go about networking for another opportunity? I'll eventually have to tell my current boss if I post for an internal position, but I worry about retaliation. Or should I just bail out since they mislead me in the first place? Please help! I'm so confused...
Re: Mislead! - How do you handle it?
Posted: 26 Jan 2006 06:24 AM
If your manager told you about the political situation, has something changed to now make you acceptable for the job you wanted? Or would this be for yet another job in the same company?
If there have been some changes, it might be ok to ask about the "better fit" job opportunities given the fact you were originally hired to do job X and instead was put into job Y due to politics.
Re: Mislead! - How do you handle it?
Posted: 29 Jan 2006 12:34 PM
Wow, I can sure relate to your dilemma. As sad as it is, politics seem to rule over most situations within companies. Seeing that you can't stand your boss you may run into a problem posting for an internal position, especially if your boss was the one that told you "due to the politics of the situation, you'll be doing something different." If your boss is the one you sense retaliation from, you could be setting yourself up for some turbulent times with the company.
If your willing and emotionally able to go head-to-head relating to the politics influencing the statement that was made to you, than fasten your seat belt and prepare for the ride! As with any decision there's consequences though. Take some time and think about the possible outcomes if you choose to stay with the company. You can always do nothing, coast until you find a better job offering a better fit with a different company?
Re: Mislead! - How do you handle it?
Posted: 14 Feb 2006 10:20 AM
Oh Boy, This could be a hard one. however, if you approach your boss and say "I have applied for a position within the company that I originally applied for last year, and I don't want any hard feelings if I get the position. YOU BETTER BUTTER HER/HIM UP. I quit a job last June/05 gave a 2 week notice, WITHOUT ANOTHER JOB. I have never done this in my life. BUT I was harrassed for over a year and she got what she wanted, to force me out by making my day to day functions completely unable to do. 25 years in mortgage banking and I am asked to do the most stupid things that I have Never heard of nor ever been asked to do within my career. She is a bad manager and a very bad person. HR got involved, but they believed her. I hear they are now "Watching her" because 7 people left after me, and they have been numerous complaints about her, but......SHE STILL HAS HER JOB!, My question to you is, Could she give you a bad reference? Is she in that position? She/He is NOT suppose to, but my ex-manager gave an employee a bad rap for her to relocate back to Buffalo, NY because she moved to Virginia within the company to be trained as a processor only to end up being her secretary. The employee ALMOST did not get her transfer back to buffalo. I heard she is sueing. Just find out who knows who in the upper office management.
AND, one more thing. KEEP A DAILY DIARY OF EVERYTHING, WHAT TIME YOU GET INTO WORK, YOUR BOSS GET'S INTO WORK, COPY EMAILS, DATE AND TIME AND WRITE DOWN CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVE THAT ARE ALL NEGATIVE. This of course is only to CYA, if it hits the fan with your boss.
Good Luck to you but get out soon, if it's within the company or with another firm. Life is too short to work with a boss you can not get along with.
Re: Mislead! - How do you handle it?
Posted: 14 Feb 2006 10:20 AM
Unfortunately, I too have been in your shoes. When you are in a bad situation, it is best to get out. The fact that your boss is NOT treating you well is unacceptable and likely to get worse, not better. (Lying to you about the position is a HUGE red flag and I'll bet this boss's turnover is high. As for other jobs within the company, it sounds like this is company policy - since they are allowing this to happen)
You should strongly consider leaving. Even if you don't have a job, it is better than getting fired.
Networking is the key. 90% of all jobs are found through networking. I strongly recommend you join Execunet (www.execunet.com). They have an awesome network, monthly breakfasts, excellent webinars and an awesome library of job seeking advice. You have to get out and pound the pavement through direct people contact and use only 10% of your time with the internet answering ads. When you were unemployed for a year, did you have 6 to 10 phone or meetings a day?
The good news is: I have heard from the headhunters that the job market is really picking up. Good luck! You WILL find a healthier, happier position.
Total Posts: 1
Exercise your political alliance
Posted: 14 Feb 2006 10:20 AM
I found your post very interesting since I too am finding that many of my interviews do not come close to the position advertised. I found myself working for a highly political insurance company when I was 24. I was ill-equipped to handle the situation in the best possible manner. I recently finished an MBA course on interpersonal skills and.....politicking in the workplace. A book I is excellent in helping me deal with political situations is "The Secret Handshake".
If you trust your manager, maybe you could form your own alliance with this person. Teaming up can help protect both of you in a political environment. Build trust and be honest with one another is a good start. Express exactly what you want and see what the manager has to say about it. Being a great political ally doesn't mean you have to have a high position. Had I known better techniques of handling situations like this, I would probably have been better off and equipped to hold my own.
Hope this helps.
Total Posts: 4
Re: Mislead! - How do you handle it?
Posted: 14 Feb 2006 12:57 PM
I would like to add 4 great books about networking. As far as I am concerned, networking is a great life skill and not just a job skill which should be taught in school!
"Never Eat Along" by Keith Ferrazzi
"Make Your Contacts Count" by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon
"High Impact Telephone Networking for Job Hunters - who to call, what to say, how to project a positive image and how to turn contacts into job offers" by Howard Armstrong
"Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty" by Harvey Mackay
I also highly recommend the books on the Five O'Clock web site which are aimed at helping you identify your strengths, weaknesses and get an actually job hunting accountability program going.
Lastly, have you thought about getting your next job offer in writing? A very smart attorney once told me that "if they are truly serious, they won't mind putting their offer in writing". Good Luck!
Total Posts: 1
Re: Exercise your political alliance
Posted: 14 Feb 2006 12:57 PM
There should be a red flag raised to the forming of an alliance here. If in fact the person (boss) is all you say and this will all surface eventually--you could be seen as an ally and done in along with the boss when all is finally revealed. Baloney, lies, and other negatives only last so long and then when it hits the fan you don't want to be seen as an ally or you could be dumped along with the person that so deserves to have it happen it to them. The higher and riskier road is to bail out. Then one may also say that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Difficult decision for sure and you are not to be envied for it. Good luck. You could of course start to look now for other possibilities and cover yourself while biting your tongue to spite your face in your present situation.
Friday, June 02, 2006
ajaxWrite has been designed to look like Microsoft Word, making it easy for anyone to start using it without needing to learn a new program. ajaxWrite also handles all the popular document formats so it's easy to share your files and collaborate with your co-workers and friends. Once finished with your document, you can easily save your work right to your hard drive. This keeps you organized and works in the same way that you're already accustomed to.
ajaxWrite works from a Firefox web browser on any operating system and on any device, no matter where you are or what computer you're using. And because the application itself lives on the web, we handle the updates automatically so that you don't have to deal with costly upgrades or getting stuck with old versions.
Warp 4 allows you to run OS/2 native, DOS, Java, and most windows 3.x and Win32 1.25 applications. There is also a project called "Odin", that allows users to run Win32 (Windows 95, 98 and Windows NT) applications in OS/2 Warp operating system natively. You can Also run other OS'es like Linux, BSD, Windows 2000 or Windows XP with Connectix Virtual PC For OS/2
OS/2 Warp provides a variety of networking services you can select for your needs. These functions provide Internet, office, and remote access for todays connected world.
OS/2 Warp also supports current industry standards and specifications. Plug and play, PCMCIA, APM, Display Data Channel, SCSI and IDE, USB, and S.M.A.R.T.
Also see: eComStation VS. OS/2
warp serverWarp also come in a server version currently called, OS/2 Warp for e-business.
On 10 December 2002, IBM United States Announcement Letter 902-274 announced the withdrawal from marketing on both Passport Advantage and Software Choice of IBM OS/2 Warp 4 and OS/2 Warp Server for e-business shrinkwrap part numbers. IBM OS/2 Warp V4 and OS/2 Warp Server for e-business with Software Maintenance will continue to be available through Passport Advantage. This withdrawal was made possible by the recent removal of initial purchase criteria for Passport Advantage subscriptions, enabling single and low volume orders by business partners and individual customers. This announcement also withdrew obsolete OS/2 part numbers for OS/2 Warp 4 for which End Of Service expired on 31 January 2001. In support of this announcement, the Passport Advantage media packages for OS/2 Warp V4 and OS/2 Warp Server for e-business are refreshed to include the Convenience Package for OS/2 Warp V4.52 media and Convenience Package for OS/2 Warp Server for e-business V4.52 media respectively. OS/2 customers wanting to obtain the Convenience Package media are able to obtain these CDs by ordering the Passport Advantage product media package. See HOW TO BUY for ordering information. passport Advantage subscription.
My happness was short lived by the below:
REDMOND, Wash.- February 19, 2003 - Microsoft Corp. today announced it has acquired the virtual machine solutions of privately held Connectix Corp., a leading provider of virtualization software for Windows- and Macintosh-based computing. By deploying supportable virtualization technology from Microsoft, customers can easily migrate to next-generation operating system platforms while leveraging investments in their existing applications. In addition, Microsofts virtual machine solutions will enable companies to consolidate server resources, thereby reducing hardware capital expenditures and operating costs.
So all of you Mac GODS will soon find yourself's in the same boot as the OS/2 user when Microsoft pulls the plug on VPC. Which is S.O.P. for MicroSoft.
Update Aug. 28th 2003
You can no longer buy VPC for OS/2. Micro$oft has pulled the plug and I have read in the newsgroups from other users that had it on backorder. Microsoft has cancelled all backorders.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Programmer Says His Place in History Due to Timing, Necessity
by Doug Conner, Guest MicroNews Contributor
In the fabled history of the PC revolution and Microsoft's place in it, the tale comes to a part that goes like this: It's 1980, and the leviathan IBM calls on a rambunctious company near Seattle that IBM hopes can fill the software hole in its embryonic PC project. The young Microsoft can do it, but to close the deal, it needs a crucial element in the package: an operating system for a 16-bit machine. And it needs it fast.
Enter Tim Paterson, programmer at a small Tukwila hardware shop, Seattle Computer Products, and known by Paul Allen to have already written an operating system for a 16-bit processor. In the ragged informality of those days, the program is QDOS, for "Quick and Dirty Operating System." Microsoft acquires the rights to QDOS, 86-DOS officially, and licenses a version to their secret client, IBM.
Tim Paterson, original author of DOS, is in the eighth year of his current stint at Microsoft. From there, Microsoft's steep trajectory of success takes off, and the story of MS-DOS 1.0 and its descendants-eventually the most widely used computer program in the world-is well-known.
But the story of Tim Paterson, now in the eighth year of his current stint at Microsoft, is not as familiar. Surprising, given that he sometimes bears the heavy mantle "The Father of DOS." It's a quieter celebrity the amiable software design engineer carries around, and it's a celebrity he's comfortable with-when the stories are accurate.
He squirms, for instance, at the implication that he's fixated on his authorship of DOS. He holds up a recent profile in Forbes, contrived as a first-person account. "I was 24 when I wrote DOS," it begins. "It's an accomplishment that probably can't be repeated by anyone ever."
"That really makes me sound egomaniacal," he frets. And if there is anything the genial programmer from the Visual J++ group appears to not suffer from, it's egomania.
Then there's that title.
"I prefer 'original author,'" he explains. "I don't like the word 'inventor' because it implies a certain level of creativity that wasn't really the case. Besides," he laughs, "there's enough people who think it's nothing to be proud of. If I say 'I invented DOS,' they say, 'Well, good for you, sucker.'"
The Mother of Invention...
He figures his place in history is due to timing. And necessity. Seattle Computer needed an operating system to sell with the new 8086 machines. Gary Kildall's Digital Research had provided the standard operating system, called CP/M, for earlier chip generations, but was overdue with software for the new processor. Paterson, tired of waiting, went to work to build his own.
"To get to that first version took about two man-months," Paterson recalls. "I worked on it about half the time over a four-month period," although by the time the original MS DOS 1.0 shipped with IBM a year later, he calculates his time investment "was more like six man-months."
Neither Paterson nor Seattle Computer knew who Microsoft's customer was until he was hired here in 1981. "IBM," he remembers thinking. "That's weird. Big computer company. Hope they do well." He reflects about this briefly. "I have no great ability to figure out where the future is going," he says.
Eventually Microsoft invested a total of $75,000 for 86-DOS. Both Microsoft and Paterson have fended off legal and professional challenges involving DOS-Microsoft settled a contract dispute brought by Seattle Computer for $1 million in 1986. And Paterson has taken pains over the years to detail the originality of the 86-DOS program, despite a surface resemblance to CP/M.
Paterson passed in and out of Microsoft during the 80s, but returned for good in 1990. He has patents and industry awards to his professional credit (including the Stewart Alsop Hindsight Award in 1991, recognized along with Bill Gates).
But the prominent "First Place" trophies and clippings on the wall of his Building 2 office come from the world of off-road racing, in which he bangs a four-wheel drive Mazda around gravel back roads throughout the Northwest with his wife Penny riding shotgun. "I'm still having lots of fun," he says. And the smile on his face confirms it.
Microsoft has a monopoly?
There are two kinds of "monopolies", which I'll call coercive and competitive. Coercive involves actual violence or the real threat of it. For example, organized crime has been handed its greatest gift - a coercive monopoly on distributing certain pharmaceuticals - this monopoly is enforced by the police, at the expense of the taxpayers, who are also the people buying the product. Try to compete with this monopoly and you die, either being shot by BATF thugs or by organized crime thugs. Nice setup, eh?
The Post Office is a coercive monopoly in most countries; you can be put in jail by force if you try to start your own first-class mail delivery service, in many countries.
A competitive monopoly is one that comes about as a result of market forces. Competitive monopolies generally don't last as long as coercive ones because, despite the high cost of entry, there are always people willing to try to compete, and some percentage of these succeed. Just a generation ago, IBM was the perceived monopoly and Microsoft came out of nowhere.
A coercive monopoly prevents alternatives. A competitive monopoly cannot prevent competitors from starting up and, often, gaining market share. Consider these alternatives:
Operating System OS/2, Linux, OpenBSD/FreeBSD/NetBSD, BeOS, ...
Browser Lynx, Netscape, Opera
Office Suites Star Office, Applix, Corel Office, ...
Encyclopaedias on CD Britannica, others too numerous to list
Home Entertainment Too numerous to list
Small Business Software Too numerous to list
There is competition -- it's up to the people to use it!
The government needs to break Microsoft up?
Nonsense. The market will do so, in good time. When people don't want Microsoft to stay huge, they will stop buying its products. There are good alternatives on all fronts; see previous question.
Microsoft Promulgates Myths About Itself
Microsoft gains market share by innovation?
The sad truth is that Microsoft gains some of its market share by shady back-room deals and by threatening and intimidating its own customers.
Windows 95 is innovative
The alleged innovations in Windows'95 were "borrowed" from other operating systems.
Microsoft invented DOS
There were many Disk Operating Systems before Microsoft. IBM had DOS for its then-small System/360 mainframes as far back as 1964. The DOS that we know and hate today was not even written by Microsoft.
Microsoft Invented Directories
Many people have remarked upon how much the directory structure of UNIX looks like that of MS-DOS, and wonder if UNIX copied it. In fact, the UNIX directory structure was invented in 1970 by Ken Thompson and another researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Bill Gates wanted to dominate the world so, in the 1980s, Microsoft was working on its own version of UNIX. They licensed it from AT&T and renamed it Xenix (since AT&T then wouldn't let anybody use the name UNIX). Now the folk at the MS Campus in Redmond are pretty collegial, so it wasn't long before the folks in the Xenix project and the folks working on DOS were drinking together. The DOS folks needed a way to get beyond the 15 "user areas" that MS-DOS had inherited from CP/M-86 (see DOS history above). The Xenix folk were bragging about how great UNIX-style directories were. So they DOS folk looked, and became believers, and borrowed the ideas and the syntax, but not the implementation. UNIX's chdir/cd, mkdir (shortened to md), and directory tree notions were grafted onto DOS's drive letters, and the slash (/) converted to a backwards slash (\) in a move that has driven "bilingual" people crazy ever since (it wasn't for that purpose; MS had already used "/" as an option delimiter where UNIX used the "-", and felt they couldn't change that for fear of breaking backwards compatibity).
Once Microsoft got the idea that they could write Windows NT and stop paying royalties to AT&T, the Xenix project was cancelled. However, it was taken over by a smaller company that had begun as its largest dealer. The Santa Cruz Operation, later shorted to SCO, continued to sell UNIX software and systems until around 2001, when it was acquired by Caldera.
Microsoft Invented Windows?
Window systems as we know them were invented by Xerox, at their Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Nearby SRI researcher Doug Englebart invented the mouse as we know it.
When Apple Computer was foundering after the first onslaught of the IBM PC (which even with its crippled processor was faster than the "Apple ][" or Apple 2) and MS-DOS, their leaders visited Xerox PARC and saw window systems. They hired some of the talent away, and put out the Apple Lisa (which I first saw demonstrated in Toronto around 1983). Lisa was a flop, but she paved the way for (or even mutated into) the Apple Macintosh.
Bill Gates, who even then wanted to dominate the world, saw the Xerox Alto and decided he had to have one, too. He got his best geeks to fake up a prototype, showed it at Comdex, and the press boys all wowed it. Then they actually wrote it and, after 3.1 tries, got something that barely worked :-) The rest is history.
For Further Reading
For Seattle DOS and MS-DOS, hit the library and read Microsystems (later called Micro/Systems Journal) for 1980-1984. Not the Microsoft Journal, but the original Microsystems Journal put out by Sol Libes, and later cannibalized by Ziff-Davis.
For Bill Gates, check out the books Hard Drive and Over Drive.
For life on the Redmond Campus, check the book MicroSerfs, by Douglas Copland, the same dude that coined the term Generation X.
As a single example, consider this Reuters story which appeared in The Financial Post on January 12, 1998:
Microsoft Wins TCI Contract Seattle -- Microsoft Corp scored a major victory Saturday in its aggressive push to lead the convergence of television and the Internet, winning a contract to supply the core sofware for at least fie million advanced set-top boxes for cable giante Tele-Communications Inc.
The deal, hammerered out in negotiations that lasted until 2:30 a.m., came just a day after Microsfoft's bitter rival, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced [that] TCI would use its [J]ava programming language in the boxes,
In other words, once Bill Gates was stung by Sun, he went into the back room with TCI and a mandate to get even.
Threatening your own
Microsoft is not above threatening to destroy entire companies (even its own large customers) to get its own way. Here's another quote from another Reuters article, also in The Financial Post on January 12, 1998:
Software giant faces federal contempt charge
Washington -- Microsoft Corp faces federal charges of contempt tomorrow for allegedly violating a judge's order requiring the software giant to sell computer makers its Windows 95 software without building in a Web browser.
The Justice Department has aasked U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to fine [the company] US$1 million a day for violating his Dec. 11 preliminatry injunction...
The government stepped in last fall, after Microsoft threatened to cut off Compaq Computer's access to Windows 95. Compaq needs Windows to stay in business.
In other words, Bill was then so determined to destroy Netscape over its dominance in the Browser field that he was willing to destroy Compaq if they wouldn't help him do it.
Windows 95: Steal from the best
The general ideas of windowed computer are all appropriated from Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre) and environs, where windows, the mouse, selection, drag-and-drop, the File/Edit/View menu, and so on were all invented while Bill Gates was still just another college dropout. See Michael Hiltzik's book Dealers of Lightning for documentation on this.
Here are just a few of the major "innovations" in Windows '95, and where M$ "borrowed" them from:
Innovation Actual Origin
Icons directly on desktop Xerox Alto (1981); Macintosh (1982?)
Recycle Bin Macintosh Trash Can (1984?)
Start Menu Macintosh Apple Menu (1982?)
Settings->Control Panels Macintosh Control Panels
Long File Names Macintosh 1982?; UNIX 1979.
Task Bar HP Vue
Right Button Menus Sun SunView, Sun/ATT OPEN LOOK, ...
DCOM Xerox Alto; RPC (Sun&HP had RPC mechanisms by the early 1980's)
Internetworking Xerox Alto; UNIX (4.2BSD, 1982, included TCP/IP)
Network file sharing Many, many distributed filesystem schemes
No wonder the Macintosh fans all said "Windows 95 == Mac 88".
Seattle Computer's SC-DOS becomes MS-DOS
IBM was designing and building its first Personal Computers in the early 1980's, and needed an operating system. The main contender seemed to be CP/M-86, a second-generation version of Control Program for Microcomputers, a Digital Research product based on several earlier systems including Digital Equipment (DEC)'s RT-11 and another (Xerox??) operating system called simply CP, or Control Program. So CP/M was a reimplementation of those for the 8080/Z80 microprocessors that preceded the IBM PC. CP/M-86 was a reimplementation of CP/M for the faster, 16-bit 8086 that was coming into vogue, and its 8-bit cousin the 8088 that IBM eventually chose.
But then another reimplementation came out of the woodwork. Seattle Computer's SC-DOS was also called QDOS, for Quick and Dirty OS; written as it was in a pretty short time (rumor has it as little as one weekend, which I find hard to believe). SC-DOS was a clone of CP/M 86, and was sold for personal computers based on the 8086. Seattle didn't have any "application software" to run with it. But Bill Gates was able to "bundle" this O/S with his Basic interpreter (Basic was big back then, since it was small enough to run on machines with 64KB). IBM bought into the deal, Gates bought the rights to the O/S from Seattle for a song, Seattle went under, and Gates went on to become the world's richest man. That's history, folks!
There are two footnotes to the above footnote. First, Gary Kildall, visionary and founder of Digital Research, the home of CP/M and CP/M-86, died in relative anonymity in 1994, a bit like Mozart, forgotten in his own time but, perhaps, to be remembered along with Mr. Gates by future historians. Second, Tim Paterson, who wrote SC-DOS at Seattle, went on to work for Microsoft and is relatively wealthy from Microsoft stock options.
By Joris Evers
Symantec has launched a suit charging Microsoft with misappropriating its intellectual property and with violating a license related to data storage technology.
The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, seeks unspecified damages and an injunction barring Microsoft from using the Symantec technology, which would include a halt on Windows Vista and the Longhorn server, according to a copy of the filing.
"We are accusing them of misusing certain intellectual property that they had access to...and (saying) that they misused our intellectual property in operating system products," Michael Schallop, the director of legal affairs at the security company, said in an interview. It is the first time Microsoft and Symantec have been pitted against each other in court, he said.
Beware the 'monoculture'
CEO John Thompson on why Symantec will beat Microsoft.
The complaint involves Symantec's Volume Manager product, acquired as part of the company's takeover of Veritas Software. Volume Manager allows operating systems to store and manipulate large amounts of data.
Microsoft licensed a "light" version of Volume Manager from Veritas in 1996 and used it in Windows 2000, Schallop said. The Redmond, Wash., company then used it to develop functionality for Windows Server 2003, which competes with Veritas' Storage Foundation for Windows, Schallop said.
Microsoft also misuses Symantec's technology in Windows Vista and the Longhorn server release, Symantec charges in its complaint. It seeks an injunction to stop Microsoft from further developing, selling or distributing Vista, Longhorn server and all other infringing products, as well as a recall of all products already in the market, according to the complaint.
"The breaches of the agreement and IP violations began after Windows 2000...They were not allowed to use that intellectual property to develop products that compete against Veritas," Schallop said. "They have used our intellectual property in terms of trade secrets and source code to develop competing products."
Additionally, Schallop said, Veritas discovered about two years ago that Microsoft had filed patent requests based on Veritas' trade secrets. "They claimed they had invented something that they had not," he said.
Symantec and Microsoft have tried to resolve the dispute, but were unable to. "We recently agreed to disagree and let the courts help us resolve the dispute," Schallop said. "We think that we will prevail through trial."
A Microsoft representative confirmed the dispute and the attempts to reach an agreement outside of the courts. The argument stems from a "very narrow disagreement" over the terms of a 1996 contract with Veritas, the representative said in a statement.
"These claims are unfounded because Microsoft actually purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas in 2004," the representative said. "We believe the facts will show that Microsoft's actions were proper and are fully consistent with the contract between Veritas and Microsoft."
Saturday, April 08, 2006
On Thursday, a company called Parallels released a beta of its Windows virtualization solution for Intel Macs called Workstation 2.1.
The free-for-the-time-being software is the first virtualization solution specifically designed to work with Intel Macs. Unlike Apple's Boot Camp, the software enables users to run Windows, Linux and any other operating system at the same time as Mac OS X -- very similar to Virtual PC.
Workstation 2.1 will eventually cost $50 when it is formally released, but until then users may download a free, fully functional copy of the beta. Parallels is eager for Mac users to present feedback on the application through its Web site.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Hackers Get Windows XP on Apple Computers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - As expected, hackers have found a way to run Microsoft Corp.'sOr, make that dual-boot — the way to make a computer switch between two operating systems.
Some users of Apple Computer Inc.'s Macs have clamored for such a solution since Apple said it would be switching its computers to Intel Corp.'s chips, putting the feat within reach.
Their reasons vary, but a common denominator is that they would like to run Windows-based programs on their Macs.
Colin Nederkoorn, a shipping broker in Houston, says he just wants to streamline his work: instead of using his Apple PowerBook computer for some programs and a Windows PC for other tasks, he'd like to just use one machine.
That's why Nederkoorn, 23, started a contest back in January to goad programmers, soliciting donations for a cash prize for anyone who came up with a hack.
Late Thursday, the prize went to two San Francisco Bay Area software developers, Jesus Lopez, 33, of Alameda, and Eric Wasserman, 41, of Berkeley.
Lopez said he did most of the technical work — spending late nights and weekends on the challenge — while Wasserman, a devoted Mac user, introduced him to the contest in February and supported him in the process.
Lopez, who never even owned a Mac computer until he had to get one to assume the challenge, said in an interview Friday his previous tinkering projects were all personal.
"But this is something that I feel a lot of people could use, and that the tech community will benefit from this," he said.
On Friday, Nederkoorn's Web site was busy with collaboration between developers working to improve upon Lopez' work. Nederkoorn said the so-called "Windows on Mac" project is open-sourced, meaning anyone can build on it.
The hack, which is downloadable from the Web site, still takes some tedious labor and technical know-how, but Nederkoorn predicts an easier version for mainstream computer users might be available within a year.
"It should be as easy as two clicks at some stage," he said.
When Apple introduced its first Intel-based computer in January, company officials said Apple has no intention of selling or supporting Windows on its machines, though it has not done anything to preclude people from doing it themselves.
"If there are people who love our hardware but are forced to put up with a Windows world, then that's OK," senior vice president Phil Schiller said at the time.
As elegant as it gets
Boot Camp lets you install Windows XP without moving your Mac data, though you will need to bring your own copy to the table, as Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.(1) Boot Camp will burn a CD of all the required drivers for Windows so you don't have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them....
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