Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the everyone-feel-bad-for-stu dept.

Microsoft 1023

parking_god writes "MIT prof Stuart Madnick, testifying on MS's behalf, was caught out twice when a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions." Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense ;)

cancel ×

1023 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is not funny! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450437)

Microsoft is our saviour!

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450440)

too good to be true?

fp? (0, Redundant)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450445)

so what did you expect from them. they are not even allowed to run anything else than ms on their desktops, it's prolly in their contract ;)

Ha Ha.... (0, Troll)

jjsjeff (210138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450447)

I just rooted your witness!

All your base are belong to us MSFT!



Coincidental Slashdot Fortune (5, Funny)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450452)

He missed an invaluable opportunity to hold his tongue.
-- Andrew Lang


Talk about perfect timing for a random draw from the fortune file...

Microsoft maybe not as funny as you think (3, Interesting)

rdelsambuco (552369) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450599)

Microsoft has lost little in this whole process by "not holding its tongue." Say what you will about MS but the organization as a whole has done a good job of finding spokespeople (like the professor) who appear "respectable" -- and that's all they need.

The spin in Seattle on public radio was entirely positive onn this -- which was interesting.

haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450458)

oops :p
good, stick it to them

text here (-1, Redundant)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450462)

Microsoft witness stumbles MIT professor fumbles answers as states attorney grills him on proposed settlement.
May 2, 2002: 7:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN/Money) - A technical expert testifying on behalf of Microsoft Corp. in the ongoing antitrust action stumbled several times while on the stand.

"I'm not trying to be evasive," Stuart E. Madnick, a computer science professor at MIT, said at one point. "I'm just trying to be precise."

Madnick was sometimes anything but precise, however. When government attorney Kevin Hodges asked him to name an operating system besides those made by Microsoft in which the Web browsing software could not be removed. Madnick immediately offered up KDE as an example. But KDE is a computer program designed to run on top of the Linux operating system, as Hodges pointed out. Madnick conceded that was true, and instead suggested GNOME as an example.

But GNOME performs the same function as KDE on a computer equipped with the Linux operating system. Hodges was never able to get an answer to his question.

One of the key issues in the antitrust case revolves around Microsoft's incorporation of the Internet Explorer Web browsing software into its Windows operating system in such a way that IE can't be removed without damaging Windows. The courts found that Microsoft has monopoly power in the market for desktop computer operating systems, and violated antitrust law to protect that power.

The U.S. Department of Justice and half the states involved in the original antitrust action are ready to settle with Microsoft, but the rest of the states involved in the original case say the proposed settlement doesn't go far enough. The current hearings, before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, are intended to decide what should be done.

Hodges and Madnick sparred over a number of issues, including the concept of interoperability. Critics, including the dissenting states, have argued that Microsoft deliberately designs its products to interfere with technology made by other companies, forcing people to use Microsoft products. The dissenting states are pressing for complete interoperability. But Madnick argued that being able to exchange and use data on any level -- even if the process is clumsy -- is enough to claim interoperability.

Madnick argued that perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility. "It would be surprising if two different products behaved exactly alike," he told the court Wednesday.

Madnick testified that Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) probably would not be able to develop and market a workable version of Windows under the terms proposed by the dissenting states. He believes the requirements -- such as building Windows in such a way that computer manufacturers could alter it -- are not technically feasible.

Hodges hammered away at Madnick throughout the day, leaving the weary academic floundering at times.

Asked to evaluate language in the proposed settlements, Madnick studied the documents, then shook his head and said, "I somehow think there's something I'm missing, but I can't spot it at the moment."

Madnick will return to the stand Thursday. Microsoft executive Will Poole should take the stand as soon as Madnick completes his appearance.

Wednesday morning, Kollar-Kotelly returned to the issue of whether to allow the states to introduce additional evidence into the case. She held open the possibility that the documents could be introduced during the rebuttal phase of the trial, after each side has made their case. But she was clear that it wouldn't happen while Microsoft was presenting its witnesses. "You can't get these in during their case," she told Howard Gutman, an attorney for the states. Kollar-Kotelly may rule on the issue Thursday.

The issue arose Tuesday after Microsoft withdrew several witnesses Monday night, one of whom, Richard Fade, is senior vice president of the OEM division, which works with computer manufacturers. But the government lawyers were counting on his testimony to introduce documents as evidence that Microsoft has continued to use its monopoly power to squeeze computer manufacturers.

The government team apparently had every intention of introducing the documents as part of its own case -- as the courtroom rules require -- but botched that attempt several weeks ago by apparently misunderstanding the court's rules on the introduction of witnesses. The states tried to introduce deposition testimony from over a dozen witnesses near the end of their case, but Kollar-Kotelly, in response to an objection by Microsoft, ruled that those individuals should have been on the original witness list and denied the states an opportunity to bring whatever facts those witnesses might have offered into the trial.

Wednesday, Gutman brought the number of documents he'd like to see admitted down to 7, and Kollar-Kotelly said she'd take the request under advisement, though she seemed unenthusiastic. Top of page

-- from CNNfn producer Dave Wilson

gnome and kde aren't OSes (0, Redundant)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450463)

gnome and kde aren't OSes

Truth is, I still can't name one.

Re:gnome and kde aren't OSes (2)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450569)

I can remove the browser from Mac OS (at least versions 7-9, never tried to remove it from OS X) and I also have a small (30 or 40 meg) install of linux running as a firewall that doesn't even have lynx.

Re:gnome and kde aren't OSes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450633)

Aye - that's the point.

But Billy said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450465)

hell, even Bill Gates uses a Mac

OK (-1, Offtopic)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450468)

Hohoho Hahahahahaha
I just wasted 3 hours this morning running fixsirc.com on a bunch of Windows PC's Haaaahahahahahah
heeeheeheehehhehee I'm so productive hehehhehe.

Eighth post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450469)

EIGHT IS MY FAVORITE NUMBER!

Expert? (1)

Hyperfrog (575345) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450470)

Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles - Trips over his own tongue? Yes, I agree :-)

LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450472)

LUNIX SUCKS!!!

IE is just a shell (2, Troll)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450474)

a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions.

Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix? Where exactly do you draw the line? Discuss.

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450505)

ever tried replcing the shell in widows, seen how stable it is? ie *is* part of windows cos anyother shell is really not worth bothering with.

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450510)

That sounds like a challenge. Who can be the first to make a Unix distro with no shell?

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

oever (233119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450627)

It's easy.

see here:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=32008&c id=3450 588

Re:IE is just a shell (5, Insightful)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450516)

THE shell? would that be bash, ksh or tcsh?

//rdj

Re:IE is just a shell (0, Troll)

theolein (316044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450517)

The shell in Unix underlies the Unix permissions system.

Re:IE is just a shell (2, Insightful)

adam613 (449819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450518)

The shell is a program that runs on top of UNIX and can be replaced with a different shell at the discretion of the computer's user. I don't have to use bash; I could use tcsh if I wanted to.

IE is a program that runs as an integral part of the Windows kernel and can not be replaced by a different browser. Or so the states are trying to argue.

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

thaigan (197773) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450523)

You don't use the shell to browse the internet; you use a browser(lynx,netscape,etc.) On the Mac, you don't use the Finder to browse the internet; again, you use a browser. Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer should be two different beasts.

Re:IE is just a shell (2)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450594)

In KDE, you use Konqueror to browse the internet and you use it to browse your file system too. The difference being that Linux (or Unix) doesn't stop working properly when you remove Konqueror. If it's impossible to remove the browser in Windows, then it's either a design flaw in Windows, or a blatant monopolistic attempt at keeping IE at the top of the browser charts. It's pretty obvious.

Re:IE is just a shell (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450528)

Possibly not, but you can very easily remove whichever shell you don't want on the system, or just opt not to use it. The same is true of the graphical equivalents. Specifically, I'm thinking CDE. The operating system works just fine without it. The only OS I can think of which you can't separate out functionality is Microsoft's various offerings.

Re:IE is just a shell (2, Informative)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450529)

I agreem but try to remove that shell. Gnome and Kde you can simply remove if you don't wan't to use them. But all Linux setup engines allow you to install without Kde and Gnome.

So there are two aspects of shell, removable and not removable. And because IE is so tightly integrated in a shell that makes hard way to be competitive for companies like Netscape. Don't you agree

Re:IE is just a shell (4, Insightful)

BusterB (10791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450554)

Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix? Where exactly do you draw the line? Discuss.

Does Unix require one type of shell over another? You could write init scripts that used csh, ksh, bash, tcsh, or something else entirely. You could use python interactively, or make emacs the default shell. There is no requirement of one over another fundamentally.

Re:IE is just a shell (3, Interesting)

autocracy (192714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450562)

Alright, the shell is part of Unix - which one do you like best? I prefer bash, but korn is not all that uncommon, and the regular csh is still around - then there's... ah, I don't feel like listing 50 something shells. The point's been made. Yes, the shell is critical to Unix, but you can pick whatever shell you'd like.

Another consideration is that Konqueror is an integral part of KDE (not the OS as noted in the article - I realize this. But it fits more into the M$ gui thing), yet it's a lot easier to get Netscape on there than on Windows. Reason? Konqueror lets you remove its icon from the desktop, and doesn't step on Netscape's toes (not that I like using 128 megs of RAM to use a browser like Netscape...)

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

kylus (149953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450565)

You have a point, but in Unix isn't there at least a half a dozen options for what shell you want to use? I think that's a major point of the whole case: users are forced to use M$ explorer for pretty much everything in Windows.

Re:IE is just a shell (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450572)

Without debating the ascertion, it doesn't support any microsoft argument. I have as many different shells as I want on UNIX. And I can remove the ones that I don't want

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

oever (233119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450588)

You don't need the shell to run linux.

Here we have many computers running linux. Linux calls an executable called init after booting. That can by any executable. Here it is a custom written c program that runs grid software (condor to be precise)

But even if you have the init program exit immediatly, you are left with a function OS, that can do e.g. routing.

Re:IE is just a shell (2, Insightful)

Gryffin (86893) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450593)

The difference is, you can remove or replace the shell in Unix. Don't like bash? Replace it with tcsh. Heck, theoretically you could configure your machine to your liking, remove all shells, restart it and let it run all the deamons and such with no interface whatsoever.

On the other hand, Microsoft claims that you simply can NOT remove Internet Explorer, or replace it completely, without irreparable damage to Windows.

Now, of course, we all realize that that's complete bullshit. If IE has it's tendrils THAT deep into Windows, it's only because Microsoft wrote it that way deliberately. (Which is spectacularly bad programming practice, but that's another topic.)

The suit is over the tying of IE to Windows. Microsoft admits they did so, but claims it's OK because they designed it that way deliberately. Their defense is comparable to a thief claiming he was justified to steal, because he chose to do so rather than get a job. It's arrogant and ridiculous, but then, this IS Microsoft we're talking about.

Re:IE is just a shell (1)

Bartleby (14582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450597)

Much as I hate to agree with this, I find I do to some extent. It is certainly true that KDE and GNOME are not part of the operating system, but I don't think anyone's suggesting MS should be required to ship a "kernel-only" version of Windows to consumers. To the extent Linux-based systems are competitors to Windows-based systems (at least on the desktop, which is where this battle over IE is really relevant), they require software like KDE or GNOME, and both those systems do incorporate Internet functionality very similar to the way Windows does.

I enjoy a good guffaw at MS's expense as much as the next guy (well, at least as much as the guy after the next guy), but it seems to me the witness could have made this distinction and salvaged his testimony.

Re:IE is just a shell (2, Redundant)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450618)

Is Internet Explorer any less a part of Windows than the shell is a part of Unix?

Um, which shell, Einstein?

- A.P.

I also had to giggle (2, Funny)

theolein (316044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450476)

Quote: "I'm not trying to be evasive," Stuart E. Madnick, a computer science professor at MIT, said at one point. "I'm just trying to be precise."

He's working at the wrong place, he should be in someone's [microsoft.com] PR department.

If this was a couple years ago... (0, Flamebait)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450478)

...the Microsoft witness could have tried to accuse Apple of "bundling" CyberDog/OpenDoc technology into the Mac OS...

Oh, that's right, MS bullied Apple into using Explorer, didn't they?

Re:If this was a couple years ago... (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450549)

OpenDoc was always an optional install.

don't be too polemic (3, Insightful)

stew77 (412272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450482)

Yes, this guy obviously doesn't have a clue what an operating system is. However, it's true that any KDE-based distro is in the same situation as Windows is: Sure you can remove the browser, but that will kill certain other programs that need to be replaced as well (e.g. the file browser) and other programs using the browser functionality will also lose freatures (e.g. no more HTML help in your IDE).

Re:don't be too polemic (2)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450616)

Yeah, but even to retain these degrees of functionality (file browsing and reading html files) don't you have a choice between several programs.

What my real question is, can't you swap out between several choices of competing browsers.

I'm asking because I don't know the answer.

Re:don't be too polemic (2)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450638)

Those are called interdependencies. Yes the KDE specific pieces that expect to use a browser will stop functioning, no the Linux system won't stop functioning.

Microsoft has been going around trying to claim that you need IE for Windows to run. IE is "inextricably linked to the OS" and "removing it would cause the OS to cease functioning". Strangely enough, the same IE install also works on the server versions of their OS code which they claim are different from the workstation (professional and home as they call them) versions of their OS code.

"HTML Help" is a wonderful dodge that MS invented. Here they are using psuedo-HTML in proprietary compressed files. The only reason that "HTML Help" doesn't work under another browser is that they're not using HTML files. Another point for the ol' "Triple E" MS approach I guess.

Finally, if its evident that the witness doesn't know about OS's then why is he testifying about them? After all, he has been called as an expert to testify about the effects of these proposed remedies on the OS.

surprised? (2, Funny)

pstreck (558593) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450483)

Is anyone actually surprised by this. I mean come on, he's probably an MCSE too ;)

The only Answer (2, Funny)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450488)

asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed

msLacky: Well of course you cant remove Netscape from the Mozilla Operating system.

No sir that isnt an OS

mslacky: But its EVIL!!! Ill get That damn Dragon and his little penguin too!!!!

Thats enough sir you can step down

mslacky: Dont you see him that peguin hes making fun of me... oh Mr penguin stay right there ill get you, bad Mr penguin

Re:The only Answer (1, Offtopic)

autocracy (192714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450606)

I metamoderate... and I mark every offtopic UNFAIR, Offtopic is a horribly misused Moderation.
Right - you're an ass. Just because it's misused doesn't mean it's wrong every time. The guy who starts talking about monkeys in a story about encryption is most likely off-topic. If you're going to metamod, take the responsibility to do it right rather than promote some quasi-political agenda of yours against a certain class of moderation reason.

Huh?? (3, Insightful)

adam613 (449819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450490)

If someone who is a CS prof at MIT doesn't understand what a window manager is, I fear for the future of CS research. I have friends who are English majors and could explain that KDE, Gnome, and XFree86 are all prograams that may or may not be installed on a particular Linux system.

Although I have to wonder what sort of deal did Microsoft offer him to forget the difference between Windoze and KDE? :)

Re:Huh?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450519)

Don't you mean "on a particular GNU/Linux system"? Linux is just the kernel, after all...

Re:Huh?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450619)

I don't run GNU/Linux. I don't run RMS/Linux. If anything I run IBM/Linux.

Yep, that's right kiddies, I have a Linux machine with no GNU software on it. Compiler is an IBM internal experiment which is a hell of a lot better than GCC. Shell is my own. Commandline tools are made by a load of people, but I made sure that they weren't owned by GNU.

Yep, the only bit of GNU in my Linux is the license. It can be done.


Don't knock the English majors! (1)

HoldmyCauls (239328) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450556)

I just recently switched to English@Utica College from SoftEng@RIT. I definitely think I'm much freer to do what I want this way. ; )

Re:Huh?? (1)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450592)

Windoze is no longer just a window manager anymore -- it is the operating system now. DOS (now called "the command prompt") is just a mere accessory like Mine Sweeper.

Re:Huh?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450595)

I believe that the article states that he is an *IT* prof at MIT. Big difference.

Re:Huh?? (1)

adam613 (449819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450620)

"I'm not trying to be evasive," Stuart E. Madnick, a computer science professor at MIT, said at one point. "I'm just trying to be precise."

Guess again.

wait a second... (3, Interesting)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450496)

Gnome does not necessarily even have a built-in browser for its desktop. Galeon gives you the option of being the default browser but does not have to reside on the same system with the rest of the desktop. Nautilus is the same way. If you still use GMC you have no built-in browser sucking up space.

I thought with KDE you did not HAVE to have Konquerer though it is by default the file manager/browser for KDE. There are other file managers that can be used with KDE that do not have built-in browsers I think.

I understand fully that KDE and GNOME are desktop environments for the Linux OS. Even so, even if the desktop could be considered the OS, his examples still do not apply.

Am I wrong on this or is this guy just the clueless MIT professor ever?

This is not a Troll I would actually like to know if I am wrong.

________________________________________________ __

Re:wait a second... (2, Informative)

adam613 (449819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450552)

KDE makes no requirements about what browser you use with it. I use Galeon in KDE all of the time, because Galeon works and Konqueror doesn't.

Not only that, KDE has that menu that allows you to PICK BETWEEN DIFFERENT BROWSERS TO VIEW WITH when you copy a URL to the clipboard.

Re:wait a second... (1)

stew77 (412272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450576)

KDE is not an OS. But neither is Linux. SuSE Linux is an OS, so is Mandrake and so is Debian GNU and various others. Some of those heavily rely on KDE (e.g. Corel Linux - there sure are newer ones, but I haven't run anything besides Debian for years now), removing Konqueror from that OS' would make some programs that were designed to run on those OS' fail. In these cases, Konqueror is an integral part of the OS as IE is in Windows.

Re:wait a second... (1)

LordWoody (187919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450583)

You don't have to run Nautilus or gmc with Gnome. You simply loose your desktop icons feature in Gnome at the gain of less memory used/wasted (for those of us who never actually see our desktop do to all of the open programs). At that point you have nothing that resembles a 'web browser' integrated into your desktop.

To get rid of both, close all your open programs, bring up the Gnome session manager and remove any gmc or nautilus process, save and restart Gnome/X.

Re:wait a second... (3, Funny)

tb3 (313150) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450639)

This guy is clearly out of his depth. Here's his homepage [mit.edu] at M.I.T. He seems to be more of a management expert than anything else (kinda like a graduate-level PHB).

However, he is the auther of the classic textbook "Operating Systems". So classic that it was written in 1974, and has been long out of print. What the hell was MS thinking? This guy wouldn't know a GUI if it bit him!

university (1)

goneaway (224677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450497)

I can just picture this poor bastard being hung out to dry by administration in hopes of securing a better price break on a campus level agreement or trying to avoid the long arm of the BSA.

Well they're not the only ones... (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450498)

with weird definitions of what constitutes an operating system. Remember when Stallman made quotes along the lines of "anything that doesn't come with its own compiler isn't a real operating system".

Unbelievable (2)

emf (68407) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450499)

Each time I see another story about this I can't believe it.

The whole idea that an operating system (Windows) is dependent on an application (Internet Explorer) is a complete joke. I can't believe they have spent so much time and money arguing about this.

And in other news, MIT changes acronym to... (1)

Ann O'Nymous-Coward (460094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450500)

Mediocre Intellect Twats.
I mean, come on! This guy is supposed to teach CS? And not at some tinpot half-assed place either. Kind of thing that makes you shudder for the future of the field.

Wow... (1)

big_groo (237634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450501)

...an MIT professor of computer science does not know about KDE or Gnome?

Wtf?

browser essential part of os (1)

unk1911 (250141) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450502)

don't mean to be a party popper, but isn't the browser an integral part of the windows os, w/o it you can't even look at your files, etc.? what's wrong with that?

Re:browser essential part of os (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450584)

Explorer is the Windows file manager. It's very evident on any NT 4.0 or pre-Win98 version of Windows. Internet Explorer is the web browser.

Gnome and KDE ? (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450507)

I thought Gnome and KDE were Desktop Environments... and not whole OS's.

You can choose to use neither one of them which does give you the opportunity to remove the accompaniing browser (or not install it at all) from the OS you run it on.

Re:Gnome and KDE ? (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450571)

Nevermind... should have read the article first before commenting... But the comment after the post was a little confusing...

Strange Word Choice (1)

mgrochmal (567074) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450508)

"I'm not trying to be evasive," Stuart E. Madnick, a computer science professor at MIT, said at one point. "I'm just trying to be precise."

It's good that he's trying to be precise. It would be a lot better if he was actually had an answer that was right. In any case, it's another example of why you should research the other options before declaring someone an expert.

Spot on! (-1)

Grape Smuggler (569838) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450511)

"and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense"

The trolls have been accusing you Linux zealots of that for quite some time. Glad to see you finally are coming to terms with your problem.

lynx (1)

alexc (37361) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450514)

ack! my linux system can run with lynx!!!!

Know-It-Alls (5, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450520)

Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense ;) Well given that this man is supposed to be an "expert witness" *some* knowledge of major competing OSes might be expected. The vast majority of Microsoft's business tactics are legal yet unsavory. I respect that. This is capitolism after all. What bothers me about Microsoft is their monolithic view of their role in computing. The honestly believe that without them, no innovation would have occured between 1985 and now, and so we should just let them walk over consumers and competitors out of gratefulness. I know it won't happen, but what I'd like to see come out of this trial would be a Microsoft not split up, shackled, or fined out of existance, but a Microsoft scared into respecting other's place in the industry. In all honesty they've done a better job than anyone else at creating a useable desktop OS good for a wide range of activities on a large variety of hardware. I'm not quite sure how they've been so successful in the server market, though. Advertising, I guess. And for my money, they still make a damn good mouse.

Re:Know-It-Alls (2, Funny)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450548)

*slaps head* forgot to put in HTML line breaks.

apypollylogies.

Re:Know-It-Alls (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450631)

>In all honesty they've done a better job than anyone else at creating a useable desktop OS good for a wide range of activities on a large variety of hardware
Brave comments on slashdot, but your right, Apple have probebely done a better job at the interface, and i think their begging to win on technolgy now as well, but they only run on thir hardware.
Without microsoft the hardware woudnt have advanced, like is has, no one else has had a system that provided a basis to push the x86 architecture like windows.
>a Microsoft scared into respecting other's place in the industry.
that is possibley one of the most incitefull viewpoint on the microsft "situation" that i have ever heard

Madnick is not an MIT computer science professor (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450524)

He is an MIT Sloan School (business school, department 15, management) professor. Many of us from course 6 (EECS) are happy to disavow him.

how would mac os (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450525)

fit into all of this?

Re:how would mac os (1)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450558)

They don't. They don't integrate their own browser and removing IE wasn't a pain on MacOS. On MacOS X I just avoid that option, at least until I don't know what everything to remove.

That's simply... (1)

tka (548076) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450526)

..embarressing for MS. "Technial expert" without any knowledge (other than name) of other rival OS's. Very poor..

Generally pathetic witnesses for Microsoft (5, Interesting)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450527)

I've been submitting stories for awhile now (all rejected) on the ineffective witnesses that Microsoft has been using during this phase of the trial.

They've had several industry witnesses who were forced to admit that they'd never read the settlement or the states proposals. The economist who testified for Microsoft had to admit that all of his research in this area had been funded by Microsoft, the Autodesk exec who after defending Microsoft had to relate how screwed over he felt by them excluding Java from Windows XP (needed for some Autodesk software). The most fun was the former Microsoftie, now head of his own company, who testified that the states plan would lead to the "balkanization" of Windows. On cross, he admitted that the Microsoft lawyers wrote the first draft of his testimony, and that he hadn't even know what balkanization meant.

How much are these Microsoft lawyers getting if this is the level of their trial prep?

Simpsons (3, Funny)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450532)

*Bully from Simpsons voice* HA-ha!

This guy's an expert in what sense, exactly? (1)

Ann O'Nymous-Coward (460094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450534)

He's someone who used to use Pert shampoo, maybe?
ObJoke: How did the programmer die in the shower? He read the instructions on the shampoo: "Lather, Rinse, Repeat."

The most popular prof... (5, Funny)

Merk (25521) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450535)

So lemme get this straight -- this guy is a CS prof at MIT, home of the FSF. He voluntarily agreed to testify on Microsoft's behalf, and then didn't know the difference between an operating system and a desktop environment?

Man, this guy's courses must be popular! I bet you really have to fight to get in to: "Introduction to flicking on the power switch thingy 101" and "How to click on the start menu 304"

Prof of WHAT? (1)

carrolljim (412715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450539)

Are we sure he's a CS Prof? He sounds more like a Professor of Marketing...

I wonder ... (2, Funny)

smak (193931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450541)

I am not a lawyer, but what I would like to know is, how much MS pay a witness like this, to testify on their behalf? (if anything.)

smak.

--
b0rk!

Business press doesn't see it that way (5, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450544)

I have been following the trial in the general business press as well as the IT trade press and of course the Linux-centric sites. Although the IT trade press is reporting that Microsoft's witnesses are doing a mixed job and are taking some significant hits in cross-examination, the general business press is taking the line that Microsoft's legal team has everything under control this time and is crushing the States.

My guess is that the judge's viewpoint is going to be closer to the general business press than the IT world (much less Slashdot), so I am not holding out much hope for a meaningful order here.

sPh

Cash for questions.....or answers (2, Funny)

h0tblack (575548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450551)

"Asked to evaluate language in the proposed settlements, Madnick studied the documents, then shook his head and said, "I somehow think there's something I'm missing, but I can't spot it at the moment."

The pre-prepared script from Microsoft that they had e-mailed to him perchance?
This mail was of course lost when someone sent him a malicious VB script entitled "How to make quick easy money".
;)

He is not part of (EE)CS (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450555)

He is affiliated with the Sloan School of Management (Course 15), and not the EECS department (Course 6). Hence, the lack of knowledge about the OS itself. He's probably trying to get some more funding from Microsoft for the i-Campus [mit.edu] initiative Here's his personal home page [mit.edu] , FYI.

MIT professors (1)

pretzel_logic (576231) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450559)

I always wanted to go to MIT, because MY professors can never answer my CS questions. They have actually said "hey bud, I am part time here, gimme a break." Maybe todays professors arent ready for this new revolution.

Control, you must learn control! (3, Informative)

CptLogic (207776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450563)

>>Madnick testified that Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) probably would not be able to develop and market a workable version of Windows under the terms proposed by the dissenting states. He believes the requirements -- such as building Windows in such a way that computer manufacturers could alter it -- are not technically feasible.

And he's right, it's not technically feasible because Microsoft will not relinquish control of the necessary source, preferring to keep everything black boxed, the hell away from people who could alter the product that carries their name. It's about controlling how you can use the product that they are associated with, because, "hell, a third party could screw Windows up and Microsoft could get a bad rep."

We know Microsoft are control freaks, there's no way they'd allow Windows to be opened up like that, and without that unlocking of the black box, it *is* not technically feasible for a computer manufacturer to alter Windows, and the reason for this is "technically" MSFT are not legally bound to release their source, and "technically" could charge for any SDK they may choose to never release that would allow that access.

"technically" this poor bastard who's been set up to fail, trying to defend the indefensible, is correct. In an "I did not have sexual relations..." kind of way.

Chris.

The

how hard could it be to remove the brower, anyway? (4, Insightful)

cheesyfru (99893) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450564)

This has been bugging me forever. Nobody is saying that they need to remove the browser from the OS, they just need to disable it. How hard is it to remove the icons for it, and disable the "internet http browser" aspect until the user voluntarily downloads a tiny piece of plug-in code which enables the browser to work with internet protocols? If the world's largest and most powerful software company can't figure out how to do this, then how in the world are they getting big business to pay them millions of dollars to manage their mission critical software?

WebTV (2)

ehiris (214677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450566)

Try removing the browser from WebTv devices.

Re:WebTV (1)

CptLogic (207776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450613)

Not sure I can remove the WAP browser from my WAP phone either. Then again, why would I want to since I paid for the thing *because* of the browser facility?
Same thing with WebTV.
Anyway doesn't that run on an underlying OS anyway?

Chris.

It's consistent with Microsoft's past marketing (2, Insightful)

joshtimmons (241649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450568)

Reaching way back to Windows 3.1 days: Microsoft called it "Microsoft Windows 3.1 Operating System" right on the front of the box. Of course, it was just a GUI that ran on top of DOS.

Based on that reasoning, KDE and Gnome could be considered operating systems too. They're GUIs that run on top of *nix.

It's wrong, but they're using the term consistently. Perhaps they have some adgenda to redefine the term "operating system".

Truth! (1)

CyberQ (304799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450570)

Madnick immediately offered up KDE as an example.

The truth - just a poor excuse for a lack of creativity!

This could come back to bite us (1)

kryonD (163018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450574)

There are dozens of amateur OS's out there that have functioning GUI's. With a little bit of research, MS could come back into court with proof that they're not the only ones who integrated the browser and that it must be a good idea.

Note: I don't know of any of those OS's that did integrate the browser, but I have not downloaded and played with every single one either.

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

But you can change the browser (2, Interesting)

Qwerpafw (315600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450578)

As far as I know, you *can* remove the browser in windows. or at least replace it with gecko :)

All you have to do is replace mshtml.dll (the html rendering engine for windows) with one that is based off of gecko code. There! Now windows uses gecko instead of whatever they call explorer's rendering engine.

Problem is, i have no clue how to do this :). But it shouldn't be so hard for someone with windows expertise.

Now all someone needs to do is write a VB app that lets you "choose" which rendering engine you want and sell it to the DOJ as a MS "remedy." Voila! Quick cash.

I'd laugh, but ... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450580)

I'd laugh, but I'm usually cursing. Few things put me in a rotten mood as quickly as trying to do anything on my Windows laptop.

Still, it's fun to see these witnesses stumble at the expense of company which insists my operating system has to be bloated, buggy, and inefficient othewise it would fragment (ha!) the software industry and consumer market. Yet, it's sad to see some prominent figures in industry and education have to admit they're talking through their hats and will have us snickering behind their backs for years to come.

"Hello, I'm Jerry Sanders."

*snerk* *snerk* "Please to meet you, Jerry!" *snerk*

hm.. (1)

gabec (538140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450586)

Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are,

but thanks for giving them the right answer explicitly right here on /. so they can use it tomorrow!

I can see it now: "Well-known linux-oriented news site slashdot reported yesterday, and I quote..." ;)

HAHAHA! (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450601)

ok, I laughed.

Product Interference Not So Uncommon (5, Informative)

Root Down (208740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450609)

Microsoft deliberately designs its products to interfere with technology made by other companies, forcing people to use Microsoft products...

This is not an uncommon practice. Don't believe me? Try installing Real Player (Real One) and watch the default installation - that which the majority of users would use - take over every media file in your system. This is directly interfering with the use of other media - now requiring extra steps to use anything but the default. Try unassociating - no obvious route exists. This is just one example.

Counterpoint: You are still able to use these alternative media, even though there is a "performance cost" involved in having to take extra steps. Don't like it? Don't be an idiot and use the default install.

Both are worth considering in the overall sense of programming specifically to exclude the competition and its prevalence in the computer industry - especially given the foreknowledge that the majority of your users will not consider themselves 'advanced' enough to select options in the non-default setup. It's another question of ethics that really has not been given a great deal of attention - though we've likely got more pressing issues to consider (e.g.: DMCA, etc).

Interoperability: Theoretical Impossibility? (1)

bshroyer (21524) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450610)

From the article:

Madnick argued that perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility. "It would be surprising if two different products behaved exactly alike," he told the court Wednesday.

Perhaps if Microsoft started releasing/developing/participating in some standards or specifications, or if they further opened up their API, interoperability would be possible.

Interoperability (1)

dracken (453199) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450621)

"perfect interoperability, which would allow products to be substituted for each other with no performance degradation, was a theoretical impossibility"

What a bunch of crap! Anything good that has ever happened in CS innovation was because of the compulsions of diversity in harware/software. TCP / IP anyone ? How would our dear professor like an internet that would work only between pentium 4s running Windows XP, since we are wasting our efforts achieving interoperability ?

"It would be surprising if two different products behaved exactly alike"

You moron! thats what we exactly want. I dont want the stuff shoved down my throat by microsoft - my co-worker loves it. So I use another product that behaves differently. I download OSS and change a bit of functionality here and there. I edit config files. *Why* on earth do you think everyone needs to use the same software with same features and settings ?

This guy is taking the sickening route every monopolists takes "Trust us with our soul. We know what is best for you. Its going to be chaos if we have competition. Never mind the fact that our product sucks, our licensing sucks, our support sucks and our pricing will suffocate you"

-Dracken

IE and Windows (2, Interesting)

ManicGiraffe (558896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450632)

Given the M$ penchant for random DLLs, it's entirely possible that removing or disabling all the parts of IE would indeed break Windows, since god know what else is thrown into the code with it - I think most of Windows Explorer is actually IE; not having a directory browser would make that sucker unusable. This is, of course, not a good defense - it's just proof that M$ has bad design at best, or malicious design at worst. On another note, I fear for the CS department at MIT when a professor doesn't know the difference between a windowing environment and an actual OS. That truly scares me.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?