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Windows Exec Doug Miller Responds

Roblimo posted more than 13 years ago | from the people-without-penguins-on-their-monitors dept.

Microsoft 747

Doug Miller (no relation) is an amazingly affable and unflappable man. This interview came about because I asked Doug face-to-face if he'd do it when we met after a panel discussion he was part of in Washington DC a few weeks ago. He said "sure" without even a second's hesitation, let alone checking with PR people. His answers to the 10 selected questions we sent him are 100% straight-up. You may not like everything he says (devout Free Software people probably won't like any of it), but Doug Miller deserves your respect (and courtesy) for telling it like it is -- at least from Microsoft's point of view -- without a hint of weaseling.

1) Impact of DOJ case
by skoda

In what ways, if any, has the DOJ anti-trust case affected Microsoft's "competitive strategies", as well as the work Towards "interoperability"?

Doug:

Microsoft has always been a customer focused company and to satisfy customers, you need to build solutions that are competitive. I can't really say if anything has changed over the years, but I can tell you that today we are in a very competitive market - for all the technologies we are involved in. There is nothing like good competitors to help a company focused on building even more value in their offerings. As a result, we need to be even more diligent about building solutions that customers want. For example, in the server space we need to compete with Linux - a pretty good server operating system that is promoted as being free and has a solid following in the technical community. Our products need to show long term value that goes beyond the initial purchase price so the argument becomes not how much does your operating system cost up front but more importantly, how much will your operating system save you over the years that you use it.

Ultimately we believe some of the enhancements we have added to our Windows 2000 server operating system will save companies many times the cost of the operating system in productivity gains in areas such as of ease of use, management, applications choice and support and robustness. Regarding interoperability, we strongly believe the company that interoperates best, is the company that will win the business.

Interoperability is a key competitive strength. We clearly accept that customers will choose multiple operating systems depending on how they need to solve their business problems. Providing ways to plug into those other operating systems - both at a system level (e.g. files, user directories etc.) and at an application level (e.g. data formats) is essential. Microsoft has received unwarranted criticism by some for its ability to interoperate with other operating systems. I actually believe we have better interoperability today than any other OS out there. We fully support data, directory and system interop with UNIX, Linux, Novell, Mac, IBM mainframes through our base OS protocol support as well as through products like Services for UNIX, Interix, Services for NetWare, MetaDirectory and Host Integration Server.

2) OS X
by neutrino

With the recent release of MacOS X what are your reactions to it and what plans do you have to compete with a truly user-friendly desktop OS combined with the stability of a UNIX backend?

Doug:

I'm not sure much will change with the release of the new Mac OS X, as a result of the new UNIX-like features. The Mac crowd has always been a special group that has been very dedicated to the Mac platform. We actually see this as a great market for us to sell some of our products into; of course Office for the Mac is a very successful product.

Ultimately application support will be the most important factor for OS X or as it is for any operating system. BeOS is a great operating system technically but hasn't offered the features to obtain the broad ISV support you need to catch on in the mainstream market. You could ask the same question for Linux with the GNOME or KDE desktop or any of the window managers that look like Mac or Windows desktops. In the end, the OS has to do something useful. The Mac platform has been very viable in the past and I'm sure it will continue to thrive in the future.

Reliability or stability has been a major focus for us as well. We are hearing very good reports from customers who are now using Windows 2000 - both on the desktop and the server. Of course, being user-friendly is also important to us. If you haven't seen the beta of Windows XP, check it out - it is VERY cool.

3) Explain this piece of competetive strategy to me
by RareHeintz

Why does it seem that Microsoft routinely ignores glaringly obvious security concerns in favor of "convenience"-related features? Is this a false impression, and if so, why is that the impression so many security professionals form when confronted with the history of security in Microsoft products?

As an example, I'd single out (though it is by no means the only example) Microsoft Outlook. The inclusion of active code (scripts, ActiveX controls) in what was formerly static data (SMTP email) combined with defaulting to the least secure configuration (opening and running emails without user intervention) left the door wide open for the Melissa virus and its desendants. What happened here?

Doug:

You raise a good point - which is how to you balance ease of use and functionality with security and exposure to hostile attacks from the outside. We have always made an effort to provide highly functional software that makes the user experience as intuitive as possible. At the same time, we are sensitive to the growing security threats to our customers, and providing enhanced security has been and continues to be one of our top priorities. In the case of Outlook, we've taken several steps to provide improved security for users. For example, after the "I Love You" virus of last spring, we took the initiative to change the balance between security and functionality by releasing the Outlook E-Mail Security Update. The Update prevents executable attachments from being delivered to an Outlook user, and also prevents code from sending mail on the user's behalf without the user's permission. No user who's installed the Update has been harmed by any of the e-mail viruses that have been seen since "I Love You". The Update was made available as a standalone offering last spring, and has been included by default in Office 2000 SP2 and in Office XP.

We continue to enhance our offerings in this area - in fact next week, we will be showing some new technology at the RSA show to further protect users.

4) Lay it out for us
by FWMiller

Can you ever see Microsoft applications like Office, Visio, and Project being ported to Linux, and why or why not?

Doug:

"Never say never." Microsoft is continually looking at market opportunities for its products - on both our own platforms as well as on other platforms. As mentioned above we saw a great opportunity for selling our Office products on the Mac platform and have licensed a lot of our technology for use on other platforms. In order to consider porting our desktop products to Linux I think two things would need to happen.

First, there would need to be significant consumer demand from Linux users that actually use Linux as a desktop operating system and were all using the same desktop environment. Today we do not see a large installed base of Linux desktop users that use a single standard for desktop computing with Linux. Would we port to KDE or GNOME or would we try and make the products look exactly as they look today on the Windows platform? It is not obvious which way would be the right way and it would be a huge task to do this at all.

The second thing that would need to happen is Linux users would need to be willing to buy our products if we ported them. Today, there is an almost violent dislike for anything Microsoft in the Linux community - just look at some of the postings on slashdot! My sense is that a lot of people would not buy our products if they were available. But in some ways I think this really goes beyond Microsoft. We have spoken to a lot of Linux users and one of the things that they like is that they can get free Open Source applications on top of their free Open Source OS. I have yet to see any company using the traditional commercial software model become hugely successful selling their products into the Linux market. Take Corel for example. Their Linux product and the suite of applications they sold along side their Linux OS were really quite impressive. Despite this, they did not seem to end up selling very much.

I personally feel that there is little opportunity to make money selling software in the Linux marketplace - buying software goes against they whole Linux / Open Source culture.

That said, there are solutions out there that allow Linux users to run Windows applications today.

5) The "services" model
by Animats

When I see Gates saying "all Microsoft software will be rented in ten years", I see IT managers scheduling exit strategies from Microsoft products. Clearly, a services model benefits Microsoft, but do you really think corporate America will go for it?

Doug:

I personally think that we will see a mixed model for the foreseeable future. Some companies will sell, some will rent, some will provide hosted applications for a fee and some will do combination. We have been using our Enterprise Agreement system for providing our software to large corporations for some time and it seems to work well for both the customer and Microsoft. The customer pays a single fee for the use of Microsoft products for a period of time and they can then deploy the software as needed without having to purchase individual copies. They also get upgrades to the software automatically during the contract period. Microsoft has a predictable revenue stream for the period and can afford to support the customer and fund research and development to enhance the products going forward. In a sense, much of corporate America and corporations around the world are already using this system today.

The interesting challenge will be to see if we can provide a similar program for smaller companies and home users that offers the same customer benefits of license simplicity and paying for the services that you use. In some ways it is much like the system most phone or cable companies use today. Pay a monthly fee to subscribe to a set number of features. There is no reason why you can't do this with software and associated services.

6) Loosing the Golden Ring from Microsoft's fist?
by cworley

When Compaq (later followed by others) loosened the Golden Ring from IBM's grasp by reverse engineering their proprietary bios, the Open Hardware PC platform revolution was ignited. Motherboards, memory, adapter cards, etc... could be made by anybody; hardware innovation increased at a rapid pace, and prices plummeted.

That left only two proprietary pieces atop the Open Hardware PC: the Intel CPU and the Microsoft OS.

Intel's been losing ground, especially with clone maker AMD (but, AMD still has to pay Intel royalties for every clone processor).

The OS, though, has proven tough to emulate. Not only does it reach the pinnacle of complexity (where chaos kicks in), but any emulator must chase Microsoft's tail: the emulation will be worthless come Microsoft's next OS patch (i.e. the DRDOS settlement).

Ballmer has recently stated that he thinks Linux is Microsoft's biggest potential competitor.

Could Open Source be a revolution similar to the PC Open Hardware revolution of the early 80's, bringing true competition and innovation to PC software, or is Ballmer's statement just a ruse?

Doug:

We definitely take Linux very seriously.

First of all, Linux is a pretty good collection of technology and is able to do many things as well as UNIX, Windows or other operating systems. It is hard to call it an operating system when in fact "Linux" typically refers to a distribution that includes contributions from hundreds of projects. This is one of the most interesting aspects of Linux but also one of the biggest challenges for Linux users. Lots of technology but little in the way of integration for things like management, internationalization, documentation, installation, data sharing etc. But looking at Linux technically, there is no real revolution here. Linux looks and feels like UNIX and isn't any better than a commercial version of UNIX.

Secondly, the area that gets the most attention in the press is the fact that Linux is "free" and you can get the source. Again, I don't see a major revolution here. The BSD operating system has been free for more than 20 years and you have always been able to get the source as well. Other companies make their source freely available and give away their binaries as well (e.g. Sun). Even free has its costs in the end in the form of user training, support, applications etc. so the fact that the OS is "free" really has little bearing on the fully loaded costs of deploying and using a computing platform.

In the end, it all comes down to solving customers' problems and there is nothing revolutionary about that. Linux will only be hugely successful if it can solve customer problems better than UNIX, Windows and other OS platforms. I know there is a lot going on to enhance Linux but be assured Microsoft is not sitting still - we continue to proactively innovate and continue to be totally customer driven.

7) Copy protection at the hardware level
by iamsure

What are the current, and future opinions at Microsoft about Copy Protection at the hardware level?

If a spec is developed that has TRUE hardware-industry support, would Microsoft utilize it in its software, would it ignore such abilities, or would it give consumers the right to check a box to turn it on or off?

(And if you choose the check option, what would the default be) :

Doug:

There are others at Microsoft who are better equipped to answer this question than me. I know we are continually looking at ways to protect our software but balance it with an acceptable user experience. Software piracy for all commercial software companies around the world is a huge problem. For companies that choose to charge money for their software, there should be ways to ensure they are paid appropriately. I know a lot of Open Source supporters seem to think that all software should be free and unprotected. I think it should be up to the software company or developer. If you want create a product and give it away, it's a free world - that's your choice. But you should also respect that if a developer wants to charge money for their software, they should be allowed to do that and have some legal or technical assistance to protect their property.

8) Licensing
by Phoenix_SEC

Doug, I was reading a review of Windows XP today, and came across some interesting information on the new licensing scheme. From what I read, the XP will use the current hardware configuration to generate an id string (I believe they called it a fingerprint), which you then tell Microsoft, over the phone, to get the license key for your machine. In an end-user environment (especially laptops), configurations change constantly, and thus the user would be calling in regularly to get a new key.

At the same time, several OS developers (e.g., Apple, various Linux distributions) are moving in a very different direction by open-sourcing their operating systems.

How do you feel this difference in policy will affect Microsoft in terms of new computer purchases (e.g., choosing a different OS - even a previous version of Windows) and upgrades to existing systems?

Doug:

Microsoft is a commercial operating system company that makes most of its revenue from selling its software. We charge money for our software. That is how we pay our developers, our support people and others to provide for the ongoing existence of our company. Other operating system companies like Sun, Apple and IBM make most of their money selling hardware or services. These folks can afford to "give away" their software since they use it as a hook for selling more hardware or services. In the end, the customer pays something towards the cost of producing the operating system - either separately or embedded in the cost of the hardware.

The model around Linux is truly bizarre. How much do RedHat or Caldera really make from selling their distributions? It seems not very much. So in order for them to survive they rely on selling proprietary software, support, services, books, tee shirts, penguins etc. Not a very revolutionary business, but in the end they must sell something if they want to survive.

For Microsoft, we simply want to have a fair system to be compensated for the use of our software - much the same way other companies are compensated for the use of their products or services. It is sad that we have seen so much talk in the industry about devaluing the worth of software. Software is core to the computer experience. People create software and it is essential that we pay people for their valuable and creative work.

9) Interoperability
by moonboy

Microsoft representatives are often talking about innovation and it is well known in the developer communities that Microsoft often seeks to "embrace and extend" certain technologies. Examples include Kerberos and Java (although I'm sure there are others.)

Many readers/posters on Slashdot like to joke about this philosophy calling it instead "embrace and extinguish" because it seems that Microsoft, in their "extending" a particular technology, also make it incompatible with the originating technology. This "extending", coupled with Microsofts huge (some would say monopolistic) presence in the marketplace, places the original technology in jeopardy.

In another interoperability area, the SAMBA software suite has encountered more than a bit of difficulty in making it easier for Unix and Unix-like OS's to interoperate with Windows.

My question:

Since your focus at Microsoft seems to be the interoperability of your products with others, could you explain Microsoft's reluctance to "play fair" and adhere to existing standards?

Doug:

First of all, I think it is worth pointing out that standards, on their own, are not substantial enough to fully solve customer requirements. If you look at the UNIX world, the POSIX standards were only a subset of what you needed in an OS. The attempt by the Open Group to define the UNIX 95 and UNIX 98 standards still fell short of what it would take to build a fully functional UNIX operating system. As a result, the UNIX OS vendors took the standards and extended them to add the appropriate functionality they felt they needed to meet their customers' needs. Some of these enhancements were based on other standards but often these features were proprietary code that they did not share with the rest of the world. Why? Because they wanted to have features that they felt were compelling to customers and gave them an edge over their competitors. Extending standards beyond a given specification is a way of life for all software vendors. Show me one product that is built exclusively on a standard specification that does not include code beyond the standard. It doesn't exist.

Microsoft is very standards driven. We are an active participant in many of the standards bodies and have been leading the charge in promoting the use of XML, SOAP and other standards for our .NET initiative. We have not only "embraced" many of the computing platform dejure standards but we have also built products to embrace defacto standards from other operating system platforms. For example, we fully support NFS and NIS in our Services for UNIX product to allow full file sharing and user directory interoperability between our platform and UNIX or Linux platforms.

We should be very clear in defining the difference between standards and proprietary intellectual property as the above question seems to arbitrarily mix the two. When it comes to implementing standards-based software, we respect the standard and expect that our software will fully interoperate with other products that have also implemented the standard. We also develop software that is not based on an established standard - either no standard exists or the standard that exists does not meet our customer requirements. Should we be required to publish the source code or underlying designs of all our software so that anyone can copy it? I would hope not - much the same that companies in other industries have the right to build products and retain the intellectual property rights associated with those products.

10) Microsoft and KDE vs GNOME
by Karma Sucks

Has Microsoft evaluated the latest Linux desktop technologies such as KDE2.1.1/Qt2.3.0 and Ximian GNOME 1.2? Well, we know you probably did because you mentioned KDE/KFM extensively in your anti-trust trial.

The advances that these projects have been making is incredible. And at the same time differences between these projects is amazing. So what is Microsoft's evaluation of the situation. What does Microsoft think of KDE vs GNOME, in terms of the consequences for Microsoft and Linux?

Doug:

We have looked at both KDE and GNOME. There is some interesting work going on there. I personally feel it is too bad that the Linux community can't agree to build on one graphical environment. I had this debate with Bob Young once where he stated it was great that so many desktop options exist for the Linux user. I don't see it. Lots of choices of desktops in the academic community might be good for stimulating many different approaches but having too many choices in a commercial platform environment in the end, confuses developers and users. If the Linux community could take the best thinking from both the KDE and GNOME projects and join forces, they would have the best chance for success. ISVs would have one platform to write applications to and users would have one user experience to learn. However, that is only half the battle. Having a great graphical environment is a good start but commercial application developers need to be convinced that the platform can pay them dividends in future profits. As mentioned in a previous question, if the Linux community wants to attract great applications, then they need to be willing to compensate developers and that means paying for software.

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Re:Slashdotter's don't like MS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#315038)

I wonder if he's a troll? He certainly has the motivation.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#315039)

Maybe you better ask all the emacs lisp programmers if bloatware is an innovation.

It also might be worth asking the Mozilla team. Seems like built-in email, chat, and news clients might be perceived as 'bloatware' by many.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#315040)

we basically owe our existence to Microsoft

So, if I lived a few centuries ago and owned my existence to a local robber baron that would not make him a villain?

By closing their source code and refusing to share it with the collective, they are the equivalent of a robber baron.

Re:Reverse engineering?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#315041)

Yes but there were IPR problems with reading the book. Compaq not only reverse-engineered everything, but videotaped the reverse engineering so that they could prove they hadn't just read the book. There's proably a moral about corporate secrecy there; IBM providing all the information anyone could want about the PC did not result in their technology being illegaly ripped off.

Spin, spin, spin... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#315042)

With due respect to Doug (I'm certain he's constrained in what he can and cannot say, and how he can say it, PR people or not) -- With the amount of spin he was feeding in some of those answers, I could run my washing machine's agitator with them...

Open Standards, hmm? (4)

Holgate (712) | more than 13 years ago | (#315061)

<i>We are an active participant in many of the standards bodies and have been leading the charge in promoting the use of XML, SOAP and other standards for our .NET initiative.</i>

Well, a cursory glance at Dave Winer's <A href="http://www.scripting.com">Scripting News</a> might suggest otherwise. One of the leading exponents of SOAP, and of cross-platform interoperablity, talking fairly frankly about how he's had his fingers burned by "embrace, extend, exclude".

Standards? (1)

ink (4325) | more than 13 years ago | (#315095)

Microsoft is very standards driven. We are an active participant in many of the standards bodies and have been leading the charge in promoting the use of XML, SOAP and other standards for our .NET initiative. We have not only "embraced" many of the computing platform dejure standards but we have also built products to embrace defacto standards from other operating system platforms. For example, we fully support NFS and NIS in our Services for UNIX product to allow full file sharing and user directory interoperability between our platform and UNIX or Linux platforms.

Allowing Windows users the luxury of using NIS and NFS is great, but I don't see how this demonstrates Microsoft's adherence to standards or helps the Samba team at all. Allowing Windows users to access UNIX resources is the classic "Roach Motel" protocol that Microsoft is so fond of: You can use our product to access other resources, but you cannot use other products to access our resources. Take a look at Exchange, MSSQL, MSDNS, MSCHAP, MSKerberos, NTDOM and practically any other protocol that Microsoft touches. You can check in, but you can't check out.

Microsoft is talking about being standards compliant because they embraced SOAP. Big deal. They've been coopting protocols for decades, and now they play one major role in an open standard and we should forget everything they've done? I think not. Don't get me wrong: I'd love Microsoft to play by the rules the rest of us use, but I doubt their sincerity with the new MSNET proposals. If it turns out that NET is truely an open standard that is fully accessbile without having a Win32 client, then I'll print out this post and eat it. Until then, it's just so much hot air -- especially in light of Microsoft's past activites.

The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

Re:Security Vs Usability (1)

ink (4325) | more than 13 years ago | (#315096)

The last time I used linux it expected me to recompile my kernel so that I could have working sound and access my windows partition. Except it didn't work. So I was screwed over.

Wow! I didn't know that Windows made it easy to access my Linux partitions. Could you please post a step-by-step on how to re-compile the Windows kernel so that it supports ext2?

The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

Not the Bubble Boy I expected. (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#315100)

I've met a few Microsoft folks over the past few years. These have been salesmen, support people and technical consultants (the salesman's backup for when they let the geeks in on the meetings, generally). I must say that this is the first time I've heard a Microsoftian actually know UNIX/Linux beyond the few items that are published on the mystical anti-anything-un-microsoft hit sheet (which used to include "There's no Office App!" and "The installer is so hard - you have to be a guru!" - good thing we're on our toes). I am impressed.

This won't change my stance of never giving MS a penny of my money, ever, if I can help it. I would say the most powerful emotion I'm feeling about this interview is wariness. If they have a few more of these guys in their ranks, they're going to be able to do more damage to the Linux "PR" than I'd expected.

I honestly don't think they'll "win", but it's going to be a tougher battle than I had anticipated.

never say never... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#315117)

Never say never." Microsoft is continually looking at market opportunities for its products - on both our own platforms as well as on other platforms. As mentioned above we saw a great opportunity for selling our Office products on the Mac platform and have licensed a lot of our technology for use on other platforms.

hasn't it been said that Linux is now showing more usage than Macs? I am not against the Mac platoform, I am asking a serious question. I thought that Linux users had a larger base now and I really don't see the market share as being a big obstacle..

The fact that there is no "standard" desktop for Linux (KDE, GNOME, whatever) is also not really an issue. I don't need to have KDE or GNOME to run Office and I really don't care what the look and feel of the software was. Hell, make it like Windows, it would be more comfortable for most people anyway...

The real issue here is that MS *knows* that the one thing that Linux lacks is Office. Everyone knows that if Linux ran Office and ran it native and well there would be little to hold *more* people back from running Linux...

Next time, let's remember what's really going on here ;-)

"Better interoperability" ?!? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 13 years ago | (#315122)

I actually believe we have better interoperability today than any other OS out there.

With an answer like this to the very first question, it's hard to take any of his answers seriously.

--

He doesn't get it. (4)

panda (10044) | more than 13 years ago | (#315136)

He makes it very clear that he doesn't understand the nature of Free Software and GNU/Linux when he says, The model around Linux is truly bizarre. How much do RedHat or Caldera really make from selling their distributions?

He is focusing on the busines side of things, on the competitive side. He reflects the Micro$oft ethos and figures the only thing that matters are the other corporations and businesses. He overlooks what is really driving the Free Software Movement, the users and developers who actually do the work.

The model around GNU/Linux isn't bizarre at all. It's about what everyone should have learned in kindergarten: sharing, cooperating and playing nice with your friends. These are lessons that Micro$oft still needs to learn.

GNU/Linux isn't about bu$ine$$ or selling software. GNU/Linux is about a guy in Cambridge, MA and a guy in Helsinki who thought that the world would be a better place with a free implementation of a UNIX-like operating system, and the thousands (now millions) of other people who agreed with them.

Some comments (5)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 13 years ago | (#315141)

I think he has some very interesting insights in regards to the computer industry--probably more than the vast majority of the Linux crowd.

First, I think that Microsoft will be a huge contributor to MacOS X. The reason is simple: it is relatively easy to write to the Mac environment, since all the API calls are standardized. After all, we will see Office for MacOS X and very likely Internet Explorer 6.0, too.

Second, Miller is correct that Linux is still primarily a server operating system. This is where Linux's strength lies, and don't be surprised that Microsoft offers ways for Linux servers to operate in the Microsoft.Net environment.

Finally, Microsoft may port a few programs to Linux. The most likely thing: Internet Explorer.

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 13 years ago | (#315162)

Shouldn't you be asking that of the person who decided to interview the MS guy?

Re:Blah blah blah (2)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 13 years ago | (#315179)

And OS X stole from NeXT and NeXT stole from Mac and Mac stole from Smalltalk.

it exemplifies the old saw that if you build something totally idiot proof, only an idiot will be able to use it.

That's right. Cars are idiot proof and I'm sure you drove one to work today. That must make you an idiot. I'm surprised you aren't also complaining that your toaster doesn't have an "expert user" mode. Different people want different things from their OS. And not every OS can be all things to all people.

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (5)

Stephen (20676) | more than 13 years ago | (#315202)

Does anyone in Redmond think the /. crowd will feel like they got real answers out of this?
You know, apart from question 8, I was surprised to find that I do feel like I got real answers. Of course, it's Microsoft's own special view of the world -- but I still feel that it was answering the questions clearly and coherently. Don't confuse a different point of view from your own with a failure to truly answer the question.

interesting (3)

austad (22163) | more than 13 years ago | (#315206)

I liked his last response about KDE and Gnome and deciding on one, or joining the best aspects of both. I know that both of those groups have their differences, and it probably will never happen, but just think of the progress that would be made on one project with double the number of developers, instead of on two completely separate projects.

I'm actually torn between the two. I use KDE 2.1.1 at work, and Gnome 1.2 at home. Sometimes I switch, but I think both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Recently, I decided to write a small app which I'll soon GPL once it's functional. I looked at both Gnome and KDE, and decided that KDE seems simpler to write code for (I'm not a code wizard :).

I probably just started a huge flame thread, but Linux seriously needs one desktop standard that nearly everyone can agree on. Unfortunately, alot of work has been put into each system, and if someone did start a project to merge the two, we'd just end up with Yet Another Alternative, which would make 3 major environments. Lot's of choice for users, but it sucks for commercial developers who want to port to Linux.

Re:I've heard him before (1)

Epimetheus (28918) | more than 13 years ago | (#315216)

In a fashion I believe he's right. The model for linux does break the mold a bit. Typically software costs money and the developer is compensated. Or the software is free and the support compensates the developer. Linux is both free and community supported. Companies based around linux seem to make their bucks in any way possible.. It is a bizzare setup

Re:Not the Bubble Boy I expected. (1)

PimpBot (32046) | more than 13 years ago | (#315222)

If they have a few more of these guys in their ranks, they're going to be able to do more damage to the Linux "PR" than I'd expected.

My impression of people who work at MS is that the its the Marketing/Salespeople are just that - your standard Marketdroids, spewing forth crap.

The people that do development at MS are incredibly bright and hard working. The ensuing fight between Linux and MS will definately be interesting...
--------------------------

Re:About Microsoft (2)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 13 years ago | (#315241)

Hey kip. Remember me? The guy from SlashNET you tried to convert to MS from Linux, and failed?

Although I'd immediately suspect you were a troll, I remember checking out your ISP (/whois, nslookup the result), and it looked legit. So...open source is communism? Microsoft is capitalism, which is good?

Sounds like Allchin calling the GPL "unAmerican". Ironic, considering I recall you work at a British ISP...sorry, my astroturf alarm is screaming right now.

Re:Pathetic Answers (3)

macpeep (36699) | more than 13 years ago | (#315254)

Microsoft's Java VM was *the* best and *the* fastest until Sun got to version 1.1.8. After that, Sun was ahead in the game and the only contest left was between IBM and Sun. The only things missing from Microsoft's implementation were RMI and JNI. Lack of RMI was a little odd since it could easily be implemented 100% in Java code and therefore be added later to the VM simply by adding the missing classes to the classpath. There was also no real good reason to drop RMI. As far as JNI goes, Microsoft truly had a MUCH better technology, and Sun itself had gone from one implementation to another. These two parts of the Java spec; RMI and JNI, are the only valid complaints about their VM IMHO. Complaining about bugs is bogus because Sun's own VM was in MUCH worse shape. Netscape's VM always was a joke and still is (the one bundled with the 4.x series browsers).

Reverse engineering?? (2)

hemp (36945) | more than 13 years ago | (#315257)

When Compaq (later followed by others) loosened the Golden Ring from IBM's grasp by reverse engineering their proprietary bios, the Open Hardware PC platform revolution was ignited. Motherboards, memory,


IBM actually published the info about their bios. Since when is reading a book reverse engineering?

"hard to call it an operating system" (2)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 13 years ago | (#315260)

Strange how he says ...

"It is hard to call it an operating system when in fact "Linux" typically refers to a distribution that includes contributions from hundreds of projects"

... when Microsoft has no problem calling windows an operating system even though it includes contributions from other projects such as internet explorer.

"Pot, meet kettle."

Bob.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 13 years ago | (#315262)

Silly me, I actually thought that by learning about computers and how to use powerful tools, I was actually working hard and saving time and money by making tools to do my job better, and that people like your friend were lazy, shiftless scam artists (you did say he was in sales) who want to be experts without knowing anything, and who give America a bad name by implying that we only know how to buy stuff and are too lazy to learn how to do stuff.

Your tired arguments about innovation have been refuted too many times for me to stomach. China was too poor to spit long before they were Communist. Your comments about wealth creation are misguided and ignore the creation of aristocracies (something your heroes, Warren Buffet, George Soros, and Bill Gates seem to understand quite well, which is why they are against repeal of estate taxes). Since you obviously prefer aristocracies, you are probably a monarchist; I say we throw you out of America before you get King George back in charge.

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

Blah blah blah (2)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 13 years ago | (#315263)

Boring answers. Very neat, efficient, evasive without being duplicitous, redefines the questions to fit the answers he has, etc. I'm sure this guy is a very effective executive.

But there's really nothing new here at all, except that he got so jizzed up about XP. All available evidence points to XP being another example of Microsoft stealing the innovations of others, badly. XP steals from OS X in this way, only it exemplifies the old saw that if you build something totally idiot proof, only an idiot will be able to use it. OS X at least allows the possibility of expert users. You know already which one of those will never darken my doorstep.

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

Steve B (42864) | more than 13 years ago | (#315269)

Without the upgrade cycle made necessary by needing to sell more product, innovation doesn't happen.

Bloatware is an "innovation"?
/.

Patents and "other industries" (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#315284)

Should we be required to publish the source code or underlying designs of all our software so that anyone can copy it? I would hope not - much the same that companies in other industries have the right to build products and retain the intellectual property rights associated with those products.

Go on, show me one other industry where a company has the right to make a product and not provide an enabling specification as to how it works. Only with copyright (which btw, is supposed to cover expressive works, not functional ones) do companies have such a good deal as to be able to create something and not tell anyone how it works.

no weasling? (1)

MartinG (52587) | more than 13 years ago | (#315288)

without a hint of weasling

The thing about people who have probably spent years perfecting their ability to not really answer questions whilst sounding like they have answered, is that they can look very much like they have not weasled out of answering.

Some of us can see through it. Roblimo apparently cannot.

"Not weasely?" (1)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#315290)

Er... okay.

- - - - -

Damn (1)

fizban (58094) | more than 13 years ago | (#315294)

HAHAHAHA

So in order for them to survive they rely on selling proprietary software, support, services, books, tee shirts, penguins etc.

Funny, man, real funny. hehehe. Too bad he didn't answer the question...

--

Re:About Microsoft (1)

Milican (58140) | more than 13 years ago | (#315296)

I agree with you, but there should be a balance between proprietary software and distribution of knowledge. As one of the questions surrounding Compaq's reverse engineering of the IBM BIOS pointed out, if the hardware for the PC market had not opened up we would not be where we are today. What is really ironic is that this is now illegal because of the DMCA.

What often happens with comanies like Microsoft is that they charge people into submission through fees for everything. Their mission is to increase shareholder wealth. This hurts developers who just might be trying to learn a little on the side. I fully acknowledge Microsoft's need to charge for their software. After all software developers aren't cheap! However, I also sincerely appreciate the open source movement and its ability to empower me though open communication with my peers. Knowledge is power and open source lets me have the keys.

JOhn

What about comments about the Halloween Documents? (1)

orichter (60340) | more than 13 years ago | (#315301)

I wish I would have thought to ask this before, but I can't believe no one mentioned that the Halloween Documents basically answer many of these questions in a much less politically spin doctored way. I wonder how he would have responded to this?

Microsoft (2)

oldzoot (60984) | more than 13 years ago | (#315302)

What scares me is the idea of Microsoft selling a Linux distribution. They would be selecting a particular subset of components and "blessing" it. They would take advantage of all the free work and effort of the development community and sell it for profit by enhancing it. Their corporate-desired products such as office and exchange server etc would probably be tailored to only run properly ( or only be supported on ) microsoft linux. All the corporate linux customers would probably want Microsoft Linux because of the " can't go wrong with IBM ^H^H^H Microsoft " mentality and that would take market away from struggling open source vendors who have actively been supporting open source development.
It might be nice if they made a gnome-office or KDE-office for sale, even at the $300-$400 kind of range that they sell for on windows platforms, but I don't see them doing that.

Z

Re:About Microsoft (2)

haggar (72771) | more than 13 years ago | (#315334)

Actually, Microsoft is much more frightened of open protocols and standards. This, of course, is related to the opensource facet, but it's a larger issue.

Microsoft wants to prey every aspect of the IT economy, by putting in piece of their proprietary technology. Example: Windows on each PC, because everyone has it. Office on each PC, because .doc and .xls are de-facto (proprietary) standards. MSN (the replacement for Internet) - well, this one (thank Heaven) didn't work out for MS. WindowsCE in every mobile phone - this didn't work out YET. Internet Explorer - everybody must use it, because more and more sites don't look good with Netscape.
etc. etc. etc. With .NET and Explorer, Microsoft is becoming the middleman everywhere, and is going to be able to leverage it's muscle everywhere. Literally.

interoperability.. (1)

spasm (79260) | more than 13 years ago | (#315340)

"I actually believe we have better interoperability today than any other OS out there."

So that would be why I can stick a Windows formatted floppy in a mac and have it mount, but when I stick a mac floppy in a windows machine it asks me if I want to reformat this unreadable disk?

Re:About Microsoft (2)

rotor (82928) | more than 13 years ago | (#315351)

We provide ISP services, using Microsoft products. As a result of this we recently got a multimillion dollar contract.

There is only one IT admin guy and he's also the sales guy. He doesn't know anything about unix, and we couldn't with such a small operation, afford a fulltime unix admin, so without Windows' ease of use (think standard dialogue boxes, GUI configuration and so on) we would not have been able to make any money.


While I don't agree that many companies owe their existance to MS or that MS is wrong for charging for software, I'd be careful with your business... You may just end up watching that multi-million dollar contract go down the tubes soon when something happens that a part time administrator who relies on "standard dialogue boxes, GUI configuration and so on" can't handle. This is the whole problem (as has been pointed out here many times) with the MCSE program - it trains people to use those dialogue boxes and GUI tools, but doesn't teach them the theory behind them which may be needed for more severe problems.



-

Bee-ess (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#315358)

"There is nothing like good competitors to help a company focused on building even more value in their offerings..."

So why does Microsoft work so hard to cruah competition through other means? Wouldn't they have been better off making Internet Explorer 4.0 a better browser, instead of tying it into the OS to make it hard for Windows users to remove? Couldn't Microsoft have just have fixed all the performace and stability problems in Windows that made OS/2 Warp look like such a great alternative, instead of strongarming IBM into dumping it? Why didn't Microsoft just fix the bugs in NT sooner to compete with Linux, instead of pushing Compaq to not support it years ago when Compaq wanted to ship Linux machines?

While I am sure the Slashdot guys are pleased to be able to have a Microsoft representative answer questions, stating that he is not weasly is little more than an ass-kissing attempt to get Doug to come back for more. The truth is, Miller simply spouts out the standard Microsoft line, trying to make his company look a little bit less like the corporate scum they are.

Piracy and intelectual property (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 13 years ago | (#315361)

In the abstract, I would agree with his statement that if an author choses to charge for her work, she deserves a way to agressively protect her interests. As much is laid out in the US Constitution. Unfortunately we are not talking about a single developer, or a small group of developers. Microsoft is a large company with tremendous economic and political clout; clearly they have abused this power, which reduces their moral authority to speak on these issues. Their monopoly control of the desktop OS, the office productivity suite and looming internet monopolies with IE and Outlook, threatens the rights of those who are required to use those applications. Intelectual property law has to strike a balance between the rights of the producers and those of the users. I believe the current situation gives too much power to Microsoft and their new anti piracy schemes only bias the situation further to their side.

It also avoids the greater philosophical question as to what should be consider public intrastructure, shared by all and maintained for the public good, and not for the profit of a few. I believe an OS has become a vital part of our public intrastructure, much like roadways became inportant in the past. This level of importance overides the rights of a few to make a profit.

Boy alot of gobbldy gook... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#315379)

That doesn't tell us much of anything! I LOVE how this guy wormed around the stupid Windows XP license issue. I mean I know he's probably been NDA'd out the ying yang, but why not tell us he can't answer the question instead of skirting the issue? I WANT, as well as my Dad, who might be considered right smack in the middle of the target demographic for Windows XP, the ability to upgrade my Motherboard. I want to upgrade my Graphics card. I also don't want to have to call in for a new license string everytime I do it either. Even doing it on the net is NOT acceptable. The idea I have to call to activate something I am holding in my hand is....is....revolting! I like the line in the first question saying Microsoft has always cared about what the consumer wants when some of the things in Windows XP is just....just idiotic! I also don't see them selling much of the Home version (everyone wants what they have at work.....Professional). Hopefully, for their sakes, it won't be a release filled with just the flashy Luna interface. I am sorry for the full flame job but sheesh! What does he think EVERYONE is an AOL user???

Re:I've heard him before (4)

bmajik (96670) | more than 13 years ago | (#315383)

I hope you don't mean to imply that he is unknowledgable about Linux and UNIX in general.

Remember OpenNT ? Softway Systems ? The re-implementation of the NT posix subsystem to let you run and develop unix/x11R5 apps natively on NT ?

Same guy.

Re:Very few politicians have vagueisms (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#315385)

Sure mostly... but does it really matter?

Women, men, black, white, gay straight... they are still politicians. As Nikita Krushev noted:

"Politicians are the same everywhere.They promise to build a bridge even when there is no river"

-Steve

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (2)

btlzu2 (99039) | more than 13 years ago | (#315398)

I'm not sure what you expected either actually, because he addressed it in a straightforward manner. He said that they're having a struggle trying to balance functionality and security and what they're doing to try and alleviate it. What was "marketroid-speak" in his answer? He didn't dodge it as far as I can see, unless you could explain a little further what you meant!

Wow a nice layout ... (3)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 13 years ago | (#315402)

On how Linux can be really successful for the end user. End users and pointy haired bosses look at a software package and evaluate it by how it looks, I think that Msoft has this one down pat. Really their idea of renting software is pretty attractive in some ways to larger companies (I've worked for a company with copies for every single one of like 500 machines, not fun). I don't think it would be good for end-users but that remains to be seen.

I appriciate his honesty. Msoft isn't the Borg, they're out to make money and they are very good at it, some of their practices are questionable and for the most part their software sucks. On the flip side we in the Open Source/Free Software community would be very wise to take some these ideas and apply them to our own projects, I think that he raises some very good points about things we need to keep being successful.


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

Typical M$ (1)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 13 years ago | (#315420)

I personally feel it is too bad that the Linux community can't agree to build on one graphical environment.

What a typical narrow-minded, self-important Microsoft attitude. This fool actually believes the ridiculous notion that one and only one GUI could be best for everyone. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since this is perfectly in line with Microsoft's "we-know-what-you-need-better-than-you-do" attitude, but it still amazes me that people can be so blind.

KDE and Gnome both exist because different people need different things. Miller's suggestion that the two projects don't share with one another simply shows that he can't grasp the concept of open source. Of course they share, they're open source! Anything that goes into one can be used by the other.

Interesting Comments (2)

cluge (114877) | more than 13 years ago | (#315441)

I find it some of the comments a little funny.

Bill Gates is forceing you to rent his software NOW. If you don't believe me talk to the poor IT guys in a large corporate env. trying to keep up with the latest software demands of his users. Office is out every 2 years (or less sometimes) it uses a slightly newer, slighty different format that isn't read by the older format. Go upgrade. NT will no longer support XYZ, it is only available on win 2000. Of course if you just bought NT 6 months ago because win2k drivers weren't ready for your other equipment sorry. Go upgrade. Your new frontpage won't work with your old frontpage server? Oh so sorry go upgrade. You want some of the new features in exchange 2000 (now that it's not a default open relay?) we're sorry go upgrade.

The continual upgrade cycle is no more than renting software. New releases purposely break old, security updates are made available ONLY if you register with MS (outlook and SP2 for office).

MS is trying to keep this big profit wheel going. They are pulling out all the stops to try and keep one of the longest and largest growth spurts in ANY companies history going. To that end we see that NET initiative, MS has invented it's own engineers. (You memorize 150 questions and are called an engineer, and can reccomend MS upgrades for you clients).

Eventually there will be a contraction at some point. How MS handles it's current customers will dictate how big the contraction will be. Providing an ever diminishing return on their software investment may mean that the contraction will be much larger than it has to be.

Sell software to pay... (4)

bluelip (123578) | more than 13 years ago | (#315452)

If they are paying their support people by selling the software, where the heck does that $35 for a dekstop incident or $100+ for a server incident go when they charge me when I call their "support" line?


Are you sure this guy works for Microsoft? (1)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#315469)

All I see there is praises for Linux, where's the FUD?
--

Re:Pluralizing singlars?!? (1)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#315473)

Isn't the word 'Microsoft' singular?

So it's not "Microsoft have ..." or "Microsoft are .."

It's "Microsoft has ..." and "Microsoft is ..."

Yes, Microsoft is made up of multitudes, but the word itself -- the brand -- is singular.

But, yes, I could be wrong. I remember growing up in a small town and hearing people say, "I gotta go shopping at Krogers." (The store was called Kroger -- singular.) Or: "I work for Butlers." (The place was called Butler -- singular.)

It's an odd thing -- pluralizing singulars. But what the fuck. Language is messed up. I guess I gotta go back and read Wittgensteins.

The most interesting question/response (1)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#315477)

was the one about licensing and having to call in to get an ID code or whatever the hell it is. He danced right around that one!

Re:About Microsoft (2)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 13 years ago | (#315490)

I don't think many would complain if Microsoft competed fairly in the marketplace, but remember, they were found guilty of using illegal means to destroy their competitors.

skillfully skirted the 'hardware fingerprint' Q (4)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 13 years ago | (#315496)

note how there wasn't one bit of content reply in the question of how the end user (with a laptop or continually changing hardware config) will deal with the 'get a fingerprint, call in to M$ and then get the license key' issue.

this doesn't seem well thought out other than being a way to suck more money from the end user. in no way is this 'customer friendly', its a pure money-grab.

in a corp environment, sure, most of the time the hardware doesn't change from its initial install config. so this scheme might work ok for this env. but home users DO upgrade their own boxes. do you (M$) plan to alienate home users who want to upgrade a single component (video card, drive controller, sound card, etc)?

if there was one and only one thing I could use as an argument against M$ and their licensing, this issue would be it.

and its sad that it was asked but not answered in this forum ;-(

--

Re:Reverse engineering?? (2)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 13 years ago | (#315498)

Compaq's BIOS was a clean room implementation. One team read the books and disassembled the ROM and wrote the specs. The other team wrote the BIOS using only the first team's specs so that it wouldn't be tainted by IBM's intellectual property. Try a google search on "compaq reverse engineer ibm bios".

I remember the days when the Apple II user manual had the 6502 assembler source code to the ROM.

But what about the CowboyNeil Interview???? (1)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 13 years ago | (#315499)

That's the one were all waiting for. Did I miss it or what??

Years? (1)

Alexius (148791) | more than 13 years ago | (#315504)

Our products need to show long term value that goes beyond the initial purchase price so the argument becomes not how much does your operating system cost up front but more importantly, how much will your operating system save you over the years that you use it

An M$ product that lasts Years? At best I give anything one year until the service release is out, then the next upgrade.
--------------------

Re:I've heard him before (1)

DeeKayWon (155842) | more than 13 years ago | (#315517)

"The model around Linux is truly bizarre." about sums up his experience with Linux it seems.

Or maybe he just can't spell.

Re:I've heard him before (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 13 years ago | (#315530)

"The model around Linux is truly bizarre." about sums up his experience with Linux it seems.

Wait... so the fact that he thinks it's bizarre [sic] means he has no experience with it. But Linux zealots who think Windows is bizarre have the experience to make that judgment. Bullshit.

What a lame ass first post attempt.

Re:Boy alot of gobbldy gook... (2)

pvirdone (172171) | more than 13 years ago | (#315539)

does he think EVERYONE is an AOL user???

There are enough AOL users out there to make a lot of money...

KDE and GNOME (1)

skwang (174902) | more than 13 years ago | (#315543)

We have looked at both KDE and GNOME. There is some interesting work going on there. I personally feel it is too bad that the Linux community can't agree to build on one graphical environment.

It is absolutely necessary that Linux be built on gone graphical environment? I have gtk underneath KDE and run GNOME apps all the time. I can do the reverse under GNOME. What is important is that the underlying architecture the compatible, not the graphical interface.

I can change my shirt anytime, but it is what underneath that counts.

Great Great Post. Should be read by all. (1)

VividU (175339) | more than 13 years ago | (#315544)

Brilliant. I wish I could have said it half as good.

Re:Blah blah blah (2)

VividU (175339) | more than 13 years ago | (#315545)

"You know already which one of those will never darken my doorstep"

Yeah, theres no doubt about that. The only place where there is "nothing new" is in your reply. Typical anti-MS knee-jerk Slashdot post.

I wish Slashdot would flag all anti-MS posts so I can filter them out.

You guys are boring me silly. These posts reek of anger and ignorance.

Nothing new indeed.

They surely do! (1)

felipeal (177452) | more than 13 years ago | (#315547)

Interoperability is a key competitive strength. .... Providing ways to plug into those other operating systems - both at a system level (e.g. files, user directories etc.) and at an application level (e.g. data formats) is essential.

Did somebody say M$ Word?

Hardware hacker's lament (5)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#315551)

While most of the questions were answered pretty succinctly (I liked the straight-forwardness in saying "We sell software. This is what we do. That's why it's proprietary."), the unfortunate dodge of the Windows XP "fingerprint" ID upsets me.

I hack my machines regularly. Video cards and occasionally motherboards move on a 6-month to 1-year basis. I also reformat my partition every 3 months for Windows, every 6 months for Linux. Does this mean I'll have to be constantly calling in to get new keys? That's just ridiculous.

For those of us who have followed the rules, who haven't made a million copies of our W2K CDs and passed them around the campfire, this is like a shot in the face. I severly hope this is corrected.

(And as a suggestion, change the ID to the computer's MAC address. These things change a lot less frequently [How often does a hardware hacker completely change his ethernet card? Not often.])

Re:About Microsoft (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 13 years ago | (#315552)

Hmmm.. are you sure about all those details? Windows 2000 and its family of products has started a shift to per server licenses, and sometimes even per processor licenses, not per seat. For one project, I purchased a copy of Win2k Server. I have in writing that if i put that on one box, I can serve an unlimited number of users for an unlimited period of time.
,br> I honestly disagree with your conclusion, regardless of your licensing question.

For a techie, yes, Linux is WAY cheaper and WAY easier to startup with. But imagine a company that provides a limited product, or a newly designed product or service. Should they invest in a true hardcore Solaris expert to get going? I am not sure of that. I would rather see them contract out to have a Windows machine built and managed. Perhaps when they have grown a bit they could move to a Linux/BSD/Solaris solution, but I think starting up, the reduced learning curve is well worth the cost of the $800 license.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

flip-flop (178593) | more than 13 years ago | (#315554)

Furthermore, just as communism doesn't encourage people to work harder or innovate (which results in stagnation), so it is with open source.

What absolute rubbish. For an example, as mentioned in the interview, just look at KDE and Gnome. No innovation?? The two of them have certainly progressed far further than Windows over the past few years.

Oh and by the way, please keep your "Capitalism is perfect - Commies are bad" philosophy out of this; it is totally irrelevant here.

Kinda dodgy answers there... (1)

dairypope (184243) | more than 13 years ago | (#315563)

Is it just me or: When responding to the question about MS's lack of adhering to standards often times, he seemed to infer that this only occurs because MS always implements the entirety of the standard, then adds their own extensions. Only problem is, at least so far they've not always completely implemented the standard in the first place. If a standard is made so it just defines the basic things needed and can then be extended, why goof up that initial standard like IE and others have? And, as for the question on the pricing model of XP, does anyone else find it strange that he didn't seem to bother actually answering the question about that pricing model but instead just defended the idea that you should have to pay for XP? I'm all for paying for software that companies want to charge me for as long as the software is good, but that wasn't the question in the first place. Still, at least the rest of the answers were pretty decent...

Choice and competition are *good* (3)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 13 years ago | (#315564)

I had this debate with Bob Young once where he stated it was great that so many desktop options exist for the Linux user. I don't see it. Lots of choices of desktops in the academic community might be good for stimulating many different approaches but having too many choices in a commercial platform environment in the end, confuses developers and users.

This seems to be the pervailing attitude among those at Microsoft and elsewhere: users are stupid, so stupid that we must make all their decisions for them.

That's great if you're trying to consolidate your monopoly position, but it does absolutely no good whatsoever for the advancement of anything whatsoever.

The world is full of choices! There rarely is One Right Way. I feel sorry for those who are so confused and terrified of the world that they don't even want to be presented with choices.

Besides which, the problems with a monoculture are legion...I hardly think I need to go there.

Please, the world isn't that stupid. Don't insult the people who fund the very survival of your company.

b&

About Microsoft (1)

7days (192077) | more than 13 years ago | (#315567)

Microsoft have certainly been villainized over the last few years. There is a great deal of hostility, not least from this website, and I think it's great they have responded to this, this use of terms such as M$ and Winblows and so on.

I think we should make it clear that Microsoft are not the villain. In my company, and, from what I can tell, in a lot of other similar companies, we basically owe our existence to Microsoft.

We provide ISP services, using Microsoft products. As a result of this we recently got a multimillion dollar contract.

There is only one IT admin guy and he's also the sales guy. He doesn't know anything about unix, and we couldn't with such a small operation, afford a fulltime unix admin, so without Windows' ease of use (think standard dialogue boxes, GUI configuration and so on) we would not have been able to make any money.

This story is repeated across the country. Thousands of small enterprises, invigorating the US economy, as well as that of others owe their existence to Microsoft reducing the barrier to entry.

That's what matters.

And that's why I really wish people would stop attacking them. People don't seem to realize the way that prosperity comes to be. People don't become prosperous through socialism or caring and sharing (which is why China's GDP per head is 1/20 of ours), they get there through enterprise.

There is nothing more important than wealth creation. Wealth creation allows for true redistribution of wealth. Companies such as Microsoft have made tons of money and now Bill Gates is giving billions away.

The kind of socialist ideal implied by open source, where no-one makes pits of money is very bad for the country. If this happens, you get barely affluent people - people such as yourself, who in the main don't pursue any philanthropic activity.

Furthermore, just as communism doesn't encourage people to work harder or innovate (which results in stagnation), so it is with open source. Without the upgrade cycle made necessary by needing to sell more product, innovation doesn't happen.

That's why open source products such as KDE have copied all their ideas off Microsoft and Apple. They have neither the money (R & D) nor the capitalist need to be better to incentivize innovation.

I wish people would remember this when attacking MS.

Redhat sells penguins? Cool! (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#315571)

How much do RedHat or Caldera really make from selling their distributions? It seems not very much. So in order for them to survive they rely on selling proprietary software, support, services, books, tee shirts, penguins etc.

Or better yet, maybe we should get sally struthers, and have a "Sponsor a Penguin" program where we get sent pictures of our penguin, and letters from our penguin, all for just pennies a day!

. . .

Why did we ASK the questions? (3)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#315574)

t does make one wonder, though, why he even bothered doing the interview.

We all know we're biased anti-microsoft, so I think you're asking the wrong question. Why did WE bother to even ask the questions? We know we're not going to get answers we like, and whatever answers we get, we will see as him being biased against us...

I think he did a good job with the interview. He knows he's walking into the flames, but he answered anyway. His answers may not make us happy, but so what? did you stop to realize that the Open Source movement isn't perfect? It's made of people...I've said it before, and I'll say it again...people are stupid! Yes, even in open source. What I see from this interview is that we've got some stuff right, they've got some stuff right, and there's obstacles in the way to getting all of our right stuff together...

ok, enough ranting.

. . .

dang skippy (1)

Low2237 (209489) | more than 13 years ago | (#315597)

Take a look at question #8, the one that Phoenix_SEC asked about licensing. Phoenix talked about end-user configs "changing constantly," thereby possibly requiring a new license key for Windows XP. I noticed how Doug didn't even answer that part of his question; instead, he changed the subject ever so slightly and talked about developers needing to get paid for their work. If Doug's gonna evade such an important question as that, I certainly won't be buying Windows XP. Of course, I'd be apt to change my mind if Doug posts a better response, but it's still a question that he could've answered in a much more straightforward manner.

Re:Depends on your definition of Weasel (1)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 13 years ago | (#315602)

I must agree.
When it comes to implementing standards-based software, we respect the standard and expect that our software will fully interoperate with other products that have also implemented the standard.
Yeah this is real neat. He "forgets" to mention here that they broke Java interoperability with their "extensions" and went to court over it.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

gslj (214011) | more than 13 years ago | (#315613)

An interesting post, but competition in the open marketplace is not the only source of innovation. That doesn't touch mad inventors in their garage (Hi, Woz!) nor the massive numbers of people in universities. The whole idea of a thesis, after all, is that someone has to do some free, original work to give back something for their education before we let them go with a degree. Add up all the universities in the country, and you've got a pretty major force for "innovation." The problem with China is that it doesn't have as many.

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (5)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#315617)

Does anyone in Redmond think the /. crowd will feel like they got real answers out of this?

Looking at your question, there wasn't much to say and he said it. There's a trade-off between security and ease of use. They erred on the side of convenience and some users got burned -- but those users didn't have to setuid their CD player software to get it to work. What were you expecting him to say? "We're idiots. Linux r00lz!"?

Like a lot of Slashdot interviews of "The Enemy", questions that are basically "You suck. Don't you suck? Admit you suck." got moderated ahead of ones that might produce interesting answers. And then when the answers fall short of, "Yes, we suck." everyone complains that it's just a lot of marketroid-speak.

The interview with the Carnivore reviewer [slashdot.org] was a great example -- 5 of the 10 questions essentially are "You're a liar. Why should I believe you when I say you're not a liar?"

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Some Feedback (1)

kstumpf (218897) | more than 13 years ago | (#315623)

For those of us who are not Microsoft fans, exactly who is Doug Miller?

Anyway, interesting interview. He gave decent answers aside from the faint "hear no evil, see no evil" stance on a few things.

Did anyone else notice how he skirted around the question regarding hardware copy protection and the one about licensing per hardware configuration?

His answer regarding standards is a copout. I usually associate a standard as a ruleset others should consider in order to maintain interoperability (simplified for the scope of this post). Consider the Samba example used. Why would MS not publish standards for interoperability with SMB if they felt products like Samba are not a threat?

Slashdotter's don't like MS? (2)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#315624)

Today, there is an almost violent dislike for anything Microsoft in the Linux community - just look at some of the postings on slashdot!

/coy Why, whatever does he mean?

Ooh, I can see right through that one! (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#315625)

Doug Miller's response to the hardware-based copy protection question:
There are others at Microsoft who are better equipped to answer this question than me. I know we are continually looking at ways to protect our software but balance it with an acceptable user experience. Software piracy for all commercial software companies around the world is a huge problem...

Translation: "RED ALERT!!! RED ALERT!!! Copy protection question! Shields up! Charge the FUD cannon! Prepare a legitimate excuse! FIRE!!"

Re:Security Vs Usability (1)

StarTux (230379) | more than 13 years ago | (#315638)

>Many eyes make all security flaws shallow, and >there are many more eyes scrutinising Windows >than Linux.

How many more eyes scrutinise the Windows source code vs the Linux source code??

>The last time I used linux it expected me to >recompile my kernel so that I could have >working sound and access my windows >partition.

When *was* the last time. Last time I installed a distribution I could access my Windows partitions and my SBLive worked flawlessly (last time was SuSE 7.1, but worked just as well from about 6.4).

Each to their own, but most of the new innovation is not coming from Redmond. Its still worth trying your dual boot with the newer distro's and using newer web design utils, although not the same as Dreamweaver yet, but getting there.

StarTux

Re:Years? (1)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#315648)

Just like there have been a few Linux kernel versions this year? It hasn't been a year since 2.4 was out. What's the problem with service releases? They find problems, fix those problems, and put them out for the public. I don't get what you are talking about. Microsoft versioning is no different than any other versioning out there.

Re:Choice and competition are *good* (5)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#315649)

This seems to be the pervailing attitude among those at Microsoft and elsewhere: users are stupid

You know, I have run across a lot of people in my life who are not efficient computer users. Windows offers a friendly environment that makes it easy to use software. Truthfully, there are a lot of people out there for whom Linux is not an option. There are a lot of people out there who don't know how to compile the source they got from someone to get a program to run. To be an efficient Linux user, this is one of the many special skills you have to have. In this sense, Windows does appeal to a lot of people, a lot of smart people too, the only difference is they are not computer techs, they have other specialities.

I'd like to see you run Linux, knit a sweater, play a musical instrument, and fix a car. Hell, I can just barely do the first. I am not a supreme Linux user. I can do a lot of things, but I can't get WINE to work, use the Gimp worth a damn, etc. There are many types of people in this world, not everyone has to use Linux.

Glad he answered our questions, but ... (2)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 13 years ago | (#315657)

as someone who modded up the first posts (three made it as final questions), I was a tad disappointed in some of his answers.

Until I got to his answer for Microsoft applications like Office, Visio, and Project being ported to Linux.

Overall, while I'm not too surprised by some of his more ambiquous answers, one feels that we learned some things from this exchange, especially in regards to how MSFT will market to compete with Linux and BSD. It looks like the Oracle TPC debate - they'll aim at the "total cost for the system over the years", ignore the time and salary costs for dealing with security and other bug fix glitches, and just come up with lots of nice Total Cost Per Project Year charts.

Have to agree with his assessment on the likelihood of MSFT marketing products in the Linux space, given our awe and wonder at all the really keen MSFT tools ... not.

Re:About Microsoft (1)

Neumann (240442) | more than 13 years ago | (#315660)

Its not so much about the "ease of use" of microsoft. I have never heard anyone say "Microsoft Windows is so HARD to use!". The isse with microsoft and why they are so villainized is because their "customer-centric" view does nothing to address MY needs. If I run into a bug that only happens when I do this one thing (but I do this one thing a lot), and I am in a small percentage of all the customers that MS has, there is no way to get it fixed! If a majority of customers want something fixed, it gets fixed very fast. (eg the email security patch from the article. That patch was out in what 1 day? 2 days?). With something so important to a lot of people as computers this is a very hard thing to accept. This rejection of the needs of the many over the needs of the individual is what we are seeing with the Open source revolution. Basically Open source is all about the empowerment of the individual over the group. You want that bug fixed? Hire someone to fix it for you! Or do it yourself! Its the same struggle that people have to grapple with everyday: The rights of the individual over the rights of the group. And as with every other struggle of this type, there is a lot of hostility and bitterness on both sides, and no real clear answer.

Depends on your definition of Weasel (1)

CyberGarp (242942) | more than 13 years ago | (#315668)

No Weaseling, yeah right. Just go back and reread his answer to Number 9. He didn't answer the question, he just gave the MS standard XML lecture. There's also plenty of examples of standards that work and are fully implemented, i.e. ftp, telnet, NFS, HTTP, TCP/IP, etc. Microsoft extends and then RELIES on those extensions thus breaking all interoperability. Only in the face of consumer pressure to actually work with standards, like TCP/IP has Microsoft caved into demands. Garp

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (2)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#315671)

Anonymous cowards like you hurt the whole site. So why don't you shut the fuck up?

First off, my argument was neither vague nor hand-waving, and I happened to give a concrete example. I brought up a pretty basic issue with how Microsoft builds software that affects corporate security the world over.

My response? He gave me some hand-waving bullshit about how Microsoft is "sensitive to the growing security threats to [their] customers", and answered my specific example by saying that a patch made it all better (which, you may have noticed, it did not). He did not address the larger concern - and the thrust of my question - which was how such ill-designed software got out the door in the first place.

So, he did not answer my question. He dodged it, hoping that saying "Microsoft is conscious of security" would make it so.

OK,
- B
--

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (3)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#315673)

I know the pitfall you're speaking of, but I don't think I'm doing that here. I really don't feel like I got anything out of this that I couldn't have read in any of Microsoft's content-free press releases. For example, just saying that "Microsoft has always been a customer focused company" neither makes it so nor does it represent an answer (or even a useful part of an answer) to a question about how the anti-trust case has affected MS's interoperability strategy. It's a feel-good non sequitur.

OK,
- B
--

an image attached (1)

zealousness (258105) | more than 13 years ago | (#315698)

http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/nm/20010329 /mdf28952.jpg

this one is correct... (1)

zealousness (258105) | more than 13 years ago | (#315699)

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/20010329/wl/mdf2 8952.html

Standards are a top priority (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#315704)

As evidenced in this this thread [google.com] on the VC newsgroup.

Dancin Santa

A special kind of arrogance (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 13 years ago | (#315706)

What struck me about this interview was the reply to the "embrace and extend" question, which Mr. Miller nicely obfuscated by replying with the non sequitur "First of all, I think it is worth pointing out that standards, on their own, are not substantial enough to fully solve customer requirements."

If MS thinks it knows what's best for a certian protocol, programming language, or technology, let them reply to the RFC's like everyone else! Seems to me they're sidestepping the whole standards process by just declaring "We have more users therefore we know best what our customers want, and if it screws over some non-customers, too fscking bad, they should buy our products like everyone else. We know better."

He then goes on to talk about POSIX. What about IMAP, Kerberos, Java, etc? Way to not answer the question! Seems MS only supports technology that they develop or that they can bastardize. Granted, that's capitalism in action, and not despicable in and of itself, but you can't do that and then turn around and talk about providing "the best user experience for the largest majority of users" or some other similar PR dreck.

The problem with MS isn't that they're a giant monopolistic megalomaniacal monolith of a company, the problem is that they deny it.

Security Vs Usability (1)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#315707)

Microsoft have a very bad reputation for security for some reason, and it may be that this is undeserved. Microsoft are focusing on making a usable and secure platform, and their platform is attacked more than any other. It could be that there are many security holes in Linux that are unknown simply because it is not put under the same scrutiny. Many eyes make all security flaws shallow, and there are many more eyes scrutinising Windows than Linux.

Also, personally speaking, I must declare an interest. I much prefer using Windows to Linux because it is easy to use and allows doesn't expect me to be an expert to do everything. The last time I used linux it expected me to recompile my kernel so that I could have working sound and access my windows partition. Except it didn't work. So I was screwed over.

Windows I find to be perhaps less secure because many eyes are discovering and publicising its flaws, but for me, as a web designer, I find it a much better solution. Its just a question of trade offs - Impossible to use but secure through obscurity Vs Easy to use but unsecure because of scruting.

I agree with much of what Doug says on this subject.

Re:Pluralizing singlars?!? (2)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#315708)

In the Queen's English it is plural. I am a subject of the Queen. Take your bastardised English and begone.

Thank you,
one of Shakespeares Countrywomen.

Pathetic Answers (3)

antarctican (301636) | more than 13 years ago | (#315713)

It's been a long time since I've seen such double talk, this guy should be in politics!

One question explicitly asked about MS' dealing with issues such as Kerberos and Java, and how MS basically broke those standards (don't deny it, they fucked those standards so far up the ass they could taste it), and what do we get, double talk about 'intellectual property'.

Java (using one of those two refered to) was VERY well defined, and there are many good implimentations. What was 'incomplete' about this standard which forced them to break it. And not only do they modify the standard, but they can't even impliment it correctly without a discusting number of bugs.

You really expected MS to be honest and complete with their answers? When I first say the call for questions up, I dismissed it knowing the amount of spin doctoring which would be done would make all answers worthless.

We are the enemy, the only reason they bothered to do this is to try to gain our trust (ha! like that'll ever happen) and throw us off balance. Anyone who buys the bullshit they just spewed or think these answers are at all complete is a total moron.

Intelectual property my ass, if they were so concerned with interoperability they'd publish these standards which they've extended. No one said they'd have to publish the source code, but at least TELL US how you changed the standard and maybe, we might embrase your modification.

Geez, micro-morons.


antarctican at trams dot ca

Re:Slashdotter's don't like MS? (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#315721)

Wow, it that the first time a big shot at MS has admitted to reading /.??

Well, maybe he didn't admit to reading it, but at least he knew it existed. One of his advisors must read then! Our influence spreads thus.... *evil grin*

Re:I don't know what else I expected... (1)

AX.25 (310140) | more than 13 years ago | (#315724)

I believe he answered your question. His response in three words, "We don't care." Anytime you see phrases like "protect the user" and "is conscious of security" without facts to back them up you know the person (or company in this case) couldn't GARA about the subject. Microsoft only cares about protecting its monolopy and until we produce something that rocks the sheep like Microsoft users world, not much will change. If only the melissia virus had done something worthwhile ;)

***OFF TOPIC*** (1)

Razzious (313108) | more than 13 years ago | (#315730)

I know I run the risk of losing some GREAT Karma points with this, but I am so excited I had to risk it. Last night I finally did it. I bought Redhat and installed it. I allowed it to delete Windows and decided to learn it I would need to be thrown to the wolves. Why am I posting this? Well cause this is the only place I visit where anyone would care about that.
Razzious Domini

Re:I've heard him before (1)

kalleanka2 (318385) | more than 13 years ago | (#315738)

The support doesn't compensate the developers. How much of the money red hat makes on their support do all the Linux developers get?

Give the guy a fair shake (1)

Lt Wuff (319298) | more than 13 years ago | (#315741)

This is the most upfront MS guy I have ever heard. I disagree with a lot that was said, but props for comments.

Same old same old - example: (2)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 13 years ago | (#315749)

Good ol' Dougie said this about standards:
Should we be required to publish the ... underlying designs of all our software so that anyone can copy it? I would hope not - much the same that companies in other industries have the right to build products and retain the intellectual property rights associated with those products.
In other words, Doug wants Microsoft to be able to use the hard work of others involved in creating architectures and protocols to engineer his own proprietary, incompatible protocols which he then refuses to share with the people whose work he exploited. Did anyone expect any better from him?

I'll accept that Microsoft plays fair when they publish all their file formats and protocols for all their products, make their own products adhere to the published formats and protocols, and allow anyone and everyone to use the published standards to produce competing products. Fair's fair, and that's what interoperability is about.
--
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.

Re:Reverse engineering?? (3)

Danger Vole (412064) | more than 13 years ago | (#315767)

IBM published the source code under copyright. Compaq had to reverse engineer the BIOS to create an IBM PC compatible BIOS that was free of intellectual property claims by IBM. Compaq had two teams, one that wrote a functional requirements document based on the IBM PC BIOS and another team that used the requirements document to write a new BIOS from scratch.

Re:Security Vs Usability (1)

HisMother (413313) | more than 13 years ago | (#315770)

"Scruting" ?

Hmm (1)

aristotle2000 (415164) | more than 13 years ago | (#315779)

I would feel a lot better about his answers if not for the privacy (or lack thereof) clause in Passport, etc. And his evasiness is enough to make you wonder a bit as well. Microsoft has grown too arrogant, too far from what the users want. We were dicussing the possibility of Microsoft losing ground in the corporate world in one of my grad classes recently. No one believed that anything would surpass MS in the next five years, probably not even the next ten. With schools teaching kids the Windows version of computer more and more, many will have little desire to branch out of their comfort zone later on; the vast majority of office software runs on Windows; you can send a document from one company to another and be almost positive that they can open it; etc I think he raises good points about the diversity of Linux though. What incentive do developers have to cretea software for one distro or another when no standard exists. I believe that the computer revolution has happened in no small part to the ubiquitousness of Windows on IBM machinces taking the market leader position. You can go from you office in New York or Los Angeles, go to an office in Hong Kong, Calcutta, or Israel, sit down at a computer and use it with little or no problem. Linux seems to practically be on the verge of Balkanization at times. He was not wrong when he challenges the viability of Linux in the corporate world despite its promising advances...
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