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Ask a Legal Expert How MS Ruling Affects Open Source

Roblimo posted more than 11 years ago | from the when-you-need-expert-opinions-turn-to-an-expert dept.

The Courts 254

By now we all know about Judge Kollar-Kotelly's decision in the Microsoft antitrust case. The effect of this ruling on Linux and Open Source use and future development is not yet clear. For those of you who have been wondering about this, we have a special interview guest: Attorney Lawrence E. (Larry) Rosen, Linux Journal's popular Geek Law columnist, who is surely one of the best-qualified people in the world to answer questions on this topic. (Usual Slashdot interview rules apply.)

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Who Are You? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594319)

seriously, don't you have better things to do than answer "ms sucks" questions from 16 yr old geeks?

or are you some kind of johnny cochrane wannabe trying to make a name for yourself here.

please, inquiring minds want to know.

Simply put... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594326)

... Do we have a chance?

For starters, a high-level question... (-1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594327)

So, is open source software basically screwed?

Re:For starters, a high-level question... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594383)

Open Source Software will continue on in the same way that it has always done. The thing that people may seem to lose track of is that OSS is a nirvana that Microsoft will never be able to "get". They have demonstrated this time and time again. Let them continue to buy politicians, courts, companies, etc. while they lose support one by one day by day from the very people people that comprise the very core of those components being bought out...

Besides, what better way to beat the monopoly than on the very playing field they have tried to keep us from getting near just to watch much less play. Let them waste more time and money in the courtroom and political arena. That's not where OSS shines anyway.

Chris

Finally! (5, Funny)

13Echo (209846) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594334)

Finally, tech-based legal advice that doesn't begin with "IANAL".

Re:Finally! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594466)

> Finally, tech-based legal advice that doesn't begin with "IANAL".

IANAL, but I think the above line does *not* violate the DMCA.

Re:Finally! (1)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594784)



Finally, tech-based legal advice that doesn't begin with "IANAL".

Dammit!~ I don't know if I'm confortable seeing legal advice without that acryonym in place. Think he'd be willing to mollify my need for acronyms by preceding his advice with "JCIAAL"? Or how about "JCDWSMIAAFL" (as in Jesus Christ! Don't Worry So Much! I am a friggin' lawyer!)?

Sir *or* Madam (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594335)

I must ask:

Do you give a RED FUCK about either

1. Open source

or

2. Sex with a mare?

Question about the judge (2, Funny)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594337)

Has she recently acquired a new beach house?

Re:Question about the judge (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594407)

I doubt it. But in about 3-7 years from now when she retires, she will almost certainly pick up a very lucrative job at MS. Look at ashcrofts daughter who works for MS. I suspect highly that Bushes friends will also have jobs at MS if wanted.I doubt highly the family will work there though. They can do much better TX or washington.

Re:Question about the judge (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594513)

Hey numbnutts - The possesive of Bush is Bush's not Bushes. I also would point out that this cases was going downhill long before Bush became President.

Re:Question about the judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594792)

be careful about the numbnutts slinging ... your grammar is not very good either
this cases to be specific.

Re:Question about the judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594471)

Come on, think bigger; this is Microsoft!

She'd be a fool to settle for anything less than a new beach.

OT: Why Slashdot is so slow today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594340)

I think it is because Drudge [drudgereport.com] is linking to the Doom III story [slashdot.org] .

Re:OT: Why Slashdot is so slow today (2, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594371)

There is that. Then also The Register has a link to the /. early release of the MS Verdict

The world is getting even.

/. is getting Drudged and Registered.

Back on topic, kinda ... (5, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594402)

The Register's coverage brought up an interesting question that I wouldn't mind seeing answered: can people who made stock deals based on the leaked decision, before it was officially posted (which of course was supposed to be after the close of markets) be prosecuted for insider trading? My gut tells me they can't, because it was the Court's screwup that leaked the decision, but the SEC might not agree ...

Re:OT: Why Slashdot is so slow today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594449)

Also (IIRC) ZDNETted, Reutered, and probably (given last Friday's little newsbreaker) SEC'd and FBI'd. But most likely of all, it's probably getting WallStreeted for hot tips.

How do consumers benefit? No, really! (5, Insightful)

Enry (630) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594343)

Both Bill Gates and John Ashcroft talked about how the decision benefits consumers. But there's nothing really in the decision that changes the way MSFT does business. I can't call IBM and get a discount on a system without Windows installed, if I load XP onto a machine, MSFT can take it over and install software without my permission, and the APIs can be buried in MSDN, forcing OSS software developers to not only subscribe to MSDN, but also follow whatever licensing MSDN forces on users. For the most part, this is MSFT business as usual.

Where, in this decision, do the consumers benefit? If you could put yourself in CKK's shoes, what would you say?

Re:How do consumers benefit? No, really! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594525)

I can't call IBM and get a discount on a system without Windows installed,

But you can call walmart....

if I load XP onto a machine, MSFT can take it over and install software without my permission,

Horrible, those damn bastards might install patches to keep worms from spreading like Code Red and Nimda, because people who pirate their software typically aren't smart enough to secure it. Those bastards!

and the APIs can be buried in MSDN, forcing OSS software developers to not only subscribe to MSDN, but also follow whatever licensing MSDN forces on users.

http://msdn.microsoft.com . Where's the subscription? Need an SDK to write software to interoperate? It's there. Want to write plugins for their Messenger client? Documentation and SDK right there. It's organized, not hidden. Perhaps the OSS community can learn from organized documentation.

Re:How do consumers benefit? No, really! (1, Troll)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594731)

"Horrible, those damn bastards might install patches to keep worms from spreading like Code Red and Nimda, because people who pirate their software typically aren't smart enough to secure it. Those bastards!"

On the other hand they might read your dard drive, extract your outlook email list and send it to MS so that the list could be used for spam. Or maybe they might disable all non MS products on your hard drive or they might change all your preferences to use MS products as default.

Why not? you gave them that right when you clicked OK. Would they abuse that right? Of course they would they are evil people who have done worse.

Re:How do consumers benefit? No, really! (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594775)

Why not?
Because then everyone would switch to an alternative OS, like Linux or Mac OSX.

Re:How do consumers benefit? No, really! (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594624)

MSDN content is freely available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] is it not?

Re:How do consumers benefit? No, really! (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594774)

It benefits consumers in that they have a very simple, very standard OS/browser combination that anybody can use anywhere. That's a huge benefit to the consumer. The average consumer doesn't write code.

Are you related to Hilary? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594344)

nt

So sad, eh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594348)

Sure, if I ever feel to find out whether MS is evil I'm going to ask Gates' lawyers straight.

You guys are so pathetic sometimes. You hire yours to persuade yourselves about non-MS' superiority.

Did Microsoft Win ? (5, Interesting)

frankie_guasch (164676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594356)

My first feeling after reading the slashdot report of the results was that Microsoft lost. APIs and information should have to be released.

But I read amazed the press and the media in my country (spain) and all of them agree that Microsoft Wins.

Who won ?

Re:Did Microsoft Win ? (4, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594496)

Who won?

Microsoft lost the case ages ago, so it became a question of what the penalty would be. Microsoft and the DOJ worked together and came up with a settlement proposal. Microsoft has been working hard to get this settlement approved. The settlement has penalties against Microsoft, but it is pretty much what they want it to be considering they lost.

When someone loses in court and they are happy with the penalty it is a relative "win" for them.

The big issue is that many people feel that the DOJ went too easy on Microsoft in the settlement. It only remedies a few of their abuses, and it has loopholes in it making major portions worthless.

For example the loopholes on releasing information - They are permitted to release it in an extremely limited, closed, and often useless manner. If there is any information they do not wish to release, all they have to do is link it in some way to security, DRM, or some other company's information and that exempts it from disclosure.

-

Re:Did Microsoft Win ? (0, Offtopic)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594564)

Karma:Excellent (CmdrTaco got tired of seeing Slashdot math: 50+1-1=49)

Unless you start posting crap on a regular basis, there is no difference between a karma rating of 49 or 50. Or even 48, 47, 46.. Therefore it doesn't matter Slashdot recalculates karma immediately instead of making a queue so you can keep the beloved 50.

So, if anything, the changes are an improvement because your exact karma rating doesn't really matter most of the time. But some people see problems where there just aren't any.

Mod parent post down: Offtopic (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594749)

(n/t)

How do you feel about the appointed committe? (5, Interesting)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594358)

From an analysis from the register I'd like your opinion on the committe being appointed.

Here's a snip from
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/27913.html

And it's a good thing that Microsoft helps choose the people who will police it, explains the Judge:

"...the committee will likely foster an environment of cooperative resolution, rather than one of persistent conflict and litigation. Otherwise, attempts at enforcement have a greater potential to take on the tenor of adversary proceedings, resolved in most instances with great difficulty and delay."

Reprisal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594361)

I've had it. This corporate invasion of our country has to stop. There are no laws that can curb this corruption of our legal system. We have seen time and again how large corporations are buying our three branches of government. Our non-violent protests everywhere have been fruitless. In some cases, our attempts at hacking their illegally backed technologies have only backfired giving them more ammuntion to attack our rights. Every attempt anyone has made so far hasn't made any real difference in what the fate of our country will be.
It is about time someone showed these bastards who keeps them alive. We have the power to completely topple a corporate empire. We can derupt their cash flow by assassinating their financial department. We can also assassinate their executives to thwart any real reconstruction efforts. The workers and developers can be brought off by other companies leaving Microsoft as an empty shell.
First, it is imparative that we know the locations of the executives. We have to assassinate every one of them swiftly in one stroke. We have to send a mole into their offices and send explosives into their meetings. We should send a small team of assassins to clean up the remaining survivors after the initial salvo of explosive death. There should be no executives, financial experts, lawyers, and top level developers remaining after the first salvo. Those who are outside the Redmond complex will be hunted down and killed as soon as we can find them.
The reconstruction of Microsoft would require a lot of money. We should destroy as much as their capital as possible. After evacuating their complexes of their employees, we should steal and destroy every important piece of important electronic equiptment. We should back up and then erase their data so that we can use it to blackmail if it comes to that. After gutting their main and subsidary offices, we should launch a radiological weapon on their Redmond Campus.
Their reconstruction should be hampered by every way possible. Anyone who tries to lead a reconstruction will be shot on site. The law enforcement will also be assassinated if they interfere with any part of our operation. The legislators who we suspect of helping the corporations will also be assassinated. Judges and jurors who rule in favor of Microsoft will also die.
We must make a clear example here with Microsoft that the corporate encroachment into our rights must stop. By destroying a major corporation, we will show them that it is possible to destroy them. By assassinating the executives, others will realize the personal risks in being involved in large corporate infrastructures. There should be genuine fear in the reprocussions of abusing us for so long. We will attack with full force and take back our country.

Re:Reprisal (2, Funny)

Gareman (618650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594430)

Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to Linux.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise....

Re:Reprisal (0, Flamebait)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594488)

All right...who let Richard Stallman post? Damnit Rich, you'll never get better unless you TAKE the medication as ordered...

Re:Reprisal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594566)

Just remember, every assassin has two asses.

Please setup a webcam ASAP. (2)

Damon C. Richardson (913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594623)

I'd hate to miss the FBI busting into your parents basement when they come for you.
Get help! Please.

Re:Please setup a webcam ASAP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594696)

No danger there, notice how he keeps saying "we should", like all those open-source zealots say when they have an idea for a new project: We should make this program foo, which will do bar for us. What they really mean is: I don't have the skills, someone else please do this.

Re:Reprisal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594661)

will there be punch'n'pie?

On Palladium (5, Interesting)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594366)

With Microsoft pretty much doing what they want [bbc.co.uk] these days, do you have fear that their Palladium project could be a real threat to Linux and other free-software projects, if MS try to force it upon their installed base ? What will be the best way to fight Palladium ?

Re:On Palladium (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594401)

Don't buy it?

No, really. Think about it. If you don't buy it..they won't sell it. If many people won't buy it, producing the boards and processors, "protected" memory (in the sense that it's protected from you, the evil owner), and all the control to Microsoft that goes with it, just don't buy the damn things.

Pretty simple, isn't it? So simple it won't work, because people will still buy into the crap assuming that there will be some sort of a hack available for it in the near future. Which there might be, of course, but anyone who tries to come up with one will likely be sent to a mysterious military base in Cuba for "interrogation" (you know, the electric shock and broomstick kind?)

Copyright != Antitrust (5, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594368)

I have heard in various other cases that if a copyright holder uses his copyright to commit antitrust, they lose the ability to defend their copyright.

Clearly, Microsoft has been found guilty of using its copyright on Windows 95 to kill Netscape.

Is is possible for a pirate to successfully defend himself by claiming Microsoft has lost its copyright? (I assume this applies to only that software specifically mentioned in the case. Not all software produced by Microsoft)

Re:Copyright != Antitrust (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594397)

Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

But...

You're in good company :(

Re:Copyright != Antitrust (2)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594527)

Read this:

http://news.com.com/2100-1023-243394.html?legacy =c net

How much could wriggle room hurt open source? (5, Interesting)

steveadept (545416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594369)

The decree permits Microsoft to avoid publishing APIs for security reasons, and permits them to release API docs on a 'reasonable and non-discriminatory' basis. How much do think Microsoft will be able to get away with concealing authentication components of protocols on the security exemption, and how much will they be able to use the RAND provision to ensure that open sourcers never see the APIs to things (e.g. filesharing, Active Directory) they need to interoperate with?

Steve

Re:How much could wriggle room hurt open source? (4, Interesting)

MrEd (60684) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594484)

The decree permits Microsoft to avoid publishing APIs for security reasons


And another question (brought up by a member of my LUG): Doesn't anyone think this is a bit of a two-edged sword? Anytime MSFT hides behind the 'security' clause they are basically admitting that they are depending on security though obscurity!


While I agree that this is more of a tool for MSFT to block interoperability I think it leaves a lot of room for Sun, Linux pushers, etc. to point and say, "Here, look, we can show you how the security works on our product yet it's still solid".


Will this matter, do you think?

A Mr. Rosen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594372)

Please tell me he's not related to a certain Ms. Rosen... (yes, I know she's lesbian, but they could still be related...)

How to respond to this decision (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594375)

The decision by the Justice Department to stop pursuing the antitrust case against Microsoft is a direct result of the outcome of the 2000 election.

If you don't like it, remember: tomorrow is Election Day.

GET OUT AND VOTE!

Re:How to respond to this decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594465)

If you think voting for Democrats versus Republicans is going to solve the Microsoft problem you are truly mistaken. Open Source issues cut across party lines.

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting to intelligently research where your representatives are on these issues, then I can't agree with you more.

Re:How to respond to this decision (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594748)

" If you think voting for Democrats versus Republicans is going to solve the Microsoft problem you are truly mistaken"

It may not solve the problem but it does send a strong message. If enough people vote democrat then this administration might get scared and change their attitude and policies.

Ascroft has got to go he totally caved in to MS.

Re:How to respond to this decision (1)

BayAreaRefugee (413052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594480)

I wonder if Scott McNealy will finally realize where his bread's *not* being buttered and publicly announce his support for and vote for Democrats instead of Republicans in this election. Might be cool to at least challenge him to do so.

Aargh (0, Redundant)

Spruce Moose (1857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594378)

Another ironic slashdot ad for visual studio.net )-:

How do you feel about (0, Offtopic)

Aexia (517457) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594379)

your sister Hilary siding with the RIAA? Are you disappointed she's chosen to use her powers for evil and not good?

Had bad is it? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594380)

Are we just going to get anally raped? Or are we going to have to lick the shit off Bill's cock when he's done?

Anti-trust Precedent for the Software Industry? (4, Interesting)

Bistronaut (267467) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594384)

I'm all angry about the agreement giving free reign to MS, but I'm also worried about its (posssible) effects on other software monopolists. Does this case set a precedent that says: "software companies don't need to pay attention to anti-trust laws"?

Re:Anti-trust Precedent for the Software Industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594447)

...software companies don't need to pay attention to anti-trust laws"?

Or maybe it just means that anyone with enough political and economical power doesn't.

Clearly a philosophical point that goes back to Karl Marx:

"Money... transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence and intelligence into idiocy."

So basically, MS has turned the US Government from Master into Slave... It is really a shame that the "government for and by the people" no longer holds true. Now a days it is more like: "government for and by the people with money".

Valid Business Model (5, Interesting)

Mr. Smoove (160347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594386)

In the settlement it talks about MS having to disclose information only to companies with a sound business model that meats critera set out by MS. Where does OSS fall? Can MS say OSS is not up to its standards and therefore not release the code?

Additionally what effect will MS's right to charge have on OSS? Can MS only charge for developers to see the code or are they entitled to charge royalties for the implementation of the code? (Can you legally reverse engineer a software having seen the code?)

Anti-MS swing in media more damaging? (3, Interesting)

BlameFate (564908) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594396)

They say no publicity is bad publicity, but in this case could the amount of times that "Linux" has been mentioned in articles where this case is discussed be actually doing significant damage to Microsoft's mindshare?

Take a look at this article [bbc.co.uk] at the BBC as an example of the pro-linux swing being evidenced in the non-geek media.

Will this ultimately do more damage to Microsoft than anything the US DOJ could do?

Can Microsoft Pull a "Fast One"? (5, Interesting)

viperjsw (304123) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594398)

What is being put into place to insure that Microsoft actually hands over real code? I mean really. We've got legal consul that doesn't know jack about code trying to, possibly, enforce somehting that they know nothing to little about. Microsoft could hand over out of date code, partial code, bugged code, and any number of other variables on the "truth" and legal guys would be none the wiser.

Re:Can Microsoft Pull a "Fast One"? (2, Flamebait)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594528)

Microsoft could hand over out of date code, partial code, bugged code, and any number of other variables on the "truth" and legal guys would be none the wiser.

Please clarify the difference between real code and bugged code. :-)

And don't whine about MS-bashing - try and tell me they don't deserve it.

Ok a question... (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594409)

The biggest question I have, with regards Open Source, is how will this affect the ability to emulate Windows services and APIs?


The reason for this is that we already know that Microsoft has been violating the agreement, virtually from the moment they agreed to it. This does not give me confidence in any monitoring team's ability to enforce it.


My second question (ha! snuck this one in!) is: How does this affect the ability for Open Source groups to re-implement Microsoft APIs for Windows?


Again, we already know that Microsoft has added hidden checks to verify a given DLL is authentic Microsoft, rather than a 3rd-party clone. However, with no legal requirement to modularize (and therefore legal permission to mangle things up too much to re-implement), it would be very difficult to prove in court that a given technical issue was a product of a coding error or an agreement violation.


Ok, one more question. What's to stop Microsoft from releasing a Windows+, which is "not Windows" in the same way Windows98 wasn't Windows95, thus voiding the entire agreement?


Frankly, I don't think this bodes at all well for ANY competitor to Microsoft. Too many loopholes, and too much squelching power. It's about the same as playing "Lemmings" with a high-power plasma cannon. There cannot be any realistic opposition.


(Last, but not least, if the legal expert -does- start their reply with "IANAL", I'd have a hard time being surprised. We live in "interesting times", and reality is taking a long lunch-break.)

Question: (4, Funny)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594413)

Have you ever posted on slashdot, and if so, have you ever used the acronym IAAL instead of IANAL?

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594542)

I have not - and scuse my bonehead reply, but I have not a clue on what either of these acronyms are. Perhaps you, or someone else should enlighten me.

Defence of open source projects (4, Interesting)

Spruce Moose (1857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594415)

Now that Microsoft has effectively gotten away with maintaining and extending it's monopoly, how do you think open source projects that are competitive to Microsoft (Samba, WINE, Crossover plugin, OpenOffice etc) are going to survive any legal assults? It would seem easier to kill off an open source project as they are typically not (officially) associated with a company, nor have any serious resources other than perhaps the goodwill of the user community.

As a friend said, there's nothing like getting away with murder to encourage you to start killing more people.

Re:Defence of open source projects (3, Insightful)

SnAzBaZ (572456) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594505)

It would seem easier to kill off an open source project as they are typically not (officially) associated with a company, nor have any serious resources other than perhaps the goodwill of the user community.

No, this makes open source projects harder to kill off, not easier. If there is no associated company or owner, who do you take legal action against? And there will always be people willing to continue the project if the main developers are "disuaded" from working on it.

Re:Defence of open source projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594572)

The hell with Microsoft. The XP licensing scheme
that they have will help do them in.

Long Live Open Source!

APIs (5, Interesting)

mrkurt (613936) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594422)

Just how much of their remaining undisclosed APIs does Microsoft have to make public? I found the judge's references to this issue quite confusing; in one place she said that MS would have to reveal all of its "communications" protocols; in another she ruled that MS wouldn't have to reveal anything that pertained to such topics as "encryption" or "digital rights management". Isn't it possible for MS to claim that existing or future new APIs for Windows would fall into the latter category, and thus allow them to keep much of it in the dark?
My followup question is: what mechanism did the judge set up for determining whether an API should be public or not?

Slap on the wrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594423)

I've followed this whole case, from way back in the day... all it has done is cost tax dollars, MSFT is so big, they really can do what ever they want, what other corperation needs a commitee over seeing? and whats to stop MSFT from doing thier normal tricks, and buying out the commitee?
Just my $ 0.02
KRS [www.krs.ca]

Re:Slap on the wrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594560)

I've followed this whole case, from way back in the day
Unfortunately, it appears that the judge did not.

sector-specific regulation needed? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594427)

Other industries that expose network effects are specially regulated (e.g. telecommunications). Do the results of the MS case show that we also need sector-spefic regulations for the software industry? Is general competition incapable of dealing with these kinds of problems?

bug fix:sector-specific regulation needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594461)

Sorry, left out a word in the third sentence. It should read:
Is general competition *law* incapable of dealing with these kinds of problems?

Can we get what we wanted (5, Interesting)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594433)

So the bigest things that I think many of us were looking for is for MS to be in a way forced to reveal and make available cratian information needed for inter-operability. Was this achived or are we still locked out? For instance can the samba team get the information they need form MS to build a better CIFS implimentation?

Dikke stront (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594435)

door een rietje

Open Source Leadership (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594445)

Does the ruling make any of the rantings of RMS worth listening too? Or can he still be safely ignored?

Also, whats up with Slashdot? Its running slower than connecting to imap-uw 4.44 server using a c-client when Kerberos isn't set up.

Sua Sponte? (5, Interesting)

fava (513118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594457)

What about the sua sponte provision.
Jurisdiction is retained by this Court over this action such that the Court may act sua sponte to issue further orders or directions, including but not limited to orders or directions relating to the construction or carrying out of this Final Judgment, the enforcement of compliance therewith, the modification thereof, and the punishment of any violation thereof. Jurisdiction is retained by this Court over this action and the parties thereto for the purpose of enabling the parties to this action to apply to this Court at any time for further orders and directions as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out or construe this Final Judgment, to modify or terminate any of its provisions, to enforce compliance, and to punish violations of its provisions.

It sounds a very open ended authority that grants the judge broad powers over all aspects of the settlement. Can the judge use this provision to broaden the scope of the agreement or to force Microsoft to use a particular intrepretation of some clause, for example the security exemption or the viability clause.

Or am I just a geek grasping for straws.

Re:Sua Sponte? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594722)

That's pretty common - otherwise you have the problem of finding a judge to hear complaints about how the judgment is being followed, and bringing yet another jurist up to speed.

Glaring Loophole? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594460)

As we probably all know, a clause in the settlement limits Microsoft's disclosure of APIs to only those not security related.

Is there any legal device that prevents them from, say, distributing some security procedure over all the APIs, thus limiting their disclosure to nothing?

Section J (5, Interesting)

bhsx (458600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594468)

Section J explains what the judgement doesn't intend to do. In J2 it talks about not putting conditions on Microsoft about how they'll be licensing the APIs and protocols to third parties then continues on in J2(c) say that the third party may be subject to conditions set by Microsoft that the third party:

meets reasonable, objective standards established by Microsoft for certifying the
authenticity and viability of its business


So, does that mean that they can refuse the APIs and protocols to Open Source projects claiming that they don't consider them viable business models?
In the other sections it points out the Microsoft is not allowed to be discriminatory, so which one overrides the other?

Re:Section J (4, Interesting)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594589)

Everyone seems to be focusing on that "viable business model" thing but I don't think that's what it really means. It means that Microsoft doesn't have to release their API stuff to whoever comes asking. In other words, if your company is named 31117, Inc., your two employees are both under 18, and your Mission Statement is "Information Wants To Be Free!," then Microsoft isn't going to let you see their panties.

On the other hand, if you are an esablished business (let's say RedHat,) with like an accountant and maybe some stock options, and you have a Duns and Bradstreet number, then you are probably good to go. Microsoft would have a hard time arguing that RedHat isn't an "authentic and viable" business in any "reasonable and objective" sense of the words. They can't just say "well, all OS except for Windows are not viable, so take a hike."

I think the bigger issues are:

1. What remedies, if any, address non-compliance?

2. How big is the security carve-out? Is it so big that we'll never know anything about Longhorn/Palladium since they'll implement interprocess crypto (think x-box)? Or is it so small as to basically mean that MS doesn't have to provide info like "The SMB backdoor password is xyzzy?" In one case it covers anything dealing with crypto, in another case only a huge flaw that MS would rather not have public.

Was the judge's ruling based on the case.... (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594469)

Many folks are whipping themselves into a frenzy blaming the judge for this decision - but a judge can only (and SHOULD only) judge the case they're brought.

Do you feel the judge was judging within the context of the case she was brought (in other words, that the DOJ fell down on the job of bringing the appeal), or do you feel that the judge's decision was in error based on the case that was brought to her?

MSFT/Netiquette/SadDay (0, Offtopic)

AtariCorporationAhin (622665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594475)

Greetings,

Hope this finds you well. I wanted to congratulate
you on emphasizing the dynamics given Colleen
Kollar-Kotelly's and the government's (in)action.

You have properly outlined the future competitive landscape
and hint to MSFT's need to 'evolve'. Unfortunately, my
concern (as a long-time 'net enthusiast) is that the
internet is and will continue to be stifled if things do
not CHANGE. Without accountability, MSFT is doing too much
harm. Symbolically, the government has given up I feel.

My humble viewpoint comes from someone who was interviewed
by many media outlets back in 1995 concerning the
developments within the internet revolution due to a LA
Times piece that featured me and IUMA.com about music on
the 'Net---way before the Napster revolution (LA Times,
Business Section, Wed. July 12, 1995, D7).

If my memory serves me correctly, Bill Gates mentioned in
1995 that the
internet will change everything... and it has and will
continue to do so... but what is of utmost importance at
this phase--especially due to the government's inability to
persuade MSFT to modify their practices--
is to PLAINLY explain not only the Sherman-Anti Trust
issues, but more importantly, the Netiquette imbalance. I
assure you, the internet community can and will address
this imbalance.

Devices are going to proliferate along with wireless
and operating systems being less dependent on MSFT. Yet it
just rubs the internet community the wrong way when MSFT
stifles the evolution of the 'net. Granted,they are pushing
forward with certain innovations, but I and many others
have a right to question the current dynamics.

When Mosaic pioneered the image web browser-- they changed
the utility
of the internet-- not MSFT. MSFT at that time was waging
war with Apple per se, hinting how they "missed the boat"--
although this quickly changed. By creating a "me-too"
browser and pulling the "one-two punch" of pricing the
product for free and embedding it within their operating
system, MSFT planted the roots of negativity that have to
this day continued.

Netscape is helpless and no longer truly innovates within
the browser realm. This can be shown by the fact that
PocketPC has a internet explorer centric browser-- and yet
Netscape is not producing PDA or "gadget" friendly
browsers. Innovation, courageousness and trailblazing are
no longer adjectives describing Netscape.

The internet community and I are sad about this-- and feel
much blame can be put on the unfair "practices" of MSFT.
Don't get me wrong-- MSFT has done some positive things--
but the aggregate negativity that they have brought forth
during the Internet Era makes one realize that the net
result of their mentality WILL HURT THE INTERNET.

Netiquette is about empowerment, utility and sharing. Just
ask Lawrence Lessig... The $36B in cash that MSFT has
attained due to their "practices" would be better served if
it was dispersed among the plethera of companies which
historically pushed the Internet/Technology envelope that
have all now been relegated to MSFT "pawns and bishops".

Accountability must occur... if the Government does not
facilitate this via Anti-Trust-- then the net community
itself must and will react... For the benefit of all (MSFT
included).

suppose they violate the agreement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594479)

Suppose that MS violates the agreement/ruling. How likely is it that there would be some sort enforcement, and what would that enforcement look like?

Preinstalled Linux (3)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594494)

Reading the judgement, it appears that Microsoft is prohitbited from punishing OEMs who include alternative operating systems on their machines. So it appears that OEMs need no longer be afraid of Microsoft. The question is, are they still too afraid of Linux to make it a viable desktop computing alternative?

Slashdot SUCKS today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594506)


Nice job, moving to Exodus west. It was fine where it was!

suck my balls

Slashdot-speak (3, Flamebait)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594522)

"one of the best-qualified people in the world to answer questions on this topic" = "someone who agrees with the majority of Slashdot readers"

I'm not saying this because I disagree with Larry's conclusions (although I do, to some extent); I'm just trying to point out the bias that permeates this site. The word "news" has been redefined over the past 35 years to mean "commentary," and that's too bad.

Judge's Reasoning (5, Interesting)

BrianWCarver (569070) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594587)


From what I read of the decision (yes, I tried to wade through a significant chunk of its hundreds of pages) Judge KK seems to justify many of her points by saying that the remedies suggested by the dissenting states do not address the fault that was established. That is, for instance, forcing MS to auction the rights to port Office to Linux has nothing to do with the fact that MS used its monopoly power to squash Netscape, etc. That is, anything not directly related to the theory that MS felt a threat from middleware with cross-platform abilities is out of bounds as a remedy. (First question then might be: Is that an accurate description of part of her reasoning?) In some instances, what she says sounds right to me and in others it seems like she needs to re-read the findings of fact [gpo.gov] .

Another reason she seems to like for rejecting proposed remedies is that they would "help MS's competitors but not competition". This distinction seems slim. If that really is required of any anti-trust remedy, then is anything other than breaking MS up even a potential remedy?

Most importantly, given the narrow ways she uses to reject the proposed additional remedies, didn't she leave open the possibility of the success of a brand new anti-trust suit that does address the other ways in which MS has abused its monopoly power? (Like for instance, wouldn't Sun's additional anti-trust suit have a good chance?) But, given how long these trials take, won't Microsoft's strategy of prolonging the process wind us right back where we are, where any remedy applied so long after the fact makes no real difference? And then if that's so, while her remedy might be legally defensible, it would also serve to graphically illustrate the impotence of our anti-trust laws, no?

BWCarver

Heh Heh Heh (1)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594607)

Anyone seen Suse8.1? Sw33t piece of software, mind you. With some more tweaking, it'll be better, as in more user friendly, than XP. Personally, I think we, as a community, need to start pressuring companies to put out solid drivers for linux, make solid programs for linux, and just generally pressure hardware manufactuers to go with linux. Just bug their sales departments for support for the easier to use flavious of linux. Once we can start to get manufacturers and software makers supporting linux and windows, we'll see 2 things: A: MS will start playing fair and compeditiove B: MS will die We've got staroffice for most of your office apps, plus the OS itself is a work of art and security. The only thing that is lacking is games; of which most are being made to support linux anyway as most online games need linux servers unless you like the server crashing every few hours. As for palladium, it's a few years off. Linux has some time to get into manufactuer's PC's and get accepted at the storeshelfs of stores like best buy and Compusa. Especially when we start seeing PC's with suse on them. Dell will probably accept them fairly soon, seeing how they can undercut their competition another $100. If this were all happenning a year ago, I'd be afraid. But since It's happening today, I'm planning to stick linux classes in my course schedule for the next few semesters. The absolute only way microsoft is going to compete with linux is if they start competing, or if they outlaw it(not likely). And remember, people will do whatever the fuck they want, they will crack your programs. Remember, most hackers came from a bullied backround. When they are sick of it, they give the middle finger to the bully and go about their buisness.

Discriminatory (5, Interesting)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594630)

To what extent will Microsoft now be forced to change their current, ongoing strategies of releasing information in discriminatory fashion?

I refer to licensing designed to block usage of the GPL- and more than that, the attempts through the Shared Source license to produce a population of coders with built-in vulnerability to Microsoft legal attack (the admissions of being privy to MS proprietary information, the abandoning of patent rights etc)

How much of this will they have to immediately change because it conflicts with the Judge's requirement that they not be discriminatory? It happens to be central to their strategy, and I can't believe this discrepancy will go un-noted.

Okay, I'll bite... (3, Interesting)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594636)

So, How Does The MS Ruling Affect Open Source?

How does this affect current and future licencing? (1)

marcelC (592689) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594639)

The judge ruled that microsoft has to make out for itself what licence strategies it will apply, could they apply licences to current and future programs/api's which would virtually outlaw any open source project for their os?

change bsd license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594671)

Change bsd license specifically excluding MS from right to use, it is not too late.

From a Different Point of View (5, Interesting)

Bilbo (7015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594675)

Most Slashdot readers are, of course, looking at this decision from a strong technical point of view. It is clear that this decision is going to hurt our favorite technology, and is a bad thing for the Technology sector. We tend to draw parallels from other technology cases, such as the breakup of AT&T, and the outcome of that case.

My question however, is, if you look at this decision from a Business perspective, how does it fall? Is this decision in line with existing case law when it comes to dealing with individuals and corporations who have come to exercise huge amounts of power over their various sectors of the economy? Was this decision made with the intent of strengthening the overall business climate of the US, especially given the current state of the world economy? Will it make perfect sense to the average CEO?

Has Opensource shot itself in the foot? (5, Interesting)

sabinm (447146) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594688)

What I mean by that is realizing that

1. Open Source has bound itself (willingly or not I cannot say) with Free Software. I see a fundamental difference between the two as OpenSource is more of the Scientific approach of having a peer reviewed research and development platform, where as (self admittedly) Free Software focuses on making *all* software free as a public domain/service

2. Many open source applications have been developed with the purpose of allowing those who would not normally have the skills to circumvent "IP protection measures". That is, P2P, an adopted open source initiative has Free Software ties because the "information" that P2P networks choose to distribute are for the most part Close Sourced or Copyrighted material.

3. Closed source companies (like Microsoft) and Copy righted companies (like Vivendi) Have both used the arguement that *OPEN SOURCE* software is the cause of the loss of revenue and piracy and have implemented protection schemes that *must be* protected by proprietary closed source mechanisms in order to protect the revenue stream of those coutries

4. Companies will continue to deny legitimate opensource companies access to their API because they incorrectly bind open-source develpers with Free-Software developers (while one may be the other, both may legitimately exist independently of other that is, not all oss devs are freesoftware devs and not all freesoftware devs are oss devs).

5. Legislation looms that would prohibit Open Source to be developed on any commercial level and even make it illegal to own and distribute open source based hardware *because of those who would use propietary software without paying for it* who feel they have a right to another's work without compensating the creator.

6. Those legislators (rightly or wrongly) see open source as a breeding ground for hackers and information pirates, and do not seperate law breakers from the rest of the group. eg. You never hear a *rogue* OSS developer getting arrested on DMCA charges, the same way you hear of *rogue* ceos or *rogue* scientists acting in a way that disgraces the community.

So really, is this a question of those who have steered open source away from its roots to be a campaign for free software? And how will traditionally open source companies (or) individual developers access the blueprints if MS can conveniently label them as software pirates or illegitimate institutions undeserving of access to its API?

Price schedule (3, Interesting)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594711)

In my opinion one of the biggest victories against Microsoft in this judgment was the establishment of a uniform price schedule. No more special bait-and-switch deals. However, it occurs to me that this could actually hurt some businesses more than it helps. How do you think Microsoft will respond to this requirement and how can open source use this to its advantage?

We are screwed (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594713)

Simply put, the Microsoft machine is in high gear, and they know the government wont stop them, no matter what they do.

They now have pretty much free reign to attack all competitors how ever the see fit, including OpenSource stuff.

Lesson learned: if you get big enough you are exempt from business laws. Only trick is getting there before you get caught.

Re:We are screwed (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594755)

They now have pretty much free reign to attack all competitors how ever the see fit, including OpenSource stuff.

Just like each of the millions of other businesses in the US. That's what competition is.

Balancing act (2)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594733)

Does the settlement seem like a hastily created balancing act? By that, I mean keeping the creeping hand of government intrusion into business out, yet at the same time punishing a company which used questionable practices.

Note that I have no love for Microsoft, yet I do wish to keep the government out of business and more into the practice of governing.

As the settlement stands, it seems like an intrusion(even if quite useless) into Microsoft's business. Perhaps even with this settlement, the invisible hand will deal with them in time.

Will the Market Rule? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594763)

Some of the spin doctors claim that, regardless of the ruling, the market will ultimately determine whether MS maintains its ~90% market share in many areas.

Will linux be able to continue holding or increasing its server market share and if so, will that share translate to the desktop?

Or will anyone else be able to increase their market share in the next, oh, 3 years, from what's on your radar screen today?

How can the European court help? (5, Interesting)

fmjrey (618827) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594769)

If US justice fails us against the MS monopoly, how can European court take over the battle? What are the legal mechanisms Europe could use to enforce its own ruling?

Fair decision? (4, Interesting)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594783)

Given the much harsher penalties (breakup, etc) that many people were calling for, and given Microsoft's record for behavior, do you think that Microsoft will indeed cease their monopolistic behavior, or do you think that they will take it as yet another slap on the wrist and continue to use their position to leverage an unfair advantage in the industry?

Where do we pick up the torches and pitchforks? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4594788)

Do you think it's time for an "attitude adjustment" to the corporations and the politicians they have bought and control?

Palladium/LaGrande Defense (2)

jACL (75401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4594810)

Palladium and LeGrande will probably be embraced by businesses -- media, healthcare, banking -- anywhere that businesses need to ensure that media or data needs to be vaulted. Cisco is pushing it too -- they want to sell the equipment to stream video on demand. In effect, all three are seeking to building a data citadel within the Internet.

As no one else that I'm aware of is doing this in an open source fashion, they'll end up with a defacto monopoly in a protection racket. At that time, the argument could be made that Microsoft used its monopoly power to create another monopoly.

Any chance of using that against them to open up Palladium?
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