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DOJ considering source-licensing punishment

sengan posted more than 15 years ago | from the not-quite-opensource dept.

Microsoft 184

Mike McCune writes "News.com is reporting that a committee advising the Department of Justice is considering forcing Microsoft to license the source code to it's operating systems." Another alternative is to block Microsoft from adding features to the OS. In related news, Frédéric writes "Maybe you know Microsoft is trying to use Be to prove it does not have a monopoly on OS's. The SJ Mercury news speculates that Be's CEO Jean-Louis Gassée may join the antitrust suit against Microsoft Corp.". This transcript of this interview with JLG gives his position."

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Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016710)

Give MS a taste of their own medicine, the bastards.

Not an AC, just forgot my password.
Kyobu

This Could be a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016711)

Depending on how all of this plays out..
-Source being Released or Liscnsed, Maybe there can be hope for windows... But then again.. Even if the Source to MS products were avialable... would Developers want to Work on it?

-Yes, I Know my spelling sucks

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016712)

I'd rather see Microsoft prevented from adding new features myself, but I doubt it will happen

No Subject Given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016713)

Fix the URL that refers to the news.com page.

wwwwwwwwwwww (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016714)

url is wrong

No Subject Given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016715)

Since splitting up MS would be unlikely and making them pay for "damages" would probably be useless, I think forcing them to lisence Windows is the only solution. They should also have to license it for free if the product is not sold for profit. This way it would be possible to make open source Windows clones, and MS couldn't charge ridiculous fees to make licensing not cost-effective enough. And then you'd have to find some way to enforce the way they license the technology, and make sure they don't hide any APIs that only MS programs use, something we know they have done in the past.

I think the best way to level the playing field is by letting other OSes have access to Windows programs.

Why trust MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016716)

MS has demonstrated in the past that they lie to the government, and just barely follow government orders, if at all. Why would anyone believe that the gov't could *force* them to do anything? What's to stop them from deliberately crippling the source before releasing it?

Of course, if it became a true open source project, then hackerdom would rapidly set it straight. But I don't think the government would be able to make the case to take MS's cash cow away from it (just like they'd never get away with saying "You can't add features" - that's the heart of MS's defense).

d

Bad precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016717)

i am as against MS as anyone else, but forcing MS to do such things would start a bad precedent which might open the door to the government put it hands to deep into other companies software as well....

Windows integration vs. BeOS integration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016718)

You can't compare the two OSes in terms of the 'integration' thing. Netpositive is not integrated, it's bundled. Big difference here. One can be removed and replaced without adverse OS reaction, the other can't.

Will justice previal? In this country.... probably not! Just look at how far the empire has gotten already. They'll come out with not much more than a few harsh words (off the record of course). Just like the other Bill earlier today. Maybe we aren't so much better off than those in Iraq after all.

OK, what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016719)

The antitrust suit is DOJ vs MS. How can Be "join" it?

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016720)

I would hate to take a look at that crap. Talk about spagetti code, sheesh.

I say the government takes all of Bill Gates' money away (stocks and all), deports anyone that that has a business interest with him (on the basis of: if you are in business with Microsoft then you are evil), and steps back and sees if he can build another empire. Since he was simply a very lucky bastard in the first place, I doubt he could pull it off again.

Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016721)

The trial is showing to the world how corrupt Microsoft really is, but to force the company to release it's intellectual property is equally corrupt.

OSS and the Marketplace will eventually kill MS. In the long term the Market is exactingly just, but to force even it's own natural progression is an insult to choice and freedom of choice.

This is in no way a defense of Microsoft. They have caused me more headaches with their bloated bugware than I could possibly count. But my decision to find an alternative was entirely my own and because it was ME that made the decision I know it was right. I'll never have to second guess it.

Let Microsoft crack under it's own weight while faster, leaner, more responsive niche alternatives rise. It's happening. Let it.

did anyone notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016722)

they spelled Lynix. I guess proofreading is not just Slashdot's problem. *)

i agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016723)

They will simply "lose" the source code, just as they did with DOS when Caldera demanded sources.

Whether or not you think governments should be able to force software companies to open up their code (I don't), this is still a bad idea. Just remember who we're dealing with... "fair dealing" is not in Microsoft's lexicon.

MS already licenses their source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016724)

well, used to at least until they realized companies like citrix could find and exploit a niche that MS wasn't dominating. or maybe it was when they realized that a company creating porting toolkits would make it too easy to port from windows to unix, causing a potential drain on market share.

so it's nothing new, unless they're forced to do it. i can't see a company using a license to the source to windows to create a competing product -- legally it would be death to that company. realistically, the only thing you could use it for is to compete on the application front, which is a good thing.

WINE doesn't want their code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016725)

If you've followed wine-devel, you'll note that WINE does not attempt to be "mistake compatible" with MS as long as the behavior is the same. A good case in point is the ongoing work to make messaging multithreaded - the easy solution would be exactly how MS does it in Win9x with the gigantic mutex, but the Wine developers are instead going to do it the Right Way. I think this is a great idea - it may take longer now, but it makes the code easier to maintain later.

Too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016726)

I'm sorry and you can call me Bill Gates' bitch if it makes you feel better, but I think this is going too far. This would not level the playing field -- it would unilaterally stack it against MS. This type of recommendation is further reinforcement of the claim that the government has no fscking clue about high technology (as if the patent office needs help).

Word has a monopoly on the word processing market - should MS be forced to make the soruce code available? Apple has a monopoly on the Macintosh market - should MacOS X be made public?

If MS is shown in a court of law that it is indeed a monopoly and is forced to reveal its crown jewels, then it will open a flood gate of similar attempts of competitors against market leaders (e.g., Sybase against Oracle) and ruin the software market. There will be no economic incentive to develop software.

This whole thing just seems misguided. And worse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016727)

And get a load of this:

The government's lead attorney yesterday challenged Microsoft Vice President Brad Chase's testimony that consumers can easily download Web browsers from the Internet, including the one made by Microsoft's rival, Netscape. (See previous story.)

Have to say I disagree! I don't know all the facts of the case, but if this is the kind of 'evidence' the doj is putting on, I can't hope they win. What are the real facts of this case? What are the real illegal business practices?

Furthermore, shipping an html browser with the operating system doesn't seem like such a bad idea to me. Seems pretty sensible that one should be able to browse help files (shouldn't they be in hyperlinked text?) not to mention the browse the web, right away without having to ftp one first. I personally think Windows should come bundled with more stuff-- like tar, gzip, postscript viewer, dvi viewer, tex and latex, etc... It's a big weakness that out of the box, you can't really do anything with a windows machine.

Now, as I said before, I don't know all the facts. But if there are some, let's hear about them! The crap in these articles is, well, just that-- crap.

A Better Remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016728)

Open sourcing Windows code would have the ironic effect of keeping this horrible codebase alive -- though the market itself would kill it in a few years.

A better remedy would be to stop Microsoft's manipulation of the market through pricing and incentive/punishment deals (e.g. making an ISP use Internet Explorer exclusively lest it lose a spot on the Windows desktop).

What must be broken is Microsoft's stranglehold on the OEMs. OEMs should be able to buy Windows "blindly," at a fixed OEM price, regardless of what other operating systems they may or may not offer on their hardware.

Finally, I wish the governement at all levels would encourage standards-based computing by insisting on standards such as Posix in their purchasing policy.


Big woop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016729)

Suppose Microsoft is actually forced to license their source code. They could do so at prices which make the Open Group's Motif and CDE look cheap by comparison.

Just because source code is "open" doesn't mean it's available for anyone to look at.

Wow, the most idiotic /. post ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016730)

You are just a fscking idiot and a fascist! Contrary to popular belief, MS is not as autocratic as the bandwagon believes. They control the desktop and office automation markets. Not the server market. Not the database market.

You must be a typical pimply-faced Linux hacker wanna-be who knows very little, if anything, about software development.

Some Punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016731)

Hey... if that's punishment, then why have
all the Open Sourcers been punishing THEMSELVES?

Hey! Be nice to linux hacker wanna-be's! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016732)

Ok, my apologies to the Linux hacker wanna-be community at large. You guys are pretty cool. I just blew it after reading that post.

Maybe Linux hacker wanna-be wanna-be.

Windows == Netscape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016733)

So basically the Windows source code would be like the original March release of the Mozilla code. ;-) I think I got it to compile once out of the 8 times I tried it using various versions of motif and lesstif. Windows must be much much much worse to compile. Bring new meaning to the joke phrase "It compiled? Ship it!"

Too far - Damn right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016734)

As much as I loathe MS and their products, what amounts to nationalization of Microsoft's property is a VERY misguided notion. Does RMS have blackmail material on Janet Reno or something? :-)

Where is Be's Credibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016735)

Why have they been trying to preload a pre-1.0 product? Sounds like BS to me. I'll all about making MS play fair but not if it involves lying of golddiggers. Be doesn't support enough hardware or run enough apps to be preloaded.

0.8 probability is optimistic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016736)

I think 0.8 probability of high-quality support on Linux is optimistic considering the high degree of variance in each distribution.

Maybe the companies who provide Linux support should seriously consider having their own distribution.

Quick answers for simple problems is harder on Linux, than an off-the shelf Windows NT installation.

On the other hand, a lot of answers on NT is 'wait for the next fix-pack', so at least support on Linux is possible - but not fast or cheap.

For many companies Linux should not be considered a low-cost alternative.

There is precident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016737)

It should be considered an "Essential Service" and treated as such. Open sourcing Windows would be the ultimate playing-field leveler.

integrated vs. 'bundled' -- ZERO econ difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016738)

all MSFT has to prove is that other OS's use the browser for functions that classically were handled by other apps.

in BeOS, the help system is all HTML... therefore, without the browser, you couldn't use help (a 'system' function in the market sense -- all commercially viable OS's need an integrated help system)

Force to disvest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016739)

Real punishment would be to split OS/apps and force the Microsoft maffia to disvest from all infotech investments besides one of the above.

And it would be so nice to see the masses
that bought stock to see it plummet..

The Word file format is actually obtainable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016740)

It's the way Word handles these file formats that makes it difficult for 100% conversion. It's like lesstif's effort at mimicking OSF/Motif. It's not in getting things right, but getting them to behave as the "industry leader" would.

Funny such problems rarely happen in the Free Software community. Go GNU!

Solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016741)

Opening the windows source doesn't sound so good, I really don't want to see it and I'd hate to see it live longer than it needs to when the OpenWindows group forms. Never mind the legality of it, I don't think the government can force MS to do that. Ms might do it of their own will before too long if they want to survive. The only thing I can think of that is even similar to that would be what they have done with phone lines and how they made them open to anyone who wants to buy time on them.


Limiting what MS can do to it has some appeal but I don't like the precedent, of course this was practically done to IBM in the 50's.


I honestly think the best thing would be to split MS up with the intention of making their OS gruop support some open standards and the app group support some other platforms. I would think that it would do the most to benefit the consumer and the industry as a whole without setting a scary legal precedence for becoming too successful and being forced to open you code. MS Office on Linux would sell, I wouldn't want it but it would sell. Likewise, I can see some appeal in being able to run a windows based client for some things. Their company is just too integrated, they make the best tools for programming their OS, they make the most popular word processor and spreadsheet and everybody uses it, it's all designed to keep you buying from MS. If you break that bond then there would be more competition.

The Word file format is actually obtainable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016742)

It's the way Word handles these file formats that makes it difficult for 100% conversion. It's like lesstif's effort at mimicking OSF/Motif. It's not in getting things right, but getting them to behave as the "industry leader" would.


These problems rarely happen in the Free Software community, where sources are there for all to see.

did anyone notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016743)

Amen to that brother

did anyone notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016744)

That's proof? I would still pronounce 'Lynix' as lih-nucks.

License the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016745)

Someone with a lot of money should license it and should leak the code out somewhere. When that slip is finished, then we should get Wine working hellu nice...

integrated vs. 'bundled' -- ZERO econ difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016746)

The only problem with your argument is so far their isn't any choice for web broswers on BeOS. NetPositive is the only one. If you remove it you can open the local text editor, Pe, I think. Opera and Netscape are working on ports.

So what you want Be to do is to make a wierd ass file format just for the help files and create a view for it. Thats just stupid. Windows has a browser choice and their new html help format can be viewed by other browsers, if the OS lets them.

unfairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016747)

Maybe the government should just force people to install Linux.

If I thought that my personal whims should shape the industry... then better yet, I'd force everyone to use OS/2.

After all... haven't we all accepted that force is the most expedient way of getting what we want? A lot easier than say... establishing an alternative that can compete on its own merits? Can MS stop you?

Doesn't workthat Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016748)

Lets say some company called Sony made all the tvs, well nearly all the tvs. Just because they are HQ in a different company makes them free of US law. It means they can't be huirt as bad but they can still be hurt or even banned.

Too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016749)

Word is crap. Word 2.0 was good but now everything is big and slow.

A mac is still a pc, although you won't get a apple fan to admit it. so they control 3% of the PC market, oh thats a monopoly. Hell I even have a copy of Windows NT that runs on a Mac.

Source Code could be Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016750)

On the make there is Virtual pc. It runs slow and not everything works on its emulation. But now if the source code is release every OS could run Windows programs equally well. Then you see which OS is better.

Like AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016751)

That was sure a winner. Now instead of AT&T being the local telephone monopoly I have to deal with Ameritech as the local telephone monopoly. Nothing has changed, just the players. I want decent choices not politics.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016752)

It will be nirvana! The world we be flooded with free software! RMS will be knighted for his valiant deeds of freeing the world from the tyranny of the software monopolies!

Ganging up on Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016753)

I don't feel it is necessary for all these companies and the government to gang up on a company that will eventually lose in the end anyway. Linux and other open source OS's are already taking Microsoft's ground.

People should be fighting the battle legitimately, not this sueing shit. It's getting old really fast. We already KNOW that Linux/Unix is a better operating system!

And this bullshit with the government trying to limit Microsoft on features, or make them license their source code is complete and utter trash. If they did that then EVERY company who writes software would have to license their code too.

Let's Have An Intellectual Property Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016754)

Might as well..if something can be "stolen," it can be taxed just as well. If you don't pay taxes on your house, it gets confiscated..why not do the same with IP?

0.8 probability is optimistic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016755)


So anyone who thinks differently than you
is an "insect". How enlightened you are!

Justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016756)

You ask, "Will justice prevail?" Shall we look at recent history to find a precedent? First, O.J., now Clinton. If both of them can escape justice, why should we have any faith that M$ will not? I fear all hope is lost...

Well... the letter of the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016757)

The current interpretation really says that they must show that the integration achieves an effect which could not be (reasonably easily) gained if the two products were acquired separately.

Windows Source Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016758)

Sort of, but not really. MS tends to release information on the API late, but eventually. What it is very good about is leaking information to its own developers over the Chinese wall so that they can take advantage of the those APIs (or vice versa!) in time for an impending release.

So if you working on WordPerfect you don't find out about the new nifty features until Windows 2004 is _released_ and you are now a release behind MS ...

Market wouldn't kill MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016759)

Let's face it, the average computer user in this country pretty much is the average person in this country---STUPID. MS rules to them because it's so easy. They don't mind that it crashes once a day, they're used to it. Point and click is the extent of how much they can think.
Big companies stay big because of advertising and marketing. Because they could afford to do both. Also, with business deals which affectively limit the competition by having their OS as the default OS on practically every home computer on the planet.
I've been in the computer industry for awhile now and I've never even seen BeOS. I heard it's pretty stable and really cool for games. That's about all I know.
I think the only chance we have to be able to compete against Micro$oft is if the DOJ forces retailers to offer a choice of OS's. That's what needs to be done. You go into the store and by law, you are given a choice when you buy a computer of two operating systems or more. That includes Apple computers too.

Perfect solution, and perfectly reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016760)

Actually, on face this idea sounds pretty logical. The argument David Gould makes actually sounds very logical. Microsoft can continue to sell and support Windows under their brand name, but other developers would be able to integrate the software into their own products.

If this were to happen, Microsoft would want to keep other products OUT of the O.S. If Microsoft made Office 2000 part of the operating system, then Office 2000 would fall under the GPL as well. Only by drawing a clear line between apps and the OS can Microsoft keep their application code proprietary. (And I'm under the assumption that's still a GOOD thing.)

Imagine the WINE group being able to integrate (and clean/fix up) ACTUAL Windows sources! A Linux guru's pipe dream, I'm sure...

HA! Releasing M$ code punishes licensee, not M$. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016761)

Hahaha!! That's punishment for the licensee, not Microsoft! Unless they're required to support the licensee who is trying to work with that crap they dare call software. You think Netscape had some ugly crap in Navigator? Wait till you see what has been done in the name of back-ass compatibility from MS-Loss and Winblowz 3.x!!! That's got to be a rat's nest I would only wish my worst enemy (Micro$oft) have to deal with:)

Intellectual property should remain protected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016762)

I think that your solution is flawed, for the following reasons. Intellectual property is owned by whoever created the work in question, unless of course it was created as a work for hire (i.e., employees working for MS). Great, no problem. But that property cannot be taken from the "author" of the work (Bill Gates) unless he expressly gives it (read sells it) to somebody else, according to current copyright laws (to the best of my knowledge).
For the DOJ to follow your suggestion would indeed be cruel and unusual punishment. Moreover, it would set a precedent which could expand into other fields as well. For example, if a really sucessful artist committed a heinous crime (such as murder), does the government have the right to confiscate his intellectual property (art) "as punishment"?
If that were the case, you probably would never have heard of someone like, say, Johnny Cash. I see no difference here between source code and art, because they both fall neatly within the category of "intellectual property"; therefore, the source code should not belong to the public.

Instead, let's make the public aware of better OS options.

Adrian

Too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2016763)

They're not talking about making the source public. They're talking about allowing for source licensing, a practice already followed by Apple and Sun and HP and IBM. In fact, it's even followed by Microsoft, though Microsoft has the bad habit of withdrawing the license when the licensee sells a product that Microsoft wants to produce as well (just ask Citrix).

Why not? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016820)

Since splitting up MS would be unlikely and making them pay for "damages" would probably be useless, I think forcing them to lisence Windows is the only solution.

Why not? If damages will be more than what Mcirsosft can pay, Microsoft, Gates and all that stuff will be gone forever.

Set limits on PRICES of Operating Systems. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016821)

Another solution would be to set a cap on how much a company can charge for an operating system, like is done with the telco industry. Regulate the prices so that no matter what, you will always be able to buy Linux -or- Windows -or- BeOS for exactly the same price. (Say, $25)

That way, OS growth is based on features and value to the end-consumer in terms of service, rather than being based on which company can make the best deals with distribution agreements, etc.

Clarify that a bit, please. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016822)

I'm having difficulty understanding what you're trying to say.

First, the problem is not that Windows leads the market. It's that product tying and bundling are preventing underdogs (Not just Linux but Rhapsody, OS/2 and Be... Solaris on the desktop? Naah) from entering getting OEMs to pre-install their software.

Even if Windows were a true monopoly, this would not be a problem were they not exercising monopoly power. Even if Be had 90% of the market, they'd not be at risk unless their marketing turned far meaner.

Anyhow, should Windows fall, I'd say Linux is presently the most likely replacement, Be coming in second. Why can folks only recognize a superior non-commercial product in "hippie love-fest sharing-and-caring open-source Linux land"?

Not too far (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016823)

Word has its monopoly because it's good.

Windows has its monopoly because of illigal bundling and tying practices.

There's a BIIIIG difference there.

Should be good for a laugh (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016824)

Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

I hope we'll get to see the windows source code at some point.

You are next (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016825)

Posted by hrearden:

  • Linux cannot add features beyond kernel 3.3
  • Java remains Java3
  • etc...
You know what this means - AIX will become the dominant architecture.

source license? How much will they charge? (1)

DunbarTheInept (764) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016829)

In case you hadn't noticed, MS already does license their source for Windows to some companies, but at an exorbatant price. Citrix's Winframe was developed using licensed Windows source.

So forcing MS to license Windows would mean nothing new at all.

Unless, that is, the ruling says that MS would have to give code to *anyone* who can scrape up the money, and MS can't pick-and-choose who to allow to see the code. That's what makes their current licensing next to useless - not the price but the fact that they can pull the rug out from under you if they change their mind or don't like what you're doing with it (Citrix Winframe).

There difference is even greater than that (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016831)

What the DoJ should request is that if MS, or any company, wishes to produce both the operating System and the applications that they allow competition equal access to the API. Full licensing of source code seems a tad bit extreme.

I think I agree with you.. mostly. I believe that if there is to be true competition, an OS company should allow others to have full access to all APIs and the OS maker should not be allowed to make any application unremoveable. We would also need to define what an OS is and what it is not. IE is not an OS. It is an application or shell for the OS. There is no reason it should be permanently integrated into the OS. We may need to update the antitrust laws to account for the capabilities of software companies to obfuscate their actions with technical jargon so the courts can stop trying to use stupid metaphors to explain what is going on.

No Subject Given (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016832)

I believe it was one of Microsoft's witnesses that said that the only real way to compete with an OS like Windows was to be compatible with it. Since they are the ones who have admitted this, I say that they should have to open up the code so that other OSes can make themselves as compatible as they like. It would help the Wine team immensely I'm sure.

Suddenly the application barrier would be virtually eliminated and there could be open competition among the various OSes. Sure, native versions would still be needed eventually, but at least people could switch to the OS of their choice immediately and developers could see where the market is and produce applications for that market.

This may or may not work as well as I hope it would, because developers may just figure that since every OS can run Windows programs, that's all they should make. But I think that if they saw that 50% of users were running Linux or BeOS, they might be inclined to write native versions that take advantage of the strengths of that OS.

OK, what now? (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016833)

Be could send someone to be a rebuttal witness for the DOJ. They could discredit Microsoft's claims that NetPositive is integrated, and as an OS maker, they could offer up evidence that there is no real reason to integrate a browser in the manner in which Microsoft has done other than to prevent competition. Perhaps they could help on other issues where Microsoft is claiming technical victories because the DOJ doesn't have the best grasp of the technology. In other words, Be could have someone act as another computer science expert that also works for an OS maker and is therefore familiar with the issues being discussed.

The real solution is an old one... (1)

Joe Mucchiello (1030) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016834)

As was discussed several years ago when M$ began to expand beyond OS products into office products, MS should be broken up into an OS company and a Applications company. The OS company would be forbidden from developing Application products.

This idea is very old. But MS contends that IE is not an application. Is Notepad an application? Would MS-OS be able to sell Win9A with Notepad included? Or would Notepad become owned by MS-APP? How about Write or HyperTerminal or Solitaire? Is character map an application?

How about the Telnet client? Is it part of the OS or an application?

Is COM part of the OS? It relies on the registry to work, but you could probably replace it with a different ORB if Explorer didn't use it.

Is the Explorer shell part of the OS? Is the start menu part of the OS?

I agree that MS should be two separate companies, but I do not think it would be easy to decide how they are broken up. I would be a huge trial and it would be hard to find many people who agreed with which Windows component goes where.

Block MS from adding to the OS???? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016835)

Microsoft made it simply because it was the first microcomputer player to be taken seriously. THAT was primarily due to the IBM trademark. The rest is the resulting marketing inertia. People have bought into Microsoft not because of any of it's other attributes but merely because it was the percieved 'market leader'.


Others HAVE done better. Network effects, side effects of the need for compatibility between applications and hardware kept them all from gaining on the MS Inertia.

M$ shouldn't mess with the DoJ! (1)

apilosov (1810) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016838)

Maybe people should learn about US legal system before posting about it.

IP rights are upheld by courts, not DoJ. DoJ is executive branch, courts are not. If you break the law, MS will sue you in court, DoJ has nothing to do with it.

Criminal cases are another story, but that's irrelevant.

unfortunately (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016839)

I sorta doubt it would be an open-source license. For Wine to legally succeed, they probably wouldn't even be allowed to look at it.

--

You're all overlooking one critical point. (1)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016840)

Okay, say Microsoft loses (which isn't too much of a stretch). Say they're only slapped with a fine of a meager couple billion. End of story, right?

Wrongo. That's when the fun begins. As soon as Microsoft is declared to be at fault (no matter what the penalty) lawsuits will immediately be filed. Netscape, Apple, Sun, and Caldera are definites; AOL, Intel, and Be are likely; and you'll probably see some come in from PC makers and lots of other little companies who got squashed along the way.

This is why Microsoft is screaming its innocence before an onslaught of incriminating evidence: from a legal defense standpoint, it has to. If it weakens its stance for even a moment, if it even hints that it recognizes it might have used poor judgement or behaved inappropriately, that's all it takes to legitimize a wrongful-damages lawsuit against Microsoft.

I guarantee you that Microsoft's legal woes are far, far from over. Give it at least three or four years before the end is even in sight.

Not far enough! (1)

dfetter (2035) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016841)

> Word has a monopoly on the word processing
> market - should MS be forced to make the source
> code available?

Absolutely! Given their inability to debug their own software, they have to let the rest of us fix things on our own schedule and our own budget.

"Property rights," including those to "intellectual property," are by no means absolute or inviolate in any civil society.

> Apple has a monopoly on the Macintosh market -
> should MacOS X be made public?

Yes. Security considerations alone demand that the source be available.

> If MS is shown in a court of law that it is
> indeed a monopoly and is forced to reveal its
> crown jewels, then it will open a flood gate
> of similar attempts of competitors against
> market leaders (e.g., Sybase against Oracle)
> and ruin the software market.

What mountain were you standing on when you had the divine revelation that companies or individuals have a "right" to keep their software proprietary? The big bucks are in support anyway.

> There will be no economic incentive to develop
> software.

What the heck have you been smoking? Proprietary
software is not by any means the only, or even the
most profitable, way to make money in the industry.

You're also assuming, contrary to the existence of top-quality, category-killing free software, that economic incentives are important to developing good software.

unfairness, MS-Style (1)

tony@work (2206) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016842)

That's what MS does. But shutting out all supply channels to competitors, they effectively force people to buy Windows with every PC purchased. It worked for IE, it worked for MS-Office, and it will work for any other "innovative" (meaning, innovatively filling MS-Coffers) product.

I don't want the government to stifle innovation. But, by the same token, I don't want Microsoft stifling innovation, either-- and Microsoft has a history of doing just that. The government hasn't done much bad, except cryptography, patents, CDA and CDA-- The Sequel. As far as I know, they have never purchased and gutted a company simply to stop an innovative product (like Microsoft has).

Certifiable (1)

tony@work (2206) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016843)

You, Sir, are either very ignorant, or insane.

To call MS visionary is silly. They haven't been visionary at any point-- every major advance MS made was based on some other company's research. And Microsoft's biggest strength has not been its vision-- it's been the ablility to change direction on a dime. Consider the Internet: MS had no intention of entering the Internet market. Bill Gates publicly scoffed the internet (in his first edition of the ghost-written "The Road Ahead"). It took the threat of a web-based desktop replacing MS-Windows as the dominant desktop to force them into the arena. And once they were there, they did nothing half-heartedly.

Why would someone writing a novel care about the underlying OS? Because they don't want to lose an hour's work. How many working hours have been lost to blue screens of death? Hmm? For me, it could be reckoned in days. That was back before I discovered OS/2 and Linux. With Linux, I have never lost a single word. (I write technical articles and SF short stories.)

MS has never been a company of the people. They have been a company of the profits. They have just been in the right place at the right time, with the right contacts. They have used their early, dominant position to maintain a dominant postion; and a monopoly power has to follow different rules of conduct than a non-monopoly power. That is why this trial has focused on Microsoft's dominant position (is it a monopoly or not) as much as specific instances of penis-waving and muscle-flexing.

Other companies have given better, more stable, easier-to-use products. (NeXT, anyone?) So that argument does not hold.

However, I do agree with you. Blocking even Microsoft from adding to their own product is insanely stupid. Stopping them from tieing the browser or a commercial-grade database to the system is one thing; to stop them from producing a truly feature-rich product is another. Not that I think Microsoft is capable of producing any good code. (MS is too big and too paranoid to produce anything good anymore. And they haven't had a good product in about 3 years. Well, maybe MS-SQL Server 7.0, but I've not used it myself.)

My Proposal: (1)

diakka (2281) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016844)

1) Force them to License source code. Not a free source license or public domain, but a commercial license, and with no NDA's.

2) Publish the Win32 API.

3) Break them up inbetween logical divisions. For example, Instead of a single OS division, you'd have 3 or 4 OS divisions, all starting out with the same source code. That way, no IP is lost, but competition is created, and there is a big incentive to conform to a standard, since no one company will be able to "embrace and extend".
--

Wouldn't work (1)

diakka (2281) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016845)

As far as the licensing goes, MS already licenses their code, the DOJ would just set a price.



As for the API, it would be possible to verify that the API is accurate if the source didn't cost an arm and a leg to license.



Read my split up scenario a little bit more carefully. I think you misinterpreted it. The split that I called for was inbetween logical divisions, not necessarily along logical divisions. With this type of split, you wouldn't have to determine what came with the OS and what didn't, since everybody would get everything. It's trivial to make copies of the source.
--

Give Billy the chair!! (1)

diakka (2281) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016846)

Yeah.. Billy and all his cronies the chair! Fry his sorry ass! Make him suffer!!!!
--

Hold on a sec... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016847)

All it says is licensing the code. It doesn't say how the code will be licensed. Perhaps it will be OSS-style, or perhaps it will have to be sold, or something else.

Also, consider the potential impact this may or may not have on other operating systems, and eventually the software industry in general. This may or may not be a Good Thing. Only time will tell.

My list of remedies for M$. (1)

smithdog (3152) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016849)

1) Total asset forfeiture - just like a drug case.
2) All M$ patents and copyrights transferred to public domain.
3) All M$ executives of VP and above banned from conducting business anywhere forever. This would include board membership in any company.
4) Permit civil legal actions against M$ executives (VP and above) by corporations and individuals to drain the remaining cash that is in the hands of the M$ millionares.
5) Require the children of VP and above to attend public schools.
All of this is necessary to prevent other corporations from even trying the kinds of evil mis-deeds that M$ has perpetrated on society.

This would be great for WINE. (1)

Nathan Cassano (3234) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016851)

I really don't care what happens to Microsoft as long as the market has something to fall back. Releasing the source to windows would give any Microsoft competitor a fair advantage. Including Linux with WINE! I say this is a good well rounded punishment.


---------

The only sensible option ... (1)

YogSothoth (3357) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016852)

in my opinion is to split them up into 2 or more
companies. Suppose we say "applications" and
"operating systems" - ok, now you are a member
of the applications group, all you care about is
selling as many copies of your app as possible
(rather than trying to protect the windows monopoly) do you have any objection to porting to linux (if you believe there is money to be made)? Nope no objection. Are you interested in tying
your application so completely to one os that porting becomes impossible? Not hardly. Now if you are in the os group, are you interested in providing special secret information to one particular application vendor? Are you interested in moving things into the kernel that really don't belong there to improve the performance of another company's app? Nope. Would you be willing to port your os to say, sparc? maybe. Would you be interested in making sure your os was very well documented and standards compliant so that everyone would want to write apps for it? Definitely. I'm happy to entertain criticisms
of this line of reasoning, but I do think it is
by far the most compelling option.

yeah! (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016854)

cool my submission got published, second time i am on slashdot :o))), i submitted maybe 10 stories, so it's 20% of my news that are keep by Rob & co :)

--

Better off than those in Iraq (1)

mikemcc (4795) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016858)

If you have access to running water, electricity, or medical care; if your most pressing concern is whether or not Microsoft loses a lawsuit, and you have to CONSIDER whether or not you are better off than those in Iraq...

sheesh.

Perfect solution, and perfectly reasonable (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016859)


And not just any "license" -- GPL. Not only that, appoint an Architectural Review Board (like there is with OpenGL) to be in charge of maintaining the source tree. Microsoft may be a member of this ARB, but it should also include the likes of IBM, Sun, HP, SGI, Apple, etc. Microsoft should not be permitted to distribute any version of the operating system that is not approved by the ARB, nor in any binary-only form -- the source must be supplied.

Why do I say this is perfectly reasonable? Isn't it "cruel and unusual", or something like that? Not at all. Think about exactly what it would mean: the government would simply be confiscating their intellectual property. Some would say that intellectual property should not exist at all. I'm staying away from that one, but it is certainly not any more "special" than any other kind of property -- you don't have any more right to own your code than your car or your house. Those can be seized if you use them to commit a crime, right? Hence, if a company uses its intellectual property to engage in anticompetitive behavior that violates antitrust law, that property can be confiscated and "donated" to the injured parties by means of putting it under the GPL. Remember, this is not just to "see that it doesn't happen again" -- it is punishment for crimes committed.

Of course, some of us (myself included) might object that this is not good enough because Windows remains a contender in the OS world. However, it's not really reasonable to demand that it be completely purged. Also, how strong of a contender will it be, when forced to compete fairly? As someone pointed out, who would want to contribute to its development? Microsoft could, but their motivation would shrink; it seems unlikely that anything like the Linux development community would spring up, because there aren't enough people who want to contribute to it, but if they do, then the people will have spoken, and it will compete against other open OSes. It would have the advantage of a bigger user and application base, but the disadvantage of being extremely poorly written (so we believe). All in all, it would seem to be as fair a fight as possible.

David Gould

scott37@microsoft.com ?? (1)

Chameleon (5810) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016860)

Just a thought. :-)

This whole thing just seems misguided (1)

Booker (6173) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016861)

I just don't get it - it seems like meddling by lawyers who really don't understand what this is all about.

If Microsoft engages in non-competitive practices, (and I personally believe that they do)- fine. Prosecute them with the existing laws that suffice for other industries.

What's all this noise about how long it takes to connect to the Internet, browser bundling, licensing source code, no new features... It just seems like they're making this up as they go along! It makes me nervous. "Can't add new features to the OS" - what a ridiculous thing to dictate. (Granted, if they just got the bugs out of the existing features, it'd be a good thing) but WHY would the DOJ stipulate that as a solution to a monopoly?

Fine 'em, break 'em up, whatever, but don't micro-manage what they can and can't code. Just seems like a ridiculous solution, to me. Why not simply enforce the monopoly laws? Oh well, IANAL.

Ok, I'm done ranting. :-)

Gartner Group review is not so bad after all (1)

Slayer (6656) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016863)

Some of the statements made by them may be considered a little bit harsh (Especially the claim that linux office productivity applications are a poor substitute for their M$ counterparts). But the Gartner Group isn't supposed to advocate linux but is supposed to tell MSEs whether to junk their NT or commercial UNIX setup and go with linux or not.

And their answer is clear: If you make widgets, have no idea about computers and it doesn't matter to you if your computer crashes frequently, stay away from linux. If you are a somewhat technical company where employees stopped using the CD ROM drive as cup holder last year, then watch linux because it may be the next great thing waiting around the corner. And if you are willing to take the risk of a platform change (and that's always a risk!), and trust your folks to do it, go for it.

And then they give step by step instructions how to slowly and sneekingly convert your company to a linux shop, without alerting PHBs and MicroZombies. I was rolling when I read:'...aging NetWare versions, "orphaned" Unix variants, unreliable Windows servers...' Face it, folks: these are the three core targets for linux in the server market right now!

And they are also right if they say that it's risky to junk all your current computer systems and switch to linux at once. I just keep reading success stories here on /. where bosses didn't even know that their file server ran on linux except that they suddenly was a lot more stable than the previous NT file server setup ... These bosses would have reacted quite differently if they suddenly couldn't run PowerPoint on their desktops any more (no matter how bad it is).

All together, this article sounds a lot better than this collection of FUD and BS in that IEEE magazine and I don't see a point in writing a fierce rebuttal. In fact, a fierce rebuttal would probably hurt the cause more than it would help. The Gartner Group seems to have actually looked into the matter (there may be some small factual errors, but I'm sure I could find some in the Linux Gazette, too), and they assessed quite well and without unnecessary hype, how linux will enter the MSE market in the next two years and where its current limitations are. We don't need yet another hype article from Jesse Berst, who "always knew that linux is going to make major inroads .."

1) divide 2) make prices flat (1)

AShuvalov (6816) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016864)

1) OS group should be separated from browser group - break up MS.

2) Every customer who do not want to purchase Windows with computer should have the refund with the amount of RETAIL price. That ensure that MS keep retail prices low and equal to volume prices for selected OEM.

The price discount for good guys is the most anti-competitive hammer of Microsoft. Stop it!

GPL! (1)

Cris (7932) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016867)

While it sounds crazy/sarcastic, I beileve that the perfect punishment for MS should be to GPL their operating system and release the source code. They should still have the entire freedom to develop and pursue it however they chose, as well as develop applications for it which are NOT restricted. This way they can still make billions and billions off of Office, etc, and their monopoly can be totally eliminated.

Source licensing of windows (1)

jms (11418) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016873)

Hmm ... this would allow a clean-room effort to proceed to make wine a true windows emulator.

I wonder how many "interesting" comments are in the source code regarding such things as wine and DR DOS. Might be some monopolistic smoking guns there. Hopefully the DOJ will force the release of the source code unmodified.

- John

Why trust MS? (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016874)

The DoJ seems to be besides itself figuring out what to do if (when) they win the Anti-trust case. As far as I can tell, here's their options:

(A) They could lay down a bunch of marketing restrictions, but as you correctly said, MS has never paid any attention to consent degrees and fair marketing practices. That just leads to 20 more years of lawsuits arguing who did what when, etc.

(B) They could break up Microsoft into "OS" and "Application" groups. Harder than it might seem -- IIS (OS?) is intimately tied into IE (app). Likewise, Office 2000 (app) will have an "Office Server" (OS) tied into NT and IIS. Besides - a split-in-half Microsoft is two giant monopolies rather than one.

(C) They could force Microsoft to give the source code away. I'm sure all of you Unix hackers would love to go fix Win98. What would be more likely to happen would that the hardware vendors and third parties would patch it together to work with their stuff. Imagine an "IBM Windows" or "Compaq Windows" or "RedHat Windows with Gnome", all slightly incompatible. Er, wait, that's just like Linux. Bottom line is that current MS customers wouldn't be too happy with this option.

(D) The DoJ can wage a war of attrition. Microsoft is basically a big Ponzi scheme that can afford (through paper stock options) to make very smart people work real hard for them. If the stock starts dropping, so will the intelligent people that keep MS on top. Much like the IBM case, by the time it's all over, it might be a moot point.

(There is a very interesting article over on PC week talking about how the various mid-level millionares over at Microsoft are basically unmanagible, and this is one of the reasons for the lateness of Windows 2000.)

If anyone else has some interesting ideas on what the government should do to stop Microsoft, I'd like to read them. None of the above seems all that great to me.

What a load of you know what. (1)

FallLine (12211) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016875)


No, I do not think forcing MS to reveal their source entirely is a good idea. However, your perception of business is just wrong. MS is a monopoly, there are few companies which hold similar market shares in other large markets. Do you really honestly believe that MS has what they have simply because their coding and marketing is better. I say no way in hell. I happen to know for a fact MS has done ever worse things than what has been published thus far.

As for their 'quality'. MS software is buggy, and everyone who knows software knows this. There are two reasons for this. The first being that MS is a marketing company. Part of the way they market is by adding bloated GUIs and animation and the like. This naturally makes the OS less reliable. The truth is users really don't need these features. A dancing paper clip may comfort Joe Schmoe with 2 hours of computer experience, but it certainly does not help him use it. The second reason for their poor quality is simply that they are a monopoly. No one is going to oust MS any time soon, thus they are afforded the luxary of not patching bugs as they are discovered. For most of the people in this world there is a simple equation when it comes to MS. You can either put up with MS's lack of reliability. Or you can try to change operating systems. Changing OS's and your applications is very time consuming...not to mention hardware issues. Most people would rather grin and bear MS's crappy product, than spend more time changing their Operating System and applications.

This does not mean what MS does is ok. What they do is wrong, and it should be stopped. I doubt that any decision in favor of the DoJ will ever hurt the consumer. Allowing competitors the same kind of access to the OS's API, as what their own application developers have is only fair. This will benefit the consumer as MS will no longer be able to rest on their laurels when competition can compete on more even ground. This still doesn't address the OEM issue. However, the solution of the OEMs is pretty straight forward. Just force MS to sell to all OEMs at the same price, the economies of scale argument simply doesnt work for this kind of software distribution. End of Story.

Windows Source Code (1)

rhavyn (12490) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016877)

I think that a much better idea then making Microsoft give away their source code (especially since I know I wouldn't want to have to sift through all of it, including the bugs, to figure out what's going on) would be to make them turn over the Win32 API (as well as all other relevant API's in Windows) to ANSI or ISO. That way everyone would know how everything in the OS works (including all the "hidden" functions in Win32). That would make it possible to not only create a 100% compatible OS which could compete head on with Windows, but would also allow the WINE group and anyone else who wanted to do so to port the Win32 API to other platforms (Half-Life on Linux anyone, or maybe even an OSS Windows?).

Making Win32 a standard would also take away Microsoft's edge in the Applications market. They would lose the ability to use functions that no one else knows about to create a product that has better (well maybe not better but you know what i mean) functionality then competing products (such as Office 97, 2000, whatever vs. Corel Office). For example, this would make it possible for Mozilla to replace IE as the default shell in Win98.

Now I'm not saying this is the best option, and I'm sure that I've overlooked all the bad things that doing this could cause, or maybe I'm just plain wrong...it's just my 2 cents, so no flames please.

rhavyn
rhavyn@syru148-28.syr.edu

M$ shouldn't mess with the DoJ! (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016878)

And just how do you think the DOJ would justify prejudicial treatment of M$? The purpose of the DOJ is to see that JUSTICE is done, and that even criminals are treated fairly. So, even if M$ doesn't play by the rules, the DOJ - by it's very existence, has to.

If the DOJ were to refuse to hear any and all cases dealing with piracy and the protection of intellectual property, that's another story. But in that scenario, the one with the most buck$$ would win. Guess who that is.

Why trust MS? (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016879)

M$ is simply following the rules because it is more convenient to do so.

What is to stop M$ from dissolving itself as a US firm, re-establishing itself in a country where the laws are more favorable, and simply importing it's product back to the US? It can set up the Redmond campus as a development sub-contractor, but 'officially' be located on Christmas Island, or in the UK, or wherever. In fact, M$ can buy a small Carribean island nation, and make it's own laws. Wm. Gibson had it right!

Then, the US would have to sanction that country to control M$.. Not likely.

As for M$ going OpenSource, I'd love to see the sh*t hit the fan if the DOJ even suggested that a company must reveal trade secrets. Pratt&Whitney, Pfizer, Ford... They'd all start screaming at that precedent. Again, as you say, it's not likely.

The real solution is an old one... (1)

Howard Roark (13208) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016880)

As was discussed several years ago when M$ began to expand beyond OS products into office products, MS should be broken up into an OS company and a Applications company. The OS company would be forbidden from developing Application products.

My Computer. My Way. Linux

--
Howard Roark, Architect

The real solution is an old one... (1)

Howard Roark (13208) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016881)

Ouch! You cut me to the quick.
--
Howard Roark, Architect

Spagetti code? (1)

scott37 (13655) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016882)

Spagetti code??? How can you accuse MS of poor coding if you havn't even seen their code before?

Block MS from adding to the OS???? (1)

scott37 (13655) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016883)

What kind of solution is that? I don't think I have to explain what's wrong with that.

The problem with too many of you people is that you think you can do better. Don't acuse MS of having too many bugs in their software. Almost all software has bugs, that's life. And if there's a better company, it would beat them. MS is simply one of the smartest and most appealing companies in American history. Ever wonder why? Not because they are evil. Because they give the people something useful that makes them more productive. They have visions of future software years before it's released and plan their current software around those visions. I have no doubt they have used some business practices that may seem pretty harsh, but its nothing uncommon to most other companies. Due to MS's huge size, these practices are becoming more apparant than those of other companies. Maybe if the other companies start giving the consumers what they want instead of what some programmer or techie wants, there would be greater competition then there is today. Consumers don't care how the internals of an OS works. They also hate unnecssary confusion. Why would someone trying to write a novel on a computer care if thier OS has a better kernal or whatever? They don't and never will. I know most of the people coming to this site seem to be highly technical people, but the vast majority of computer users are not. That consideration is what seems to be missing from a lot of technical people's visions of the future. MS has always been a company of the people, and that's why they succeed.

Appropriate remedies (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016885)

IMHO making them reveal their source code, while it would be suitably humiliating for them, isn't the best punishment. More appropriate would be to force their application divisions to use nothing in the OS that wasn't equally available to any other company, and to go through the same support lines as everyone else to get questions answered and bugs fixed. They could integrate their browser, for instance, but only if they had an interface that would let Netscape integrate Navigator in the same way and to the same degree. This'd level the playing field without giving MS an excuse to complain that lawyers are dictating OS design, and you can check compliance by checking the source code against the published interfaces without having to resort to opinion.

The real solution is an old one... (1)

TWR (16835) | more than 15 years ago | (#2016887)

MS has been making apps for a pretty long time. The original version of Word was out for the Mac in 1984/1985. The first noise about splitting the company up was around 1990/1991, when Win3.1 came out.

Back then, Microsoft claimed there was a "Chinese wall" between OS and Apps; no actual collaboration, except on the odd occasion when an engineer from OS and one from Office would sit down together for a personal lunch...

-jon
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