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The 'DOS Ain't Done 'til Lotus Won't Run' Myth

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the iconoclasm dept.

Microsoft 425

Otter writes "We've all heard the story of Microsoft's battle cry of "DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run". Adam Barr investigates the myth, interviewing various Microsoft and Lotus old-timers (including Mitch Kapor), and finds no basis for its legitimacy or any case of 1-2-3 actually not running. Whom to blame for Lotus Notes is not discussed."

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425 comments

Unacceptably Ridiculous (2, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226488)

How can this be? Does that mean my whole life as a MS-bashing Slashdotter is nothing but... nothing?!? Well, I'm sure "DOS Ain't Done til Linux Won't Run"!!

On a more serious note though, the first reply in the article says it all.

Microsoft is a for-profit company, so it will do anything to make a profit. If billions of people are rushing out to buy Longhorn so that they can play Tux Racer, Microsoft will make sure "Longhorn ain't done til Tux Racer run".

It's also interesting to see from one of the comments:

Well, I submitted this to Slashdot. (And even added an Obligatory Stupid Inflammatory Remark at the end!) I have a pretty dismal track record of accepted submissions, though, and this one isn't likely to change it.

COME ON!! People are making fun of us!!!!!

Re:Unacceptably Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226574)

Microsoft is a for-profit company, so it will do anything to make a profit.
Well if Microsoft IS purposely writing code to break competitors software, like say Norton Anti-virus, not only is Symantec going to be pissed, but so are the people who shelled out money for it and can't run it anymore. So I don't really think breaking stuff is in the best long-term interest of Microsoft. It seems that people aren't going to just say, "oh, Norton Anti-virus doesn't work anymore, I better run out and buy Microsoft Anti-virus." But who knows...

Re:Unacceptably Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226591)

Microsoft's tactic of making Windows generate a false error code when run on top of a non-Microsoft DOS is well-documented. Making fun of us? That would happen if we were to accept Microsoft's bullshit business tactics as you desire.

Re:Unacceptably Ridiculous (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226702)

This example does not show how they broke someone's code. It is their Windows, and they may choose to run it on anything they want.

Re:Unacceptably Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226632)

As proof of this, just take a look at the latest version of "Damn Small Linux" at www.distrowatch.org
They have removed Tux Racer!
I suspect it is for the reasons that you mention.

Re:Unacceptably Ridiculous (1)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226674)

People are making fun of us!!!!!

There is a huge difference between a grassroots campaign, which the OSS evangelists CLAIM to embrace, and a lust for success so strong that it overwhelms all logic and crosses over into hilarious hypocrisy, which the OSS evangelists actually DO embrace. It's not universal among the OSS fans, but a quick look around will easily find its presence -- for example, virtually any multi-paragraph anti-Microsoft post is guaranteed a positive moderation here at Slashdot.

People like myself have been making fun of the zealots for years because they're comical. I appreciate someone who stands up for what he or she believes, but much of the OSS demographic could teach a class in The Irony of Accusing Another of FUD.

Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226489)

Without the explanation in TFA, I would have interpreted "DOS ain't done until Lotus won't run" as the motto of people still hanging onto their pre-pentium machines, unwilling to upgrade to any GUI until they couldn't run their old DOS apps anymore. There were quite a number in the '90s who wouldn't upgrade to Windows 3.10 or 95 because, heck, they didn't see a need.

I doubt many of those people still exist 10 years later, but I'm sure there are a few people happily clacking away on their Wangs, saving to floppies, printing with 9-pin dot matrix, and happy because that's all they need.

- Greg

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

narcolepticjim (310789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226579)

There are plenty of people clacking away on their wangs, but it has nothing whatever to do with this article.

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

Spodlink05 (850651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226631)

There are plenty of people clacking away on their wangs, but it has nothing whatever to do with this article.

Ah you beat me to it (so to speak), but you should have left the floppy bit in (so to speak).

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226587)

Like every MVD and public School in the world?

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226636)

printing with 9-pin dot matrix
That's getting personal.

Seriously, there is a good reasion for this particular hardware: logging of root logins on your loghost. Send them to lp1 so the hacker cannot delete them. Old dot maxtrix is good for this because it prints as soon as any data is available.

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226775)

Besides which, you still need _some_ kind of impact printer if you want to print on carbon forms. I have a l33t 24-pin
color dot, but nevertheless... respeck the dot matrix!

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226664)

You'd be surprised how many legal offices still use WP5.1.... They see no need to upgrade because these legal ladies are blazingly fast with WP.

Heck, many still use Netware 3.11 as their server lol.

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226688)

There were quite a number in the '90s who wouldn't upgrade to Windows 3.10 or 95 because, heck, they didn't see a need.

Didn't see a need? There WASN'T a need. 3.1 moved with the speed and grace of a wounded elephant in quicksand, while DOS spun like a top. It was the new apps (and lack of support for the old) that drove users onto Windows, not any virtues of the OS.

And Agenda!! Does anyone remember Lotus Agenda (a DOS app)? The PIM of the Gods! The most amazing open-ended information manager ever created, yet never to be seen or even re-envisioned again, like some kind of super-advanced crystal-technology from Lost Atlantis! Lotus replaced it with the cartoonish Organizer for Windows, and Life Turned a Page.

Am I a neo-luddite because I prefer to work in Xterm over pointing and clicking? Do I lose Geek Points for using fluxbox instead of KDE?

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

ximenes (10) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226749)

You know full well that you gain geek points for that stuff. If more than 1000 people do things a certain way, its no longer elite.

Re:Battle cry of neo luddites? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226705)

Well, if we're interpreting "done" to mean "finished; irrelevant; obsolete", then an altered form of the myth

DR-DOS ain't 'done' until Windows won't run

turns out to be true, after all.

Happily clacking away on their Wangs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226815)

"happily clacking away on their Wangs"
ROTFLMAO
 

and the rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226494)

i think most of the bad stuff said about MS is bullshit.

Re:and the rest (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226758)

Most people don't even talk about MS anymore, bullshit or not Longhorn, or what ever crappy name name they dream up for it next, won't make the corporate world switch away from Linux.

not me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226511)

"Whom to blame for Lotus Notes is not discussed"

let me be the first one to say....Not it!

I'm not anti-MS, but ... (2, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226513)

From the article:

And there was an incident in the early pre-release days of NT where our boot sector code broke multi-boot with OS/2; in that case, despite claims of outrage from the Blue Ninja Clan, it was simply that we had never tested that configuration; once we heard about the bug, we fixed it and added it to our test mix.

This made me laugh; Windows installation has never been shy about overwriting LILO (and later GRUB), and the Linux user base has to be roughly as large as OS/2's was in its heyday. But hey, all's fair.

Re:I'm not anti-MS, but ... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226610)

and i'm pretty sure most linux installers run straight over anything else that is in the mbr too

theres always a conflict between making stuff work automatically and not stepping on stuff you don't understand thats already there (especially when you have to consider the case that the mbrs current content could simply be random garbage rather than something you don't recognise and should ask about)

ofc they don't like to acknolage that linux exits putting in code to look for lilo/grub in the mbr would be acknolageing that it existed.

Re:I'm not anti-MS, but ... (2, Interesting)

llamaguy (773335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226655)

That's not the point. It's actually possible for you to install Linux on a Windows machine and have it dual boot, but good luck trying to put Windows on a Linux box and have it work the way you want it to. Unless, of course, you were actually looking to make your Linux setup unuseable...

Re:I'm not anti-MS, but ... (1)

chowells (166602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226663)

" and i'm pretty sure most linux installers run straight over anything else that is in the mbr too"

Then you are wrong. Pretty much every Linux distribution in existence gives you the choice of not over writing the MBR, or if you do want to overwrite the MBR, adds an option to boot into Windows or a different OS.

This is contrary to Windows which gives you no choice over whether you want to overwrite the MBR and certainly doesn't give you a nice menu so you can choose which non-Microsoft OS to boot.

dictionary.com is confused too...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226692)

acknolage [reference.com]

I'm not sure what you were going for with this atrocious spelling, but it certainly gave me a good laugh.

Re:I'm not anti-MS, but ... (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226700)

"and i'm pretty sure most linux installers run straight over anything else that is in the mbr too"

Don't know whether this is boot-sector or MBR, but I've installed Knoppix, Mepis, Mandrake, Ububtu, Vector, and Suse, and they've all installed a boot-loader that lists your Windows partition as one of the options if you're dual-booting.

Most of those systems also ask you during installation which OS you want to boot by default.

Re:I'm not anti-MS, but ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226795)

acknolage??? WTF. where are you from? texas?

Yeah, but what about SP3? (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226514)

I remember a quite notorious bug with NT SP3 that broke Notes clients and servers on both NT Workstation and Server.

Of course, that was just bad QA by Microsoft or Lotus. but it used to be used as the example of 'why you shouldn't immediately patch your NT boxen'.

Re:Yeah, but what about SP3? (1)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226549)

quite notorious bug with NT SP3 that broke Notes clients

That's funny, I tell that story as SP6 as it actually went GA prohibiting access to TCP/IP for all users except Administrator. That's why 6a came out a week or two later. At least that's how I tell it ;) I thought SP3 was stable for quite some time.

Re:Yeah, but what about SP3? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226740)

What about the "hidden registry" key that makes newer M$ programs not run under Linux Wine. Don't tell me that's a QA bug holding the monopoly up high.

Re:Yeah, but what about SP3? admin port usage ? (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226565)

Wasn't this the bug where microsoft "closed" ports under 1024 to non-admin accounts (like most unix boxes had) and Lotus was purposefully using a low port rather than just creating a normal effemeral port.

Lets see - you start a new security policy, and your software violates that policy... Yup - it doesn't work

Re:Yeah, but what about SP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226616)

I think you mean SP6 which brought about SP6a [microsoft.com] to specifically fix the problem.

Not only is this an example of why you shouln't blindly apply patches to production machines, but also an example of why the dominant OS vendor should not also be developing applications. I'll bet Exchange/Outlook got a thourough regression test before SP6 was released.

Re:Yeah, but what about SP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226813)

'why you shouldn't immediately patch your NT boxen'.

WTF is "nt boxen"?

Some sad news I just heard on NPR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226515)

309 Frenchmen were found dead in a ditch this afternoon in Toronto. No other details at this time, except for the fact that they were all madly waving white flags before the plane went down. Truly a sad day. Even if you didn't like Jerry Lee Lewis, you have to have loved their toast and fries.

Re:Some sad news I just heard on NPR (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226738)

new troll?

My dad still uses it. (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226517)

Uses it to run Lotus 123 and some forestry consulting software.

Re:My dad still uses it. (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226558)

Lotus 123 is built into the ROM of my HP-95LX palmtop.

It also has debug.exe built into ROM for those idle moments when I want to hack some Assembly.

Re:My dad still uses it. (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226793)

Have you thought about using 21st century software?

Re:My dad still uses it. (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226725)

It's interesting this topic came up. My father likes Lotus 1-2-3 over excel and has some multi megabyte lotus worksheets at work that won't convert properly (due to some functions [this greatly anoys his boss who is MS's bitch]) into Excel (and he doesn't want to have to re-program them in). He also prefers lotus over excel. (no clipy, and doesn't do what it thinks you want to do, among other things). It's currently running along on 4 different machines. Two pentium 3's (one at work, one at home), a P4 (at home) and his laptop (AMD K6-2). He had me figure out how to copy it to CD (it's 5 floppies) so that he wouldn't have to worry about the disks wearing out.

He's far from being as competent about computers as most slashdoters, but is a guru compared to 90% of the population (probably over 99% if you just looked at his age group of 60+).

All those machines are running Windows (98/ME/XP). No compatibility problems to date so I don't know what the compatibility problems are. I wonder how many others still use Lotus 123?

You think that's bad (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226760)

in my day we had lotus 12

Still... (1)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226532)

Regardless of whether the quote is true, I'd still like to see the company that makes the OS and the company that makes software that runs on the OS be separate entities.

Re:Still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226568)

Regardless of whether the quote is true, I'd still like to see the company that makes the OS and the company that makes software that runs on the OS be separate entities.

I hope you disapprove of Apple as much as you disapprove of Microsoft, then -- because Apple sell just as much first-party software, and actually bundle more of it with their OS.

Re:Still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226620)

Indeed. If we need a seperation of OS and applications from a single vendor we need to seperate the OS and the hardware from a single vendor as well. That way we'd have more choice... Except of course Apple and MS might not then be around...

Re:Still... (1)

CycleMan (638982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226697)

Separation of duties? Conflict of interests? Wanting two different companies for these things sounds like Sarbanes Oxley legislation gone insane...

Re:Still... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226747)

Why? So you can have two 700lb gorillas instead of one 800 lb gorilla?

Lemme adjust that (1)

HatofPig (904660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226540)

Perhaps it should say "DOS ain't done 'till Lotus.... wait... WTF is Lotus?"

Windows is totally incompatible with my hardware (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226547)

I tried installing Windows from 3.5" floppies using my 1581 disk drive on my Commodore 64. No dice. I even SYS 64738'd the system at least 10 times and the darn thing wouldn't even read the weird 1.4 meg format that Microsoft stores their floppies in.

Clearly, they're cutting Commodore out of the market.

That's because you didn't upgrade the hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226751)

Hey, come on, this is Microsoft. With every upgrade you need twice the speed and twice the memory.

You should have upgraded your C64 to a Commodore 128. Like Doh, how obvious.

Just the opposite (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226552)

This might just be a /. variation on the factual test applied to gray boxes in the 1980s: "it ain't really IBM PC compatible until it runs Lotus 1-2-3 and draws a chart".

Re:Just the opposite (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226630)

IIRC the "standard" test suite was Lotus 123, Wordstar, and Flight Simulator (before MS bought it).

Re:Just the opposite (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226652)

> This might just be a /. variation on the factual test applied to gray boxes in the 1980s: "it ain't really IBM PC compatible until it runs Lotus 1-2-3 and draws a chart".

Or as I learned it, with double the irony! "It ain't really an IBM PC compatible until it runs Microsoft Flight Simulator [simflight.com] ".

new quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226553)


"Slashdot ain't done until goatse is fun!"

Lotus Notes... (2, Interesting)

zhiwenchong (155773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226554)

... was invented by Ray Ozzie [wikipedia.org] who modeled it after the PLATO system at the University of Illinois.

For a long time (ca. 1990s), it was considered superior to Microsoft Exchange, until the Internet came along (i.e. became popular) and everything changed.

Notes was actually quite a clever piece of software during its heyday. No one else could do replication at the time. The only thing that people hated about it was its price: it cost too much for what it did.

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226600)

it cost too much for what it did.

You mean have an interface like early 1980's IBM software with an organization like the Soviet buraeaucracy?

I can't speak about what it could "do", but it is the worst, bar none, UI of any application I've ever used or seen. There are Visual Basic 3.0 apps written by 10-year-olds that are better designed.

My hatred of Lotus Notes, from being forced to use it at two different jobs, knows no bounds. And I jump at any opportunity to flame on it I can. Mod appropriately.

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226653)

It may be flamebait, but it ain't wrong!

Re:Lotus Notes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226724)

Amen!

I just hopped on the bandwagon at a Very Large Corporation (TM) as a co-op for about 7 months, and I must say that I absolutely hate having to use Lotus Notes; sometimes it's known as Slotus Blotes, or Blotus Gotes, whatever you like to call it.

It does have nice functionality as far as collaboration, but it's interface is something that only a mother could love. As for it's speed, well... I think the "blotes" part covers that.

Many people I work with in this Very Large Corporation (TM) also have equally scathi^H^H^H^H^H^H glowing opinions about Notes. Did I mention we like light blue?

(This has been posted anonymously to avoid being associated with these remarks in the case Big Blu^H^H^H Brother is watching)

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

photon317 (208409) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226764)

I'm with you. I just started at a new place that does Lotus Notes about 8 months ago. Not just email - they do *everything* in Notes. Project management, AFEs, knowledge base, etc, etc. I hate it.

The UI is unspeakably horrid. And it randomly hangs or crashes if you don't click the buttons they expected you to click in the order they expected you to click them in.

Want to open up Notes and open your Inbox with 1,000 messages in it? On a P4 with half a gig of ram, you'll be swap-thrashing for about 3 solid minutes before you get there.

Want to delete the 8,243 emails that some monitoring application spammed you with over the weekend while you were out? Good luck figuring out how to select only those emails and not the rest efficiently. And when you finally do get them selected, hit Delete and go to lunch. Notes may or may not have crashed and/or deleted your emails by the time you get back, but you definitely won't be using it for a while.

ARGGHGHGHHHH!!!!

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226791)

I'm right up there with you, buddy. Seriously, "no Lotus Notes" is now a condition of employing me... if you expect me to support Notes, hell, even just USE Notes, no dice. Get somebody else.

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226605)

The only thing that people hated about it was its price...

No, people also hate its UI. And the API is no great shakes, either. (Not to say that Exchange is any better in these areas...)

Re:Lotus Notes... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226727)

The only thing that people hated about it was its price: it cost too much for what it did.

As someone who has had to deal with Blowtus Goats, let me assure you that the priece was NOT the only thing that people hated about it.

All of us? (1)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226557)

We've all heard the story of Microsoft's battle cry of "DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run"

I've used Windows for 9 years and have read slashdot for 7, and I've never heard "the story."

Re:All of us? (1)

slugo3 (31204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226599)

I was thinking the same thing, I'm questioning my nerduality now.

"We've all heard the story of Microsoft's battle cry of "DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run"

wiskey tango foxtrot?

Re:All of us? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226646)

I've used Windows for 15 years and DOS for about 7 before that. I have heard it. It was definitely from before you used Windows.

Re:All of us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226807)

I've used Windows for 9 years and have read slashdot for 7, and I've never heard "the story."

I know it's hard to believe, but at least one or two things happened in the world before you came along.

Re:All of us? (1)

bl1st3r (464353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226818)

Haha. Same here. And the ironical thing is, this is actually the first damn story that _ISN'T_ a dupe.

Lollers.

Silly slashdot, real stories are for CNN.

-E

IE7 ain't done til the ACID2 test won't run (1)

team99parody (880782) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226559)

The reason it's so easy to believe stories like the lotus one is that it fits the Microsoft philosophy very well.

Consider their desire to not bother supporting standards in their browsers.

Think its not true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226576)

What about SimCity.

Microsoft went through great pains to get SimCity to work, but ignored Lotus 123. I don't think so.

Here's what Joel wrote-

The Windows testing team is huge and one of their most important responsibilities is guaranteeing that everyone can safely upgrade their operating system, no matter what applications they have installed, and those applications will continue to run, even if those applications do bad things or use undocumented functions or rely on buggy behavior that happens to be buggy in Windows n but is no longer buggy in Windows n+1.

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html [joelonsoftware.com]

I dont this behavior just started happening in the Windows days.

Re:Think its not true... (1)

dustmite (667870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226650)

Microsoft went through great pains to get SimCity to work, but ignored Lotus 123. I don't think so.

Uh, Lotus competed with MS, SimCity did not.

Stereotype? Truth? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226578)

From the first comment to the article:

"DOS Ain't Done til Lotus Won't Run" - I can't say that I've ever heard that phrase before, but it definitely sounds like something the Slashdot crowd would say.

Ahh to see yourselves as others see you....

Why Are you bashing Lotus Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226589)

It's a hell of a lot more stable and has a lot more functionality than Exchange.

Yeah, right... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226592)

And Windows 3.0 didn't explicitly check for DR-DOS and print out a messages stating that it wouldn't work properly with anything other the MS-DOS either... except that I actually saw that error message on a CRT in the lab.

Re:Yeah, right... (1)

dustmite (667870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226667)

And MS actually lost a court case about that, but hey, today's teenagers don't know that so I guess we're in the "rewriting history" phase.

hey (1)

eight and a quarter (904629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226601)

is there going to be a win 3.1 service pack? i'm dying here, come on!

QEM (1)

dbialac (320955) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226602)

Actually, it's well documented that in DOS (4.0 I beleive), Microsoft intentionally made Quarterdeck's Memory extender QEMM.SYS not work. Renaming the executable to QEMM386.SYS resolved the problem and caused the program to work without any incompatilbilities. They've definately done it.

Novell clients (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226662)

The successive breakage of Novell Netware client packages on Win 3.1/95 systems also comes to mind. Microsoft got you to use their client package basically by keeping it stable while breaking successive revisions of Novell's client software.

Considering the Novell software was in general superior in terms of performance and features, this was a gross detriment to the users, beside the anticompetitive nature of the acts.

This saying is older then slashdot (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226613)

To imply this is a slashdot meme is patently wrong.

I remember this saying. It camer about when a MS Dos release came out, and Lotus stopped working. Then MS ignored people who need help. I was one of those people.
Fortunatly it worked with other companies DOS.

Undocumented Dos + Windows books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226628)

There was a series of books called "Undocumented Dos", "Undocumented Windows" that were about the hidden APIs that microsoft used for it's own software and it's trusted partners, while competitors were saddled with slow, buggy, and crash prone public APIs. Even if there was no 'dos aint done', they most assuredly did sabotage competitors software.

I lived it... and we said it. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226634)

I came via Apple II+ -> Amiga -> Ibm.

It was well known back then that "Dos isn't ready until Lotus 1.2.3. doesn't work" because it (and other competitors) were repeatedly broken with dos 3, dos 4, dos 5, dos 6, dos 6.22, dos 6.2, etc. Excel always worked- amazing. A few weeks to a few months later, they would figure out what microsoft had done to them and a patch would fix them.

The new variation as of windows 95 was to certify a product as "ready for windows". Word95 broke standards (back door api calls for performance) but was certified. Products from companies besides Microsoft wouldn't be "ready for windows" unless they followed the API.

Word perfect and others followed the API and were performance hogs.

But I guess someone is rewriting history now. Regardless- I know what I lived through.

Credible source? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226642)

The is the Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters website to some that admits to working for Microsoft... I'm sure he'd be real forthcoming about it if he had some dirt on Microsoft, wouldn't he? Gee, what are the chances that Microsoft is actually paying him to write this blog?

Re:Credible source? (1)

paranoidgeek (840730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226782)

It clearly states on the page :
Disclaimer

        * I work at Microsoft.
This in only some Microsoft fanboy ranting on about some rare quote that hasnt ment anything for over a decade. And it get a /. font page. What next ?

Re:Credible source? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226826)

Holy shit, where do I sign up for that job? Does Microsoft serious pay bloggers, or are you just a paranoid nutjob?

Absurd to the point of laughable (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226643)

I was a hardware designer back then so I know what I'm talking about. If DOS didn't run Lotus, people wouldn't buy it, plain and simple. Lotus was the killer ap. Microsoft had nothing that would take it's place and Microsoft absolutely needed it to sell DOS. Either propaganda or mindless speculation.

DOS aint done until there is no use for it. (0)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226654)

I'll say DOS is done when it is useless. In Windows, there are still a lot of things that are faster, easier, and quicker using a DOS prompt.

Well, I guess you could say that DOS is really done when you replace it with Linux on the PC, but...

Go Fuck a Donkey (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226656)

Go Fuck a Donkey [www.goat.cx]

MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226713)

its just a pic of a mars crater. stop posting comments from previous ariticles to karma whore punk!!!1

Disassembly (2, Insightful)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226657)

interviewing various Microsoft and Lotus old-timers
Forget interviewing people. If you really want to know if some ancient software prevetned another piece of software from working then disassemble it and get it over with. Looking at the code is the only way you can know for sure.

Maybe not lotus 1-2-3, but definitely DR-DOS. (1)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226659)

How MS played the incompatibility card against DR-DOS [theregister.co.uk]

Not only was the error message completely bogus, but microsoft went to significant lengths to try to encrypt the detection code. This is known as the infamous "AARD" code. It was discovered by Geoff Chappell and Andrew Schulman wrote about it in Dr. Dobbs' journal.

In the antitrust trials, evidence (internal emails) were uncovered which proved this was a deliberate move on the part of microsoft.

an email from Phil Barrett (lead developer of windows 3.1):

heh, heh, heh . . . my proposal is to have bambi refuse to run this alien OS ? Comments ? The approach we take is to detect dr 6 and refuse to load.


There are other examples and evidence, but this is one of the most damning.

Re:Maybe not lotus 1-2-3, but definitely DR-DOS. (1)

biobogonics (513416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226750)

an email from Phil Barrett (lead developer of windows 3.1):

heh, heh, heh . . . my proposal is to have bambi refuse to run this alien OS ? Comments ? The approach we take is to detect dr 6 and refuse to load.

There are other examples and evidence, but this is one of the most damning.


1) It was certainly well known among developers that Microsoft's own software had access to undocumented parts of the API. This was certainly true in DOS and in Win 3.1.

2) I'm amused when I run early versions of Quick Basic on my Win XP box and get the error message which says (paraphrased) "Boo hoo, you are not running genuine MS-DOS. Do you wish to continue at your own risk since we can't gaurantee that the program will work properly, etc....."

What would Microsoft say? (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226677)

You know, one of the dumbest things about an article like this is the attempt at being definitive.

It's like writing an article that states "We asked the CIA about assassination, and the CIA said it never killed anyone. When we interviewed various ex-CIA employees, they agreed."

Does this guy really believe that he'd find someone who would say "oh yeah, we used to f*ck up competitor's stuff all the time."

I'd say "look at the trail of broken applications behind the various DOS revisions, not the mea culpas of the people today."

Why can't XP find Logitech mouse drivers? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226686)


The Slashdot story sounds to me like revisionism. There were many cases of incompatibility. Maybe they weren't put there deliberately, but incompatibilities that degraded serious competition seemed to take a long time to fix.

Here's an example from today, in Windows XP SP2: Why is it that, during an install or re-install of Windows XP, Windows can never find the Logitech mouse drivers? Windows finds other mouse drivers. Is it because Logitech makes better pointing devices than Microsoft?

got a totally different idea from the title (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226689)

I thought it was gonna be an article about old-timers who wouldn't give up their precious MSDOS running 386s because it ran their Lotus 1-2-3.

Under a rock the last 20 years? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226706)

"The rumor being that Microsoft would intentionally break competitors' applications with each release of DOS, to give a competitive advantage to its own applications while the other company scrambled to work around the block that Microsoft had inserted."

Rumor eh? I suppose the fact that Microsoft has been in court [google.com] for the last 20 years over this type of thing is rumor also?

pretty obvious if you think about it (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226707)

Microsoft's biggest competitor is itself.

If your business relied on MS-DOS and Lotus 1-2-3, and the next version of MS-DOS didn't run Lotus, why the hell would you upgrade?

MS isn't that stupid.

who's modding this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226712)

Wow, not a single post greater than mod 2!!

"Hard Drive", page 233 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226722)

The book "Hard Drive", published in 1992,
mentions this phrase on page 233, saying
"According to one Microsoft programmer, the
problems encountered by Lotus were not unexpected.
A few of the key people working on DOS 2.0,
he claimed, had a saying at the time that
'DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run'. They
managed to code a few hidden bugs into DOS 2.0
that causd Lotus 1-2-3 to break down when it
was loaded. 'There were as few as three or
four people who knew this was being done,' he
said. He felt the highly competitive Gates
was the ringleader."

The page can be viewed at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0887 306292/ [amazon.com]
(registration required).

The earliest mention of this phrase I can
find on Usenet is from June 1992, and
probably comes from somebody who read that book.

More historical revisionism from M$ weenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13226766)

Just like "640k should be enough for anyone": I WAS ALIVE WHEN THAT WAS SAID, DAMMIT (Though I think Bill was being tongue-in-cheek at the time). Now, do a google search, and it's impossible to tell whether it's true or not from internet sources. If anything, you're left with a feeling it probably isn't true.

So we can rule out malevolence (1)

Spineless Jellyfish (638411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226792)

So we can rule out MS malevolence as the reason 3rd party software would not work. Can we rule out MS incompetence?

Debunking historical myths (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226796)

So next I suppose we'll find out that the Holocaust never really happened, and African slaves in the confederate south were generally happy and well treated.

Corporate revisionism run rampant (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13226823)

I used to have to use Copy II to dupe Lotus 1-2-3 disks - which only allowed three installs, so we just duped the original floppy and used up the copy floppy every time we had to reinstall because someone munged their computer - and this is why copy protection stopped working, as business rerouted around the damage.

But I specifically remember the CRT screen messages from the fake check that MSFT did back then to kill off DR-DOS.

Maybe you don't think they would do something so ... well ... evil - but they did. It was either that or lose market share, as at that time Windows wasn't as important as DOS was, and people could have easily switched over to a different OS with a different competing GUI - and Lotus was pushing their own GUI, so it was a very real and strong threat.

Inside the corporations noone cared about MSFT, or Windows - all they cared about was: can it run my Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets and does it have a word processer with mailmerge.

Maybe to newbs nowadays this seems unthinkable, but it was very real back then.
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