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Run Linux as a Windows Screensaver

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-really-can-put-it-anywhere dept.

Operating Systems 259

zornorph writes "A software engineer at IBM has come up with a way to 'construct and package a Linux® LiveCD so that it will install using the standard Microsoft® Windows® install process and will operate as a standard Windows screensaver.'"

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259 comments

GNAA unveils new 2005 product line (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313488)

GNAA unveils new 2005 product line

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GNAA behind the times (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313587)

You've just unveiled your 2005 product line, days away from 2006. It's no secret now: the GNAA is dying.

Re:GNAA behind the times (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313774)

Netcraft proves it!

Re:GNAA behind the times (0, Redundant)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313779)

the GNAA is dying

I won't believe it until netcraft confirms it.

Why not stand-alone? (5, Interesting)

xorbe (249648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313491)

The article doesn't make it clear why it should run as a screensaver... is the ISO interactive? How does one escape the screensaver? Why not just run it stand-alone?

Also, this was surprising: "OS/2 is finally being withdrawn on December 23, 2005. According to the IBM Web site on OS/2 Warp migration (see Resources), there is no replacement product from IBM. IBM suggests that OS/2 customers consider Linux." They should at least recommend a specific product, else the remaining OS/2 userbase will entirely fragment. Recommendations are not irresponsible, only the customer blindly accepting it would be.

Following the instructions in the article is not for the faint of heart!

Re:Why not stand-alone? (5, Funny)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313562)

If you have to ask why...you really don't belong here. :)

Mox

Re:Why not stand-alone? (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313595)

The article doesn't make it clear why it should run as a screensaver... is the ISO interactive? How does one escape the screensaver? Why not just run it stand-alone?

No no no, you don't understand, while it runs as a screensaver, it's building Gentoo. Only after it's done can you run it standalone...

Re:Why not stand-alone? (3, Funny)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313712)

"The article doesn't make it clear why it should run as a screensaver... is the ISO interactive? How does one escape the screensaver? Why not just run it stand-alone?"

It's made for educational purpose, once it starts it captures the mouse and keyboard so that you can't exit to Windows, and you're forced to use Linux until you nail it.

A caveat was quickly discovered however: if you stop so the Linux screensaver turns on, you're back to Windows. Go figure.

Re:Why not stand-alone? (5, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313717)

Why? So when someone says, "nice screen saver, but does it run Linux?", he'll be able to say yes.

Re:Why not stand-alone? (4, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313789)

They should at least recommend a specific product, else the remaining OS/2 userbase will entirely fragment.

What, both of them?

Re:Why not stand-alone? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313905)

They should at least recommend a specific product, else the remaining OS/2 userbase will entirely fragment.

What, both of them?


What there was two? I thought they were worried about the creating a case of MPD where by the last user of os/2 warp fragmented into different personalities, each of whome had a linux distro of choice.

Proof of concept? (2, Interesting)

cytoman (792326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313495)

Is this just a "proof of concept" and not really something useful? I mean, if it shows Linux running in screen-saver mode, any disturbance of the keyboard/mouse will bring back windows...am I missing something?

Still, pretty cool!!!

Re:Proof of concept? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313545)

You've never used any of the after-dark [screensavers.com] screen savers have you? They are fully interactive.

Re:Proof of concept? (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313755)

Screensavers determine when they shut off. If the screensaver doesn't give the close command when it takes input then you can't get out of it.

Awesome (5, Funny)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313498)

This is cool, as long as you don't need to use your keyboard or mouse.

Re:Awesome (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313759)

That's OK, just use the joystick to control Linux. For some reason windows doesn't think the joystick is primary input, so if you're using it for an extended period, then the screen saver turns on. This feature is great during games. Always seems to pop up at the most inopportune moments.

Re:Awesome (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313856)

I have numerous highly useful machines whose only connection to the outside world is the power cord and the ethernet cable.

Re:Awesome (1)

ESqVIP (782999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313903)

And I guess running a Linux install as a screensaver on them would be really helpful?

The Point? (1, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313506)

OK, other than the "cool factor", WTF is the point of this? Its nice to know what IBM's people are spending their time on...

Re:The Point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313623)

Something tells me that you must be new here...

Re:The Point? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313670)

Dude! It's Linux so it can run anywhere and that's the point right?! It runs on my supercomputer cluster and is the OS of choice for my Power Pleasure programable vibrator. Who needs more reason than that.

woah! (1, Redundant)

johann8384 (818276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313511)

That is awesome. What would you use it for?

Re:woah! (2, Funny)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313802)

That is awesome. What would you use it for?
Screensaver?

I wanna be the first to say it (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313514)

I run Windows as a Linux screen saver all the time. Or at least the major parts. ;-)

And with the new modularized X, if it crashes it won't bring down the fonts.

Or you could not (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313515)

Or you could just install and run Linux the normal way... I know, not as interesting, but less BSODs has got to count for something, right?

The word for the (first?) post is: oppose

Eh? (1, Funny)

sH4RD (749216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313516)

Why the hell would anyone want to run Linux as a screen saver? To admire X11R7 (jesus! X devs actually do something!)

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313713)

C'mon, give this guy a break...I'm pretty sure we're all big nerds who know ALL about spending time on things that don't have a practical use.

And this is useful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313520)

... how?

Another Example (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313523)

This was already on digg several hours ago [digg.com] . Why doesn't Taco just write some code to steal all of his stories from digg? I bet Slashdot would be much more up to speed with the rest of the Internets if he did.

The mouse (1)

quickbasicguru (886035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313527)

Screensavers on windows are just executables.

You could use the mouse without it quitting...

So... (3, Funny)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313531)

To boot Knoppix, I'm going to have to wait 5 minutes?

Re:So... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313823)

To boot Knoppix, I'm going to have to wait 5 minutes?

Hey, that's faster than usual. I usually have time to go make a sandwich.

funny feeling.. (3, Funny)

kerpal2005 (879170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313535)

Why do I get a feeling Microsoft's spyware program will detect this as malware?

Re:funny feeling.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313901)

by the term 'Microsoft's spyware program" you surely mean windows right?? (you shoulda said Anti-spyware, ya silly goose)

IBM confirms it - OS2 is dead (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313536)

FTFA :

OS/2 is finally being withdrawn on December 23, 2005. According to the IBM Web site on OS/2 Warp migration (see Resources), there is no replacement product from IBM. IBM suggests that OS/2 customers consider Linux.

... and the replacement runs under Windows. :-(

oh, the irony.

Re:IBM confirms it - OS2 is dead (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313743)

"OS/2 is finally being withdrawn on December 23, 2005."

They wouldn't admit it until the OS/2 users didn't reach 6 figure negative number.

oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313541)

this is pretty much all linux is good for

Re:oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313626)

this is pretty much all Windows is good for (running Linux as a screen saver that is).

Re:oh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313810)

Bill? Is that you?

What a pain® (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313542)

Am I the only one® to find non-legal documents® polluted by legalese bullshit® extremely annoying®?

Re:What a pain® (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313887)

Oh comon now, IBM has a virtual city of Lawyers, you gotts to give those boys something to do!


All Right Reserved Heembo Inc. 2005

clustering maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313550)

perhaps dynamic clustering is a useful purpose of this method to run the linux kernel.

Maybe there is a point... (5, Interesting)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313559)

A distributed computing project (ala SETI) which relied on Linux could run this way.

Re:Maybe there is a point... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313650)


But how long before someone writes a virus that does this?

Of course, that would definitely be ugly for the OSS community...

Infected With Linux?? (2, Funny)

protolith (619345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313793)

Good Lord this machine has been infected with Linux... Doh, Wait!!! I Think I want That.

Re:Maybe there is a point... (3, Informative)

_|()|\| (159991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313781)

A distributed computing project (ala SETI) which relied on Linux could run this way.

If this were Cooperative Linux [colinux.org] that might be an avenue worth exploring. However, the article describes running Linux under QEMU, which the author admits is "slooooooooowwww."

Re:Maybe there is a point... (1)

Rattencremesuppe (784075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313782)

A distributed computing project (ala SETI) which relied on Linux could run this way.

I think that a solution with cygwin [cygwin.com] or colinux [colinux.org] would be more elegant in this case.

Re:Maybe there is a point... (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313906)

cygwin is just a layer of Win32 .dll files and hardly elegant.

Somebody should really be working on the 'key to the treasury' which would be a free open-source POSIX subsystem that runs direct on the Windows NT kernel. An Interix clone, so to speak. Softway Systems, the producer of Interix, put the question out to the Interix userbase a short while before the company was sold to Microsoft, asking for support in the idea of open sourcing Interix. The silence was sorta deafening.

RTFA Please! (5, Informative)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313564)

The submitter referred to this software as a "screen saver", but if he had bothered to read the story at all he would have realized it should in fact be classified as a "computer saver".

Still, it's a very interesting story!

Correct me if I'm wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313565)

But aren't screensavers just regular programs with a different extension? That is, if I put a program into my windows folder and rename it as a .scr doesn't windows just consider it a screensaver? Also, the program itself would have to implement the waking up on mouse move or keyboard press... I'm pulling this information from back in my days of windows 98 screensaver creation using visualbasic 5, so I may be completely wrong.

And if I'm right, wouldn't that mean this can be run as a regular program?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313772)

It's been a long time since I made a screensaver. I kind of miss it -- it'd access a page of terms users were searching on using a popular engine at the time, then scroll those terms across the screen marquee-style, so about 80% of the time I would get to see a remarkably mistyped query for porn or warez.

I modified a Visual C++ 5.0 screensaver example to do it, and I seem to recall some extra plumbing having to do with getting the thing to preview properly in the screensaver selector.

All of which really doesn't answer your question, but thank you for reminding me of an old project to learn Windows 95 programming. I know worms/viruses will transfer via .SCR which would suggest the equivalency is close enough, and a hexdump shows a .SCR looks like an .EXE, but I've never actually tried renaming and running stuff to find out.

So what happens when... (5, Funny)

CaroKann (795685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313573)

You run Windows and the screen saver kicks in...
And it runs Linux with Wine, and the screen saver kicks in...
And it runs Linux with Wine, and the screen saver kicks in...
Ad Infinitum...

Re:So what happens when... (1)

esromneb (914881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313744)

Recursive call...

Re:So what happens when... (5, Funny)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313808)

This reminds me of a funny thing with Virtual PC. Trying to install Virtual PC on a Windows virtual machine running under Virtual PC popped up "You can't run Virtual PC under Virtual PC. You just had to try, didn't you?"

Re:So what happens when... (1)

X-rated Ouroboros (526150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313881)

Well, I know what I'm doing this weekend!

Couldn't you find a lamer article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313576)

"So why should you read this article? Why, indeed, should I write it? "
said the author - AND I AGREE. I think there's a mouse fart article out there; can we read that instead?

yet another worthless story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313584)

Someone must have absolutely nothing better to do with his time..

Screen Saver Fun (2, Informative)

LordofEntropy (250334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313588)

You can pretty much make any exe a screen saver. I remember a coworker doing this once with logon.exe on Win 2k. Funny thing is, that the screen saver ran as admin, this was a pretty big security hole, and quite amusing.

Re:Screen Saver Fun (3, Informative)

carleton (97218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313658)

Actually, there's a bootable floppy (running Linux) that will let you edit the registry. The dox for it recommend doing so (specifically, running cmd.exe as the logonscr(eensaver) and then bringing up the password gui tools) to reset the password on a box running Win 2000 with Active Directory. (the tool can just blank out the password for non AD-based systems, but AD is trickier)

other distros (1)

esromneb (914881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313592)

Can we run other distros like this? Ie gentoo?

Re:other distros (1)

gazpa (863326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313773)

# emerge sync
connecting to windowsupdate.microsoft.com for rsync...
.
.
.
#emerge -uD world
These are the packages that I would merge, in order:

Calculating dependencies ...done!

[ebuild UD] semi-sys/windows-xp-r2 -hardened +iexplorer -w3c +mediaplayer +nsa +headache -BSoD 33,726 kB

Total size of downloads: 533,726 kB

Screen saver? (1)

dogbrt (913020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313593)

If it runs as a screensaver, why call it a LiveCD?

What I understood from the article is... (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313596)

they use it to scare people away from tinkering with your PC while away.

1 Minute (1)

kaje103 (828985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313612)

Wow...Don't think I've ever been so anxious to change my screensaver time to 1 minute!

uh what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313617)

the article says its running as a screensaver so it'll be faster than just having an executable...

having made several screen savers for windows several years ago, i know that a screen saver is simply* an EXE renamed to a SCR file and put in the windows\system directory.

wtf is this article talking about?

(*it is also passed different command line arguments so you know if its being run, previewed, or the settings button is being pressed, and some other stuff)

A screensaver.. or not? (1)

TheUncleD (940548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313624)

Obviously Linux as a screensaver seems to make little sense in the way that it would act as a usable operating system while defaulting as a screensaver. It could ideally using windows hibernation type of techniques, save a snapshot of windows settings, and then allow some kind of virtual representation of windows in screensaver mode. However, the whole idea of a screensaver is to be reserving some power use or to be a different screen than the normal workflow while the user is away.

As a user who would try this out, it sounds fishy in terms of any practical use. You type something, the screensaver vanishes. Not much use there. A great LiveCD however to experiment with linux in my opinion is Ubuntu, which lets you boot the operating system entirely from one of their livecd's. Ubuntu which is now being worked on by many debian developers is not a screensaver, but its certainly a lifesaver when it comes to often needed quick-fixes in the linux world. Praise Linux :)

i bet MS is happy (3, Funny)

amazon10x (737466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313638)

Finally. A reason for the screensaver function in Windows.

Re:i bet MS is happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313878)

actually, no :) LCD monitors dont require screensavers - only CRT ones which are rapidly becoming obsolete

Penguinistas notwithstanding (0, Flamebait)

catmistake (814204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313646)

Why the heck would you run Linux as a screensaver? It's non-standardized, breaks itself, and any time you change anything you have to recompile the damn kernel. Now... if you could run NetBSD as a screensaver... or even OS X... that would be something...

Linux on Windows (0, Troll)

freek808 (549163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313655)

Linux runs just fine on Windows. I use it all the time.

It's called Cygwin [cygwin.com]

Good job IBM! Reinventing the wheel!

Re:Linux on Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313708)

Or, more accurately, coLinux [colinux.org] .

Re:Linux on Windows (-1, Offtopic)

einhe1t (900548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313731)

I hate to break this to ya, but cygwin isn't linux...

Idle Hands? (1)

Bit_Muncher (454963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313656)

The devil makes use of idle hands?

Based on THIS I'd say it was only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313662)

Based on This [damnednice.com] [Slashdot Preferred Link], I'd say it was only a matter of time. Windows users beware!

 

Why? (2, Informative)

AgentAce (246327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313663)

Damn Small Linux already runs on top of Windows.

Of course running Linux on Windows is similar to driving a BMW around inside of a Triumph.

What happens when you try to get out? (2, Funny)

colinbrash (938368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313665)

When you try to get out of the screen saver, does it give you a black screen with "LI" up in the left corner?

Hu...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313675)

The words "What the f...??" spring to mind.

Isn't this just the same thing... (3, Insightful)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313678)

As saying that Linux and windows can run at the same time on the same hardware, with quick switching between the two? Depending on how easy that is to do, this either makes the story a lot more or a lot less interesting.

What a dope! (1)

Trestop (571707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313683)

He is running a linux livecd under QEmu for the screen saver (and hardcoding the iso image file name in the binary).
Running coLinux would be tons neater.

Choice quote from TFA... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313686)

Most computer users are familiar with a Microsoft Windows environment and with the variety of screensavers available to prevent unauthorized access to the data on the computer when unattended.

I imagine running Linux instead of Windows would help solve 99% of all "unauthorized access to the data" problems people have in an office environment.

Strange to see (2, Interesting)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313702)

Whenever you see a screenshot of MacOS its always with a shot of Safari, ITunes or Corel Draw. Whenever you see a screenshot of Windows its always the Control Panel, Windows Media Player, MS Office, or IE.

Whenever you see a screenshot of Linux its always with shots of people using Fractial Apps, drawing PCB Diagrams, or something to do with the planets orbit.

All they need to do now is to be able to the same with MacOS and then you'll be able to download mp3's and draw pictures with one os, watch porn and write word documents with the other, and lastly be able to discover the cure to cancer the last os and the great thing is you'll be able to do this all off the same computer.

finally! (5, Funny)

theodicey (662941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313724)

Now i can get my Windows friends to run Linux by emailing them!

Subject: Hi!

Body: How are you ?
When I saw this screen saver, I immediately thought about you
I am in a harry, I promise you will love it!

Attachment: Linux.SCR

Re:finally! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313847)

LOL! I am Linux screen saver, not a virus.

Damn... I guess Linux really is infiltrating (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313727)

I leave my computer alone for 5 minutes and it's switched to Linux all by itself!


/just kidding, my computer always runs Linux

Yeah, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313732)

Does it run wine?

Re:Yeah, but (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313792)

The real question then becomes... will wine (running on the windows Linux screensaver) be able to run the Windows Linux screensaver?

I'd rather run winows... (4, Funny)

theheff (894014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313740)

as a linux game. It's pretty fun... if you don't get a virus in 14 minutes you win!

Re:I'd rather run winows... (5, Funny)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313811)

It's pretty fun... if you don't get a virus in 14 minutes you win!
 
Uggh... I can't stand another game with an unreasonably high difficulty level =/

Re:I'd rather run winows... (3, Funny)

ShaLouZa (940648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313874)

I almost made it once. But I screwed up : I connected my box to the net at the 12th minute. Silly me.

Is this an inside IBM OS/2 tech joke? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313749)

I used OS/2 for 6 years at home and it was good. However, one of the several weird things about marketing the product is that IBM sold OS/2 Warp 3 and OS/2 Warp 3 _for_ [emphasis mine] Windows. The intent was to sell one version cheaper for people who already had Windows 3.1 and didn't need the capabilities of WinOS2.

However, I always thought labeling it as _FOR_ Windows was moronic. What was that supposed to imply to the purchaser? That it was a Windows add-on?

Maybe this linux screensaver is a final OS/2 team joke to confuse the hell out of selected users. I'm not sure I don't approve.

This is pointless (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313757)

Because when you go to use the system it will turn off!

what do you call this distro? (1)

doubtless (267357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313783)

the You can see but you can't touch?

Re:what do you call this distro? (5, Funny)

Gryle (933382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313820)

"the [thing} you can see but you can't touch?"

Girls?

One good reason... (4, Insightful)

rkaa (162066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313799)

to use this, would be to in effect run Xscreensaver [jwz.org] on Windows! Using XP, I really miss those. And they will never be ported.

With roles reversed... (5, Funny)

Sathias (884801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313818)

Does this mean I can run 3D Pipes as an OS?

As a Windows user (1)

Ginza (940575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313826)

This actually piques my interest as I don't have to re-partition my HD or make some drastic change. It's an easy shell to get experienced with linux and maybe even switch over.

Re:As a Windows user (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313841)

Um, never heard of Knoppix, or the million other live linux distros out there I assume?

Coc4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313844)

around return it at my freelanCe charnel house. The A dead man walking. when done playin6 Parts. The current raise or lower the future. Even

You know... (1)

Captain_Thunder (937821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313888)

I've seen screen-savers that are essentially small games. You can use your mouse and keyboard to interact with a screen-saver. I'm guessing you would use Esc to exit.

mo3 donwn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313897)

users. BSD/OS [nero-online.org] Sales and so on, transfer, Netscape perfoDrm keeping conversation and Questions, then hot on the hhels of Unpleasant THINKING ABOUT IT.
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