Home > Microsoft > EU suspends Microsoft sanctions EU suspends Microsoft sanctions Eugenia Loli 2004-06-27 Microsoft 81 Comments The European Commission has temporarily suspended an order requiring Microsoft to sell a version of Windows without media player software, just before it would have taken effect, a source familiar with the situation said Sunday. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 81 Comments 2004-06-27 6:32 pm From the link above: ‘The page you’ve requested cannot be found.’ 2004-06-27 6:34 pm http://news.com.com/EU+suspends+Microsoft+sanctions/2100-1014_3-524… 2004-06-27 6:35 pm Im also getting the same problem as Darius. News.com returns a 404: The page you’ve requested cannot be found.’ 2004-06-27 6:41 pm Microsofts claims are outlandish, and frankly kind of pathetic. Oh gee, their going to be hurt? Wasn’t that kind of the point??? Its a freaking fine! Oh well, doesn’t matter. EU courts don’t have the guts to follow through anyway, just like US courts. 2004-06-27 6:44 pm i thought democracy was for the people, by the people, not for corporations. in fact, i thought the whole damn point of a free market and corporate capitalism was ultimately for the good of the people. i didn’t realise we were born to buy. 2004-06-27 6:58 pm Couldn’t agree with you more. Let the free market reign. The market does reign, and that’s why Linux will win. 2004-06-27 7:01 pm Also, Windows never does anything to block other media players to be installed. So go convince OEM to put other media players in there and piss of blaiming Microsoft. Microsoft has deals with OEMs to bundle Windows with their hardware by default. And Average Joe can’t really learn much about alternative media players if it’s shipped to him with one video player already. So yes, in a way, Microsoft does block OEMs from installing other media players. 2004-06-27 7:04 pm — “It is Microsoft’s OS and they have FULL right to what they ship in it. Period. Now why the hell do you keep on blaming Microsoft.” No they DON’T. The rules are different for monopolies, because monopolies can cause serious harm through illeagal business practices. When they engaged in those practices, Microsoft gave up those rights just as surely as any common criminal has givin up his right to freedom by commiting his crime. 2004-06-27 7:09 pm It’s not a matter of “illegal business practices”. It’s a matter of leveraging your monopoly to other sectors. I agree with Wolf… but at the same time, WMP is used by Microsoft to get the exclusive control of the media content industry and they use their monopoly on the desktop market to get the control of that industry. That is illegal in most countries. 2004-06-27 7:09 pm The broken link has been fixed. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Sorry for any inconvience. 2004-06-27 7:11 pm This is the best news I have heard all day, Im very glad to hear it. I always thought MS was treated unfairly by the EU and I hope they toast the EU in their appeal. 2004-06-27 7:30 pm Go read that: http://osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=7499 And if you still don’t understand how monopolies screw up the world… Well, then I guess there’s nothing we can do, really. 2004-06-27 7:32 pm I think open protocols are getting a short shrift in this budding flameware. 2004-06-27 7:35 pm Good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft has done some evil tings that need to be rectified, but I do not believe that removing Windows Media Player from Windows is the right solution. If I were choosing a punishment for Microsoft, I’d force them to license other “big” media player makers’ codecs, and force Microsoft to include them in WMP. Furthermore, I’d force them to include links to other companies’ online music stores in WMP, and have these links as obvious as Microsoft’s own. I personally have no isses with Microsoft (or anybody else) bundling or integrating applications with their operating systems (in fact, I not only expect it, but like not having to buy several different products to get what I considder to be out of the box functionality). In the case of a convicted abusive monopoly, forcing the removal of functionality that people have grow used to, or that they depend on, is short sighted, and hurts computer users as well as Microsoft. My simpler solution would allow Windows to keep the functionality that I expect a modern OS to have, while still severely reducing the damage that can come from the abuse of monopoly power. 2004-06-27 7:35 pm “So you want to pay for software? That’s cool. Even so, it’s a good idea to try to avoid using double negatives. They aren’t very grammatically pleasing.” i agree, double negatives are icky. im sorry =[ i didnt mean though, that i _want_ to pay for software, more that i dont mind paying for good software. if there is an app i need and like that isnt free, i have no problem with paying for it. “You don’t like it DON’T USE IT and quit whining” so, quit my job…? 2004-06-27 7:39 pm Microsoft has deals with OEMs to bundle Windows with their hardware by default. And Average Joe can’t really learn much about alternative media players if it’s shipped to him with one video player already. So yes, in a way, Microsoft does block OEMs from installing other media players. OEMs can ship anything on their copies of windows they wish, MS won’t stop them. Thats one of the things that DID change after the justice department got done with them. The reason no one does ? Support. If an OEM ships a computer with Mozilla installed or any software they have to support it. They already support Windows and everything installed with it, IE, WMP etc. so a lot of OEMs don’t want to deal with other software. The more software they ship on the PC the more support they have to provide. Its that simple. 2004-06-27 7:59 pm There is only ONE remedy for MS – break them up. Let each division compete fairly in the market. Right now, MS uses the money made from Windows and Office to fund all other divisions so that those other products can be either given away or severely under-sold to undercut competition. That action has been deamed illegal in the US for decades. All other companies using such techniques were broken up to prevent them from using it again. It’s only MS’s payoffs to the government that saved them from being broken up this last time. 2004-06-27 8:12 pm “Let the market decide take control and who ever is good will win at the end.” Has it ever occurred to you that the market can’t decided when a monopoly exists? That a monopoly with 50+ billions in cash can crush every contender with his left toe and stay the monopoly position for a very long time? That it is way too easy for MS to invade new markets simply by selling inferior products at a loss (or for free –> IE) until every contender is out of the game and MS in the position to raise prices are bend market rules simply by using their market power. Is it so difficult to understand that a monopoly is bad for customers and a “free” market needs way too long to correct the situation (especially if the monopoly has so much money and market power at hand) and that it is therefore the duty of government to watch over markets so they stay “free”. Are you aware of the simple fact that you pay MS money if you buy a piece of consumer electronic which happends to support WMA (even if you don’t want or need it) just because most consumer electronic firms simply thinks that is is important to be “compatible” with the monopoly “standard” and therefore build in WMA suport and you therefore can’t really choose? Are you aware that you’re affected by the MS monopoly even if you don’t buy and support it, e. g. by the simple fact that most software companies don’t care for supporting other operating systems and you have to buy MS if you want to run certain software? If you think that a monopoly is something like a democracy where you simple can stop buying and *woosh*, the monopoly is gone, your dead wrong! You’d better start reading some economy textbooks… 2004-06-27 8:16 pm Read an economics text written in the last 50 years. There is a very good reason why monopolies *cannot* do whatever they want with their own products. Because of the danger of trusts, western societies have decided that it is worth compromising certain corporate freedoms for the health of the free market. Oh, and do you remember the 1990’s? Read up on how many times Microsoft has tried to use Windows to break their competitors’ products. Remember the “API of the day” games they played with IBM? Microsoft is the poster-child for why anti-trust laws are a good idea. Out of all their eight divisions, only two (Windows & Office) make a profit, and only one other (MSN) breaks even. The other five (and MSN until just last year) all lose money. Microsoft is able to keep these money-losing products going by subsidizing them with their monopoly money. The net result is that because Microsoft is able to undercut their competitors in these five categories, *nobody* is making money in these categories. 2004-06-27 8:32 pm Unbundling the Media Player from Windows may be good for Real Networks (God help us all), but it probably hurts the end user more than helps, becaues a lot of 3rd party programs depend on WMP being there to work properly. This is the same sort of senario as if you were to unbundle Internet Explorer – dozens, perhaps hundreds of apps would break because of it. I believe that MS unfairly used its monopoly to bully OEMs into shipping Windows and MS apps. For this, they should be punished. But instead of trying to do all this unbundling crap, why not force MS to open up all their file formats and APIs for like the next three years? Because we’re never going to see true competition on the desktop again unless competitors are able to become 100% compabable with Windows. And if that ever happsn, many people (including my self) would jump off the Microsoft gravy train in a heartbeat. 2004-06-27 8:36 pm Do I smell corruption in the EU? Doesn’t really surprise me there are very few people that can’t be bought off. 2004-06-27 8:40 pm One thing to note is that this “unbundling crap” is the first step to creating a competitive environment. As you yourself said, “a lot of third party programs depend on WMP being there.” Why? Windows includes a generic media interface, why tie your program to WMP? It’s the same sort of thing with online music services. How are consumers supposed to exercise their right to choose their software when their $20/month music service is tied (for no good reason) to Internet Explorer? How can third parties get away with doing this sort of thing? Because of bundling! 2004-06-27 8:41 pm I thought it was more to do with the DRM licensing that comes with wmp, not the fact that its a media player??? 2004-06-27 9:10 pm Listen people. If you don’t like Microsoft then guess what, you don’t have to use their products. Simple as that. Just because they are the “evil, baby-killing” microsoft doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to an appeal. I’ll leave you to your regularly scheduled programming of rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth microsoft bashing. 2004-06-27 9:14 pm You’re confusing Microsoft with a utility like the gas, electric, or water company. They are the only player in town for obvious reasons. There is nobody stopping anybody from producing an OS or other software and selling it. 2004-06-27 9:15 pm What is wrong with using money from windows to support other products? All big companies do that, Do you think IBM supports Linux out of their Linux division? You this particular logic is totally flawed. Most companies uses their money to develop new products. As far as economy is concerned, GPL really breaks the ecosystem of software industry. If it is too difficult for you to understand then i would say i give up. Microsoft with 50 bn$ in cash can spend much more on research than Redhat. Also a big corporation can invest money in universities for research where as free software companies cannot. Why do people deserve free software? I am a computer engineer and i would hate to give my hard work for free. In fact like all other fields (say it doctors or lawyers), i would like to make good bucks for it. I guess free software is good for educational use but it should not be a commercial option. 2004-06-27 9:16 pm @darius This is the same sort of senario as if you were to unbundle Internet Explorer – dozens, perhaps hundreds of apps would break because of it. Yeah! And you think we should wait till 10’000 apps would break? Besides, software depending on such a thing as IE should better be dead… @Anonymous I do not believe that removing Windows Media Player from Windows is the right solution. No. Breaking up the company would be. But alas, $$ (and not justice) rules… And since removing media player would hurt MS in their current task to take over the (home) media world (WMA, WMV, Media Center, HD-DVD, HDTV) as well, it would be actually a very good thing to stop them now before a new IE situation arises (95% market share; web pages optimized for IE instead for open standards; customers constantly having to patch and fix IE security holes which is absolutely ridiculous since there were no new IE versions for years and the thing is feature and security wise way behind any other browser nowadays, but the 95% desktop market share can’t fall because of preinstallation of IE; , etc.). It’s not a question if you are patriotic or not or if you are an MS fanboy or not: it’s time to stop the MS monopoly because – as the IE example shows – everybody has to pay for the consequences of the monopoly. Of course unbundling Media Player is not a remedy .. but a start. Other country / measures may follow which may hurt MS more than a simple fine … 2004-06-27 9:17 pm Again…Windows is Microsoft’s property and they will do what they want with it. One important thing to understand is that Microsoft likes to sell their stuff in european markets. Thus, they should obey the european laws. If they don’t want it… well, then they should not be allowed to sell in europe, anymore. Quite simple, IMHO. 2004-06-27 9:25 pm And those consumers will stop using computers if they are asked to use konqueror or other crappy browsers of linux. I agree that it was strange that Microsoft became a single dominant force in software beating the hell out of SUN and IBM but i will say its not Microsoft’s mistake. People preferred their products. And as we go more in future…Microsoft is improving like anything…XP is rock solid…VS.NET is awesome…i have used Microsoft shell and its too good…so if i get what i want from Microsoft…to hell with everyone…i am happy. 2004-06-27 9:26 pm Agreed 100%. I truly believe so. And i am not complaining about either EU decision. I am complaining about people whining about it. 2004-06-27 9:27 pm The problem here is that Microsoft does not make the computers it ships on. Ford makes whole cars not just the engines that go in them. If Microsoft created Windows and then like Apple sold Windows and computers with Windows that would be one thing. But what M$ does is not only make Windows but then it requires that the companies who sell it only sell it the way they require. You can’t interchange the parts, you can add other software that users may like etc. That is not right because Microsoft doesn’t own the hardware companies! That would be like Google making Microsoft have Windows by default go to Google for all searches or they will block all Windows users from using Google. That is what M$ does. They tell Dell that hey if you don’t do what we want we won’t let you sell Windows at a competive price or they could even stop them from selling Windows all together! Margins are so small in the hardware business that companies have no choice because most people only know Windows. If Microsoft allowed free trade and set one price for all vendors to sell Windows and allowed them to sell Windows anyway they want to that does not break copyright laws things would be fair. But that is not how it is. There is NO other industry where there is SOOOOO little competition! I mean there are other industries where there are clear leaders (Like Walmart or McDonalds). @ Solaris.M.K.A “Bush invaded because of oil. There isn’t another ‘prospective’ on that or on M$. ” Actually Bush did not invade Iraq because of Oil. The US will never get enough oil out of Iraq to repay all the money the US Government and it’s people invested in the war, nor will it cause oil prices in the US to lower. The point of the war was 2 other things. One was to protect Israel. Iraq was the last “Power” in the area that threatened Israel. And being that Bush is VERY Ideological which is more important to him then Oil that is a VERY important point. He religions beliefs cause him to fell much closer ties to Israel. You can tell this by the fact that Israel has stepped up it’s campaign against the Palestinians since the war started and the US government supports it 100% And 2. This will give the US a base of power outside of Saudi Arabia. This is made clear by the fact that the government is putting 14 bases in Iraq. Oil is just a by product and will help pay for some of the future costs of rebuilding Iraq (If they pipelines don’t get blown up every day) 2004-06-27 9:27 pm One important thing to understand is that Microsoft likes to sell their stuff in european markets. Thus, they should obey the european laws. If they don’t want it… well, then they should not be allowed to sell in europe, anymore. Quite simple, IMHO. Yep, and under EU law they have a right to an appeal, but in Microsoft’s case the open source zealots would rather make an exception. 2004-06-27 9:30 pm But what M$ does is not only make Windows but then it requires that the companies who sell it only sell it the way they require. You can’t interchange the parts, you can add other software that users may like etc. That is not right because Microsoft doesn’t own the hardware companies! Could you be any more juvenile by using the M$? And to the point, I believe those exclusivity contracts that Microsoft used to force on PC OEM’s were remedied in Microsoft’s previous dealing with the Justice Department. 2004-06-27 9:34 pm Just an observation: to sell a product under its cost is not known as “to support a product”. It is in fact what is called “dumping”. It is very different than investing in development and research (those costs are compensated normally when you sell your product). See the xbox for example. 2004-06-27 9:35 pm Also, instead of riding on their high horse, they are listening to consumers and making products for them. So its the users choice to constantly patch the MS systems? ..their developer documentation and DDK or SDK, they have good APIs and excellent documentation and i love it. *Oeh* WIN32 a good API? Did you work on C64 before? And how do you think they pay for the good documentation? Reading your comment is like reading the word of someone who profits from dictatorship. As long as your on the sunny side, dictatorship is the best thing in the world. Who cares for others … 2004-06-27 9:39 pm Gee, you are a funny troll. The only problem is that you are simply ignoring that there are laws which MS has broken with its business practices. That is what the EU Commission and the Department of Justice have found. That Windows belongs to MS does in no way mean that MS can break laws. Now let’s see what happened. The EU Commission found that MS did something illegal and fined and sanctioned them. MS doesn’t agree and goes to court. Now the courts will have to decide who is right. So all in all something incredibly normal has happened and there is no need to get so worked up about it. 2004-06-27 9:46 pm Did i say its wrong? Read my post titled “Re: By clausi (IP: —.arcor-ip.net)” above. I agree to whatever is going on EU based on legal points. I was presenting my views that i don’t think they should be punished. By tymiles (IP: —.nrockv01.md.comcast.net) Get your facts correct. Microsoft did that in past but they corrected themselves. You can ship what you want but yes MS gives them deal if they ship as a bundle but hey did you hear about 1+1 deals? duhh…you better study market…its normal practices..nothign illegal about it. Its my product i will sell it like i want as long as it is LEGAL. Right? I hope now u agree. 2004-06-27 9:50 pm I’m not confusing anything. Go read up on the definition of monopoly. It doesn’t matter what a companies business is, what matters is the barrier to entry for competitors. The huge Windows-only software base is a barrier to entry, just as the huge gas pipeline and telephone line infrastructure were barriers to entries for competitors. AT&T was broken up because nobody could compete with them without rebuilding the entire US phone network. Now, Microsoft is in a position where nobody can compete with them without rebuilding the entire Windows software base. In any case, whether Microsoft is or is not a monopoly is not in question. Judges have already decided that they are. Also, show me where a “zealot” claimed that Microsoft did not have the right to appeal? Sure they have the righ to appeal — that doesn’t prevent people from expressing the feeling that the original ruling should not be overturned after the appeal is considered! 2004-06-27 9:50 pm To those already crying or triumphing “Europe has cowed”, and those who smell corruption, I’d like to remind that MS made appeal of the last judgment, that it was its right, and that an appeal is generally suspensive of the sanctions (it wouldn’t make sense if it wasn’t). I hope I have been clear. If my english is incorrect, please accept my apologies (It’s not my first language. Not even my second…) 2004-06-27 9:55 pm One thing to note is that this “unbundling crap” is the first step to creating a competitive environment. As you yourself said, “a lot of third party programs depend on WMP being there.” Why? Windows includes a generic media interface, why tie your program to WMP? So did the 3rd party companies who tied their programs to WMP break any laws? If not, then why punish them (and their users) for Microsoft’s crimes? Instead of forcing MS to unbundle WMP, why not force them to release enough of the technical specs so that compeitors could incorporate 100% of the WMP codec into their products without actually having to call the WMP APIs? That way, you coul have true, legal 100% compatability with the Windows media codecs in any OS. Sure unbundling the media player may solve the problem, but your punishing more than just MS by doing this, same as if you split up the company. I know many of you Linux pundits (not necessarily you, Rayiner) who are only interested in converting people to your religion would love to see this done, but trust me .. it would not be a good thing for those of us who use the products daily. 2004-06-27 9:56 pm Yep, and under EU law they have a right to an appeal, but in Microsoft’s case the open source zealots would rather make an exception. Sure. Otherwise one wouldn’t be a proper open source “zealot”. I just wonder if american politicians will still dare to judge decisions of european institutions after the appeal is over. However, the case (and the discussion here) shows once more that the only possible way of protecting competition among software vendors is to actively support an Open Source Operating System in public institutions by not allowing them to buy from a proprietary Operating System vendor. 2004-06-27 9:58 pm What is wrong with using money from windows to support other products? When your company is a monopoly, it could be construed as using monopoly power to force your way into other markets. All big companies do that, Do you think IBM supports Linux out of their Linux division? Linux isn’t a money-loser for them. They make profit indirectly through higher sales of their servers. And IBM isn’t a convicted monopoly. As far as economy is concerned, GPL really breaks the ecosystem of software industry. Mostly because the software industry is so sick it needs to die. Innovation has stagnated for more than a decade. The GPL is the free-market solution to the software industry’s ailments. Why do people deserve free software? I am a computer engineer and i would hate to give my hard work for free. Compete, or get out of the race. Capitalism is all about who can deliver the minimum requirements at the lowest cost. If you can’t compete with the lowest cost being $0, well, tough nuggets, you’re obsolete. At one time, most of this country was composed of farmers. Now, only 2% of the country is composed of farmers. I, for one, don’t mourn the loss of all those farm jobs one bit. That’s how capitalism works. They were obsolete, they deserve to go. Now, software engineers have two choices: they can compete, by making genuinely new products that are out of reach of OSS developers (for whatever reason), or they can die. Some smart people will survive. I have a feeling that the guys at Softimage have nothing to fear from an OSS competitor. Others will die — because they couldn’t compete. 2004-06-27 9:58 pm One more thing i like about Microsoft is…their developer documentation and DDK or SDK, they have good APIs and excellent documentation and i love it. This proves you aren’t a Windows developer. Every REAL developer complains about how bad the documentation is and the fact that 95% of their example code doesn’t work. Try a more convincing lie next time. There is nobody stopping anybody from producing an OS or other software and selling it. Tell that to Next, or Be, or any number of other OS companies put out of business by Microsoft’s illegal dealings. It was proven in a court of law that MS forced hardware manufacturers to not write BeOS drivers to drive Be out of business. And to the point, I believe those exclusivity contracts that Microsoft used to force on PC OEM’s were remedied in Microsoft’s previous dealing with the Justice Department. No, it wasn’t. MS found a way around that too. Instead of charging OEMs more for not carrying MS only, they now give OEMs less back for not carrying MS only. What is the difference? Nothing. Sony just got through successfully suing MS over this practice. Looking back over the replies, it’s pretty clear that Wolf and Lumbergh are paid shills for MS stirring up trouble here rather than debating on merits and truths. They ignore points made about legal issues decided by the courts here in the US while harping about “free markets.” This is straight MS party line their astroturfers are paid to spread around the net. 2004-06-27 9:59 pm Ehm, that sounded very different on the outset and in your other comments: It is Microsoft’s OS and they have FULL right to what they ship in it. Period. Now why the hell do you keep on blaming Microsoft. Would you expect Ford to use say engine from Honda…NO and thats the way it is. Microsoft has put years making the OS and they have FULL rights to do what they want with it. You don’t want it…DON’t buy it and shut up. So what exactly are you trying to tell us, apart from insulting linux users that is? 2004-06-27 10:11 pm Good Post. So Microsoft is competing with 0$ software. I guess they deserve Kudos for that. By the way..i have opposite feeling..i think guys at OSS will lose because of few things: 1. No single source of control and no proper software engineering principle followed. 2. Not so disciplined development. Things you do for fun are for fun. Software as any other engineering branch, needs disciplined development. 3. No proper market studies and stratigies 4. Hey what is documentation? 5. Too much confusion due to forking 6. Too many pimps trying to use OSS as a hooker for their benefit. 7. No responsibility…software is provided AS IS… 2004-06-27 10:14 pm Work on OSX, then Solaris, then Windows and then back on OSX and give me your opinion about better documentation. Out of all MSDN has one of the best documentation. It wasn’t a lie it came from my personal experience…so stop judging me just because you don’t like Microsoft or my opinion. 2004-06-27 10:16 pm “Could you be any more juvenile by using the M$? And to the point, I believe those exclusivity contracts that Microsoft used to force on PC OEM’s were remedied in Microsoft’s previous dealing with the Justice Department.” Hummmm, maybe I misread but I could of sworn this article was about the EU and not the US government?? US laws last time I looked don’t apply to the EU. On top of that I used the M$ as a quick way of typing that people know. 2004-06-27 10:17 pm “It is Microsoft’s OS and they have FULL right to what they ship in it. Period.” They’re already prosecuted so your rant makes lil’ sense anymore. Why not argue against the conclusions of the prosecution which are available online? Any dork is able to write their own movie, question is wether it’s a good one. And yours isn’t, since it’s too overly fictive. 2004-06-27 10:33 pm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3844627.stm says the suspension could last up to 3 years. By that time Longhorn will be out and this case starting to fizzle. It also says “Once Microsoft releases code under this decision, those intellectual property rights are lost forever, even if the court grants our appeal” Assuming that the property is the wmv file format one could ask “Did competition work?” e.g. is wmv better than other formats? I doubt it. AFAIK wmv is proprietarized mp4 and my hunch is that wmv was introduced for no other reason than to create an incompability and lockin. Would that work for a small company? No. Then it shouldn’t work for large company either. Then again, wmv is MS property and MS should not have to give it up. It’s not easy. 2004-06-27 10:33 pm No single source of control and no proper software engineering principle followed. Go look at the Debian or FreeBSD release practices and then come back to me. Or the KDE or GNOME release practices for that matter. Not so disciplined development. Things you do for fun are for fun. Software as any other engineering branch, needs disciplined development. Again, go look at how the groups I mentioned develop software and then come back to me. There are commercial developers who have stricter practices, but there are a lot of commercial developers whose practices are less strict. No proper market studies and stratigies I’ll buy that. By and large, OSS does have trouble with marketing. However, that’s why we have folks like Novell and IBM. Remember, OSS is about having the source code, not taking money away from companies. Companies that serve a useful purpose (both within the OSS sphere, by providing marketing and support services, and outside the OSS sphere, by developing original software) will continue to make money. 4. Hey what is documentation? Smaller projects are often poorly documented, but projects like KDE are quite well-documented. Hell, there are several up-to-date *books* about the Linux kernel, written by kernel developers! 5. Too much confusion due to forking How many forks are there of KDE? Of GNOME? Of Qt? GTK+? Linux? CVS? Subversion? Apache? MySQL? PostgreSQL? The only major fork in recent memory was XFree86, and given that X servers are all interchangable (due to the X11 standard), that fork was smoothly handled. On the other hand, I can name quite a few forks of commercial products. MSSQL, for example, is a fork of Sybase SQL Server. 7. No responsibility…software is provided AS IS… OSS software generally has the same warrenty as commercial software. They’ll refund you the purchase price if anything goes wrong! To get accountability, both for OSS and commercial software, you need a support contract, and you can buy those for OSS software as easily as for commercial software! 2004-06-27 10:40 pm KDE or GNOME – They are not a system…they are desktop manager and frankly even having two of them causes confusion even if i forget about 10 other desktop managers.. Linux.. The kernel is not forked but their are 100 distros and it is forking of the whole system because people buy system and not individual components especially components like kernel. Thats why people call it GNU/Linux and not Linux FreeBSD… Their license is different and FreeBSD people are not against Microsoft because even Microsoft can take their products and sell it as proprietary by making modification. They are not killing software industry. Documentation… Still documentation in OSS is a lot worst than commercial products. Again…either you agree or not…OSS doesn’t have a disciplined software development where software is developed to server user…it is mostly developed because coding is such a fun.. 2004-06-27 10:47 pm I think we should sue Siemens and Nokia and the other phone companies, because they won’t let us install our OS of choice. Come one people, in the end, everyone can choose which OS to install. The fact that the end-user doesn’t install another OS could be because of two things: 1. They don’t know there are alternatives; 2. They are happy with Windows. Either way, it’s up to other OS’s to market their product. Don’t blame Microsoft because people prefer to use their products, that doesn’t make sense to me. Back to cell phones. I can’t install another OS on my Siemens Mobile. No one can, without losing support/guarantees and stuff. Do we complain? Do we sue? No we don’t. Think about this, and you’ll realize PC users have much more choice, than, in this case, the cell phone user. Yet I hear no one complaining about the cell market. 2004-06-27 10:54 pm They are not a system…they are desktop manager and frankly even having two of them causes confusion even if i forget about 10 other desktop managers.. What are you babbling about? KDE and GNOME are seperate products. It’s like how you have Norton Antivirus and McAffe Antivirus. Does that confuse you? The kernel is not forked but their are 100 distros and it is forking of the whole system because people buy system Forking applies to individual products, not collections of products. Unless an individual product is taken on two different development paths, no forking is going on. And you are precisely right, people do not buy components, they buy a system. Distro makers take individual components to make a complete product. Individual distros are complete products that compete with each other. It’s exactly how Netgear and DLink can both buy the same chip from Atmel to put into their competing products. Is the Atmel chip then being forked? Their license is different and FreeBSD people are not against Microsoft because even Microsoft can take their products and sell it as proprietary by making modification. They are not killing software industry. Again, if you can’t compete, then you deserve to die. Take, for example, mail clients. Programmer X makes a mail client that costs $50. Kmail comes along, it does everything I need it to do, and costs $0. I make a business decision, and choose KMail. Programmer X can now choose to make product that’ll make me pony up $50, or he can go clean toilets. Either way, I, the customer, win. If the software industry is dying because of competition from hobbyists, then they are so pathetic that they deserve to die! Still documentation in OSS is a lot worst than commercial products. That’s hand-waving. Give me a concrete example. Again…either you agree or not…OSS doesn’t have a disciplined software development where software is developed to server user…it is mostly developed because coding is such a fun.. Yes, it’s for fun, but that doesn’t mean that there is no discipline. Microsoft, with all it’s discipline and all it’s resources, cannot make a kernel as good as Linux. NT is a nice system, but from a technical POV, it’s got some limitations. Eg, NTFS is pretty pokey, the kernel has problems scaling to huge NUMA machines, etc. Obviously, the kernel folks are doing something right, discipline or not! 2004-06-27 10:59 pm Again…either you agree or not…OSS doesn’t have a disciplined software development where software is developed to server user…it is mostly developed because coding is such a fun.. Yeah, right. So IE has had tabs for far longer than Mozilla and Notepad didn’t take 14 years to be able to open files larger than 32KB… Oh, and XP (not the Windows) was invented by MS, right? 2004-06-27 11:30 pm quote:”By the way..i have opposite feeling..i think guys at OSS will lose because of few things: 1. No single source of control and no proper software engineering principle followed. 2. Not so disciplined development. Things you do for fun are for fun. Software as any other engineering branch, needs disciplined development. 3. No proper market studies and stratigies 4. Hey what is documentation? 5. Too much confusion due to forking 6. Too many pimps trying to use OSS as a hooker for their benefit. 7. No responsibility…software is provided AS IS… ” 1. That is an issue – but that said there is no other real way of doing OSS without a Microsoft type monopoly 2. Absolute Bull. That’s an insult to kernel developers alone, not to mention KDE or Gnome developers. They are highly disciplined. They take pride in their product(s). Unlike commercial software vendors who care about $$$ and not quality. I mean let’s be real here – once you’ve paid for software initially then ALL updates/new versions should be free! I mean, they are bug fixes or software updates to include versions not included previously…I *bet* Microsoft et al would die if that was legally forced on them. 3. Yes this is very true. 4. Documentation is abundant. websites, wikis, forums, written documentation, 3rd party published books, IRC, user groups, et al. Poor documentation does exist, but OSS isn’t the only one that provides it. Adobe photoshop documentation is truly horrid. 5. Load of bull. Most end users don’t even notice forking. And it’s part of a development process anyways, ie stable/unstable kernels. That’s not forking m’lad, it’s development. 6. Pardon? I don’t think so…it’s called COMPETITION!!! Something Microsoft doesn’t know anything about, and doesn’t want to know about. That’s why Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. Note to another poster: IBM was convicted of conducting a monopoly way back in the late 70s/early 80s if memory serves me correct. Much like AT&T was. When you have X amount of variation software offering the same or very similar ability, it spurs development. It spurs competition. It also spurs a better product to the user. 7. Pardon? I suggest you read a Sun or Microsoft EULA – they provide absolutely no warranty. OSS is no different. God, if Microsoft was made to be responsible for all the stuff ups their software has caused they’d be bankrupt from being sued for damages! Wolf – deal with it. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist whether you like it or not. They are predatory. They are blatantly still breaking laws and acting in a monopolistic and anticompetitive way. Fact: Microsoft is now the largest political donor of monies in the US. Does that speak volumes? Microsoft products are poorly designed, at best alpha release quality in most instances. Microsoft doesn’t want to really test their products and make them stable because that then cuts the upgrade cycle out (and less profit then). Most people use Microsoft Windows because they don’t know anything differently and are lazy (or stupid). I have to use it at work, if I went to my boss and said “sorry I don’t want to use MS Windows on my workstation” they’d fire me or tell me to go elsewhere. Where is my choice? Your comment on Konqueror as a browser is very poor. It’s a much much much better browser than MS IE (and so is Mozilla FireFox). They are both more secure, adhere to open standards better, more stable, and offer more features! Tabbed browsing? Inbuilt popup blocker? In built download manager? Microsoft is only providing some of these features in Internet Explorer due to competition from 3rd party browsers vendors. If it wasn’t for them… You live a very coloured life my friend. Dave W Pastern 2004-06-27 11:35 pm Completely free competition on computer-software doesn’t work. How would the cell-phone market be if every brand had their own closed sms-/mms-standard that wasn’t compatible with the competitors? It’s the same way with computer-software, open standards needs to be enforced or almost everyone ends up using the same software and a monopoly is created. This ruins competition and evolution. It also gives too much influence and power to one company which is undemocratic. This is even truer if you consider that Microsoft seems to take over many of the most used web-services and thereby gets the opportunity to effect the enlightenment of the people. This can also be considered principally wrong and one-sourced information is completely undemocratic. Imagin if there was only one news-paper/tv-company which chose what to let the people know about what was going on. Think that might effect opinions and votes? 2004-06-27 11:43 pm A very small note to some things you mentioned: Too many distros are confusing people. True. However, I’m also confused when I need to buy a lamp which usually leads me going to IKEA ([ad]the leading vendor of funiture and living room stuff in Europe[/ad]). I guess that is what competition is all about: to have the choice. Naturally, this confuses some people. You have a windows system and you can get everything in MSDN. True. However, this is due to Microsoft being a monopoly. Funny enought, I don’t think you ever find stuff about developing for Solaris or Linux there. On the other hand, you can find lots of documentation for Linux development, for example: http://linoleum.leapster.org/ http://htmlhelp.berlios.de/books/devhelp.php The second is noteworthy because you can download these for the devhelp browser if your distribution doesn’t supply these already. 2004-06-27 11:52 pm If the software industry is dying because of competition from hobbyists, then they are so pathetic that they deserve to die! So I take it you are 100% in favor of outsourcing. If US programmers are being laid off because Indians/Russians can program better and cheaper then US programmers are pathetic and deserve to die (erm laid off). The software industry is dying because customers like you won’t look at proprietary software even if its better than open source software. Too bad there’s no FDA like authority to block open source apps from overseas flooding the market with cheap knockoffs of any proprietary app and causing harm to the software industry in the US. I’m all for FDA like approval – Imagine if European open source developers had to actually spend some of their money to get US software approval and to have their apps compete with US programmers?. Right now it’s too easy for some kid with no experience just churn out some clone of a US company’s app and have the US customers just get it for free. 2004-06-27 11:56 pm the dark miasma that is choking the entire IT industry… microtheft… buys another government, this time the EU. microtheft (say it with a lisp) has been buying off governments for as long as they’ve been around. did anyone *ever* think there would be anything other than a backroom deal and a handshake deal resulting from the USA anti-monopoly trial? and after the USA “sham trial”, why would think the EU would do anything other than accept a microtheft payoff in the same sort of backroom deal? if any sort of choice in the IT world is going to survive it will take a massive coming together of all the world’s peoples to work together and bring down the giant. by simply choosing not to use their products. to shun them. now if all the people in the USA were not mindless entertainment-addicted drones… 2004-06-28 12:32 am More lies, Lumbergh. A public institution’s job is to accurately and honestly work for PUBLIC BENEFIT. Going with open source only is far better for the public than making a secret deal with Microsoft (with artificially lowered prices and cooked books). If the US had ZERO MICROSOFT in their public computing infrastructure, the company would be far more secure and there would be far more IT jobs in the USA. If the US government were honestly about “lowest cost”, we would have ZERO MICROSOFT already. Microsoft Windows is the highest cost most unreliable most complex OS in the world. 2004-06-28 12:33 am Work on OSX, then Solaris, then Windows and then back on OSX and give me your opinion about better documentation. Ah! Now you’re qualifying your opinion. First it was “excellent documentation.” Now it’s “better documentation.” I have worked on OSX and Windows, but not Solaris. OSX documentation is better than Windows. If you’ve worked on both, I can’t believe you could care for MSDN after using the online Apple documentation. OSX examples also work more often than Windows examples. I’m not saying Apple’s documentation is excellent either – it can use some work, but given the size of the operating systems involved, Apple does a better job. MS deliberately doesn’t do as good a job to make it more difficult for third parties to compete. That cannot be disputed. The courts and the DOJ have FORCED MS to open some of the “hidden” documentation to developers. Of course, they get around those orders by charging so much that no one will spend the money for them. When $20K can get you the COMPLETE development system from Sony for the PS2 plus hardware for debugging programs, MS wants $50K for a few sheets detailing some previously undocumented network calls in Windows. No example code or debugging aids, just a spec sheet. Typical of MS. 2004-06-28 12:41 am Government institutions shouldn’t be using linux because some college kids that reads too much slashdot think they should. In your previous answer to Raynier, you just made clear that you don’t understand why the huge Windows-only software base is a barrier to entry for other Operating System vendors. Tell me, why should they listen to somebody who obviously missed some advanced economic textbooks? 2004-06-28 12:44 am The great thing about open-source is: 1000 mediocre programmers can out program 100 professional programmers. Look at companies like Red Hat, Novell, Sun Microsystems and IBM that are using GPL software as a base, bring the quality to a maximum and development time to a minimum. People are still paying for RHSE, Java Desktop, SUSE 9.1 because they combine the professionalism assosiated with commerial software with the quality of OSS. 2004-06-28 1:10 am So I take it you are 100% in favor of outsourcing. If US programmers are being laid off because Indians/Russians can program better and cheaper then US programmers are pathetic and deserve to die (erm laid off). I am 100% in favor of capitalism. Outsourcing (read: free trade) is a natural part of capitalism. If you can do it better and cheaper, then you’ll get my business, regardless of where you are from. The software industry is dying because customers like you won’t look at proprietary software even if its better than open source software. As a customer, I consider the products that do what I need, then buy the cheapest one. It’d be stupid of me to do otherwise. Capitalism is about me being in it for me. I couldn’t care less what you do, except when you are benefiting me. Too bad there’s no FDA like authority to block open source apps from overseas flooding the market with cheap knockoffs of any proprietary app and causing harm to the software industry in the US. The FDA is a fundemental compromise to our principles of freedom. The only reason we have it is because we have decided that nobody should have to die as a result of a bad purchasing decision. If public safety wasn’t at risk, there would be no reason for the FDA to exist. Software, however, is not life or death. The government, thus, has no business trying to enforce an artificial level of quality. The market should decide what level of quality they want, and at what price they want it. I’m all for FDA like approval – Imagine if European open source developers had to actually spend some of their money to get US software approval and to have their apps compete with US programmers?. Damn populist. If you don’t like our American values, then I suggest you move! America is about competition. Cold, ruthless, never-ending competition. Don’t whine to the government because you can’t compete! 2004-06-28 1:16 am A barrier for who? Competitors in the OS market? Just like AT&T’s established phone network was a barrier for phone companies. Did Microsoft suddenly force progammers to stop making software or something. No, they did not. On the other hand, AT&T never forced competitors to stop building phone lines. That doesn’t change the fact that they were a monopoly and had to be broken up. Seriously, don’t let your blind hatred of Microsoft cloud your thinking. And don’t let your ignorance of economics and history cloud *your* thinking. Microsoft isn’t going to force you to run your flavor-of-the-month Lisp on XP. What is it with you and Lisp? And they say Lisp people are weird… Once again Raynier, Microsoft never put a gun to anyones head and forced them to use their software. Again, AT&T never put a gun to anyone’s head and forced them to use their phone service, either. That doesn’t change the fact that they were a monopoly and had to be broken up. You’re just bitter because you hate Microsoft and it continues to have 95% of the desktop market. Don’t try to psycho-analyze me. Why would I hate Microsoft? Because I’m jealous of their success? Please. I hate Microsoft because I like the computer industry, and seriously lament what happened to hit. I don’t know if you remember the early 1990’s, but I do. They were so full of promise. Software was genuinely going to get better, instead of just more flashy and marketable. But that didn’t happen, and Microsoft’s business tactics had a lot to do with it. 2004-06-28 1:22 am Wolf stated: “Would you expect Ford to use say engine from Honda…NO and thats the way it is” Ummm…actually my brother has a Ford Ranger. It came with a Mitsubishi engine. 2004-06-28 1:24 am I just realized that my comment about capitalism sounded kind of harsh. It was meant to. However, I want to point out that it is this sort of Darwinian model that has allowed the US to be as successful as it has become. To tell the truth, I’m actually a bleeding-heart liberal. However, I realize that the free market is the best economic model we’ve come up with so far. Not just theory, but actual history shows that there is a strong correlation between free trade and economic prosperity. Western Europe is a perfect example. From Napoleon’s tearing down of trade barriers to the EU, the freer Europe’s markets got, the more money they made. Countries (eg: Poland, the former Soviet-bloc nations), that didn’t embrace this wave of economic freedom are now paying for it. OSS is all about freedom. Open source developers are just as free as commercial developers to put their products in front of consumers. It’s the consumers who will decide what they want, and that decision will benefit everyone in the long run. 2004-06-28 1:26 am To add to your point, GM’s Saturn division also uses Honda engines. That’s a *good* thing. Their using Honda’s engines means that they get better engines (ie: not based on ’80’s technology like most GM engines) for lower costs. In turn, their customers benefit. 2004-06-28 1:39 am I’m a Linux zealot (they tell me), and I’ll disagree with that. XP is as stable as Linux *if you take care of it*. A poorly-treated Linux machine, however, is likely to be more stable than a poorly-treated XP machine. The majority of PCs you encounter in the wild are, of course, poorly-treated. PS> It’s quite well-known that RedHat releases prior to Fedora had very buggy KDE installations. I’ve been using KDE on SuSE 9.1 for a couple of months now in a very demanding situation (eg: 4-5 instances of 40MB binaries under GDB) and it hasn’t crashed once. 2004-06-28 2:14 am KDE 3.1 on 24MB of RAM? Are you joking me? I may be a zealot, but even I find that hard to believe… 2004-06-28 2:49 am Bzzzz, wrong analogy. They also had control of the physical lines that are on public lands. AT&T, the gas, electric, and water companies are totally different from Microsoft. Um, Microsoft does have control of the entire Windows software base. That “infrastructure” cannot be used with a competitor’s OS, just as AT&T’s phone lines could not be used by a competitor’s phone service. I don’t see how the two are totally different. Remember, monopoly law is not so much about what you do, but what the end result is. You can do everything by-the-book and still be a monopoly. Uhhh, maybe because everytime a language story is posted you come out and say that Lisp had that 800 years ago and nothing else is innovative, forgetting the fact that Lisp had almost 50 years to prove itself and failed. Is this a language story? I bring up Lisp in language stories because it’s usually relevent. Given that Java and C# are borrowing a lot of features Lisp pioneered (lambda, GC, etc), Lisp is very relevent today. OT: I often bring up Lisp when somebody claims that this is something innovative about Java/C#. Nearly every feature in C# and Java were done first, and done better, in either ML, Lisp, or Smalltalk. Commercial success has nothing to do with innovation. After their brief period of commercial success, the Wright brothers’ company failed. However, Boeing, unlike MS and Sun, doesn’t have a hard time giving credit to their innovations. They don’t go around claiming that their use of deflecting surfaces for aircraft control is innovative. I don’t understand why software people have such a hard time giving credit where credit is due. Once again Raynier, you can’t compare Microsoft to AT&T. We are talking about public, physical land that the wires are laid in. There is a lot of land. Competitors were hindered not because there was no place to put the land, but because the cost of running new wires all over the country would be far too high. It’s the exact same with the Windows software base. It’s not that people cannot rebuild it (they are trying!) but because it’s so expensive to do so that there is no practical way to do it. Oh, and what happened to it? Microsoft put out a product that the vast majority of the world enjoys and uses productively and you’re bitter about that. Do you remember Wordperfect? Borland’s IDEs? Visio (before MS bought it?) OS/2? There was tons of truely innovative software back then that died out because MS either bought out the parent companies, or used their Windows subsidies to steam-roll the market with it’s own products. 2004-06-28 3:12 am OT: I often bring up Lisp when somebody claims that this is something innovative about Java/C#. Nearly every feature in C# and Java were done first, and done better, in either ML, Lisp, or Smalltalk Smalltalk roolz! My favorite, though it has its shortcomings. Lisp I have a hard time with due to, as someone once put it, the onion-peeling syntax. But that’s my fault. C# is essentially an improved Java. Java bothers me the most since it’s in nearly every way (technical, psychological, PR) to Smalltalk what Windows 2 is to Mac OS X, only that Smalltalk is 20 years older. Agreed, Java has web services, beans, rmi… which Smalltalk only gets by imitating. But those are not features of the language itself, nor of its class library (and are in fact easier to implment in ST). I also don’t like it when people write ‘SmallTalk’, but it’s no major offense… 2004-06-28 4:05 am Microsoft will always win because they have 50 billion dollars they never paid dividends on! No one else will ever have a chance! They will buy their way out of any problems they have. They run the governments they deal with. It will be interesting to see what will happen when people can only use their PC to surf the web because all the lockdowns and copyright protections they put in will keep you from doing anything else. Oh well. Hope that Apple or someone else is there for us to fall back on. (Even though Apple isn’t the best choice.) 2004-06-28 4:31 am People, our moderators have better things to do than moderating on Sunday night. We have moderated about 100 comments today. Keep it cool, or I will wipe clean ALL the comments on this story (good and bad). We have better things to do on Sunday night with our families than playing games with some of you. 2004-06-28 5:01 am The problem with the ruling is, to me, that it felt like the EU was essentially robbing an American company rather than correcting the competition problem. If they want to slap genuine remedies on Microsoft, that’s fine, but mugging them for $600 million (which is relatively pocket change for MS) doesn’t do anything except land the EU a “free” 600 million bucks in cash (since, G-d knows _their_ citizens won’t be hurt by that kind of fine, just a bunch of Americans, whom no one likes anyways!). So, yeah, Microsoft is right to appeal. -Erwos 2004-06-28 8:34 am Microsoft has the right to appeal. This is not to do with EU corruption, but the simple fact that everyone should have some right to appeal in case the original verdict was flawed. I don’t think it was in this case but they should still be able to make their case. The annoying thing is that when the verdict gets upheld (probably with greatly lessoned punishments) it’s purpose will be lost, just like with the US antitrust trials. Microsoft will have gained a 90%+ monopoly on streaming media, Real will be no more (possibly a good thing), Apple will be irrelevant, and they will be using exactly the same techniques against some other sector of the industy that they have just noticed. Microsoft will still have their monopoly, and will still be wielding it to crush their competition without making an explicity superior product, just one that is there and just about works. 2004-06-28 9:20 am A very sad day… 2004-06-28 12:19 pm The original ruling against MSFT was simply too harsh. Half a billion dollars in fines, plus a ridiculous notion that they can’t bundle their mediaplayer with their product. Can AAPL bundle Quicktime with OSX? Further, how was EC supposed to enforce their ruling? Seriously, does EC need MS more? or is it the other way around? 2004-06-28 1:56 pm The saddest day of all. This goes with the EU on patents, The EU guys didn’t learn the lesson last EU Election Day…. The citizen is nothing. 2004-06-28 3:08 pm I don’t know if this has been covered in the amount of posts on this subject, but here goes: The unbundling of WMP is a good idea. (Actually, breakup of the company would be a better idea, but that’s not going to happen). Same with Internet Explorer. Claim 1: We can’t unbundle Internet Explorer. It would seriously compromise the Windows OS if we did. That’s partly true. If you wrote your code completely around your web browser, then I could see how it would cause problems if you tried to take it out. On the other hand 98Lite seems to have done the impossible: strip out the use of IE from Windows. Not buying the reasoning on that one. Claim 2: We can’t produce a version that doesn’t have a media player. If we did, it would limit consumer choice. I’m not sure I understand this one. The term choice in that statment implies that not only do you have the choice to use or not to use the media player, but that a user can pick and choose which media player to use. That’s not what Microsoft has done. Every link in Windows is pointing towards WMP. Every registry entry is referencing a file that is for WMP, Every piece of code is wrapped in making calls to WMP. How is that choice? If third parties don’t have access to the source code, and only have access to the API’s that Microsoft gives them, then third party software can’t operate at the same usage as Windows Media Player software. It can’t be integrated the same way, so there is no way to “effectively” compete with them. That’s the beauty of Linux. If you want to use Xine, use Xine. If you want to use XMMS, use XMMS. If you want to use Mplayer, then use Mplayer. If the software comes preloaded with one of the above choices, you can remove it. You can’t remove WMP, or the OS breaks. Hardware vendors can’t remove WMP and preload Real or any other player. Windows will always see WMP as the default player. The “Set Program Access and Defaults” doesn’t remove it. It only redirects calls to another player if manually specified (and not every call I might add). This is why the EU sanctioned Microsoft. Third parties can’t compete when not only does the company control the Operating System, but integrates their own competing product into their OS. 2004-06-28 3:38 pm The problem with this, of course, is that Microsoft is being given the time to drive their competitors out of the market with the same tactics they have been using for years. Legally, they have the right to an appeal and I would not support stripping them of that right simply because they are a “special case”; it is just unfortunate that if the ruling is eventually upheld it will be irrelevant because there will, in all likelihood, be no competition in that sector to deal with anymore. It’s sad when eating millions and millions of dollars in legal fees and fines is a good business tactic because it gives you the time to strong-arm your competition out of the market.