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Old 10-21-2002, 07:19 AM   #1
jamaso
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"Microsoft is up to old tricks"


CNN.com - Rivals: Microsoft is up to old tricks - Oct. 17, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Microsoft awaits court approval of its landmark antitrust settlement with the government, the company has angered some competitors by
tightly limiting the technical data it promised to release.

Microsoft says the restrictions are normal for the software industry and do not violate the terms of the settlement. But competitors contend that Microsoft's
actions are reminiscent of the behavior that led to the antitrust case and reinforce their claim that the entire settlement is inadequate.

"It has done nothing to level the playing field," said Mark Webbink, general counsel for Red Hat, which sells a version of the Linux operating system that
competes with Microsoft's Windows.

Deborah Majoras, the Justice Department's deputy attorney general for antitrust, said her office is aware of the concerns and is closely looking at them.

Jim Kulbaski, an outside lawyer hired by nine states that joined the settlement, said he is also examining the issue. "These issues are not being taken
lightly," Kulbaski said.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is expected to rule soon on both the settlement, and the additional penalties sought by nine other states that
rejected the deal.

Protocols vital for competitors

The settlement requires that Microsoft release details about "communications protocols" that its products use to transfer information within itself and among
non-Microsoft products.

Without those protocols, competing gadgets and software won't work as well with Windows as Microsoft's own products do. The protocols are vital for
competitors since Windows runs on about 90 percent of desktop computers and about half of corporate server computers. During the antitrust case, Microsoft was
accused of withholding such information to maintain an advantage over competitors.

But even with the settlement, software firms say Microsoft still isn't making it easy to see the protocols. In order to gain access, a company would have to
use Microsoft's "Passport" identity authentication system, then request and sign two forms -- one of them promising secrecy -- just to see the license terms
and find how much Microsoft is charging for the information.

The settlement allows Microsoft to charge for the communications protocols, but says they must be distributed "on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms."

"It's just offensive," said Webbink of Red Hat. "Why shouldn't every member of the general public have access to the license agreement and to the royalty
rates when that is a part of the remedy in the antitrust trial?"

Microsoft responds

Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler called the protocol process straightforward. He said nondisclosure agreements are common in the industry.

"We're doing many things, including the settlement program, to make our protected intellectual property widely accessible and available under very reasonable
terms," Desler said. "If there are issues we're in constant dialogue with these government agencies as well."

Since Microsoft is charging a royalty fee to use the communications protocols, any open-source developer -- those who contend that sharing software blueprints
is the best way to build products -- would not be able to use them. Those companies, which include Linux firms, use a special "free software" license called
the General Public License that bars such royalty payments.

Linux is one of the few operating systems that presents a threat to Microsoft's Windows monopoly. Microsoft was found guilty of using illegal means to protect
that monopoly.

Webbink said Microsoft has seeded many of its contracts with language that frustrates developers who abide by the General Public License.

"It certainly makes it unusable for us in our general distribution," Webbink said. "We can't be in the position of passing out proprietary software."
____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 
Old 11-03-2002, 08:25 AM   #2
stomfi
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Registered: Aug 2002
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Now is the time for all good users to come to the aid of getting Linux onto the desktop.
I'm old enough to remember when Unix was young and Old IBM didn't get properly punished for their antitrust. The american users boycotted them in favour of young Unix, and made it into the sophisticated system it is today.
It took 2 years, but IBM made the first loss in the history of the company.
This was users exercising their democratic right to mete out punishment.

Now its M$ turn. The users have a much more sophisticated tool in Linux to turn too than was Unix back in the 80's. It should only take two years to do the same to M$.
Let the users do the punishing once again, and tell the american people that democracy will always triumph over despotism
 
Old 11-06-2002, 03:36 PM   #3
Edward78
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Registered: Jul 2002
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You heard him, lets spread the linux word.
 
Old 11-06-2002, 06:51 PM   #4
Thymox
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Registered: Apr 2001
Location: Plymouth, England.
Distribution: Mostly Debian based systems
Posts: 4,368

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Perhaps if everyone had a copy of a nice and handy 'demo' distro which they could use on other's machines so that they could see for themselves before they consider installing something else... Knoppix anyone? I don't know about you guys, but I always keep a spare copy!
 
Old 11-18-2002, 01:51 AM   #5
KnightAbel
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Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Kaysville, UT USA
Distribution: Red Hat Linux, Slackware
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I've been wanting to get a copy of Knoppix... I got this computer teacher at my High School I want to convert...
 
Old 11-18-2002, 04:07 AM   #6
GT I.N.C
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Registered: May 2002
Location: Australia, Sydney, St.Clair
Distribution: Rh 7.3
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Linux all the way!!

We now have 2 computers in the sys admin rooms running on red hat cause of me... (at my school) there givin it a test run!

#Garry
 
  


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