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Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Monday, September 20 2004 @ 09:53 AM EDT

I got a report [PDF] from John Terpstra on his Open Source, Open Standards Conference held in Arizona on the 15th, the same day as the SCO-IBM hearing, and here is what attorney Larry Rosen, the opening keynote speaker, suggested as appropriate principles for open standards:

"Larry Rosen proposed five normative principles for open standards that are compatible with Open Source software licensing. The five principles of open source software are:

1. Licensees are free to use open source software for any purpose whatsoever.
2. Licensees are free to make copies of open source software and to distribute them without payment of royalties to a licensor.
3. Licensees are free to create derivative works of open source software and to distribute them without payment of royalties to a licensor.
4. Licensees are free to access and use the source code of open source software.
5. Licensees are free to combine open source and other software.

Compatible principles for Open Standards are:

1. Everyone is free to copy and distribute the official specification for an open standard under an open source license.
2. Everyone is free to make or use embodiments of an open standard under unconditional licenses to patent claims necessary to practice that standard.
3. Everyone is free to distribute externally, sell, offer for sale, have made or import embodiments of an open standard under patent licenses that me be conditioned only on reciprocal licenses to any of the licensee's patent claims necessary to practice that standard.
4. A patent license for an open standard may be terminated as to any licensee who sues the licensor or any other licensee for infringement of patent claims necessary to practice that standard."

Speaking of standards, as you may have heard, AOL announced they are backing off of Sender ID, on the grounds that "it has failed to win over experts leery of Microsoft's business practices," according to the article on Yahoo! and because of concerns that Sender ID was not "fully, backwardly compatible with the original SPF specification, a result of recent changes to the protocol and a wholesale change from what was first envisioned in the original Sender ID plan," according to AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham.

A Microsoft spokesman said that there will be two standards, identical in nine out of 10 cases, and then said, "It's stilll going to be one standard," but "there's just going to be two flavors." Um. What? I don't think they understand the whole idea of a standard.

AOL says that it is sticking to SPF, which seems to be the death knell to any worldwide adoption of Sender ID, unless Microsoft agrees to adapt to the concerns being expressed. The article makes clear that AOL didn't care a bit about the GPL issue. AOL's Carl Hutzler is quoted as writing, "Folks really want a GPL. While I understand this, AOL is not in this category and likely would not see licensing this technology as an undue burden." Don't you sometimes wish that corporations had never discovered the Internet? Standards used to be so much easier, back when everyone agreed that what mattered was using whatever worked the best technically, instead of what worked best for some company's bottom line. I have difficulty seeing how any single standard can be adopted when no one seems willing to cooperate so everyone can benefit. And it seems that distrust of Microsoft is deep enough that it hinders the standards process.

I thought you might find this of interest: Microsoft agreed to publically publish their patent applications for Sender-ID instead of keeping them private. I deduce, despite the upbeat spin now, that they really wanted Sender ID to be adopted. For more on the discussions trying to reach a compromise, you can read Yakov Shafranovich's article on CircleID from last week. Providing information on the patent doesn't, of course, go to the issue of GPL incompatibility.

I find the IETF process a little hard to follow in the press accounts, and if you do too, here is an explanation of how it all works, with one section on how the press tends to report things inaccurately:

"In recent years, a small number of magazines have assigned reporters and editors to cover the IETF in depth over a long period of time. These reporters have ample scars from articles that they got wrong, incorrect statements about the status of Internet Drafts, quotes from people who are unrelated to the IETF work, and so on.

"Major press errors fall into two categories: saying that the IETF is considering something when in fact there is just an Internet Draft in a Working Group, and saying that the IETF approved something when all that happened was that an Informational RFC was published. In both cases, the press is not fully to blame for the problem, since they are usually alerted to the story by a company trying to get publicity for a protocol that they developed or at least support. Of course, a bit of research by the reporter would probably get them in contact with someone who could straighten them out, such as a WG chair or an Area Director. The official press contact for the IETF is the IETF Secretariat. . . .

"Considering all this, it's not surprising that some IETFers would prefer to have the press stay as far away from meetings as possible. Having a bit of press publicity for protocols that are almost near completion and will become significant in the industry in the next year can be a good thing. However, it is the rare reporter who can resist over-hyping a nascent protocol as the next savior for the Internet. Such stories do much more harm than good, both for the readers of the article and for the IETF."

What I get from that is that when reading IETF news, it's best to double check the facts carefully. And also I see that inaccurate reporting is not uniquely a SCO problem.

I got the report on the open standards conference just after reading a Robert X. Cringely article alleging that Microsoft has some plans for a new USB "standard", to try, he believes, to isolate GNU/Linux from the business world:

There IS a new USB standard in the works and it is at the heart of Microsoft's sudden interest in USB security. Co-developed with Intel, the new USB standard specifically excludes Linux and probably OS X devices as well. I'm told the Intel folks are quite embarrassed about this, but feel powerless to do anything about it. The new standard will be sold to USB device makers as a chance to replace every device they've already sold, and PC makers will be told they can do the same with every desktop. But for non-Windows computers the likely result will be that Windows-standard USB devices will no longer be compatible, which means there will have to be two USB standards, and the non-Windows variety will have lower sales volume and therefore higher prices. Going further, the PC standard will lead to motherboards that will be hostile to Linux, and will likely mean that loading Linux will result in a PC with inoperative USB ports. This, too, could mean dual motherboard standards, again with the Windows variety having higher volumes and lower prices.

Struggling to Buy a Dell Computer with Linux

It brings to the fore just how icky it could all end up, with GNU/Linux in its little ghetto, walled off from the business world, or two business worlds, one for Microsoft in its kingdom, and the other for the rest of us. On the other hand, it's a bit like that already. For example, I decided I wanted another desktop, no monitor, just the tower, so I went to Dell to see about getting one, because I have a Dell computer and I've really loved it. I had read what Michael Robertson of Linspire wrote about Dell and Linux, and so I thought I'd check and see if they had anything to offer with GNU/Linux installed. Try it yourself, and you'll see how hard it is to accomplish that simple goal. First, try to find the word Linux anywhere on the Home Systems Desktops page. Nothing. A search for "Linux" brings you to pictures of Red Hat software for sale. Scrolling down below, in text only, under "Services", they offer to show you how to migrate from Unix to Linux or Windows. And then I saw a "Dell Desktops" category, with the snip of text telling me:

"...businesses with proprietary software images or special Linux needs, these systems come without a Microsoft®...series systems are available with factory installed Linux. Dell PrecisionTM 370n NEW! Cutting-Edge Performance..."

That looked encouraging, so I clicked on the link and came to the "Dell Precision Workstations with Linux" page that offered me this as the first thing I see:

Dell recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

No kidding. There, they offer a few desktops, 4 to be precise, which they described like this:

"Dell PrecisionTM n series[1] workstations deliver maximum workstation performance. Smart for businesses with proprietary software images or special Linux needs, these systems come without a Microsoft® operating system. PrecisionTM n series systems are available with factory installed Linux."

"Special Linux needs"? Sounds like a handicap. They say they are "available with factory installed Linux", and accustomed to reading contracts as I am, that got my attention. What did it mean, available? The little footnote 1 tells you:

"In order to boot this system, you must install an operating system. A FreeDOS media kit has been provided which will allow you to boot your system once installed. Please note that many common applications will not run and/or fully function using FreeDOS, and in order to run these applications, you will need to install the appropriate operating system and/or device specific drivers. Consult or your chosen operating system vendor for compatibility details."

Can you believe it? I wonder how many "special Linux needs" customers they get, not that they seem to want any.

So what does it mean "factory installed Linux"? If you want Dell to install Linux for you, first add on $119. But here is the annoying part. They won't send you a computer with Linux pre-installed. They sell you the computer and the boxes of software on the side, and then they make an appointment to send you someone who comes to your house or business and installs it there.

How crazy is that? Oh, if you want your data transferred, of course that is extra. Why don't they just say they'd rather not sell to folks with "special Linux needs"? I simply couldn't believe my eyes, so I called the company. They verified. They will not sell you a computer with Linux pre-installed. The guy in support told me that you can't buy one online but that if I spoke to Sales, they'd probably do it quietly. So I was transferred to Sales, and he told me I was misinformed. They will under no circumstances sell a computer with Linux pre-installed. Maybe it varies by salesman, but is this what "factory installed" means to you? I guess they mean the software is installed in a cardboard box at the Red Hat factory.

The cheapest I saw on that page was $849 without a monitor. No speaker. No floppy drive, no sound card.. One hard drive, 40 GB. 512 MB memory. And a 20/48X, IDE CD-ROM. If you want a mouse pad, it's $3 extra. They throw in the FreeDOS installation CD and a box of Red Hat Enterprise with a subscription. For a home user.

If I go to the Windows selection, in contrast, for $314 I can get one with a 2.40 GHz Intel Celeron Processor, Windows XP Home already installed, 256 MB Shared DDR SDRAM at 333 MHz, an Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics video card, 40 GB hard drive, CD or DVD drive, "Ethernet ready", with a special offer on WordPerfect ($49) and with Adobe Acrobat reader and Dell Jukebox installed and 6 months of AOL 9.0 "Optimized for Small Business" thrown in, as well as McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall and Privacy for 90 days. No floppy, no monitor, no speakers.

In short, it'd be considerably cheaper to buy a system with Microsoft's operating system installed than to buy one with no operating system at all. What is wrong with this picture? Obviously, those in the know will just buy the XP tower and install GNU/Linux on it themselves, rather than buy the "Linux" computer, with no operating system installed and go through the FreeDOS and then Red Hat dance. But will newbies know to do that? Obviously not. They are more likely to conclude that "Linux is too hard" or "Linux isn't ready for the desktop." I don't know about you, but that seems like misleading advertising to me.

What if I was looking for hardware for a small business, I wondered? Then could I do better? I went back to the home page, and I clicked on the Small Business Desktops page. At first I couldn't see any Linux. But doing a Find for "Linux", I found it:

"Dell Alternative Operating System Desktops Dell n series systems available with FreeDOSTM open-source operating system included in the box or with Linux factory installed."

Clicking on that link takes you to a page offering three towers, two of them cheaper ones. Maybe they figure businesses are a bit more savvy than home users, because on this page, the cheapest one costs only $319. But I'm not positive about that, because when I click on that one, and then "Customize" and then "Continue", it actually costs $389, and you don't seem to get any operating system but FreeDOS, which they'd already told me wouldn't work out well for me on its own. I couldn't solve that puzzle.

The cheapo Linux box comes with Pentium 4 "up to 2.66 GHz with 533 front side bus", FreeDOS "included in the box, ready to install", 256 MB of "shared Single Channel DDR 333 MHz", video card, keyboard, 2-button scroll mouse, 40 GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, no monitor, video card, integrated audio, no speakers, ethernet, 90 days service plan, their "Basic Plan".

I went back to the starting page, where yesterday there was a "Featured Selection" for $399. For that price, you got a tower with an Intel Celeron D Processor 320 (2.40 GHz), Windows XP Home, 256 MB memory, a 17 inch monitor, 80 GB hard drive, a CD-RW or a DVD-ROM drive, keyboard and mouse, Adobe Acrobat reader installed, video card, integrated sound, no speakers, and Dell JukeBox software, so you can burn CDs, Dell Media Experience, whatever that is, and ethernet. A trial version of Dell Picture Studio, Paint Shop Pro comes with it, and a 40% discount on WordPerfect and 35% off McAfee. Today, I went back to check the details and there is a new "Featured Selection" for a little less, with no monitor, but still lots of goodies. At the top of the page, it again says, "Dell recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional." I got the message.

So, what did I do? I decided that any company that shows such hostility to my operating system shouldn't get my money. It's a matter of principle. Besides, I remembered that I got an announcement from Mandrake that they ship computers with their software preinstalled to the US and Canada now. For $449, they will ship you an AMD 2000 Duron workstation with 2,500 applications and Open Office and Windows emulation. For $649, they will send you a Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, workstation with 80 GB hard drive, with a floppy drive and a CR ROM drive, a Ligitech 2 button scroll mouse, Logitech keyboard, with Open Office and the 2500 applications and Windows emulation, a preinstalled firewall, 30 days of web email support, 2 phone incidents, 356 MB memory, 2 GB RAM, audio and video card, no monitor, memory DDR PC2700 256 MB Single Stick, with a choice of "customizable or pre-configured solutions".

Did I tell Dell? Yes, I politely told them that they had lost a customer and I told them why. I haven't bought anything yet, but yes, I am willing to spend more, if necessary. So when you hear that Linux isn't ready for the desktop, or read figures for numbers of computers shipped with Microsoft as opposed to Linux, I'd say you aren't getting the true story. After all, if I'd bought the cheap XP box from Dell and installed GNU/Linux on it, who'd ever have known? And that is happening all over the world, even when it's against all odds.

Microsoft announced today that they are opening up more source code for governments to peruse, the code for Office, including Outlook, Microsoft Word and Excel. So far, only the UK has taken them up on their offer. And here is why they say Microsoft is doing this:

"Proponents say open-source software is cheaper to run and less of a target to security threats because the underlying code — and any improvements — are freely shared.

"Ted Schadler, an analyst with Forrester Research, said Microsoft's government program has been successful in terms of convincing governments that Microsoft is not hiding secrets within its source code, and in helping those governments feel more secure about using Microsoft products.

"Now, he said, it's important for Microsoft to expand the program to Office because open-source alternatives are gaining traction, particularly with overseas customers. . . . 'It is more than just a hum in the background,' Schadler said. 'There are real decisions being made and money being spent, and Microsoft is starting to see, at the margin, an impact.'"

Imagine if the playing field was actually even.


Standards, Dell and Microsoft | 472 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here please
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 09:57 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

B1FF the official troll of Groklaw
Authored by: MadScientist on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 09:59 AM EDT
He/she/it is slimy, silicon based, and writes in caps with dodgy spelling. B1FF
and friends please post here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:04 AM EDT
I just love the FreeDos scam. Back when Dell first floated that they claimed you
could get a "naked" computer by buying the one with FreeDos. This
somehow got them around their backroom agreement with Microsoft on Windows
licensing. But when you compared pricing between the system with FreeDos and the
exact same system with Windows you found....they were exactly the same price.
The Microsoft Tax is alive and well at Dell!

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL != Open Source?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:07 AM EDT
It appears that anything GPL'ed fails the open source test according to Rosen.
At least potentially #5.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID, the El Alamein of the internet
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:10 AM EDT
I think history will see the internet very much before and after Sender ID. This might not look it now, but it was a turning point for internet standards.

What did happen? GPL-compatibility was deemed a neccessity for a internet standard, and the internet standard bodies will take this into account on later standards. Microsoft made a big stand and it failed. A complete home run for open source.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: gormanly on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:11 AM EDT

Hmm, seems like Dell are a little two-faced to me: I've been making business purchases of Dell workstations pre-installed with Red Hat for at least 3 years, and could do so today quite easily. But then my employer does chuck several million US dollars worth of cash in their direction every year, and sadly most of that is for M$ boxes...

As for the M$ source-code thing, why's no one screaming about what a honeytrap this is? Head a couple of years down the line and we'll be seeing suits from MS for government geeks having contributed to, Mozilla or whatever, using the same line they tried with Linus and Minix: "he had access to our precious code in his last job, he stole our concepts!" Sadly, they will probably win...

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, think support cost
Authored by: bliss on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:18 AM EDT


M$, whatever its many other faults might be, ships an
OS that installs out of the box in the same way. Linux,
being powerful and flexible almost always gets customized.
I'm sure the Dell tech support management crowd are
shuddering at the cost to bring a small army up to speed
on Linux and that is a big driver behind why things are
the way they are. It looks like more of a chicken/egg
problem to me than a chance to check the fit of my tinfoil

What happens if a customer buys a desktop, treats it
as a server, and happens to be not clueful enough to run
it? What happens when the customer attempts to reinstall
after minor trouble and discovers the total power of a
Linux distribution without anyone to guide them. This
would be like Neo popping right out of his little pod
without any prep from Morpheus ... one wrong step and its
a looooooonnnnggggggg way down.

You've written an interesting article on Dell and
Microsoft. I will, for the benefit of the Groklaw
collective, perform a small experiment.

I have a business associate who handles quite a lot of
new Dell equipment on an ongoing basis. He also happens to
be at that Linux crazy phase I went through about ten
years ago, where he is pulling down about two new distros
a month to explore. He finds RedHat badly in need of a
diet, swears that SuSe will convert me away from FreeBSD,
and carries Knoppix CDs cryptically labeled 'red pill'
which he hands out like candy.

I'm going to contact him after I post this and I think
we'll try to order some Linux based servers and desktops
over the next few weeks. Once the data is gathered I'll
send you an article on the reality of shopping Linux at


Information becomes fragmented, knowledge does not. What causes fragmentation in
information is scholasticism - Ramitani

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT and Links here
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:19 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

PowerPC motherboards
Authored by: DebianUser on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:20 AM EDT
That Cringely USB article caused me to "google" for PowerPC ATX
format motherboards. The thinking was that IBM and Motorola were behind the
architecture, so there might be a source of hardware outside of a Wintel cabal.

The impression after a quarter hour of searching was that PowerPC equipment
seems to be subject to an "Apple Tax", although it might be just a low
volume effect.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: dkpatrick on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:24 AM EDT
Gosh, it sure sounds like he's saying that unless open source code is patented,
it essentially is in the public domain.

His suggestions seem to remove from the developer any ability to control the use
or misuse of the software that the developer created UNLESS the developer goes
to the cost and trouble of getting a patent.

This sounds really wrong-headed.

"Keep your friends close but your enemies closer!" -- Sun Tzu

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell and Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:28 AM EDT
If you sell hardware you have to do it on MicroSoft's terms or you won't get a good price on their s/w. Hence vendor X recommends Windows XP and they are not able to just ship a desktop box without an OS on it and there seem to be obstacles to avoiding the Microsoft tax...

On the other hand Dell is better at offering OS choices for their server lines such as PowerEdge where no OS is a valid option.

Here are the choices Dell gives you for their PowerEdge server:

  • No OS Installed
  • Novell NetWare v5.1
  • Red Hat Linux
  • Microsoft® Windows® 2003 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft® Windows® 2000
But even on this Dell web page it has the boilerplate message:
Dell recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
which is not even an option available!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Buy Local
Authored by: darkonc on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:41 AM EDT
For me, there is a corner store (literally) 2 doors down, where I can go and get a cheapo system for about $285CDN ($214USD)

It includes an athalon CPU (forget the speed) 256MB ram 40GB hard disk, CD and integrated video/audio. A floppy would be $10 extra. No OS, but I think he'd be pretty happy to install Linux for me (didn't ask the price).

And the profits he makes off of the sale stay in my local community.
That's what the GPL is about, financially.

If I have any problems, I'd just pick up my computer, walk into his store and ask for help. Couldn't get much easier.

Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS outsourcing security review?
Authored by: cheros on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:42 AM EDT
Another take could obviously be that MS has found a way to outsource debugging
the security problems to Governments worldwide, but the risk will always be that
said organisations will discover enough arguments to avoid using the product
altogether and use undisclosed discoveries for their own economic espionage.
Double benefits there ;-).

Looking at it from a taxpayers' point of view, it means that your taxes are
paying for improving (sorry, repairing) a product for which you will have to pay
an upgrade fee. That thus more or less doubles the Redmond tax on computing.

= Ch =

[ Reply to This | # ]

Encumberance-clearing USB hub?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:51 AM EDT
Reading the Cringely piece, I wonder if it wouldn't be feasible to build a USB
hub that bypasses the encumberances for downstream devices?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Standards should not be encumbered, EVER
Authored by: pooky on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:57 AM EDT
It sounds to me like Rosen is saying that standards have to be owned? I
disagree, everyone should be able to implement an open standard freely. No
licenses, no agreements, nothing. That is what is implied by the word
"open". If I have to sign a license to use something published as an
open standard then it's not open, because I can't use it freely. Free as in

If open standards are encumbered then the standard's body that creates and
publishes the standard is just doing some company's marketing job for them. User
Sender ID as an example (and a relevant one at that). If I have to sign a
Microsoft license to use the standard, why then is the IETF publishing the
format? Anyone could just go to Microsoft themselves and do the exact same
thing. All the IETF is doing in this instance is publishing something so
Microsoft can call it an "open standard" rather than just a
"standard", implying that this is what everyone is doing and not just


If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Isn't for You.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft OR Walmart
Authored by: mikebmw on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:59 AM EDT
I've been looking at They offer systems with no OS installed as
well as systems with Lindows/Linspire preinstalled. These are Microtel systems
anyone have any experence with these?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why not go H/P?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:00 AM EDT
H/P announced the NX5000 laptop, which can come preloaded with SuSE 9.1:

Yes, they have the same old "HP recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP
Professional" message M$ is paying them to show, but they are the first
major mfg to offer a laptop pre-loaded with Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft opening up more source
Authored by: DannyB on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:06 AM EDT
Microsoft announced today that they are opening up more source code for governments to perus....

This is a bad thing.

The more source code Microsoft reveals, the more likely it is that one of the following may happen....
  • Someone looks as MS source (and signs their soul away in order to do so), then contributes to open source project XYZZY; Later Microsoft claims that a contributer to XYZZY had earlier signed away their eternal soul to Microsoft, and therefore XYZZY is tainted with Microsoft IP.
  • Someone inadvertently copies some actual Microsoft "shared" source code into an open source project. This, despite them having first signed away their soul in a contrat that said they would not copy from "shared" source.
  • The preveious scenerio, shared source contributed into open source, but done deliberately and in a sneaky way, so that later Microsoft can bring out their claims of infringement. It is easier to sneak tainted source into some open source projects than into other open source projects.

Overall, I can only see it as a bad thing when Microsoft "shares" more of its source code. It is that many more potential problems for open source.

The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just curios
Authored by: niko on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:12 AM EDT
I can't buy a computer without an operating system on it? And if I can chose the
computer why i can't chose the Operating system?
Most of my friends, and I, have computers made by ourselfs. We like that. But we
always hear that we may be guilty of some law infrigment, even if most of us
have license for the Windows 2000 we are using (no reson to go with XP). I'am
using Slackware mostly at home, windows when I play something. Don't get it,

Dintre sute de catarge care lasa malurile, cate oare le vor sparge vanturile,
valurile ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Just curios - Authored by: Nigel on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:38 AM EDT
  • Just curios - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:45 AM EDT
  • Just curios - Authored by: Greebo on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:02 PM EDT
    • Just curios - Authored by: red floyd on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 07:37 PM EDT
    • Just curios - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 24 2004 @ 01:14 AM EDT
Firewire instead of USB 2
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:15 AM EDT
Well, USB isn't the only connectivity standard. There is Firewire
(IEEE 1394).

You can get Firewire expansion cards. But at Sam's Club the other
day, I saw an HP computer with Windows XP on it that had both
USB 2 and Firewire built in. It had only one Firewire port, but perhaps
HP and other computer makers might be willing to put in more than one
as an option. Shoot, maybe even Dell might be willing to do that

Firewire expansion cards can come with more than one Firewire port
on them, and come with installation software. No need to depend on Windows
drivers. Do a Google (or other engine) search for Firewire
to see who sells the cards.

Does anyone know if there are Firewire drivers for Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: pooky on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:21 AM EDT
I don't think the picutre is quite this grim, at least not in the short term.
What computer manufacturers do is dictated by market forces not necessarily by
Microsoft. While no computer revolt is going to kill USB2, there are so many USB
devices out there now that it's inconceivable to me that any manufacturer is
going to just rip the old USB standard out and call it done. That means telling
users they have to replace all of their USB conencted peripherls to buy a new PC
and that's a serious impediment to sales.

I'll bet what you will see is PC's coming that support both versions of USB
simultaneously for at least 3 or 4 years. Manufacturers care more about their
bottom line then they do about Microsoft's anti-linux technology.


If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Isn't for You.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • USB2 - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:51 AM EDT
    • USB2 - Authored by: pooky on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:22 PM EDT
  • USB2 - Authored by: phsolide on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:55 AM EDT
    • USB2 - Authored by: pooky on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:33 PM EDT
  • USB2 and manufactures of copying devices. - Authored by: Brian S. on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:09 PM EDT
  • USB2 - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 10:50 AM EDT
Dell and Linux -- done that
Authored by: ssavitzky on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:21 AM EDT
I've purchased a couple of Dell systems preconfigured with Linux. There were a couple of major problems:
  • Many of their sales people have never even heard of Linux, let alone being able to help you configure a system with it.
  • Their technical support is totally clueless about Linux. At least with the "load-it-yourself" method you know who to point the finger at.
  • The only Linux distro they ship is whatever RedHat flavor happens to be current. This turns out only rarely to be the one you want. (And, of course, giving you a choice would make the situation worse for their tech support droids.)

The SCO method: open mouth, insert foot, pull trigger.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: markonhawthorne on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:25 AM EDT

Some heresay:

Back in the mid '80s a college buddy of mine got
a job at Microsoft. He would visit Portland regularly
with stories, but one in particular stays with me.
He said that he met the two UNIX gurus who ported
the C library and tree-structured directory heirarchy
to MSDOS I, resulting in MSDOS II. They said they
used a backslash as a directory separator instead of
the UNIX forwardslash because "Something needed to be
different". Anyway, MSDOS II made Microsoft big.

Maybe SCO should go after Microsoft.

My opinion:

Microsoft responds to standards by developing their own
incompatible standards. This slows development across
all operating systems and provides a lot of software
developers with job security.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: sef on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:29 AM EDT

Just a couple of thoughts here...

First: the two patents that uSoft revealed are amazingly broad. I think that the first one covers SPF itself (and possibly any DNS-based whitelist), but someone I know says this is unlikely. However, the second one covers pretty much any anti-spam system that uses multiple criteria.

Second: if you go the cheap route, and order a system with uSoft software on it, remember that you then give uSoft permission to require an audit any time they want. (At one point, and I don't know if this is still the same, uSoft's EULA also allowed them to enter your home to verify this audit.)

And we've seen just how much fun such an audit can be for the licensee, haven't we?

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Get a Dell with No OS (or at least without paying the MS Tax)
Authored by: NicholasDonovan on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:34 AM EDT
I don't know if you folks have a place like this where you live, but I go to a
place called Resource Concepts/Outlet Computer.

and I get Dells/Compaqs which have been completely refurbished with no OS.

I've used them for several years and they have been very good on both price and
service. It's nice as well as I can just purchase a single box without a
keyboard/mouse etc. for a cluster or for research without trying to be sold a
bill of goods.

These guys understand the needs of the Linux user.


I am in no way affiliated with Outlet Computer. I'm just a happy customer.

Not an Attorney.
Views expressed are my personal opinions and not necessarily those of my
employer or its affiliates.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Standards Alliance
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:41 AM EDT
Open Standards even if they are patented work(s) should be without respect to
those patent(s). The GPL and how opensource works, is the giving of ideas to be
shared. The problem(s) business and corporate have is with employee turn over
that they feel a threat from, that their IP will be lost. The use and
development of opensource software through open standards should be from a point
of view larger then just business & corporate ideas and judgement.

The BSA with its largest member, has become "police". that has not
served the needs of business & corporate software users. The police methods
used by the BSA has done harm in my opinion. If the OSA can change the limited
ideas about IP, it would be a first great step to an understanding: That we all
are educated and use for the rest of our lives the ideas and knowledge given by
others, everyday. IP is never lost when doing the greatest good.

Without the sharing of information in books, without the new ideas and insights
to add; we would have little today !.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Opportunity Knocking?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:50 AM EDT
Sounds like Linux configured hardware from Linux distro suppliers is the way to
go. They will be selling hardware like mad as soon as they sort out support,
service and get with a marketing program. Big opportunity.

Dell and other big companies always give up a little market share, then a little
more, then a little more, until one morning and wonder what happened to their
path for future growth.

Can anybody guess why Walmart sells Linux computers? My wife's $380 Microtel
bought online from Walmart has been working two years without a hitch.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:51 AM EDT
"After all, if I'd bought the cheap XP box from Dell and installed
GNU/Linux on it, who'd ever have known? And that is happening all over the
world, even when it's against all odds."

Some one in my company wanted to load an OS other than what was pre-installed -
they asked Dell this question at the time they were ordering the Dell box - and
they were told that it would void the warranty, and the sales person proceeded
to write up the order with no warranty - but the guy ordering said nevermind we
will keep the pre-installed OS. aint that a load!

[ Reply to This | # ]

A technically elightened press?
Authored by: dracoverdi on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:58 AM EDT
I know isn't where you would start, but their US main page has this delightful title for a link to an article in CNN/Money:
"Report: 400% jump in bugs aimed at Microsoft"
I thought bugs were supposed to be "factory installed" is Microsoft outsourcing this important role too? But no, the article is really talking "virus writers and spammers" who are "beseiging Windows". It's kind of entertaining actually, and in the last paragraph we are warned:
"Symantec also said it expects more viruses and worms in the future to be written to attack systems that run on the Linux operating system and hand-held devices as they become more widely used."
It's a pity it wasn't intended as satire.

The problem with ignorance is that the afflicted are unaware of their ailment

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, did you try...
Authored by: inode_buddha on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:00 PM EDT
Did you try Penguin Computing?
All they do is linux computers.

I know exactly how you were feeling about Dell - being painfully aware of how
the playing field looks for several years now. I finally concluded that the only
standards that MS is able to understand, are the ones that it can *own*. That's
one of the big reasons why I switched in the first place - I don't want my
computing ability to be controlled by any single entity except myself.

"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." --
Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: muswell100 on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:09 PM EDT
This reminds me of a time when I was making some enquiries about implementing
some open source servers in our company. We approached a consultancy about
possibly doing the work for us (I was a bit too tied up to get involved
personally). The quote given for both Microsoft and FOSS solutions were weighed
up and the cost for going Open Source was actually greater than for Microsoft.
The reason? The consultancy was charging nearly three times the cost to install
an Open Source solution as for a MS one.

Once Linux and FOSS gains wider acceptance and the skillset required becomes
less 'specialised', this kind of gold-digging will vanish. For the time being,
there are consultants out there looking for a way to milk this particular cash
cow for all it's worth before companies wise up.

As for us - we're now training our staff in-house and I'm dealing with most of
the rollout after all. And for a lot less than we were quoted from a self-styled
Open Source proponent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Ares_Man on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:25 PM EDT
While I must still hold Dell responsible, it is a matter of Microsoft's monopoly
practices that have forced companies like Dell into being locked into Microsoft
Windows. Back before Linux was gaining grounds, companies like Dell already were
stuck because Microsoft's near ubiquitous market share made an offer that could
not be refused. Either sell EVERY computer with an OEM-licensed Microsoft OS
preinstalled for about $15-$50? each or sell any computers that have an
OEM-licensed Microsoft OS preinstalled for the cost of the shrinkwrapped bundle
in stores ($100-$200?). Take it or leave it. If a company advertises or sells so
much as ONE SINGLE COMPUTER with any other OS (i.e. Linux), the contract becomes
void and the cost of licensing skyrockets. So, if you had a computer business
back before Linux emerged as a viable alternative, you had little choice but to
compete in Microsoft's world and deal with 98%+ of the market. Unfortunately, if
you want to sell computers without Microsoft preinstalled, you have to either
(1)sell no Microsoft; go Linux all the way, or (2)sell some Microsoft and some
other and accept the fact that your Microsoft desktop offerings (being at least
95% market share) will cost significantly higher that your Microsoft-bound
competitors. Before criticizing Dell too hard, we do have to be aware of the
reason they must act this way.

Heck, no. I won't SCO!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Beware Softmodems (aka Winmodem rubbish)! Re: Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: randall on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:25 PM EDT

PJ, and all potential PC buyers: please be aware that Dell hardware shipped with MS Windows almost certainly comes with a softmodem, for which vendors may produce drivers only for MS Windows, and for which Linux drivers may and may not be available.

A friend of mine mail-ordered a Dell system in a recent year (2003?), and not the discount offering, but near top-of-the-line. After his WinXP installation got destroyed, and he could not get WinXP to work after re-installing, I installed Mandrake-10 GNU/Linux for him (Whizman services). Sure enough, the expen$$$ive Dell came with a useless softmodem. (I lent him an external modem until he bought an external modem of his own.)

The bigbox / office warehouse retailers do the same thing, use low-quality softmodems, at least with their discount-priced systems.

Please see the Linmodems website for more information about using softmodems in Linux.


Randall -

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS embraces USB in several ways
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:29 PM EDT
Another way is that they have "extended" the device descriptors with a
loophole to place pictures etc in the device outside the USB standard..
Of course only Windows will be allowed to access the data legally.
This is disguised as "improving user experience".
Probably the drivers will be placed in the device later on so the device becomes
Windows specific.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell & Linux
Authored by: Nick_UK on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:32 PM EDT
There was a recent discussion on the HantsLUG mailing list about Dell... here was my input:

On Saturday 11 September 2004 16:30, xxxx wrote: &gt  My only issue with &gt Dell is that they refused to supply a machine without &gt MS Windows (which is why I went to DNUK a year later). I had this issue at work when I purchased two boxes to run RH EL 3 dhcp/dns servers.  Dell just refused to ship without XP as OS (I wanted no OS installed).  Also, after inquiring if I could use the 2 licenses on other machines as Linux was to be installed on the new ones, I was told that the licenses only apply to the box it was sold on - I suppose that is why they stick that license number sticker on the outside of the case now. Bad state of affairs.  But Dell stuff is very good, so I bought anyway and threw the XP stuff in the bin.


[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, you don't want a Dell... :)
Authored by: paul_cooke on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:36 PM EDT
PJ, you want Tiny... not Dell. I was rather gobsmacked a couple of months ago when Tiny ran a large advert in major newspapers in the UK that actually pushed their lowest cost boxes with Linux pre-installed. Mind you, it was Linspire... but, hey it's out there and in the UK they are reasonably large as OEMs go. Try this link... you should find the Linux boxes as the very lowest priced base units for home users on that page. ps, I posted about it back in August...

Use Linux - Computer power for the people: Down with cybercrud...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who's in the ghetto?
Authored by: tclark on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:45 PM EDT
PJ, I wouldn't be so worried about a GNU/Linux "ghetto". You may be
underestimating just how common GNU/Linux use is. For example, at a local
computer industry association meeting I learned that 100% of technology
companies in my area have Linux running somewhere in their shops. We're
reaching a point where Linux compatibility is required to even get in the door.
In the home market, you can still do pretty good business dealing with only
Windows, but I don't think that's true in business.

You could say that Dell is a counterexample, but is it really? I buy some
things from Dell, but I never buy servers from them because I don't regard them
as a Linux-compatible supplier. I'm unlikely to buy more desktops from them
either, I've found other suppliers that I prefer. In the near future, Dell will
have to start playing nice with Free Software, or they will lose business. The
"ghetto" may turn out to be the MS-only neighborhood.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Greebo on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 12:52 PM EDT
A couple of things....

1. Dell....
For as long as i can remember Dell has been associated with corporations, and expensive pc's. They were never for home use, so i am not surprised that they are in bed with M$ over only supplying Windows.

I am surprised that PJ went to them, but then if she has one already, and it's worked ok, then who am i to judge.

2. A New USB standard......
I think M$ would very much like to do this, but there are a few reasons why i don't think it will take off....

  • Groklaw - PJ has already said M$ is a focus after SCO, so we can look forward to much more coverage of this topic, and M$ are just like cockroaches when the light is shined on them.
  • USB is an accepted standard. I expect M$ will have the same kind of fight over changing it as they did with Sender-ID.
  • There are too many USB devices out there to change. Memory sticks are becoimg more and more popular, so it would be a brave manufacturer indeed who suddenly crippled his own product, and tried to convince people that buying *exactly* the same product again (but under M$ control this time) was a good thing.
  • Microsoft are a convicted monopolist. Fact. If this rumour proved to be true then they would immediately be open to more anti-trust claims, and i'm sure we'd all like to play our part in informing the DOJ, Senators, governments etc exactly what M$ are upto.

I hate the idea that M$ could cripple USB like this as much as anyone, so the only way around it is publicity. M$ hates the truth.


p.s. If anyone wants to berate me for using M$ instead of Microsoft please don't waste your breath. I'm entitled to my opinion, and if i want to use M$ to reflect my belief that they are the most corrupt, bullying, underhanded, convicted monopolist on the planet then i will.

Recent Linux Convert and Scared Cat Owner

[ Reply to This | # ]

Returning MS software ?
Authored by: tizan on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:13 PM EDT

I have done this a lot of times...get PCs bought and put the Windows CD's in a
drawer and promptly reformat the disk and install Linux. I would do that because
we won't get a PC without preloaded MS OS on it.

I was always wondering if one can return these CD's (diskettes in the the olden
days) and get a refund. Many of these i never opened the
folder/envelope...because it said opening opening the folder implies you have
agreed to the EULA.

I do believe that there are many people who are forced to do that, all over the
world (and we get wrongly counted in the MS users list).

I have heard urban legends about some people managing to get their money back
for the MS OS they never used.
But does anybody know of people achieving this ?

tizan: What's the point of knowledge if you don't pass it on. Its like storing
all your data on a 1-bit write only memory !

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: tangomike on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:22 PM EDT sells desktop systems for under $400 without O/S. The also sell
Linspire. I've dealt with their Canadian outlet: very economical, good quality
house-brand computers, lots of deals on peripherals.

When you look at the 'No O/S' computers, there's a note that explains that an
O/S adds nearly $100 to the price, and meantions Linux and Linspire as
alternatives to MSWindows.

The SCO Group's secret project to develop Artificial Stupidity has obviously

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCOX again in slow decline.
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:42 PM EDT
SCOX appears to be once again in a slow decline amid relatively light trading
today. There appears to have been some effort over the last several weeks to
prop up the stock but these efforts have slackened over the last few trading
days. Sooner or later, I think it is likely that those interests that have been
attempting to raise the share price will realize their folly and decide to cut
their losses, thus permitting the stock to reach its natural value of something
closer to $1.00/share.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: SeismoGuy on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:44 PM EDT
Has anybody heard about a report from the State of California that makes comprehensive recommendations to reform and revitalize California's state government? It is called CPR (California Performance Review). In it, it strongly suggests that Open Source should be used instead of proprietary software.

With that bit of background info, I give you this:

Warn ing CPR provisions for OpenSource under attack

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft offering a sneak peak
Authored by: tangomike on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 01:52 PM EDT
This is a classic PR fluff move. It's been said by several knowledgeable pundits
that there isn't anyone at M$ that understands all of MSWindows code. In
addition, M$ is continually releasing patches for holes more that a year after
Billie announced an all out effort to make Windows secure. Obviously the source
code is a furball.

So, how does letting any government have a look at the code provide a real
assurance that it can be trusted?

Answer: it doesn't, but Microsoft can pretend that their code is viewable
"just like Open Source".

The SCO Group's secret project to develop Artificial Stupidity has obviously

[ Reply to This | # ]

ESPC - Who are they?
Authored by: Maciarc on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 02:00 PM EDT
For any out there who might think senderID is a good idea, take a look at the
only companies that agree with you.

Now take a look at the domains on those spam messages and spyware cookies et.
al. that you've been fighting against.

const int iSCO = 1
const int iIBM = 1
//for extremely large numbers of idiots in iSCO

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: drh on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 03:12 PM EDT
"There IS a new USB standard in the works and it is at the
heart of Microsoft's sudden interest in USB security.
Co-developed with Intel, the new USB standard specifically
excludes Linux and probably OS X devices as well."

Great, just what we needed, a new standard from the two
companies known for locking people out of those standards.
And Intel has already tried this with USB 1.1

"A Microsoft spokesman said that there will be two
standards, identical in nine out of 10 cases, and then
said, "It's stilll going to be one standard," but "there's
just going to be two flavors." Um. What? I don't think
they understand the whole idea of a standard. "

They FULLY understand the meaning of a standard, they
simply refuse to abide by them because they cannot make
money from it.

Both Intel and Microsoft are proponents of "embrace,
extend, extinguish", granted Microsoft moreso than Intel.
This is just another example.

This illustrates the NEED for open-source hardware to go
with our open-source software.

Just another day...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell Hell!
Authored by: subdude on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 03:30 PM EDT
Do Not Buy Dell Technology!

They not only do not support Linux on their equipment, they are deliberately
obtuse when it comes to providing information about their MBs and cards so it is
always a trial to install Linux on a Dell computer.

I say Deliberately because the minute the word Linux is spoken, an iron door
slams shut and the words "We don't support Linux' closes the topic and any
conversation that is going on - including email help.

Definately Stay Away From Dell!

Just one guys opinion based on years of experience.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell in Brazil
Authored by: dcs on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 03:49 PM EDT
I wonder how (and if) Dell advertises these "factory installed linux"
computers. Because, in Brazil, publicity is legally binding. And that includes
web sites. And the cost of getting this legally enforced is trivial (you just
have to complain and stick with the process).

So if they say "factory installed" here, by God they have to deliver
it installed at factory, no matter what other disclaimers they placed.

Daniel C. Sobral

[ Reply to This | # ]

Getting an inexpensive second machine for Linux
Authored by: talexb on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 03:53 PM EDT
Hi PJ,

I can highly recommend getting a recycled computer for a second system -- I
spent about $250 CDN for an 800MHz Compaq within the last year and happily run
Mandrake 10 on it. It works as the print server for my home network (four other
computers, one Mandrake 10, three Windows 98) and also gives me a VPN into work.
It's amazing how an old computer that just can't run XP still has plenty of life
in it for Linux.

Getting something pre-installed might be a better choice if your comfort level
about installing Linux is not that high. Good luck!


[ Reply to This | # ]

"neuter"ware and other observations
Authored by: dyfet on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 03:55 PM EDT
While the question of code contamination is a valid one, I am puzzled what would be the "reason" one would want to get Microsoft's version of source without freedom. It would seem to me it would be highly frustrating. One could perhaps look at outlook and see perhaps, aha, right there, if I disable that branch to the html view/java script runtime thingie, why company productivity would increase and viruses decrease; but alas, it is all look but do not touch! You can't fix it and Microsoft wont. What use is that? Besides the contamination issue, it seems like it would be a pointless and very frustrating exercise to look at their at places broken code and be neutered from being able to do anything about it.

As for PC's preloaded with GNU/Linux, I also noticed Mandrake now offers pre-loaded GNU/Linux machines. I generally have liked Mandrakesoft, especially when they first introduced an "all-gpl" pure distribution, except for that year they went for that walk in the desert. They also seem to be trying to find new and cleaver ways to increase revenue without decreasing freedom, including, I gather, this latest thing with supplying preloaded machines. Why bother with purchasing from a company like Dell when there are other options out there who clearly deserve one's money?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't be naive
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 04:09 PM EDT
A Microsoft spokesman [said something]...... Um. What? I don't think they understand the whole idea of a standard.

Of course they understand the whole idea of a standard. They use light bulbs in their homes just like you and me, and they can think.

They just don't like the idea of a standard in an area where they might succeed in using their existing monopoly to create another one. Standards tend to create level playing fields, and to be good for consumers. Gates wants to make a few more billion dollars, and he's not going to let the good of 200 million little people get in the way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 04:13 PM EDT
Ummm....This old, old news about Dell. The only company that will pre-load
Linux is HP and IBM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boycott Dell. Mandrake rules!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 04:36 PM EDT
I loved this part: "The guy in support told me that you can't buy one
online but that if I spoke to Sales, they'd probably do it quietly."
Quietly, hah!

We needn't be quiet when we buy from M$ -- the dirty monopoly abuser and the
most criminal IT company of all times, but we gotta be pretty darn quiet when,
instead, we opt for *healthy* software to buy. Isn't that something?

There seems to be way too much old think at Dell, and they won't change this
course unless we boycott them.

I also can't be happier about what PJ says about Mandrake. These folks need our
support, in order to stay afloat. It is a commodity maker, where as Dell is all
around proprietary.


(PS I run Mandrake :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Proprietary" has a much greater tainting risk than Open Source
Authored by: cheros on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 04:39 PM EDT
Think about it: any Open Source code is, well, open. In other words, available, usable, techniques are visible (patented or not).

The likelyhood of any decent coder using Open Source to educate themselves is very high, because it's out there, available and generally of a reasonable standard.

Now comes the rub: if said developer works on proprietary code, the risk of carrying this knowledge (and maybe snippets of code) into this black box is much higher than the reverse as a result of, say, yet another code leak from Microsoft. The chances, opportunities and thus probability of exposure to Open code is simply much higher.

Up until now this wasn't a problem for a proprietary vendor as they enjoyed security through obscurity of their code base. However, any kind of "Shared" or "Wannabe Open" type of effort increases the risk of discovery (IMO exponentially with the number of people involved, but maths isn't my strong point ;-).

This is, of course, assuming accidental inclusion. I wouldn't go as far as suggest that such an event would be as deliberate as, say (quoting from a well known letter):

The inclusion of the intellectual property of others in works claimed as one's own is not a practice that has been noted in the free software community; whereas, unfortunately, it has been in the area of proprietry software. As an example, the condemnation by the Commercial Court of Nanterre, France, on 27th September 2001 of Microsoft Corp. to a penalty of 3 million francs in damages and interest, for violation of intellectual property (piracy, to use the unfortunate term that your firm commonly uses in its publicity).

Open Source is, well, a bit more honest here.
And honesty == less risk exposure IMO.

IANAL, though.

= Ch =

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell and Linux: another sad story
Authored by: ile on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 05:04 PM EDT
Recently, in order to comply better with the laws regulating accounting in the
civil service, the manager of the (public) university where I work decided to
impose on us a procedure for buying desktop and laptop computers, up to the
small server range (over that it has to go to tender, blah, blah). Not just
that, but they arranged for bids from suppliers so we would be forced to buy
from a restricted set of suppliers. Naturally enough, the bids had to conform to
some requirements, one of which was adequacy to MS Windows XP and, GASP, Linux
(like that!). Plus, look'ere, _support_. Wow. This looked nice and dandy.

So I bought a new Dell for the most recent postdoc in our research group. And no
way I could manage to get the video card to give the correct resolution for the
LCD screen with my Mandrake install. I give up some days of my time researching
the problem, and find out (googling, of course) that it is a problem of the BIOS
planted in by Dell. It requires installing a different, older BIOS, plus setting
manually the video buffer size to 8.

Dell was _no_ help. No data on their web pages. I phoned support, and as soon as
I said that it was Linux they cut me short: "We do not support that".
But look here, we've got a contract with you that says you will support us.
"We do not support Linux". What about the contract? "Dunno, ask
the local rep". Local rep:"well, we said it worked, but it mostly
works, and I'll see what I can do". What about the contract? "Well, we
did say, to some extent, but our online service is not prepared..."

The University wasn't much more help. I was lucky in that, after several weeks,
I managed to get hold of the tech assigned to our Faculty/School, and he was a
Debian fanatic who did know his linux up and down, so, when I managed to corner
him and handed him the information that I had, did agree that I had found the
solution and helped me implement it. But the manager's office... Better not
comment on that, since they didn't punish Dell at all. I can tell you I was
furious, and the issue got all the way to the VP's office. But no joy:
basically, I was told the University needed Dell in on the suppliers' list,
since most people used Windows (true, but not so true in my Faculty/School).

Even worse than that: the tech who was responsible on the technical side for the
contract with Dell did try to box their ears. But a couple of months later, the
guy accross the corridor needs a new computer, applies through the system, and
gets a Dell. Same problem, now with SuSE. But this time the solution I had
managed to implement apparently wasn't available...and the guys at Dell did not
even acknowledge that previously this had happened.

So, even with a contract you cannot hold them to supporting Linux!

You can bet that I am not buying any more Dell, and that with my research monies
I will be bypassing the formal acquisition procedure of the university: I simply
do not have that much time to waste (I prefer to spend that in Groklaw!).

[ Reply to This | # ]

OF Course, it is "the code" just like Debold...
Authored by: BitOBear on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 06:53 PM EDT
The best part is that, just like Debold and their "certified voting
systems" there is no evidence that the version of Office you install was
built exclusively from the version of Office you audited. And just because you
have "Office" source it doesn't mean that you have all the Object
Linking and Embedding (OLE) code, nor the code to all those OLE connectable

Don't get me wrong, I don't beleive that Microsoft has some creepy secret code
in their software that will give them access vial myriad back-doors.

Microsoft's _stated_ goal is one of ongoing extortion. What is the point of
tyring to sneak in a bunch of exploits when Microsoft wants your money not your
data. If you buy and use Office like a good little government, then you will
eventually get the DRM (to which Microsoft alone will have the keys) and the
"god given right to re-buy the software each year" via subscritption.

Microsoft doesn't want to get into your data... who would... think of the
man-hours it would cost for them to hire people to read all that.

Microsoft wants the ability to keep YOU OUT OF YOUR DATA if you don't pay the

And they've said as much in public.

Nobody will really pay attention until they discover that the companies that
sold them their software have complete control over their corporate legacy.
It's the documents you write *TODAY* that Microsoft will own tomorrow. Your
*ENTIRE* electronic archive, all the things you have already written, and will
continue to write using Word, and Power Point, and Excel are just one
future-click away from digital prison.

Dialog Box of The Future; Text: "The document you are trying to read is not
compatable with your digital management settings and needs to be updated to be
readable. Continue?" Buttons: (YES) (no).

So you click on that legacy year-2005 financial report and and your office 2007
take possession of it, never to be accessible again in the absence of MS-Rent.

All nice and up-front... Nothing hidden here... Where would you like to pay us
to go for you today?...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell, pricing, Linux, and such
Authored by: freeio on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 07:01 PM EDT
In reading your tale of the Dell Matter and the replies, I was amused that no one seems to have picked up on the pricing matter you noted, i.e. that you never could find that loss-leader price combination in their listings to match the come-on price.  There is a tale here which is instructive.

This past Spring I needed to quickly buy a new laptop for some consulting work, since my 5-year old 266 MHz Pentium II laptop was just not going to do the job.  I looked over the vendors' sites, and it would seem that for many systems, the out-the-door price seems to bear little resemblance to  the come-on price, and that in fact there seems to be a bit of bait-and-switch going on in order to get customers past initial price shock.  Just like you, I never saw any systems which actually were similar in price to that low-low number on their initial page.  Also, it seemd that since there were no standard systems on sale, that everything would require build time before it shipped.  This was not a good thing.

So, I had looked at the big vendor sites (Dell, IBM, etc.) and never did see much as to compatibility of their beautiful laptops with Linux. At this point, I was resigned to the potential necessity of paying the M$ tax, and installing my own Linux version over it.  I just needed to know that the system would work with a version of Linux I liked.  Where to find this imformation?

Plan B was next:  In a recent edition of Linux Journal, I saw an ad for Emperor Linux, and checked out their web site.  This was seriously cool!  They has all of their nicer laptops with linux preinstalled, complete with listings of all of the compatibility issues for each one.  I priced them and they were high, but still this would do the job right.  The problem:  there was still build time to be factored in, and I needed this new laptop for use on a customer site muy pronto.  Emperor had what I needed in their configuration list, and I would have bought it from them happily, but I would have to wait too long to get it.

OK, now on to plan C.  I next checked out my favorite bargain computer parts vendor ( to see if they stocked laptops, and they do.  I then checked what they had in stock against the compatibility lists from Emperor Linux, and found that they had in stock an IBM R40 configured that way I wanted it, available for immediate shipment.  The price was half what Emperor wanted, and it could be had as fast as FedEx could get it to me.  Bingo!  I bought it on the spot.  I ordered on Friday, it arrived on Monday, and I had SuSE Linux 9.0 installed on it as fast as it could read in the install disks.  With one minor exception (wi-fi, using an Intel Centrino chipset - Emperor had already told me this wouldn't work) everything worked the first time.  I have beautiful video, sound, ethernet, modem and all, by basically accepting the defaults in a SuSE install.

I got my contract work fulfilled quickly, and the little R40 has been splendid from day one.  I later bought a replacement wifi board on e-bay (cheap) and that works too, now.

What had I accomplished?
1.   I got the system I wanted, right now, for a really good price.
2.   I supported IBM by buying one of their fine laptop systems.
3.   I supported SuSE/Novell by installing their version of Linux.
4.   I supported, who have always treated me extremely well.

Dell?  Why should I care about buying anything from Dell?  I would much rather put my money into vendors who have proven that they have a clue, than those who do not.

Tux et bona et fortuna est.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell's hands are tied by MS
Authored by: BitOBear on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 07:08 PM EDT
Dell doesn't have a choice about this. Microsoft's OEM contracts prohibit
companies like Dell from installing *ANY* other "bootable" operating
system at the factory. If they *did* install Linux, they would lose their good
pricing for the Windows and would have to start paying the retail price for each
windows pre-install.

Check out BeOS. Toshiba (if I recall correctly?) or someone just as big used a
BeOS-based diagnostic partition and offered a dual-boot to BeOS (for about a
month) as part of their default install. The company in question was then
"visited" by Microsoft and that practice ended toot-sweet.

This was vaguely brought up in the anti-trust proceedings but wasn't central to
the IE complaint so wasn't really germane.

The vendor lock-in vis-a-vi "Bootable operating systems and Authorized
Microsoft Products" is nearly insurmountable. You have to be
all-or-nothing if you want to get into bed with the snake from Redmond.

Yea, it's illegal, but who is going to stop them? Mr roll-over-and-take-it-DOJ
Ashcroft? Yea right...

In truth, the only hope is "the rest of the world". If they refuse
American IP Colonization (and beleive me, they have no *idea* just what kinds of
lowly surfs the American Letigious Congolmorates will make then if they accept
DRM and Software Patents 8-) _then_ the attendant cash entropy costs and
economic heat-death pressure will build, and that is the only thing that could
crack the hard shell Microsoft (and others) have wrapped around comodity PC

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft recommends that "Dell recommend Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional."
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 07:48 PM EDT
... otherwise, no more Windows XP. Pretty standard. Little guys like Dell can
either get with Microsoft's Program(TM), or the can try to stand up for
themselves, and get crushed. What's that you say? Dell is the biggest seller
of PC's in the world? Well, maybe Michael Dell likes being on the bottom, and
we all know that Billy Gates likes it on top.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 08:29 PM EDT
The issue with Microsoft allowing governments to "view" their code is
misleading in a number of ways:

1 - How can anyone know if the code Microsoft is distributing to the governments
is _ACTUALLY_ the code they are compiling!

2 - Because open source code is available on multiple systems servers, and
because the code can be compiled, it can be compared to the binary code
execution. In other words, you can know if the open source code works. With
MS, if you can't compile it and create a complete binary, YOU DON'T KNOW IF IT
WORKS! They're only allowing limited access to limited portions of the code,
not the whole code!

If anyone trusts MS to give non-sanitized, complete code to anyone or any
government, for complete compiling and testing, please raise their hands.

..... I thought so.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: thebaz on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 08:31 PM EDT
Regarding Dells,

Dell's server machines are highly Linux-friendly. I have a datacenter full of
them and they are high-quality and they Just Plain Work (tm) with Linux. All the
servers are available with RedHat out of the box. You pay the RHEL license fee
for it. Or you can do what I do, and click "No operating system."

Most desktop-class machines are sold to people who are not technical. Dell is
covering its butt in terms of support, by having a Dell tech do the Linux
install for people who might not realize what they're getting into. (Keep in
mind most people out there fear downloading and installing Netscape, never mind
reinstalling their OS from scratch).

So here's the trick. I just bought a Dell "server" box for $250, with
no OS, onboard video, audio, etc. bells & whistles. You just have to know
what to buy.

If you think Dell is missing out on a huge market, buy those machines, put
Fedora Core on it, and see how many you sell. You may succeed and if so,
fabulous! But be prepared to do a lot of tech support.

Dell's products are great and Dell does not deserve getting ripped on because
they don't market desktop Linux to consumers. Wal-Mart and "Linspire"
is where that market is at right now. It's immature, and right now it's
cost-driven, and Dell is not in that space. Any consumer Linux support they have
right now is probably a limited market test.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell supporting Linux? Not that hard...
Authored by: tenthshowjam on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 08:33 PM EDT
Ok. Let's move into hypothetical mode. I used to work for a major ISP in
Australia, and the puzzle was set for me. How would our ISP support Linux? The
oficial answer was "We don't, but here are the settings you will have to
put into the dialler software."

What we puzzled over was, Can we write a dialler and browser package for Linux
that was branded with our ISP to run on as many distros as possible. The theory
was that if we could come up with an easy t install set of software that we knew
worked predictably, we could support that. We managed a prototype dialler. We
figured that after they had an IP address, then they could work the rest out.
(We had transparent proxies) Cool. We can now have a "Connector"
withour number hard wired in that asks only for the customers username and
password. But what we had to do was narrow down the software we were willing to
support. We only gave software support for that connector. Any other dialling
software was greeted by the settings and no further help.

With Linux and hardware manufacturers, it is going to amount to the same thing.
If Dell provide a PC with Linux on board, they want a predictable interface to
talk a user through troubleshooting when they hit the helpdesk. So if I worked
at Dell, I'd be thinking

1) "Pick a major distro.
2) "test all hardware we sell against that distro."
3) "Write drivers for anything that is not autodetected"
4) "Only support that distro in an uncustomised form"

That way I am supporting a know quantity over the phone. Because Microsoft do
this with XP, the hard yards are already done for Dell there.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux can't purchase a desktop with XP.
Authored by: mnichols on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 09:08 PM EDT
Not to worry if you had attempted to make the purchase from a linux desktop you
would have found that Dell's website would not work for your Linux browser.
Recently I almost purchased a dell server with no os from them. I got to the
last page which would not work with out active X. I laughed and let them know
that they wouldn't know good business if it came up and bit them in the ass. I
bought a better equiped used computer on ebay for less money.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Fedora Core 2 on Dell Diminsion 2350
Authored by: icebarron on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 09:52 PM EDT

Hi one and all.
I am currently running Fedora Core 2 on a Dell Diminsion 2350. Everything but the dial up modem worked out of box.
I don't rely on Dell for support because it is not needed. The hardware has been reliable and useable from the start. The modem was a non issue as I use a broadband cable modem. I too will be buying my next PC from IBM. It's been a long time since I have bought an IBM PC or Laptop, but do have plans for another couple of PC's for my children (one marine and one college girl.)

If anyone would like to have the info on what hardware comes out of box, or how to configure Fedora Core on the Dim 2350 drop me a line and I will share the info. However keep in mind that I don't care much for Dells flip flop on linux support, I can say that their hardware is on par with HP or Sun for desktop units. With a 3 Meg cable modem pipe line and a single boot CD burned with K3B, I can install any Fedora distro straight from an FTP server in about two hours. (Also I have installed with three floppy disks doing an FTP install as well, though doing a install over dialup would NOT BE RECOMMENDED .)I have been posting on this site for quite a few months now and have really taken notice of the major Players in the PC market. Windows XP Home edition came with this PC, but now gathers dust on a shelf in my closet. Since starting with my Dell, I have added a DVD burner to go along with the CD burner that is with it. I also added a TV/VIDEO input card for testing a PVR setup. My one gripe about this one is no AGP slot to add a high end video card. I know that some here will not believe that it is possible to run linux on a Dell, but this note is proof. As evidence I will include a snip on info taken from my hardware browser as a gesture to help others who may have simular equipment...

Peace to one and All

Accept: Text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8, image/png,*/*;q=0.5 Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
Connection: keep-alive
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040914 Firefox/0.10
Content-Length: 32
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
MediaPort: 8084

Capture devices: Bt878 Video Capture
CDROM Drives: Lite-On DVDRW LDW411S : PLextor CD-R PXW5224-A
Hard Disk: WDC WD1200JB 120GB
Keybord: Dell
Mouse: Dell Scroll mouse
Network Card: Broadcom Integrated NIC
Sound: AC97
System devices: USB2
Video: Intel 845G/GL/GE Integrated
Printer: HP PSC 1110 Printer/Scanner
Speakers: Altec Lansing

Additional Software Crossover Office (for running Quicktime Media Player)

I installed Fedora Core 1, Suse 9.0, Redhat 9.0, and just for fun BSD over a couple of weekends with just the original PC's hardware. Cost with a 17" monitor 699.00 (no Pun intended). Added Printer on sale at Walmart 89.00, SB audigy sound card 29.99, DVD/CD burner drives Freebee's from left over custom builds for a local business that gave them to me after deciding not to include them on a couple of Office PC's (I know lucky...) TV/Video capure card 89.00 Crossover Office 39.00, Freedom to tinker and surf the web....Priceless


[ Reply to This | # ]

What About IBM?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 10:05 PM EDT
Anybody find a linux desktop or laptop from IBM? I certainly can't find it.
Servers yes. Workstations for over $1000 yes. No desktops or laptops that I
can find.

Of course I would be happy to be pointed in the right direction.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell: Servers vs Desktops
Authored by: CustomDesigned on Monday, September 20 2004 @ 11:49 PM EDT
PJ, Dell has two very different marketing divisions. The "desktop"
side is extremely hostile to Windows as you discovered. You also can't get
reliability features like ECC memory from the desktop division.

The server division is Linux friendly, the motherboards support ECC memory, and
models are available with dual power supplies, hot swap SCSI, and other
realiablity features. However, you can't get a 3D graphics card or sound card.
The server motherboards don't even have an AGP bus. I guess they never dreamed
someone would want to run a server in their home and play games on it

Anyway, if you want a Linux server from Dell, you go the the "small
business" section of their website and avoid the "home" section.
Forget about buying a Linux "desktop" (i.e. 3D graphics and sound)
from Dell - it can be done, but it would be easier to just buy the components
separately and build it yourself.

Apparently Dell thinks of Linux as a server OS only.

For all that, I have one of their $400 servers in my home, and some castoff 1999
vintage workstations with 3D graphics and sound that can boot into standalone
Linux or Windows to play games, or LTSP to do useful work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dear PJ
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 02:42 AM EDT
Here is what *I* do when I need a computer.

I build my own.
I work for a company that has a store where customers come to buy PCs, so that
makes my building more easy. I just ask the technician what Motherboard +
processor + memory combination has the best "value for money" ratio
this week. Then I throw in disk, case, DVD/CD burner combo, floppy, VGA card,
[please insert your favourite piece of hardware here]. Just visit a small
computer store where they BUILD their own computers and ask.

Somehow I can always build computer (and not just for myself) that is cheper,
faster, more trouble-free than a typical off-the-shelf brand computer.
Your mileage can vary depending on your country. It definitelly works that way
here in Slovakia (Central Europe)

Please, Please, just ask us for help. I am pretty sure there is a Groklaw reader
that can build a computer living in your neighborhood.


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Dear PJ - Authored by: PJ on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 04:15 AM EDT
    • Building your own - Authored by: kitterma on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 10:05 AM EDT
    • Dear PJ - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 12:13 PM EDT
    • Dear PJ - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 22 2004 @ 02:57 AM EDT
    • Dear PJ - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 23 2004 @ 12:31 AM EDT
  • No need to build - Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 01:33 PM EDT
Standards, Dell and Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 04:57 AM EDT

I have tried getting hardware out of Dell in the UK without any software, so I know how awkward they can be about it. They kept insisting that the machine be supplied with software, namely Windows, finally suggesting that it had to be installed to "test" the system. The next logical step on my part would have been to say "Well install the software, test the system, then take it off again", but in the end, I considered this a waste of breath; they were likely to respond "But then the system won't work any more" and by that point I wasn't bothered about arguing the toss.

Back in the early 1990's when Windows 3.1 was still around, a number of OEMs in the UK went public to complain about Microsoft's "marketing" strategy. They basically said that if they wanted to pre-install anything other than Windows then Microsoft would not give them the best deal on DOS/Windows. Essentially, they said they were being forced into signing agreements to supply a DOS/Windows license with every machine they sold even if that machine was supplied with a different operating system. The alternative was that they would have had to pay close to the full retail price for DOS/Windows putting them at a competative disadvantage in a cut-throat marketplace. Dell's insistance on supplying Windows makes it look suspiciously like such pre-install deals still exist in some form.

A while back I did find some reference to EU legislation to prevent linked sales (i.e. "You can buy product X, but you have to buy product Y as well"). Unfortunately, trying to find information about specific EU legislation on the EU's website is a near impossible task so I have not been able to confirm that such regulations actually exist or what they say. It would have been nice to call Dell back and find out what they made of this legislation and what they would have said to get out of it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards - Free as in freedom
Authored by: kitterma on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 10:09 AM EDT
2. Licensees are free to make copies of open source software and to distribute them without payment of royalties to a licensor. Unfortunately this misses the mark on the very issue the broke Sender ID. The fundamental problem with the proposed Sender ID license was that it wasn't sublicenseable. Anyone who made changes to an existing licensed implementation would have to go back to Microsoft for a license. I think this would be much better (and cover the Sender ID case) if he had said this instead: 2. Licensees are free to make copies of open source software and to distribute them without payment of royalties or other undue burdens to a licensor.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No SenderID: An open source alternative!
Authored by: lachoneus on Tuesday, September 21 2004 @ 02:31 PM EDT
I haven't read much on SenderID, but I understand that it attempts to authenticate the sender's identity. The problem is that no one wants to rely on one company (especially MS) to provide this service because of the dependencies it would create.

Here is a much simpler idea which would work with an open source framework and which requires no central authority:

1) Modify e-mail programs such that each e-mail is sent with a random 8-digit checksum (very simple).

2) When an e-mail is received, the receiving e-mail program autoreplies to the sender asking, "Did you send this?" and including a different 8-digit checksum (but not the one from step #1).

3) The originating server autoresponds with a message that says "yes I did" and includes both checksums, thus establishing that the sender is who he/she says he is, whereupon the original e-mail is delivered to the person's inbox.

This solution could be truly automated, requires no intervention on either the sender's or receiver's part, and requires no central administrative authority. And although it requires every e-mail to be validated, the net result is still less network traffic than that currently associated with the amount of spam now sent.

I had this idea some time ago before I even heard of SenderID (and I can prove it). I call it "JustAsk." But I don't need to profit from my idea. I give it freely to the open source world! But remember, you heard it first on Groklaw!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft announces MTP protocol, another lockin ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 23 2004 @ 06:21 AM EDT
Microsoft announces MTP protocol
Wednesday, 22 September 2004 14:45 GMT < Prev Next >

Microsoft has announced two new technologies that use the capabilities of
Windows XP to make digital photography easier for all users.....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe repeat, but anyway
Authored by: emoticon on Friday, September 24 2004 @ 10:01 PM EDT
Actually, people in the know will 1) build their own computers with parts off of and other retailers, 2) know what parts go into their computers, and
that they are 100% linux-compatible and 3) end up with a price-competitive
product which does not, for instance, have crappy motherboard, RAM and power
supply, which your typical dell user does not know about. They only see 3.06 GHz
and a MB quantity of RAM. God, the website doesn't even let you see (very
easily) what chipset you're using, or how fast the ram is.

Of course if you're a company and you need 50 workstations, you're screwed.
That's what Microsoft and its sock puppet Dell are going to hold onto like a
vice, because it's an environment where, as far as I can tell, linux +
openoffice/koffice is a killer app -- a secure OS that doesn't crash and a free
office suite that rarely crashes. And they know that an office monkey who uses
Linux at work might think, "Wow . . . why isn't Windows like this?"

Seems that if IBM could make a business solution workstation and a matched line
of notebooks priced to go, they could have something very lucritive on their
hands. Not that IBM is the messiah, but the enemy of
microsoft/sun/dell/gateway/hp/compaq and all those other useless drone
corporations is my friend.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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