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windows nt entwarnung zu frueh?
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- Subject: windows nt entwarnung zu frueh?
- From: Boris Groendahl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 1 Aug 96 20:51:24 +0200
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Topic 696 [eff]: Microsoft's "STAGE.DAT" Clone (?)
#53 of 53: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed Jul 31 '96 (22:37) 112 lines
Subject: Microsoft Maintaining NT Workstation 4.0 Limits in License
To: Analysts & Members of the Press
From: Ellen Elias, Software Publicist, O'Reilly & Associates
Please read below the comments of Tim O'Reilly, president of O'Reilly &
Associates, about license limitations to Microsoft NT Workstation 4.0.
If you would like to interview an O'Reilly executive about the issues
Mr. O'Reilly raises, please contact me at (707)829-0515 ext. 322, or
firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also be happy to fax you a copy of the license.
To: Analysts & Members of the Press
From: Tim O'Reilly, President, O'Reilly & Associates
Less than two weeks ago, I expressed my deep concerns to Microsoft
about their proposed limits on the number of sockets in NT Workstation
4.0. Although Microsoft has publicly backed down from their plan to
build the limitation into the software, the most recent license for the
product keeps such restrictions in the license--and even expands them.
Microsoft's public reversal appears merely to be a strategic retreat.
Here's the wording of the license sent out with NT Workstation RC2
"...you may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers to connect to the
Workstation Computer to access and use services of the SOFTWARE
PRODUCT, such as file and print services and peer web services. The
ten connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through
software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections."
That means that the limitation has been expanded, from "10 users in 10
minutes" (the original limitation) to "10 users (period)." We believe
that Microsoft's position amounts to nothing more than a "land grab" in
the uncharted territory of the Internet.
While at first blush it might seem logical that Microsoft has the right
to set the licensing terms for their own products, and to make
reasonable distinctions between NT Workstation and NT Server, I believe
that in this license, Microsoft is taking the further step of limiting
the use of the TCP/IP protocol for their users. TCP/IP is not a
Microsoft product, and I don't believe Microsoft has the right to tell
application vendors and users what they can and can't do with it.
TCP/IP is a fundamental service for internetworked systems.
If you accept that Microsoft has the right to tell users how many
sockets their applications can have open, you must also accept that
they have the right to tell users how much memory their applications
can use, or how much processing power.
As I've pointed out in my letters to Microsoft, at bottom, I don't want
to argue on the basis of whether it's legal or even moral for them to
try to use their control over the operating system to freeze out
competing application vendors. Instead, I want to argue that what they
propose is bad for the Internet.
Because Microsoft is in the unique position of controlling the
operating system as well as competing in the application space, they
have a special responsibility to use that control wisely.
Microsoft argues that they simply want to position NT Workstation as a
desktop operating system, and that if users want to run servers, they
should use NT Server. Such a view is short-sighted, since it
presupposes that we already know what users want and what developers
Consider the following analogy: If IBM had had the control over the
operating system that Microsoft now has, one could imagine them saying,
back in the mid-1980's:
"When we created the IBM PC, we never meant that users should do so
much on the desktop! This is hurting our mainframe revenue. So tell you
what, we'll give you a special set of tools for the desktop that will
let you create small spreadsheets and databases there, but if you want
to do any serious computing, you have to use a mainframe."
While this analogy is a bit farfetched (mainly because IBM didn't hold
all the cards in the way Microsoft does!), a few problems are obvious.
Such a move would have choked off the waves of innovation that made up
the PC revolution. IBM couldn't imagine then how much people would do
on the desktop. I maintain that Microsoft can't imagine now how much
people will do with the Web on the desktop. When you build in limits
from the start, you get what you build...limits. We are still only at
the beginning of the web revolution, and we *must* keep the system
open, for the applications that have not yet been imagined or
A final point: Microsoft's attempt to get the Internet community to
accept via a license agreement a limitation that they clearly found
repugnant when encoded in the software seems like a dangerous trojan
horse offering. If users accept the license now, what is to stop
Microsoft from coming back six months or a year from now and setting
limits in the software. After all, by then they could say: "We're just
enforcing it now, that limit has been there for a long time--since NT
The Internet community understood the implications of the technical
limitation and forced Microsoft to back down. Microsoft stated
publicly in their July 19 press release that "rigorous customer beta
testing and subsequent customer feedback...led to this decision [to
remove the limits]." Let's make them stand by that statement, and
remove the limits from their license as well as from their code.
To reiterate my basic point: Microsoft didn't invent the Internet or
the TCP/IP protocols. They came late to a great party. They have a
choice: they can join the party or they can try to shut it down. If
they try to shut it down, they can expect that the rest of the people
there are going to complain. And at this particular party, the
Internet gives the partygoers a pretty loud megaphone.
Respond (r), pass (Return) or help (?):
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