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windows nt entwarnung zu frueh?

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
 Status: R

 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
 elias@ora.com. 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
 (Beta B):

 "...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
 can create.

 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
 Workstation 4.0!"

 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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