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Microsoft Operating Systems Software Windows

Ballmer on Windows Server 2003, Linux 1282

Posted by michael
from the sominex dept.
no_demons writes "Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has given an interview to CNet about Windows Server 2003 and Linux. He claims that 'our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that [open-source] community'. Discuss." Also in the news: two critical security vulnerabilities (MS03-014, MS03-015), and this piece about Windows 2003 mentioning that Microsoft is trying to develop a command-line only server.
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Ballmer on Windows Server 2003, Linux

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:46AM (#5809088) Homepage Journal
    a new version of the company's server operating system that Microsoft's CEO described as "the right product" to help companies stretch their IT budgets.

    In typical parlance this means make money go further, however in this context it means 'spend money, spend more money, keep spending money', until the budget snaps like an rubberband when its elasticity has been exceded.

    Well, our budget has already snapped, like the rubberband. Funny how budgets these days aren't elastic and don't stretch. Perhaps setting up a demo MySQL or Postgres Linux server might be in order to convince the powers that be that we can get along just fine without.

    BTW, I love how Steve blathers on about having a corporation behind their product. Like support from that has not pricetag. We're doing without MSDN because we can't afford that. Google is my friend. Lastly, a customer can go to Microsoft and request a feature? Really? Even one as small as us? Yeah, right. Time for a little off the end?

  • Unlikely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:48AM (#5809108) Homepage Journal
    I'd be very impressed if Microsoft actually came out with a command-line only version. The fact that "it's a very tangled subsystem" makes me wonder how possible that would be.

    I could see a version of Windows shipping without the GUI enabled, allowing administration only by remote desktop. But for the entire OS to ship with no GUI libraries would be very unlikely.

    On the other hand, they've already done it (sort of), look at the .NET CLI. But if they shipped an OS based on just the CLI, it couldn't very well be called "Windows," now could it?

    Mirrors:

    com.com link [martin-studio.com]
    zdnet.co.uk link [martin-studio.com]
  • innovation. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unknown Poltroon (31628) <unknown_poltroon1sp@myahoo.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:48AM (#5809109)
    So, this command line server, let me guess, the name will be MicroSoft Disk On Server V1.2?
  • by Elpacoloco (69306) <elpacoloco.dslextreme@com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:48AM (#5809110) Journal
    I quote Mr. Balmer:
    " Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition."

    So just because the basic design is old, it's not "innovative?" I think this guy needs to spend more time with his programmers!

    • by Elderly Isaac (667024) <old_ike@hotmail.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:51AM (#5809143)
      You mean kinda like how Windows is a clone of the 20 year-old Mac? Sure, a lot has changed since then, but a lot has changed in Linux too.
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:58AM (#5809208) Journal
        Actually, other than the GUI, it is based heavily on the VMS architechure with huge influence (and growing) from Unix.
    • If we're going to use a OS derived from the 1970s, let's at least pick our favourite and be grateful Linus wasn't a VMS fan :-) [winntmag.com]
    • by b0r1s (170449) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:01PM (#5809243) Homepage
      Let's be completely fair here.

      Name an application, or a feature of the operating system, that is truly innovative?

      The only I can think of is Mosix. The other large areas of development (KDE, GNOME, Mozilla, the kernel) are simply trying to catch up to existing commercial software (Windows, IE, Solaris/BSD).

      • by johnnyb (4816) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:38PM (#5809671) Homepage
        The problem with talking about _LINUX_ innovation is that Linux is just a kernel. When talking about Linux innovation, KDE and GNOME don't even count, because they aren't part of Linux - they are add-ons.

        Now if you are talking about free software innovations, well, you've got the entire Internet infrastructure. You've got GUILE, which is really cool. Emacs, which is amazing. Anyway, I could go on if I had the time, but you get the point.

        Of course there's a general problem of determining the "newness" or "innovativeness" of an idea, but that's another topic...
      • by pmz (462998) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:56PM (#5810486) Homepage
        The only I can think of is Mosix. The other large areas of development (KDE, GNOME, Mozilla, the kernel) are simply trying to catch up to existing commercial software (Windows, IE, Solaris/BSD).

        Open Source deserves a lot of credit.

        KDE and GNOME have additional forms of network-awareness built into them at low levels that aren't present in Windows, CDE, etc. Mozilla allows pretty fine-grained control over cookies, JavaScript, and images (small but extremely useful features), and it is actually standards-compliant, for once. Emacs is pretty darn innovative for its time (Lisp engine and rediculous extensibility). Ghostscript is the only way I know to print PostScript under Windows to cheap printers. Is there a better EPS plot generator than GnuPlot? LaTeX and DocBook are basically the only options for large-scale structured document authoring that allow true version control, output to who knows how many formats, awesome mathematics support (LaTeX, at least), among lots of other things. OpenOffice.org will level the playing field for office software. OpenBSD is the most secure OS I know of. The most popular HPC clustering software is open source (Beowulf, anyone?). Apache+mod_basically_anything. I'd bet NetBSD literally runs on a toaster, somewhere. Open Source will figure out package management, eventually, Microsoft won't. The best TCP/IP stacks are open source. PERL/Python/Ruby. CVS-over-SSH allows distributed development of proprietary software. gzip/bzip. tcp_wrappers. gcc (languages X platforms).

        Some of what I list are significant refinements rather than true innovation, but the fact that many best-in-class applications exist in Open Source form is undeniable. There are hundreds of other innovations/refinements that I can't remember or am unaware of (a lot of them get taken for granted).
    • by oldmildog (533046) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:01PM (#5809244) Homepage Journal
      Right. Aren't we still using the same basic design of the airplane and the automobile and the cheese steak sandwich? There are improvements layered on, but the underlying design is still there.

      It's not a bad thing to go back to the drawing board every so often and ask if there's a better way to do it. But be willing to accept No as an answer, instead of starting over for the sake of starting over.

    • I quote Mr. Balmer:

      " Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition."

      So just because the basic design is old, it's not "innovative?" I think this guy needs to spend more time with his programmers!


      Hmmm...Windows 2003 is based on Windows XP, which is based on Windows 2000, which is based on Windows NT, which came out in 1993 (?) That's 10 years old, except, wait! The internals of Windows NT are based on VMS! Which makes Windows 2003 a clone of at least a 20 year old OS!

      BTW--Linux is not a clone of the original 20 year-old OS. It's a MODERN Unix clone. It's based on POSIX standards which is actually quite a bit newer.

      • by binaryDigit (557647) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:38PM (#5809678)
        That's 10 years old, except, wait! The internals of Windows NT are based on VMS

        NT is NOT "based" on VMS. David Cutler lead the design of both and they are sure to share similarities because of it, but one is not BASED on the other and to say that NT is some "clone" of VMS is flat wrong.

        BTW--Linux is not a clone of the original 20 year-old OS. It's a MODERN Unix clone. It's based on POSIX standards which is actually quite a bit newer.

        But to choose to stop your own logic with this one. POSIX is based on trying to unite SystemV with BSD! Not only that but POSIX itself was started up around 1985, still almost 20 years ago.
        • by g4dget (579145) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:53PM (#5810461)
          NT is NOT "based" on VMS. David Cutler lead the design of both and they are sure to share similarities because of it, but one is not BASED on the other and to say that NT is some "clone" of VMS is flat wrong.

          NT is "based on" VMS in roughly the same way that Linux is "based on" UNIX: each share a philosophy and feel with their ancestor, but they are actually completely different pieces of software.

          But to choose to stop your own logic with this one. POSIX is based on trying to unite SystemV with BSD! Not only that but POSIX itself was started up around 1985, still almost 20 years ago.

          The difference is that the people who originally designed the UNIX APIs really did a great job and that their design still holds up after 30 years. Microsoft and Apple throw out their stuff every few years and start over. That's not "innovation", it's just "doing a poor job". And, what do you know, each time they throw things out and start over, they get closer to UNIX.

    • by mikeee (137160) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:06PM (#5809297)
      I've been wearing pants for more than 20 years, but I don't think my customers would appreciate if I decided to innovate in that area.

      A chess master once told me: "Never neglect the obvious. Usually it's obvious because it's right."

    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:09PM (#5809336) Homepage
      That's a fairly underhanded quote for Ballmer to be making.

      Sure UNIX is quite old, but it's not like the latest versions of it are that old -- latest releases aren't 20 years old... rather, they've been developed based on technologies that have been constantly DEVELOPED for that long, which is a GOOD THING.

      Much better than the vaporware -> 1.0 "market as beta tester" -> "v.3 is actually usable" paradigm that MSFT has historically followed when releasing their OSes.

      WINDOWS is going to be pushing 20 pretty soon, too. So what?
    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:17PM (#5809449) Homepage Journal
      Some time ago the topics for FUD against Linux were ease of use, "readyness for the desktop", manteinance costs... now Linux fault is being built on a old system (old != obsolete, btw).

      IMHO it's an indirect acknowledgment that Linux is getting better.
  • Innovation (Score:5, Funny)

    by KillerHamster (645942) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:49AM (#5809119) Homepage

    'our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that [open-source] community'

    Probably true - I'd imagine many Microsoft customers are so busy installing service packs and counting their licenses that they haven't had the time to look at Open Source Software.

    • by maxbang (598632) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:12PM (#5809383) Journal
      Dude - I'm applying at least a patch a day on average on our linux boxes at work. That argument is idiotic in the software world. Software is meant to be patched (just one glaring example: Apache - name from a-patch-e). Give me a week when there is not a patch for some security vulnerability/stability enhancement in open source and I'll go kick Ballmer's ass for you.

  • Its True! (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeAlien (164869) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:49AM (#5809121) Homepage Journal
    Talk about inovation! Nobody but nobody can dance like that guy!

    I'd like to see Linus, RMS or any of those other hippies try to outdance Mr. Balmer.. Er.. No, on second thought I wouldn't like to see that.

  • by xYoni69x (652510) <yoni.vl@gmail.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:51AM (#5809132) Journal
    He claims that 'our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that [open-source] community'.

    Microsoft is trying to develop a command-line only server.

    Isn't this a little backwards?
  • by kaltkalt (620110) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:51AM (#5809134)
    Yep, Microsoft has definitely made advances in way to snatch away the rights of those who use their products. Well done guys! Can't wait for palladium....
  • I wonder why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slyckshoes (174544) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:51AM (#5809138)
    They're Microsoft's customers, of course they've seen more innovation from Microsoft. That's because they haven't tried something else. Anytime something starts with "our customers" what follows is not a valid comparison. You need a better sample.
  • by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:52AM (#5809151)
    Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition.

    Gee, so 5 years down the road when M$ is integrating open source software to maintain value in the consumer market, I wonder where this guy will be...

    That aside, generally don't things get better with age? With more time on the open market, would that not imlpy 20 years of innovation and development? If not, why is it still alive and more popular than ever? Would that explain the relatively small number of security holes and bugs of the 20 year old system, compared to the "modern" Window$ core?
  • Ballmer's right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pentalon (466561) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:52AM (#5809152)
    Ballmer's right -- stability isn't an innovation. Good design isn't an innovation. These are all concepts that existed years ago.
    • Re:Ballmer's right (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0r1s (170449)
      And to be fair, they have existed in windows since late 1999.

      2000 is quite stable; anyone who says otherwise either never tried it, or doesn't know what they're doing.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:52AM (#5809154)
    I guess even Microsoft is realizing that for administration purposes, it's not beneficial to hide all settings deep within pretty GUI tabs and dialogs.

    Good luck with that experiment, Microsoft. But there's much more to a solid OS than a simply a lack of GUI :)
  • Hooray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dswensen (252552) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:53AM (#5809161) Homepage
    and this piece about Windows 2003 mentioning that Microsoft is trying to develop a command-line only server.

    And the best part is, it's so simple to use! It has only one command: "reboot."

  • by Elpacoloco (69306) <elpacoloco.dslextreme@com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:55AM (#5809170) Journal
    " The way things are structured today, from a licensing perspective, in the Linux world nobody will ever commercialize Linux the way the Sun commercialized FreeBSD."

    Forgetting RedHat [redhat.com], Mr. Balmer?


  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06.email@com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:58AM (#5809211)
    But for traffic, Yahoo is doing quite well and we are doing quite well.

    Gosh, could that be because any not found address put into an IE browser redirects to an MS search page? Could that drive up traffic? Is that innovation? Like Arthur Anderson innovation?

  • by Dthoma (593797) on Friday April 25, 2003 @11:59AM (#5809219) Journal

    "Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system."

    If it ain't broke...

  • It's partly true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aiken_d (127097) <brooks@tangentry.DALIcom minus painter> on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:01PM (#5809240) Homepage
    If you compare the 20+ year history of Microsoft to the much younger open source movement, I think it may be fair to say that there's been more technical innovation from Microsoft. Of course, the whole open source model is quite an innovation in and of itself.

    The first 5 years or so of Linux were mainly focused on replicating funcationality that already existed in non-free Unix OSes. Likewise with the apps. It's only in the past year or two that we're starting to see a good deal of innovation in the form of apps that aren't just clones of non-open-source apps.

    Open source is starting to really move, and we're starting to see some truly novel apps and innovations, but I think it's completely understandable that the first decade or so of open source was devoted to bootstrapping our tech to be equal to or better than closed source stuff.

    I'm no Microsoft fan, but they *have* introduced some real innovations. Cheap, shared-SCSI-bus clustering comes to mind, as does Active Directory (although AD is certainly inspired by NDS). While Microsoft certainly followed Apple into the era of the GUI, they've made notable improvements to the GUI. There are others, of course; only the most rabid anti-MS zealot could claim that they've *never* done *anything* innovative.

    Of course, it says something about Microsoft's insecurity that Ballmer is playing the "Historically, we've done more than open source." Open source is still snowballing -- if Microsoft had a new closed-source competitor that was starting to gain market share, everyone would laugh at marketing material that said "Historically, we've done more than this new competitor."

    Cheers
    -b
    • Re:It's partly true (Score:4, Informative)

      by afantee (562443) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:45PM (#5810387)
      >> While Microsoft certainly followed Apple into the era of the GUI, they've made notable improvements to the GUI. There are others, of course; only the most rabid anti-MS zealot could claim that they've *never* done *anything* innovative.

      What improvements? You mean the Start menu used to Shut down Windows, or the ever annoying Office Clippy whose final removal from Office XP became a feature celebrated with a Flash movie http://www.microsoft.com/Office/clippy/ by its creator, or the beloved Registry.

      Microsoft is 60 times bigger than Apple with over $40 billions in the bank, but produces virtually zero innovation. Even more amazingly, a hardware company like Apple actually has a bigger and better software portofolio than MS.
    • no, it's not (Score:5, Insightful)

      by g4dget (579145) on Friday April 25, 2003 @02:04PM (#5810558)
      If you compare the 20+ year history of Microsoft to the much younger open source movement,

      Open source software has a much longer history than 20 years. Software, in a sense, started out open source as hardware companies didn't view it as being very valuable.

      I think it may be fair to say that there's been more technical innovation from Microsoft.

      And what would that "technical innovation" be? Just about every single product category, UI idea, feature, or technology Microsoft is using and touting was invented elsewhere: the GUI, the spreadsheet, WYSIWYG word processing, speech recognition, handwriting recognition, databases, networking, web browsing, etc.

      I'm no Microsoft fan, but they *have* introduced some real innovations. Cheap, shared-SCSI-bus clustering comes to mind,

      I'm sorry, I don't get it. People have been sharing disks via disk interfaces since the 1960's. Microsoft puts a feature into their system that allows this to be done over one specific disk interface (which, not coincidentally, was actually designed to support this). Where is the innovation here? Sounds like engineering to me, driven by marketing ("hey, guys, we need to compete with the mini computers and mainframes on this disk thing").

      as does Active Directory (although AD is certainly inspired by NDS).

      Again, where is the innovation? We had Kerberos, YP, and NIS, and before that, we had generations of directory services on mainframes.

      While Microsoft certainly followed Apple into the era of the GUI, they've made notable improvements to the GUI.

      Like what?

      There are others, of course;

      Please keep going--you haven't named one yet.

      only the most rabid anti-MS zealot could claim that they've *never* done *anything* innovative.

      Oh, I'm sure they must have done something "innovative", but whatever it was doesn't seem to be related to their bottom line or have had much of an impact on their products.

  • by product byproduct (628318) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:02PM (#5809251)
    Because direct implementation would require a complete rewrite of the codebase, anyone suspecting that the command lines you type will actually move a cursor and click on GUI elements internally, just without video output?
  • by pashdown (124942) <pashdown@xmission.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:02PM (#5809257) Homepage
    Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition.

    Then in response to the XBox,

    Remember, we brought Windows 1 out in 1983...

    I love interviews with Balmer.

  • by mactari (220786) <rufwork@gma i l . c om> on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:03PM (#5809262) Homepage
    I've always been impressed with descriptions of Window's technologies while they're being developed. Like it or not, Microsoft has -- and can afford to pay and retain -- some of the smartest minds in the field. I'd love to work with these guys, who seem to be open to using standards and who don't have so much FUD in their eyes or are so egotistical they can't learn from the *nixes.

    The problem is that all these bright ideas go through Microsoft's "profit maximization machine" at some point and we get "embrace and extend" and other fun phonomena. I'll stop before I get back into that tired rant.

    At any rate, here are two lessons learned -- by MS -- from *nixes, quoted from the article [zdnet.co.uk] on the command line server. "Windows core technology guru Rob Short" says...
    We'll be able to patch probably two thirds of the components without shutting the system down. That's an area where the Unix guys are ahead of us, because of the way they do redirection -- they can patch a file and then change the symbolic link. That's an area where we've got a problem, and we'll fix it in the near future when possible.

    Later a quote on Linux:
    [Question] Why is there no command line only version?

    [Short's answer] We're looking longer term to see what can be done, looking at the layers and what's available at each layer and how do we make it much closer to the thing the Linux guys have -- having only the pieces you want running. That's something Linux has that's ahead of us, but we're looking at it. We will have a command line-only version, but whether it'll have all the features in is another matter.
  • yegods! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Telastyn (206146) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:03PM (#5809263)
    anyone notice in the bottom link that in 2003 that the listener portion of IIS was moved into the kernel?

    Am I the only one that that strikes as a poor idea?
  • by jagripino (314506) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:03PM (#5809267)
    Example:

    We created the SMB file server specs, and we didn't have the fastest one around, which was embarrassing. So we took our performance team and said "your mission is to make ours twice as fast as this other one on the market."

    I understand this to be the admission that Samba was faster than any SMB server MS had in the past, right? See, this is competition at work. Granted, Microsoft tried to discourage people from competing (in the SMB case, by making small changes to the protocols with each release, I believe. Correct me if I my wrong, please) but the Samba team still came out with a better product.

    I expect that by this time next year the Samba team will be saying "yeah, we got a faster SMB server than the one in Windows 2003, but hey, they ASKED for it! Do you remember that S Ballmer interview?"...
  • by peaworth (578846) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:03PM (#5809268)
    We created tools that run across the code and understand almost all the attacks. Microsoft Research built a tool that can find almost all the buffer overflow problems

    Yeah, that tool is called "a non-firewalled internet connection."
  • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <<slebrun> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:04PM (#5809275) Journal
    Yes. We're a clear No. 2 in the market. We are coming on strong. It is probably going to take us another turn of the crank, from a product cycle perspective, before we make money. But most of the things we do as a company successfully today we worked at for years before they made money. Remember, we brought Windows 1 out in 1983 and we didn't have any real volume until 1991. It took us eight years to get volume. I don't know when we got profit, but it took us eight years to get volume.


    Take Windows server. We started on it in 1988, but it was probably 1998 before we had real volume, and I don't know when we would have said we had profitability on that product. But most of the good businesses require long-term patience, commitment, tenacity...and you can't be impatient. I feel very good that we have great teams to take MSN and Xbox in exactly those same directions.

    They're willing to take ten YEARS to let something come to fruition; they have no problem 'waiting for fullness.'

    This is a HUGE advantage that a lot of OSS people simply don't have; whoever's coding NiftyApp gets bored around version 0.64 and drops it, and meanwhile, some other guys is making GniftyApp 0.4 because he doesn't feel like working with the first guy.

    On the other side of the pond, Microsoft will let something fail, and fail, and fail, tweak, twist, fix, and then they have something worth having.

  • by Alien Being (18488) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:05PM (#5809288)
    There are no Linux infidels is in any of the data centers, some of them. They are not within 100 miles. This is an illusion. They are trying to sell people on an illusion.

    They tried to bring a small number of web and print servers through the backdoor but they were surrounded and most of their infidels had their links cut.

    I can say, and I am responsible for what I am saying, that they have started to commit suicide under the walls of Redmond. We will encourage them to commit more suicides quickly.

    You can go and visit those places. Nothing there, nothing at all. There are DRM checkpoints. Evrything is okay.
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:05PM (#5809290) Homepage Journal
    NIH = Not Invented Here.

    This myopic view of their business model:

    1) Prevents Microsoft from embracing (in the traditional sense, not in how we usually think of MS doing with this concept) the point that UNIX operating systems are tried and true technology, given that they HAVE been around for a very long time in computer years.

    2) Prevents Microsoft from generating products that sell to users of UNIX families (Microsoft Office X for Mac OS X is the only UNIX family product I am aware of), and, as a result, generating additional revenues.

    3) Leaves Microsoft in a sacrificial lamb situation when businesses have to look at the bottom line in a tech solution where a competing *NIX product simply does the same task for less money or less complex or proprietary technologies and with less licensing hassles.

    Microsoft has beaten the dead horse of The Operating System as the Hub of All You Do paradigm for too long now. Operating systems are still important but now revolve around two camps: Microsoft Windows technology, and *NIX technologies (BSD, Sun, Mac OS X, Linux and its many distros, et al.). What many businesses now need revolves less on what you run your apps on, but the apps themselves.

    I see Microsoft losing more revenue due to their licensing model, which still presumes that it's the 1990's and money is everyone. Businesses are finding it hard to justify yearly OS or application suite upgrades. IT managers are just moving to Windows 2000 Server right now, and aren't going to figure in Windows 2003 Server anytime soon.

    Meanwhile, many *NIX operating systems are free or lower cost than a Microsoft solution, and does much of the same, if not more. Further, Microsoft tends to develop their software proprietarily, so that third-parties can rarely adapt an MS product to their own product.

    Such attitudes killed many a computer company. Usually people think of Apple when pondering NIH, but even Apple is far from those days, with their BSD hybrid OS, stock industry standard ports and protocols, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    To use an overused /. joke, Microsoft is dying, being swallowed by their own need to swallow everything.
  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:07PM (#5809318) Journal

    "I will no longer be performing the monkey dance," said a sweaty, flatulent Steve Ballmer on Friday morning to a confused crowd at a Redmond Dunkin' Donuts. "I have decided to adopt the 'Iraqi Two-Step' as my favorite mode of expressing my inner funkitude." He then proceeded to bounce up and down, slap his chest and slice his head with a small sword.

    "It his outer funk that worries me," said Randy Jarvis, a FedEx deliveryman who stopped a moment to watch the early morning spectacle. He held his nose against the olfactorius assault. "Geez, my eyes are watering. Does this count as a chemical weapon? Will I need to be decontaminated?"

    Neither Geroge Clinton nor Tarik Aziz could not be reached for comment.

    PS: I love how he said, "This is an interesting time." You think he knows that's a curse in many cultures?

  • Linux in pieces: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bazman (4849) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:07PM (#5809325) Journal
    Ballmer says "The fact is that if you want to do some kind of integrated innovation that touches the kernel, that touches the user interface--there is no way.", because of the way Linus controls the kernel and someone else controls the user interface.

    What he doesn't point out is that if you want to do anything - *ANYTHING* - with the Windows kernel or the Windows luser interface you either have to work for the company or sign your soul to them.

    And he's also plain *wrong*. If you want to change the kernel and the user interface, and ooh, lets add, integrate the filesystem into your new UI/kernel integrated innovation, you can. Just do it. You've got the source. Do it, release it, its done. Linus might not like it, and you might not be able to call it Linux, but call it 'Xinul' or something. Freedom - aaah, smell it.

    Baz

  • by GeorgieBoy (6120) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:09PM (#5809346) Homepage
    "A lot of the tools depend on having the graphical interface. Printing, for example, requires all the graphics subsystems because we have the "what you see is what you get" model. You need to have the whole of the display stuff to render it. It's a very tangled subsystem."

    So tangled that this makes no sense. Printing is a really dumb example, Steve. No one needs WYSIWYG on their print server! :)
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:09PM (#5809347) Homepage Journal
    The endemic failure of Microsoft toward the security of it's own products, services and customers is reason enough to bring the use of Windows2003 server in mission-critical tasks into question.

    For example, Microsoft was notified of the issues, concerning only Microsoft implementation of its JVM, on September 2nd 2002 and after SEVEN MONTHS on April 9th 2003, Microsoft have issued an update to fix the problem.

    Such a delay with such a serious vulnerability is so abysmal that it borders on the absurd.

    Quality and security are measures which only mean something when compared relatively to another.

    There is no absolutely secure, therefore you must expect, that once a vulnerability is made known to the vendor, the vendor should do their utmost to close the Window of Exposure ( http://www.counterpane.com/window.html [counterpane.com] ) as soon as possible.

    For example, with the lastest SAMBA vulnerability, once notified, the SAMBA developer owned up to the mistake and the SAMBA project released a patch within 48 hours. Within aother 24hrs, redhat had already backported the patch into their distributions RPMs. Similarly any major security issues in Mozilla and Netscape browser are also fixed and updateable within a couple of days

    Meanwhile, there are currently 13 KNOWN unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer ( http://www.pivx.com/larholm/unpatched/ [pivx.com] ).
    Some DANGEROUSLY EXPLOITABLE had not been fixed in over a year ( http://security.greymagic.com/adv/gm002-ie/ [greymagic.com] ). That Microsoft has not rewritten the scripting system embedded with IE so that it is sandboxed by default is bad enough, but to have such major unpatched vulnerabilities exposed for months is abysmal.

    Other inherent vulnerabilities, such as the Shatter attack ( http://security.tombom.co.uk/moreshatter.html [tombom.co.uk] ), Microsoft has known about since 1994!

    Even if the API/call flaw is inherently unfixable, that is plenty of time for Microsoft to implement a safer methord/systemcall/API, adapt it's own applications to use the safer methord and depreciate the unsafe API.

    It also appears that Microsoft 's own implementation of SMB is vulnerable and Microsoft has known about it for over eight years ( http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=599 60&cid=5681769 [slashdot.org] ), but Microsoft either choose not to, or cannot fix the problem themselves.

    Microsoft is clearly not closing the vulnerabilities they are aware that exist in their products and services.

    A year after after Bill Gate's Email promoting securtiy over functionality, Microsoft by choice, remains neither secure or trustworthy.

    Microsoft's attitude towards the security of it's products, service and customers is abysmal.

    From Jason Coombs' A response to Bruce Schneier on MS patch management and Sapphire ( http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/315158 [securityfocus.com] )

    Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) and Microsoft's version of HFNetChk both failed to detect the presence of the well-known vulnerability in SQL Server exploited by Sapphire, which is one of the reasons so many admins (both inside and outside MS) had failed to install the necessary hotfix. MBSA and HFNetChk are Microsoft's official patch status verification tools meant to be used by all owners of Windows server boxes ...

    ...In addition to designing MBSA to avoid scanning for SQL Server vulnerabilities, failing to update mssecure.xml reliably and in a timely manner, deprecating HFNetChk by pushing the MBSA GUI as its preferred replacement, and hiding the details of the technical limitation

  • 20+ years old? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:13PM (#5809398) Homepage Journal
    Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition.

    20+ years old hrm, Windows 1.0 was released on November 10, 1983 [microsoft.com], making windows just 6.5 months short of being 20 years old.

    Of course, the internals are totally different now, but then so are the internals of Linux to the original UNIX code...
  • Innovation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RickHunter (103108) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:20PM (#5809484)

    Thinking about this, he seems to be accurate on one point - there hasn't been much UI innovation in the open-source community. (And after all, everyone knows that's all that matters!) There has been a lot of innovation in other areas, mostly places the user doesn't see but which improve the overall experience. Things like operating system internals, file-distribution protocols (BitTorrent), server architecture (look at Apache, and all the stuff they do!), build tools, programming languages, software packaging/installation, software frameworks, compression algorithms, file formats, system administration tools... And that's just off the top of my head.

    There's definitely room for improvement. Look at the noises coming out from Microsoft about their next-generation database filesystem. Coders who are interested in filesystems should be looking at that and thinking "how can this be done better?" Or .Net - instead of marching to Microsoft's drum, "we" should be asking "how can we do this better?" And there's always the UI and graphics infrastructure issue...

    One problem is that a lot of OSS projects (UI ones, mostly) have moved away from the Unix philosophy: small, simple, dedicated programs that do a job well and can be connected with simple tools to perform complex tasks. Sure, you can feed data from one program into another with modern GUIs, but it typically requires a lot of user intervention and the programs are usually monolithic blobs of functionality. Find a way to escape from that limitation, and develop a graphical equivalent to pipes and I/O redirection, and you'll have some real innovation.

    Oh yeah, and there's one little open-source innovation he seems to be forgetting about. Its this minor, inconsequential technology that no-one cares about or uses, called "the Internet".

  • by rcw-work (30090) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:24PM (#5809525)
    From the article:

    We'll be able to patch probably two thirds of the components without shutting the system down. That's an area where the Unix guys are ahead of us, because of the way they do redirection -- they can patch a file and then change the symbolic link. That's an area where we've got a problem, and we'll fix it in the near future when possible.

    You can patch a file in use on UNIX without shutting down because you can delete an open file and the applications will still be able to map/read/write to that inode, which will magically disappear when the last application closes it.

    Example:

    • Application starts using libc.so.
    • Admin runs mv libc.so-new libc.so.
    • Application continues to use the old libc.so, which now has no filename.
    • Application exits.
    • Kernel marks the inode that the old libc.so was using as free.

    Symlinks are cool, and it would have been nice if Microsoft implemented Shortcuts at the file system level, but they aren't what save us from rebooting.

  • by frozenray (308282) on Friday April 25, 2003 @12:47PM (#5809804)
    Keep in mind that Ballmer holds a Senior Management position at Microsoft, and that everything that's being said from the top level PHBs has to be translated first (top level management lives in a different universe, and possibly in a whole different dimension as the rest of us). Since my job at $BIG_CORP unfortunately involves contact with higher management levels, I can offer you the following helpful translation of some of Mr. Ballmer's quotes. This is not Microsoft-specific BTW, we just dissected a message from the CEO of our employer today and it wasn't any better.

    Quote: "I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition."
    Translation: "It's a big fat blimp on our threat radar. We're out to fry their asses before they get ours."

    Quote: "On the other hand, in terms of putting a clear, simple proposition in front of the customer, I think we have a leading edge proposition."
    Translation:"We'll make them an offer they can't refuse."

    Quote: "I do think there are things that people don't understand very well about the new alternative, where it is important for us to help customers understand the issues."
    Translation: "Our FUD tactics worked well in the past and I don't see why they shouldn't work as well in the future."

    Quote: "[...] some people are choosing Linux. I don't think that is going to continue to be the case."
    Translation: "Yeah, we're pretty scared about customers considering a switch and haven't really figured out how to counter that threat yet, but why admit it?."

    Quote: "If the lead developer for this component chooses to do something else with his life, who will carry on the mantle for that?"
    Ballmer's thoughts: "Let's hope the interviewer doesn't ask what happens if we decide to discontinue a product."

    Quote: "There are still challenges in parts of Asia. We have seen improvements in Latin America."
    Translation: "In Asia, they steal our software like there's no tomorrow. Latin America isn't really much better."

    Quote: "By hook or by crook, so to speak, there will be 5-plus million servers, roughly, sold in the next 12 months."
    Translation: "If this server consolidation thingy that's been going on lately is just a fad, we'll be doing fine. Otherwise, well..."

    Quote: "everybody likes to talk about Google, which is fine. They are doing a good job as a company. But for traffic, Yahoo is doing quite well and we are doing quite well."
    Translation: "Google is kicking our collective pasty white rumps so hard you woldn't believe it. Let's just hope they go public so we can buy them out."

    Quote: "No, I don't anticipate making a change of that ilk [Licensing 6] in the foreseeable future."
    Translation: "Our vendor-lock-in strategy worked, and now we have them by the balls."
  • by podperson (592944) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:06PM (#5810010) Homepage
    It seems to me that the interview contained some very interesting questions and got fairly lame answers.

    1. The cost of systems is going down, and Office can cost 1/3 the cost of a physical system.

    It seems crazy to me that consumers are willing to pay $800 for a $300 computer with Windows and Office. Eventually consumers will figure this out too. Ballmer basically sticks his head in the sand and claims the two things aren't related. But when the price ratio of going Linux/OSS + PC vs. Windows/Office + PC goes up and the utility of the systems approachs par, this has to be bad news for MS.

    2. People selling Linux-based PCs in developing nations and installing pirate copies of Windows...

    Obviously, this is an ongoing problem for Microsoft. The real problem will be when the users don't immediately install Windows on the computer, and are happy with Linux. Indeed, this is the acid test for desktop Linux.
  • by Slime-dogg (120473) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:44PM (#5810376) Journal

    Microsoft Bob.

  • by bdowne01 (30824) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:52PM (#5810450) Homepage Journal
    No, no, no. Not in the home. It [PC price] hasn't come down in the last several years at all. Remember when sub-$1,000 PCs were all the rage. The percentage of sub-$1,000 or $500 PCs is not significantly different today than it was several years ago. There is more capability every year for the price, but the same could be said for Microsoft Office 2003.


    Well Steve, considering that Windows/Office can generally make up about 50% of the PC's price...you're right. They haven't budged at at all.

    Pretty amazing what a monopoly can let you do eh?
  • by Q-Cat5 (664698) on Friday April 25, 2003 @01:58PM (#5810507)
    Okay, maybe I'm just missing the big pic here, but what exactly has MS innovated again? (Apart from massively restricitive licensing, anti-competitive "bundling", etc.) From what I can see:

    MS has a GUI. Apple and Xerox did it first.
    MS has multi-tasking. OS/2 had it before MS did, and many OS's did/do it better even after MS finally got around to it.
    MS has Word. WordPerfect, among others, did it first.
    MS has Excel. Anyone heard of Lotus 1-2-3? Or VisiCalc?
    MS has IE. Netscape, Mosaic, et al. all came first.
    MS has Outlook, and I know for a fact I got e-mail on various clients long before Outlook was a glint in the e-postman's eye.
    MS has "Age of Empire". Microprose already did Civilization.
    MS has X-Box. Sony and Nintendo already had products in this area.
    MS Money is a Quicken clone.
    Visio was already Visio before MS purchased them.
    MS NetMeeting was innovated by another company (Databeam) and purchased by MS.
    MSN Instant Messenger comes from IRC by way of AIM and ICQ.
    For that matter, MSN is basicaly a value-added ISP, essentially AOL with butterflies.
    Windows NT was really IBM's OS/2 technology for the most part.
    DOS was purchased, and was, in any case, basically CP/M.
    Windows post 95(b) provides Internet Access via TCP/IP, but they were probably the last player to enter that game.
    Media Player is basically just RealPlayer.

    Someone please enlighten me . . . apart from legal and marketting ploys, what has MS actually innovated? What technology did they come up with themselves? (As opposed to either buying someone else's tech and rebranding it, or cloning someone else's idea.) So far, only ones I see as possibles are MS Project and MS PowerPoint, but I have a feeling that these are purchased technology also. (I seem to recall reading as much, but can't find the reference at the moment.)

    Any MS apologists care to give us a list of MS innovations?
  • by mok000 (668612) on Friday April 25, 2003 @03:01PM (#5811092)
    Rumors are that the US goverment is going to appoint Balmer as the new Information minister for Iraq. "We need someone to match the format of former information minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf in his formidable communication of current events" a spokesman for the Bush administration comments...

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