NOV
24
2003

Report: KDE at Comdex

At first I was thinking to title this report, "Report: KDE at Comdex". You're thinking, well, that's what you did. Big deal. However, I then changed my mind and started to write a report entitled "Microsoft is Afraid". I think this is the most appropriate title. Then I realized that no-one would know what the real topic is, so I changed it back.

As many of you know, KDE was one of the winners in the O'Reilly contest to send six open source projects to Comdex. I went to Las Vegas to represent KDE, and brought my brother Matthew to help with the hordes of interested people.

The Comdex floor show opened on Monday, November 17. However, Bill Gates had his keynote speech on Sunday evening. We were able to attend in person, and it was an enlightening experience. Others have pointed out the behavior of Microsoft, and how they appear to follow the words of Gandhi: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." Well Microsoft did follow just this pattern. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer made a rather sad looking video of them taking on the roles of Morpheus and Neo in "The Matrix". The agents were Linux users, and their "kernel crashed" prompting them to "rewrite all of their drivers". Neo then had to make the choice of the little red Microsoft pill, or the "big blue, hard to swallow, IBM/Linux" pill. Ridiculing Linux may seem like a decent approach to them, but I think it shows how afraid they really are. They are preparing for a big fight (more to come on this). That being said, I think Bill Gates could use some public speaking lessons. He's not very charismatic. Perhaps I just expected too much from a billionaire philanthropist.

The KDE presence consisted of a small podium in the "Open Source Innovation Center", and was of course funded by O'Reilly. We had two laptops, a Dell Inspiron and an Apple Powerbook, both running random snapshots of KDE from CVS-HEAD. It was daring, but I don't recall encountering any problems in the course of demos. We occupied the podium for half of each day we were there, sharing it with other projects for the rest of the day.

Our demos mainly consisted of overviews of KDE, showing Konqueror, Kontact, KDevelop, Kopete, and other applications. We also had Kolab setup, but I don't recall anyone interested in seeing it in action. They were just interested that we even had such a thing, and then wanted to see the client. Despite all of this, the most popular features by far were Kiosk mode - for administrators/IT people - and Qt Designer - for developers. People were completely amazed with the power of Qt and Designer. It seems that many don't realize how powerful it can be. As for Kiosk mode, it is truly a "killer feature" for KDE. However, we need a GUI for this badly. We also need better, more centralized documentation.

It seems as though there is a list of important features that people need for accepting KDE (or even just Linux) on the desktop:

  • Office Suite - OpenOffice is the only choice presently
  • Groupware Client - Kontact looks promising, perhaps better than Evolution
  • Browser - Mozilla is there, but I don't see anyone having problems using Konqueror instead
  • Easy Updates - Right now we leave this up to the distro. Perhaps a bad idea, perhaps not
  • Remote Administration - We're getting there
  • Kiosk Operation - Here, KDE is king in infrastructure. We just need a UI
  • Basic Accessibility, Usability - We're as usable as other desktops, but we need better accessibility

Among the visitors to the KDE booth were CIOs, CEOs, VPs and Presidents of
major companies and smaller businesses, students, hobbyists, journalists, and
professionals. I was stunned to see executives from Fortune 500 companies
coming by for a demo of KDE, saying that it was their favorite desktop and that they hope that we continue to do such a good job so they can adopt KDE for desktop deployments in the future. I was most, and least, surprised by one class of visitor though. We had regular visits from Microsoft
employees! They wanted demos of KDE, to see how it works and what we have.
What an interesting situation. I soon discovered that this was not the only
place that Microsoft people were doing investigations.

On Tuesday there was a Linux Desktop conference in the afternoon. I decided it would be worthwhile to go to that, and while I was stuck at the booth for quite a while and ended up being 15 minutes late, I still managed to catch a significant portion of it. KDE (on SUSE) was used as the demonstration desktop on the screen, and the panel was quite supportive of KDE. I think this is partially because of Xandros and Lindows using KDE as well. I did not see any trace of Lindows people around, although my understanding is that they should have been there.

While the talk was going on, I heard some furious typing behind my back. I
turned around and could see someone two rows back writing on one of those
tablet PCs that nobody buys. I turned around further and there was someone
beside him typing on a laptop - whew, I wasn't insane! I wondered who was so
interested in this conference, and I tried to see their badges. They were
hidden, but as the talk ended I waited around until they got up. Microsoft.
I am not sure if I got their names right but according to LinuxWorld they were General Manager of Microsoft TV Marketing, Alan Yates, and Pascal Stoltz, director of Microsoft's Information Worker Group - the group producing Office, Visio, FrontPage, etc. Seems like someone is really interested in Linux on the desktop!

Overall the experience was great for KDE. I think our presence alone was
enough to help introduce KDE to a crowd that really wasn't too familiar with
Linux at all, let alone a Linux based desktop. I would like to thank O'Reilly
for their help and for giving us this wonderful opportunity. I would also
like to thank John Taber and the Las Vegas LUG for their help at the booth.

Comments

>> Guillaume Laurent is one of the most knowledgeable developers on KDE.

> Thanks, though I think you're giving me way too much credit here :-).

If you say so. ;-) Actually when I was just entering into Linux and application development I was at the point of believing that KDE had the superior development environment. Ironically while engaging in talkbacks on LT after a Gnome release I was being treated to the "C is superior argument" and it looked as if someone was even tactless enough to try and recruit me over. You got involved and I sat back and watched. I found your discussion informative and solidly based as you debunked wave upon wave of irrational attacks. I've been reading kde-devel for years and checked out your site. I first programmed in 1975 and have done so off an on in various languages since. It was my introduction to KDE where I finally gave in to resisting learning C/C++. Thanks to your input I not only felt better about my choices (which I was sure were right) but went directly to learning C++. Thanks!

>> Rosegarden, a program to complete with professional level music sequencers.

> Let's say we try to offer a cheaper alternative for hobbyists. We can't realistically be pitched against Cubase and the likes. The embryonnic state of the Linux audio framework doesn't help either. Once everybody runs 2.6 things should get quite better though.

Over the last few years I've become a strong advocate of FOSS so it's my first choice. Once I get Kitty Hooch farther along and I have achieved more of my goals with Quanta I plan to set up a music studio again and look into contributing to music and video production tools on KDE. Actually Andras is interested in this too. My wife was a professional musician and the three other members of my band in high school all went pro. I went into electronics. So I am sure I will be running your software, even if it isn't Cubase, and possibly submitting patches. I have high expectations. Don't let me down. ;-)

>> I am inclined to think his estimate for what it would take to get ahead is exaggerated

> 3.5 years of Rosegarden development and my professional exprience have taught me one thing : the Devil is in the details. That's where you spend 80% of dev time. Usually we stop at the 20% because, as geeks, we're happy with even alpha versions as long as they're stable enough. :-)

I didn't say I strongly disagreed... I said I really wanted to disagree and at this time could formulate more favorable scenarios. Why burst my bubble? I may pull it off. ;-) What I remember is that Quanta 2 was very simple and Quanta 3 is much larger and very complex internally. When you first look at it it does not appear that different, but then you find lots of little things adding up. It seems consistent with building web sites, houses or companies... It somehow is much more time consuming than you would imagine to do it right and we have unfortunately gone after those diminishing returns from time to time. However we are reaching the critical mass to attract more developers. At about 3 years in it's starting to get sweet. Fortunately for me those large companies are also aiming at moving targets with web development so our agility and their inadequacy can play in our favor.

I'd also have to add that I think part of what is wrong with your assessment is an understanding of expectations. Many people need to do basic particular tasks with a computer. What they need is efficeincy, reliablity, functionality and peace of mind. While some of this may vary for some, for a lot of people that formula is already there on KDE. It's all I use and I have friends who are amazed at what I can do with it. In reality most people need some form of computer guru to influence and direct them. I think within a year Quanta can be polished enough to be very compelling with innovations and features difficult to match. Make sure to have your stuff looking good when the web developers arrive and start bringing their friends. ;-)


By Eric Laffoon at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> Thanks!

Well I'm very glad I helped you this way. I'd never have thought my ramblings on the merits of C++ vs. C would have any influence on anyone, actually :-).

> So I am sure I will be running your software, even if it isn't Cubase, and possibly submitting patches. I have high expectations. Don't let me down. ;-)

Well, if you feel let down, you can always submit patches (see, that's another standard OSS way of thinking which doesn't really work for end user software :-).

> While some of this may vary for some, for a lot of people that formula is already there on KDE.

I agree, but, to get back to the point : are there enough of them to actually get MS worried ? That could happen with users in emerging countries, though. Who knows.

Good luck with Quanta, I was thinking of giving it a try whenever I'd feel like making my homepage less early-90's looking.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

>FYI Guillaume Laurent is one of the most knowledgeable developers on KDE. Even more interesting he came by way of developing on Gnome's C++ bindings and is one of the strongest advocates and apologists for C++ as opposed to C in Linux application programming. He's also one of the core developers of Rosegarden, a program to complete with professional level music sequencers.

Of course, if he worked for RedHat we'd all be up in arms saying he said "windows was better" and trying to kill the KDE market, wouldn't we? ;^)

That said ...
>Just because his assesment of KDE's competative posture to Windows is somewhat critical is no reason to call him a troll.

Agreed. however, just because of his developer status does not mean we take what he says as gospel. The underlying communication/understanding problem, however, lies in the fruits used for the comparison.

KDE is not a comparative to Windows95. Take all the OS stuff out of 95, and compare what is left if you want a more reasonable comparison. MSoffice was not a part of Windows95, so it is an added feature set. That means either you include OpenOffice to make a valid comparison, or you exclude Office95 from the comparison (Sorry, Koffice may be cool and integrated, but it doesn't integrate as well with others as OOo does).

Linux can be wrong. So can Guillaume Laurent.

Gurus they may be, infallible they are not. When you compare what the K *Destop Environment* does to what the Windows95 *desktop environment* does, K wins.

To compare the whole OS/DE package, take a Win95 isntall and compare it to a Linux/KDE install. Win95 fails on featureset vs Linux/KDE as well.

>From what George said about fortune 500 execs watching development and a current review of desktop penetration KDE has not broke into a clear lead in features.

They may have been taking notes as to what is new they don't have. Do you seriously think they were tehre taking notes like "has menus -> been there, done that" "has desktop icons -> been there done that, nothing new to see here"?

The more logical conclusion is that they saw something they or others *liked* and did not already have.

Does that mean the deal is done? Nope, it just means they are learning from elsewhere, that KDE or KDE/Linux has things they want or like.


By Bill at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

I'm more optimistic than you Guillaume.

For Microsoft, the challenge is not to have people use Microsoft products but to buy new Microsoft products in the future. Windows XP has not been a huge commercial success and customers keep their PC longer and are more and more reluctant to change.

On one side, the business desktop is becoming a commodity. Business people wan't an Office suite + Internet / Email that works and is stable. In a commodity market, the customer will choose on a certain ratio of quality/service/price. To compete with KDE / Linux ratio, Microsoft will have either to lower its prices or to offer a better quality or service. Longhorn will fail not because it is technologically stupid but because people don't want innovation, they just wan't Microsoft to fix Windows 95 and they don't wan't to pay for it.

On the other side, I was reading lately a very main stream Dutch computer magazine lately and I noticed that at least half of letters to the editor was about Linux and how Mr. Jan Janssen did some great thing with his new shiny Linux distribution. The same people that two years ago were downloading a new shareware for windows every day are flocking to Linux and KDE. Linux is now conquering not only the geeks but also computer fans.

I also think that the polishing in KDE is improving. Since, I've started working in the French translation team, I've seen the quality of translations improving. We have better tools (thank you KBabel) but also we are more experienced, we work and coordinate better. It is certainly slower than 10 professionnal translators working full-time but progress are made. I used also to be disappointed by the mess that kde-usability was with endless discussions on simple click vs double click but, there also, lately progress have been made, volunteers start to work in more efficient ways and usability is improving.

Our market share can only grow (but very slowly).


By Charles de Miramon at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> Longhorn will fail not because it is technologically stupid but because people don't want innovation, they just wan't Microsoft to fix Windows 95 and they don't wan't to pay for it.

I'd rather not make any predictions about Longhorn... When core technology becomes a commodity and you're dealing with non-tech people, the difference is made mostly with looks and some empty buzzwords, and MS is good at that. Many predicted Windows 2000 would fail too, same for XP. It didn't happen. Actually, for each MS's big move there's always a lot of people to predict it will be their downfall. And it doesn't happen.

> Linux is now conquering not only the geeks but also computer fans.
> I also think that the polishing in KDE is improving.

No doubt about that. My only point is, is that enough to really get MS worried ? I really don't think so. I don't mean we should give up or that our work is pointless, just keep our feet on the ground.

> the mess that kde-usability was with endless discussions on simple click vs double click

Reminds me that I still thoroughly hate interaction in konq's tree view. Selecting files and moving/copying them is a real PITA thanks to single click. :-)

See, this is an area where being able Reminds me that Konq


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

I tend to agree with what you are saying. KDE is a ways off, and to suggest that openoffice is the answer makes me wonder what is the question.

What I find interesting is what Microsoft's reaction will be. Typically their reactions to problems end up causing even more problems for themselves. Take Netscape. They reacted very strongly, pulled out all the stops and did what? Ended up a year and a half in court. Internet? They pulled out all the stops again. What happened? IIS. Blaster. They reacted without thinking and have got themselved into a problem that is really costing them money.

They still own the market. But they have lost goodwill. Then in response to a market decline, they raise prices.

The market is crying out for an alternative. Microsoft will respond in some way. In their mind it is a zero sum game. If they are afraid, reacting, they will do something stupid. Large organisations tend towards self-destruction.

We live in interesting times. And one day, imperceptibly, the foss desktop will reach the sweet spot. I define that spot as not needing any MS software at all. It isn't quite there yet. MS has delayed Longhorn because they figure they have the time.

Derek


By Derek Kite at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

The guy who got me into Linux (1992) was hired by MS in late '99 to work on figuring out how to take on Linux (the pay was >175K; can not blame him).

MS is very worried. In particular, one little tidbit that I heard was that Linux is on far more desktops than is being reported. They are very worried about having a chink in the desktop armor that funds all their other machines.
The issue is that they can not take on Linux the way that they have killed all others.

In light of China, Bazil, Far East, and Hopefully Europe, They know what to be afraid of but does not have a solution.

BTW, he also told me what I have heard from several others; They all hate working for Bill (thank god that Paul no longer works there; he was liked). Basically, he is nice to clients, but to employees he treats like crap. When a high-up person leaves MS to "do a start-up", the OSS world should make an attempt to encourage the move to OSS. Apparently, the vast majority of ppl leaving from the top side are leaving due to an inability to get along with Bill, not to propogate the word of bill.


By a.c. at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> one little tidbit that I heard [...]

You'll forgive me if I classify this as in the "feel-good rumors we all like to hear" category.

> The issue is that they can not take on Linux the way that they have killed all others.

Of course they can. They have practically unlimited resources, ours are very limited.

> In light of China, Bazil, Far East, and Hopefully Europe, They know what to be afraid of but does not have a solution.

Government use and general public use are two different thing. However that could trigger some of these governments to provide funding or ressources. There's hope there.

> Basically, he is nice to clients, but to employees he treats like crap.

Like 90% of all CEOs. Come on. Do you think MS will crumble because of this ?? So far it didn't seem to be much of a problem for them :-).


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

"Of course they can. They have practically unlimited resources, ours are very limited."

But they still ignore the principle of free software. The only way they will be able to avoid the tide is to release their own version - under a OSS license - which will not ever happen.

Yes, OSS resources are somewhat limited. I'd do more (or something at all) if I was better at C++ (I'm a perl guy). Projects like PerlQt and PyKDE and other bindings for other languages are going to release a storm of applications available for KDE. I have some started and back burnered for when I have more time (probably most people who read here have such projects in mind).

But, though the resources are limited, the resources are there.

And most important, there is nothing that brings people to your cause than being repressed by a known bully. If direct oppression of an OSS project began, there would be bad press, and plenty of outside organizational support for that project. Microsoft's best tactic is to leave OSS alone and hope that it dies. But it won't. But that is still Microsoft's best tactic. That, or embrace it (and probably extend it).


By PaulSeamons at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> But they still ignore the principle of free software.

But they have a working business model.

> The only way they will be able to avoid the tide

What tide ? Since the late 90's heydays we've been clamoring "watch out, the open source tide is coming, weee!". And then, nothing. Yes, it is slowly propagating, we are definitely making constant progress, but a tide ? That's just wishful thinking.

> Projects like PerlQt and PyKDE and other bindings for other languages are going to release a storm of applications available for KDE.

Yeah right, it sure worked wonders for Gnome. :-)
Again, wishful thinking. You can setup prototypes with bindings, or even make very simple applications (like the admin tools each distrib has), but that's as far as you can get. You need to have direct access to the toolkit you use if you want to be able to get all the details right, and it doesn't scale too well either. In short, you're not going to write something like Konq or KOffice in Perl, Python or even Ruby.

> I have some started and back burnered for when I have more time (probably most people who read here have such projects in mind).

You're right, they certainly do. And that's the key here : "when I have more time". Development for end-user apps takes time. A *lot* of time. I understand from your other post that you have a family, so let me make you an easy prediction : you will *never* get around to finish any of those projects you have in mind. You may start a couple, but they will hardly ever get pass beta stage. Trust me, I speak from experience here.

> And most important, there is nothing that brings people to your cause than being repressed by a known bully.

There's a huge gap between being brought to a cause and actually devoting time for it. I've been one of the 3 project leaders for a fairly large (>150KLOCs) KDE application for more than 3 years. Ever since we have a solid code base and the 1st release was made (2 years ago), we've been receiving about 1 or 2 offers for help per month. Out of all these, about 4 or 5 ever turned out into significant contributions.

David Faure will tell you exactly the same thing about KOffice, getting help on a large application is very hard. I think Mozilla would have disappeared if it weren't for the paid Netscape employees.


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

>> The issue is that they can not take on Linux the way that they have killed all others.

>Of course they can. They have practically unlimited resources, ours are very limited.

No. In the past, the did all sorts of thing to remain on top.
They have stolen ideas, employees, and even code.
Allmost all involved destroying a company by removing their revenue.
They illegally destroyed Dr.DOS and paid US$ .5B . Not chump change.
But they also gained 10's of billions on the deal.

OSS is apparently a very big deal to them as they can not destroy it.
Every time they go after a company another springs up.
They will be using Political avenues here in the US to take us on, which is why they are now cozy with all sorts of US politicians.
The problem is outside of the US.
Only so many politicians can be bought.

>> Basically, he is nice to clients, but to employees he treats like crap.

>Like 90% of all CEOs. Come on. Do you think MS will crumble because of this ?? So far it didn't seem to be much of a problem for them :-).

No. Bill is apparently a total a**hole to his own employees. Right now, it is hard to leave MS due to the economy, but as time picks up, they will leave.
The very top echolon who work with bill get turned off to MS and want nothing to do with it. It is easy to persuade them on their next venture, to save money AND get back at gates.

Do I expect MS to Fall? No!
But is it having MS crumble? yes, yes, they are slowly crumbling.
1 niche at a time.
If nothing else look at comdex. Apparently, OSS was a big hit at Comdex.
There will be more like this.


By a.c. at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> No. In the past, the did all sorts of thing to remain on top.

What matters is now. Read this :

http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winserver2k3_gold2.asp

> No. Bill is apparently a total a**hole to his own employees.

ROTFL. Are you still in college ? Have you ever had a paid job ? I'm sorry but I can't imagine how else you could be so naive. I've talked with a couple of CEOs and other high execs. They can be very nice, but basically they are all monomaniac assholes. There are very very few exceptions, because when you're in charge of a company it means you're working every day, and twice as hard as anyone else. It takes a very special mind to do that, an obsessive one. Steve Jobs is another famous example. Did Apple crumble because of him ? May be because he didn't have Gates' pragmatism and ability to recognize when he was wrong, but certainly not because he mistreated his employees. And these days where Apple is slowly rising again, I don't hear anything about him being a nice guy. They *all* give hell to their employees that to some level. That's basic competition.

And BTW, very few MS employees will ever get the chance to meet Gates, and a lot of them do admire him.

> they are slowly crumbling.

Come on, what's the color of the sky on you planet ? MS is still enjoying a higher growth rate than most companies around.

> 1 niche at a time.

Which was the last one ? Servers ? They're gaining market shares, Linux is eating into old proprietary Unices. Gaming ? The X-Box was supposed to be a failure, it's still there, the Game Cube has fallen behind, and Sony doesn't feel so well either. PDAs ? The "pocket" edition of Windows (whatever it's called now) has gone from 0 to about 50% and rising, all taken from the previously "unbeatable" competitor, Palm OS.

I don't like MS, I'm very worried about their current position, and I think Open Source *must* exist as a viable alternative. But I'd rather not hide my head in the sand and hope for them to "crumble" because Bill is mean to his staff and that's very bad booo.


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> What matters is now. Read this :
>
> http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winserver2k3_gold2.asp

Wow, no wonder their software is so buggy ;-) (and expensive)

At some point I agree with you, linux is for people who like to build their own environment, do more with their PC than joe average.
Otoh, what I see at my company, is the ever growing annoyance to MS. Not the least their pricing policy (and the impact it has on IT spending). Linux might not be so policed as Windows, but comes along nicely. And what inovations are there lately? (remember the 'good enough' arguments) And don't forget MS was lagging behind in Internet techs, due to it's non UNIX background. And still is in network transparency imo.
For non-geek home users, I see no future for Linux unless the hardware driver issue is resolved somehow, sorry. Disagree on the pda/handy though, user don't care what it drives, as long as it can make pictures, play mp3, sms etc.


By koos at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> Wow, no wonder their software is so buggy ;-)

I assume you're kidding. Getting a project this size done with the level of quality XP has is nothing short of astounding. Ask any experienced software dev (one experienced enough to have gone pass the "I know better" stage).

> ever growing annoyance to MS. Not the least their pricing policy

Ever growing ? While I very much agree that they probably will have to change their pricing policy, the consensus at my workplace is rather that XP is a pretty good platform, much better than all they've released before.

> Linux might not be so policed as Windows, but comes along nicely.

Yes,which is why I'm hoping a large company like IBM would put a lot of ressource into polishing it. Polish is actually what takes most of the time and effort, and where most OSS software fails.

> And don't forget MS was lagging behind in Internet techs

They've always been lagging in one area or another, and have always ended up taking the lead anyway.

> Disagree on the pda/handy though, user don't care what it drives

Indeed a user doesn't care about the OS of his phone or PDA. I fail to see how that would prevent Windows to take the lead there as well.


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> I assume you're kidding

No, I'm not and 'gone pass the "I know better" stage' proves it :-) Think about it how silly this argument is..
Actually if I read all those mailing lists, lkml, XFree, whatever, that are quite some people. But I'm sure these discussions are more about how do we make it really good, than about how can we kill our competitors and earn more.

> rather that XP is a pretty good platform, much better than all they've released before

Well I've heard different stories, people reverting their w2k upgrade to XP because of stability issues. Although I must admit, I use it too little to judge. For us, industrial control, MS platforms are too single user oriented. Doing maintenance remotely soon means taking over the desktop. But ok, that's our usage...

> and have always ended up taking the lead anyway

because MS has windows, users have no choice do they? Well some choose Mac..

> I fail to see how that would prevent Windows to take the lead there as well.

because this has nothing to do with windows, but all with features (and price)


By koos at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> Actually if I read all those mailing lists, lkml, XFree, whatever, that are quite some people.

Yes, with no coordination beyond their own project. That's how MS baffles me, really.

> But I'm sure these discussions are more about how do we make it really good, than about how can we kill our competitors and earn more.

I doubt all MS devs worry only about competition and earning more, they are geeks just like us, no matter how shocking that may sound :-). Competition is the role of upper management. And as far as discussing about how to make good software doesn't mean you'll get the right answers. I've had long discussions on subjects leading to a conclusion we were certain was the best one, only to learn much later on than we were dead wrong. I used to think GTK+ bindings were a good idea :-).

> because this has nothing to do with windows, but all with features (and price)

My question still stands : how would that stop Windows from taking the lead on the PDAs too ? Why would it all of a sudden stop gaining market share ? These exact same arguments have been offered against it since the beginning, I think they've been proven false by now.


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> Yes, with no coordination beyond their own project. That's how MS baffles me, really

Yeah, we make zillions of browser/media players/etc and they only one. That's so true (and has of course everything to do with having fun with coding your own cool features).

> how would that stop Windows from taking the lead on the PDAs too ?

Only time will tell of course, but it's definitly an area outside Windows. Closed devices don't require easy installable drivers, backwards compatibility and so on. Currently it looks Java is in the lead on mobile phones. I'm sure MS will do anyting to get C# on it and I wonder what their killer will be..


By koos at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

ROTFL. Are you still in college ? Have you ever had a paid job ? I'm sorry but I can't imagine how else you could be so naive.

hummmm. Normally, I ignore comment likes this, but perhaps it is time for you to change how you deal with ppl (based on some later comments in all your posts, you may find more ppl will work with you; or perhaps you are just having a really off day).

I am 44 YO.
I have a BS in genetics and CS.
I have worked at HP, IBM, US West AT, and Bell Labs (now Avaya).
Most of my work was done in C/C++/Perl.
At one of the projects 2 of us built a repository in under a year (80 Hour work weeks for 1 year).
We had >120K LOC ( mostly C++) with each of us having coded >20K (3/4 C++, then a number of other languages) LOC each (the rest was generated).

I've talked with a couple of CEOs and other high execs. They can be very nice, but basically they are all monomaniac assholes. There are very very few exceptions, because when you're in charge of a company it means you're working every day, and twice as hard as anyone else. It takes a very special mind to do that, an obsessive one. Steve Jobs is another famous example. Did Apple crumble because of him ? May be because he didn't have Gates' pragmatism and ability to recognize when he was wrong, but certainly not because he mistreated his employees. And these days where Apple is slowly rising again, I don't hear anything about him being a nice guy. They *all* give hell to their employees that to some level. That's basic competition.

Yes, Jobs has been accused of being maniacal in the past (as has ellison who has made many enemies of his past employees). What of it. He probably was. The difference is that Jobs grew up, whereas Gates got worse. I do not mind single mindedness as that is what is required to code decently. But I have heard from several reputable ppl that he is beyond being a simple a**hole. I suggested it earlier because a number of top ppl have left due to dealing with him. These are openings that can be exploited. Look at Real. They use Linux BECAUSE of gates having been a total a**hole to the CEO who used to work for Gates and their needing to make profits.

And BTW, very few MS employees will ever get the chance to meet Gates, and a lot of them do admire him.

You are correct. Very few. I have yet to have met one who works with BG who admires him. I have met ppl who are removed from him who admire him. I have met far more ppl that simply use MS and know nothing about him, who very much admire him. But none of the few that I have known have a kind word to say about him. Normally, you can find one word for somebody even if you think that that individual is a total moron.

But I'd rather not hide my head in the sand and hope for them to "crumble" because Bill is mean to his staff and that's very bad booo.

Hide my head in the sand??? Not likely.

As I said they are crumbling. They are not falling as you use the word, but they are crumbling. Bit by bit. Look at Apache's graph @ netcraft. Look at Linux on the Net; it is increasing at a faster rate than MS. This is not much different than what happened to IBM back in the late 80s, early 90s. I was busy codeing and pushing MS. I would have lengthy discussions with others about how entrenched IBM was and I would argue back that they were crumbling at the base. IBM was overcharging their customers and delivering the apps that IBM wanted. As the base crumbled, MS and fanatics moved in for the kill. The same thing will happen here.

It would happen much faster if IBM (or HP or SGI) threw resources into it. Too be honest, they would be wise to do that to prevent 1 desktop from dominating again (think CDE and how it stagnated; I loved using it in 1993, but it was already stagnate ).

I currently work on 2 start-ups. The first requires Linux (government requirement).

the 2'nd is based also on Linux but will not be taking on MS directly. If all goes well, we will have our funding in the next 2 months (based on work a number of other start-ups, I am not counting on it).

So no head in the sand. Eyes are wide open


By a.c. at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> I am 44 YO.

Your resume is most impressive and I gladly admit I misjudged you, but then I'm even more surprised that you could expect MS to crumble because Gates is mistreating his employees. Don't you think the people who work close to him are rather thick-skinned too ? They didn't get at this level by being nice to others. If your theory was true all MS upper staff would have left during the Net bubble to create their startups. Some probably did, but apparently MS didn't suffer much because of it.

> Look at Apache's graph @ netcraft.

Yes, the server market. Where else ? There's the embedded market but MS doesn't exist there. Aside of that ?

> MS and fanatics moved in for the kill. The same thing will happen here.

But at the time there was a strongly led company to do that move. We're a non-coordinated community, perhaps half of us still think that C is the ultimate programming language, and almost none of us will write a user manual.

> It would happen much faster if IBM (or HP or SGI) threw resources into it.

Well, you're more optimistic than me. I think it can't happen unless they do. We'll see. I'd love to be proven wrong.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> but then I'm even more surprised that you could expect MS to crumble because Gates is mistreating his employees.

To crumble due to Gate's mistreatment of his employees? If that is what I left you thinking, I am sorry.
MS is crumbling due to how it treats their customers (high prices, bad software, and killing all their partners).

How MS treats their employees is an opening that can be used by the OSS world to help it get ahead.

As to employees leaving during the bubble, they would have been insane to leave. MS was offering options to their top ppl that was making them as wealthy as most bubble companies (not yahoo/amazon rich, but mp3/napster level). And regular employees were offered options that made them in the upper echolon of employees. Why leave a for sure thing? I would gladly put up with 5 years of BG for 10-100M in options. Now, those options are not there. The MS salary is normally not that good (for the upper ppl and the lawyers, that is not true).

>But at the time there was a strongly led company to do that move. We're a non-coordinated community, perhaps half of us still think that C is the ultimate programming language, and almost none of us will write a user manual.

Agreed. One of the Cathedrial's strength is that they can be focused which allows it to correct past mistakes. The bazaar's strength is that we can move into niche that would be missed; like a Neural Network vs. a GA. It would be very useful to have OSDL be funded to work on projects like this. Perhaps employee document ppl that can help on various projects that are deemed important to OSS; have devoted documentors/translators to GNOME and KDE.


By a.c. at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> MS is crumbling due to how it treats their customers (high prices, bad software, and killing all their partners).

I'm still highly sceptic about this. The quality of their sofware has much improved, and they're now hard at building a solid base for their next system. I agree their pricing policy is a problem, but I wouldn't be on how serious it is.

> One of the Cathedrial's strength is that they can be focused which allows it to correct past mistakes.

Yes, and also to move their effort where it's useful, i.e. usually where customers show a need. It would be so nice if all the people working on the umpteenth skinnable irc client or text editor would help KOffice instead...

> It would be very useful to have OSDL be funded to work on projects like this.

May be this will eventually happen through a government or large administration, who knows.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

>> The issue is that they can not take on Linux the way that they have killed all others.

> Of course they can. They have practically unlimited resources, ours are very limited.

They have incredible financial resources, but their tactics in the past have revolved around financial attacks. Offering IE free took the finances out of Netscape. Easy kill. Even so they were unable to kill Intuit. Not only are those tactics at best marginally effective on FOSS but nearly every other tech company in the world is looking to align themselves against MS because of their under handed dirty deeds. That is another problem all together and big enough to hurt even MS. Beyond that there is the obvious trend toward commoditization in packaged software. They are going to be hurt regardless.

Aside from the above you should know that they have issues of legacy code bases that are a mess and they have not usually used good methodologies. Not only that IBM is supporting Linux because of the billions of dollars they spent on OS design with OS/2, Taligent, AIX and others to produce what? Taligent was the cross platform dream that's dead, OS/2 made money but not enough and AIX doesn't offer all the nice things that Linux does out of the box. Most companies can't afford the absurd sums of OS design and tack on the other issues with MS historically doing their code base quick and dirty to push out competitors and you see that monumental resources are at best barely enough. There's a reason they focused on eliminating rather than competing.

>> In light of China, Bazil, Far East, and Hopefully Europe, They know what to be afraid of but does not have a solution.

> Government use and general public use are two different thing. However that could trigger some of these governments to provide funding or ressources. There's hope there.

There are already examples of things started or well into development in these places. How it all plays out remains to be seen but it looks good so far.

>> Basically, he is nice to clients, but to employees he treats like crap.

> Like 90% of all CEOs. Come on. Do you think MS will crumble because of this ?? So far it didn't seem to be much of a problem for them :-).

You should have a look at http://billparish.com for an analysis of MS finances. Those people who have been close to Gates have told stories of his petty nature like throwing a fit over losing at a party game. It's a logical extention of his life experience. He was fortunate enough to go to Harvard and not long after dropping out his fledgling company landed a deal with IBM. We develop character from dealing with adversity. Please tell me where Gates has had any requirement to "grow up". His immaturity and driven focus are well documented. It's logical to believe this, combined with an lack of opportunity to develop empathy, could result in an abusive personality. Immature people are often nice to strangers and abusive to those close to them.

While I don't actually know Gates and can't substantiate his behavior with employees I can look at how he has treated them from public record. Many of the early ones became quite wealthy. That's because he pays low on the scale and then gives stock options to round out the package. They then do a little bookkeeping magic to make this work to their favor for taxes. In fact a decline in stock value represents a potential disaster for them. For one thing it means that the compensation for employees is no longer attractive, another reason to eliminate competition. An exodus of employees could result in a run on stock and a devaluing of the company. Currently they use their valuation and rating to indicate the amount of liquid assets by a formula that includes stock valuation. In fact this means they don't have the funds on hand they appear to but they can borrow money so cheaply that they end up with huge resources. Parish asserts that they are cooking the books and have been operating at a loss for some time. If he is right a deflation of their valuation would make a huge impact in the US and world markets, and because many tech companies on the NASDAQ use the same accounting practices a MS stock collapse could cause economic turmoil on an international level. That doesn't mean MS would be over. They're far too wealthy to be destroyed over that. It does mean they would most likely quickly fade into a smaller vertical market vendor.

The most telling thing about MS is that they are into several other big business ventures that are losing money hand over fist and they are desperately pouring cash in looking for them to develop into revenue streams. Why do that? It's the obvious reason that they know that it will be hard to sustain an advantage forever against an ever improving free product. I would agree they're not so much scared as paranoid of any negative indicator. They are still lead by Billy boy though and he missed the internet by several years.

There is an old business model to illustrate who can gather which markets. It's the monkey and the elephant. The huge elephant cannot be opposed when it lumbers into a village to take what it wants... but the monkey is more agile and faster. It can beat the elephant to the food and harass the elephant and the elephant can't do much about it as long as it is among trees, the monkey's habitat. The lesson is the monkey can win if it doesn't try to play the game like an elephant. ;-) FOSS can become just too many monkeys.


By Eric Laffoon at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

> their tactics in the past have revolved around financial attacks.

As long as they can produce software faster than us, I doubt they'll be very worried.

> Aside from the above you should know that they have issues of legacy code bases

One of the reason Windows took the lead is precisely their obsession with backward compatibility. They have a much better track record than Linux in that area I'm afraid.

> they have not usually used good methodologies.

I know you're managing Quanta, but unless you've managed projects at least an order of magnitude larger in the past I don't think you have the experience to judge about MS methodologies. It's quite obvious they are far from perfect, but I wouldn't dismiss them so lightly.

> IBM is supporting Linux because of the billions of dollars they spent on OS design with OS/2, Taligent, AIX and others to produce what?

I have worked for IBM, and have kept friends there. OS/2 was the victim of IBM's own mismanagement, at a time where each department was fighting with its neighbor. It could have fared much better otherwise. I have no info on Taligent, but AIX is alive and well, still part of IBM's offer, and still has features which Linux hasn't, because they haven't been retrofitted in yet. Yes, it's on the way out, and IBM is capitalizing its AIX investment by moving into Linux all the good AIX features. Without them, Linux would still lag behind AIX. To IBM, Linux is a way to get free maintenance for AIX.

> Those people who have been close to Gates have told stories of his petty nature like throwing a fit over losing at a party game

Yes, so what. The man is the richest person in the world, and drove his company to #1 position. I fail to see how his peculiar persona would cause MS to crumble all of a sudden.

> he missed the internet by several years.

Yes, and he *recognized his mistake and fixed it*. That's one of his top qualities IMHO. Each time he saw he was wrong and the market was going in another direction, he'd follow, no matter how far he'd gone on the opposite direction, and eventually win. The same happened when they initially dismissed Java. They ended up having a better JVM than Sun's (and yes, I remember the "extend" they did on Java - doesn't change the fact they still won).


By Guillaume Laurent at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

"As long as they can produce software faster than us [snip]"

By stating this you are contradicting many people's impression. FOSS needed way less time to reach the level high enough to rival Microsoft's output than Microsoft itself invested so far.


By Datschge at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

>> "As long as they can produce software faster than us [snip]"

> By stating this you are contradicting many people's impression. FOSS needed way less time to reach the level high enough to rival Microsoft's output than Microsoft itself invested so far.

Well this is what is really intrigueing about Guillaume's position. It is both true and untrue that we produce software faster, but it is interesting that with his experience he takes the position he does, especially when he is able to also promote the architectures we use. In fact there are a lot of factors. On the level of OS and desktop together MS has proven that they can run years behind schedule, dump much of the feature list, have a lot of problems with launch and have less backward compatibility with hardware and often legacy programs than the Linux platform. Granted rolling them all into one makes a larger target, but just as win95 killed the Pentium Pro because it was only a little 32 bit and a lot of thunked 16 bit rehashed win 3.11 they often aren't getting that much done internally. I know this is from the end user perspective and there much of this went over well... largely as it had no solid alternative. Quick and dirty means bugs and maintenence problems down the road but MS has massive resources to churn it out.

I tend to look at things very much abstracted to the big picture. MS keeps seeing huge growth in lines of code, time to market and cost with each of these versions. Now granted no matter how clean and efficient we are we don't have the imagined legions of developers arriving daily. Still the question has to be asked, does MS ever pay the piper for bad design decisions? I think to a degree they already have. Not only that, any study of software models recognizes a diminishing return at some point adding bodies to large projects that haven't been well modularized.

Given all the various factors I believe that at some point the benefits of well designed collaborative development can and almost certainly will out pace the MS machine, expecially with their relentless pursuit to spread themselves over everything.


By Eric Laffoon at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> less backward compatibility with hardware and often legacy programs than the Linux platform

I agree with the hardware issue, but not legacy programs. You'll have a hard time trying to run a binary compiled more than 2 years ago on Linux (not even taking the distrib fragmentation into account). Having the source code let us work around that most of the time, but that's not something Joe User can cope with.

> MS keeps seeing huge growth in lines of code, time to market and cost with each of these versions

The time to market may not be that much of a problem if you consider that they aim for what is today very high-end PCs for Longhorn, and, contrary to OSS folklore, releasing often is not something users particularly like, only geeks do. As Charles said in his post, people aren't too fond of upgrading their working system unless it's for a very good reason.

> adding bodies to large projects that haven't been well modularized.

Absolutely, but all I've read about Longhorn so far indicates it *is* well modularized. MS has always been very good at learning from its mistakes.

> benefits of well designed collaborative development

That's assuming we're doing "well designed" development. No offense here, but because you're working on OSS doesn't mean you're a good designer. I've seen a lot of crappy OSS code, even in KDE, and I've even committed my share of it in Rosegarden :-). Because I didn't know better, or I was in a rush, or l was lazy, whatever. That OSS is always technically superior to prorietary is also a myth.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> By stating this you are contradicting many people's impression.

That "impression" is a complete myth dating from ESR's Cathedraal and the Bazaar (even before that, actually). We all gladly bought it because it felt so good and could appear real if you don't look too much into details (like packaging, documentation, QA, etc...). But working both on OSS and for a proprietary software vendor, I came to realize it wasn't true.

Basically OSS (I should say "community development" here) is very good at issuing tech prototypes, or proof of concepts. Things which are good enough for geeks to play with and even use, so we treat them as actual software. But for polished, end-user oriented products, that's another story, and the reason is that it requires a different kind of effort, at a much larger scale. It requires working on unpleasant, non-sexy things (doc, silly UI details) and we generally don't like doing that. It requires working full-time because it's very hard to keep up with a large code base if your mind isn't constantly into it, and we generally do this in our free time.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

You know what? You make it sound like the computer world revolves around the desktop, and only the desktop. Regarding Microsoft focus in the past and the area where they make most of their money, you are absolutely right. But just like the desktop is not all regarding computers, Microsoft is far from having all around solutions (and "silly UI details" is a really superficial argument which hardly holds beyond desktop, besides that that's one issues you keep contradicting yourself in several of your slew of post you flooded here). Microsoft, after 2000, finally got the idea that they need to invest more in their (now separated) server offering if they want to stand a chance against existing offerings, and they are even proud telling everyone they need 1000 developers working on that. Also they got the idea that they need to convert to code infrastructure which allows them to run closed source on different computer architectures, for making up the disadvantage that open source is pretty easy to adapt to new architectures, especially when compared to closed source applications by companies unwilling to port them at all. Just look at the XP for AMD64 disaster so far as a proof why the change is needed.


By Datschge at Wed, 2003/11/26 - 6:00am

> You make it sound like the computer world revolves around the desktop

The question is, is MS worried by KDE. That's pretty much desktop-related, don't you think ?

> besides that that's one issues you keep contradicting yourself

Please show me where.


By Guillaume Laurent at Wed, 2003/11/26 - 6:00am

A couple of thoughts..

As FOSS continues to grow in popularity, development will continue to increase. Given the open nature of the source, it is very appealing to developers and I personally think it is not too difficult to see how FOSS can easily out code Microsoft.

Sure Microsoft is able to recognize when they have been late to the game and are able to come back around and dominate in the market. However, lets contrast this to FOSS development -- seems like people are always porting and developing for esoteric devices, platforms and architectures. Perhaps the development model promotes being "right on time". It seems like anything that is a viable market that it makes sense to run FOSS software, there is some type of FOSS available. Let it be PDAs, IPv6, a myriad of various processors (AMD64, Itanium, IA32, G5 to name a few), game consoles (dreamcast, xbox, playstation), tablet pcs, laptops, notebooks, cellphones, set top boxes, PVRs, datacenters, mainframes, etc... Whats cool is the fact that many times these devices share a lot of the same code (open source is nice.. no reason to reinvent the wheel) and only device specific requirements are created.

As far as Microsoft crumbling ... as the company is today, yes, I think there is a very dim future. The company will need to reinvent itself perhaps to be more service orientated, relying less on pushing packaged products and more on custom development (ie the Great River acquisition). Or perhaps a continued focus on internet related services. Who knows. I have a feeling that shortly after Longhorn is released, Gates will take a significantly less active roll in Microsoft's affairs (by that time, he should be pretty much fully divested from Microsoft stock) -- I see him as perhaps being only a board member. I kinda wonder what that will do to the company. It is still quite a ways in the future which makes it very difficult to speculate what the tech landscape would look like. Time will tell I suppose. :)


By John Alamo at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

>> their tactics in the past have revolved around financial attacks.

> As long as they can produce software faster than us, I doubt they'll be very worried.

I hope they don't worry. It enhances vulnerability. ;-) Anyway, maybe i'm too entrenched in what my dad taught me. "Do it right or do it over". I personally believe that when you make decisions solely on the basis of cranking it out the door now you alienate customers with quality issues and alienate developers by making their life harder with more to fix than there should be. In fact they often let unchallenged software go for years to focus on what is challenged. win95 was clearly focused at the success OS/2 was having. When they have a respectable challenge across every package and as FOSS packages gather talent it will be interesting to see if this observation holds water.

>> Aside from the above you should know that they have issues of legacy code bases

> One of the reason Windows took the lead is precisely their obsession with backward compatibility. They have a much better track record than Linux in that area I'm afraid.

You mean like with FAT or the W2K gaming experience? I don't get it. I can point to broken distro issues with them not focusing on library issues and see real problems but I can still run KDE 2 along side KDE 3 on Gentoo so it'sa packaging issue. Any time you advance to new designs reworking support for old ones is a burden. A lot of people have complained that MS did not do so good here. Whatever the case it's generally accepted that if you can learn from the mistakes of the guy in front you can produce a less encumbered development scenario. I know... they have piles of developers. ;-)

>> they have not usually used good methodologies.

> I know you're managing Quanta, but unless you've managed projects at least an order of magnitude larger in the past I don't think you have the experience to judge about MS methodologies. It's quite obvious they are far from perfect, but I wouldn't dismiss them so lightly.

I'm not dismissing them lightly. I'm looking for strategic points of leverage where I can play on my strengths to be competitive. Certainly there is a lot I cannot judge but I believe there is a decision making process employed in commercial ventures that trades future benefit for present value. I could just be a naive idealist but I'm finding many people confirming the initial indicators of these theories from using our software. Future history is yet to be written, and while I respect your opinion, occasionally somebody accomplishes something that they were not supposed to be able to do because they believed what others doubted. Granted it didn't work for the guys who glued feathers to their arms but it did for a couple bicycle mechanics named Wilbur and Orville Wright. I am eager to learn, but I can't see as it's in your interest to squash my optimism. ;-)

> I have worked for IBM, and have kept friends there. OS/2 was the victim of IBM's own mismanagement, at a time where each department was fighting with its neighbor. It could have fared much better otherwise.

Yes, IBM has had some very bright people and they have made Gates nervous by his account in interviews. Most people don't know it was the best selling 32 bit OS on Intel for some time.

> To IBM, Linux is a way to get free maintenance for AIX.

Exactly, and to enhance and to provide tools. Operating systems were developed to make hardware more compatible and ease the design of software. They've always been terribly expensive and they've never made money to speak of after development costs. They have always been there to sell hardware or software, a necessary evil. IBM and others are all too glad to be able to shift from those costs to enhancing revenue streams giving them a huge advantage over a company that must develop operating systems. With this comes a set of tools, libraries and utilities... The threat of a word processor becoming a commodity like a CD player that you can just plug in is serious. Honestly I think the most difficult thing for MS is continuing to come up with excuses why you need 15 more statistical regressions on your spreadsheet this year when you haven't figured out the other ones.

>> Those people who have been close to Gates have told stories of his petty nature like throwing a fit over losing at a party game

> Yes, so what. The man is the richest person in the world, and drove his company to #1 position. I fail to see how his peculiar persona would cause MS to crumble all of a sudden.

Now you're just being argumentative. So if I'm not mistaken he's not the richest man in the world now. Some chain store owner is IIRC and that #1 position was fueld by some underhaded tactics with a lock and bundling. Granted not just any idiot could have done it but the odds were better than if IBM had written the PC OS. Regardless the argument wasn't that it would cause MS to crumble but that his obnoxious personality wasn't scoring any major loyalty points and that good people might well be keeping their options open. For you or me the rules are simple... to succeed at any large venture we have to build a loyal team of smart people and treat them well to keep that loyalty. We don't have the option to drive most of our competitors out of business and throw stock certificate and obscenities. Loyalty that is bought can be sold out.

None of it adds up to devastation for MS but all together it could add up to destabilizing trends that could affect their competitive posture. Unlike the MS strategy winning a horse race doesn't mean kneecapping all the other horses in the paddock. It means getting your nose in front of the other horse. Do it enough times and the other horse is considered ready for pasture by the general public.

>> he missed the internet by several years.

> Yes, and he *recognized his mistake and fixed it*. That's one of his top qualities IMHO. Each time he saw he was wrong and the market was going in another direction, he'd follow, no matter how far he'd gone on the opposite direction, and eventually win. The same happened when they initially dismissed Java. They ended up having a better JVM than Sun's (and yes, I remember the "extend" they did on Java - doesn't change the fact they still won).

Without a doubt his top quality is being relentless and merciless... but then again that was what got his company the honor of being the first company actually convicted of monopoly abuse in 100 years. One could argue he won there too, but I would submit that a man of a better nature could have done better. His victory in the browser war was based on giving away software for free and got them the law suit. On the server they were late enough coming around that the market trend is heavily in favor of Linux... barring some move to make web serving proprietary which I think would be met with distrust by most.

Even if they have won in these areas they still leave themselves open to a great deal of risk, which even they admit. I'm hardly complacent on the matter and while I have little respect for Gate's personally because of his tactics I have great respect for him and his company as aggressive promoters, solid marketers and capable developers. I happen to think Gates is socially inept and a meglomaniac who creates a public perception that is often not good for his company, but those are my personal opinions. I would never taunt them or have any comfort that they were not about to crush FOSS into dust if they had a way. Besides, I'm grateful to him. His behavior has done more to promote FOSS then Stallman and ESR together. ;-)


By Eric Laffoon at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

> I personally believe that when you make decisions solely on the basis of cranking it out the door now you alienate customers with quality issues and alienate developers by making their life harder with more to fix than there should be.

I'm don't think that all software MS releases is driver this way. I suppose you've read Joel Spolsky's chronicles. These ones in particular are quite interesting, both on how MS works and why their products are the way they are :

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000007.html
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/news/20020407.html

> You mean like with FAT or the W2K gaming experience?

No, I mean like with a.out->elf, libc5 vs. libc6, the various g++ instances, etc...

> The threat of a word processor becoming a commodity like a CD player that you can just plug in is serious. Honestly I think the most difficult thing for MS is continuing to come up with excuses why you need 15 more statistical regressions on your spreadsheet this year when you haven't figured out the other ones.

One of Joel's articles linked above addresses exactly that. And I can assure you that with the latest developments in Office XP, they're pretty much leaving Open Office in the dust. They turned the whole thing into a development platform for office (in the general sense) applications. Ironically, KOffice with KDE's dcop/kparts may stand a better chance at becoming a competitor (if it gets serious manpower).

> Regardless the argument wasn't that it would cause MS to crumble but that his obnoxious personality wasn't scoring any major loyalty points and that good people might well be keeping their options open.

If MS was still in its infancy, I could believe this was possible. But to expect this would happen after 20 years, no, I don't.

> His behavior has done more to promote FOSS then Stallman and ESR together. ;-)

Probably. Though as far as persona goes, I'd take him over ESR any time.


By Guillaume Laurent at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

Bad qualitiy, broken end ... but quite funny :-)

http://mitglied.lycos.de/forlf/Steve-o.wmv

Does someone have a complete version?

Bye

Thorsten


By Thorsten Schnebeck at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

i'd love to see a full-length-uncut-highest-res-version of that! I've seen some pictures of it, but they got removed on behalf of M$. And I cant find anything though google... anyone?


By cies at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

That's why P2P is there ;)


By JC at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

yes, d/l apollon today and search for it ! =)


By anon at Tue, 2003/11/25 - 6:00am

the kolab bit made me laugh.


By caoilte at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

I forgot to mention that during Bill's keynote, MS Outlook refused to send email while doing a demo. Quite funny. Overall it was a solid keynote technically, and he knows his stuff, but there were quite a few people dozing off and I was feeling the urge myself towards the end. It's also amazing that they still try to sell security as a product instead of treating it as a philosophy in design and development.


By George Staikos at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

If they are trying to sell security, it means that as soon as the crisis has passed, they will focus elsewhere. The 80-20 rule fits here. Fix the easy stuff, then get on with whatever else sells.

The buzz in the industry is in free software. Microsoft has no part of it, and can't be part of it. It is more than competition. It is humiliating. How many times do the sales people hear that we would instantly convert to something else if we could?

So far this industry has been a zero sum game. One winner, everyone else not only loses but disappears. Microsoft has won so far. If they lose this battle, what will happen to them? That is why they are worried. The rules that they established are not going their way.

Derek


By Derek Kite at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Hey, there's a cool story on LinuxWorld too. :-)


By Navindra Umanee at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Thanks for the report. Its very cool to see KDE sparked interest across such a huge spectrum of users, companies and organizations. As far as your regular visits from Microsoft -- it does not surprise me in the least. With so many current MS customers taking interest in KDE and Linux on the desktop, Microsoft needs to understand how to position itself to deter people from switching. Lets face it, MS is effectively between a rock and a hard place -- the rock being FOSS and the hard place trying to find the next "killer application" that will make people want to upgrade.


By John Alamo at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Too bad a GUI fot KIOSK is only planned for KDE 3.3 !
This killer feature might come a bit late ... for companies.


By Phil at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Interesting, Microsoft are trying to stop people seeing clips of their matrix video - http://www.tabletpctalk.com/pictures/comdex2003billg2a.shtml .

Does anyone know where I can get it? (And a proper video format - not some windows media video rubbish!)

Many thanks :-)


By Anonymous at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Very. I thought I even saw a KDE desktop in one of those screenshots.


By Anonymous at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

The Microsoft answer is that this keynote wasn't for the media and can't be diffuse. Or something like that. Wait for a few days and there will be some videos on p2p network.


By JC at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Sun's Java Desktop is working on a 3D desktop, the Looking Glass 2.
I suspect sooner or later KDE will be considering 3D...

Here's the preview of LG2: http://www.xtremetechshow.com/shows/lg/media/lgcommercial.mp4


By Mojo_risin at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Lol
There is a least one X window project existing to do that. I can't remember the name.
But it's totally unusable. That's cool but you can't work like that. And to find my hidden window, I prefer the classic ALT+tab than rotating the whole screen during 10 second.
And I guess my computer is not fast enough to run such


By JC at Mon, 2003/11/24 - 6:00am

Pages