12.27.08

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Microsoft’s Proprietary Web ‘Extensions’ Already Harm GNU/Linux, Rival Web Browsers

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We should design some of our extensions explicitly so that IBM can’t run them under OS/2. We need to put real thinking into this.”

8ill Gates [PDF]

Buddha
Namhae, South Korea

LAST MONTH we wrote about what Microsoft is doing in Korea. In yesterday’s news we found the impact of what it had been doing to this nation (which is now deeply entangled in Microsoft’s anti-standards for the Web) and how it directly affects GNU/Linux adoption.

Most of us have already seen this Viliv S5 at IDF 2008, but it was based on Linux OS and Hansoft’s 3D Cubic launcher. Maybe they did so then because Intel is currently pushing Linux OS to their future platforms like Moorestown.

[...]

Most MID- or NetBook makers in Korea would like to install Linux OS to save cost and reduce the retail price on their units but Korea’s Internet environment isn’t able to accept this. No Internet banking services, No Internet shopping, unable to login to major community sites as well as being unable to post to some blogs. Microsoft Korea don’t have to promote or market their OS to avoid those alternative OS from MID makers.

GNU/Linux is not the only competing technology that Microsoft harms with potentially-underhanded tactics. Using Silverlight, it does the same thing to rival Web browsers, in addition to GNU/Linux, which will never have a Silverlight plugin.

Why Silverlight does not support Opera

With the release of Silverlight 2 in October, Microsoft added official support for the newly released Google Chrome, in addition to IE, Firefox, and Safari support. Support for Opera, and other browsers with little market share, was nowhere to be seen.

That’s what happens when a company ignores a World Wide Web which is based on standards and instead delivers proprietary and closed objects like ActiveX, Office rendering modes, embedded Windows Media Player, and Silver Lie [1, 2, 3], then disseminates them.

If one complies with standards, then there is no need to support Web browsers; the browsers conform to standards, so compatibility works in reverse and it can always be assured. This also accommodates better for entry by new players.

“So, many of these deviations from standards are not about innovation — they are design decisions whose goal is to crush competition.”Where are all those regulators who realised at the time that Silver Lie was anti-competitive and hugely harmful? There was also a formal investigation in the European Commission last year, but perhaps due to laziness, nothing has been heard about it since then. Microsoft uses Novell (Moon Lie [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]) to get regulators off its back while carrying on with GNU/Linux neglect and hostility [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Here is an E-mail that Bill Gates sent to Paul Maritz (now the CEO of VMware, after the tossing out the company's founder for reasons we last mentioned this morning) and to Brad Sliverberg, the guy who wrote: “I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.” Microsoft Jack thinks that it's some sort of a joke. Brad Sliverberg also wrote: “b) put a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows. [...] the most sensible thing from a development standpoint is to continue to build dependencies on msdos into windows.” That latter one is deliberate technical sabotage against competitors, using fake error messages (see DR-DOS posts [1, 2, 3, 4] for more details) and he was named "the least credible of all of Microsoft’s many" in a lawsuit against Microsoft for vapourware tactics.

Anyway, here is the E-mail, which was also sent (as a carbon copy) to Nathan Myhrvold, who is now Microsoft's main patent troll, gradually joined by others like Gates [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:


—original message—
From: 8ill Gates
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 1997 10:34 AM
To: Paul Maritz; Brad Sliverberg
Cc: Nathan Myhrvold; Aaron Conforer; Jim Allchin (Exchange); John Ludwig; Richard Fade; Jon DeVaan;~ Steven Sinofsky
Subject HTML. Opervieec

There has recently been an exchange on email with people in the Office group about Office and HTML.

In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.

[...]


It goes on and discusses patents too (the full E-mail is here [PDF]). So, many of these deviations from standards are not about innovation — they are design decisions whose goal is to crush competition. These decisions come from above, from the very stop. People want to be fair to rival browsers, but Bill Gates himself objects to it. To those who think it was a momentary flip, well… no. Bill Gates repeated this two years later:


….. Original Message …..
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 1998 12:44 PM
To: Bob Muglia (Exchange); Jon DeVaan; Steven Sinofsky
Cc: Paul Maritz
Subject: Office rendering

One thing we have got to change in our strategy – allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company.

We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities.

Anything else is suicide for our platform. This is a case where Office has to avoid doing something to destroy Windows.

I would be glad to explain at greater length.

Likewise this love of DAV in Office/Exchange is a huge problem. I would also like to make sure people understand this as well.


The full correspondence is here, as plain text or as PDF [PDF]. We could comment further on people to whom this was sent. Jim Allchin’s felonies were covered in this Web site very extensively in the past and Paul Maritz is always part of this type of correspondences. With Bob Muglia and Steven Sinofsky in some of the most senior Microsoft roles at the moment, this type of behaviour must not be ignored.

The quote at the very top is from 1991, so it validates at least 8 years of the “incompatibility strategy.” Not much has ever changed, based on what we already know.

Jim Allchin on Novell

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