Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / XP

  • Jan 04 / 2009
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XP, Obsolete When It Was Released?

XP was obsolete by ordinary standards of computer science in 2001 when it was released and remains today inferior to other operating systems such as GNU/Linux.

Part I


In a meeting of a committee for information technology, the statement was made that Windows XP was obsolete when it was introduced in 2001. This brought comments of “Windows bashing” and “negativity”. Here, the case will be made in support of the assertion. What makes an operating system obsolete can be issues of quality, reliability, features and the availability of something better. GNU/Linux was better than XP in 2001. It did not crash. It had all the features we needed.

Part II
Properties of a Good Operating System, circa 1970

Forty years ago, computer science was thriving. Universities had access to a variety of expensive but barely affordable main-frame, mini and, about 1974, micro computers. The knowledge of what a operating system needed to do and how to develop reliable software were being developed. The first GUIs emerged. UNIX emerged. UNIX was the standard operating system of computer science for several reasons:

  • ATT had developed UNIX for the purposes of their own business but
    had realized that UNIX had market value.
  • They shared the source code with many universities so that a wider range of higher expertise could be employed to improve the operating system. This code became so much superior to most other commercial operating systems that it became the standard for large businesses and universities around the world.
  • Eventually ATT decided to cash in and made the licence for the binary and source code very expensive and restrictive. A legal suit resulted in decisions that BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) was sufficiently unique and mostly not created by ATT that ATT had not the right to restrict it.
  • From this codebase evolved many operating systems: Mac OS/X, FreeBSD and the networking stack in Windows after it was shown repeatedly to be superior.

One thing that most UNIX operating systems lacked was a decent programming language. C was a crude language, but, because it had been used to write the original UNIX operating system it became widely used to write most important software on the market today. C lacked a mechanism called “garbage collection” which recovered resources left over from terminated processes. When programmes work with dynamic data structures, they request storage from the operating system and when properly executed and designed should return that storage to the operating system. This does not happen well if the process dies suddenly or if there is an error in the programme. Other languages automatically recall all storage issued upon the death of a process, but not C.

This defect is present in most operating systems and requires a greater
effort at debugging and testing to ensure processes do not die unexpectedly and that resources are returned.

A good operating system follows the KISS principal, “Keep it Simple, Stupid!”, because the simpler any code

  • the easier it is to debug,

  • the more efficient it can be in terms of speed of execution and use of resources (utilizing the same algorithm),
  • the easier it is to document so that staff turnover/growth does not unduly increase the rate of errors in modifications and additions to the code, and
  • the fewer undetected/unfixed bugs will be in it.

A good operating system can run for years under a full load, starting
and stopping many processes, without a failure. e.g. Netcraft monitors
as many web servers as it can find on the Internet. The November 2008
report from netcraft summarizes the results of observing 185 million
web sites. Windows 2003, which is far more reliable than XP because
it does not have all the desktop tools and users needs to be rebooted
much more frequently than a UNIX operating system.[reboots, reboots2, bleed]The
feature of GNU/Linux that makes it far superior to XP is that large
distributions of applications, the operating system and its drivers
are all checked out together in the beta stage. XP was a beta project
when it was released and it had many teething pains with the applications
that were ported to it. GNU/Linux when released was tested with all
the applications and driver in its distribution. Currently, Debian
has tens of thousands of sofware packages that are down to a level
of a few hundred known bugs. XP shipped with tens of thousands of

The basis of the rapid development and high quality of GNU/Linux software is the use of FLOSS development model. A developer does not need to pay for a licence for a number of different software libraries and does not need to create his own. That leaves him much less work to do because the nuts and bolts already exist. Microsoft has similar libraries available but the software that uses them is only portable to Windows. Further, the application/project is distributed at very
low cost. The libraries distributed by Microsoft make second-class
citizens of developers because Microsoft has one API for itself and
another for potential competitors. GNU/Linux gives everyone equal
opportunity which inspires innovation.

Part III

Properties of Windows XP

The rebuttal that Windows XP is widely used does not counter the argument that XP was obsolete when it was introduced in 2001. XP and other recent Windows operating system all deviate from the known characteristics of a good operating system.

  1. XP is not simple. Microsoft deliberately chose to integrate many interlocking features into every part of the operating system from the user interface to the kernel. They did this to provide features and performance that competitors could not duplicate because they had no access to Microsoft’s source code. This made the use of any other operating system or competitor’s application a jarring experience so that users would perceive that Windows was a superior operating system. The purpose of an operating system is to provide a uniform interface between users, applications and hardware, not to promote one supplier’s software. This complexity introduced many opportunities for bugs and malware to operate on an enormous scale compared to other operating systems and was used by Microsoft to exclude competition from the market.[tying] What Microsoft was doing actually gave users a uniformly poor performance with all third-party applications developed for Windows which became
    very poor when ported to another operating system. When Microsoft
    wanted to put any competitor out of business they had only to use
    their private, preferred API to magically gain superior performance.
    After a decade of this, developers are writing web applications that
    do not require Windows on the client or server because it is easier
    and avoids the API trap.[API]
  2. XP is terribly insecure. Because it was designed as a single-user system, no thought was given to security until malware from the Internet raged through the XP mono-culture.[2007, insecurity, shatter]
  3. Backwards compatibility, intended to make transition to new versions easier and migration to other operating systems harder, and increasing lock-in, actually copied bugs from the 1980s into XP. [backwards]
    This is one of the key reasons why XP was obsolete when released.
    It does many things the same way as DOS.

  4. XP is slow. Microsoft deliberately wastes computer resources so each release needs new hardware.[slow] Tests on the PCs in the
    lab show booting to a log-in screen takes 45s with GNU/Linux or XP
    (largely determined by speed of storage) but after entering credentials,
    XP takes 75s to get a usable desktop while GNU/Linux takes 7s (largely
    determined by the presence or absence of bloat). The difference is
    feature-bloat. This pattern of ever-increasing bloat reached new highs
    with Vista. Employees are actually suing employers for long boot-times.
    Employers are refusing to pay the employees while they wait for a
    usable desktop.[boot]
  5. XP is difficult to administer. Because there are so many features, updates, vulnerabilities, patches, licences, versions, and bugs, a system administrator has much more to do that with a UNIX operating system:maintain accounts, backups, and to install useful stuff.
    e.g. a school division moved from 300 Windows stations to 1400 Solaris
    (a UNIX OS) stations without adding any support staff and the support
    staff had much more time for planning and organizing after the change.
    Sun claims for their Solaris/thin client setups:”Reduce Administration Costs – One administrator may now easily manage thousands of desktops. Stateless thin clients require no management or maintenance ”[hard]
    In Easterville, I was system administrator for a school running GNU/Linux. That task took about five minutes on an average day for 153 seats and 700 accounts. Here, I spend more time than that resetting passwords. At Easterville, I created 700 accounts in five minutes and only had to reset passwords a few times. Here, I have to type the
    administrator’s password dozens of times per day. At Easterville,
    once every few days was enough. I could access everything I needed
    to access from my ordinary user account without typing the root password, in a secure manner, with stored keys. I could log into any computer in the system without leaving my chair. This is what the legacy of being a networked operating system from conception means. Windows
    had no concept of a network and jumped into the game late, breaking
    things. They used a GUI to do things that were best done using a keyboard. Imagine creating 700 accounts clicking a dozen times with a mouse for each one. Imagine having to visit every PC to install software
    on it. With GNU/Linux or other modern operating system, there are
    tools in the system to expedite all those things. The Windows way
    of doing things may work for a single PC at home but it does not work
    for schools.
  6. XP squanders resources. Consider our lab. Using XP, we have 22 gB of RAM in the clients alone and several gigabytes on the servers. Using GNU/Linux, and thin clients, we could cut memory on a client to 256 MB or less and increase memory on the server for a large net decrease (24gB – 4gB = 20gB) in memory with no decrease in performance except full-screen video. For video, one needs much more memory on the client to buffer data from the server. The difference is that Windows was designed as a single-user system and does not share memory between processes. UNIX has been doing that well for decades. The server running with 8gB RAM could run the whole school. [resources]
    Then there is disc storage. We have 22 X 40gB = 880gB of storage almost
    unused on the clients. Yet our servers are short of storage. We have
    22 X 1600MHz = 35 gHz of computing power tied up in our XP clients
    in the lab utilized about 1% when students are browsing, a colossal
    waste. It would take much less power than that to run the server and
    it would be well utilized. One good thing about our implementation
    of XP, because we write files on the server our clients do not have
    fragmented hard drives.
  7. XP is useless without a server because of the weight of system administration. Tools on the server manage accounts/security/storage/printing. Without the server we would have a bunch of home-style personal computers each needing individual care by the system administrator. Typically, a Windows server does about one-third as much work as a UNIX server. We have 7 servers, all idling, partly because we use XP. In Easterville, MB, I built a system for a school with 153 seats and three servers could do the job easily. One would have done if the school were not so long that two network segments/server rooms were needed. We have 75 seats working, sometimes. One UNIX server costing a few thousand dollars could easily run our school these days, thanks to Moore’s Law. Throughput of servers running GNU/Linux is 50% higher than Windows by some measures and lower downtime increases the margin further.

  8. Licensing is unnecessarily complex and expensive. Many businesses pay more than they should because it is impossible to know what is the best deal.[SA] The terms of the licence are so complicated that many businesses find it difficult to follow and the cost of being caught out of compliance can be very large.[BSA] Microsoft
    also pressures businesses to buy more and more expensive licences
    than needed.[tactics]
  9. Rather than merely providing an operating system which manages resources between users, applications and the hardware, XP is a tool of Microsoft to exclude competition from the market. They have been able to maintain very high prices and provide substandard performance and still remain dominant because of these practices. Not only is this evidence of a bad operating system, it is illegal as has been demonstrated in courts in the USA and the EU. In particular, Microsoft “embraces, extends, and extinguishes” innovations of competitors, for example network protocols, and tying Microsoft’s products to the operating system in such a way that these products have innate advantages over competitors’ products in distribution and features. As the features often result in instability, poor performance, and avenues for malware, these are indications of a poor operating system. Other operating systems of the time did not exhibit these characteristics. e.g. GNU/Linux was and remains vendor-neutral, being based on open standards. Attempts by the Samba group to interoperate with Windows were stifled until the EU ordered Microsoft to divulge specifications of protocols that had been embraced and extended.[EU] Apple did use these
    same tactics but as they are not and never have been a monopoly, they
    did not harm the market except for their own opportunities in it.
  10. XP has a definite end-of-life date set by Microsoft. It has passed. In 2001, it was known that XP would expire eventually and a forced upgrade of hardware and software would result. GNU/Linux has no such end-of-life date because we could, in theory, obtain the source code and maintain it ourselves. As the school does not have the budget/manpower for this, it was obvious that eventually a GNU/Linux system would need migration as well but the system as installed would have worked indefinitely. XP is tied to Office that changes file formats on each release and this forced users of Windows to migrate eventually as they will no longer be able to open files sent from more recent releases. The operating system I used in Whale Cove in 2000, Caldera GNU/Linux could still have been functioning today except that .odf replaces .sxx as a file format in can now produce .sxx and .pdf. It is not a good characteristic of an operating system that one is forced to migrate on the schedule of a corporation. One
    should normally do it at the end-of-life of the hardware to avoid
    re-installing. As hardware for clients can easily last ten years,
    a forced upgrade from XP in 2008 or so is definitely an undesirable
    property. Businesses have confirmed they do not intend to migrate
    form XP to Vista simply because they get no benefit form Vista and
    it is a huge cost. [KACE]


    • 60% report that they have no plans to deploy Vista at this time,
      up from 53% in the 2007 survey
    • 92% say Vista Service Pack 1 has not changed their plans for Vista deployment
    • 14% report they have delayed their Vista deployments while they wait to hear more about Windows 7, and an additional 14% say they will skip Vista to wait for Windows 7
    • 83% of participants say they are concerned about the compatibility of required business software with Vista
    • 42% have considered deploying non-Windows operating systems to avoid a Vista migration compared to 44% in the 2007 survey
    • 11% are already in the process of switching operating systems, up from 9% in the 2007 survey, and a further 30% expect to switch within the next year, up from 25% in 2007
    • Mac OS is the most likely operating system to be deployed in place of Vista (29%)

One can see dramatic differences in uptime of servers running Windows and various UNIX-like operating systems at The fragility and poor managability of Windows make it a poor choice for servers. Desktop systems demand even more so XP and its kin are not good choices for an OS.

Part IV

GNU/Linux at the Time of the Release of XP.

One could make the argument that XP was the state of the art and so was widely adopted but it was not. I know that time very well because I was introduced to GNU/Linux the year before XP was released and implemented GNU/Linux on my own on a cluster of desktops in my classroom. On five machines we had not one crash in six months of daily use. The machines were left running 24×7 because they were so slow to boot. These were Pentium Pros with 72 MB RAM and 800-1000 MB hard drives. I fondly remember being able to tidy up errant applications from the gui with xkill.[xkill] We used StarOffice 5.2 (a precursor to and Netscape, the browser that Microsoft effectively killed by illegal anti-competitive actions. The next year, XP was
released and people who used it had so much grief. Driver problems,
crashes, and re-re-reboots. Companies actually sold products that
could inform the user when XP was about to crash so they could close
files and reboot.[crashes]

Many installations of GNU/Linux were successful since about 1995.
Several of the classic distros like Debian and RedHat were active
and the software was developed and tested openly with all bugs publicized. This made development rapid and reliable unlike XP which evolved from NT in those days but in a closed shop strongly influenced by sales strategies and plans to kill competition rather than technology. Netcraft tracked the emergence of GNU/Linux on the web. It’s presence grew rapidly and its dominance over Windows remains today. With the advent of XP, there was strong pressure to use Windows servers but that cooled in the face of reality. Microsoft had nothing to offer that GNU/Linux could not at the time. The uptick in 2006 is again nothing but a marketing ploy. Microsoft paid large hosting systems like to switch to Windows Server 2003. uses Windows 2003 Server to host inactive sites/placeholders.[GoDaddy]

Figure 3: Netcraft Server Counts 1995-2008

Shortly after XP was released there were major migrations to GNU/Linux because XP/2003 was much more costly and less reliable than GNU/Linux. Extremadura, Munich, and Andalucia were in the news. Even when Microsoft cut prices to stay price-competitive with GNU/Linux in Munich, Munich valued the future costs and manageability of the system ahead of short-term costs. One migrates to GNU/Linux once but upgrades Windows licences forever. The per-seat cost advantage of forever is very large.[Andalucia]
GNU/Linux would not have this spectacular growth rate if XP was a
great operating system, technically. XP has improved since 2001 but
this is in response to the phenomenal growth of competitors like MacOS/X
and GNU/Linux.

Part V


I stand by the assertion that XP was obsolete in 2001. The facts supporting this position are many and solid. XP has improved but so have the competition. XP is still not technically as good as GNU/Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems. A rational decision in 2001 could have been made to install a more modern operating system in 2001. By 2004, there was little doubt that if a migration was possible it should have been done. Microsoft’s attempts to spread FUD about GNU/Linux may have held the day but the monopoly is crumbling. Brazil has 20% of PCs sold with GNU/Linux. China, Russia, Spain and many other countries are encouraging migration to GNU/Linux.[Connectado, Brazil] The migrations are late but they cannot be denied. The emergence of the low-cost PC where the price of XP/Vista cannot be hidden and the bloat cannot fit is doubling the rate of adoption of GNU/Linux.[LCPC] A survey of IT is showing that the world is waking up to the reality that Microsoft is not working for them.[KACE]



Netcraft’s report on reliability of service
sorted by failed requests in the last day. On 2008-12-6 , 22 of the
top 50 ran Linux, 8 ran Windows, and 6 ran FreeBSD. see
The “up-time” graph for the most reliable
hosting outfit,, shows they reboot every 500 days, like
clock-work, indicating they reboot only for planned maintenance. see They run FreeBSD.
The “up-time” graph for the most
reliable hosting outfit running Windows 2003,,
shows they reboot every six weeks, much more often than physical maintenance
would require. see
“Nevertheless, Microsoft tied the two
together, refusing to sell Windows 95 or Windows 98 without Microsoft’s
browser or to permit OEMs to remove the browser before selling their
PCs loaded with Windows. With Windows 98, Microsoft also unnecessarily
“welded” the browser to the operating system, so
that using another browser would be a “jarring experience,”
further excluding rival browser suppliers. ”see
CyberInsecurity – “Over the years,
Microsoft has deliberately added more and more features into its operating
system in such a way that no end user could easily remove them. Yet,
in so doing, the world’s PC operating system monopoly has created
unacceptable levels of complexity to its software, in direct contradiction
of the most basic tenets of computer security. ” see
”All windows running in the Windows GUI
are peers, which means that at the level of window management they
are all equal in Windows’ view, and that they can send messages to
each other. There’s no authentication behind these messages, so there’s
no way to control who can send messages to whom…Some of these messages
can invoke commands; for example, to expand the size of an Edit Control.
Here’s how someone might invoke a buffer overflow and shatter the
window: First the Edit Control is grown by sending data to it, which
then overflows the buffer for that Control. Remember, the buffer was
sized to the original, smaller version of the Edit Control….A more
scary shatter attack (that has been fixed by Microsoft) uses the WM_TIMER
message. This common message has an optional parameter for a callback
function, so that the window receiving the message should execute
the code pointed to by the message. Any unprivileged process could
send a WM_TIMER message to a privileged interactive process and capture
its privilege level just by having it call back. ” This was the
state of XP in 2003 when XP had been widely distributed already. see
“It’s Not a Bug. It’s a Feature”

“What exactly is going wrong with the WMF vulnerability? … Turns
out this is not really a bug, it’s just bad design. Design from another
era…. When Windows Metafiles were designed in late 1980s, a feature
was included that allowed the image files to contain actual code.
This code would be executed via a callback in special situations.
This was not a bug; this was something which was needed at the time.”

”2007: How was it for security?” Six years
after its release, and running on 90% of desktops, XP still has gaping
holes, often in features no one needs. see,130061744,339284667,00.htm?feed=pt_malware
”Current PC technology is totally sufficient
for most office tasks and consumers desires and any performance bottleneck
is not in today’s PCs but in today’s COM pipes. This in itself might
slow down replacement cycles and life time shortening until we find
true MIPS eating applications – a priority not only Intel should subscribe
to.” -Joachim Kempin, Microsoft’s OEM Chief see
This shows that “slow” is a design parameter. It is a conspiracy
between the OEMs and Microsoft to mutually promote their businesses
without regard to what the customer needs or wants.
One system administrator can manage thousands
of UNIX desktops. see
It costs twice as much to maintain a system of Windows desktops according
to David Richards, the system administrator for Largo, FL. see
”If this scenario is deployed on centralized
Microsoft Windows using thin clients, then 2.76 GB is required. This
slight increase is because of the small amount of memory required
on the thin client to handle the video portion of the remote application
((256 MB + 10 MB +1 MB) X 10). However, when a centralized UNIX/Linux
solution is used, only 376 MB of memory is required. This is because
of shared memory. When the server detects that a program is already
running, it doesn’t start another instance of it in memory, and instead
simply adds a user space that stores the data specific to the user
(10 MB + 1 MB) X 10 +256 MB).” Windows uses nine times as much memory,
even using thin clients. Memory costs money and can fail. That is
squandering resources. see
Throughput of servers running Linux or Windows
was compared. Linux was superior in most categories by large margins
of 50%. see
”Microsoft introduced Software Assurance as
part of Licensing 6 in May 2001. The plan received scathing response
from analysts and customers. Under Microsoft’s Licensing 5, companies
had the option of buying upgrades when they wanted and paying a discounted
price at time of acquisition. Licensing 6 did away with off-the-shelf
upgrades and, through Software Assurance, had companies paying upfront
for software, under two- or three-year commitments. For upgrade rights,
customers pay 29 percent annually for desktop products and 25 percent
for server software. In 2001, Gartner estimated that about 80 percent
of Microsoft customers would see price increases ranging from about
35 percent to 107 percent.” see
”I became an open-source guy because we’re
a privately owned company, a family business that’s been around for
30 years, making products and being a good member of society. We’ve
never been sued, never had any problems paying our bills. And one
day I got a call that there were armed marshals at my door talking
about software license compliance…I thought I was OK; I buy computers
with licensed software. But my lawyer told me it could be pretty bad.

—The BSA had a program back then called “Nail Your Boss,”
where they encouraged disgruntled employees to report on their company…and
that’s what happened to us. Anyways, they basically shut us down…We
were out of compliance I figure by about 8 percent (out of 72 desktops).—How
did that happen? We pass our old computers down. The guys in engineering
need a new PC, so they get one and we pass theirs on to somebody doing
clerical work. Well, if you don’t wipe the hard drive on that PC,
that’s a violation. Even if they can tell a piece of software isn’t
being used, it’s still a violation if it’s on that hard drive. What
I really thought is that you ought to treat people the way you want
to be treated. I couldn’t treat a customer the way Microsoft dealt
with me…I went from being a pro-Microsoft guy to instantly being
an anti-Microsoft guy.—Did you want to settle? Never, never. That’s
the difference between the way an employee and an owner thinks. They
attacked my family’s name and came into my community and made us look
bad. There was never an instance of me wanting to give in. I would
have loved to have fought it. But when (the BSA) went to Congress
to get their powers, part of what they got is that I automatically
have to pay their legal fees from day one. That’s why nobody’s ever
challenged them–they can’t afford it. My attorney said it was going
to cost our side a quarter million dollars to fight them, and since
you’re paying their side, too, figure at least half a million. It’s
not worth it. You pay the fine and get on with your business. What
most people do is get terrified and pay their license and continue
to pay their licenses. And they do that no matter what the license
program turns into. ”see

”George Kapotto :—We dropped Desktop SA
- Vista and Office came out before the expiry so we are entitled.
We just upgraded to XP and there is no interest in another quick upgrade
so XP for 3-ish years followed by Vista for a couple or 3 more (provided
MS ever gets a version worth using ). With approx. 1000 desktops it
is easily cheaper to just start fresh when/if the need arises. We
kept the server SA primarily because of the CALs – the ROI is a bit
more clear in this area.—And somewhere in there, we will start using
Linux for thin clients.—That about sums up our current stand on
the M$ bleed.—Posted by George Kapotto | July 10, 2007 9:41 AM
” see
””Thank you for your offer to
send your purchase records to me,” she wrote, “however
our Software Asset Management (SAM) program is the only unbiased way
to create an accurate baseline and resolve this matter.”—That
did it. Frantz informed Lawless that he wasn’t going to waste anymore
time with her, and he left the matter with his attorney. The attorney,
suspecting that Lawless’ actions were part of an elaborate sales effort,
basically told her to back off.—Indeed, according to Microsoft’s
Web site, the responsibility of someone with Lawless’ title of “engagement
manager” is to “perform as an integrated member
of the account team, drive business development and closing of new
services engagements in targeted accounts.” So why was someone
in a sales position leaning so hard on AWC about a supposed licensing
compliance concern?—When I phoned Lawless to find out, she referred
me to Microsoft’s PR machine. The responses I got through that channel
stressed that Microsoft’s aim is to help customers navigate the complexities
of software licensing and that one of the roles of engagement managers
is to assist in that effort by informing customers of a potential
licensing risk. I was told to attribute the responses to Lawless.”


From the man page: “Xkill is a utility
for forcing the X server to close connections to clients. This program
is very dangerous, but is useful for aborting programs that have displayed
undesired windows on a user’s screen. If no resource identifier is
given with -id, xkill will display a special cursor as a prompt for
the user to select a window to be killed. If a pointer button is pressed
over a non-root window, the server will close its connection to the
client that created the window. ”
Even after SP2, XP still crashes frequently.
Notice that many commentators blame third-party drivers and applications
but this still signals a weakness in the design of the OS that it
is so easily crashed. No user application can ruin GNU/Linux that
easily and drivers supplied with the Linux kernel are very solid and
well tested. Microsoft does not protect its registry from third party
applications. see
”Perens: Not the first. It’s part of a
continuing behavior pattern by Microsoft that I think it’s fair to
call “dirty fighting.” GoDaddy was using Apache
(I assume on Linux) because it was a great technical solution. They
didn’t switch to IIS on Windows Server 2003 for any technical reason.
The switch was accompanied by a press release by GoDaddy, containing
Microsoft promotional language. Now, I’ve changed many servers from
one thing to another, but I’ve never made a press release about it.
GoDaddy wouldn’t be doing that unless Microsoft had offered them something
valuable in return. There has been talk in the domain business that
Microsoft has been offering the large domain registries a wad of cash
to switch their parked sites. There is no other reason to do this
than to influence the Netcraft figures.” see
Microsoft uses various levers to
favour the migration towards new versions: providing an easy migration
path by ensuring “backward-compatibility”, which
guarantees, for example, that successive versions of Windows retain
the ability to run key applications developed for earlier versions,
advocating to software developers the use of new features of the Windows
platform, which means that increasingly the most recent applications
will no longer run in fully compatible mode on older versions of Windows
and, eventually, discontinuing support for previous versions of the
operating system.
” … “As regards competitors, the
fringe competition constituted by Linux is a case in point. Linux,
which has been developed under the open source model, can be technically
pre-installed on PCs at virtually no cost by OEMs. Whilst the first
versions of Linux were fairly difficult to use for non-technicians,
the product is widely considered to have matured at the end of the
1990s and now there is no significant difference in terms of ease
of use between Windows and most commercial Linux operating systems.
Microsoft’s financial performance on the market, however, does not
seem to have been affected by the emergence of such a rival. Microsoft
has not substantially altered its pricing policy and business model,
and it has remained very successful.
”…””The Windows
API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be
crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code
of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using
a different operating system instead…. It is this switching cost
that has given customers the patience to stick with Windows through
all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy
vision at times, and many other difficulties. [...] Customers constantly
evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work
to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force
them to move. In short, without this exclusive franchise called the
Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.”579
“The Windows franchise is fueled by application development
which is focused on our core APIs”580 ”…”Once Microsoft’s
work group server operating system gained acceptance in the market,
however, Microsoft’s incentives changed and holding back access to
information relating to interoperability with the Windows environment
started to make sense. With Windows 2000, Microsoft then engaged in
a strategy of diminishing previous levels of supply of interoperability
information. This disruption of previous levels of supply concerns
elements that pertain to the core tasks that are expected from work
group server operating systems, and in particular to the provision
of group and user administration services. In the following recitals
(recitals (590) to (692)), it will be established that Microsoft’s
refusal puts Microsoft’s competitors at a strong competitive disadvantage
in the work group server operating system market, to an extent where
there is a risk of elimination of competition.712 ”…”Through
tying WMP with Windows, Microsoft uses Windows as a distribution channel
to anti-competitively ensure for itself a significant competition
advantage in the media player market. Competitors, due to Microsoft’s
tying, are a priori at a disadvantage irrespective of whether their
products are potentially more attractive on the merits.
” … The
EU ruling:
”Windows Vista Adoption and Alternatives:
A Survey of Technology” “”see
”Brazil’s new PC Conectado plan will
make Internet-connected Linux PCs affordable to poor households. Buyers
will be able to pay just under $25/month for 24 months for a PC and
Internet service; the Brazilian government expects up to 1,000,000
participants in the program by the end of the year.” see
1.5million GNU/Linux PCs each year sold in
Brazil see
Report from spring 2008 on the emergence of
the lowcost PC and its market outlook with GNU/Linux. see
According to a report this week
in the National Law Journal, hourly employees of AT&T, UnitedHealth
Group, and Cigna have sued their employers for not paying them for
the 15 to 30 minutes it takes to start up and shut down their PCs.


”How Microsoft Lost the API War”see

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