WinInfo Short Takes: Week of October 9 - 06 Oct 2000

An irreverent look at some of the week's other news

The Empire Strike Back: Microsoft continues bid to extend appellate phase
Can't say as I didn't expect this one: Microsoft responded to the government's schedule filing late Thursday, asking the Appeals Court to approve it's five-month long schedule rather than the shorter one proposed by the government. Microsoft is entering the appellate phase of its trial and seeks to get a fair hearing. The government, however, says that Microsoft is asking for more time than is typically given in such cases. Hopefully, the U.S. District Court of Appeals will rule quickly and get this thing moving: The ruling could come as early as next week.

But I thought Al Gore created the Open Source Software movement
Red Hat Software was caught in a gaff of epic proportions this week when chief technology officer Michael Tiemann boasted that his company "did start the open source revolution." The comment, which is completely untrue, was ironically made at a conference about open source software (OSS). Red Hat Software, which was started about 10 years after the OSS revolution, is certainly a champion and, dare I say, benefactor of the movement. But Richard Stallman started OSS in 1984 when he began his GNU efforts at making a free version of UNIX. And I'm pretty sure Red Hat CEO Bob Young was still toying around with a Commodore 64 at that point. I know I was.

Microsoft, Compaq invent new email benchmark; Exchange wins!
With SQL Server falling by the benchmark wayside thanks to IBM's impressive feats with its DB2 product, Microsoft has turned to its other major .NET Server, Exchange 2000, to post some big numbers. The problem is, there aren't any benchmarks for mail servers. Or at least there weren't: Microsoft teamed to Compaq to create the new "MAPI Messaging Benchmark 2" and, guess what? Microsoft's Exchange 2000 Server, running on Compaq hardware, posted the highest benchmark! Woo! We're number one, we're number one!

AMD shoots for infinity and beyond
Good news AMD fans: The company plans to introduce new additions to its Athlon and Duron lines, effectively leaving Intel in the dust yet again. AMD will bump its high-end Athlon up to 1.2 GHz this month, with speeds hitting 1.5 GHz by January. Meanwhile, the Celeron-killing Duron will jump to 800 MHz by the end of October. To increase the overall bandwidth of its already impressive chips, AMD will also unveil a new chipset that sports a 266 MHz system bus and support for DDR SDRAM (also 266 MHz). Meanwhile, Intel continues to struggle with its Pentium III and 4 chips, which seem stuck in a technological tar pit right now.

.NET, Web Tune, what's the difference?
And we thought cell phones going off in restaurants were bad: Sun Microsystems has launched a mini-Jihad against Microsoft's .NET strategy this week with announcements about a new, low-impact version of Jini and something called "WebTone," which will focus on entertainment, voice over IP, and interconnected consumer products, such as cards and handheld computers. "We focus on the big, frigging Web-tone switch," McNealy said. "Even our name is right: It's 'Sun Micro-systems,' not 'Micro-soft.'" Well, there you go.

Some notes on Windows Me and Netscape 6
Looks like my inability to get Netscape 6 PR3 was actually a case of RTM (Read the Manual). I couldn't get the latest milestone build of Mozilla--M17--to work either, so I finally looked at the Mozilla Web site to figure out what the problem was. Turns out it was a simple fix, so I'm up and running. But thanks very, very much to everyone that wrote in. I didn't figure out the answer until well after I had responded to most of the mail, but all I had to do was delete the Mozilla/Netscape 6 data file from the Windows directory and re-start Netscape 6. It works now.

And you thought the Windows Me launch was low-key
What are they going to do next, launch Whistler from my next-door neighbor's back porch? First they launch Windows Me in shopping malls across America, and now Office 2001 for the Macintosh will get a thundering rollout at ... a CompUSA store in San Francisco on October 11. The cynical part of me notes that this store is, at least, within driving distance of 80% of their customers, but I have to wonder about a product launch that includes a speech by the manager of a retail store. "We are super proud and excited about Office 2001," a Microsoft spokesperson said. I can tell you are.

Microsoft has big plans for new office complex. But so does the DOJ
Microsoft unveiled its latest expansion plans this week, an 800,000-square foot office complex that will be built in Issaquah, Washington. The office would sit on 44 acres of land and house at least 4,000 employees, roughly the same size as the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Now, that's an interesting factoid ... Two Microsofts, roughly the same size. Hey, I have an idea: Why not use the Redmond campus for Windows operating systems, and have the Issaquah campus be used for Office and Microsoft's other applications? Nah.

Congratulations! You're the one millionth IE bug!
Reporting on Internet Explorer bugs is, of course, an exercise in futility. So I'll just mention that Bulgarian security expert Georgi Guninski has unearthed yet another problem with IE 5.5, one that could allow malicious hackers to "not only read files but write and execute programs on a person's computer. This hole allows someone to reach into the whole computer." Microsoft's Security Response Center is investigating the vulnerability, the second reported by Guninski in as many weeks.

Think Different: Apple experts spar on recent news
I could go on and on about Apple's recent financial news, and explain why it is or is not related to other slowdowns in the industry. But in the grand tradition of the presidential debates that we're currently suffering through in the United States, I will instead offer up two decidedly opposite opinions, both from experts on Apple Computer. First up, we have Robert X. Cringely (the real one, not the current InfoWorld imposter), who says "Don't Worry, Be Happy" in this excellent "I, Cringely" article. On the other side of the fence is Forbes ASAP editor Michael Malone, who wrote a terrific book about Apple called "Infinite Loop." Malone says that Apple's problems are a sign of a bigger problem

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