Re: [ reactions ] Re: [NYT] Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code

From: Ian Andrew Bell (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 21:25:11 PDT

On 5/3/01 5:05 PM, "Bill Humphries" <> wrote:

> Well there are ways, but none of them are particulary welcome (pay or
> disconnect the silver thread connecting you to the license server).

I can't wait until an F-22 with "Windows Inside!" on its final attack run
somewhere deep in Shanghai province noses into the ground because the U.S.
Military forgot to renew the software license. :)

But seriously -- an OS is arguably an essential service (Microsoft would
certainly like us to think that about NT/2000/XP/whatever) and should always
be perpetually licensed. The opportunity for catastrophic error here dwarfs
even that of Microsoft's code base.

There would be court cases -- research teams stranded in the Amazon Jungle
with no way to communicate their whereabouts, etc. Such is the conundrum.

Where the application is resident on a network and therefore is only to be
relied upon by connecting to the network, the "silver thread" makes tons of
sense, but are we at a time and place where the network has evolved enough
to support reliability here?

> I have no problem with MS selling licenses. I do have a problem with MS trying
> to legislate their competitors away.
> It's part of a long-standing grumpiness I developed as an economics grad
> student... I assume that once you've reached a critical mass, it's easier to
> buy a Congressman than it is to innovate.
> Hum... interesting empircal thesis topic. Comparing R&D, lobbying expense to
> size and determining if there's a switchpoint.

It's funny Microsoft argues this now -- aren't they the guys that tried to
destroy Netscape by giving away their web browser? Nothing surprises me.


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