thesoftwareview: XML Marks the spot

Mark Kuharich (
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 10:25:32 -0700

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the Software View: XML Marks the spot

Welcome back, gentle reader. I've always wanted to put together a list
of Microsoft's red headed stepchildren. You know, those products or
projects that Microsoft released with great fanfare and then later
disowned. Those products or projects that were forever banished or
shunted into anonymity. Here's a short list: Microsoft Bob. Remember
Microsoft's PCT encryption "standard" which they tried to position
against and compete with Netscape's SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)?=20
Remember how everyone thought that MSN was going to kill the Internet?=20
Remember the "Blackbird" online media development package in early
1996? Blackbird was the long-promised tool which was going to make
developing for MSN simple and provide all kinds of advanced media
authoring capabilities. Whatever happened to all the online media and
entertainment shows that used to be on MSN? Whatever happened to
Microsoft's hallowed Internet technologies named ActiveX? Mercifully,
they were shot in the head and are now being renamed COM+

Steven Wright is a comedian known for his wry sense of humor, puns, and
plays on words. Here are some jokes he would tell about Microsoft.

"Why do I have to click the "Start" button to "Shut Down" Windows?"

"Windows 98, an operating system with the Year 2000 bug already built in
... "

"Why does function code 9 (in QDOS and still in MS-DOS, more than ten
years later) end in a dollar sign?"

"If a tree fell at the Microsoft Visual J++ Developers' Conference,
which no one attended, would it make a sound?"

One of my readers, Joe Gilbreth, had a funny response to the last
episode of "the Software View". "Mark, a few weeks ago I read an
article in InfoWorld or PC Week quoting a Microsoft
wheel touting Windows 98. According to him, one of the great things
about it is that it fixes over 5,000 bugs in Windows 95! Is there a
message there or what?"

Do you XML? Come on, dear reader, and agents Mulder and Scully. On
with this week's episode of the "XML-Files"! Caution! This week's
episode of "the Software View" is rated XML. I will give you a general
overview of XML and then close with my thoughts on how XML relates to
Microsoft and Java.

InfoWorld's Jeff Senna writes, "XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a
markup language derived from SGML (Standard Generalized Markup
Language), and akin to HTML. XML documents are ASCII files containing
both text as well as tags identifying structures within that text.=20
However, unlike HTML, XML lets you define your own custom tags and
attributes, but without SGML's inherent complexities. That enables XML
documents to include meta data - data about the content in the document,
including hierarchical relationships." XML is a data format for
structured document interchange on the Web. Peter Flynn writes, "XML
itself is not a single markup language: it's a metalanguage to let you
design your own markup language. A regular markup language defines a
way to describe information in a certain class of documents (e.g.
HTML). XML lets you define your own customized markup languages for
many classes of document. It can do this because it's written in SGML,
the international standard metalanguage for markup languages."

XML can be used as a meta language because you can create an entirely
new programming language using XML syntax, as well as combine it with
client-side scripting languages like JavaScript. However, HTML will
continue to play an important role because the presentation and linking
components within XML haven't matured as quickly - and many complexities
still need to be worked out. In an enterprise context, XML is already
useful. It can replace "home-brewed" production processes, working
behind the scenes to transfer and organize data on the server or in a
middleware layer.

XML can serve as a data format for structured document interchange on
the Web. XML documents, unlike HTML pages, can carry vast amounts of
well-organized data, along with descriptors of what data elements and
structures the documents contain. XML exceeds HTML's limitations in
three areas: extensibility, structure, and validation.

XML allows you to define your own tag sets, and is thus extensible."=20
XML is extensible because, unlike HTML, the markup symbols are unlimited
and self-defining. XML
describes the content in terms of what data is being described. For
example, on a web site that dealt with chemistry, a <MOLECULE> could
indicate that the data that followed it was a particular combination of
atoms. This means that an XML file can be processed purely as data by a
program or it can be stored with similar data on another computer or,
like an HTML file, that it can be displayed. For example, depending on
how the application in the receiving computer wanted to handle the
molecule, it could be stored, displayed, or manipulated.

Senna writes, "Unlike HTML, XML document structure is mandatory. Each
XML document requires a root element, and subsequent tag sets must be
properly nested, resulting in a data hierarchy.

XML documents can be validated by external DTD (Document Type
Definition) files. This ensures that each tag set is properly defined
and valid. XML adheres to rigid guidelines in order to work properly.=20
For example, XML tags must be declared before they can be used to mark
up text elements. These element declarations are usually contained
within DTDs separate from the data documents. These files establish the
"vocabularies" that specify how each tag should be used. When XML is
used as a meta-data language, DTDs can serve as a type of data

XML is a flexible way to create information formats and share both the
format and the data on the World Wide Web, intranets, and elsewhere.=20
For example, computer makers might agree on a
standard or common way to describe the information about a computer
product (processor speed, memory size, and so forth) and then describe
the product information format with XML. Such a standard way of
describing data would enable a user to send an intelligent agent (a
program) to each computer maker's Web site, gather data, and then make a
valid comparison. XML can be used by any individual or group of
individuals or companies that wants to share information in a consistent
way. It is expected that HTML and XML will be used together in many Web

"When used as an automation tool, XML can transform a variety of manual
processes - such as managing vast amounts of dynamic content - into
automated functions. In the enterprise, XML's real significance may
emerge as a means for making it easier to create, deploy, and manage
middleware messaging architectures over the Internet. XML-enabled
solutions can help you manage content and integrate data from disparate
systems throughout your company.

Because XML is ASCII-based, it promises to make deploying Internet-based
distributed applications easier than is possible with binary-based
messaging technologies like DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) or
CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture). But, this doesn't
mean that binary-based architectures should be tossed in favor of XML -
they often work very well together. XML is a means of providing more
efficient data exchange. The ultimate goal is to eliminate data
redundancy and foster data reuse."

Dale Dougherty writes, "XML helps to establish documents that can
function independently of the server. Documents can reside locally once
downloaded and continue to function. For instance, if you download the
document to a laptop, you can use the document effectively while not
connected to the network."

Shelley Powers writes, "XML is similar to SQL in a number of ways; SQL
is also an example of a multi-purpose language used to define data
structures and query those same data structures without concern as to
how the information is displayed or used. The only guarantees are that
the information is defined in structures, the structures follow certain
rules, and the information contained within the structures can be
accessed automatically or manually. Both SQL and XML define structures
for information in the form of elements, element attributes, and element
content. The main difference is that instead of defining data that is
stored in a physical storage medium usually only accessible by a
database engine, XML describes data that is stored and accessed from
within documents."

Tim Bray writes, "The people who are working on XML talk about
"automating the Web" -- what does that mean? XML is designed to do some
jobs that HTML isn't built to handle but that really need doing. If you
just want to display text, there's nothing wrong with HTML, but for
automated Web processing -- enriching documents in a way that enables
computer programs (like Web robots) to do something with them -- what's
needed is XML.

How does XML relate to Java? Jon Bosak, from Sun Microsystems, writes,
"The ability of Java applets to embed powerful data manipulation
capabilities in Web clients makes even clearer the limitations of
current methods for the transmittal of document data. XML enables
distributed processing and gives Java something to do. It is now
recognized that this approach is a perfect fit with the concept of
distributed Java applets, and the vision of the near future is one in
which engineers can access a manufacturer's Web site and download not
only viewable data on particular integrated circuits but also a Java
applet that allows them to model those circuits in various
combinations. HTML functions well as a markup for the publication of
simple documents and as a transportation envelope for downloadable
scripts. However, the need to support the much greater information
requirements of standardized Java applications will necessitate the
development of a standard, extensible, structured language and similarly
expanded linking and stylesheet mechanisms."

Finally, dear reader, in closing, I will give comments on my own
personal thoughts concerning XML, Microsoft and XML, and XML and Java.=20
As you, no doubt, can perceive ... I am a big XML booster. But I see
the potential for an XML Tower of Babel. A plethora, a geometric
expansion of future XML DTD's, each slightly different and speaking
different languages. A situation that could possibly be resolved by the
entry of big players like Sun and Netscape. They would be able to
resolve this by rationalizing common, standard DTD's among vertical
industry groups.

Microsoft has seized upon the combination of Dynamic HTML and XML to try
to somehow blunt the future success of Java as a universal programming
language. Microsoft labors under the misguided notion that this
combination is an attractive alternative. They're searching for
anything. First of all, Microsoft abhors Java because they don't own
it. They crave control, so, at this point, they're grabbing for
straws. They love XML, because it is a W3C technical recommendation.=20
Because the W3C is an international standards organization, Microsoft
can flood their meetings with blue badge carrying employees spreading
FUD and obfuscation.

So, how does XML relate to Java? Well, all those Java applets,
applications and JavaBean components now are free to munch on data
transported to them via XML

Mark Kuharich

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"the Software View" is archived at

Technology and HIRE education
There is now no longer any meaningful distinction between academic
research in computer science and commercial implication. A Stanford
Ph.D. thesis in Java instantaneously becomes the seedling for a
start-up; a Carnegie Mellon math major who comes up with a nifty
encryption algorithm probably retains a patent attorney; an MIT
undergraduate who figures out how to cache and compress GIFs in a clever
way will have no problems getting someone to fund a commercial version
of his breakthrough ... snip ... Indeed, Sun chief scientist John Gage -
who emphatically agrees that this column's thesis has disconcerting
merit - observed that Bill Joy actually committed to reading every
related doctoral thesis published in America over the preceding five
years in the process of making his contributions to Java's development.=20
Gage believes that companies like Sun whose futures are committed to
Inter- and intranets have no choice but to strike closer relations with

unCOMmonly bad
In July's issue of Microsoft Systems Journal, Don Box writes a
particularly damning and devastating technical critique of Microsoft's
COM (component object model). "The root of the problem is that the
Visual Basic team removed core constructs from their private version of
IDL (then called ODL) that left two incompatible languages for
describing COM data types....
the type library cannot act as the sole type description for a large
class of components due to its lack of fidelity ... the lack of
consistent type information holds back innovation both
inside and outside of Microsoft. Look at Java's reflection package
(java.lang.reflect) for an example of what can be done with
full-fidelity type information ... Hacking up your own version of the
JavaBean juggler demo is trivial for even a novice Java programmer. For
a great example of how dynamic invocation should have been handled, look
at either Java's reflection package or CORBA's DII/DSI infrastructure.=20
One could argue that IDispatch should be akin to IMarshal - that is, a
completely optional interface implemented only by the one percent of
objects that have special needs, not by 100% of the objects that want to
interoperate with brain-dead client environments. Programmers using COM
need to know the difference between an interface and a class. Period.=20
No amount of dumbing down of the development tools will make this
requirement go away. All three Microsoft development
tools have tried - to a greater or lesser degree - to undo the advances
made by COM by treating interfaces as second-class citizens ... Not
surprisingly, Visual Basic is the worst offender in terms of
oversimplification, bar none. Visual Basic pretends that interfaces
don't exist by calling them "Public Non-Creatable Classes."
Microsoft, because of its monopoly, is constantly impelled to deform and
dilute its development tools to serve other purposes and other marketing
requirements for products that have nothing to do with the development
tools themselves. Microsoft should be forced to split its development
tools from its OS applications businesses. Microsoft's own development
tools are skewed towards trying to make COM look simpler than it is and
trying to dumb down what you can do with it. The Enterprise JavaBeans
specification allows three alternatives for what it
calls "session Beans" including stateless, stateful, and pinned.=20
Microsoft Transaction Server currently only supports transactional and
non-transactional objects. The equivalent of stateful Enterprise
JavaBeans are implemented by manually serializing their state to a
resource manager (usually a database)

Windows NT security under fire
"Security expert and consultant Bruce Schneier will tell you that
Windows NT's security mechanism for running virtual private networks is
so weak as to be unusable ... Schneier, who runs a security consulting
firm in Minneapolis, says his in-depth "cryptanalysis" of Microsoft's
implementation of the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) reveals
fundamentally flawed security techniques that dramatically compromise
the security of company information ... It's kindergarten cryptography.=20
These are dumb mistakes ... Schneier emphasized that no flaws were found
in the PPTP protocol itself, but in the Windows NT version of it.=20
Alternate versions are used on other systems such as Linux-based
servers. Microsoft's implementation is "only buzzword-compliant,"
Schneier said"

Java in the schools
describes a Sun initiative to help universities, colleges, and
pimary/secondary schools get access to Sun software. To quote from the
page, "For those that register under this program, Sun will supply at no
charge, unlimited site licenses for many of Sun's popular software
products written in or using the Java computing language." The offer
includes access to Java WorkShop, Java Studio, Java Web Server, Java
Safe, Java PureCheck, Java Spec, Java Scope, and Java Star"

This handy, free Java application builds an uncompressed zip archive
from a list of class files. Since the JDK's jar utility works only on
entire subtrees, you need something like JHLZip to build a distributable
package from a list of specifically enumerated classes

Joachim Feise writes, "It seems that nobody wants to buy Gates' book
anymore, so Borders now gives it away for free." The Road Ahead Free
with any in-stock purchase! What better way to thank you for your
patronage-and celebrate our new home on the Web-than to give away this
hardcover book by the controversial information-age guru and Microsoft
founder. In The Road Ahead, Bill Gates discusses how networking and
personal computers are changing the way we learn, socialize, entertain
ourselves, and shop. Simply purchase any item labeled "ships
immediately" and we'll send you a free copy-a $29.95 value (for a
limited time only, while
supplies last)

Baratz says Java licensing restrictions to change. Upcoming version of
Java will be real-time
Doug Sutherland writes, "JDK 1.2 will not have deterministic hard
real-time ability. The current implementations of Java are not
deterministic due to the garbage collector interruptions. I have heard
that the HostSpot VM (which will eventually be part of JDK 1.2) will be
more deterministic than the current JDK, but AFAIK it will not be "hard
Having said that, there are many efforts within Sun to explore different
GC strategies, and it is conceivable that in *some* future version hard
real-time capabilities will be possible."

propose a public, not for profit effort to create a 100% pure
implementation of COM as a
response to J++. Your feedback is appreciated. The purpose of this
initiative is to provide more business for 100% pure Java developers by
interfacing with exisisting Windows based appliations, while maintaining
the integrity of the Java platform at the same time
Damian Mehers writes, "I work for DIGITAL's Systems Integration
organisation. I am the lead architect of a product called "Jacomva".=20
Jacomva lets you access COM Components from a pure Java client. The
Java client can be on any platform that supports a standard JVM. No
software needs to be installed on the machine that hosts the COM
components, since Jacomva uses the Distributed COM network protocol to
access COM components from Java. It includes a tool which generates
Java proxies for COM Interfaces, from a standard type library. The kit
comes with step-by-step examples of accessing Microsoft Word from a pure
Java client, as well as how to create and access your own COM Components
using Visual C++ and Visual BASIC. The kit can temporarily (until
Monday 8th June) be downloaded from
Thereafter, it will be available by sending an email with the subject
"get jacomva" in the title to The kit
expires on 1st August 1998

Anyone who thinks Java is slow should look at

W. Nathaniel Mills, III, writes, "the DocWiz is a utility to enable
quick documentation of source code - saving time, and enhancing the code
through structured comments. It can be found at the following URL:

Angela Sharples writes, "This page has a LOC counter program: 'a tool
for counting non-comment
lines of Java source code on a per-class and per-method basis'. The
author also includes a definition for a Java Logical Line Standard. If
people run this tool against their programs then it should give us a
standard way of counting LOC"

There is an interesting article in the June issue of "Upside" magazine
about Sen. Orrin Hatch's (of Utah) investigation of Microsoft's
monopolistic business practices. One would think that since Sen. Hatch
hails from Utah, home of two great software companies and foes of
Microsoft who were felled (Novell and WordPerfect), home state
retribution was on his agenda. But the Utah conspiracy theory rings
hollow. From the article, "Indeed, my lobbyist friend blames Microsoft
for the Hatch holy war: "When you're a major corporation and you've got
a conservative, pro-corporate Republican like Hatch jumping all over
you, you know you've really screwed up. You look at a guy like Gates,
who's been arrogant and cheap and incredibly na=EFve about politics. He
genuinely believed that because he was creating jobs or whatever, that'd
be enough." So, incredibly, the billion dollar software company,
Microsoft, didn't spend enough money in Washington, D.C. paying off the
politicians. They brought it upon themselves ... Read the article at:

Java servlets will replace CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
Our previous Java servlet profiles showed how all the benefits of the
Java language extend to server-side web applications. Besides these
advantages, servlet developers get the added benefit of the robust Java
servlet API, which provides a logical way to organize development and a
rich set of features ideal for dynamic web applications. This profile
illustrates how the Java servlet API takes server-side applications to
new heights

Lotus readies new Java suite=20
Lotus Development plans to release the next version of its Java-based
applications suite in September, with a focus on the PC and a promise
that it's not leaving the NC behind

billg, pass me the Viagra
It seems that Bill Gates anticipated Viagra's success, but also one of
its drawbacks. With the childproof caps, you really need to be able to
follow directions to get it open. To learn more about the problem, you
need to be running Word 97 (or Word 98 if you're on a Mac). In
Microsoft Word, follow these instructions:
1. Open a new document;
2. Type "Unable to follow directions" (without the quotes);
3. Highlight the entire sentence you just typed;
4. Click on Tools, then Thesaurus (or press shift-F7 as a shortcut).
Read the suggested phrases ... notice one of them says, "Unable to Have

Microsoft: Derailed?
This is an awesome article. "The year is 2010 and Microsoft Corp. is
invincible, right? Wrong. Think Detroit. Think IBM Corp. Think
snowboards. Ski resorts dubbed snowboarding a fad, and in January 1988,
Time magazine called it the "Worst New Sport." Today, snowboarding is
the world's fastest-growing winter sport, and the biggest maker of
snowboards is not a mainstream ski maker but the once-tiny Burton
Snowboards of Burlington, Vt. There's a lesson in this parable for the
computer industry: Microsoft Corp. controls the computer equivalent of
the ski package--the skis, the boots, the bindings and the poles. But
if entrepreneurs could conjure up a new way to slide down mountains, why
not new ways to compute or use information? Java could be the next big
thing. It's open, it's better than anything Microsoft has, and it could
squeeze Microsoft's margins on the low end and knock it out of the high
end. Sorry, Bill, but you only dominate the past--that quaint business
of desktop computing. "As you get into a connected world, going
forward," argues IBM Java evangelist David Gee, "your mainframe will run
Java, your business-intelligence server will run Java, your connected
client will run Java, and your desktop client will run Java." It's a
simple matter of mass and momentum: If Java becomes a universal
programming language, having the dominant desktop operating system will
be nothing more than the booby prize. "Two years ago, Microsoft
dominated development standards. Now it has legitimate competition,"
says Scott Winkler, vice president and research director at the Gartner
Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn. "Every time somebody chooses Java, it's a
real loss [for Microsoft]." Many of the markets the behemoth wants to
play in involve consumer goods and content, fields in which it has
displayed a leaden touch. Microsoft's strategy appears to be create
smaller versions of existing bloated products - an anti-innovation
policy if ever there was one. And despite all the talk about
Microsoft's deep pockets, cash--whether tossed at consumer-electronics
companies or poured into development--doesn't solve all of life's
problems. The huge sums Microsoft spends on R&D--$2.6 billion targeted
for 1998--would seem to provide it with the technical resources required
to move in any direction. But the company has never developed the kind
of excellence seen at, say, Bell Labs, and its products have the
technical aesthetic of a Chevrolet Suburban. No one will ever accuse
Windows of being inspired or elegant. Says Paul Saffo, a director at
Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, Calif.: "Microsoft is like this
intellectual roach motel--big brains go in and you don't see anything
come out." Saffo, who maintains that rather than being a business
innovator, the company is a "technological fast-follower." Too much
success can be a=20
problem if you don't know how to lead ... got confused. They assumed
their profitability meant that they wrote good software. In fact, all
the earnings meant was that they had a monopoly." And the risk may be
greater for Microsoft. Even if it holds on to its desktop monopoly, as
one observer puts it, the Big Whale needs a new source of plankton. And
once it looks for new feeding waters, it risks venturing into industries
where old advantages and skills don't apply. But whether this will
spawn innovation and consumer allegiance is another matter. And the
bigger Microsoft gets, the harder this process becomes. Notes Saffo,
"Microsoft has become so large and dominant that it's hard to find
people to be fast followers of." Gates is that rare industry baron so
intoxicated with his power that he can't help but lash out at those who
stand in his path. Meanwhile, his obstinacy has resulted in his company
being linked inextricably with such terms as monopoly and market power
on the front pages of the nation's papers for several months now. And
through it all, Gates has demonstrated a remarkable ability to lead with
his chin: Is Microsoft in denial? "I don't think they see any reason
to change," says Alan Brew, a brand consultant at Addison Seefeld and
Brew, a corporate-identity firm in San Francisco. "Success so early
gives you a sense of omnipotence." Microsoft's bullying tactics in
court and in the market have underscored how its control of the desktop
operating system has enslaved customers. Kness calls the Microsoft
lock-in "massive" but wonders whether the company might one day fold
under its own weight. "How big can Office 97 get," he asks, "before
people say, 'I don't want 200MB of word [processing] on my desktop.'"=20
The threat may be greater with regard to new consumers. "Why is Windows
potentially dead?" asks Extraprise's Blundon. "If Microsoft has 100
million users, that's just 1.7 percent of the world." Blundon and
others argue that for all its success, Windows may not wash with those
new to computing. "The whole operating system and application suite are
way too big, way too expensive and way too difficult for someone who is
not a knowledge worker," he says. But Microsoft's improvements to the
PC can be likened to those that General Motors used to deliver every few
years to persuade complacent buyers to trade in their old Cadillacs for
newer models--window dressing. PCs are still expensive--and hard to
use--largely because of Microsoft's bloated software. Why else would
the Gartner Group and others have pegged the annual cost of supporting a
business PC--in addition to hardware and software--at an eye-popping
$10,000? "Microsoft has caused an enormous escalation in support
costs," says Software Testing's Strassmann. "The moment you put a PC on
your desk you have inherited a tax." As Microsoft tries to move
upstream into the increasingly mission-critical areas of corporate
enterprises, however, those weaknesses may slow the growth of Windows NT
and other corporate-bound software. And ironically, Microsoft's
insistence on integrating anything it wants with its operating system
may prove to be its Achilles heel. "Browser and operating system
integration is a bad idea," says Avi Rubin, an AT&T Labs senior security
expert. "If a new flaw is discovered in the browser, you may have
offered an intruder a handle right into the kernel of the operating
system." Microsoft's attempts at customer lock-in, opposition to open
standards and less-than-perfect software may soon make the company as
popular as garlic breath. The broader challenge Microsoft faces may be
itself. "If you ask who will do in Microsoft, the answer is Microsoft,"
says Software Testing's Strassmann. "I believe that empires rot from
within. Then when an enemy comes along, they administer the coup de
grace." Citing IBM, Xerox, Univac, Digital Equipment Corp., AT&T Corp.
and others, Strassmann says, "They all rotted from within before they
fell." "The communication that needs to occur within groups isn't
happening," says a Microsoft tester who reports that bureaucracy poses
more of a threat to the company than any of its competitors. "It's the
IBM phenomenon," he says. "It's getting too large. There are too many
divisions, too much politics." And perhaps, too little interest in
writing quality software. "Microsoft ships beta code and expects users
to debug it," says American Re-Insurance's Nugent. "You almost have to
admire the way they can get millions of people to do their work." To
make matters worse, Microsoft's past successes are weighing it down like
an anchor. "The backward compatibility [with previous Microsoft
products] we have to deal with makes everything a hack," complains a
Microsoft program manager. "We have to work with the old legacy code,
and it makes the software bigger, more bloated, slower. We can't start
from scratch." Committees debate long lists of features that may either
improve or merely clutter products. Innovation doesn't enter into it.=20
"Microsoft is not a technology company; it's a marketing company," says
the program manager. "We take someone's idea and digest it, and what
comes out the other end is a standardized product." Quality, code
stability, performance and security are given short shrift. The mantra
at Microsoft is ship or die. "It drives every decision," he says.
"Everything is based on your ship date." Middle managers who meet their
ship dates are rewarded with better performance reviews and increased
stock options--regardless of how lousy the software might be. And
history tells us that empires rise and fall. Recognizing a challenge is
not enough. Today's pirates could be Java, a reinvigorated IBM, a
betrayed Intel, a hulking Compaq Computer Corp. (looking to balance its
alliances) or an entity that has yet to appear on our radar screens.=20
Says Strassmann, "The people you least suspect emerge as your

Java issues coming to a boil for Microsoft?
NEW YORK -- In the next couple of weeks, Java could become a hot potato
in Microsoft Corp.'s cases with the U.S. Department of Justice and Sun
Microsystems Inc.

Mark Symonds writes that some impressive applets can be found at:
Also, a company into some very unique distributed game stuff:

Joe Gittings notes an Internet banking service written in 100% Pure Java

Buying your friends
"If you're a professor and you mention Microsoft programming tools in a
scholarly presentation -- in fact, even if you just use the tools --
Microsoft will send you a check for $200

Mark Baker sends, Nortel (Northern Telecom) today announced Meridian
Intranet Meeting Software (MIMS), the first in a series of Web
Communication Tools -- Java-based software products that
significantly enhance real-time communication and collaboration through
the Web and existing telephony systems

Microsoft can't cluster to save its life
Wolfpack slowing down; support for 2+ nodes slips. Microsoft Corp. will
provide new clustering features in Windows NT 5.0 Enterprise Edition
next year, but much-needed support for more than two nodes won't be
among them

*** THESOFTWAREVIEW post by: Mark Kuharich <>
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