Saturday, January 10, 2004


Lindows Takes a Hit in Battle Against Microsoft  

Lindows Takes a Hit in Battle Against Microsoft: "January 9, 2004
Lindows Takes a Hit in Battle Against Microsoft
By Susan Kuchinskas

A San Francisco Court has ruled that a Linux company has to stop its scheme to provide instant Microsoft rebates as part of its $1.1 billion settlement with California.
San Diego, Calif.-based Lindows set up a special site, MSfreePC.com, that let them automatically qualify and apply for rebates offered to settle state consumers'four-year-old class action suit on July 19, 2003. Consumers could use an 'Instant Settlement Wizard,' and if they qualified, immediately use the pending rebate to instantly purchase a Windows-compatible Office suite, LindowsCD, Lindows OS 4.0 or a library of Linux software. Lindows contributed 10 percent of each rebate to open source projects such as Mozilla and OpenOffice.
Then San Francisco Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado's ruled on December 22 that claims against Microsoft collected by Lindows.com are not valid."

Too bad. I know that the people who used their site to file will be a little annoyed, but really, it was always an open question as to whether the court would allow the electronic filing.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, it doesn't do anything to devalue Lindows as an OS or stop the creeping flood of Linux. Every time I read something from Microsoft's marketing people, I get the distinct image of a lone outpost in an old Western movie, surrounded by about a million Indians. And most of them armed with M-16's. I guess when you can feel the victory (of being the only OS on the planet) slipping away, you tend to spend a lot of nervous nights.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Court ponders Web site-blocking law | CNET News.com  

Court ponders Web site-blocking law | CNET News.com: "Court ponders Web site-blocking law
Last modified: January 6, 2004, 3:53 PM PST
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

update A federal judge in Philadelphia on Tuesday heard a challenge to a controversial state law that has led to more than 1 million innocuous Web sites being accidentally blocked.
Although the law is only a Pennsylvania state statute, it has an international reach. When the Pennsylvania attorney general used it to force MCI to ban access to some sites with suspected child pornography, the company said it had no choice but to block those Internet addresses for all of its North American subscribers.
Two nonprofit groups, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed suit against Pennsylvania in September. Their lawsuit claims that the state law's 'secret censorship orders' have led to more than 1 million Web sites blocked, nearly all featuring legal material. "

This part isn't necessarily bad, since it seeks to limit the spread of child porn, but the following section, though, is different-

"A URL is neither a person nor a real forum nor a limited commodity," Pennsylvania said. "It is a little string of letters and numbers that acts as a superficial label. URLs are infinite in quantity. Even complete retirement of one will not diminish speech. Speech can always find another URL, and probably (one) pretty close to the out-of-commission string. The new URL will be in the same cyberspace, accessible in the same physical places, as the retired URL."

That last part shows how totally clueless parts of our government are about things relating to the Internet. And that's a BAD thing. URL's are "a little string of letters and numbers that acts as a superficial label"??? Maybe we should have a Constitutional amendment that forces lawmakers to understand what they're talking about before they can pass a law about something. That "superficial" string, as WE all know, is the ONLY thing can specifically identify a web site, outside of the IP address. Since IPv5 and up allows playing games with perceived URL's, the IP is the only final arbiter of a website's location, but that hardly makes a site's URL "superficial"!

Sunday, January 04, 2004


ZDNet UK - News - Beta XP update ready for download  

ZDNet UK - News - Beta XP update ready for download: "Beta XP update ready for download

David Becker
CNET News.com
December 19, 2003, 10:15 GMT

A test version of the second major update to Microsoft's Windows XP is now available to registered beta users

Microsoft has released a test version of the second major update to its Windows XP operating system.

The beta version of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, issued late on Wednesday, is available now for download through BetaPlace, Microsoft's site for registered beta testers. Microsoft is expected to offer it later through the download section of its MSDN developer site and on CD. "

Notice that the beta is NOT available for general download, so don't rush to your favorite file warehouse expecting to see it on the front page. Another facet of this is that this is a BETA package. That means (to restate the obvious) that the components may not work or they may actually screw up a system that works fine as is. In either case, something that is, on the bottom line, supposed to screw with your operating system, is not something I think one can trust in beta form. I have to admit that, with the amount of fixes supposed to be included, I was tempted to try for a copy. I've done a fair amount of beta testing for 'Big Red'mond, so I thought that getting a copy wouldn't be too hard. Then I thought about what damage could be done by this particular beta and decided against it. Especially troubling is the update to DirectX, which has been a source of grief in the past. Any changes made can be expected to cause trouble until the video card manufacturers can engineer their driver sets for it. Something as fluid as a beta version makes that tough.

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