Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 9
Just how big is Thursday October 25, 2001?

First a little background and info…

Windows XP will be released. Just another operating system, right? Well lets look at what features XP brings with its release. There is more usability and features. That's OK, its expected. There is a brand new licensing scheme. XP will be the first large-scale move from the public as owners of software to the public as leasers of the software. That's right no longer will you pay once, you will pay along the way. There are advantages and disadvantages of this method, but realize that this is only a step along a path, which I'll illuminate in just a bit. There is also a change in the network layer that you need to know about to see the greater goal of Microsoft. The network layer was only at the Operating System level in the Windows 9X versions, in Windows 2Kthere was a move to the API (Application Program Interface) and the OS.

Now this API is an important cog in the machinery. It originally in 9X versions was known as DDE. DDE is the programming that allowed software applications to speak with each other such as the exchange of information between Word and Excel. This evolved into OLE, which in turn evolved into Active X, of which you have probably heard. Active X is the programming that Microsoft would like to be heavily used, especially conjunction with the Internet. Active X controls allow web pages to have more functionality and pizzazz by running certain programs on your machine instead of their servers. This speeds up download times and increases the ability of web programs. Why install Microsoft Office when you can just use it over the Internet? Again, this is an important step along the path for Microsoft. Corporate America has basically outlawed this technology because it is inherently dangerous as a security risk. If a program can be written to use your computer work for itself, it could possibly, let's say, erase your hard drive or mine your information.

At the same time this technology is evolving at Microsoft, another new programming force grows from its roots at Sun Microsystems. Yes, JAVA. Now JAVA has the ability to run on just about any computer with any Operating System. No matter what its original use was, it is a useful programming language to be used with Internet sites and applications, and more importantly it works better than Active X. So JAVA is slowly being introduced into the public for anybody to use. It is being taught in the Universities across the country and is becoming a comfortable language for all types of techie individuals. JAVA isn't being used to a fraction of its potential currently and could grow to be a standard programming language, especially in the growing Internet world. Microsoft eyes this and introduces J++, a rip-off version of JAVA. Sun Microsystems sees this and knows it must protect its turf. They tell Microsoft that they can't just rename and place a couple twists on their programming language and call it a Microsoft product. They sue Microsoft and win! That's great for Sun Microsystems, or is it? The court ruled that Microsoft could not use J++ or JAVA in the manner in which it was being used in conjunction with Windows. Well then Microsoft just had to eliminate support for this technology in their next version of Windows. So, Windows XP does not come with JAVA support. Think about this for a second… A legal precedent has taken place. Do you think Microsoft wanted to win this case? They had to cut a check, for what, a weeks payroll at Microsoft (chump change) for the court settlement to Sun Microsystems and in the process were told by the court not to use JAVA. With a shrug of their mighty shoulders Microsoft took a big step towards eliminating a potential competitor. (A note that JAVA support will probably be able to be added later, but that's beyond the scope of what is happening here.)

Now why would Microsoft try to hurt the progression of JAVA, the Active X programming isn't good enough to replace it. Let's look at Windows XP, oh my, Active X is being replaced with something with a code name HAILSTORM. Have you heard of .Net and the programming language C sharp? Hailstorm includes an important authentication application, (this is you, this is your information). This application is called Passport. Do you have a Hotmail account? Then you are already part of the .Net world. Your Hotmail address may be your new Social Security number in the .Net world. So what's .Net? Imagine this: you sign on to Windows, you work, shop, and surf, you close Windows. Why is this different from what you are doing now? Well, you only signed in once and you never entered any other personal information. Your Operating System (Windows) already knows your Name, Address, and Main mail (Hotmail). Other information may be include such as your Phone #, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number. With Passport/.Net, all of your information will reside on a secondary server, when you go to a site to request information, or to shop, the site will ask you which credit card you want to purchase your merchandise with and display a list of the last 4 digits of your credit card numbers. You choose one and you're done, you never signed into any site or entered any personal information. The site never knew any of your personal information, just how to authenticate you and bill you. Wow, you may be thinking, how long until some 12-year-old kids hacks into this personal information server? Hmmm

Microsoft has the American public figured out. We are essentially lazy and like things to be easy.

Let's describe the .Net world in Microsoft's plan. You have one sign on to the Windows XP operating system. You never have to sign on to any other site. Handy and easy, eh? You shop in a couple of minutes because new technology finds the best price for the item you're looking for and you purchase in seconds using Microsoft Wallet to pay. You do your work through the Internet, renting Word, Excel, etc. for $5 or $10 per month per application. You don't have to go out and buy the software, and the American public is used to monthly bills, we're a credit society, no? The .Net system works on hand held computers, you walk up to a soda machine, beam your info and get a coke (this is in test markets now, by the way) or you pick out some clothes, automatically beam your info and walk out the door…no paper money needed, no plastic credit card needed. Then what if you add the biometric element?…who needs a hand held computer when your eyeball, voice and fingerprint can be read…Tie this into your Calendar and you won't forget important events. Your spouse's birthday pops up on your screen, you press One button and the appropriate gift is delivered. This is a piece of cake since your buying habits are already well known.

Bill Gates may be benevolent and a nice guy, but he won't be around forever. Can we trust the next ruler of the world…I mean Executive of Microsoft? Do you find this invasive or helpful? Is it an unavoidable future? Are there other technologies you can use?

The government didn't break up Microsoft and now Microsoft is introducing the future on the 25th. This isn't just the introduction of a new Operating System, it's the introduction of a new world.

How big is Windows XP? Big.

Always IMHO


(if I got any technical facts wrong, please feel free to clearify and expound - I was trying to simplify it for everyone)
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.