Microsoft bullies the Danes

Once again, there’s something rotten in Denmark. From Gates vs Denmark on Groklaw, via BoingBoing it seems Bill Gates is close down 800 IT Jobs in Denmark if the country doesn’t support the software patents directive (what a star trek-y title by the way). Let’s hope Denmark’s politicians don’t cave in to this threat.

The founder of the world’s largest software company, Bill Gates, is now ready to shut down Navision in Denmark and move around 800 developers behind Denmarks biggest software success to the US.


Phishing might be helping Mozilla

According to broadband reports, phishing scams which exploit Microsoft Internet Explorer’s bug that allows scam artists to hide the real url of a link while displaying a legit looking address.

While the story itself is interesting, theres an interesting thread evident in the comments posted by readers. A lot of them wrote about how they’ve moved to other browsers, mainly Mozilla or Thunderbird – which is great! It has been months since this exploit was discovered and Microsoft has not fixed it yet. Meanwhile, users are switching away from IE, learning that Mozilla is a perfect replacement for it, and will be telling their friends about it.


Bill Gates avoids the browser issue

First concerns the current stagnation of Microsoft’s web browser. While other browsers such as Mozilla, Konqueror, and Safari sport surfer friendly features such as pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing, IE has been stuck at version 6.0 longer than I was in college it seems. Bill addresses his critics saying,

"How could we ignore the browser?," Gates responded. ‘The Explorer is fully integrated with the operating system, take it away and the OS grinds to a halt. When you call up Help, you’re using the browser. In Office 2003 instead of going to the local files, the browser will go online and fetch the latest documents." Without going into details, Gates says he sees opportunities for reading and annotation capabilities in Internet Explorer. However, the industry seems more concerned about software talking to other software, Gates said, than about software talking to the screen. "XML is going to be the key technology here too."

Notice how he didn’t answer the question? He talks about what things the future browser might do and the capabilities he does talk about have nothing whatsover to do with browsing the web. Reading Windows Help files? Reading and annotation capabilities? Come on. It’s clear that he doesn’t care about following standards and interoperating in a heterogenous environemnt like the web.

The second item is quite amusing in a deja-vu, haven’t-we-heard-that-before kind of way. When talking about 64-bit computing he says,

Gates also doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in 64 bit technologies in the consumer space. "64 bit is coming to desktops, there is no doubt about that," he said. "But apart from Photoshop, I can’t think of desktop applications where you would need more than 4 gigabytes of physical memory, which is what you have to have in order to benefit from this technology. Right now, it is costly."

For the record, this sounds a lot like a quote that’s been attributed to him before about High Memory in DOS: "640K ought to be enough for anybody. " Although there is some doubt about the veracity of said quote, he won’t be able to deny saying he can’t fathom needing 4GB of physical memory. I’ll ask him about that when I’m playing a photo-realistic first-person-shooter.


IE Complacency

Count me in this group of developers who wish Microsoft would fix their broken Internet Explorer. I also wish all you people out there still running IE 5.5 would upgrade too!

But Zeldman warned against wishful thinking, noting that with hundreds of millions of people using Internet Explorer around the world, it would take more than CSS-savvy developers like him and Microsoft’s toolmaker competitors to persuade Microsoft to tend to a battleground it no longer considers contested.

I’m not saying (IE) is not a very good browser–it is,” Zeldman said. “But its CSS support is weaker and buggier than its competitors. We hoped for many years that by submitting bug reports, they would improve it. But they didn’t.”

So until they fix it, do yourself a favor and get yourself Mozila Firebird.

Update: Looks like there are many security holes in Internet Explorer too!


Getting a better browser

The next time you’ll get a new browser from Microsoft is when you shell out money for Longhorn. Realistically, sounds like we won’t see significant uptake of Longhorn for another five years. Windows users, stuck with a browser that isn’t advancing, will look to alternatives, like Mozilla, Mozilla’s Firebird Project, or Opera. These browsers already provide better standards compatibility which makes web developers happy, and pop-up blocking, better security, and tabbed browsing which should make surfers happy.

Tim bray analyzes the situation much more in-depth in his The Door is Ajar piece.


Ballmer on the Linux Threat

"IBM’s endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability," Ballmer said.

OK, so its caught up to windows which has had that illusion of support and accountability since circa 1990.

Linux’s weakness, however, was the lack of a central body investing in its development in areas such as engineering, manageability, compatibility and security, Ballmer said.

Ok, this is the whole one man’s trash thing. Open Source advocates would argue that this is linux’s biggest STRENGTH. Plus key subsystems- like the linux kernel – have a central body overseeing development.

First, the Windows Server 2003 generation of products offers stronger performance and value than Linux in most IT scenarios.

The biggest value that it can provide are the lower initial costs associated with staying on the Microsoft upgrade cycle compared to the cost of migrating systems and people to linux. So, if you’re a Microsoft shop you’ll stay one because its still cheaper to do so. Same goes if you are a Linux shop.


PHP Architect responds to MS .NET comparison

PHP Architect magazine has a more detailed response to Microsoft’s comparison of PHP and .NET . Good to see most of the points I had made earlier written up here.


Why I don’t have an MS Passport


The flaw, in Passport’s password recovery mechanism, could have allowed an attacker to change the password on any account
to which the username is known. The simplicity of the attack method and
the high value of the data frequently stored in Passport
accounts–names, addresses, birthdates and credit card
numbers–combined to make the vulnerability critical.