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Rant Mode Equals One: Next Generation Windows Services Fun! - page 3

Next Generation? Hardly!

  • May 23, 2000
  • By Paul Ferris
Just last week or thereabouts, Bill Gates was interviewed in Time magazine saying that if the company was broken in two it would be harder for it to respond to problems like the one created by the ILOVEYOU virus. If you remember, when Microsoft was pressed initially for a solution to the problems caused by the virus, company representatives said basically that they weren't going to do a thing -- it wasn't their problem in other words.

No Good Windows Support

Bear in mind, they did finally change their minds, and are now starting to do some things in regards to their security problems. I have to applaud this at least. But still, I'm imagining a split Microsoft, in the future, taking twice as long to say, in essence, "We're not going to do anything about this." What a shame.

So maybe NGWS is really an innovative new anti-trust defense. Somehow, this seems to be the most plausible reason for the NGWS announcement. The next candidate in line is just as ludicrous, but addresses another community.

Possibly Microsoft is hoping that this announcement will breath new life into their stock, thus raising the pay of all of those poor, underpaid employees who took a low salary and high stock benefits, only to find out that the law of infinite stock expansion belongs in there somewhere with the rules that govern perpetual motion machines.

Now Go Wait Some(more)

Gee, that would be a real winning strategy. Announce a vapor-ous product with a vapor-ous delivery date and vapor-ous conceptual ideas, to be delivered by the kings of vapor-ware at speeds that will make a 1200 baud modem look like DSL or a T3.

Yep, those stockholders are likely ready to run right out and pay top dollar for Microsoft stock now! Possibly LOTTO tickets aren't all that bad of an investment after all.

New Generic Weenie Society

Maybe the idea here is to help better focus the company, strategically. Yes, Microsoft, the producers of Windows NT, no, rather Windows 2000, or was that Millennium edition, or was it Windows CE, or embedded 63 1/2 bit Windows NT CE or DNA/NGWS PalmPC/COM/OHBROTHER technology.

No, I guess that's not it either.

Whatever the reason, the new technology is rather frightening from the perspective of people in the open source community like me. Not that we're afraid of a little competition, oh no, that's not it at all.

Net Gets Worse Security

It's just frightening, period. Imagine something like the ILOVEYOU virus spreading from machine to machine without using email. NGWS might stand for New Games With Security, in that light.

It wasn't all vague, though. Let's examine some of the clearer descriptions emanating from the walls of the Redmond infirmary:

"For example, a musician might want to program a set of auction services to look for a particular type of guitar. When the item shows up for the hoped-for price, perhaps in the middle of the night, the computer can bid on the item and electronically tell the bank to transfer the funds to the supplier.

Or if an airline flight is rescheduled, colleagues and family members would be automatically notified, and the traveler's calendar would be updated to reflect the change.

"Today, you can't do this," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of platforms for Microsoft and a key architect of the new strategy. Tomorrow, you will. It's all about taking advantage of all the services that will exist on the Internet."

Tell me this doesn't frighten the piss out of you. Remember, these people have left known security holes that you can drive a Greyhound bus through in their mail clients for at least a year, possibly longer. Let me show you what I mean by replaying that interview, only this time we'll set Truth Mode on:

TRUTH_MODE=1

"For example, a musician might want to program a set of auction services to look for a particular type of guitar. When the item shows up for the hoped-for price, perhaps anytime when he's not looking, the computer will be cracked by some 13 year old kid, who will bid the item up to the price of an orchestra and tell the bank to transfer the funds to his Swiss bank account. The next day a grand piano will arrive at the door instead.

"Or, if an airline flight is rescheduled, colleagues and family members would be automatically notified, and the traveler's calendar application will corrupt all of their computers, including that of the travel agent, eventually resulting in the plane flight itself being either canceled or going down in burning mess of flames.

"Today, fortunately, you can't do this," Jim Allchin, group vice president of platforms for Microsoft would say. "Tomorrow, you will, although you'll hope that something better will be available from somewhere else. Instead, we'll have the market sown up with crappy proprietary technology so you won't have a choice.

"It's all about taking advantage of all the insecurities of our current product and extending them to the frightening possibilities of the Internet. Then we raise the price and announce more products, while charging you extra to re-purchase the technology you already own!"

Ok, that was a bit excessive, even for me. Well, maybe not for me, you see, I have an even more active imagination than Microsoft. At times, I could swear I see alternatives that work, are secure, don't require all the rebooting and reinstalling hassles, and the products are--get this--free!

New Games With Security

But maybe Next Generation Windows Services are already here, after all. Hey, maybe that's what the ILOVEYOU virus is! Maybe that weak security model is actually a delivery platform for new services on your computer!

See, I'm not all that cynical after all.

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