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Undesirable business practices

The fight to control software market, and more generally immaterial goods markets, often leads to disputable or unethical practices.

This page attempts to collect available information regarding such practices, and also economic and sociological phenomena in immaterial markets that result in counter-productive situations (such as monopolies).

I welcome any input and/or contribution (original or pointers) to these topics. Please forward contributions to the maintainer of this page Bernard.Lang@inria.fr. Thank you for helping.

Documents and web sites

  1. * Software Secrets: do they Help or Hurt?, Eric S. Raymond
    Some comments on trade secrets from the free software for business list.
  2. Transforming freeware into proprietary software. Problems with the BSD licence, and why the GPL is useful: Post from comp.os.linux.advocacy,gnu.misc.discuss by Ben Bullock
  3. * False Microsoft Claims Found on their NT Web Site, Novell
  4. * The Microsoft Menace Why I'm leading a crusade to stop its drive for cyberspace hegemony, Ralph Nader, Slate, Wednesday, Oct. 29
  5. * Web servers -- Apache:Freely Successful -- The Net's Web server sharewarecontinues to gain popularity Candee Wilde, InformationWeek, Issue 633, June 02, 1997. [server software dumping by MS and Netscape, and remarks about their development being slower than that of Apache]
  6. * Faites-vous conFiance à NT pour vos applications stratégiques? [Non, c'est une boite noire ... Pas mieux qu'Unix - la complexité d'administration de NT ... ]
  7. Electronic Data Processing Blames Microsoft for its Problems, Computergram, December 9, 1997. [ on the impact Microsoft vaporware NT 5.0 on dependent companies ]
  8. Caldera CEO says MS is threatening PC makers Will Rodger , April 28 2998, ZDNN Microsoft Corp. is threatening to suspend the contract of at least one of the United States' largest computer manufacturers in a dispute over bundling a competing operating system, Caldera Inc. CEO Bryan Sparks alleged Monday.
  9. Mafia ?
    1. Interview de Mitchell Kertzman, CEO de Sybase, 01 Informatique n°1475 €, 21 novembre 1997, page 19. [ ... les gens de Microsoft se comportent comme la mafia : ... ]
    2. Marketing muscle?, Associated Press, New York, April 24, 19:33 EDT. [ Marc Andreessen: It was like a visit by Don Corleone. I expected to find a bloody computer monitor in my bed the next day.], reprinted in Edupage, 26 April 1998
    3. Comment Microsoft à tenu Intel à distance de Java Multimedium, 26 août 1998, elon l'un des mémos d'Intel, Bill Gates aurait été « livide » d'apprendre les vélléités d'investissement d'Intel dans ces secteurs et voulait les bloquer à tout prix.
  10. Using buit-in incompatibilities against competition
  11. Should Feds Trust Windows NT? James Glave, Wired News, 6.May.98. - Curry claims that Microsoft is stretching the truth of NT's security certification, and taking advantage of lax enforcement of government-security-rating requirements to sell non-certified versions of the product to federal markets. The scheme, he alleges, gives the company an unfair advantage over its competitors and opens the US government's computer networks up to needless risk.
  12. MS forces explorer on vendors Computergram, October 23, 1997.
  13. Required to buy Microsoft Windows David Chun, Consumer Project on Technology, June 3, 1998 I called 12 computer manufacturers, known in the industry as original equipment manufactures (OEMs), attempting to buy computers without a Microsoft Windows operating systems
  14. Open up OS/2 source code, Ralph Nadar tells Gerstner Computergram, June 10, 1998.
  15. Reinforcing the plateform and content effect Computergram, October 24, 1997.
  16. * La BSA passe en jugement !!! 27/11/97 - © Rossel & Cie SA - LE SOIR Bruxelles, rapporté par Digital 3D [ BSA condamnée pour appel à la délation ]
  17. la Campagne BSA 1997 en France suscite de vies réactions.
    1. * Vives réactions après la campagne de la BSA contre le piratage, Jean-Luc Goudet, Infomanager magazine, Décembre 1997, No. 2, page 10.
    2. * Campagne antipiratage de la Business Software Alliance - La BSA piégée, Philippe Rosé Le Monde Informatique n°698 - 15 novembre 1996
    3. * Nouvelle campagne de BSA sujette à crédibilité, Communiqué de presse du CLUSIF, 6 Novembre 1997.
    4. * Légitimité et légalité des actions du BSA Communiqué de presse du CLUSIF, 8 Novembre 1996.
    5. Une brigade aux drôles de moeurs, Francis Mizio, Libération, supplément Multimédia, 24 avril 1998.
  18. Other BSA niceties
    1. Pirates ahead! Baton down the hatches!, Copyrites, No. 25, 31 May 1997.
    2. Overseas Invasion, Rachel Burstein, Mother Jones, January-February 1998.
  19. Microsoft rattrapé par une affaire de piratage La Tribune, 96/03/05 - Le leader des logiciels 3D, filiale de Microsoft, est soupçonné d'avoir copié un logiciel d'un éditeur français + Deux procès-verbaux de saisie conservatoire ont déjà été dressés, dont l'un à Imagina.
  20. L'utopie du «juste prix»,Enquête réalisée par Claire Leroy, Le Monde Informatique, n°750 - 23 janvier 1998
  21. Piège dans le cyberespace, Roberto Di Cosmo, Dossiers Multimédium,, 17 mars 1998. - (2e partie et version postscript Gzippée).
  22. <<NetAction>> about technology-based social and political issues.
  23. <>B>Vaporware
  24. Is Microsoft Ripping Off its Beta Testers?, Jesse Berst, ZDNet AnchorDesk, Monday, March 23, 1998. [ ... Come inside and find out why this is just another case of MS making out like a bandit because Windows has no competition. ]
  25. *

Things they have not done ... yet

  1. Take over the government.
  2. Patent the numbers one and zero.
  3. Use nuclear threat
  4. Poison water supplies

Security, performance

A common practice among software and hardware manufacturers is to forbid disclosing information about their products. For example it is "forbidden" by Oracle to benchmark their software.
  1. Intel Goes to Battle as Its Embedded Serial Number Is Unmasked John Markoff, The New York Times on the web, April 29, 1999. Intel has the diagnostic code (available for download from Zero-Knowledge) treated as a virus by Symantec.

Problems with windows NT security

  1. Known NT Exploits, Bill Stout, 16-Feb-97
  2. NT Security News,
  3. Disaster Center
  4. *

Other remarks (not really belonging here)

  1. Freeware is often reproached a lack of portability on all hardware components... apparently the same is true for NT, or else why should there be an NT certification :
    * Microsoft Support Policy on Hardware Not On Windows NT HCL, August 1997.
    * Windows NT Workstation Setup and Installation Troubleshooter, Microsoft, July 1997.
    Windows NT Hardware Compatibility whitepaper, Microsoft TechNet, September 1995.
    * Windows NT 4.0 Setup Troubleshooting Guide, Microsoft, July 1997.
    But things can be worse, the MS hardware compatibility list is not upward compatible, or even simply reliable :
    * Tricks &ers; Traps - Ask Dr. Bob Your NT Questions, Bob Chronister, Windows NT magazine, January 1996.
    * Life on a Laptop with Windows NT, Joel Sloss Windows NT magazine, May 1996.

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