Archive | 2004

Cringely explains IBM, Apple, Sun, Microsoft, HP and Dell

In one of his high-flying and far-ranging columns, Cringely offers his theory for the strategies and tactics of IBM’s move to sell its PC business to Lenova, Microsoft’s plans for xBox2 (is it true you need to develop the games on a G5-based Mac?), why Sun and Apple don’t matter, and how Microsoft will take over the world:

With its continual need for more revenue, Microsoft will by then have already finished its destruction of the world software market, will have sucked all the profit out of the world hardware market, and will discard its hardware OEMs like HP and Dell and compete with them head-to-head.

Sometimes insightful, sometimes delusional, Cringely is always worth a quick read. And a large grain of salt.

Joel on Software: Camels and Rubber Duckies

Continuing his light-hearted and insightful series of essays, Joel reveals the deep dark secrets of software pricing, and why none of them work. Halfway through the essay: “That was the easy part. The hard part is that everything I just told you is sort of wrong.” Three-quarters of the way: “There’s no software priced between $1000 and $75,000. I’ll tell you why.” He does warn you, along the way, that you will end up learning nothing, but I think he undersells himself. Pricing is a fine art of balancing contradictory and opposing motivations, with insufficient information, and never knowing if you guessed right. Good reading!

New study predicts growth of Linux market

Linux Looms Larger Than Thought. “The overall Linux market is far larger than previous estimates show, a new study says. In an analysis of the Linux market released late Tuesday, market research firm IDC estimated that the Linux market — including servers, PCs and packaged software — is expected to register a 26% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years, reaching a whopping $35.7 billion by 2008.” Source: OSNews

If it’s the second Tuesday, it must be time for Microsoft patches!

“Microsoft issues five bulletins on Windows flaws. Microsoft today released five Security Bulletins warning of several vulnerabilities that put computers running Windows at risk of attack. None are rated “critical,” Microsoft’s highest severity rating.” Source: Computerworld News

The bulletins, MS04-41, MS04-42, MS04-43, MS04-44, MS04-45 are somehow listed as “important” rather than “critical despite the fact that the compromises can “allow remote code execution,” “elevation of privileges” and denial of service. I’d hate to see what “really, really important” meant!

Also note that Microsoft “re-released” MS04-28, version 2, where a problem in GDI+ and JPEG processing can affect nearly every recent application, including Visual FoxPro 8.0. Shouldn’t a three-month lag between release and update qualify the sequel of the original security announcement for its own number? Not in Microsoft twisted logic, apparently. Make sure your systems are patched up to date!

It’s the 51st week of the year.

Why Microsoft doen’t want Visual FoxPro to succeed

Craig Berntson repeats the same old myths about the Visual FoxPro 2 gigabyte limit: The 2 Gig File Limit

“For as far back as I can remember, FoxPro has had a 2 Gig limit on the size of a file. Before going any further, I’ll answer the big uestion…No, Visual FoxPro 9.0 does not support tables over 2 Gig in size. And don’t look for VFP to ever break that limit. Here’s why….”

What nonsense! I am sure that changing the logic of record locking to support more than 2 Gb of file space is a non-trivial change. I have no doubt that there are a lot of places in VFP where the 2 Gb limit is hard-coded or, worse, assumed. But to claim it is primarily for backwards compatibility is nonsense. Nearly every format in VFP changes regularly. Menus added shortcut icons, breaking backwards compatibility. Auto-incrementing fields, code pages, and DBC backlinks all changed the DBF format, breaking backwards compatibility. Database events… guess what? … broke backwards compatibility.

There are two reasons, besides for the hard work involved, for not increasing the DBF beyond 2 Gb. One I agree with, and one I detest. The good reason is that DBFs, ISAM files, are unstable, and rebuilding ever bigger ones is expensive. Ever reindex a 2 Gb DBF? It can take forever. So, bigger is not better for ISAM. Moving to client-server when you have that much data is a good idea, solely for data recovery time.

The second reason is the dumb one. Microsoft doesn’t want to raise the limit because it will eat away at its other product offerings. MSDE and now SQL Server Select are the low-cost entries into client-server computing, and their reason for being would be hurt by letting DBFs grow to a larger size.

A Spoke in the Wheel

Steve Sawyer, the man when it comes to VFP RI, and an insightful developer, is off on his next career, but we can still catch a little wisdom from his blog, such as A Spoke in the Wheel: “The most carefully formulated business processes can be short-circuited, sidetracked, derailed or otherwise thwarted by the very people responsible for implementing or following the process.” Source: Steve’s Transitions Journal

FireFox downloaded 10 million times

Get Firefox!

CNET reports Firefox surpasses 10 million download mark. “The open-source challenger to heavyweight Internet Explorer breaks the 10 million mark in a little more than a month since its release.”

See the announcement at

Brian Livingston also published a “Secrets of FireFox 1.0” article in his Windows Secrets newsletter with some great tips.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.