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Old 06-14-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default European Commission Breaks Windows 7

From our front-page news:
Oi. It's become no secret that the European Union has had fun slapping Microsoft with pointless lawsuits over the years, but the latest happenings just further proves how asinine their Commission's thought-process is. Take one cranky browser company, Opera, and couple it with the already anti-Microsoft EU, and you have one heck of a story.

In gist, Opera complained to the EU that it's somehow wrong for Microsoft to include only one browser in their OS, and as such, they offered a solution: have Microsoft offer multiple browsers. Yes... they did actually suggest that Microsoft should include competitor offerings within Windows. What's next? Ford offering Toyota flier hand-outs, or an Aion screenshot at the World of Warcraft login screen?

Look... it's simple. Microsoft isn't forcing Internet Explorer on anyone. It's a sub-product of their OS, which people willingly purchase. Nothing stops anyone from downloading another browser of their choice... nothing. If the EU forces this, what's en route? Microsoft being required to offer alternate e-mail clients? Media players? Chat clients? Calculators?

"Rob, chill... what's the big deal?" How about the fact that because due to this pressure, Microsoft will be including no browser at all in the EU version of Windows 7. That means that people will be unable to hop online immediately after installing their OS. Rather, they'd have to install a browser of their choice via alternate means (like a thumb drive), or use the included CD-ROM to install Internet Explorer. Sounds convenient, doesn't it?

Oh, and how about the newly-introduced inability to upgrade from a previous version of Windows? That's right. I'm not sure of the mechanics, but IE is apparently required for a smooth upgrade, and because it's not going to be available in Windows 7 by default for EU users, it simply can't be done. Microsoft could agree to include alternate browsers just to please the EU and Opera, but I don't blame them for their decision. It's their product. If consumers don't like it, they don't have to buy it. It's that simple.

But since it's just a browser, perhaps Microsoft should be a good sport and include a few alternatives. At least that way, the browser-less problem will cease to exist, and customers will be happier. I personally recommend bundling Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. You guys?


Providing it gets European Commission approval, which looks unlikely based on the Commission's preliminary response, Microsoft will ship the browser-less version of Windows 7, to be known as Windows 7 "E", in all EU member states as well as Croatia and Switzerland. What's more, the browser will also be removed from the Europe-only Windows 7 "N" versions which also have Windows Media Player stripped out - the result of another EU antitrust ruling.


Source: Bit-Tech
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:25 AM   #2
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No offense, but the people behind Firefox and Chrome both have been pushing the EU just as hard as Opera has for this. http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/new...-wait-what.ars

Frankly I think all three of them suck for pushing this. But guess what? They haven't stopped, and are clamoring for the EU to force Microsoft to offer a screen prompting what browser the user wants to install. And if you read some other news reports, you will see the EU already sent out questionnaires about how these companies would like to see such a system implemented. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how this will play out, the EU is going to force Microsoft's hand a second time because simply removing IE is no longer enough.

If I was making the decision I'd have done this to the EU ages ago. They want to fine us a few billion dollars because of bundling IE and WMP? Fine, retail copies don't need it anyway. The only unfortunate thing is I'm sure all these EU idiots buy OEM machines... which means they will have IE and WMP installed anyway. Only the people buying Retail boxes are going to be impacted by this... but again, if IE is available on the install media then it's not a serious problem. Users could just thank the EU for requiring they waste 10 minutes of their time installing it instead of having out-of-box functionality.

What's ironic is that if Microsoft includes bundled browsers, there will in a few years be a large number of users using outdated versions of Firefox, Chrome, or Opera. There's no way the EU can find grounds to force Microsoft to update these browsers using Windows Update as MS does with IE.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:39 PM   #3
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Screw em. Let them pull all browser support.

The bigger the gov, the more they tend to try to regulate incorrectly, or wrongly, an industry or company.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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Mozilla and Google did indeed follow suit, but that, to me, is more of a proactive move to make sure you're not left behind. Would you stand by idly if you knew there was a chance that your competitor's browser might be included in the next version of Windows and not yours? If I were the head of Google or Mozilla, I sure as heck wouldn't be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
The only unfortunate thing is I'm sure all these EU idiots buy OEM machines... which means they will have IE and WMP installed anyway.
I have no doubt about that. They don't seem to understand how asinine their whining about issue is, so I'm led to believe they simply either really hate Microsoft, or are just idiots. Probably the latter.

For whatever reason, this entire issue bugs the hell out of me. It annoys me to no end to know that, to please the EU, Microsoft would have to include competitor software within their OS. What's next, seriously? What negative effect is there really because IE and WMP are pre-installed? There is none. It's not as though they are forced on the user, and most people who use them don't mind them. So what's the deal? Taking these things out hurts the consumer far, far more than helps. Some people can't even find where the media player on their PC is... imagine requiring them to go find and download it.

What about Apple? They include only Safari with OS X... isn't this the exact same issue?

Here's another angle... customer support. Microsoft supports their OS and people can call in for said support. If they include software they have nothing to do with, are they supposed to start supporting it? Should they have to? As I said in the news post, this is Microsoft's product. There is no monopoly going on when users have a choice. If you don't like the product, don't buy it. It's that simple.
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:15 PM   #5
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Oi .....The media player has been pulled also .Did You miss that?
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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Oi .....The media player has been pulled also .Did You miss that?
That was a while ago, but equally ridiculous. Installing Windows without a media player is fine... just hop online to download one. Installing Windows without something that everyone needs is a completely different story.

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Old 06-16-2009, 08:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
Mozilla and Google did indeed follow suit, but that, to me, is more of a proactive move to make sure you're not left behind. Would you stand by idly if you knew there was a chance that your competitor's browser might be included in the next version of Windows and not yours? If I were the head of Google or Mozilla, I sure as heck wouldn't be.
That's just it, I don't think this could never happen. It's either an all or nothing move, once the ball got rolling either everybody gets a shot or nobody does. The EU had already sent out questionnaires polling to see what browsers should be offered for install even before MS pulled IE out of the OS, so I view that as a completely separate issue.

Google I only recently heard had joined up pushing for this, but Mozilla has been pushnig the EU hard on this ever since Opera's first registered complaint in 2007. Link

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What about Apple? They include only Safari with OS X... isn't this the exact same issue?
Agreed... if they are going to meddle in Microsft to this extent, why aren't they making the same requirements for others in the same industry, namely Apple? Simply because nobody has yet to complain about it?

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Here's another angle... customer support. Microsoft supports their OS and people can call in for said support. If they include software they have nothing to do with, are they supposed to start supporting it? Should they have to? As I said in the news post, this is Microsoft's product. There is no monopoly going on when users have a choice. If you don't like the product, don't buy it. It's that simple.
I kinda touched on this already in that Microsoft can't be required to provide support, but I fully agree. My concern here is that there is going to be a flood of out-of-date, unsupported browsers out there in short order... and IE6 won't be one of them.

Either way, this entire thing is only an issue because A) Opera filed a complaint, B) Once everyone in the industy saw headway made (opportunity knocking) they complained, filed notices, and otherwise Mozilla went further talking the EU's ear off , and C) Microsoft is already considered to be a large monopoly so anything and everything they will do is automatically suspect to closer review.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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I find it hard to post something useful here, just because this story annoys me to no end. I just can't get over that the EU would even suggest that Microsoft include competitor products in their retail offering... the logic there makes no sense. Support issues and all that junk aside simply don't matter... what does matter is that Microsoft is being asked to include competitor products in THEIR product.

I can understand why the browser companies would push for something like this. Such a success would mean more usage, and in the end, a more successful business. But that doesn't mean that it makes any sense, and I think any logically-thinking person realizes just how stupid such requests are. Like I said, this is Microsoft's product. They are allowed to do whatever the hell they want with it. If you don't like it, don't by it. I don't see the complication here. It's not as though they completely lock down their OS to disallow other browsers. If that were the case, this issue would have merit.

I'm so glad Microsoft took the route of not including a browser at all, because people will end up finding out that this was caused by the browser companies. Maybe usage for these browsers would actually go down in the EU, and that'd be great. If Microsoft did opt to include extra browsers, where would it end? Browsers are no different than any other software on the machine, so the exact same logic could be applied to anything else... media-players, picture viewers, text editors, et cetera.

The EU Commission is nothing but a joke. I have little doubt that people in power there haven't a damn clue about technology, because no one with any form of sense would ever try to push Microsoft to something like this. They're a complete embarrassment.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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If anything needs to be addressed in the monopoly, its DirectX
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
I'm so glad Microsoft took the route of not including a browser at all, because people will end up finding out that this was caused by the browser companies. Maybe usage for these browsers would actually go down in the EU, and that'd be great. If Microsoft did opt to include extra browsers, where would it end? Browsers are no different than any other software on the machine, so the exact same logic could be applied to anything else... media-players, picture viewers, text editors, et cetera.
I know and agree, this will set precedent for future interventions in Microsft and other software companies (But we all know mostly just MS).

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If anything needs to be addressed in the monopoly, its DirectX
Why is that? It isn't Microsoft's monopoly that got DirectX to where it is today, it was the ever increasing number of game developers that grew dissatisfied with OpenGL and migrated over. Today I don't presently recall any major games being developed with OpenGL as the foundation.

The only major game engine I know of in development that still uses OpenGL is the id Tech 5 engine from the people behind Quake. Otherwise only "games" like WoW, Second Life, Spore, and others that don't require much graphics horsepower still seem to use OpenGL.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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Why is that? It isn't Microsoft's monopoly that got DirectX to where it is today, it was the ever increasing number of game developers that grew dissatisfied with OpenGL and migrated over. Today I don't presently recall any major games being developed with OpenGL as the foundation.

The only major game engine I know of in development that still uses OpenGL is the id Tech 5 engine from the people behind Quake. Otherwise only "games" like WoW, Second Life, Spore, and others that don't require much graphics horsepower still seem to use OpenGL.
If Microsoft open sourced it, or simply released it from being only on windows, it would end up being better for the gaming community as a whole.

One fo the major things keeping open source game developers and the like down is reliance on OpenGL and its limitations. DirectX is simply years ahead of anything else out there right now. Period. As someone who has worked with several open source communities on the issue, I know that DirectX and even some of nVidia's code would go a long way to helping establish a stronger open source gaming market, as well as give smaller developers the ability to compete.

These limitations create a large gap in the amount of time, money, and skill required to make a game. In an open source community, the two biggest walls to climb are time, and money.

Time: the longer an open source group exists, the more likely that there are bitch fits that tear it apart, creative differences, and people simply quitting or moving on.

Money: no matter how great a project is, someone eventually has to bankroll some part of the operation. And to use certain code required for a better game you either have to spend years developing your own, sell yourself to it and live on ramon noodles, or have enough money to pay for using the code. (Which isn't cheap)

If DirectX was open sourced, you'd see some vast improvements to it as well. Then microsoft would only have to make standard releases of it every year that may or may not include certain features developed by the community. Hell, I'd even pay them $10-20 a year for the release, and I know there are others who feel the same way.

Apple would benefit by being able to work with it.

Linux would almost immediately be on equal footing with Windows. Period. 80% of your Linux limitations would disappear over night.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:24 AM   #12
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The problems with open-sourcing it would be issues of control, compatibility, and development. Not only would they be required to test all the changes they made, but all the changes made by the community as well for bugs and general compatibility. That'd be costly to do and greatly slow down their rate of development.

The DirectX SDK is freely available for download just as OpenGL is, I'm not sure I'm understanding the problem as far as one costing more to implement one over the other. As best I can tell Visual Studio Express might be needed to compile it, but that's free as well. I'm pretty sure I recall reading that there is actually nothing stopping Apple from building DirextX API support into OS X, they just would never do so because they would have no say beyond "requests" as to what they would want done or not done with the API. The only licensing costs I could find are for those interested in using Direct3D to code on the Xbox 360.

Quote:
If DirectX was open sourced, you'd see some vast improvements to it as well. Then microsoft would only have to make standard releases of it every year that may or may not include certain features developed by the community.
It almost is, game devs and especially NVIDIA/ATI can make requests and other submissions to Microsoft on what they want to see in future DX releases. In fact this is usually what decides what makes the cut and what doesn't in their hardware specification requirements/optional extras. They already release multiple SDK builds a year with minor updates.

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Apple would benefit by being able to work with it.

Linux would almost immediately be on equal footing with Windows. Period. 80% of your Linux limitations would disappear over night.
Those are both good reasons for Microsoft NOT releasing it. It's still a business whose goal is to make a profit, whatever else. Either way it would take a major undertaking for Apple to modify their OS to handle DirectX, and I don't see them ever even considering it as long as OpenGL is still developed because they would have no control over it.

From what I've read Wine already uses reverse-engineered code to to enable Direct3D 8/9, and they are working on doing the same for Direct3D 10 now with Wine 1.1.7... but all Wine does is translate D3D commands in OpenGL commands anyway. I don't think very many versions of Linux would embrace developing Direct3D as a secondary core API into their distros and most would stick to OpenGL.

In the end, it wouldn't magically solve the compatibility problems. Windows supports OpenGL, and OpenGL is what OS X and Linux use. Users can't simply take OpenGL programs on these platforms and install them onto Windows machines using the latest OpenGL graphics drivers.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:06 PM   #13
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OpenGL <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< DirextX

Sorry to have used so many < but there is not a capitalization for it.
Maybe: < works better?

Simply put, there are limitations to building a program upon outdated code. You touched on this in an earlier post.

The only way to truely progress at this point is a completely new way of doing things, or DirectX being opened to the public.

Right now public work on DirectX is a one way street to micro-shite-y. And very little (if anything) is coming in from a community stand point.

The standard builds of DirectX would be what hardware would need to support. Since when were needs determined by the hardware and not hardware determined by the needs? This kinda makes me thing of the CGI film Robots. We will tell you what you need, and you will like it.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koguar
Today I don't presently recall any major games being developed with OpenGL as the foundation.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is an OpenGL game, but yes, they are very few.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
Those are both good reasons for Microsoft NOT releasing it. It's still a business whose goal is to make a profit, whatever else. Either way it would take a major undertaking for Apple to modify their OS to handle DirectX, and I don't see them ever even considering it as long as OpenGL is still developed because they would have no control over it.
This, to me, is a huge problem. They stick to OpenGL even though it's lackluster in all regards to DirectX. Even the latest OpenGL spec focuses entirely on workstation applications, not games. It's obvious that Khronos has no interest in making sure OpenGL is the ultimate gaming backend, and I'm not sure why. If developers started focusing on games using OpenGL, then the games could works across ALL OS', not only Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
From what I've read Wine already uses reverse-engineered code to to enable Direct3D 8/9, and they are working on doing the same for Direct3D 10 now with Wine 1.1.7... but all Wine does is translate D3D commands in OpenGL commands anyway.
The result is NEVER as good in Linux as it is in Windows, never. One game in particular, "Guild Wars", which is a "Platinum" game in the Wine DB, has graphical issues, and in all seriousness, that game isn't visually demanding. Plus, who cares about DirectX 10 "almost" being available in Wine... it sucks to be constantly two or three years behind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
I don't think very many versions of Linux would embrace developing Direct3D as a secondary core API into their distros and most would stick to OpenGL.
If it was completely open, I'm not sure why they wouldn't. OpenGL certainly has its uses, but this all comes down to gaming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madstork91
The only way to truely progress at this point is a completely new way of doing things, or DirectX being opened to the public.
As Kougar said, this simply will not happen unless Microsoft is forced to, and there really seems to be no reason for them to be. It'd be a horrible business decision on their part.
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