Microsoft vs EU

"Regulators said [Microsoft] has not yet handed over 'complete and accurate technical specifications' to developers to help them make software for computers running Windows, printers and other devices on a network to talk to each other." (See related link.)

There are two issues at stake here. Firstly, Microsoft owes the EU a fine in the amount of '497 million. Secondly, Microsoft owes the EU complete and accurate documentation relating to their communication protocols, specifically SMB.

Now I will tackle each of these issues in the same order. Bear in mind that I made a suggestion two years ago on how to resolve this matter, and if anyone had bothered to listen, this wouldn't be a problem today.

1) Microsoft should put their $50 billion cash into an interest bearing account that earns enough money to pay the EU fine in one year of interest, and use legal delays for that period. Using an EXTREMELY conservative rate of just 1% per annum, they will make $500 million. Last time I checked, South African banks are paying a little more than 1% on a positive bank balance. First problem solved.

2) The reason Microsoft did not sue the guy who wrote Samba is because Microsoft lost the documentation for SMB a long time ago, and quite possibly the source code too. Well, this is my opinion. I might be wrong. In any event, SMB is crap. It breaks. It's insecure. If Mr Samba could sniff the SMB network traffic and reverse engineer it to write Samba, then where's the problem with the documentation? All the EU needs to do is read the source code for Samba, surely? I've heard rumours that Microsoft engineers use the Samba source code when they get confused. It sounds good enough to be true.

As an aside, as a programmer myself, the Windows API has been notoriously badly documented for as long as I can remember. When I wrote ShutOff 2000, I had to refer to existing source code to help me out with the API calls. It's just the way it is. Considering the amount of man hours that have gone into writing Windows, it's a wonder they got Windows 2000 to compile, and we're already coming into Vista territory nearly eight years later. The Secure Computing Initiative from Uncle Bill was a super idea, allowing Microsoft to revisit their own code and fix bad programming. The behemoth that is the Windows operating system can only be "fixed" and "documented" if they write it from scratch, a la Windows NT 3.1.

So, here's my proposal:

Microsoft should use their $250 million stake in Apple Computer, and use the BSD microkernel that Steve Jobs already uses in OS X. They should then emulate the Windows interface (yes, *just* the interface), in exactly the same way that Mac OS is a pretty skin on the stable BSD platform. That's it. That's all they have to do. Everything they need is already there. As for gaming platforms, it's called the X-Box 360. Cope, bitches. Gamers are NOT the biggest Windows audience. Microsoft Office, the biggest income generator for Microsoft, is ALREADY on the Mac. It's a win-win situation. You can then buy a Mac with either the Windows or Macintosh interface.

This idea is mine. If you want to use it, be sure to acknowledge me.

God bless free speech

If anyone thought Jacob Zuma, our ex-deputy president, was corrupt, take a look at the misuse of power his replacement, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, has displayed.

Starting with a "business trip" to the value of R700 000 (about $100 000), she then abused her privilege to pay for her doctor to accompany them – on another flight – to the value of R10 000. "Business trip" is in quotes because she travelled with her husband and children. Right.

Anyway, her latest stunt has resulted in the unfair disciplining of an employee of a retail outlet, who refused to close the store to the general public so that she could buy a lounge suite for R15 000.

I would like to officially state my opinion on this matter: it doesn't matter who you are, whether president, deputy president, richest person in the world, or just another person in the street. If you behave like a twat, I'll call you a twat to your face.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, my laundry needs ironing.

Bah!

So Friday was a complete waste of makeup. I spent the entire day installing software that didn't want to work properly. The entire day! I am beside myself. Once it was all up and running, I decided to take the opportunity to set it up at home so that I could work on the weekend (considering what a waste Friday was). It didn't work. In fact, "an unspecified error" kept occurring, no matter what I did. Roll on September.

HOff sick

I've been off sick the past two days so that's why it's been so quiet here. More bad news is that the Hoff is now officially divorced. Well, that's not bad news – it means he's on the market again. Ladies, stand in line and take a number! I reckon he's more manly than the Heff!

Quote of the week

"Why are you people not dead yet? Do us a favour and unplug yourselves. Disconnect your oxygen pump. If you can't ask the nurses for help, just lean over and switch your life support machines off yourself." – Rian van Heerden, 702 Talk Radio

Another 500 bite the mud

Well, "bite the dust" is a little bit tasteless, and because a tsunami implies "water", I decided that "biting the mud" was a necessary progression of the cliche.

531 people so far have died in another tsunami on the island of Java. This does not bode well for people in the area. Perhaps it's time to move inland? 220 000 dead can't be wrong.

And people wonder why I say Johannesburg is geographically the safest place to live. As long as you avoid being killed by lightning, the only thing we have to worry about is crime. And bad drivers. But mostly daytime television.