Halloween II

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 18:59:25 -0500 (EST)
From: James Love (love@cptech.org)
To: Multiple recipients of list INFO-POLICY-NOTES
Subject: Halloween II

Info-Policy-Notes | News from Consumer Project on Technology 
November 5, 1998

	Halloween II

On November 2, 1998 Info-Policy-Notes provided a link to the so called
Halloween document, which detailed Microsoft's analysis of Linux and other
open source software:


Now Eric Rayond has published a second document which he has dubbed Halloween
II.  This one is on the web at:

Halloween II is authored by Vinod Valloppillil (VinodV), the author of the
Halloween I, and Josh Cohen (JoshCo).  It is dated Aug 11, 1998 , and is
version 1.0.  The heading is:

      Microsoft Confidential
      Linux Operating System
      The Next Java VM?

The document is very interesting.  One line that has gotten a lot of attention
is at the end, where the authors suggest: "The effect of patents and copyright
in combating Linux remains to be investigated."  The Linux community generally
thinks they can out code Microsoft, so long as they are permitted.  But there
is a lot of concern over software patents, which are often very broad, poorly
researched by the US government, and expensive to litigate.  Under recent
court cases, there are few barriers to harassment based upon spurious
litigation over patents, so this is a cause for concern.  On a topic discussed
at some length in Halloween I, Halloween II says by "folding extended
functionality into today's commodity [open standards] services and create new
[proprietary] protocols, we raise the bar & change the rules of the game."
(the brackets added by me).

There is also an interesting article in today's Linux Today:

    Who are all these people behind the 
    Halloween document?
    Nov 5th, 12:32:47 
    Here's an in-depth look at the personalities 
    behind the Halloween documents. 
    By Dave Whitinger 


A few other related articles are Tim O'Rielly's Open Letter to Microsoft about
Halloween I, which is on the web at:

and, news that Microsoft has tried to hire Linux hacker Alan Cox.  This last
one suggests Microsoft is stepping up their campaign to crush the open
software movement.  Here are some excerpts that Alan Cox posted today about
the Halloween document.


 Its important to realize how fundamental open standards are. Most people are
 probably sitting at a PC built with mixed cards from mixed vendors on an open
 standard bus, typing on a keyboard with open standard connectors, using an
 open standard Qwerty layout, talking an open standard RS232 serial protocol
 to a modem that talks an open protocol to the ISP. Its all running off a
 standard electricity specification.  Even your chair is probably held
 together by open standard nuts and bolts. Computing is becoming a commodity
 item and like all commodity items it needs to be open, for the consumer and
 for the long term good of the industry as a whole. Linux is open, if there is
 anything you didn't get told you can check the source code.

 A couple of other fun things have happened too, the I2O SIG developing the
 next generation high end I/O interface for PC's have now made their
 specification open, and Microsoft tried to hire me. I think the I2O SIG have
 the better chance of success here.


This is Alan Cox's home page: http://www.linux.org.uk/diary/
There is also running commentary, much if it entertaining, often rather
speculative, but also a very good source of breaking news on these issues at:

Finally, CPT will be studying the Halloween documents, and asking antitrust
authorities to determine if Microsoft's intended plans to corrupt open
standards violate antitrust laws.  More on this next week.

   Jamie Love (love@cptech.org) 202.387.803

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