Microsoft Cancels 2007 Professional Developers Conference
- By Peter Varhol
Microsoft announced that it
(or is "rescheduling") its Professional Developers
Conference (PDC), originally set for the beginning of October in Los Angeles.
A notice on the Microsoft Web site explains that as "upcoming platform
technologies including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server code-named 'Katmai,'
Visual Studio code-named 'Orcas' and Silverlight will already be in developers'
hands and approaching launch," the traditional PDC focus on future technologies
isn't needed at this time.
Microsoft Watch, a site for Microsoft-oriented news and rumors, speculates
that this announcement means that Windows
Server 2008 will be delayed.
This isn't the first time Microsoft has moved the PDC, so I ascribe less
drastic motivations. The PDC is typically loaded with technical topics,
and requires a great deal of time by key Microsoft engineers in preparation
and delivery. If the workload becomes overwhelming for these key people due
to other commitments, the company would rather stick to building software than
explain that software -- especially since that software won't be released for
another year or two.
Do you think the cancellation of the October PDC heralds a significant delay
in the release of one or more upcoming Microsoft platforms? Do you depend on
the PDC to prepare for future Microsoft technologies? Send your thoughts to
me at [email protected].
Details of Microsoft-Novell Agreement Now in the Public
As a part of its annual report and SEC 10K filings, Novell has included access
to the agreements signed with Microsoft on the distribution of SuSE Linux free
of any potential Microsoft patent claims. These documents are of significant
interest to those in the open source community who are suspicious of any purported
open source company in such a relationship with Microsoft.
In particular, open source advocates will be scouring these documents for evidence
that Novell has agreed in any way with Microsoft patent claims. The open source
community in general believes that instead of publicly stating its patent claims
and giving open source developers the chance to refute those claims or change
offending code, Microsoft is using FUD to damage the credibility of open source.
Novell's 10K filings can be found in PDF format here.
'Halo 2' Has a Wardrobe Malfunction
Microsoft's "Halo 2" Xbox game has been recently released...or has
it? Because of a brief (and apparently unintended) glimpse of partial nudity
in the original release, some retailers have declined to offer it for sale.
For example, Best Buy still has it listed for prerelease purchase only, while
Circuit City is offering it in its full original release.
While the partial nudity is described as obscure and inadvertent, Microsoft
is likely under greater scrutiny and therefore has less leeway than, for example,
Take-Two, the publisher of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," which
included X-rated content that could be unlocked by downloading a hack of the
game. "Halo 2" has an M rating, designated for mature audiences (over
17 years of age). More graphic games have an AO (adults only) rating.
Microsoft is offering a patch (oddly enough, at a full 341KB) on the "Halo
2" Web site that removes the offending image. The company is also hurriedly
removing the content from the master version for subsequent production runs
of the game. If you have a version that includes the nudity, you may have a
collector's item on your hands.
No Landlines by 2013?
Former telecommunications and Microsoft executive Tom Evslin claims on his blog
landlines will completely disappear by 2013 in favor of wireless (cellular
and WiFi/WiMAX) and fiber to the home. He makes a tightly reasoned argument
that the growth of both wireless and fiber are making copper wires less important
and their maintenance more expensive.
However, others argue that the investment already made in copper lines is so
massive that these lines will not disappear any time soon. And in the vast rural
areas of the country, copper continues to be the only practical means of communications.
Wireless towers and repeaters are unlikely to be able to cover the entire country
in the next six years. Furthermore, fiber is, in fact, a type of landline, and
fiber is unlikely to replace copper to all homes in such a short period of time.
Do you see landlines going away any time soon? Give me your opinion at [email protected].
Mailbag: Dealing With Dell, Freedom of Speech and the
After last week's news that the New York attorney general is suing
Dell for allegedly misleading its customers, Lafe asked readers to share
their experiences with the Texas computer maker -- both good and bad. Here's
what some of you had to say:
Being the "computer guy" in the family, I have purchased and
set up in the past two years six desktops and one laptop for family members.
Ordering from Dell is easy, prices are right and only once did I have a problem
with a machine (desktop) out of the box. Called the overseas help desk, and
in 20 minutes the problem was fixed and all was good. I don't have a beef
with Dell at all.
Glad to see someone other than me is fed up with Dell. I used to buy Dell
-- even paid extra for the "gold" support, next-business-day on-site
service. Hah! What a joke! After 400 systems, with over 30 percent hardware
failure rate in the field and not one single on-site visit (not one, ever),
I switched over to HP/Compaq and haven't looked back.
Good riddance to Dell. Hope the attorney general of N.Y. flushes it down
And what do you think about groups like The Army of God, which -- as Doug
reported last week -- is posting some questionable material online? Is it
freedom of speech gone too far? Two readers (both, coincidentally, named Bruce)
share their thoughts:
Some people think that joining the U.S. Army (or Marines or Navy or Air
Force) and going to combat is the price we have to pay for freedom. The real
price is putting up with The Army of God, Eric Rudolph essays and anyone else
who wants to post extremist material. The real price is taking the time to
teach our children what we believe is right and wrong, and why we believe
these people are wrong. The real price is putting up with the results of postings,
elections and court rulings even when we do not agree with them.
Freedom of speech in the Internet -- it is a double-edged sword. When
used in moderation to provoke thought, it's a wonderful thing. When used by
fanatics to promote sick and twisted thoughts, it is at it's worst. The problem
is different people have different ideas about what's moderate and what isn't.
Where do we as a society draw the line? I don't think society should.
I agree: Children should not have unrestricted access to "thoughts"
in any form of print. At the same time, supervised access can be a wonderful
teaching tool. We can't isolate children or anyone else from what is really
out there and then, at maturity, expect them to be able to understand the
issues. The biggest threat to hate and extremists is education. Expose hate
and extremism for what they are through education. Parents, spend time with
your children and talk about the good and the bad. Show them what is out there
and how it is being used so they are prepared for life.
Got something to add? Let us know! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail
to [email protected].
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university