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MS DLLs are like ice cream and carrots – expert

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MS on Trial Microsoft has given DLLs multiple functionality to make it difficult to remove browser functionality without impairing Windows performance. In discussing such tricks, the DoJ rebuttal witness Edward Felten grasped at the analogy of a DLL being composed of ice cream and carrots. His reasoning was that the component content of any single DLL had as much in common as, you've got it ... A particularly good example of unrelated functions in the same DLL was the one that Microsoft code-named Trident (mshtml.dll). Felten had seen the source code, following a court order that made Microsoft release code to him, and found that although its main function is to render HTML, it contains several other unrelated things. And who better to confirm this than Microsoft developer Christian Fortini, who emailed on 26 August 1997: "We have to stop adding non-browsing features into Trident and start taking some of the existing ones out. We should shrink the core Trident code base down to a very compact (and fast) HTML rendering and manipulation engine and hopefully limit the number of people in this code base." This was a tough one for Microsoft, because it was clear that deliberately obfuscating the DLL had resulted in its being less efficient, not more efficient, as Allchin was claiming. Another priceless example of DLL conjuring described by Felten was seen when shdocvw.dll was split into two between IE4 and IE5, with the second part being called browseui.dll. Some code from shdocvx.dll was moved at the same time, causing the thumbnail of alternative wallpaper to be in shell32.dll now: such important stuff. The conclusions that can be drawn about the DLLs is that they can be split or combined at whim - and the whim was most clearly to make life hell for Netscape. One consequence of chopping and changing DLLs was that it made it more difficult to define IE, since its functionality was in DLLs that also had other totally unrelated jobs to do. The detailed exposure of Microsoft's tricks with DLL manipulation, and the subsequent cover-up, amount to a another plank for the Microsoft coffin. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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