Feeds

MS bootloader concession could boost Linux, BSD – Gassée

Back on the Menu

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

One possible concession by Microsoft in the proposed AntiTrust settlement has come too late to save the company which pressed hardest for its inclusion: Be, Inc.

Section C/4 of the remedy states that Microsoft may not forbid OEMs "offering users the option of launching other Operating Systems from the Basic Input/Output System or a non-Microsoft boot-loader or similar program that launches prior to the start of the Windows Operating System Product".

OEM agreements preventing PC manufacturers from advertising the fact that an alternative was in fact, right in front of the user, pre-installed.

In the case of Hitachi, the most significant OEM to offer BeOS preinstalled, the user had to manually install a boot manager to activate the BeOS partition, a process which involved creating their own floppy boot disk. The package could not include a boot floppy, and the Windows desktop had no icons enabling the automation of the process, or even giving any indication that an alternative existed on the PC.

After the sale of Be assets to Palm was announced in August, Be founder Jean-Louis Gassée revealed that he had pressed the DoJ to add bootloaders restrictions to its case. But myopic DoJ lawyers were only interested in hearing Gassée's views on bundling the Web browser, and ironically that's an issue with which he had few complaints.

Plus ça change?
Gassée is cautious on whether the proposed remedy provides carte blanche for OEMs to promote alternatives alongside Windows.

"I'm always cautious around what these guys 'promise'," he told us via email at the weekend.

Be effectively abandoned its crown jewels - the glorious BeOS operating system - in January 2000 to refocus on the information appliance niche. Palm says it has no plans to invest in the moribund OS, although equally it has nothing to lose either if it simply turns over the unreleased BeOS v6 binaries as an unsupported release.

However, the winners may yet be Linux and the other alternative operating systems: "If it means they can no longer force OEMs to use their boot manager and then license said boot manager only to launch MS OSes, then it's a victory for consumers and the Linux, FreeBSD community," wrote Gassée.

Be scheduled a stockholder meeting for next Monday to seek approval for the sale of assets to Palm. ®

Related Story

Jean Louis Gassée on the antitrust dog that never barked

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.