Feeds

MS bootloader concession could boost Linux, BSD – Gassée

Back on the Menu

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
(Not so) Instagram now: Time-shifting Hyperlapse iPhone tool unleashed
Photos app now able to shoot fast-moving videos
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.