Ran across this article and thought it was of interest:

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Committee to Fight Microsoft
("CTFM"), the first civil rights and consumer action organization in
cyberspace, will hold a San Francisco news conference Tuesday, August 9th to
announce that it has begun a campaign to block Microsoft Corporation from
releasing Windows Vista to the general public unless and until Microsoft
offers a general and unconditional warranty to purchasers that the program
does not include "bad code."
The Washington, DC-based CTFM celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
"Bill Gates sells the public defective products," says CTFM Executive
Director Andy Martin, "And then expects us to spend years being his guinea
pigs, while he corrects the myriad of defects and vulnerabilities in his
defective code. This is mass consumer fraud. It is unacceptable corporate
behavior. Over four (4) years after Windows XP was released I still receive
regular 'updates' and 'bug fixes,' which reflect a product that was originally
scandalously defective.
"Windows 95 was a disaster; it took three years to correct the major
deficiencies. But the 95 fix, Windows 98, only created new vulnerabilities,
and required yet another round of fixes for Windows 98. On and on it goes. No
other company in America gets away with selling defective products and then
expecting its customers to wait years for proper product operability.
"When computers were a tool for techies, bad code may have been
understandable. Today computers are a mass consumer product. The idea that
hundreds of millions of people should have to have a similar 'XP' as users of
Windows XP is unacceptable.
"Two other unacceptable scams that Microsoft has used over and over again
are to encourage people to 'upgrade' unsuitable old computers, and to
encourage manufacturers to sell underpowered computers. XP was authorized for
128 RAM, which was clearly inadequate. Who would buy an inadequate TV set? Or
an inadequate stove, that didn't get warm enough? Or an inadequate
refrigerator that didn't get cold enough? No one. Why should someone buy or
'upgrade' an inadequate computer on Bill Gates' say-so? The Committee to Fight
Microsoft is launching a legal action effort to bar such practice, in advance,
for Windows Vista. Bill Gates, you are on notice."

Adjunct professor of law Andy Martin created the legal theories that led
to litigation by state attorneys general against Microsoft. He founded the
CTFM during the second round of federal litigation against Microsoft, and was
an opponent of the original 1994 settlement.

Here's the link to the actual article:

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All 25 Replies

idiots... Just another "I hate Microsoft because Microsoft is a Big Corporation and all Big Corporations are Evil" group.

Interesting maybe. Silly certainly!

If a company such as Microsoft WASN'T developing software which had future developments in computer hardware in mind, they'd be criticised for that.

Microsoft Windows actually contains considerably LESS 'bad code' than other major software products. This is a nonsense claim, and hopefully the courts will see it as such!

Of course the definition of 'bad code' is also important.
Microsoft can in a blaze of publicity give such a guarantee by defining it narrowly as spyware or virusses which Windows indeed does not contain out of the box, users infect themselves (or in ever rarer cases are infected by launching infected applications or hardware which can be classed as infecting themselves).

'Good code' is clean, concise, and secure. 'Bad code' is not.

Microsoft products most certainly contain 'bad code'. Pretty much all of the cpmaritive analyses I've seen, however, suggest that Microsoft products actually contain a lower percentage of lines of 'bad code' than most other software products.

Is it realistic to expect that ANY software product is going to be completely free of this? Is it fair and reasonable to expect Microsoft to do so when the demand is not being made of other software developers also?

As you suggested, it's simply 'Microsoft bashing'.

I've read a statistic a few years ago that stated quite bluntly that there's a bug in every 100 lines of code (in other words no program of over 100 lines is free of bugs).
These don't all have to be bugs in your own code, they can be bugs in a compiler or runtime environment that gets exposed by that code.

As an example:
I once wrote a small Assembly program (maybe 50 lines) that did precious little (this was during a university physics study where we got an assembly course, who can say that anymore...).
The program contained the following 2 lines of code:

mov ax, bx
mov cx, dx

This caused the program to crash when reaching the second of those statements.
When reversing the order of the statements (which should have no effect as the statements are not related in any way, acting on completely different memory locations) the program worked perfectly.
And no, that was NOT MASM we used :)

I believe that statement as a plausible average.

I just saw the screenshots of Vista. It made up for all the times I swore at my computer for being so **** ugly! I hate everything that is visible on the XP desktop, I had to change it so the "Classic" theme and Start Menu to keep me from having seisures.

Just got the Vista XP logon skin.

Edit: The blatant and gratuitous obscenity was not necessary - Catweazle

Is it realistic to expect that ANY software product is going to be completely free of this? As you suggested, it's simply 'Microsoft bashing'.

Going a little bit further in favor of Microsoft, if it wasn´t for that company, even though it certainly has its faults, there would not be a computer industry as we know it.

I was there in the early days and know the underlying thinking process of the principals. Gates has always believed that he was producing a product for the people. I realize that this is not going to go down well with Microsoft critics, but it´s reality. This is from a personal observation and a personal relationship with the man.

From a systems background and perspective, there has not been and never will be a computer program of any consequence or size that does not contain errors. If one believes otherwise, they are deluding themselves.

It is obvious to anyone with any history in this industry that the code produced by Microsoft, although not perfect, is as good as can be produced by anyone in the business. They would be foolish to put out something that has not been tested to exhaustion before it´s released. They have to rely, just as any company that produces products, on the good graces of customers to let them know about the little quirks that crop up after that testing has been done to the best of their ability.

The process is the nature of the software industry and will never change. To try and profit from a lawsuit to take advantage of an inherent quality of a product is not only nonsense but underhanded.


Well said Zeroth. Microsoft and IBM (IBM did so unintentionally, but they did it) together comoditised the computer (Microsoft the software, IBM the hardware) to what it is today.
I too remember the early days, when you had the choice between a ZX81 with less power than a scientific programmable calculator or a mini costing a hundred grand and needing a large airconditioning unit (and of course eating loads of electricity).

Then IBM came with their PC and everything changed. Suddenly the hardware became somewhat affordable.
Then Microsoft changed the price point of office applications from thousands per application to a few hundred for the entire suite and the vision of "a computer on every desk" started to become economically feasible (though it would take people like Dell to really lower the hardware prices from thousands of dollars to hundreds).

Without the vision of IBM of comoditised hardware and Microsoft's idea of comoditised software, lowering profit margins to get income out of bulk instead of sheer profit on a few units, we'd still be connecting to mainframes using dumb terminals over 2400 baud telecouplers.

Hi everyone,

If by bad code you mean bugs then i mean not only does Microsoft have them but almost all products do. Its something that's understandable. What i don't like is the spyware Microsoft bundles with its softwares to send to its headquaters. If the user know about i then its okay but don't try to hide them. I think alot of you guys remember the windows media fiasco.

I think the worst thing people are most angry about Vista is that they are planning to drop support for opengl. That made alot of game developers and gamers furious but lets see what happens in the future

Richard West

Hi everyone,

If by bad code you mean bugs then i mean not only does Microsoft have them but almost all products do. Its something that's understandable. What i don't like is the spyware Microsoft bundles with its softwares to send to its headquaters. If the user know about i then its okay but don't try to hide them. I think alot of you guys remember the windows media fiasco.

I think the worst thing people are most angry about Vista is that they are planning to drop support for opengl. That made alot of game developers and gamers furious but lets see what happens in the future

Richard West

Where did Microsoft EVER say it was droping OpenGL support?

Hi everyone,

Where did Microsoft EVER say it was droping OpenGL support?

He is a link. There is also a link to the offical opengl webpage that talks about this. They are doing this to drive out the competition and trying to support their own 3D apis


Richard West

DirectX will become an integral component of the OS core in Vista. A more complete discussion of the concepts involved can be found here:


That article is speculative in regard to hardware requirements, but it's reasonably accurate in regard to the potential of Vista for the hardware of the near future.

In effect, the OS 'takes over' both driver implementation and the graphics application interface. Future graphics cards will be able to differ only in speed, pretty much. Longhorn Display Driver Model and Windows Graphics Foundation 2.0 allow for capabilities not yet met by display cards.

OpenGL support will become problemmatic at best, and there is currently a huge debate occurring over the prospect.

I'm looking forward to Vista, but what are the major improvements over XP? I really LOVE xp :)

People, unless and until you see an announcement from Microsoft themselves don't believe anything you read...
There have been many rumours about Vista/Longhorn about how evil Microsoft is (I think I even saw one stating it would only support Microsoft software and hardware and that everything else would no longer work, a rumour also floating the net when XP was due for release).

The ONLY statement on OpenGL I could find on Microsoft.com has to do with running an Avalon (the new graphics system) application on top of OpenGL (so NOT running only OpenGL):

You can host an Hwnd inside an Avalon application. However, having Avalon render on top of OpenGL-based content which is accelerated through an ICD is likely to cause flicker and it is going to be hard to have things to register properly temporally, given the two independent rendering pipelines

Seems reasonable as you're effectively having every calculation done twice...

Existing applications will continue to run without requiring modification. In order to use new Avalon features, developers or designers will need to write to the Avalon classes.

Remember that many graphics cards (especially the better ones, not talking about the $25 ones you get in supermarket PCs) do OpenGL natively in hardware it shouldn't really matter.
As always, the person creating the application has to know what he's doing.

Avalon also does not replace DirectX or sit between DirectX and the hardware:

No: Avalon is built on top of DirectX and DirectX still available for gaming and other scenarios that require direct access to graphics hardware.

How well do Direct3D rendering and Avalon rendering mix?

As with mixing OpenGL rendering and Avalon rendering (above), the Hwnd hosting solution works - just like hosting GDI/GDI+/Windows Forms content. Compositing Avalon on top will work better on Longhorn, because of changes that we are making to the underlying operating system. We can't take those changes down-level (i.e., to previous operating systems) as they are extensive - new driver model, changes to GDI, etc.

Avalon is a vector graphics system first of all. If you're doing bitmap graphics (which is what OpenGL and most DirectX is all about) it seems little will change.

Suggest you do a bit wider research, jwenting. Your own interpretation is as wide of the mark as some of the 'alarmist' prattlings that are going around.

The initial release of Longhorn, 'Vista', will not be a full implementation of LDDM and WGF 2.0 That will be added later.

As you've read before, Longhorn will use its own API to handle 2d and 3d graphics. Microsoft knows that this will cause a lot of compatibility problems and thats why they are talking to the videocard manufacturers. The new videocards ofcourse need to support the new graphics system and the manufacturers have to adjust their videocards' architecture so it will take full advantage of Longhorn. Because of this the support for OpenGL won't be as good anymore, because all the new videocards will be specialized in WGF graphics. Because of the new WGF technology, game engines need to be adapted to Longhorn as well. This means, that engines that will be used in the near future, like the Doom 3, Source and Unreal 3 Engine, will have to be fully compatible with WGF and the new videocard architecture. The next serie nVidia and ATI cards WON'T support the new technologies.

That doesn't mean Vista will not be able to run on current systems. It means that current technology is limited in its capability to take full advantage of the features Vista will introduce. Vista truly is a 3D operating system, which is underpinned by future versions of DirectX. DirectX is used even to display the desktop! OpenGL is most certainly being pushed to the sidelines, and LDDM will be a big factor in pushing it there.

With Longhorn Microsoft wants to eliminate the long installation procedures that PC games have. Installing and playing a game should be as easy as with a console. They too are developing a special driver manager, so you won't have any problems with different drivers. This means no problems with flickering textures, stuttering and crashing anymore, because the drivers will be fully controled by the graphics interface and because of this system nVidia and ATI can develop and test their drivers for problems within a few seconds. Updating drivers and BIOS'es will get a lot easier because Windows Update will get a special feature that automatically checks if your hardware is up to date and automatically updates your drivers, BIOS'es, the Longhorn graphics interface and even updates for the most important feature of Longhorn, WGF 2.0.

That's a rather fundamental conceptual change for Windows users and the producers of hardware for Windows systems. It means that we will no longer be subject to the whims of hardware developers, with software producers not needing to constantly tweak to compensate for the many and varied differences in hardware. Instead, it means that allowance has been made for a point well beyond where current hardware technology lies, and the hardware manufacturers are obliged to 'fit in' with the software standards. It also means that DirectX, not OpenGL, lies at the heart of that software standard!

Did you get that information from Microsoft or from some anti-Microsoft rant site?

Your quotes are quite different in style from anything Microsoft themselves write. Like I said, trust the source as only Microsoft know what they're planning for Vista.
Maybe someone has access to an alpha release leaked at some point in which OpenGL support is lacking and that's what sparked the rants, but that's not to say that that's the final version...

No jwenting. I'll trust Microsoft's publicity information only as far as the factual content included in it.

The discussion excerpts I've included have resulted from the developer conferences which followed the release of code to software and hardware developers. The 'Beta' version might have only recently had public release, remember, but developers have had code in their possesion for quite a lengthy period of time. The excerpts I've quoted don't come from 'anti-Microsoft' ranters but rather from serious discussion amongst the people who are trying to ready software and hardware for the release of Vista. Such discussion has been occurring since mid-2004.

hmm, whatever :)

Even if OpenGL hardware support in the first generation cards won't be on a par with Avalon support in those cards I think that's only a matter of time.
OpenGL is platform independent, it will still be possible to bypass Avalon completely (just as it is now possible to bypass GDI+ completely, which is exactly what both OpenGL and DirectX are doing after all).
It might not be the officially recommended way of doing business with the graphics subsystem, but then there's nothing new there either :)

The sky isn't falling, software writers just need to adept to a new toolkit like we have so often in the past.
I can still remember the same FUD and ranting when Windows 95 came around and it was not possible to write directly to the hardware anymore (yes, I've been around that long, I wrote a videodriver for a 32 bit DOS extender around that time in Assembler and Pascal).
Of course in those days it was mainly tech auditors in magazines as there was no large web of uniniated people all jumping in with doomsday claims that "Microsoft is trying to destroy the competition" which is what the entire "Microsoft is deliberately making OpenGL a lot slower than DirectX" thing reads like.

This time around though I suspect that we're definitely seeing a change to the 'playing field'.

Until now, the interaction of software and hardware has been a nightmare. x86 PCs are about the most highly configurable appliance that we use, but that configurability comes at a cost. Incompatibilities, unforeseen problems with program code that necessitate the release of 'patches, lockups, shutdowns, you name it and it'll happen to someone, somewhere. (And, of course, Microsoft will get the blame.)

How much of that do we need and how long should we put up with it?

A more commonsense approach is certainly warranted, and hardware/software development should go hand in hand to bring us improvement and advances. PC hardware reached the "good enough for most applications purposes" point quite some time back, and it's arguable that PC graphics are about in the "good enough to be good enough" phase right about now. Introduce a hardware/software management model whereby you project the features to be adopted within the expected lifespan of the OS and include provision for them from the outset. Then oblige hardware developers to 'fit in' with that provision when releasing new hardware and device drivers. Makes sense, leads to seamless installation and use of new software.

It looks to me that Vista is a step in the right direction in this regard. It has the potential to generate a situation whereby Software development for PC is stabilised in much the same way as software development for games console is. Not as rigid, of course, but a set framework to work within.

Elsewhere (Sun's forums in fact) someone came to the conclusion that this whole thing only affects the (SAL) software accelleration layer and not the HAL (hardware layer).
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and it's what I conclude as well on rereading the info Microsoft puts forward.
Avalon will mainly replace GDI+, which is something most people programming DX or OpenGL avoid anyway because it's slow.
On top of that Avalon seems to offer the capability of being used as a layer on top of DX AND (and that's the thing people are ranting about) of routing DX and OpenGL calls through Avalon (which will then translate them to something else for specialised hardware I guess).
Microsoft states clearly that doing that will incur a performance penalty (which is hardly unreasonable to expect as you're moving operations from the videohardware into the CPU which not only isn't optimised for those operations but also has other things to do).

A rather timely 'aside' to the contention that information shouldn't receive credence until it comes from the 'horses mouth'.

I've just this minute received in my inbox the Press Release direct from Microsoft which spells out pricing details for Xbox360. The details in it, and the fact that it was about to be released I've known about for a week. The information in it matches precisely what I've been seeing from special interest discussion groups for over 6 months!

In most cases, 'official' statements add little more than the "doh!!!" factor :)


Will this 64 bit crap mean that you can do two 32 bit processes, or will this mean that the processes are just larger? Or did that make no sense at all?

Take for instance the size of an Integer on a 32 bit machine. It's normally 8 bytes, does this mean that it will be the same size on a 64 bit machine, or will the Integers size change to 16 bytes?


Just like XP, Windows Vista is a 32-bit OS. Just like XP, Windows Vista will have a separate 64-bit version. No matter what version of Windows you run, native 64-bit desktop applications programs are a long way off yet :D

Maybe so, but you can't rely on anything that's not from an official statement to be correct.
There's too many rumours out there, and most of them are based either on wishful thinking, misinterpretation (deliberate or not) of older official statements, or just made up out of malice.
Remember the "Microsoft is changing DOS to make it imcompatible with Lotus 1-2-3" myths from the 1980s and early 1990s? Many people believed that, even after they got that new DOS version and 1-2-3 still worked (they just thought Microsoft had failed to do what they wanted to). In fact Microsoft went out of their way to make sure 1-2-3 WOULD work, as it was the main application used by many of their own customers and thus having it work was vital for their sales...


Just like XP, Windows Vista is a 32-bit OS. Just like XP, Windows Vista will have a separate 64-bit version. No matter what version of Windows you run, native 64-bit desktop applications programs are a long way off yet :D

Shows how much I know.

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