[svlug] Microsoft taking notice of free rivals Linux, Apache
Seth David Schoen
schoen at uclink4.berkeley.edu
Fri Sep 4 19:45:58 PDT 1998
Michael Higashi writes:
> > This is not very explicit about the "Microsoft-only" standard; however, I
> > have heard from several individuals who are knowledgeable about campus
> > computing policy that the authors of this report have some aims of
> > standardizing on at most two platforms, and preferably only one. So the
> > published report won't give you all the information about the prospect of
> > students required to own Microsoft software.
> On the other hand, the report as currently written does say "Software
> standards are recommendations for effective use of the hardware; all
> choices are ultimately up to the end-user."
> That's in Appendix E: Minimal Hardware and Software Support Levels for
> Faculty, Staff, and Students.
I have to admit that I didn't notice that.
I'm concerned because of the _interpretations_ of the report that I've heard
from other people, even though the current content doesn't seem impossibly
The report does favorably mention UNC's mandatory computer ownership
program, which is famous for containing a Microsoft-only provision. But
possibly we will escape that.
The sneakiest way that people could have to have Microsoft software under
the report is probably the "SUPPLEMENTAL functional requirements", by which
departments are apparently encouraged to require students to use particular
software packages. Right now, whenever departments require particular
software to be used, they provide labs or facilities where it can be used.
But the campus is apparently trying to get rid of the labs (e.g. the
Rescomp Computing Centers, which admittedly do not belong to any academic
department), so departments might take this report, and the subsequent
fact of all students' ownership of a "standard" computer, as an excuse to
tell all students to use a particular software package at home. That
package might run only on Windows and MacOS, for instance.
Requirement / Implementation
Discipline-specific needs / Utilize discipline-specific software
Office productivity / A desktop suite such as Microsoft Office
Appointment/meeting scheduling / A scheduling package such as Meeting Maker
Access to BFS and HRMS / Citrix client
Reliable, secure authentication / Public-key authentication package
The first three bother me the most; what do "discipline-specific software"
and "such as" mean?
> This section of the report implies that Legacy Operating System 95/NT is
> the standard for the PC platform and Mac OS 7.5.1/8.0+ is the standard for
> the Mac platform, since those are the ones mentioned in the table on
> basic software standards. This may make people that have PC hardware think
> that they must use L.O.S. 95/NT when they don't really have to.
Right, they really seem to give that impression. They gave it to me, for
Possibly in 2001 freshmen will show up and there will be a little form that
shows these "basic standards", a little form to order the computer from TSW,
a little form to arrange for financing the computer via financial aid or
loans, and all of these in their registration packet. Then their RAs may
say "Oh, did you fill out your forms to get your computer yet?"
It may be very difficult for freshmen to find out easily that the campus is
not, as a matter of policy, obliging them to buy Windows, if it ends up
becoming so routine and expected. TSW is already making it a lot easier for
people who use Microsoft systems (although I have to give WSS lots of credit
for asking us to including Connecting With Linux on their CD), and if they
keep such a focus and the campus decides to give them a lot of publicity
in connection with "recommended standards", then Windows will get a lot of
mind-share by default.
Not that it doesn't already, of course.
> There's no mention of Unix in the software standards section, but in
> regards to hardware standards it does say "Because of the wide and
> divergent variety of hardware, operating systems, and applications
> software for UNIX, straightforward standards for the UNIX platform are
> difficult to define." So what happens if you call your Linux system a Unix
> system instead of a PC system?
I'd hope you'd get away with it. :-)
Seth David Schoen L&S '01 (undeclared) / schoen at uclink4.berkeley.edu
Magna dis immortalibus habenda est atque huic ipsi Iovi Statori, antiquissimo
custodi huius urbis, gratia, quod hanc tam taetram, tam horribilem tamque
infestam rei publicae pestem totiens iam effugimus. -- Cicero, in Catilinam I
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