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Author Topic: Microsoft subcontracting?
The real Stealth
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Icon 11 posted January 28, 2007 09:18      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is going to sound really weird but I think microsoft is subcontracting most of their new development. Hear me out here.

a while back I installed Windows Defender and was surprised to find a product that Really Worked and did what it was supposed to. I then found out it was not true M$ developers writing the software. I then turn around and find that IE7 is the biggest rip off of Firefox ever (I only use IE for windows update and half the time I launch it from Firefox as a sub-tab.) Then most recently I got a free license from the rats for a full version of Office 2007 Professional and Groove 2007 and was amazed at how friendly they are... I just hope that they hear the complaints about the need for OASIS compliance. that would make my day. cause till then I will be using both 2007 and OO.org2.1 on my laptop. (my desktop is Office free and still on IE6/Firefox2.0.0.1)

what are everyones thoughts on the new office and "groove" software... I think m$ is finally admiting that people know what they want and are willing to switch when they see a comprable product (nothing m$ beats my FireFox in capability) [devil wand] [devil wand]

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The one and only "§†eal†h the Fallen One"...Between Your life And mine are Three realities, Yours, The real one, and Mine. They they form a bridge shapped in the letters D-O-_-N-O-T-_-C-R-O-S-S.

Posts: 141 | From: Battle Creek, MI | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2007 10:11      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
even though i am a windows user, i do believe as the younger generation pushes its way into the business world that microsoft will die. And i believe microsoft realizes this and is trying to like it did with IE7 make it similar to the competition to try and stop people switching over to firefox.

But we will see what happens.

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Tomb
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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 11:27      Profile for Tomb     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I wish I could agree with you stevenback7, but most of my friends (15 - 17 year old guys) use Microsoft products and hate Apple and open-source products like Firefox. (Or they don't know there are alternatives to IE, Windows, etc.)

Of course, there's a chance that Microsoft will lose a lot of it's market share, but I don't think it will die because of the younger generation(s).

I'm a Mac user, and of course I'd love to see Microsoft die, but I don't think it will ever happen, they just have too much different products (xbox, msn messenger, hotmail, windows live spaces, windows itself, ms office, the zune, etc) and we really need some of them (I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

And of course, I complain about ms ripping off stuff a lot as well, but hey, what would you do if you owned their company? I think I would do the same if it was necessary... [Razz]

Anyway, I still prefer Macs and iPods, but I use some stuff of MS as well, like MSN messenger and MS office. I think both companies are working hard to offer us the best (note that Apple's still working harder and better [Wink] ) and they should continue to do that [Big Grin]

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 14:01      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Um...maybe you're not aware of this, but M$ bought both products you cite as 'good.' Windows Defender (neé Microsoft AntiSpyware) was bought from a German (?) company called Giant, which made a well-liked antispyware product (sorry, but I don't care enough to do deeper research). Groove Networks was bought by M$ largely for its head, who is now a M$ VP.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 16:18      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Microsoft has a long history of 'innovation' by re-badging other peoples product.

The first couple of versions of Microsoft C were really Lattice C, then of course, there's MSDOS 1.0...

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 16:28      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:

(I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

Have you tried Open Office Suite (for Linux)?
Posts: 3752 | From: Pluto, no matter what you call it, is still my home. | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 16:31      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:

(I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

Have you tried Open Office Suite (for Linux)?
It's available for Windows, too. (I don't know about Macs)

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 17:46            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Has Open Office shed its bloat yet? Honestly, why replace MS Office with another whale? And I cannot believe that Open Office is less buggy either -- and MS Office isn't really that buggy. Though Excel 98 now crashes if I select a cell, Copy, and switch process.

I'd recommend going for something better designed. If you want word-processing, find a dedicated word processor. MS Word tries to do and be everything to the point that it's a confusing mess. Don't replace bloat with bloat; find something more tailored to your needs.

Excel for example is also useless for what I need: a text processor. Excel is great at numbers but sucks at grid text processing. I don't know if anyone makes a grid text processor (one where the functions are geared for text, not finance) ... dragonman's been tempted to write one, and so have I. (Excel also has monumental design flaws that defy belief)

The rule is simple: find software that does what you want. This is harder than it seems, especially when trying to avoid spyware and other evils. Often, it feels like no app ever made, ever has been or ever will be what you need. But you can creep closer, and if it's a one-man app, persuade the developer to improve it for you (many developers will).

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Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 19:13      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Has Open Office shed its bloat yet? ...

I tried out one of the open source Mac office suites a while ago. NeoOffice I think, or something with a name like that. It was slow, fairly ugly, and did not support the simple VB macros I wrote for my bill-tracking spreadsheet. I was therefore extremely surprised to notice it consumed about 300MB to Office X's 200MB.

Open source is a decent idea, but the execution on many projects is far from ideal.

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Ugh!

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 20:43      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Abiword is a nice, lean open source word processing program for all major platforms. [Smile]

(Mind you, the last time I used it, the kerning *sucked* on Mac OS X.)

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 21:37            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It can't suck more than tracking in Word 98 on the Mac :) Word 98 tracks too wide, like gappy teeth. It seems to display each letter a pixel or three too small, exaggerating the spaces. It's hard to line up text and tables because you have no idea where the text will really print, or where spaces really fall.

Tracking and kerning tend to suck a lot. Oddly, most people are totally unaware of kerning and I wince every time I see mis-kerned text. I had to fix the kerning on my favourite Winamp skin (as well as fix "equilizer") because the kerning was so obviously wrong.

Though as a quick test, Windows 2000 WordPad kerns a lot better than Mac OS 9 SimpleText, for the same typefaces (the Microsoft Web fonts). Is this a reflection of 9, or did Microsoft omit kerning pairs from the Apple fonts? I imagine OS X fixes kerning perfectly ;)

Even Photoshop 5's kerning tends to be up the creek, and needs to be manually tracked to compensate, but that then messes up all letter pairs further along the text, needing to then be adjusted to compensate for the last compensation ... Argh. It's easier to use Letraset than get Photoshop to kern properly :P

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 08, 2007 23:45      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There are of course many nicer WPs than word, (I like Nisus Writer Express), but I have yet to find one that displays Word files correctly, and that's the rub. So for many people there is no real alternative at the moment, and we can be fairly certain that MS will work hard to ensure this state of affairs continues

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 00:12            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bah, I use WordPad to open MS Word documents. They might look crap but I can read the text :) WordPad is really cool in that regard. Just a pity that it can't read all the Word 6 files that I pulled off my 486 -- too old.

Just need to find a secret feature in Win2k that reads Excel files ;)

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 04:34      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Depending on what you do and what you need in your Application there are a whole load of choices

AbiWord, Open Office an Neo Office are free, the Mariner Write and Mariner Calc applications are not expensive, there are Mellel, ThinkFree Office, and more

Might I suggest you point yourself to Pure Mac which is an excellent resource - btw Ragtime Solo is no longer available, pity as it was an awsome free option

You might also wish to check out the DTP listing too.

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 08:56      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Has Open Office shed its bloat yet? Honestly, why replace MS Office with another whale?

That's easy: because I never purchased MS Office to begin with. If I'm going to be stuck with a "whale", it might as well be one that didn't cost me a lot of money.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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Tomb
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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 10:11      Profile for Tomb     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:

(I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

Have you tried Open Office Suite (for Linux)?
I don't think it's available for Mac [ohwell]

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Bill Gates runs like a girl.
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maximile

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 10:59      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:

(I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

Have you tried Open Office Suite (for Linux)?
I don't think it's available for Mac [ohwell]
It is, it just sucks.
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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 11:00      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
quote:
Originally posted by Tomb:

(I don't know a good alternative to ms office, do you?)

Have you tried Open Office Suite (for Linux)?
I don't think it's available for Mac [ohwell]
According to the site, it is available for OS X.

Edit: maximile beat me to it. [Razz]

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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The real Stealth
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Icon 10 posted February 09, 2007 14:58      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally OO.org runs alot nicer than Office... and the difference is noticable to me. M$ almost fixed the problem with 2007 but I will be glad when full ODF support is added.

As far as microsoft purchasing a company... I just remember the PA comic about them purchasing Bungie.

/me prefers JoT to PA anyday but reads both so he has something to talk about with people at school... LONG LIVE JoT!

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The one and only "§†eal†h the Fallen One"...Between Your life And mine are Three realities, Yours, The real one, and Mine. They they form a bridge shapped in the letters D-O-_-N-O-T-_-C-R-O-S-S.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 15:10            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
They also bought up SysInternals and Rare ... I've not kept track of Rare's progress after having lost their independence. Apple have a habit of buying up companies too...
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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 15:10      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally, I don't care for OO.o's UI or performance (though 2.0 was a *huge* improvement). I also have a serious loathing of Office 2000's many quirks, but I do use Excel on an almost daily basis, and it's a rather alright app. I happen to like Gnumeric a decent bit, and really wish it worked well on OS X - I've had a hell of a time trying to get it to compile, to no avail. I don't use Word terribly much, and Abiword is a suitable replacement, but for the kerning issues I ran into on OS X. I'm getting a new MacBook soon, and I'm planning on dual booting it to Debian - I think life will be a lot simpler that way. [Smile] [And if I configure things correctly, I should be able to run IE in Wine for compatibility testing. I wish it weren't so, but some well written HTML+CSS requires nasty fixes to not look like crud on IE.]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 16:37            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd never have realised that Wine could support IE, given that IE is such a complex component model application. I guess Wine needs to have all the various components in place or emulated ...

I rather like the way IE is put together, on a conceptual basis; I really dislike the prevailing monolithic application approach and IE was a step in the right direction. (We'll ignore all the fast marching in the wrong direction [Wink] We have a long way to go yet in terms of breaking down the monolithic application barrier, but we'll get there. One day I must see if KParts is the right idea, but I suspect it's not quite what I had in mind -- where the whole user interface is componental. Imagine Firefox if 100% of the UI was built from extensions -- a DIY application kit. We already know that you can build compontents that can be used in both Thunderbird and Firefox, so that in itself is another very positive step.

Imagine all of this taken to its fullest extreme: you can build any application you desire out of building blocks -- UI and engine -- that use common API definitions to interact. Instead of people focusing on rival applications, they focus on writing rival components that only affect one part of how an application behaves, without robbing users of all the other behavior they need and expect.

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted February 10, 2007 18:46      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I use OO.o on OSX on a MacBook Pro every single day.

I gotta tell ya, it is as bad as DMan says it is. It's the slowest app I run, and I run the SAP Java GUI, which is 120 MBs of Java code. It is still missing some really basic critical features of Office (like text-> data and shared workbooks).

That aside, the IT dept at my company decided that it was worth the hassle to go away from Office. We now use PDFs as the official document standard (largely because IT is almost all mac now [Smile] ). We dropped project and powerpoint like they were hot, and everything is moving towards ODF (if and when...)

Overall, though, I agree with uilleann. Monolithic software is a PITA. I hate Mozilla for that same reason - I don't want a browser/IM/email/news reader/calender. If I did, I'd be using Outlook. I like small, fast apps. I especially like things that I can stack and tweak to get what *I* want out of them, even if the developer never intended that use. Anything I can script actions for is Much Better.

Somewhat like the Quartz Composer for OSX. I never made a screensaver before that, and now I've made several.

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 10, 2007 19:55            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh, I think you missed my point :)

To me, a monolithic app is one where the core/engines, UI and all features are part of a single intertwined codebase. Most software takes this form. You can't mix and match individual elements of rival applications without pulling both to pieces and reprogramming them completely (since any code you copy across will rely on classes, data structures, UI elements and engine API calls that don't exist in the other programs).

The half-way point is modular monolithic software, of which there are many good examples, my favourites being gaim, ShadowIRC and Winamp.

The closest I've seen to truly non-monolithic software is the various Mozilla software, because they're based on frameworks, concepts and components that go beyond a single application. This is why you can write extensions that run on both Firefox and Thunderbird: they're not isolated codebases. More importantly, you can write extensions for all of Firefox, Mozilla and Seamonkey simultaneously -- not strictly rival applications (they're all Mozilla-based) but you can start out with a choice of core application and add the new features to any of them.

But to pass my non-monolithic test, I would demand that I could remove Gecko (which is a bit old and worn out) and replace it with KHTML or Opera or any other more modern and capable engine and still have the same user interface. That is to say, the API to a browser rendering engine is standardised and the unit is in full isolation of the UI itself.

This is already true to the limited extent that you can write any UI for Gecko, but not put the same UI onto a non-Gecko engine. I can't have Firefox extension model mated with KHTML and thus have proper inline-block support.

Curiously enough, when I first wrote about the Plugin Application Architecture I'd not considered that Firefox was a very good example of the concept in use. After all, Firefox has very few features of its own, and to be a usable browser, needs to be extended. Moreso, you can go around and switch off/block access to all the built-in features, such as remove whole menus.

For Firefox to pass the test itself, it would need to ship all its in-built crappy features as pre-supplied extensions. I use the Extended History Manager extension to gain any sort of half-decent history, but the in-built history system is still wasting RAM. I can't remove it. ShadowIRC and Winamp are examples of where some if not all core functionality is optional from the start -- with Winamp, even the features you NEED, that you cannot live without, are optional and able to be replaced. You can remove the WaveOut plugin and now it won't play anything. Why do that? Because you might want to use the DirectSound plugin instead. Firefox still has built-in features that cannot be removed even though they suck :)

You only have to look at the number of extensions for it however to realise that the idea of building your own program is a popular one.

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted February 10, 2007 21:10      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe - but not by so much as you think [Wink]

I see what you're saying about being able to mix and match the various features (though swapping out a rendering engine is pretty hardcore).

The concept is really good, and certainly would bear looking into. Firefox is much better than Mozilla in this regard.

What I really want is a gui equiv of |

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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