Subject: middleware as an OS replacement
From: "Gerald Dwyer Jr." <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 10:12:16 -0400

The Microsoft case record raises an important question that has substantial implications
for the future development of open-source software. I am inclined to think that many
of those analyses are quite wrong.

Much of the Microsoft case hinges on the idea that Navigator posed a serious threat
to Microsoft's _operating-system_ dominance. Essentially, the theory is that a programmer
might at some future date use Navigator's APIs rather than Window's APIs to access the
screen, memory and storage devices. The same argument is made about Java.

This strikes me as improbable at best. This is an advanced version of (what I think
is) a common idea in the history of programming -- write programs that can be executed
on any computer with effortless porting. Interpreted programs are a common manifestation
of this idea. The end result historically has been slow programs that do not reflect
the hardware's unique capabilities and disabilities.

Rather than being broken into pieces with the underlying OS being a collection of drivers,
OSes have been adding features at least since the advent of PCs. (I don't know much
about mainframe OSes.)

Linux, FreeBSD, etc. are threats to MS precisely because they are full-featured OSes.

Am I missing something? There is a lot of analysis out there assuming that Navigator
was a serious threat to Windows.

This list may not be the appropriate venue for raising this issue. If not, I apologize
but I would appreciate being directed to an appropriate list.

Jerry Dwyer