WindowManager NoXP4Me


Sent: Monday, October 08, 2001 12:25 PM


Subject: BRIAN LIVINGSTON: “Window Manager” from, Monday,

October 8, 2001


BRIAN LIVINGSTON: “Window Manager”


Monday, October 8, 2001

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Posted October 5, 2001 01:01 PM Pacific Time

MANY READERS have written me with the question, “Faced

with the choice of Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, and

now XP, which operating system is the best one to

standardize on?”

After looking at the changes Microsoft has made in its

forthcoming Windows XP, I’m recommending that most

companies and individuals avoid it. I won’t be adding

to my line of books a Windows XP Secrets (although

someone else will inevitably write a work with that

title, and if it’s good I’ll recommend it). Instead,

I’m planning to keep Windows 2000 running on my office

network indefinitely.

The following are some of the reasons that XP feels to

me like a downgrade rather than an upgrade.

* You need a Passport. Despite the severe security

weaknesses of Microsoft’s Passport authentication

system (see for an AT&T

Labs analysis), XP repeatedly requests the user’s

e-mail address and password to create a Passport

e-commerce account. And Microsoft made Passport a

requirement to use Windows Messenger and other features.

* Spam I am. The Passport agreement, which you accept

when you click OK, permits Microsoft and its partners

to send you an unlimited number of commercial e-mail

messages. Furthermore, you can’t rescind Microsoft’s

permission to use your e-mail address. You must

unsubscribe from every partner’s e-mail list

individually. One marketing study found that many

well-known companies won’t take you off their e-mail

lists even after several requests (see

* We don’t need no stinkin’ contract. The same

agreement says that Microsoft can change the

contract’s terms at any time, merely by editing a Web

page. Every time you use Passport, you’re supposed to

reread this page to see if you detect any changes.

Right. I predict that one day the contract will read,

“If you use Passport after the 1st of next month, a

$4.95-per-month charge will be placed on the credit

card number you registered.”

* Weak Java. Instead of including the latest version of

Java support, as a recent Sun-Microsoft lawsuit

settlement would suggest, XP will default to a

4-year-old version. Users can get a new Java download,

but its 5MB size will discourage many.

* No plug-ins. Internet Explorer loses support for all

Netscape-style plug-ins, including embedded QuickTime

clips (unless you download a kludge from Apple). New

users surfing the Web under XP will undoubtedly run

into sites that IE will no longer handle properly.

I haven’t even gotten to XP’s Product Activation

scheme. I’ll discuss this in a future column.

What all these new XP “features” have in common is that

they make Windows more convenient for Microsoft but

less convenient for users. I think I’ll stick with

Windows 2000 for a few more years. And after that?

Stay tuned.

Brian Livingston’s latest book is Windows Me Secrets.

Send tips to Go to to get Window

Manager and E-Business Secrets free each week via e-mail.

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For a complete archive of his InfoWorld columns visit

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Copyright 2001 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.

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Copyright ©2001-2003, Walter Wimberly – 
Instructor – IADT

 Learn from other people’s mistakes. You don’t live long enough to make
them all yourself.