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Mailbag: Lost in Licensing

Confused about Microsoft licensing? You're not alone. Robert is, too -- and he thinks that's all part of the plan:

I agree with your conclusion: Microsoft's volume licensing is complex and made so intentionally. While I've attended several MS workshops on licensing, in the end I find myself asking the Microsoft salesperson what I should purchase after explaining my needs. The move to sell he software disks separate from the license has always elicited a raised eyebrow from my clients and invariably generates an ambience of distrust of the corporation's marketing division. My target community has always been the non-profit sector. While discounts are available to this market, that does not change the situation.

Count Hans as one of those who think Microsoft would be better off trying to improve itself than buying up Yahoo:

I think Ballmer should be more concerned about his company (Microsoft) producing bug-free, high-quality products rather than trying to bully his way into another company. In my opinion, Ballmer, Icahn, et al should pursue other ventures such as may be currently on the drawing board at MS.

Readers chime in on Internet Explorer security, and why it is the way it is:

Until IE is severed from the OS, it will never be more than a convenient gateway for malicious coders into the core OS.

There's a good reason why IE was built into the operating system: help files, which are fundamentally hypertext. Before HTML became popular, help files (.HLP) were often produced using a set of Word macros (or you needed some other way to make some weird markup in an .RTF file). A .HLP file was hard to produce and check, so a lot of applications shipped without online documentation.

When HTML became popular, it became much easier to make hypertext files, and MS suddenly found lots of people using and making them. When it introduced the newer compiled HTML help files (CHM), the developers could use their choice of HTML editor and have all the links checked, eliminating many problems with the old .HLP files. Third-party developers could reasonably make online help -- even if they rarely do. But in order to use HTML as your online help format, you need to make sure there's an HTML reader, and that it works as expected. So you almost need to embed some sort of HTML reader into the OS.

And finally, at least two of you weren't offended by that Nick Hogan reference:

I will keep this short and simple. I understand political correctness; don't offend people. But where do you draw the line? Did anyone die as a result of your joke? No. I laughed and enjoyed it. Tell an apple what it is: an apple.

I agree with you 100 percent. Chris needs to learn that the truth may be painful, especially if you are a fan of crap TV and bullsh*t celebrities. They are scum.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on July 10, 2008