Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messaging War

Friday August 13th, 1999

Paul Festa of takes another shot at summarizing the state of the browser war.

Also, in other news on the MS/AOL fistfight, it appears MS has tripped up (free subscription required at the N.Y. Times site). Someone from MS apparently posed as an independent programmer, and wrote a letter to Richard Smith, a computer security expert with significant clout with the press, detailing supposed security issues raised by AOL's blocking of MSN Messenger clients.

Smith traced the mail back to Microsoft. Microsoft apparently hasn't found the culprit, but they used the opportunity to state the same attack on AOL seen in the forged letter - "It's unfortunate they're putting user security at risk."

#1 cypherpunks/cypherpunks?

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 9:16 AM

Did the NYT disable the cypherpunks/cypherpunks login?

#20 cypherpunks/cypherpunks?

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 11:56 AM

Yes, it seems so. You can get in as cypherpunk89/cypherpunk.

#2 No log on!

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 9:44 AM

I went there and it didn't require me to login.

I never read articals from NY-time just because I have to register and remember my password and user name etc.

over 1000 News Services out there does not require to sign up.

#21 No log on!

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 11:58 AM

If it did not require you to log in, then you had a cookie with your password/login. That means you must have registered one time before.

#3 Similar article on

by brobinson

Friday August 13th, 1999 10:48 AM

I guess the one on NYT is better? If you don't want to go there there's an article that I think is on that same thing. It's not very long, though.,4,40477,00.html

#5 winning at any cost

by Anon

Friday August 20th, 1999 3:19 PM

I guess MS's strategy all along has been, "If you can't win, sabotage!"

#6 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by SomeSmartAss

Friday August 13th, 1999 1:28 PM

Its not bad enough that they're essentially hacking into AOL's system, and waging war over a peice of programming that, essentially, anyone with a bit of TCP/IP knowledge and a server-side database could write.

They start bad mouthing AOL's code as having some "security flaw" that the "superior" MS code doesn't possess.

And this whole "open standard for IM" is complete crap. How long after the standard is agreed apon, do you think it will take for MS to "improve & inovate" a broken implementation of it.

It just amazes me how much the idea of users staring at a Non-MS interface (and ANY Non-MS interface, no matter how inconsiquential) realy irks them.

#7 MS trying to hijack AOL's systems

by brobinson

Friday August 13th, 1999 1:48 PM

MS wants 2 things from AOL:

1) To hijack its system and not have to pay a thing or display the ads that are supporting it.

2) (Will probably be the next thing that happens) To kill the Netscape browser on Windows and other platforms that IE supports to the point that it is not a threat at all but they can still say "There is still competition!"

Why do they point at AOL's buying of Netscape as a sign of competition? It looks more like Netscape was afraid of Microsoft completely destroying them (Microsoft doesn't do that, they only cripple companies so they can point at them later and say "There is still competition!") They even had to invest in Apple so they could say that. AOL must watch its back cause Microsoft will surely stab it.

#8 Pathetic

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 2:52 PM

Both MS and AOL are acting pathetic. I can't wait until we have an instant messaging standard. Then I will dump all proprietary stuff and use an Open Source variant.

#9 Yeah, but...

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 3:35 PM

The terms "open source" and "standards" are not in Microsoft's vocabulary.

#10 OK.. but

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 4:49 PM

Actually, until MS gets the lead they follow standards. Then they think that they should make some extensions (Java and DNS are good examples). There are actually a whole bunch of internet standards that Microsoft has helped with.

But blind hate against MS will not get you anywhere. Personally I'm very annoyed with ICQ and can wait to dump it. But to convince my friends to switch there must be a standard. That way people who prefer MS looks can use that and I can use my Linux client.

/Anon 1

#22 Convincing people to switch from ICQ

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 12:03 PM

Just explain them how ICQ allows you to send faked messages, how it allows you to see invisible people log off, how it allows you to put people on your list without their permission (which allows you to see them log on and off) and that Mirabilis doesn't care one bit.

#25 So what should I switch to?

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 3:52 PM

I know all about that. Me and my friends don't take ICQ very serious. It will never replace phone and email. (But I agree, ICQ sucks big time)

But it's not an easy thing to do. I have about 20 people on my ICQ and others have up to 50.

And it *MUST* work in Linux. So that rules out AOL IM I guess? At least until AOL removes the anti MS protection which also stops Linux clones.

Give me an IM standard and I will start advocate for a change.

#27 Better Idea

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 1:15 AM

If you really want to have a "Standard" IM, why don't you design one, then write up an RFC and submit it? That way everyone can make modifications until it is agreed upon, at which point it will become a "standard" IM.

#31 Better Idea

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 10:34 AM

I am not THAT keen on IM. I use it just to keep up with my friends that prefer IM before email and phone.

But it could be a worthy project to work upon. In fact, I certain that someone has started on it already.

#30 So what should I switch to?

by Ben_Goodger

Sunday August 15th, 1999 6:29 AM

There is a Tk/Tcl linux version of AIM.. I downloaded it from AOL's website o_O

#36 re: so what should I switch to

by Anon

Monday August 16th, 1999 2:56 PM

AOL has not been disabling Linux versions of AIM. They removed the webpage describing it, but they're still hosting the software.

MS reverse-engineered the binary protocol used by the AOL client which is different from the text-only protocol they published for use by Linux hackers.

#11 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by megaloB

Friday August 13th, 1999 6:01 PM

I think what microsoft is doing is more than wrong. I'm sure AOL didn't mean to keep it's IM service, which most AOL users love, open to other users, and I can understand if they are mad as hell. But microsoft won't stop until sued, and even then they won't stop. The best thing AOL can do is keep blocking microsoft and get the message out that IM isn't meant to be "open", and that through it's IM it makes it's money. And even then there will be naysayers who agree with microsoft on keeping IM open.

The rest of the civilized world will go on IRC.

#26 Of course, IRC is the best =) (nt)

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 12:08 AM


#12 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 6:26 PM

When stuff like this happens you have to wonder how many times Microsoft's been SUCCESSFUL at masquerading as someone else and planting false dissent & FUD?

Mozilla, for example, has had some very strange media backlashes, negative spin & bizzare headlines that don't make too much sense to me.

We've all seen people on slashdot posting ridiculous pro-microsoft stuff. Usually people joke "what, do you work for microsoft or something?" Now I wonder.

Think about it. There are governments poorer than microsoft that use all kinds of secret departments to maintain power.

Paranoid Guy

#13 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by zontar

Friday August 13th, 1999 8:08 PM

Paranoid Guy,

You can't tell me there isn't some major MS-backed FUD out there.

I used to participate egularly in a MS-related discussion at the SJ Mercury site, until one or two M$Apologists came to dominate the forum. They kept up kept up their torrent of FUD until all the posters with any intelligence abandoned it. Most of them went to the New York Times discussion on the same topic -- within a couple of weeks, the Randroids had followed us there and began all over again... Most of us (not all rabidly anti-Microsft by any stretch of the imagination) have given up on that discussion as well.

Do a search some time on the name "Steve Barkto". This "unkown employee playing the mole" crap-ola is NOTHING new, I assure you.

Zontar The Mindless.

#14 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by BrerBear

Friday August 13th, 1999 8:11 PM

Am I mistaken, or is Microsoft actually calling for AOL to open the AIM protocol in spite of the fact that the protocol for Microsoft's own instant messenger is still closed. Is this really true? That would be the height of hyprocrisy.

#15 Should MS display AOL ads if connected?

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 8:31 PM

Shouldn't MS be displaying AOL's logo and ads whenever the software is connected to AOL's system?

#16 HAH!

by Ben_Goodger

Friday August 13th, 1999 8:55 PM

I just read the NYT article. So Microsoft thinks it can tell AOL off for having crackable security holes when its trying to parasitically glom onto AOL's ad revenue, userbase etc? That's just funny..

#17 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by Pyro

Friday August 13th, 1999 9:27 PM

By the many arms of Vishnu, I hope that MS dies. Reading the NYT article (I live in NY, it was front page on the business section) just makes me want to strangle them. Such childish behavior should be expected from MS though, seeing that Bill Gates can't even keep his hair straight. Pointing fingers at AOL should be pointed back. Over all these years, all arguments that MS has made accusing others of wrongdoing can be pointed right back at MS. "Government is bad for software" is MS. "Open IM standards"...I don't see MS letting the public know its methods for hacking into AOL's systems. "AOL's software isn't secure"...last time I checked, hacking Windows is easier than taking candy from a baby. AOL really should sue, or at least get an injunction. Are Sun and Apple the only large companies that are willing to sue MS? Oh wait, Apple "settled" like a crippled zebra to a lion.

#18 my suggestion

by Kaoslord

Friday August 13th, 1999 10:38 PM

here, Make a standard, complete standard with everything they want, and make it completely open for anyone to use expand upon or whatever, and is it grows userbase, companies will WANT to join to give users ability to communicate with the rest of the internet witghout haveing 5 IM prgrams, you see? make aol want to be compatible witrh the standard, thatst he trick.

oh and i dont blame AOL i wouldnt want to give all the revenues in profits away and give microsoft access to the huge userbase they have worked so hard to get just so that microsoft can be more competitive with aol and try and steal their users, in my opinion its a onesided deal only MS wins and still the program is ugly, loses the cool AIM formatting, and has majour handicaps like no buddy grouping and allways displaying offline buddys, the program sucks, simply that... if they made it better i would use it.

#19 Bill Gates immature?

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 9:38 AM

I've read a few things on how Bill Gates is immature for his age because he started Microsoft before he got out of college, therefore never having a boss. Like a child, he sees something he wants and he takes it.

#23 an anthropologist's view

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 12:32 PM

look here

#24 Mozilla Article at; MS Trips Up in Messag

by sdm

Saturday August 14th, 1999 2:09 PM

Great, no more open source aim clients: and

I have the emacs client for aim - I wonder if I use it I'll get kicked off...

#28 Clueless

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 2:43 AM

[Quote from the News article]:"Mozilla was Netscape's too little-too late response to IE," said Ira Machevsky, analyst with Odeon Capital. "Not a heck of a lot ever came of that endeavor."

I'm really sick of journalists polling glib and totally clueless financial analysts. Well, at least we know not to go anywhere near Odeon Capital for accuarate financial information!

#29 Distgusting ! shame on them !

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 3:57 AM

This company doesn't know shame ! they are doing the same thing again and again ! this reminds me the phony lettres of suposedly M$ satisfied users to the DOJ. This compagny will never ever change it's practices.

#32 MS accusing AOL of security holes?

by Anon

Sunday August 15th, 1999 12:57 PM

Am I to read this right, Microsoft is actually trying to accuse another company of having vulnerable security holes?

Does this sound like a case of "Do as we say, not as we do" to anybody else? Microsoft, the biggest threat to internet security since it's inception, accusing somebody else of having security holes.

It's laughable.

-- Mark "I guess I should get a MozillaZine account.." Waterous.

Project Linux -

#33 this childish IM fight SUCKS

by danielhill

Sunday August 15th, 1999 9:21 PM

This whole thing is puerile (sp??) and childish. AOL have published the protocol, now MS are using it, they go sick. These people saying they are hacking are full of s**t. It's like me making Dan's Mozilla, then Netscape suing me, or Dan's Linux.

AOL and MS are just as bad as each other - screw the users, let's just make Billy G or Stevie C and shareholders rich kiddies

Personally, I think these IM things are overrated, I'll stick to IRC and good old email. But newbies like them. The world needs an OPEN SOURCE protocol for this, and leve it open, like IRC and email.

#34 this childish IM fight SUCKS

by Ben_Goodger

Monday August 16th, 1999 3:12 AM

That's not strictly true. AOL made its technical information available for hobbyists and people wanting to create Linux versions etc, not for big nasty corporations to come along and try and use their network. I think it was a "good faith" release.

#38 this childish IM fight SUCKS

by danielhill

Wednesday August 18th, 1999 2:29 AM

You could say the same about Mozilla, or Linux. Like Linus closing up Linux and suing someone because they make their own, better version. You can't revoke a license and assoc. code that's already out there.

I think Steve Case got scared when MS took the code, and revoked it.

Will this affect Mozilla? Who knows, it may, after this little 'spat' ...

#35 Instant messenger is proprietary - don't use it

by locka

Monday August 16th, 1999 4:56 AM

Why is MS being made out to be the baddy in this latest war? After all, MS are trying to make a *proprietary* messaging format open. It is AOL who are behaving like spoilt children, adding blockers to prevent the Yahoo! and MS clients from working.

Sure, Microsoft's motives are selfish but at the end of the day why does that matter? If a standard is open to all then users can use any client that works with it. That could be AOL, MS, Mozilla or anything else.

Folks, it is practically the mission statement for Mozilla that it only adopts open standards. Therefore, if AOL doesn't want others (whether they are competitors or not) to use their protocol, we should tell them where they can stick it. I don't care if Netscape is owned by AOL. The same goes for Microsoft, Yahoo! and ICQ if they decide the same way.

#37 Instant messenger is proprietary - don't use it

by Anon

Tuesday August 17th, 1999 1:50 AM

It is AOLs service. It's up to them to decide the terms for gaining access. If that include using only software authorized by AOL, it's their right to demand that.

However, what makes MS the baddy, is that they are trying to coopt the AOL service by adding support for it in their client without asking AOL if it was ok (or ignoring the answer), and their phony cries for opening up a messaging format when they won't open up their own, and with their long track records of proprietary standards.

If Microsoft had published thorough documentation on their important file formats and protocols, then they'd had some credibility to put behind this.

But with their current track record it is all to clear that this has nothing to do about making consumers happy, and everything to do about trying to crush your competition.

Also, I don't see what this has to do with Mozilla at all. If AOL does something wrong, that doesn't mean the developers they pay suddenly become tainted - it's the results that count here.