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Mail 104 June 5 - 11, 2000


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This week:



Monday  June 5, 2000

Column Day


Installing the freeware version of Quicktime on your PC or Mac will invoke this upgrade notice every time you launch Quicktime.

It's Apple's way of suggesting you upgrade from the freeware version to the 'Full' version of Quicktime. It's not much different from the notices you get from Real's streaming player and RealJukebox, or for Winzip.

It's a marketing model I think is quite good in the Internet age. Apple is providing a robust, cross-platform product, with the chance to purchase the full product with enhanced features.

You just have to get used to clicking on the 'Later' button whenever Quicktime runs.

BTW, I just finished reading 'The Burning City', which I ordered from Amazon via your link, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm normally not much of a fantasy fan, but I've always enjoyed Larry Niven's 'Warlock' stories and I think I now know why... The 'Warlock' stories, and 'The Burning City' appear to me to be 'Hard Fantasy'. I use the term 'Hard' as in 'Hard Science Fiction'. Magic may exist, but it appears to operate according to logical rules, not at the whim of the author's plot contrivances. Thanks to you and Mr. Niven for the fine read, and I look forward to the adventures of Burning Tower.


Ray Ciscon Remote Office LAN/WAN Support Manager Comark, Inc.

Thanks for the kind words.

I read some time back that there is a good way to trick QT into thinking that you have registered:

1. set you system time to a date in the future, say today in 2010

2. star quicktime and tell it to "remind me later" (sic)

3. QT will now wait until Today+1 day in 2010 to bother you...

I recall doing this successfully some time in the past - QT never talks to me anymore. Although, after an upgrade you may have to repeat the dose.



Kerry M. Liles Inglenet Business Solutions Inc.


Dr. Pournelle, Do you know if anyone makes a docking port into which you can plug multiple laptop computers? My job requires me to work with several at once and I would like to be able to save some space on my desk by stacking them and plugging them in to the same moniter and keyboard and then switching back and forth when necessary. My laptops are Panasonic Tough Books. Can you give me any ideas?

Matthew D. Kirchner

Not me, but perhaps a reader knows.  I'm content with the new Compaq Armada docking station. More than content.

Dr. Jerry;

Got a problem I hope you or one of your readers can solve for me. I have a Hewlett Packard Pavilion 8650C (purchased 5 March this year) with a LG CD-RW CED-8083B (?) CD writer. The problem is the CD-RW quit responding in Windows. It works in DOS as I can boot the HP RecoveryCD. If I try to open it in an Explorer window I get an empty window with the correct drive letter. It will recognize when I put in a blank disk, but it will not read any other disks (data or audio). HP tech support says to re-install Win98. I tried removing both the CD-RW and the DVD drive and re-booting, but that changed nothing. Device manager syas it is working properly and have the latest drivers. I feel having to re-load Windows is an unacceptable solution. Hopefully your site can find me some help. Any ideas?? Thanks in advance. And keep up the good work. I love your View and Mail pages.

Roger D. Shorney 

I don't think of anything but my brain is gone after today's work. Perhaps a reader...

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Now *this* is different:,1367,36749,00.html 


Steve Erbach

Different indeed!  Thanks.





This week:



Tuesday, June 6, 2000

The longest day. Indeed. Devoured by locusts, namely the column.



This week:



Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Column day. Techweb Broadcast Day. Another Techweb Broadcast on the Microsoft Decision. Dinner party for  All told a busy day. 





This week:


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Thursday, June 8, 2000

I have written my screed on Microsoft, and Eric Pobirs has done a splendid one as well. I'll give you the link when I know when and where CMP and BYTE will publish the package, which also included Martin Heller, George Langa, and others. Stay tuned.

Since I am playing catchup, it's Short Shrift time again.


I'm slow. You mentioned Steve Gibson's wonderful website a while ago during the DOS attacks. I saved a link in my reference folder and had a chance to surf there today. After testing my system and verifying what I already knew - that I'm secure due to using a private net, I realized you and your readers may find my experience useful.

I use a 3Com ISDN LanModem (model 3c892). The unit is darn good and has quite a few useful features. The box is smaller than a cigar box and is an ISDN terminal adapter, 4port Ethernet Hub with router functions all in one. The firmware performs DHCP and NAT, or IntelligentNAT as 3Com labels it. On the back of the unit, the connectors are the power supply, ISDN line, 4 Ethernet ports, and 2 telephone jacks. If you need more ports, you can connect another hub for a max of 25 PCs (the limit due to the way the LanModem implements its subnet.) I have used this unit for some of my customer's home offices along with my own office and highly recommend it.

Setup is extremely user friendly. The unit operates on a 192.168.1.x ip network. is the address of the LanModem. You simply connect your PC to one of the ethernet ports, leave the NIC card settings at their default (use DHCP for everything), and open a browser window. Surf to the address and the web-based configuration page appears. After that, everything is menu oriented. The historical difficulties in configuring ISDN are non-existent. You simply enter the ISDN numbers assigned by your telco, and the lanmodem trundles along checking status and bringing up the ISDN link. Setting up your ISP is also menu oriented and just as easy. The lanmodem has provisions for multiple ISPs and configurations.

The reason I wanted to bring it to your attention is that it works like your rebel Netwinder: you forget it's there. As far as your PCs are concerned, you have a constant connection to the internet. The LanModem does the rest. Whenever a net connection is requested, the modem will dial-on-demand and connect to your ISP. Since the unit operates on a private network address, none of your PCs are available to the outside world. Very Secure.

If all you need is connectivity and you don't want to host anything, I think ISDN with this modem is the ticket. Of course, I am assuming that ISDN is available and sold on a flat-rate call basis. Where I'm at in Cleveland, OH, Ameritech sells residential ISDN at a flat rate of about $60.00/month with all the phone whistles - caller id, call waiting, etc. I pay my ISP $40.00/month for dual-channel ISDN. Sure ISDN is slower than most DSL, but 128K is surprisingly fast, all things considered. I have a theory that for most users the speed is not as important as the annoyance of the two minutes you wait for your modem to dial and connect. The nature of ISDN makes the dialing process occur in less than a second or two... fast enough that you don't notice it. For me, I think that's probably the nicest feature. It may not be a constant connection like dsl or cable, but I can't tell the difference. For home office use, I think that having 2 phone lines included makes ISDN a better overall choice for home professionals. $60.00 a month is about what you would pay for 2 pots lines as is.

I use a configuration which I consider the "cat's meow". I have dial-on-demand setup to create a 64k connection when needed. If bandwidth requires it, the lanmodem automatically creates a 128k multilink connection. If bandwidth drops, the second b channel is dropped. The reason I like the unit so much for home offices is the two telephone lines you get due to ISDN. I have a 2 line phone connected to the unit. If I'm not on the 'net, I can use both lines for phone calls. Even when I am on the net, I can either have one b channel for data and the other for phone, or if both channels are used for a data call, when I pick up the phone, the lanmodem intelligently drops the data call and allows me to make a voice call. When I'm finished with the call, the lanmodem will re-connect a multilink data connection if warranted. Sure it slows down a download, but it works... and seamlessly.

The unit has a street price of about $400.00. This is considerably less than a netwinder. 3Com also makes a 56k lanmodem with the similar features. I have no experience with the 56k modem, but if it has the same net features it would be a great way for home networks to securely share a net connection without the hassle of a mcafee or norton internet security product. Also, you have all the benefits of an internal ethernet: file &; print sharing, etc.

I hope you find this info useful. I enjoy all your work.

Thank you for your courtesy,

Richard Micko Clipper Computer Consulting, Inc.

Thanks! Useful.

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Subject: AHA!

Dear Jerry:

Someone slipped up over at Slate, MSN's web magazine.  The truth at last:

Strategic Missile Debate By William Saletan William Saletan is a Slate senior writer. Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2000, at 4:00 p.m. PT

4. Defense vs. threat. Bush and his Republican supporters see missile defense as an issue separate from and morally untainted by the question of U.S. nuclear weapons. "These are defensive systems. They harm no one," pleads Sen. John McCain. Gore, however, sees the two issues as dynamically linked, on the theory that a stronger U.S. missile defense reduces the retaliatory power and thus the deterrent effect of Russian nukes, leaving Russia naked to a U.S. strike.

So there it is, in the open at last: the missle defense opponents are worried about defending .the World against attack by the U.S., the proponents seek to protect the U.S. from attack by the world.

How's that old left-wing song go? "Which side are you on, which side are you on ..."

Best, St. Onge

Good question.

And now for something important:

Hi Jerry,

For one reaction to the latest moves by Microsoft and other computer vendors to rent software and cripple migration of software, see: 

It seems to me that this is very likely to end up backfiring on the corporations trying it, since what it amounts to is deliberately crippling the innate power of computers so that bits on a computer will act like automobiles from a car-rental agency. Imagine books and journals deliberately crippled so that they can't be Xeroxed or OCRed, and you have the paper equivalent of Microsoft's latest move.

--Erich Schwarz

Of course it is going to backfire. People obey laws for two reasons: fear of punishment, and because they think they are good laws and ought to be obeyed. In most cases it takes both: that is, most of us will say intellectually that we ought to obey certain laws that privately we would disobey if we were not afraid of being caught and punished.  

On the other hand, if we don't believe in the law at all, we'll spend time and ingenuity thinking of ways around it given any incentive to do so. In the early days of computers, publishers went insane over copy protection. Lotus 1-2-3 pretty well committed suicide by copy protection, and there were Word Processor companies that did the same thing. Copy protection invited people to hack the scheme, and the result was enormous inconvenience to legitimate and honest customers with little effect on pirates: customers turned to piracy in droves. The result was that most protection schemes went away.

Incidentally, about the time that Paul Terrell started software rental shops; of course he WANTED copy protection so that people would rent software, then buy it (with the rental applied to purchase) if they liked it. But copy protection was ending just then and the Utah people got Hatch to write all kinds of prohibitions into the law, and...

But the new schemes by Microsoft and others will encourage piracy. It will not be long, if it hasn't happened already, before you'll be able to download freeware that lets you take the disk image off your new computer that came without an OS disk, and burn a copy of that onto a CD, and patch it so that you can install it on a new machine if you like. Corporations won't do that, private users will -- and if Microsoft is so clever as to make that hack impossible, the sheer inconvenience will drive more and more people over to Linux and BEOS, which will be all the better for all of us anyway.

It's certainly an insane business practice. I recall more than 20 years ago Bill Gates was peddling paper tapes of BASIC for the Altair at Southern California Computer Society meetings. I bought one for, I think, $20 and I wish I still had it. But many people would take them home and make copies, and sell them for $5. This really infuriated Gates; I think he's mad about it to this day. But oddly enough the vast distribution made his BASIC a standard and that turned out to be all to the good for him.

This particularly Microsoft behavior DOES harm consumers. It's a shame THAT never came up in the Microsoft Monopoly trial. But it didn't because the trial was a stalking horse for people who are themselves on the same wavelength on this issue.

It's a silly thing for Microsoft to do. Making customers think of you as the enemy always is.








This week:



Friday, June 9, 2000

This reminds me of your question: 'does anybody doubt that Gates could have bought his way out of political trouble?'

Looks like Gates himself may be asking that question: 

--Erich Schwarz

Yep. Look to see the big Hill Rat and White House Mice parties...

From: Paul S R Chisholm <> 

Original URL: 

Despite what the Infoworld article claims, this only applies to Windows 2000, not "all versions of Windows except for the Server Edition of Windows 2000."

My new home PC probably has a real Windows 98 SE CD-ROM. Our new W2K systems in the office have no CD-ROMs.

I love this from a Microsoft rep: "This change is based on feedback from end-user customers"; yeah, I'll just *bet* end-users were complaining about it being too easy to reinstall Windows.-( --PSRC

Precisely. Microsoft will change that silly policy or someone really will be able to compete despite all the difficulties.

I was asked what I think of this.

I like the term used in the article, "Corporate Republic". 

(You can safely avoid the noise in slashdot by not reading the comments at the end of the article).

- Paul

Two points. First, slashdot seems to have matured since the last time I looked over there and they were discussing why my web site sucks and why I ought to be put out of business or something. My early experiences were punishing enough that I haven't bothered unless pointed to something in particular, like this.

This was an interesting speculation piece. I didn't read the commentary. Thanks for pointing me to it. 

An alternate view.

At the risk of having anyone ignore the rest of this message: I agree with the findings of the Court in this case. Microsoft, IMHO, has acted as an illegal monopoly. Their practices of tying only their products (IE) into the desktop that the user sees on a PC's comptuer was illegal. It doesn't matter that they were giving it away, it matters that they would not allow the computer vendor to put another browser on the desktop for the user to make a choice.

It's like Ford saying you can only buy gas from Ford Gas Company.

And I don't think that it matters that the market or technology has changed. The fact is that they acted like a monopoly, and that behavior is illegal. Just because the market has changed such that they might not be able to be a monopoly in the future doesn't change the illegality of their acts in the past. Here's an analogy (perhaps poor, but appropriate, I think): In 1960, Joe Blow kills Jim Smith, age 70. Nobody could figure out who did it until 2000. But we shouldn't prosecute Joe for his acts in 1960, because Jim would have been dead by now anyway.

IMO, Microsoft has acted like a monopoly. And they don't seem to think that's wrong. They think it's OK because "We are Microsoft. We are too important to the world to have the laws apply to us." Putting aside all the 'spin' from MS (and JS), the facts in the trial prove that they acted like an illegal monopoly. And they should be punished for breaking the law. They hould not be exempt from punishment. We shouldn't exempt a convicted murderer from punishment just because he has a large family that relies on his support.

I also listened to most of the Judge's interview on NPR (which I understand you can hear in it's entirety on the NPR site). I ound it amusing that he didn't know what kind of computer he had, but think that that doesn't have any effect on his judgement of the legality (or illegality) of the business practices of Microsoft. We 'geeks' tend to look down on the 'ignorant masses' that can't figure out computers, and think of them poorly because of their lesser skills and knowledge.

Anyway, have enjoyed your columns ever since the 'old days' at Byte (back in the 70's). Keep going....

...Rick ...

Rick Hellewell Advanced Solutions Group Senior Network Dweeb Public Works Dept City of Sacramento 916-264-6846

No, it's like Ford saying that if you want GM parts you have to get them from a GM dealer, not as a package with a Ford. I have always had to go to third party Off-road shops to set up my 4wD automobiles the way I want, and while Chrysler would arrange for me sunroof they had a deal with only one outfit; if I wanted another kind I was on my own.

For two years Netscape gave away their browser, and Microsoft gave away IE. No one cared because IE 1 and 2 sucked rocks, and 3 was no better than Netscape. No one I know had trouble installing Netscape and making it the default browser. Did you? Or is this another of those cases in which we all mind other people's business because we just know how much smarter we are than they are?

If an incompetent old man dies, and 10 years later someone accuses you of killing him, and you have only the defense that you didn't help him stay alive, are you liable?  Microsoft never did anything brilliant. They just didn't make egregious mistakes. The Netscape people screwed up royally, bragged on what they would do to Microsoft, then went back to sailing and spending money and having fun.

And now we all get to pay, with a huge hit to the DOW. Thanks, Penfield old boy. Anyway, a Court of Appeals will decide most of this sometime in early 2020.

Microsoft has been installing OEM operating systems without a CD-Rom at least since 1995. My IBM 365CSD laptop with Windows 95 was delivered this way. I followed instructions and made a backup to thirty floppy disks, then carried these disks as far as Saudi Arabia for protection. Eventually the Windows 95 failed, and I used the backup disks. One of them had a flaw, and the operating system was lost. I was able to install IBM OS/2, but did not care to be stuck with the 16 colors provided by the IBM driver. Also, the IBM PCCard driver did not drive my modem. Linux gave me 16 bit color and drove my modem. I still use it, but a 640x480 window on a 1024x768 screen is not fun. Reinstall Windows 95? My answer is not suitable for publication.

William L. Jones

Well, you could use those disks to make a CDROM of course. And it takes only a couple of them to "qualify" and get a cheap upgrade edition of W 98.  The thing to do of course is copy everything to Windows/Options/Cabs and install from there. And copy that director to a CDROM.  Agreed this is stupidity cubed by Microsoft. I have never understood that they thought they were doing.  But then Banyon Vines didn't know what it was doing either...

Jerry, as you're aware, Microsoft recently updated it's OEM licensing policies for Windows. Under the new rules, computer makers are no longer allowed to ship a full Windows CD with their machines. Instead they have to choose between supplying a "recovery CD" that can do nothing but restore the machine to it's exact factory original state, or a protected directory on the hard drive containing files to accomplish the same purpose. In either case you're out of luck if you want to preserve data on the system during a restore, or if you simply want to add drivers, hardware, or anything else that requires a "Windows install CD".

Based on what I've been reading about it, most would be computer purchasers who have heard about the policy are ahem, quite excited about it, but um, not altogether pleased with it. Most of the suggestions about how to respond are along the lines of "pirate a copy of a the Windows install CD and curse Microsoft and all it stands for". I have an alternate. While it will cost a computer purchaser a bit convenience, and maybe some of money, it has the virtues of being legal, and encouraging the people Microsoft listens to (hint, it's not individual consumers) to press for a reversal of the policy. The three step process is as follows:

1) When you purchase a computer, demand a full Windows install CD. Be polite, don't curse, and don't abuse the helpless salespeople, but otherwise feel to vent a bit (or maybe more than a bit) and make it clear you ARE NOT HAPPY about not getting the full Windows installation package.

2) When they refuse, and since this is a Microsoft contract change rather than an arbitrary decision by the manufacturer they'll have to refuse, demand that the computer be shipped without an operating system, and demand a discount for the operating system you're not buying. Make it clear that the reason you're doing this is the recovery CD policy, and that their support department will be hearing from you if there is any problem finding configuration information about the machine, drivers, etc.

3) Buy a full copy of Windows with the discount money from step #2 and set up you new computer.

The reason the manufacturers will hate this approach is: They can no longer pack the machine with the extras that help make their Windows box "better" than the other guys Windows box. They also loose the money they would otherwise get from whatever "pre loading software" deals they've made.

They are forced to choose between loosing the difference between a retail version of Windows, and their cost for Windows, or ticking off a customer by only giving them with a "partial" Windows rebate.

They loose control over a major part of the user's initial experience with the machine, since they'll have no control over the Windows installation program or the amount of experience the user has with operating system installation.

Their support costs will be higher. Instead of being able to deliver a fully configured and tested machine, they'll be reduced to hoping that the user, with who knows how much computer experience, and using drivers from god knows where, will be able to install a generic version of Windows with without having to call for help.

Any nonstandard or off brand component substitutions in their systems (done in the name of cost reductions) will be glaringly obvious, instead of being pretty will hidden by special drivers and/or custom configurations.

If enough of their customer's take this approach, the computer manufacturers will push hard for a change in the policy, and Microsoft is far more responsive to corporations and computer manufacturers than individuals.

C. H. Jervey

Well, if enough people do that. A big company can buy one installation copy; since they have licenses for each one, if they have to reinstall, and use the same disk on every one, it will be an interesting trial if Microsoft is foolish enough to sue.

But I will be large sums that the user community will find many ways around this, none to Microsoft's liking. And once people start thinking like pirates, they start acting like pirates. When the moral authority of the law is gone there remains only fear of being caught.

And see below

Hi Jerry,

I'd independently posted the "Behind Enemy Lines" story on my site. Evidently, my source was just slightly tangential from yours in that I was able to include this page:  which consists of a broken mirror taken down at the request of the spammers (actually: threats). What's there in place of the mirror is supposed email from and chat logs with the spammer that show very recent dates and apparent admissions of spam activity. As usual, it is difficult to differentiate what is real and what is "Memorex" on the net.


Dan Bowman A Daynotes site.

And once again a wealth of material. I have no more knowledge than anyone else here. 

NOTE: the web site cited in the body of the message above now leads to a porn site: see below.





This week:



Saturday, June 10, 2000

The threat that wasn't. I saw a warning on this on Thursday night 11 O'Clock Channel 4 News.

For your consideration... 

Tim Bowser

This one is likely to generate an alt-mail page:

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

This website of a recent ancien Legionnaire is classic: 

Now that guy was a textbook misfit who needed a decade's structured environment to organize himself (almost certainly from lack of real fathering). US Army followed by another six in La Legion Etrangere. The dude's almost my age. Now he's sufficiently organized to have an M.A.

Here's another whole pile of them: 

One thing is certain, assuming the Clintonites get chased out of town come Nov 7. We have to completely reorganize our present approach to military manpower. The Milton Friedman Pure Economics approach only worked at ruinous cost in the 1980s. And I don't mean just eliminating all the feminist induced dysfunctions. Cohen and his crew are clueless on how to solve this. The last recruiting initiative I saw from him was a proposal to give another $100 mil to Democrat ad agencies in New York City.

The entire parasite policy wonk structure in DC, Republican included, is equally clueless. Simply throwing money at the problem won't make it go away, any more than more $ will cure NASA.

1. It's a fact of life, deployment availability speaking, that it takes 1.25 women to make one man.

1a. The Love Boat Navy is not working. This hasn't been critical in a decade when no one else was sailing a blue water fleet. But the Chinese are now on a long term program similar to the USN or Germany circa 1890.

2. The quickest way to make military service attractive is to make sure it guarantees a job on the far side. Heinlein's thoughts from Starship Troopers concerning reserved jobs for veterans are an idea whose time has definitely come. The U.S. Government is the biggest single employer in the country. The future A1, MUST HIRE gold card for federal civil service applicants has to become a DD-214 that says "Honorable Discharge" on it. Not 'veterans preference.' I mean a Veteran's MANDATE. Let the AFL-CIO and the Democrats explain why a modicum of patriotism and service shouldn't be a prerequisite for federal civil service.

I'd combine this with no further pay increases for E-1 to E-4, no marriage clauses in the first term contracts or even living outside the barracks for the first term (and no POV's for the first three) and a large scale revival of correctional custody facilities. Not enlisting misfits is an excellent idea. An Open Door policy during the entire contract is a different matter. Domestic troubles at the trailer park home are a leading cause of mid contract attitude problems. We've had enough experience with 16 year old non-driver-licensed child brides with two kids. We just don't need this kind of dead weight hanging on our forces. Those child brides are also a leading conduit for enticing otherwise upstanding troops into temporary drug usage.

I also think a strong campaign to bring the states into line with their National Guards is called for. I can't conceive why someone who won't weekend soldier is fit to be a cop. Or a parole officer. Or a state park ranger. Or work at the highway department or on a public EMS or fire department.

While we are remilitarizing the Army we need to DEMILITARIZE the INS, the BATF, the FBI, the Border Patrol, the IRS and the GSA guards (who have morphed into a nascient Federal Police Force under Clinton).

I fully agree we are in tumultous times. Threats intermediate between local police but below US Army threshold are emerging. A program like I've outlined generates its own federalist solution. With so many police in the ARNG to choose from, it will be natural for each state to have an elite MP/SWAT battalion at the disposal of the state governor. To the extent future Waco/Freemen/Randy Weaver situations occur, accountable local officials need to handle them.

Border Control. The Border Patrol needs to be eliminated. We need instead 40 battalions deployed on the Mexican Border to control the low grade knife/pistolero/narco trafficker invasion now occurring. Securing national borders is an Army job. Easily done provided the political willpower to do it exists. And it's Good Training for light and motorized forces in Low Intensity Conflict.

3. Pilots and pilot training. Want to fly the fast movers? 8 active regular plus 8 active reserve (the triarii) is the new minimum tenure. The vast majority will realize the final 4 to retirement makes perfect sense. And on this subject we had sergeant pilots at one time. Maybe an Associates Degree plus one year as a grunt will provide a better growth culture medium than the current B.S. degree to Flight School to Delta Airlines career track.

4. Otherwise the minimum enlistment for US citizens is 4 years active plus 4 years inactive reserve, with guaranteed college/trade tuition on the far end and guaranteed federal/state job.

5. The United States Foreign Legion.

I'm not persuaded yet we need to do this. The Do-Gooders already want to recolonize the Third World under different labels. So I'm not sure providing them a military force to do it with is really a good idea. Against that civilization is simply vanishing from large sections of South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. One hundred years of Marxist thought has destroyed traditional civilization without providing a viable alternative.

To the extent we decide to do this we will copy large portions of the Legion Etrangere's program. But we have to remember we're still an Anglo-Saxon country politically with a public morality that is "shocked, SHOCKED" by baldly cynical proceedings, in contrast to the French. Also, an open announcement we're starting a Foreign Legion would provide a rallying point for every pinko in the country and beyond.

So we have to get the substance while denying the form. Another problem is recruitment. The reason one must go to France to enlist is that international treaty prohibits opening up recruiting stations on foreign soil. In our case easy temporary travel to the USA is limited to the EU people.

And there's an excellent point you (and others) have made: The Navy belongs to the President, the Army belongs to Congress.

The solution here has to be one that fits our traditions and political dynamics. the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS. Wanna join? Make your way to the nearest USMC Recruiting Station. If this proves visa impossible go to the gangway of the nearest US Navy ship (also sovereign US territory) on port call. Ships' surgeons can screen out the medically unfit and, since we will return to having a MARDET on EVERY U.S. Navy ship, the NCOIC or OIC will handle test pre-screening and offer a conditional 4 month contract to likely candidates. They can chip paint and swab decks until it's convenient to send'em to the Recruit Depot. Upon completion of Recruit Depot screening (a month) contract terms are six years, 50% of US pay scales, no marriage or dependents, no privately owned vehicles and US citizenship at the end of 5 years. You wrote most of this up in CoDominium stories.

The only advertising needed is word of mouth and a low key internet campaign. Anyone who can't get access to and read an internet advisory on how to apply is unsuitable anyway at our current force technical level. The immigration/citizenship angle alone will spread the word like wildfire. We will have our pick of the world's best martial quality men.

The apropos structure is a brigade with two FV battalions to every US bn. US officers only, of course, and no artillery, aviation or organic transport allowed to the Foreign Volunteers (the Sepoy mutiny lesson). Their junior NCOs will come from those who decide to "Make the Fleet their Country" after the first six. The 5th year new US citizen troopers (service is for 6 years) will be an excellent dangling carrot for the more junior ranks and will understand the recruits intimately. Since they become citizens at 5 years, we'll raise their pay to US citizen marine levels for the last one. Getting your pay doubled one year before a reenlistment decision is pretty good psychological timing.

At 10 years of service I think it'd be good to "mainstream" the foreign volunteer NCOs (who will have been be US citizens for 5 years) , and also make US senior NCOs eligible for FV battalion service. Cross fertilization is needed for platoon, first and sergeants major.

The idea is not a totally separate Foreign Legion, nor a Gurkha Corps, but an ass-kicking portion of the USMC. This will help set an example of military discipline for the citizen US Marines, too. Officers in units made up of US Cits will know they are competing with peer officers in the Foreign Volunteers.

For control purposes it's probably not a good idea to allow a totally monolithic FV NCO corps to grow up. We want top flight US Marines, not Foreign Legionnaires contemptuous of the paymaster.

The best place to stash these guys is on Oahu, with the Recruit Depot at Johnston Island. It's far enough away for safety, nearly impossible to desert from an island (passport needed for foreign travel, good ID check plus airport deserter watch on travel to CONUS will control the rest), and so high cost on the local civilian economy they might as well be at Fort Zinderneuf, given their 50% of US Marine pay scales. Two full divisions would be safe to keep under these conditions.

Another brigade+ can be kept at Diego Garcia. There's about 35,000 troopers, 2/3s foreign.

The US Navy's been short on swabbies too. So doubtless the Navy will cherry pick the best of the foreign volunteers. Lower skill level jobs can be given to foreign volunteers who will essentially become ship's property for 4 1/2 years. No need for rotation to "shore assignments", shore billets, family housing or similar nonsense.

I had KATUSAs in my unit in Korea. The good ones were real islands of institutional stability. See also "The Sand Pebbles" and the Chinese coolie crewmen. We successfully operated a previous iteration of "Filipino Mess Stewards", so this is not that radical.

Some ideas to consider.

Mark A. Gallmeier

I have a number of comments, but they'll have to wait. Thanks. That is one interesting web page.

Well, I'm due to get a cable-modem next Thursday, which means I need to come up with some way to connect it securely to my network. I may well end up using WinGate to provide firewall/proxy/NAT functions, but I'd like to look at Linux alternatives. Can someone point me to resource pages for such things as single-disk Linux firewalls and so on? I don't have a good handle on Linux, so something like "Installing and Configuring a Single-disk Linux-based Firewall/proxy/NAT for Dummies" would be most helpful.


-- Robert Bruce Thompson

I would guess that Moshe Bar or Roland Dobbins would be the best sources on this. I am told that any decent Linux Box can take care of this without much difficulty. There's a wealth of on-line information, enough so that I don't much bother any more. Look at Moshe Bar's columns for starts...






This week:


read book now


Sunday, June 11, 2000

re: "I'm not sure what brand it is, but it runs the Windows Operating System."

Regardless of whether this quote is accurate, and in-context, it certainly does not "speak volumes" on his competency to hear and rule on the trial.

This was a Trial of Law. The arguments and remedies presented were based on legal precedent and legal argument. I can't imagine that the judge presiding in the Standard Oil case was expected to be know how to drill for oil, or that the judge in the AT&;T case should have known how a telephone switch works.

If there are any questions of competence in this case, I would tend to look towards the Microsoft Legal team, who seemed utterly incapable of discrediting the government's case. (I don't imagine faked videotape testemony helped them much either.)

Kjell Wooding

Well, I was one of the first to say that Microsoft's legal presentations left much to be desired. Actually I used stronger language. I could have done a better job teamed with my family lawyer than the Microsoft team did.

But this was NOT a "trial of law" and that's the problem. The findings of fact are what this is based on, and they were flawed beyond belief. It is fact that IBM was a larger company than Microsoft, and funked it with OS/2 when they could have had the dominant position in post-DOS operating systems had they cared to make the effort. They didn't.  It is fact that Word Perfect and Word Star had a dominant position they threw away. It is fact that some kind of mechanism for dealing with HTML files must be part of any graphical operating system. It is fact that Netscape had a two year head start, gave away their product through "beta" downloads, said they intended to make Netscape a full operating system and that any operating system not based on a web browser was doomed; and then blew their lead.

It is fact that Apple and Sun are competitors to Microsoft in the OS business and always have been.  It is fact that Linux and various UNIX operating systems now pose a large threat to Microsoft dominance, and a good thing, too. It is fact that had Microsoft acted as his competitors have convinced Penfield Jackson that the company was legally required to do, Microsoft would be in big competitive trouble, the Great Ones of his competition would have had more time to play and go yachting and do all those things they would rather do, and we would all be paying a lot more for our stuff.

Today's COMPUSA ads have Windows at quite reasonable prices; this includes networking; and the total cost is less than we used to pay for DOS and Lantastic or whatever you wanted to use.

Anyone who doesn't know the difference between a Mac and PC has no damned business deciding what the nature of the competitive environment is, and it is a foolish thing to say otherwise. Thank you for your lecture. You now have mine. Stay well.


It *is* frustrating to see someone without sufficient knowledge making a major decision. (I'm frustrated all the time by this, in many other areas.)

But as you pointed out, Microsoft did a terrible job of educating the judge and arguing its case. As someone else said elsewhere, "They may have been in the right but they LOST." They screwed up, they lose. Seems as Darwinian as life itself, doesn't it?

What really has me wondering is, WHY did they screw this up? It makes no sense to me. I figured all along, they have something up their sleeve. But what? And when will we find out?

Pierre Mihok


Dear Jerry,

Mr. Thompson mentions "using WinGate to provide firewall/proxy/NAT functions" in your CurrentMail 06-10-00 page. WinGate does NOT provide a firewall. Their idea of a firewall is that the LAN connected systems cannot be reached directly from the outside. The system running WinGate is not protected. Besides, an unprotected machine on a network can be used to access the rest of the LAN. Black ICE ( ) coexists with WinGate and is a quick, easy, effective and inexpensive firewall solution.

Disclaimer: I have sold and installed many WinGate systems in the past. Due to problems with the way operates, I have moved on to other products. WinGate and Mailer Daemon are very good products -- it is unfortunate that the developers have chosen to farm out the sales and support functions.

John Ruff


> Mr. Thompson mentions "using WinGate to provide firewall/proxy/NAT functions" in your CurrentMail 06-10-00 page. WinGate does NOT provide a firewall.

WinGate 4.0 does in fact provide firewall and NAT functions, or so Moshe Bar tells me, and I suspect he's correct. I haven't tried WinGate 4.0 yet and probably will not do so because I've decided, for now at least, to use Windows 2000 Professional with Internet Connection Sharing and BlackIce.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

Well, Moshe Bar is generally right in what he says...

Subject: Missing Window's help

Maybe you or one of your readers has an idea what to do, they can reply to me at the email below to avoid chewing up column space. I have a Sony VAIO laptop with Windows 98. Nice machine, great display but Sony ships you a recovery disk rather than a Windows 98 installation disk. If you get to the point where you have to use it, it formats your hard disk and installs the 'day 1' version of Windows and you have a long day ahead of you installing all your other problems, getting my cable modem configured and working again so I can download megabits of Windows updates. There are also some of the things I would like to try such as like the Windows resource kit but this isn't an option as Sony 'disabled' those (per my discussions with Sony's online technical support). Grrr. There is an install file down in the CABS files on my hard disk but that goes through a complete install without telling you what it is about to do and give you a chance to back-out of it once you start. Obviously, I've tried it because I now know what it does <g>.

My problem is that Window's help no longer works (start, help). I don't use it that much so I'm not sure when it happened or what programs I may have installed/uninstalled between when I do remember it working and now. For a period of time when I realized the problem, you would click on 'help' only to get a message saying 'missing file hh.exe or some other required file. Ensure all files are present' (this isn't verbatim but was to this effect). I realize that even if I had a 'full meal deal' copy of Windows 98, I might not have an easy way of fixing this.

I'm not noticed any other problems but it has me worried if 'help' isn't working, have I got a bigger problem brewing out there? So, my questions are: a) does anyone know what files I need to extract from my CABS to see if it will re-install help and b) should I bite the bullet and use the recovery disk to avoid other potential problems?

Thanks for anyone's help or suggestions

Bruce Veale

Today's COMPUSA ad has a copy of Widows 98 (upgrade) 2d edition for about $70. What I'd do is buy one of those. Or if you are part of a club, have the club buy one, as a precaution. Most of the Resource Kit files will istall without a problem, and you can always copy in missing files from it by expanding the CABS. Personally I think this move to furnish an OS without furnishing the OS does harm consumers, and ought to have been one of the measures charged in the DOJ suit against Microsoft. But it wasn't, because everyone in that case, judge, Microsoft defense, DOJ prosecutors, were incompetent and didn't understand what was going on. Silliest waste of time and talent I've ever seen.

As I have said before, Microsoft ought voluntarily to document and publish all calls to their OS as soon as any Microsoft application attempts to use that call. This would solve most of the problems, it would be easy to implement, and it would do little harm to Microsoft. But what the hell, they won't do it, and this will drag on and on and on.

From: Chris Morton To: Jerry Pournelle Subject: Windows 2000 vs. WinNT4

Dear Dr. Pournelle:

You will indeed find managing Win2k much easier than keeping NT4 going.

Win2k incorporates Device Manager which makes device addition and troubleshooting _far_ easier than with NT4.

Your biggest headaches will be the occasional unavailability of device drivers for hardware which is either too old or out of the mainstream. The latter category includes OEM versions of certain hardware, video cards in particular.

My major complaint is with Win2k server, which as far as I can tell, still doesn't permit one to "map root" a directory lower down in the tree than the first tier beneath root. In Novell, one can easily map "\\servername\directory\subdirectory" to drive letter and path "d:\". This isn't permitted in NT4, and as far as I can tell, that hasn't changed in Win2k.

Another major improvement in Win2k is the ability to control viewing of directories. In NT4, there's no easy way to hide directories based on user permissions. How large companies get by without being able to conceal a directory named, say "layoffs" is a mystery to me.

Chris Morton Rocky River, OH

Good points. Thanks. Roland keeps telling me I'll like W 2000 and I certainly do; I will check with Compaq tomorrow before making the change, but I'm looking forward to getting 2000 Professional on Regina. That's what Princess has and I like it.

Dear Mr. Pournelle

As a Byte reader from the almost the beginning, I just discovered that your column lives on at, and just finished reading the current version.

As an OnStream drive user (I have one of the early 50GB SCSI internal drives) I was disappointed to find that there is not yet a driver for the native Windows 2000 backup application, although one has been promised for sometime. This mean you must use either Veritas Backup Exec 8.0 or Computer Associates ArcserveIT 6.61, both of which require a hefty investment. Fortunately, the trial version of ArcserveIT included with my drive, while filling my event log with warnings that my license has expired, has continued to operate night after night, backing up some 30 GB of files from my small (server + 3 workstations) home office network.

I look forward to following your continuing adventures, since my own have experiences in computerland have closely paralleled your own.


Jim McNulty

Indeed. Thanks. I'm waiting for a really good backup program myself. But there is a fair one in Windows 2000. 

I have been reading your column since the days of BYTE magazine in the printed version and I have to say that you are my favorite columnist. What I like most is that you are not afraid to write about your mistakes and/or problems and this has been a great consolation to us all computer freaks that have problems and sometimes feel so stupid that they cannot solve a seemingly simple (major understament) problem. I would like to propose a new method of measuring computer experience. Logged hours (not online necessarily) much like pilots have flying hours . My own record would be in the 25.000 hrs range (10 years working on the field times 2000 working hrs per year plus college and home usage). Of course this is just an indication it doesn't measure quality or depth of experience or exposure to new technologies (I am sure that in US there are many 20 year olds that know twice as much as I do and have built systems and networks that I can only dream about) but you have to consider the size of the economy and the public awareness for technology.

Best regards - George Yiannibas MCSE

Thanks for the kind words. As to rating computer flight time, what does one make of data entry specialists?


In a recent letter on your mail page, Mark A. Gallmeier wrote in part:

>2. The quickest way to make military service attractive is to make sure >it guarantees a job on the far side.

The following is a quote from the "Washington Whispers" column in the June 5, 2000 issue of U.S. News and World Report.

>Official sponsor > >In the latest bid to boost recruiting, a form of corporate sponsorship >is coming to the Army. Starting July 1, recruits who sign up for >technical specialties will be entitled to private jobs once they leave >the service. One firm, Army contractor General Dynamics, may go as far >as hiring kids as they enlist and then granting them four years of leave >while they serve in the Army. The benefits: The Army doesn't have to >compete for troops in a tight labor market, and companies get trained >help.

Michael Crapser

Interesting. But I gather that morale is at rock bottom, in part because of the integration of women; at least in the combat branches. Perhaps things will soon all be well as the kinks get shook out?

Hi Jerry,

First off, I love your work. Your books have caused me to lose sleep reading "one more page" more times than I can count. Thank you.

Now on to this latest Microsoft fiasco regarding the OEM CD's. I work in an IT department of a medium sized company, and to say that we were unhappy with the latest move to make our lives more difficult would be a major understatement. We received 18 new desktop systems, and were shocked to find that the software consisted of a rescue CD and a serial number glued to the case of the machine.

I shouldn't have to point out to you that as an IT pro, I wander around reinstalling Microsoft OS's all day long, usually using one set of CD's. We have licenses for all the systems in the building, but we tend to do it the easy way, with once CD and one Serial number. So what this would cause us to do is implement a complex tracking system, matching each CD to each machine.

It took me about ten minutes to figure out the work around. Booting from the rescue CD, it gives you the option to drop the install information onto the hard drive, be it the Win98 cabs, or the i386 directory. Ten minutes later with a CD-R and the install info was back onto a disc that I can carry around from system to system.

So basically this new method of "Copy protection" only seems to exist to annoy the end user. Once you have the cabs or i386 directory (which I have compared to the retail versions, and it seems to be the same thing) you can once more, do as you will with it.

Thanks again.

(Could I be a name and addressee withheld by request to deter the jack-booted thugs? Thanks!)

Precisely. Thanks and stay well. This discussion continued.

The only reliable full-restore tape backup solution with which I'm familiar is BackupExec from used in combination with the Intelligent Disaster recovery option, which can be found here:

Here's their commercial CD-RW imaging solution for SOHO users:;product_no=dr

And here's a freeware imaging solution for Linux systems and Linux/Win9x dual-boot systems:

The reason that not much attention has been paid to image-type backup recovery is a) that image backups are a Bad Thing, since they can only be restored to a machine -identical- to that of the original without having major compatibility problems, and b) that writable removable media large enough to back up the typical home system has only recently been affordable for consumers.

Due to the nature and architecture of Microsoft OSes, an inherent 'full restore' capability is difficult to implement (though not impossible; see above). It's very easy under *NIX - I can take a floppy and a tape, or a CD and a tape, and restore just about any kind of *NIX system out there.

The reason it's so easy is that everything under *NIX, including device drivers, looks like a file. And so using cpio, or something like LoneTar or BRU, one can back up all the device files as well as data, libs, and binaries. One can restore them the same way.

--- Roland Dobbins 

-----Original Message-----

 From: Dan St.André [

 Subject: Windows backup/recovery for John Doe

Sir, Can you direct me to an effective [meaning, "it is written down, it works, we know it works because it was used to recover"] backup and recovery procedure for Windows-98 and Windows-NT? Can you explain why this topic gets so little attention? With 20+ Gb drives in a single partition the typical case, shouldn't someone know how to backup and recover instead of format and re-install?

Everything that I have ever seen on this topic is end-user instructions for someones tools and hardware. I have about six different ways to copy all of my hard disks to alternate media. I have yet to recover from boot disk troubles using any of them to "restore".

Gratefully, ~~~ Dan Saint-André Austin, Texas

RE: MemTurbo like programs

Jerry, I recall your liking this program. If so, you might want to check out this debunking of programs of this type by your fellow CMP columnist. It's interesting:

(column by Fred Langa)

Rick Seiler

I read it, I agree with most of it, and I won't run Windows 98 programs without MemTurbo. I find it works for me, and works well. I agree it can't get at the kernel itself, but it does do some garbage collection that turns out to be valuable in my experience.








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