In an excellent article, “Check the fine print”, Ed Foster brings up some interesting points about the legalese that most of us blindly agree to every time we install software, in this case Microsoft’s.
[excerpt]The 60-day public comment period began on November 28, 2001, and ended on January 28, 2002.1 During that period, the United States received over 30,000 public comments.2 Based on those comments, the United States provides the following summary and categorization:
- Approximately 1,250 comments are unrelated in substance to United States v. Microsoft or the RPFJ (though they were sent to the address for public comments and may or may not mention the RPFJ in their “subject” line).
- A small number of these submissions are simply advertisements or, in at least one case, pornography. The United States proposes not to publish such submissions or to provide them as part of its filing to the Court.
- The remainder of these unrelated comments address only the proposed settlement of the private, class-action litigation against Microsoft, and
not the RPFJ.
- Roughly 2,800 comments are “form” letters or emails – essentially identical text submitted by different persons.
- Approximately 19,500 comments express an overall view of the RPFJ but do not contain any further discussion of it. These comments do not, for example, attempt to analyze the substance of the RPFJ, do not address any of its specific provisions, and do not describe any particular strengths or shortcomings of it.
- Approximately 2,900 of the comments can be characterized as containing a
degree of detailed substance concerning the RPFJ. These substantive comments range from brief, one- or two-page discussions of some aspect of the RPFJ to 100- or more-page, detailed discussions of numerous of its provisions or alternatives. The essence of many of these substantive comments overlaps with other comments; that is, numerous comments address at least some of the same issues or raise similar arguments.
- Of the above substantive comments, approximately 45 can be characterized as “major” comments based on their length and the detail with which they analyze significant issues relating to the RPFJ. Once again, there is considerable duplication of issues and arguments among these major comments.
- Of the total comments received, roughly 7,500 are in favor or urge entry of the RPFJ, roughly 15,000 are opposed, and roughly 7,000 do not directly express a view in favor or against entry. For example, a significant number of comments contain opinions concerning Microsoft generally, e.g., “I hate Microsoft,” or concerning this antitrust case generally, e.g., “This case should never have been brought,” but do not state whether they support or oppose entry of the RPFJ
Wow, finally. The much-vaulted OS5 that everyone has been waiting for, the final departure (hopefully) from the Dragonball-based shackles holding the PalmOS platform down. Or not. Read the article, it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen on PIC.
PalmInfocenter: PalmSource: OS 5 at the Center of Attention