As I'm sure readers of Windows 2000 Pro UPDATE already know, last Monday Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Microsoft President Steve Ballmer stated that the company would appeal the case, saying, "Until the appeal is over, nothing is settled." My view on this subject hasn't changed: For Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) users, the ruling won't really matter (in fact, the text of Judge Jackson's ruling mentions neither Win2K nor Windows NT). Appeals will probably keep the case in play for months. What might be affected will be future products and upgrades.

We see several clues about what changes might be in store from the offer Microsoft apparently made during arbitration talks that broke down over the weekend. Among other things, press reports stated that the company offered to split the Web browser out of the OS and would offer transparent pricing to OEMs.

Personally, I think both these moves make sense—and I have a small suggestion. Microsoft should go ahead and take these steps unilaterally. Doing so would be good public relations for the company and would help consumers. Not every user needs all the features bundled with Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0 in Win2K Pro. I have no use for a personal Web server, for instance, and I know many network administrators would like to dump the Java support. Similarly, a completely above-board and public pricing structure for Microsoft OSs—including Win2K Pro—would be good news for users.

If you're interested in the actual text of Judge Jackson's decision, you can find it here (be forewarned—this is an extremely dense legal document). Go to Microsoft's Web site to read its response.

Selecting the Default OS

As a follow-up to the dual-boot discussion over the past 2 weeks, here's an easy way to select the default OS to run in a dual-boot setup. Launch the Win2K Control Panel, and double-click the System applet. Select the Advanced tab, and click the Startup and Recovery button. The drop-down box lists your OS options. Choose the one you want to launch by default. You can also select the number of seconds before the selected OS launches.