From: geor...@microsoft.UUCP (George MOORE)
Subject: Windows 3.1 backgrounder
Date: 10 Oct 91 02:19:13 GMT
Organization: Microsoft Corp.
What follows is the Windows 3.1 backgrounder which is being
distributed freely to members of the press. It talks about
the new features in Windows 3.1, new robustness, TrueType, the
better networking support, Windows for Pen Computing, multimedia
support, etc, etc.
I have received permission to post this information here. Please
do not mail me with questions about this document -- I cannot say
anything more than what is written here. It should answer most of
your questions about what is coming up in Windows 3.1.
Microsoft Windows Environment Version 3.1
With more than 4 million copies sold since the announcement of version
3.0 in May 1990, the end user community has affirmed its support for
the Microsoft(R) Windows(TM) environment. Users have made Windows the
best-selling retail software product of all time and the second most
popular operating system ever (after MS-DOS). More than 200,000 Windows
users have attended Microsoft-sponsored conferences, workshops, shows
and 20 third-party events this year. And users have made Windows
applications the fastest growing segment of the total software
applications market, according to data from Software Publisher
Association and other sources.
It is fitting, then, that Microsoft should look to users to understand
how to advance Windows in its next release, version 3.1. In the year
since the announcement of version 3.0, Microsoft has conducted an
unprecedented campaign to reach out and listen to the feedback and
comments of the Windows installed base. This feedback collection
process has taken several forms:
o A commissioned survey of 11,000 U.S. households revealed Windows
usage patterns, satisfaction levels, favorite and least favorite
features as well as data about the hardware configuration of
typical Windows users. This data was particularly interesting
in that it was a "pure" user pool, not biased toward users who
are more likely to register their software, subscribe to a
particular magazine, etc.
o Microsoft "Strike Teams" fanned out to gather data from corporate
Windows 3.0 users. Nearly 90 percent of the suggestions resulting
from these meetings have been implemented in Windows 3.1.
o About two thousand Windows users called Microsoft Product Support
Services each day for more information about using Windows. From
these calls, PSS has developed an extensive knowledgebase; a
representative from PSS served on the Windows 3.1 design committee.
The 10 most commonly asked questions have been addressed in
o An active CompuServe(R) support forum through the auspices of the
Windows Presentation Manager Association (WPMA) resulted in
extensive suggestions and feedback.
User suggestions were the driving force behind the improvements and new
features in version 3.1. As an important evolutionary step in what is
planned to be a long series of Windows-based operating systems from
Microsoft, Windows version 3.1 will offer refinements to version 3.0
that are designed to bring greater ease of use, functionality, and
performance to Windows users while maintaining backward compatibility
with Windows version 3.0 applications. These refinements fall into the
o Improved usability and performance
o Application and system robustness
o TrueTypeTM scalable font technology
o Improved application integration
o Extensions for new computing platforms
This paper will describe the key added features of Windows version 3.1
in greater detail.
Improved Usability and Performance
Among the results of the extensive feedback from users of Windows version
3.0 are significant enhancements to the usability of the Windows
environment. Dozens of improvements will be immediately noticeable,
while hundreds of others work behind the scenes to support the new
features. While many of them are minor, taken together, these improvements
contribute to a smoother, more responsive user interaction with Windows.
The Windows version 3.1 Install program will be able to detect even more
hardware and software configurations than its version 3.0 predecessor.
The result is an improved ability for Windows to configure itself optimally
for the machine on which it is being installed. The Installer program
detects a wide variety of TSRs (terminate-and-stay-resident programs), and
hardware devices that are known to cause problems, taking action to notify
the user or correct the problem without user involvement.
Windows version 3.1 will be easier for novice users to install with Express
Install, and more customizable for advanced users, who can select groups
of programs to install. For PC coordinators, Windows version 3.1
installation is improved with the batch install option, and better network
setup features for installation in networked environments.
File Manager Improvements
The Windows version 3.1 File Manager has been completely redesigned for
improved usability and performance. The File Manager now supports
multiple "panes" for easy browsing. Users can now display the directory
tree and a list of files side-by-side in a window. The File Manager
also allows the display of more file attributes than before and can even
display file and folder names in a choice of fonts.
Another significant improvement is the new "quick format" capability,
which allows users to format floppy disks in much less time than before.
The File Manager will support an easier, more intuitive "drag and drop"
model for manipulating files. For example, to print a file, the user
drags the file's icon with the mouse and "drops" it onto the Print Manager,
which prints the document. Users will also be able to take an icon
and drop it on a running application or the application title bar; then
the application will automatically open that file.
Program Manager Improvements
Improvements to the Program Manager include "wrappable" icon titles that
sit neatly under each icon in multiple lines, instead of a single long
line that may overlap with other icon titles. Users also will appreciate
the new "startup group," which allows them to launch any group of
applications automatically when the Windows environment is started.
The Windows version 3.1 Print Manager now has the ability to resume
stalled print jobs automatically, without user intervention. For
example, if a printer runs out of paper, the print job will be resumed
after the paper tray is restocked.
Another printing improvement introduced with Windows version 3.1 is the
universal printer driver (UNIDRV). This software offers a single, printer-
independent driver for which specific printer drivers can be built rapidly.
The universal printer driver makes it easier for printer manufacturers to
write or update printer drivers because it encapsulates all the major
features of a printer driver in a single piece of software. Vendors simply
provide a table of printer-specific parameters for each printer. Instead
of using dozens of large "monolithic" printer drivers, the Windows
environment will need only a single driver and a small support table for
each printer. Nearly 250 printers will be supported in Windows 3.1, with
the majority supported through UNIDRV.
Better Support for Networks
A number of improvements will make Windows version 3.1 easier to use on
a computer that is attached to a network. Network administrators will
find that setup is easier under Windows version 3.1, especially for
complex system configurations. Network problems are also easier to trace
and fix because network errors are displayed with more information regarding
the type and source of the problem.
Another significant change is that users can specify "persistent" network
connections, meaning that information about a remote disk drive or printer
is maintained by the Windows environment after a network session is
terminated. Any "disconnected" drives will appear in the File Manager's
drive bar as "unavailable." To re-establish connection, users will simply
click on the drive's icon.
Performance improvements have been achieved throughout Windows 3.1. These
include faster, more responsive user shell components (notably File
Manager and Program Manager); increased display driver performance (for
example, the VGA and 8514 drivers); better printing performance (overall
speed is improved, but Windows will also give control back to the
application quicker once the print command is invoked); and faster paging
in 386 enhanced mode. Version 3.1 will include FastDisk, a 32-bit driver
that allows Windows to bypass DOS in the BIOS for its virtual memory
Application and System Robustness
Since its shipment in May of 1990, Windows version 3.0 has proven to be
a remarkably stable product. In fact, Microsoft has only implemented a
single update release (version 3.0a) to accommodate minor bug fixes.
Like any mature operating system, however, Windows works in cooperation
with a vast number of hardware platforms, applications software and
peripherals. With the countless permutations of software and hardware,
occasional conflicts are inevitable, and approximately one to two percent
of Windows-related calls to Microsoft Product Support Services are
regarding these "Unrecoverable Application Errors" (UAEs).
Through its communication with Windows version 3.0 users and developers,
Microsoft has developed a fine-tuned understanding of how applications
generate and handle errors. Most UAE questions have been resolved through
helping users deinstall misbehaved TSRs, resolve questions on Windows 3.0
versions of drivers or software, or remove unnecessary lines in the
Windows CONFIG.SYS files. In Windows version 3.1, Microsoft's accumulated
knowledge serves as the basis for the following design focal points:
1) Better diagnostics to pinpoint the cause of application errors; 2) Tools
and information to help developers write error-free applications;
3) Graceful handling of application errors if they do occur (so the faulting
application doesn't crash the system). Following are several examples of
how these design goals are implemented in Windows version 3.1.
Error Diagnostics and Reporting
If an application program generates an error under Windows version 3.1, the
user will receive an error dialog box with more specific information about
the type of fault that occurred and which application generated the error
(the Windows 3.0 dialog box says: "Unrecoverable Application Error"). This
allows problems to be traced and corrected much more quickly than before.
Additionally, Windows version 3.1 will ship with a diagnostic tool called
"Dr. Watson" that will record and store information about an application
error, should one occur. This data will provide feedback on the error
that can be used by a support technician to determine the solution for
Developer Tools for Error Tolerance and Prevention
Microsoft's developer support program for Windows version 3.1 includes
tools and information to help developers write more error-free Windows
applications. For instance, a new mechanism has been implemented within
Windows version 3.1 that enables validation of the many parameters that
applications use to communicate with the Windows environment. If an
application uses the wrong type of parameter, or if the parameter's value
is outside the acceptable range, Windows will report an error. Developers
are thus notified of potential parameter problems before their product
Several utilities are also being made available to Windows developers that
help to detect and trace the source of problems. For example, a new
"stress test" utility creates a highly active and dynamic environment in
which application bugs may be "shaken out" during all stages of development.
Windows version 3.1 includes a number of improvements designed to handle
UAEs more effectively. Under version 3.1, if an application "hangs," users
can press the CTRL+ALT+DEL reboot key sequence, and Windows will ask whether
the application should be continued or closed. If the user chooses to
close the application, Windows will reset the environment to a stable state
which will allow the user to continue working within the Windows
environment. There is no longer a need to exit and restart the Windows
TrueType Scalable Font Technology
Windows version 3.1 includes the new TrueType(TM) scalable font technology.
TrueType provides "outline" fonts, giving users instant access to fonts in
any point size, and allowing high quality output on any monitor or printer
supported by Windows itself. TrueType was designed and developed to meet
the requirements of type professionals and graphic designers. TrueType
offers the following benefits.
Complete Integration with the Operating System
TrueType is an integrated component of Windows version 3.1. For users,
this means that there is nothing to buy or install. All the benefits of
scalable font technology are built into the operating environment itself,
and existing Windows applications can use them immediately. Four TrueType
scalable font families will ship with all copies of Windows version 3.1:
Arial (alternative to Helvetica), Times New Roman, Courier and Symbol.
Every major font vendor (with the exception of Adobe) has committed to
develop substantial TrueType font libraries for both the Macintosh(R) and
TrueType is also offered on the Apple(R) Macintosh and TrueType fonts can
be ported between Windows and the Macintosh without conversion. So
documents using TrueType fonts may be exchanged between a Windows PC and
the Macintosh without required changes in character set, font metrics or
line endings. TrueType is also available in Macintosh-compatible laser
printers, in TrueImage printers, and has been licensed to numerous printer
vendors for use in future products.
Dynamic Font Downloading
TrueType fonts are automatically converted to bitmap images and downloaded
to laser printers so that what the user sees on the screen is the same as
the printed page. TrueType uses dynamic downloading, sending only the
characters requested rather than the entire character set, resulting in
faster, more efficient printing.
In order to make it easy for vendors to support TrueType fonts, each
font's "metrics" are made available as public specifications and are
available without royalties. A font's metrics provide a complete
mathematical description of the font's characteristics, which allows
vendors of output devices to render the font exactly as it appears on
the screen. Public availability of TrueType font specifications will
make it easier and less expensive for vendors to support TrueType fonts
on their products.
Improved Application Integration
Windows environment version 3.1 provides the most sophisticated platform
yet for application integration, making it easier for users to exchange
data between documents and for programmers to build these capabilities
into Windows applications. Application integration is supported by the
following features in version 3.1:
Object Linking and Embedding
An important technology for the 1990s, Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)
creates an environment in which applications can share information
seamlessly. With OLE, all data can be thought of as being a type of
"object." A spreadsheet chart, an illustration, a table, and even a
paragraph of text are all examples of objects. OLE provides the
capability for applications to share these objects easily.
Windows environment version 3.1 supports OLE by providing standard
libraries, interfaces and protocols that applications will use to
exchange data objects. As Windows developers begin implementing OLE
capabilities within their programs, users will see a new generation
of applications that work together cooperatively.
OLE capabilities have already been implemented within new versions of
the Windows Write, Paint, and Cardfile accessories, all of which are
provided with the Windows version 3.1 product. A user can, for example,
create an illustration using the Paint program and "embed" the graphic in
a Write document. If the illustration must be updated, the user can click
on its icon within the Write document, which automatically launches Paint
to allow editing of the drawing. Since the original graphics file is
"linked" to the image embedded in the document, any change made to one
will automatically update the other. This eliminates the need to modify
multiple copies of the image or modify the original image and re-import
it into the document.
Better Support for Dynamic Data Exchange
In the Windows environment, the standard way of sharing data between
applications is through a mechanism known as dynamic data exchange (DDE).
Object Linking and Embedding (as well as other forms of data exchange)
use DDE as their primary means of data exchange. Windows environment
version 3.1 provides developers with a new Dynamic Data Exchange Manager
Library (DDEML) that offers a higher-level programming model and makes
it easier for developers to implement DDE capabilities in a Windows
Better Support for DOS Applications
A number of changes improve support for existing DOS* applications within
the Windows environment. In particular, DOS application performance is
enhanced when using Windows version 3.1 in conjunction with MS-DOS
version 5, since MS-DOS 5 makes significantly more memory available to
DOS applications. In addition, Windows version 3.1 now supports DOS
applications in VGA graphics mode in a window or running in the background.
Also, Windows version 3.1 will include more pre-written Program Information
Files (PIF files "tell" Windows how to run specific DOS applications) for
even greater DOS application support. Finally, disk-paging will allow
users to run more DOS applications than they can under Windows version
Extensions for New Computing Platforms
Windows version 3.1 will allow users to exploit significant new computing
platforms such as pen-based computers and multimedia PCs.
Windows for Pen Computing
Building on the Windows graphical user interface and coupled with advances
in symbol recognition, pens will be the foundation for highly intuitive
and "personal" user interfaces. To exploit the potential of pen computing,
Microsoft has developed a series of extensions to Windows that include:
enhancements to the user interface to allow for pen input; a pen message
interpreter allowing existing Windows (and DOS) applications to use the pen;
and a modular open handwriting recognition engine. More than 30 hardware
vendors will ship Microsoft Windows version 3.1 with extensions for pen-
based computing with their systems, starting in early 1992.
Windows version 3.1 will work seamlessly with the Microsoft extensions
for multimedia computing. These extensions allow users to include new
objects such as audio, animation and full-motion video and embed them in
existing applications. These features will also enable a whole new class
of multimedia documents, such as encyclopedias enhanced with video and
audio clips, or catalogs that display animated illustrations. Personal
computers integrating Windows and the multimedia extensions to Windows
will begin shipping this fall. Windows' extensible architecture makes
it possible for multimedia computing to span low-cost systems for home
and education and sophisticated multimedia authoring platforms for the
high end of the market.
An important enabling technology for multimedia computing is the OLE
protocol described above. With OLE plus the Windows multimedia extensions,
a user can embed a multimedia "object" such as a video or audio clip
into an existing Windows application, just as he or she would a chart
or text file.
Many vendors of today's popular 286 and 386(TM)-based laptop computers
ship Windows version 3.0. Users of laptops will appreciate a feature
in Windows version 3.1 called "mouse blur," which makes it easier to
find the cursor on a laptop display. In addition, Windows version 3.1
supports the Advanced Power Management specification, which allows
Windows to interact with native power management of a laptop PC for
longer battery life.
With version 3.1, vendors of laptops and other small form-factor
computers will have the option of licensing a special version of Windows
in ROM. This version of Windows 3.1 will be burned in to a ROM chip and
will execute directly from ROM rather than from a hard disk. A ROM
version of Windows opens the doors to other types of computing as well,
including the emerging category of palm-top computers.
Beta Testing and Developer Support
Windows environment version 3.1 is currently in beta testing. The beta
program will be one of the largest Microsoft has ever conducted,
eventually involving as many as 10,000 participants. Additionally,
Microsoft is conducting technical seminars for Windows developers to
discuss the details of the new APIs in Windows version 3.1. A new
Software Development Kit (SDK) and Driver Development Kit (DDK) will
allow developers to more effectively implement the API features.
Microsoft's Hardware Compatibility Program currently includes 350 testers
and Microsoft is actively recruiting additional participants to ensure
the tightest possible compatibility of Windows with the vast array of
hardware and peripherals on the market today.
Developer enthusiasm for Windows version 3.1 is high. Nearly 2,000
Windows developers attended a recent Seattle conference on Windows
version 3.1. In addition, a June 1991 survey of the top 70 PC
independent software vendors (ISVs) found that 100 percent are
planning to test for and take advantage of Windows version 3.1.
Windows version 3.1 is an important next step in Microsoft's core
Windows strategy, an evolutionary strategy that spans 286 laptops to
high-end workstations or servers. Today, Windows runs on MS-DOS, the
operating system that spawned the PC industry and is currently in use
by tens of millions of people. Today's Windows runs the thousands of
existing MS-DOS and Windows-based applications. Extended versions of
Windows -- for example, for multimedia or pen -- allow users to run all
of these applications as well, plus unique new applications developed
with pen or multimedia in mind.
Microsoft will ship a high-end version of Windows called Windows NT
(for "new technology") in 1992. Windows NT will run the same DOS-based
and Windows-based applications as Windows 3.1., while also supporting
advanced security, multithreading, multiprocessor systems, and RISC
chips that promise even higher performance.
Microsoft's vision of computing in the 1990s and beyond is that
computers will empower individuals and organizations. With its scalable
implementations, the investment of Microsoft and the commitment of
third parties, Windows will be the foundation for realizing this vision.
Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, MS, and MS-DOS are registered trademarks
and Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks and TrueType is a
trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.
Arial and Times New Roman are registered trademarks of Monotype
CompuServe is a registered trademark of CompuServe, Inc.
Helvetica is a registered trademark of Linotype AG and/or its
386 is a trademark of Intel Corporation.
(C) 1991 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Printed in the
United States of America. This backgrounder is for informational
purposes only. Microsoft makes no warranties express or implied, in
* As used herein, "DOS" refers to MS-DOS and PC-DOS operating systems.
USENET (Users’ Network) was a bulletin board shared among many computer
systems around the world. USENET was a logical network, sitting on top
of several physical networks, among them UUCP, BLICN, BERKNET, X.25, and
the ARPANET. Sites on USENET included many universities, private companies
and research organizations. See USENET Archives.
SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM
March 7, 2003 - The SCO Group filed legal action against IBM in the State
Court of Utah for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference,
unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM
made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of
UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's Linux services
business. See SCO vs IBM.
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