The underlying message is that the DOJ has set a precident - the Federal Government can establish that a party is guilty of an offence, establish reasonable grounds for enquiry into other suspected offences, can have a court rule in its favour, have an appeals court ALSO rule in its favour, have a "change of management", followed by a "change of heart", followed by a complete dropping of any "remedy".
Ok, the DOJ has only officially "dropped" the idea of splitting Microsoft, but it has offered no other ideas. At least, not publicly. That, I believe, is because it either has, or will, "reach an Out-Of-Court Settlement", in which the DOJ sells what's left of its soul, and Microsoft gives nothing in return.
Publicly, what'll be announced over the next few weeks is the news that Microsoft and the DOJ have "reached an agreement, for undisclosed damages", or something like that. Disclosing that Microsoft has given nothing, done nothing, and will continue playing as dirty as ever would look bad, but simply referring to it as "undisclosed damages" or "an undisclosed remedy" makes it sound so much more palatable.
Since the Appeals Court reached its verdict, Microsoft has played foul on numerous issues, and there is no indication that it will change without some VERY stiff remedy. That is something we are unlikely to see, this side of 2100.
The problem I think a lot of people are ignoring is that Microsoft now sees Open Source and Free Software as a threat. So much so, they've deemed it "Un-American" and dangerous to business. In short, they've accused users and coders alike of being traitors, much the way Mcarthy did, in the 60s.
"So what?" you might say. "They can't ban it! It's protected speech!"
Errr, no. If it acquires the status of being dangerous to American Interests, it's about as protected as an ice-cube in the Sahara on mid-summer's day, during a heat-wave.
Open Source and Free Software =CANNOT= be fought conventionally, as the Halloween Document pointed out. That leaves the back-doors of politics. Simply classify assembly instructions as "encrypted material", and every "unlicenced" programmer out there is instantly in violation of the DMCA, for using tools to break the internal state of the machine.
"You're just being paranoid! That's Conspiracy Theory stuff!"
Where's the conspiracy? The law already exists, the Microsoft stated policy document also exists. This gives you the means and the motive. All that's left is the opportunity, and that would be provided by the DOJ letting Microsoft go. From there on out, Linux, K5, Slashdot, OpenBSD, GCC, et al, may as well be lined up against the wall. There's no "conspiracy", because it only involves one person making one decision. No cover-ups, no UFOs, no chocolate sauce. Just someone very determined to win on every throw of the dice, even if that means melting the dice of the opponents and possibly the opponents too.
"America's a free country!"
Convince Dmitry, or the people working on DeCSS (here and in other countries), or even people like Mitnick.
"Dmitry commited a crime! He should pay!"
And Microsoft hasn't? THEY have been found guilty, not Dmitry. Yet he has to suffer the humiliation of being an "internationally-known criminal", be confined by a prison system even the cockroaches avoid, and even if freed, be rendered virtually bankrupt. The guilty go free, and the rest suffer mental and physical abuse for fictional crimes?
"Ok, well Mitnick was DEFINITELY a criminal!"
Even there, most of his prison term was pre-trial. And people -are- technically "innocent until proven guilty". Being blocked from examining the evidence didn't speed things along for him, but it sure worked out great for the prosecution! An entire prison sentance served, AFTER which the prisoner makes a deal to admit guilt & go free, rather than be dumped into one of America's most notorious, dangerous hell-holes. Right. As if any one of us would do otherwise, guilty, innocent or purple. The film he must suffer with also depicts him as a violent, schitzoid lunatic. In five years time, he'd be lucky if he'd be allowed to flip burgers.