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Written and compiled by the

Following are definitions for legal and computer-industry terms frequently used in Post coverage of the Microsoft antitrust trial and in legal documents.

Chicago – Microsoft's code name for Windows 95 prior to its release.

Consent decree – Agreement entered into by the Justice Department and Microsoft, stating that the software company would cease its allegedly anti-competitive licensing practices for its MS-DOS and Windows operating system software.

DR-DOS – Digital Research's alternative operating system to MS-DOS.

Java – A high-level, object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems.

MS-DOS– Microsoft's precursor to the Windows operating system. Originally developed for IBM, whose propagation of it is credited with catapulting Microsoft into the limelight of personal computing.

NDA – Nondisclosure agreement.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer, or, a company that builds and sells hardware.

Operating System – The software that computers use to interpret commands. The operating system, or OS, is the "brain" of the personal computer.

OS/2 – An operating system jointly developed by Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft abandoned the project to work on Windows, and IBM took over sole management and sales responsibility for the product. IBM's OS/2 can run DOS programs, but DOS will not run programs written for OS/2.

Per-processor licenses – A contract Microsoft required of its OEM partners that mandated them to pay for the Microsoft operating system on every computer sold.

Platform – A hardware or software standard around which a system can be developed. Most programs will only run on one platform, though there are also some "cross-platform" programs that can be run on more than one. Often used as a synonym of operating system.

Source Code – The format of a program before it has been translated into a language that computers can understand.

Windows NT – The most advanced version of the Windows operating system. Windows NT allows the computer to perform multiple tasks at the same time (multi-tasking). There are two specialized versions of Windows NT: one for servers one for workstations.

Windows 98 – The next generation of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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