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Microsoft

Windows 2000 Source Code Gets (A Few) More Eyes 164

Posted by timothy
from the ahhh-did-not-release-that-code dept.
hansley writes: "Microsoft has extended its source code licensing program. Is it for distributed debugging purposes ? hmm ..." As the article points out, this limited and NDA-ridden disclosure is an expansion, rather than a wholly new idea. And remember, it has "nothing to do" with Linux or other Open Source software.
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Windows 2000 Source Code Gets (A Few) More Eyes

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Consider the possibility that this is not a two-way road. Although OS is well known for stealing all of Microsoft's concepts on interfaces and 'look and feel', the idea is that Microsoft doesn't have to steal GPL code because they are able to engineer superior solutions through closed-source development, for a profit. It is far more likely that some rogue developer at one of these MS source distribution licensees will steal some code for an open source project and end up fucking the entire open source community over, in the eyes of the mass market.

    And before you mention it, yes, NT/2k uses a lot of BSD code. And they are fully compliant with the BSD license. Nothing unethical about that.

  • > If they aren't willing to pay programmers to debug and audit their source, they must not be able to afford it.

    Ever heard of a beta test? Same kind of idea. The thing is that with this program, they will have the potential of thousands more eyes looking at the code, and testing it to see if it works right (which it usually doesn't).

    I don't care who you are, but that many people costs a LOT of money to hire. So, why not have others do it for free? Sounds like a great idea for MS, and the rest of the people who use Windows 2K, because hopefully we'll get bug fixes faster.

    Just my two cents
  • I wonder how long it will be before you will be able to get CDs with the complete source to MS Office, Visual Studio, Win2k, and so on via MSDN. Like how you get binary CDs now.

    A very long time, if ever. It's really a ploy by M$ to be able to say to the DoJ that "3rd party individuals" are looking at the code. It also allows them to say, "Look at how confident we are in our code." I could also see them attempting to say something like, "It's open source for the 'big boys'. None of our secrets are out like those "other OSes", but we've got great new minds looking at the code." Meanwhile, those minds think the same way M$ does.

  • I figured they'd be too embarrassed to release the source code, heh. 65,000+ bugs. I guess they needed some way of getting all those bugs fixed and this is the perfect excuse - let more people see the code, point out bugs, and perhaps they can reduce that 65,000+ figure to the point where it's half as stable as Solaris or any other *nix.
  • No kidding... aside from appeasing Windows developers, conspiracy theory tells you this is a move to entrap Linux developers such as those working on Samba. A fair chunk of them write Windows apps for a living, and should their company ever sign up to view Windows source, any free code they now write is contaminated.
  • Cloned , not ported.

    Careful with your terms, you don't want to get the xscreensaver developers sued or anything, do you?

  • Second in server shipments for last year is not a niche player. For the average office user it would be just as easy as Windows NT. Since office users have an internal IT helpdesk to help them deal with problems with their workstations and since Linux provides a great deal more crash information than NT, the problem can be diagnosed and fixed for good, rather than the reboot/reinstall and hope method. It isn't ready for the person that can't set the clock on their video, but neither is Windows.
    My family often have to ask me to have a look at their PCs and I hate having to recommend a reinstall which, with all the updates required, can take many unnecessary hours. I would quite happily support them on Mandrake and I'm going to see if I can talk my dad into using 8.0 when it comes out, as he finds Windows' crappiness horribly frustrating.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And lest we forget this simple fact... revealing the fact that you are a schoolboy working on a connect-4 game instantly destroys your credibility.
  • So W2k has two orders of magnitude more code, at least one order of magnitude

    Linux is just the kernel. If you want to make a fair comparison, you need to count the rest of a Linux distribution too, for example XFree86, since Windows is tightly integrated with it's GUI. Is PWS counted as part of Win32? Better add the source for Apache and WU-FTPD as well. Does Notepad count as part of the windows source? Add the count for lines of jove. And so forth... as far as I am aware, the lines-of-code quoted for Windows is for the whole thing, the entire CD distribution.

    magnitude (if not two or even three) fewer eyeballs

    Many eyes make bugs shallow if they're all qualified and more importantly, if they're all looking. On that metric, a far higher percentage of the people who have the code (MS staff and third parties) are useful "lookers".

  • It was the Internet that pushed the PC into the mainstream, MS was just a lucky passenger. Netscape were the ones that brought the Internet to the masses and sold all those extra Win95 licenses for Microsoft.
    Other superior platforms and OSes existed in the past but Microsoft buried them all with a combination of marketing and anti-competitive practices.
  • From Article: "What interests me most is why they have chosen to do this with their Windows 2000 server and client offerings," said the consultant, who asked not to be identified. "Why not with Windows 98 or 95? Perhaps because the code was so convoluted, cluttered and full of bugs like the 'blue screen of death.' They were probably too embarrassed to have others look at it." Or maybe it was because 95/98 was a home user OS, I don't know about you but no-one I know has 1,500 liscensed copies of 95/98 in there house, which was the point at which a company could gain access to the Win2k code. Not saying I agree with microsoft on not showing the 95/98 code to anyone, but I hate it when articles quote obviously stupid people.
  • Surely you can't be suggesting that Windows might be fragmented in some way. That is obviously nonsense since Office works on all of them and doesn't even run on Unix. (This is sarcasm BTW)


  • Everyone listen!!!

    Run. Run like hell. This is an obvious attempt to pollute the world with intellectual property that they can then turn around and sue the living daylights out of the rest of us.

    Think about this: You write a piece of functionality for a GNU piece of software after you've seen something that is somewhat similar to the Winders source code? Then the M$ cops come down for a visit because you signed your life away on the NDA?

    Save yourself now -- just say no.

    #30 TLS

  • It's not just that developers _want_ the source code, but the companies MS wants to sell to _demand_ it. VMS, IBM, Sun, HP have been including source code with systems ever since their first machine sold. It's expected in the high-end market. It helps in-house developers, and provides a measure of security, should the company ever go out of business or discontinue the product they sold you. Very simply, MS _has_ to do this... and it's not for _everyone_. Check out the requirements... 1500 Windows licences? Premium subscriptions? This eliminates very many software development companies that are supposed to benefit from this service.
  • You are big, fat and rosy. You sign every paper they put, pay a $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ figure and get the source. After some time you get into a piece of code that doesn't get with you program. "Hey you have a bug here." M$ answers "It's not a bug, it's just a feature." Cool you produce a workaround. And launch your prog. However workarounds sometimes tend to mess with what they are supposed to work around. So M$ comes up and claims "You violated our license as you tried to overcome our own code." And here we go on juridical battles, Big Mony guys making faces to each other and DoJ trying another unsuccessful case...
  • I worked on a project that was using DCOM until we found out that the serialization was caving under high loads, we contacted Microsoft and they promised to address it in their next service pack (It took them a couple of months). Instead of waiting for the fix, we had to implement our own serialization and integrate it with DCOM. If we had the source code I'm sure Microsoft would have fixed the issue faster as we would have pointed out where the bug was.
  • MS Thinks that opening up a read-only source code view to 'elite' developers is going to solve anything?

    This is not a smart move on their part as it's showing weakness in their propretary ways. They are validating the need and necesity of free-speech, not free beer.

    Every little move like this is a victory for free-software (speech).




    --------------------
    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • I dont remeber a Dist. of any Linux that came out and would not work, at *all.

    But Scumsoft would *never be that bad, so why would I ever bring that up?..

    Anyone still have a copy of DOS 4?. heh

  • "These customers found the access to the source code useful and were very positive about the scheme."...

    No shit?


    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

  • I wonder if MS is planning on that source code leaking out, which it probably will. Come on, there's gonna be one person in that large amount of people that will be willing to leak to source code to the general public.

    It might lead to some creative patches for the UI. Maybe replacing the paperclip with a penguin? And it would probably really help with the windows emulators that people are writing (WINE). Hrm.

  • Windows Update has a fix to every problem. Here is a patch I suggest Windows Update post to their site. This patch will address every Windows annoyance to date. This patch can be found by going to http://redhat.com ToxicBoy [Stackis]
  • How does an NDA like that work? Does everyone in the company have to sign? Or does it just affect employees without their knowledge?

    It piggy-backs on your original work contract; as an employee, you (might) have the responsibility to be held to all contracts signed by authorized people in your company. Most of the time I've delt with it, has simply been pointed out to me as part of the employee manual.

  • By the last comment it looks like you have never run any of the Linux distros. I myself have run about 7 differnt brands of Linux, mostly on old equipment, and have found that it works pretty well on new AND old computers. Let's see Win2k do that!
  • How long before this code roams the Net?

    Through this program? I don't see it. For one, this is just a broading of the existing program; you go to a MS-run secure site, look at the source on MS's machines, and then leave...taking nothing with you but what you learned. The NDA covers what you learned, so even that's not available to be shared.

  • Funny, I see more eyes as better, and though the average intelligence is lower, what does it matter when you have a larger sample size with more intelligent people? Your logic is screwy without any grounding in any true thought; your comment is here to draw a flame.

  • IANAL, but it is my understanding that unless you've signed the NDA, they really can't do much about it, unless they can prove that you took active effort to illegally acquire the code. In other words, you can't "ruin" an OSS developer by shoving a printout of Windows code in his face. Anyone who is in the know, feel free to confirm or disprove.

    --

  • More eyes are better for Source than fewer eyes. Even if they don't have all of the eyes to read the code like Open Source stuff does!
  • 1) The paperclip is part of MS Office, not MS Windows.

    2) Yes, you can implement your own office assistant penguin easily, the process is well documented [microsoft.com].

  • "I love Linux, and I would love to see it replace Windoze, it just doesn't seem likely. "

    Of source it is not.
    For the average office users using Linux would mean going back about 10 years ...
    Yeah, it is where Linux is compared to Windows as far as desktop market is concerned.

    On the server it is siply just another Unix , not the most powerfull or robust, but good enough to run ussual set of Unix services ( or deamons.)
    Great for people who don't want to spend lot of money and have enough knowledge. In another words, it is a niche market.
    Nothing wrong with that.

  • "NDA-ridden disclosure" ... I love legal speak ... ;-)

    And as far as I know, Microsoft does not allow anyone to modify the source, let alone distribute patches. So much for the debugging ...
  • I was thinking of the time before the mid-90s when Internet was brought to the masses. By then PC+Windows was already such an established system that it was the obvious choice for going online with. I agree it could have been any other platform, were it not for M$'s strategies in the first place.

    --
  • beware all! it smells like the sequel to an antitrust-esque movie. all 1337 kernel hax0rs with boyishly good looks should watch out for bill gates. he is watching you!!!!

    *maddest_hatter*

    *maddest_hatter*

  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:14PM (#370015) Homepage
    I wonder how long it will be before you will be able to get CDs with the complete source to MS Office, Visual Studio, Win2k, and so on via MSDN. Like how you get binary CDs now.

    Five years? Ten years? Never?
  • Microsoft did cherry pick Samba, which is GPL'd.

    How do you think they finally got that WINS crap to work so well in Windows 2000 (despite the fact they are trying to kill it with MS-DNS)?

    Samba is the only fully documented source for the SMB implementation on Windows, not even Microsoft has documentation that thorough.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Considering the nasty PGP ADK bug I wonder how much good this will do for windows buggyness. How big was the pgp windows source ? under 50k lines if I remember. And windows is over 1M. What corporate bug fixer is going to find anything but the most blatant bugs in the early versions of windows ?
  • the whole "more eyes are better" concept falls apart when the average intellengence of these eyes are just that... average. I'd rather have a fewer set of eyes where the IQ is higher.. the source code tends to have a better architechure this way.

    I guess I'm thinking of the difference between Linux and BSD.
  • I wouldn't touch the Windows 95/95 OSR2/98/ME code.

    I think you missed at least a couple incarnations: Win95 OSR 2.1, Win98SE, ... not to mention various OS+Office or OS+MSIE combinations that affect core files ... when exactly is one really looking at the source to 'Windows'? How many permutations of the actual core OS exist?

  • by kaoshin (110328) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:16PM (#370020)
    "We estimate this to be about 1,000 firms in the U.S., and not all of them will want the code," ...In fact some people would prefer it was just incinerated.
  • I was wondering the other day what things would be like if MS did something totally out of character like releasing an older product as freeware. Windows 95 seemed to fit the bill because it's not something you can go buy in the shops right now (afaik) , it's quite a few years old and it would run quite speedily on older machines. I'm not talking open source here at all, just asking: what would be the impact if they did that?

    One for you alternate history buffs!
  • Speaking of which, I spent some time at the usual places (IRC, warez newsgroups, etc.) watching curiously if something would show up, but didn't spot anything...

    To anyones knowledge, has a more or less complete archive of the source code actually been put on the internet somewhere? (not that I'm interested in the stuff per se, I haven't done any programming lately so it wouldn't be very interesting to me)

    ... just curious, really.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do NOT look at this code. Any open source developers would have to be carefull not to go antwhere near this stuff. Next thing you know MS is shutting down open source/free software projects accusing them of "borrowing" from their copyrighted/licenced/patented/NDAed/trade secret and generally loathsome code. BEWARE this is poison!
  • Lemme see, open "ntoskrnl.c" into Emacs...

    Search for "int main(int argv, char **argc) {"

    And here we go..!

    AAAAAAAAGHH! AAUUUGGH! Mine Eyes! I Cannot See! I Cannot See!

  • by headwick (247433)
    I. Disclosure of ";"

    You or any party remotely affiliated, or even not affiliated with you may not disclose even 1 character of our code. Should you or said party reveal that we use ;'s in our code we will take the following action.
    1. The first born child of every member of your company must be enslaved to M$oft for use as we see fit.

    2. Your company must publish a public retraction of this treason by stating that it could have been a : or perhaps even an = symbol

    3. The eyes and voicebox of every employee that has had access or is affiliated with anyone who has access to said code, will be removed.

    II. Disclosure of "#include"

    You or ...
  • Why use GPL code when theres perfectly good BSD code.
  • we did something very similar to this a few years back with poor performance on inter-process data transit with com ... implemented a work-around as MS took their sweet time even returning calls.

    support, my ass!

  • Hello Fellow Billygoater!

    I see you, too, are helping clear the bridges of those pesky trolls.

    let's hang out in the pub tonite and drink some Troll Sweat brew.

  • > "We estimate this to be about 1,000 firms in the U.S., and not all of them will want the code"

    Hmm. Am I the only person who is reminded of a well-known quotation about the market for computers is no larger than five?

    Must just be my imagination: no one at Microsoft would say anything so stupid. And the quotation I'm reminded of is probably an urban myth anyway.

    Geoff
  • How does an NDA like that work? Does everyone in the company have to sign? Or does it just affect employees without their knowledge?
  • So you're accusing Microsoft of misappropriating GPL'd code.

    This is actually fairly unlikely. From everything I've heard, MS actually maintains a pretty strict policy of keeping their developers very far away from GPLed code. I've even heard that sourceforge and some other sites are blocked at their firewalls, for just this reason. If nothing else, "accidentally" incorporating GPLed code into their software would seem to open them to all kinds of nasty shareholder lawsuits for negligence.

  • Stomv writes:
    Will Microsoft take an active roll in using any "suggestions" from programers regarding bugs in future SPs or versions?
    I doubt it. Several years ago, back when NT wasn't a single-architecture Operating System, I talked to a guy who sold file server appliances to DEC. If you recall, the DEC Alpha architecture was the last non-x86 CPU that NT ran on. This salesman told me that DEC engineering was very frustrated with Microsoft, because M$FT wouldn't use any of the bug fixes, performance enhancements, etc that the DEC engineers submitted. If M$FT won't use bug fixes from DEC, who had a very vigorous engineering department at the time, why should they use a bug fix from some lamer customer site? M$FT and the NT team in particular appears to have nothing but contempt for any outsider's abilities.
  • "How often do we discuss employment contracts and non-competes? The lack of talk on this issue here seems to show that NDAs aren't taken very seriously."

    Man, we've had like 3 articles in the last week or so just on NDA, and employee's IP, etc.
  • I have my doubts, and as far as releasing the code on newsgroups (as suggested by another post), I'm not sure anyone has the balls to do something like that. If you put the source on a newsgroup, Microsoft will have a feeding frenzy. If someone does something with that source, we won't be hearing from them for a long long time. What needs to happen, IMHO, is a clean room project to strip M$ of their power. A "Clean Room", if you've never heard the term, is very common in the hardware industry. The way it works is you have a group of people in one room submitting parameters to an object, and then recording what the given feedback is. They then slip the results through a slit in the wall to a team of engineers in another room. This team of engineers then take the information, and create objects that take in and put out the same parameter/result set. It's perfectly legal, doesn't infringe on any copyrights. The idea is that you're not copying what it is but rather recreating what it does. All legal. Then you just tweak it so it doesn't crash every ten seconds, and open source it so the world can have free windows. Bill Gates has said it himself a number of times that a couple of kids with nothing better to do could put him out of business. It's the same sort of relation between Intel and AMD. That said, I think it's time to boot up the 10K node beowulf and get to work.

    $man microsoft

  • It's already been ported:

    bluescr.tar.gz, uses svgalib [xcp.aura.li]

    part of xscreensaver, about 4/5 down the page [jwz.org]
  • Not true. The Samba developers had better be careful, for instance.
  • MS code (and license) has the Gorgon effect with reguards to GPL code; after you look at it you can't contribute to free code. MS will claim that you stole ideas from them. I think this is some sort of poison pill for GPL code.

    So, I think that this is bad for us free coders and good for MS, which makes it even worse for us :).

    Later...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Remember back in the day when so many "new" things seemed to be happening with computers? There seemed to be limitless possibilities. The Pentium had just been introduced, graphics were becoming better and better, multimedia capabilities were making their debut, and there were new technologies, programs, program suites and products being produced everywhere. Java, DirectX (or WinG), faster modems, more memory, gotta have DX instead of SX. Everybody didn't *have* to upgrade, they *wanted* to.

    This was before widespread easy Internet access (remember the ancient Compuserve dialer program?), so browsers weren't particularly important yet, but a thousand companies each seemed to have their "must-buy" technology.

    That was about five to seven years ago. Now, outside of Linux, what truly *new* PC technology has emerged or been constructed since? Its just more of the same, and more after that. Pentium IV, Office 11, Windows 95,98,2000, MS Studio 7, and so on. Granted, .Net might be something, but I would guess its DDE version 37 rather than something truly new.

    But its still a Microsoft product. Can *no other company* produce new technology anymore? Why is Microsoft the only company that seems to be able to produce even new versions of old binaries? Programmers have a staggering amount of information and knowledge and processing/storage power available. Again, besides Linux, where is the PC going?

    Now, MS releasing source is probably a good idea, especially for an operating system, but everyone else seems to be just coasting along, still trying to get a couple more dollars out of the old "upgrade-reinstall-upgrade" cycle, and I think Microsoft is doing the same thing. I'm also not sure that releasing the source to their operating system will help the non-activity in PC development either, because of all the agreements everyone has to sign to use it.

    I think it would be a lot better for the PC and technology in general if there were something new happening with computers again, or if, perhaps, Linux were to get more generally popular.
  • Yeah, I feel that way about the code I write most of the time, but what kind of code does a troll like you write? The paper clip from hell?
  • So you're accusing Microsoft of misappropriating GPL'd code. Do you have a URL? I notice that samba.org are unaware of the fact, seeing as it's not on their website.
  • by Dman33 (110217) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:58PM (#370053)
    They'd have to target it at some poor suckers who don't know what the open source community/movement is all about.

    That would be about 98% of corporate america. Most companies do not use Linux because they are afraid of going the non-M$ route. They ask, "Who else has done this and how effective was it for them?!" and they want to hear only big names... and a lot of them.

    If M$ came out with a distro, most companies would go with it before they considered Redhat, Mandrake, Caldera, *BSD, or any other distro...
  • A couple years ago when MS was first looking at Open Source, Steve Ballmer mentioned that Microsoft had done a study suggesting that something like 1-3% of Windows developers wanted source code access. (Back then you had to pretty much be an OEM, Wall St firm, or Fortune 50 client IIRC to get it.) I was intrigued by this at the time, since A) Microsoft had attempted to get hard data on the demand for this and B) that's a lot of developers. Obviously MS is finally responding to that demand, albeit in a go-slow manner.

    --LP
  • 1500 copies of Windows 2000 Pro at the going price of US$258 (at CDW this morning) =

    US$378000.00

    Minus the enterprise licensing discount (prob. about 10%).

  • If they aren't willing to pay programmers to debug and audit their source, they must not be able to afford it.

    I can't believe they would consider asking for people to do this work for free, or ostensibly in exchange for getting an insider's look at the source code. I think this smacks of arrogance and is completely contrary to any kind of community fostering spirit.

    I have an idea for what to do with the source they are revealing. I think it should be uploaded to file swapping services, web sites, newsgroups, chat rooms and anywhere else people can think to put it. Conisidering the 'saftey in numbers' lesson of Napster, we can expect that MS will be unable to go after anyone for this illegal distribution of their IP. That might make them think twice about such a self serving program in the future.
    ----------------------------
  • Can *no other company* produce new technology anymore?

    The ones that tried were FUDed or vapourised a long time ago. Notice that every other x86 OS is available for no cost under various terms and conditions. No payware OS has ever succeeded in shifting Microsoft because buyers have to pay for a second OS, whereas they may be inclined to try something they get for nothing. This is why the anti-trust trial is so important - any area where Microsoft is threatened is immediately co-opted or crushed and until this roadblock to real innovation is removed OS and productivity software will stay as just rehashes + bloat of previous versions (and producing a stable OS after only 21 years of trying doesn't count as innovation - all the other OSes managed that years ago).
  • Another difference between Linux and BSD is that Microsoft cannot cherrypick the best bits of Linux extend them and close them up. Probably the reason why IBM are investing $1.3BN dollars in Linux and not BSD.
  • lol You try telling my college professor otherwise.
  • The winsock and TCP/IP layers in MS's operating systems were both heavily based on BSD's networking code..So its not quite just those tools.

    Microsoft has never denied this and always respected the licencing terms of BSD software.

  • by Spoing (152917) on Monday March 12, 2001 @12:17AM (#370083) Homepage
    I'm surprised more 'paranoid conspiracy theory' posts haven't appeared yet. Be that as it may, the obvious danger here is that the NDA probably has a non-compete clause that would make it hard/impossible to work on other operating systems for a certian number of years.

    While the number of developers lost to both comercial and free/open operating systems should be low, we might never know the real loss.

    If the NDA covers a whole company -- as the last one I had with MS for Win95 did ^ -- simply being an employee might stifle ... well ... inovation.

    If so, this is a real 'win-win' for Microsoft in the long run.

    How often do we discuss employment contracts and non-competes? The lack of talk on this issue here seems to show that NDAs aren't taken very seriously.

    ^. Not source.

  • by Ed Avis (5917)
    To combat copying by competitors, cartographers often put deliberate mistakes in their maps. A 'phantom village' which doens't really exist, for example. Then it's easy to see if someone has copied your map.

    I wonder whether Microsoft will be using the same tactic to help find the source of any source-code leaks. Will they put deliberate bugs in their code?
  • On each boot up, you have to agree to the NDA and licensing agreement which expires every seven days.

    It would include an obscene number of proprietary protocols and apis, making it completely incompatible with the rest of the Linux world.

    But through shrewd deal-making and corporate IT fear, Microsoft embeds itself into the Linux landscape, causing an irreperable fork in kernel development.

    Of course, all they would have to do is put an ugy UI on NT and call it Linux. Most folks would play along.

    Be affraid. Be very affraid. [ridiculopathy.com]

  • I'm sorry. I've never posted a "I'm bitter because they didn't post it when I submitted it", because I don't really care if they use mine. I do think it's a little ridiculous when I submit it and they post it FIVE DAYS LATER! I remember thinking when I saw it on zdnet, "I'm surprised I haven't seen this on /." 2001-03-08 21:31:22 Microsoft expands open-Window policy (articles,microsoft) (rejected)
    ---
  • by Stormie (708) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:19PM (#370093) Homepage

    And as far as I know, Microsoft does not allow anyone to modify the source, let alone distribute patches. So much for the debugging ...

    The point of this isn't to get Windows debugged, it's to make life easier for people debugging their own (Windows) software. Enough weird shit happens when you're trying to develop under Windows, and although probably 99% of the time it's a bug in your code, at least the companies that get a hold of the Windows source will be able to check.

    So yeah, the motivation here for Microsoft is to make Windows developers happy. This is something they've always been big on - they know full well that the platform that the developers support is the one that will win in the market. So they've seen one of the things that makes developing under an open source OS attractive, and tried to match it.

  • > No, the microsoft one was about nobody needing more than six hundred and fourty thousand of those byte thingies.

    I must be too subtle here. I surely would have guessed that by saying ``stupid Microsoft quotations", people would remember Allchin talking about how open source is unAmerican.

    Or else it was just my imagination again.

    Geoff
  • by jmu1 (183541) <jmullman@nOSpam.gasou.edu> on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:20PM (#370097) Journal
    Hmm... Does this seem suspicious to anyone else, having just heard the total pile of poo that spewed forth from the mouth of one Jim Allchin? Just an observation.
  • by miracle69 (34841) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:20PM (#370099)
    This will be a great opportunity for someone to examine their code looking for GPL'ed code.

    Wouldn't it be great to find some GPL'ed code in there.... What a can of worms that would be for MS.
  • This will be a great opportunity for someone to examine their code looking for GPL'ed code.

    Kernel hackers Jeff Merkey and Andre Hederick might be able to tell you where to start looking [linuxcare.com].
  • by HiQ (159108) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:21PM (#370102)

    Would that be the source of all evil then?

  • Perhaps it'll be easier to discredit GPL software.

    Think of it. You release software under an NDA and lots of licences. Then someone leaks it. After a while, people who had looked at it as teens move into the world. They write some GPL utility.

    Now they have to prove that MS code did not influence them! It's like turning the world into a non-cleanroom environment, in order to get rid of opensource software (since they can inspect it easily..).
    --
  • I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't see any proof. The point I was making was that Microsoft don't have to do anything when they use BSD code apart from include the copyright. That's why IBM isn't pushing FreeBSD even though it's superior to Linux (at least to 2.2 anyway). There's no way IBM are going to do $1.3BN of R&D just for Microsoft to come along and use it without any fear of reprisals. Microsoft aren't the only corporation with deep pockets after all.
  • I think you'll find it here [ibm.com].
  • Windows Update has a fix to the crash problem.

    If you don't like the HTML email, turn it off. The toolbar will never download, and you won't be wasting bandwidth for a feature you don't want.

  • You underestimate greatly. Though your name is java_sucks, I fairly often go through the sourcecode of Swing, the main Java GUI system. That is the main way to tell if the problem is in your code or their's. And you're not exactly sifting through sourcecode, you've got tools to do that for you. You may not even understand the general context of the code, but the code you read may make sense.

    When you "get sourcecode," you don't just get a text dump. You also get some documentation, and the code itself has comments.
  • I have a hard time thinking that anyone would really want to spend an enourmous amount of time sifting through a mountain of Win2k source code to debug their program

    Have you ever been debugging a program in windows, and something is going horribly wrong, and you've narrowed it down to somewhere in the big black box of "KERNEL32.DLL" which comes up as a bunch of asm gobbledeegook in your IDE? Source Code could definately be useful there.

    Ever tried low-level kernel mode programming in windows? Do you realize how useful code would be to kernel-mode debugging?

    Have you ever been hacking around with something in linux and found the included source code to be incredibly helpful?

    Any way you slice it, having the OS source is a good thing for developers.

    When [Netscape] opened up the code they had very few people who contributed or even really cared,

    That's odd... where'd netscape 6 come from again? Besides, web browser source code vs OS source code is apples and oranges, from the perspective of developers

    -------------
    The following sentence is true.

  • Only until Microsoft shut them down for stealing their 'intellectual' property. This argument came up when the Russian hackers had access to Microsoft's servers for a while and didn't do anything (yeah right). No-one from WINE or Samba would touch this code as it would immediately kill their project.
  • Simple solution: f you are a free coder, don't go anywhere near MS code or NDAs. On the other hand, if you are already immersed in a MS-only world, and are working on MS-only applications, and systems, perhaps this is a good thing for you. I think there is a sufficient differientiation between MS-immersed people and free software coders...there probably isn't all that much overlap there.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if they get and set bits either. Check out http://sourceforge.net/snippet/detail.php?type=sni ppet&id=100055 [sourceforge.net].

    Frankly, the whole idea of GPL'd snippets is just ridiculous. Perhaps people are thinking that they can "contaminate" code with these snippets, but I doubt that would hold up in court.

    Far be it from me to tell others what to do, but if the license is longer than the code, the code should probably just be public domain.

  • by Fervent (178271)
    At least it's a step in the right direction. Windows 2000 is the only code I think is worth looking at (didn't they rewrite a majority of the code base for this release?)

    I wouldn't touch the Windows 95/95 OSR2/98/ME code. That thing is probably a mess. Old DOS might be fun (back when all a Microsoft OS was a shell). But Windows 2000? Cool.

  • It's not so bad. MS asked the govt to intervene on the AOL Time Warner deal. Ms has asked to government to intervene many times to cripple their opponents. MS like all corporations know that burdonsome regulations raise to competition. Nobody loves the govt like giant corporations.
  • Why not? who could stop them? They can do whatever they want they are the largest most powerful ornaization on the planet.
  • by Tyndareos (206375) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:23PM (#370124) Homepage
    How long before this code roams the Net? IM: Microsoft surely is aware that opening their source to large groups of people over whom they have no control, is going to result sooner or later in leakage to the rest of the world.[1] So why do they do it? They must have some kind of devious plan behind this ...

    [1] - Surely this is open to discussion, but at this time I'm fairly sure about this.

    --
    Matthijs
  • If MS was any other company doing this, people wouldn't take notice.

    However, as famous and infamous as they are, as disliked as they are by some people in the computing community, they can be sure that plenty of people want to get their eyes on their code. If they allowed more people to see the code they'd have plenty of volunteers.

    Thus, by their bad reputation, they ensure heightened curiosity.
  • I remember a lot of talk from a couple years ago about how they were adding 20 million lines to NT to get W2k, bringing the total up to something like 150 million lines.

    find /usr/src/linux/ -type f -name *.[ch] -exec wc -l {} \; | awk '{sum+=$1;} END {print sum}'

    1504406


    (I'm not going to claim that was the easiest or fastest way to do that....)

    So W2k has two orders of magnitude more code, at least one order of magnitude (if not two or even three) fewer eyeballs and no way to FIX found bugs other than the same old "we'll put it on our list". Yeah, that's productive.
    --
  • by ch-chuck (9622)
    They're trying to dupe the simple into giving them free services - just like they've screwed over 'hobbyists' many times in the past - "here, try this alpha out, report the bugs to us, now bugger off". Remember, anything anyone contributs to the Msft effort is the property of Msft, all your rights belong to them. Suckers....

  • Let me take a stab at answering some of those questions:

    Will developers that see bugs in the syntax report them to Microsoft?

    I come from a Unix world myself. However, only lately have I come to realize the vast amount of developer support that Microsoft products enjoy. With the VS tools, there are tons of developers who think MS is the coolest thing since sliced bread and are eager to look at and contribute to the OS.

    Will Microsoft take an active roll in using any "suggestions" from programers regarding bugs in future SPs or versions?

    I'm pretty sure MS will look at the bug reports it receives. At the risk of sounding banal, I'll say that fixing bugs in software is not just a simple task of someone identifying an "obvious" bug and just fixing it. For about every 10 "obvious" bugs that you fix, you tend to cause one regression which will cost you tons of hours to find, identify and fix. Sometimes (not always) it is just not worth the risk to disturb a relatively stable product for the sake of fixing an obscure scenario.

    Will the Windows OS improve as a result of this move, or just applications that run on the OS

    Doesn't it lead to the same result? When a crappy driver causes your OS to bluescreen/hang, who do you blame?

    Will this lead to some increases in bugs? If an application writer uses undocumented side effects of Windows (that she finds in the source code) and the code changes (SP, new version, etc.), will we see new bugs?

    You're just screwing yourself if you're relying on an undocumented feature in the code. There's a reason some features aren't documented (no, and not just to srew the competitors) including that they might not be ready for primetime, have the adequate amount of testing or were pulled because of lack of demand. It would just be sheer stupidity to rely on an undocumented feature for your product.

  • What? Name one OS that hasn't been modified beyond it's existing specifications.
  • I'd say, in bits and pieces, less than 5 years.

    In 10 years, at least one of these pieces of software will have itself completely "source" (you can look but don't touch). My bets are on Office, considering the direction they are heading with it as an application "service" and the internet. More .NET = less proprietary garbage. And, 10 years is an eternity in computing time.

    By the way, have you seen Hotmail lately? IE is now incorporating a toolbar very similar to Office when you write a message. It's kind of cool to see that we've gone this far with this kind of stuff. A simple word processor that loads over the internet, for free, in a few seconds.

  • Actually, I'm working on a program that tests various process scheduler for FreeBSD right now. For class, I'm working on a silly little object-oriented Connect Four program. This is being coded with FreeBSD at school, and my Linux box at home.

    And lest we be judged: the actual paperclip in Office is crap. But the idea of having a fairly intelligent, natural language help query system is strong. Office got this right first and continues to get it right to today.

    And personally, I do my games, internet browsing and papers in Windows 2000. I do all of my coding in Linux or FreeBSD.

  • So does that mean average intelligence = more commercial success?
  • Ha. I should say the same about Linux PCMCIA wireless code.
  • I totally agree with your comment that a segment of the high-end market *demands* it. They have demanded it in the past and Microsoft has provided it on a one-on-one ad-hoc basis. That's nothing new. But by packaging up a formal program for anyone with 1500+ licences, Microsoft is beginning to move to making source available to very large companies who *want* it, not just *demand* it as a precondition. And my point was that Microsoft has assessed that demand as being as large as 3% of its customers. Obviously this program still doesn't come close to reaching that large a group of people.

    If one assumes that Microsoft wants to give out as little of their source as possible (maximizing their remaining control,) yet at the same time they want to minimize incursions of open source code into their base, then a set of incremental increases in source availability is the least-risk way for them to put their toe in the waters and see how much half-open-source-solutions satisfy people. This small incremental increase in source may not mean much, but to me, it does signal that they are feeling some pain from not making their source available to a their top licensing customers (1500+ licenses is a lot, but that covers a lot more companies than the 25000+ license type of companies I've heard of them giving source to before.)

    --LP
  • by stomv (80392) on Sunday March 11, 2001 @11:30PM (#370145) Homepage
    • Will developers that see bugs in the syntax report them to Microsoft?
    • How can those developers be sure that what they see as programming bugs really are, since they aren't allowed to modify the code (and hence, check)?
    • Will Microsoft take an active roll in using any "suggestions" from programers regarding bugs in future SPs or versions?
    • Will the Windows OS improve as a result of this move, or just applications that run on the OS
    • Will this lead to some increases in bugs? If an application writer uses undocumented side effects of Windows (that she finds in the source code) and the code changes (SP, new version, etc.), will we see new bugs?

    I'm just full of questions. Anyone care to try and answer?

    The most important question (IMHO) is:
    • Is this move by Microsoft good for computer users in the aggregate in the short term? Long term?

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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