Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Microsoft Releases Windows CE 3.0 Source 223

marquise2000 writes: "You can now check out what Microsoft's 'Shared Source' idea is worth. They released the source to the Windows CE 3.0 Core OS yesterday night, see this page. You need a Microsoft Passport to get behind the registration. A hotmail account will do (no matter how much spam you have in your inbox)."

If you haven't yet taken a look at Microsoft's "Shared Source License," this is a good time: contrast the restrictions on use and redistribution to the clauses on those things in the GPL.

Interesting that Microsoft should denigrate Free Software licenses as pathogenic but require that anyone who redistributes the software as source under their new "broader" license "include a complete copy of this License with your distribution." That license includes a provision that "if you sue anyone over patents that you think may apply to the Software for a person's use of the Software, your license to the Software ends automatically."

But since you may not distribute the licensed Microsoft code "in source or object form for commercial purposes under any circumstances," nor use it to run a business, it may be unlikely that such a suit would arise. All in all, I'm not sure who besides companies selling Win CE hardware or software will benefit from this "sharing."

However, if you ever intend to work on any Open Source programming project which might involve similar code, you might want to think twice about downloading any code under the provisions Microsoft lists here: a simple database query can establish whether "Yourname Lastname" had access to the Microsoft-owned code, which could result in legal problems down the road. Even if you never look at the downloaded code, the electronic trail will look like you did -- which is perhaps the most insidious aspect of this version of sharing.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Releases Window CE 3.0 Source Code

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd look, but it may make me wince
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Moderator gave this a funny? What is funny about it? I'll tell you what's funny, getting moderators to waste their points on bad posts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well what if you don't reveal your real name? I have never given my real name to Microsoft before, big deal if they query a different name.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because the coders suck.

    Once upon a time, in a galaxy not entirely different from our own, there was a popular (amongst geeks) web-forum. Certain posters to said forum discovered that posting long, unbroken, strings could fuck up the page formatting - the whole page is in one table, so making one cell very wide makes all cells wide, adding nasty horizontal scroll bars and pissing everyone off.

    The correct solution would have been to place each comment inside its own table. Instead, the Slashcode morons decided to enforce spaces - thereby preventing trolling idiots from fucking up the page and also preventing genuine posters from posting genuine links that genuine readers could find genuinely useful.

    Nothing like a half-assed 'solution', eh?
    But hey, it's Open Source, fix it yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    yup! :-) []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:40AM (#70079)
    Bypass Passport: rmBuilder/Update/3.0/NT5/EN-US/setup.exe
  • by cduffy (652)
    Erm, bullshit.

    I work for MontaVista Software. I won't describe what we do, you go look it up. We make good money (and lots of it) off GPLed software, and are continuing to do so even in this whole economic downturn thing.

    We couldn't do this if the software we work with were under a shared source license. The GPL is, thus, much more business-friendly than shared source (at least for those other than the copyright holder -- and an argument can be made wrt. the benefits that the copyright holder recieves).

  • Yeah, yeah, I know, they can do whatever they want with their software, imposing whatever liscence restrictions on it they want......

    But I'm resisting the urge to download every bit of MS souce I can find and upload it to FreeNet anyway :)
  • Think about it. You are a small start up or pre-start up with an idea for an embedded application. You need to build a prototype of your hardware and software. It needs an O/S. What are you going to do. Call up the devil, sign contracts, fork over a shit load of money. Or are you going to download Linux and get to work.
    Wince is doomed in the embeded market simply because Linux is a better choice, it's free, you get the source. Sure you might have to publish your changes, but that really can't hurt you as long as no one is selling the same hardware set. M$'s only choice is to get wince into the hands of inventors up front for free. If poeple are stupid enough to not realize that you will have to ultimately pay Billie, i guess they will get what's coming to them. Let's hope that most people aren't that stupid.
  • Can I use GPLd code in a commercial product?

    "Definitely, if you make the your source available also."

    Can I use Microsoft Shared source in a commercial product?

    "No way, how do you dare asking?"

    Hmm.. It's funny to see the FSF as business friendlier than Microsoft, even if everyone will say that "free software is no good for business". Well, it is not made to be good for business, but good for the community. That doesn't mean it can be good for business (as the "opensource"guys like to say).
  • "Yes, definitely! Sign here, give us the money, and off you go!"

    That's not an option for most of the smaller companies. :)
  • as an ultra-capitalist

    As for me, I'm a Super-Duper-anarchist!

  • I guess I just I come across more persistant people than you- and I think the day I started this I was solicted 5 or 6 times with various leaflets while waking from my apartment to the lab I work in across campus- this day was particularly bad because voting for student government elections was going on so all the candidates had their people out handing out leaflets, various other campus orgazations were out distributing stuff, there were a few religious groups, people handing out ads for clubs, etc. Some people are nice about it and will simply move on to the next person if you say you're not interested, but many will try to jam a flyer in my hands any way even after I say I'm not interested. I'm already over run with pieces of paper so I try not to accumulate any more. Religious groups are particularly bad about this- they'll step in front of me and jam a card in my hands, ask if I would like to learn about the Bible, and continue talking to me even after I've declined both of these, I've had creepy people try to follow me along, trying to get me to stop and listen to them. I've had people ask me why I won't stop a minute and listen about Jesus. If I say that I'm an agnostic atheist whose has already thought long and hard about this, this only makes them more determined.

    I understand that many people handing out flyers and trying to get people to talk to them are very passionate about whatever they're out and about about, and I might even be one of them on Monday, protesting the DMCA, and I hate to not give them a minute, but I've found that a minute ends up turning into 5 minutes and so on (I'm not good at extricating myself from conversation), so I've found that its easier to just give the impression that I'm a bit insane.

  • "However, if you ever intend to work on any Open Source programming project which might involve similar code, you might want to think twice about downloading any code under the provisions Microsoft lists here"

    This statement strikes me as FUD. The only purpose it serves is to try to scare people into not downloading the source and looking at it.

    If this were true then the same would apply to GPL software.

  • Of course not, it's not like the XP kernel was origionally developed on a MIPS based machine, now is it.

    The NT kernel was designed to be portable from the outset, and has run on x86, MIPS, Alpha and PPC. Nothing ties the kernel to x86 other than market forces.
  • I've always been in favor of something like what Microsoft is branding "Shared Source" for commercial software endeavours. I mean, it makes the most sense in the long run. Companies should be required to release their code for products in order to get any sort of government backed IP protection (copyright and patent but not license based). It makes the most sense from a consumer rights, security, and general innovation perspective. You can see an outline of a paper I started working on at [] regarding this very issue.

    There are caveats, of course. The licensing restrictions that apply to shared source are wrong in most cases. As long as I don't turn around and redistribute the software, why should they care if I modify the source and use it in my business or personal use? As long as sufficient licenses are purchased (another controversial issue that I have some thoughts about), they shouldn't care.

    The second big caveat is that there needs to be a proper and well known legislative infrastructure in place to support the readers of the source code. Possibly, the same standards that apply to books should apply to source code. In other words, a few sentences that are entirely the same might be ok, but taking entire thoughts (subroutines or algorithsm in source code?) is wrong. Right now, the ambiguity of when Microsoft can sue is a bit chilling. It would be beneficial, IMHO, to have some legislation to make fair use type protections explicit.


  • by el_nino (4271) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:18AM (#70090) Homepage Journal
    Can I use Microsoft Shared source in a commercial product?

    "No way, how do you dare asking?"

    "Yes, definitely! Sign here, give us the money, and off you go!", rather. And you won't have to redistribute the source to your changes, either. I'm pretty sure all CE manufacturers have had access to the source, and I know that SGI had a deal to sell a modified version of NT with the Visual Workstations.
    Niklas Nordebo | niklas at

  • In all honesty did you expect Microsoft to ever do anyone favours? :-)
    Favours do not a big profit make!
  • Ah, here we hit upon the crux of the matter. Of course Microsoft will be nice to developers. Developers help Microsoft maintain a monopoly on the desktop and to attain a large section of the server market.
    This is not doing them a favour, this is simply supplying the people that form an industry around your product with the information that they require to continue to make that industry productive.
    A favour in the sense I meant it (sorry I was half-serious) would be where they do something for someone else with no obvious gain. Goodwill is always a potential gain but we can't quantify that and neither can a company.
    I hasten to add I don't expect ANY large corporation to do these things. It's far too easy to single out Microsoft though. :-)
  • So just carry around a "oR.
  • by unitron (5733)
    "Copyright Is Theft"?

    Just who is stealing what from who (or maybe it's whom)?

  • Funny, the Palm OS is being run on what, 70% of the market? Because it just flat out works for what a palmtop is supposed to do, and it has decent battery life.

    I'd like to have MP3 playback on my Palm, but it's not quite there yet. But I'm not going to go to the IPAQ to get it. Once you put the expansion sled on it, that thing goes from an admittedly pretty silver lightweight to an ugly black plastic BRICK.

    My prediction: wait a month and see which handheld the kids going back to school start buying. My money is on the under-$200 Palms. That's the next big growth area, and Palm once again owns it.

    Jon Acheson
  • Palm is still the leader in installed base, and unit sales, but Compaq, which now sells about half as many units as Palm, recently moved into the top spot in revenue terms, according to Gartner.

    That lasted all of a month, and was measured in dollars, not units sold (iPAQs are more expensive than Palms). Palm is back on top now, having gotten over a bad quarter in which they had to cut prices to move surplus back stock.

    As for the pundits, they have been predicting that WINCE will take over ever since it was introduced. If it wasn't for the Microsoft-only companies, CE sales would wbe even worse than they are. And as far as price goes, Palm is the company putting out low-price units, and they can probably drop the price even farther.

    The big problem is, most people who buy a CE machine stop using it and never buy another one. Most Palm users keep using them and eventually upgrade.

    Lastly, the real reason the consumer microcomputers in the 80's died is that once their parents started buying PCs, the kids started inheriting their old PCs as hand-me-downs, and they didn't need to buy a C64 or an Apple II for them anymore. The whole market disappeared.

    Jon Acheson
  • M$ is not losing any sleep over releasing the source code. Go forbid that somebody look at it and tell them where the security divots are.

    And its WinCE. Their answer to the Palm OS (ROTFL). Its not exactly the crown fuckin' jewels.

    But it is indicative of their ability to talk out of both sides of their mouths at once while lying out of either about what the other side is saying: Source code is Talibanese, uh, anti-American. Here want our WinCE source code?

    Lets hope they never get off the x86.
  • Does this mark code which is a direct copy of something in the Linux scheduler? Thus indicatiing that the M$ author does not care about violating the GPL. Or on the other hand is this an indication that the author has had to do something which is less than desirable technically in order to avoid violating the GPL. Or perhaps is it just a humourous /. "story/joke/lie"? Anybody know definitively?
  • Looked at the source with intentions to perfect the
    CyaCE Linux boot program?

    If you dont use their code but study it for how it acts... you should be safe right?
  • I think looking at the source would be a great way to deep-six any open source projects you're working on at the time. Heck, even if you're a commercial developer, you should really have your legal team consider your position before looking at this code

    Yes. Just as Microsoft employees are admonished not to look at GPL'ed code, open source coders now must be made aware that they should not look at "shared" code.

    I think MS is going for a "GPL" licence that gives more rights to MS as opposed to the community. But this is to be expected.
  • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:14AM (#70101) Homepage
    Looks like Microsoft is up and fighting - and fighting hard.

    From the licence it looks like this code is free (as in beer, not speech).

    The Licence:

    This License governs use of the accompanying Software.

    You can use this Software for any non-commercial purpose, including distributing derivatives. Running your business operations would not be considered non-commercial.

    For commercial purposes, you can reference this software solely to assist in developing and testing your own software and hardware for the Windows CE platform. You may not distribute this software in source or object form for commercial purposes under any circumstances.

    In return, we simply require that you agree:

    1) Not to remove any copyright notices from the Software.

    * Ok, thats fair.

    2) That if you distribute the Software in source code form you do so only under this License (i.e. you must include a complete copy of this License with your distribution), and if you distribute the Software solely in object form you only do so under any license that complies with this License.

    * This is fair too.

    3)That the Software comes "as is", with no warranties. None whatsoever. This means no implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty of non-infringement. Also, you must pass this disclaimer on whenever you distribute the Software.

    * Standard Leaglease. This is in the GPL too.

    4) That Microsoft will not be liable for any of those types of damages known as indirect, special, consequential, or incidental related to the Software or this License, to the maximum extent the law permits. Also, you must pass this limitation of liability on whenever you distribute the Software.

    * Same as above.

    5) That if you sue anyone over patents that you think may apply to the Software for a person's use of the Software, your license to the Software ends automatically.

    * Hmmm, this is different.

    6) That the patent rights Microsoft is licensing only apply to the Software, not to any derivatives you make.

    * I don't understand this one, someone care to explain? (I think that they mean that if I make a derivitave, it is not owned by Microsoft? Or, does it mean not protected by Microsoft?)

    7) That your rights under the License end automatically if you breach it in any way.

    * Very different from the GPL! That your rights "Suddenly end" if you breach it in any way. GPL is designed to maintain rights, this one is designed to take them away.

    Granted, you can't blame Microsoft for using this kind of licence. Their whole business model is based on this kind of thing. I still bet that there are people at MS that are having fits over the release of code. But, I guess the battle for free software must be ganing ground - because Microsoft is fighting back... On our turf.
  • I'm just pointing out the possibilities here. Just like Microsoft doesn't really go after software piracy unless it would significantly improve their public image or bottom line, they're probably even OK with small-scale copyright infringement since it still ties you to a Microsoft OS. But if you're working on a project or a technology that is a legitimate competitor to Microsoft, even if you're not really infringining on their IP, you have to expect a variety of dirty tricks from the 800-pound gorilla of the industry. Potential tainting from this source code is just one of the possibilities.

  • I think looking at the source would be a great way to deep-six any open source projects you're working on at the time. Heck, even if you're a commercial developer, you should really have your legal team consider your position before looking at this code - the last thing you want to have to do is prove that you didn't use any of Microsoft's code in your commercial product. Remember, you don't have to be in the wrong to be dragged through a lengthy court battle and/or an expensive settlement.

    I can see the WinCE source code being very useful for developers that work on that platform and already have a close working relationship with Microsoft, but it seems to provide more risk than benefit to everyone else.

  • Fortunately for you, you don't have nearly a devious-enough mind to work for Microsoft (not that I do either). You see, it's not so much the license as it is the code itself, copyright law, and the existing legal system. Let's take this one concept at a time:

    • Distribution of the software must be under the Microsoft license.
    • You are allowed to distribute derivatives.
    • Since derivative works still contain copyrighted code from the original author (Microsoft), any derivatives you distribute must be under the Microsoft license. This is the way almost all source code licenses work; if they didn't work this way then you could totally rip off Microsoft's code by making a small unimportant change to create a meaningless derivative that is not under their license. So it's pretty clear that their license applies to your derivative of their code.
    • If you look at the Microsoft code, any code that you write in the future that looks like Microsoft's may be reasonably considered to be copied from it. You are "tainted" in that case. This is established copyright law.
    • If you work on an open source project, you may write code. It usually works better that way, at least.
    • You've probably not chosen the Microsoft shared source license for your open source project.
    • Your code may look like the Microsoft code from above. In certain application arenas it's quite likely that you'd write similar-looking code to do tasks that are essentially the same as the ones Microsoft's code is doing.
    • Microsoft has a lot more money and lawyers than you do, for almost any value of "you". More on this later.
    • If you distribute your open source project's code, Microsoft can argue that you're distributing their code (remember, you're tainted) and force you to change your project's license.
    • Even worse, if you have ever looked at Microsoft's code, they can accuse you of violating their license at any time and subject you to a lengthy court trial with expensive legal fees even if you're innocent, because of the aforementioned money and lawyers deficit on your part. Technically they still have the burden of proof, but a pre-trial injunction can stop your project's distribution until a year or two later when you are cleared of their charges. Assuming you even want to go to trial to defend yourself, that is. Yes, it's not fair, but that's never stopped Microsoft before.
    • Result: your project is subject to Microsoft's demands, and effectively all development grinds to a halt.

    Thus, it's not unacceptable FUD if you've actually taken the time to think through the potential consequences of your actions. There are legitimate concerns about looking at Microsoft's source code, and those concerns should cause a reasonable person (meaning "person without a lot of lawyers on hand") to experience fear, uncertainty, and doubt about this license. FUD has a bad name, because it's been slung around without reason. Where there's reason to be cautious, though, only a fool doesn't experience FUD.

    You may say that this is a particularly pessimistic view of Microsoft, and I agree that it is. But I would ask you to review the recent history of software law adjudicated between poor individual developers and giant software companies, and then also consider the past history between giant software companies and the behemoth Microsoft, and tell me that there's no way this could come to pass. I don't think you can.

    So, Chester, don't accuse me of spouting FUD if you're willing to take Microsoft's words and actions at face value. They've spewed a lot more unjustified FUD in the last few years than I ever will in a lifetime, I promise you.

  • Since when has any sort of license issue ever rated being so serious that it should be compared to a cold-blooded murderer?

  • And you guys call Windows/Mac users dumb? Priceless.

    The fact that he actually considers that anybody would want Linux's scheduler code is a screamer, too. :)


  • by Zico (14255)

    What's so offensive about it? Microsoft paid for the development of it. Sounds like they're saying, "If you to mess around with it, fine, but if you make any money off our hard work and money, you can talk to our licensing department." Sounds a lot more sensible than the GPL.

    Basically what it boils down to is this: You can't make any money off code under this license. Then again, the same is true of GPL software, as more and more companies are finding out the hard way. At least Microsoft is being honest about this fact. ;-)


  • by jelle (14827)
    But it doesn't have the main open source advantage: So you're dependent on the software (OS, duh), and it has a bug, you look at the source, you find the bug and make the fix. Then, if you're in a company you can't use the fixed software, you have to use the buggy original that Microsoft gave you.

    The only advantage is that you can find the bug in the MS software easier (maybe) and design a workaround quicker... The advantage to Microsoft is clear: More software will work on what they are selling. The advantage to the user or non-Microsoft company is just not all what it could be. It's just a little improvement in the time it takes to find the workaround.

  • by kinkie (15482) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:29AM (#70109) Homepage
    >6) That the patent rights Microsoft is licensing >only apply to the Software, not to any derivatives you make.

    > * I don't understand this one, someone care
    > to explain? (I think that they mean that if
    > I make a derivitave, it is not owned by
    > Microsoft? Or, does it mean not protected by Microsoft?)

    It's a fair clause actually.
    Microsoft MIGHT have licensed patents and included code implementing them in the distribution. Of course they have paid the patent owners to do so. But if you distribute derivative works, you don't own those rights so you have to acquire them yourself.

    Let's put this in practice: suppose that there is some code somewhere in WinCE3.0 that generates GIF images. Microsoft has paid Unisys in order to do so. If you redistribute that code, you have to contact Unisys and license the patent yourself, because Microsoft's license does not get transferred to you.
    Not that software patents make any sense, mind you.
  • by Noehre (16438)
    He meant the MS part about commercial use, dolt.
  • Irony is a wonderful thing.
  • by Evro (18923)
    All in all, I'm not sure who besides companies selling Win CE hardware or software will benefit from this "sharing."

    Well who else would a program like this be directed at? Who besides developers needs the source to WinCE? Duh?


  • Microsoft's compilers allow C++ style comments in C code. In fact, the C99 standard does too, so you can't really call them "C++ comments" any longer.
  • I briefly worked at a BSquare [], a company that does LOTS of Windows CE contract work for Microsoft. Microsoft does not port CE to other processors; the hardware vendors PAY to license Microsoft's CE code and port it themselves. Microsoft does not even write their own CE compilers. BSquare and the hardware vendors do.
  • by cpeterso (19082) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @02:42PM (#70115) Homepage
    The actual path to schedule.c is \wince300\private\winceos\coreos\nk\kernel\schedul e.c. And it does not contain the work "fuck". Actually, none of the source files contain the word "fuck", "shit", or "Linus".

  • by listen (20464)
    I think the "arguably" is what set him off.
    It made you sound like you thought you had a point, he missed that you then admitted that you didn't. Other trigger phrases to watch out for:

    Ladies and gentlemen
    Come, on folks,
    **** is nice and all, but

    these phrases are often used in the hope that whatever comes next sounds more authoratative. Don't fall for them.
  • If Bill were my big brother, I'd have to beat his scrawny little ass.

  • The standard reply is "security through obscurity doesn't work". And in many cases, that does apply. However, this won't happen in the M$ case. Sure, they are no longer hiding their source (as much) but they have totally screwed up the feedback cycle.

    First, they would need someone to dl the code and look at it. Some will, but due to the licensing weirdness, it won't be many.

    Second, patches would have to be submitted, integrated, and then disseminated. The first might happen. The second will happen if the patches are good. But since WinCE lies in ROM, it's going to be hard (impossible?) to get this onto devices.

    This is likely a pointless act, and the poster who mentioned it was used to demonstrate to the Supremes (I believe M$ is beginning to get around to filing an appeal with them) that they have changed. But, for various reasons, it is all BS.

  • Okay, so using GPL code is cancerous and causes plagues, locusts, etc. But simply viewing M$ code is a danger.

    Has that meeting with Mundie happened yet?

    Is it possible to keep up with and inform the public of all of this BS that comes out of the M$ propaganda machine?

  • Yes, and Java 2, standard edition SDK 1.4 is codenamed Merlin too..

    Not that Open Source is that great at innovating with names either; Killustrator comes to mind.. :)
  • by macpeep (36699) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:10PM (#70130)
    That's the silliest thing I've heard in a long time. Windows CE dead?!

    Microsoft is working on Win CE 4.0 (Talisker) and Pocket PC 4.0 (Merlin), which is based on Win CE 4.0, and will most likely have those released and on new shipping devices by September. Just about every new handheld, and cellphone-PDA-combo device is based on Pocket PC and the trend is just more and more in Win CE's favor as we move forward. There's only ONE device released on EPOC 6.x so far - the Nokia 9210 - and it sucks compared to the Siemens GSM-phone & PDA combo device. And don't even mention Palm OS... Psion is out of the handheld market so if an OS is on its way out, it's EPOC.. and.. well.. Palm OS.

    Windows CE is more alive than ever!
  • How can you say "aside from this one particularly offensive part" it's less restrictive then the GPL? That's like saying "aside from killing and eating a few people" Jeffrey Dahmer is a nice guy.
  • Whatever happened to NT embedded?
  • It's not about that. It's about lying. The original poster was trying to make it seem like the MS license and the GPL were about the same. He did this by minimizing the worst porion of the license. It was exactly like saying. "except for the cannabilism Jeffrey is a nice guy".

    The issue is not the nature it's the way the poster was making his point.
  • by prizog (42097)
    Chester K. Illiterate wrote: In fact, it's simpler, more concise, and more direct than the GPL, and arguably doesn't restrict you any more than the GPL does (aside from "commercial use" of the code)

    The GPL does not forbid commercial use or distribution of software. This does. Please learn to read.
  • Remember the exact same problem exists for Microsoft. If any of their kernel programmers become "contaminated" by GPL code (ie Linux) then they have serious problems in the CE or NT code base. In fact, I'd say the danger to Microsoft is far greater than the danger to Linux from this sort of "contamination" issue.
  • Trade secret law cannot apply to the Shared Source model for the simple reason that it is not a secret. If you read the license agreement there is no mention of trade secrets and so I'd be very sceptical of anyone who said it was.

    I wasn't talking about "ideas" derived from GPL code - I was talking about code derived from GPL code, or code derived from Microsoft's code. When it comes down to it, the same ideas tend to translate to the same code (sure the variable names are different but that's about it). Microsoft knows that there would be plenty enough damage even with a GPL scare that they are being very careful.

    I still think Microsoft has more to fear from the contamination problem.
  • Actually, none of the source files contain the word "fuck", "shit", or "Linus".

    Or "weenies" spelled backwards.

  • My understanding was (I haven't heard about it in a while) that WinCE was going to continue to be targeted for palmtop systems with a windows-like interface, while NT Embedded (the kernel to be used by the X-box) would be targeted at more traditional embedded systems. But I haven't heard anything more about that in months.
  • by quartz (64169)
    No really. I'm not trying to troll or anything, but why would anyone want to look at Microsoft source code? You can't do much with it according to the license terms, and I suppose the API is already documented.

    I know *I* wouldn't be caught dead looking at their source because I don't use anything Microsoft so it would be of no use to me, but I'd really like to hear from someone who looks forward to grabbing it and putting their name in the "sharers" database. What are your benefits from looking at Microsoft source code?
  • by iamsure (66666) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:14AM (#70156) Homepage
    No, its very real.

    In programming there is the principle of "avoided failure".

    You implicitly learn (get) all of the research the previous programmer did to get to that point. All the different failures he went through you can avoid, because you know what he ended up using.

    By doing so, you "take" all of his work as yours. All his testing, all his troubleshooting, JUST by lookign at the code and knowing what he used.

    Makes a little sense.

  • Even if you never look at the downloaded code, the electronic trail will look like you did -- which is perhaps the most insidious aspect of this version of sharing.

    So everything Microsoft does gets demonized as evil, simply because you have to deal with "THE EVIL EMPIRE" to take advantage of it? Let's not forget that the GPL has more or less the same provisions. If you use GPL code in closed source, or certain open source projects, you can get sued. If you use MS code in closed or open source, you can get sued. In fact, GNU has proved quite litigious in the past. What makes them so much more righteous than MS? Simply because you don't like MS?

    What does Microsoft stand to gain by suing anyone and everyone who it thinks may have violated its license? Not a whole lot. And don't whine about trying to eliminate competition... as an ultra-capitalist proponent of the free market I don't buy that argument for one second. But regardless of that, the bad publicity they would receive (since people already perceive them as evil and manipulative) would likely make such a lawsuit much more harmful than beneficial.

    Why does everyone have this perception of everyone at Microsoft as a Snidely Whiplash type character, who sits around in boardrooms with other evil villains twirling his mustache and dreaming up ways to destroy everyone else and rule the world?
  • From a usability/GUI design perspective, many of the applications shipped with Agenda are a complete disaster. The hardware (that the user directly touches) does not appear to be designed by anyone who seriously considered the day to day usage of the PDA from the end user perspective. Buttons are put places for no logical reason, and places where there should be buttons lack them. The stylus that shipped with my Vr3d has a slippery metal shaft that makes it hard to write.
    In terms of support, the agenda website has many outdated/non-existant areas. On top of this, the lead programmer/CEO/spokesperson for agenda, Brad LaRonde just got fired for no apparent reason.

    You don't need to fight a war against an enemy that constantly falls on their own sword. This is all a damn shame, since the CPU and other features (like built-in audio and consumer IR) of the Agenda outclass the palm in many respects.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:14AM (#70165) Homepage Journal
    If any of the kernel hackers so much as look at the source code to WinCE, it could open some serious legal ickyness for all involved, whether or not any of that code actually finds its way into the Linux kernel. I suspect we'll see some Microsoft license-related legal action against kernel hackers or Linux companies in the near future.

    My suggestion is that if you do any open source programming at all or work for any Linux companies, you stay the hell away from any of Microsoft's shared source.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:44AM (#70166) Homepage Journal
    From the way I understand it, so much as looking at the code opens you to liabilities in the future if you write anything either remotely similar. IBM has some very strict rules about who can download GCC within the company, for example. If you work on IBM C Compilers, you're not allowed to.

    In the historical past, it's been a fairly common practise to have an isolated group study something and document how it works. Another group would come along and implement using only the produced documentation. The best known example of this is the PC BIOS. I wouldn't even consider that without talking to a lawyer (or three) first.

  • True, you can distribute derivatives, but you cannot use the code, nor derivatives in a company setting.

    This is the absurd restriction here. You cannot use internally for "business operations" nor can you sell derivative works under this license.

    So you quote only part of the story. "Any non-commercial purpose, including distributing derivatives" explicitly excludes a large user base from even _using_ let along modifying.

    Furthermore, your derivative works may only be distributed for non-company use (I won't say non-commercial, since that usually implies don't sell it for money. This implies don't sell it for money and don't use it in any organization that has something called "business operations" without defining any more parameters).

  • Could someone summerize the setup procedure (what happens when you run the 5MB setup.exe)?

    You don't have to agree to licensing terms to get the setup file, so I guess that agreement comes while running the exe. Is that correct?

    Is the WinCE source in the setup.exe, or does it get downloaded while running the setup?

    If it's in the setup.exe file, does anybody have a routine to extract the code without having to run setup.exe?

    Finally, does setup.exe run under Wine -- I don't know anybody still using Windows, and I haven't used Wine in a long time (the apps I need are not available in Windows). It won't run under my old version of Wine.

  • Thats exactly why they choose to release the source -- its worthless. But they can still claim to support open source somewhat (well, their own twisted definition of open source).

    This is just manuevering for the anti-trust trial ... "Look judge we're being good!"

  • W3K supports something called a 'Dynamic disk' in short it bypasses the 'standard' way of disk partioning in favor of the MS way.
    It'll need to be documented properly for RAID crash recovery tools, recovery of damaged hard drives (when the operator didn't keep backups ;-), Partion Magic, legal investigations, and so forth.

    Besides which, the old IBM PC partition table is running out of time. It doesn't have enough bits to represent the size of upcoming hard drives. Microsoft has to do *something*.

    At some point we will hit a DCMA wall with the 'encrypeted data' partiions/folders/files. ... All of this added to the fact that you can encrypt and compress a individual drive/folder/file. The encryption would be a problem just for the fact that MS seems to be behind DCMA enforcement.
    I wish more people would actually read the DMCA. It gives the *copyright holder* privileges with respect to devices that can decode the encoded work. The DMCA says a decoder is legal if it has a 'commercially significant non-infringing' use. If it's your stuff on the partition, *you* determine what non-infringing means.
  • Microsoft: Hmm, let's use, say, a Caesar cipher to encode the partition table. It's ours, after all.
    First of all, the exact contents of the partition table would have to have been created by a Microsoft employee for them to have a copyright. Secondly, the partition table would have to be a creative work intended for comprehension by people, and not a totally functional device.
    My point being that whilst you certainly are permitted to decode your own data, if that data doesn't belong to you but is instead, say, an integral part of the operating system (think encoded registry, FAT-equivalent, and so on) then I'm not so sure, looking at your comment, where Microsoft stand. And whilst there's no good reason to encrypt these things, you never know.
    If Microsoft wishes to make the partition table a creative work (say, encrypted machine code that produces the partition boundaries when executed), let them. The configuration management and crash recovery nightmare will be its own punishment.
  • by sigwinch (115375) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:26PM (#70186) Homepage
    If any of the kernel hackers so much as look at the source code to WinCE, it could open some serious legal ickyness for all involved,
    Bullshit. I don't know how this meme got started, but it's time for it to die. This isn't an NDA. Copyright solely covers the making of copies of the work. Unless you outright duplicate the copyright-protected work, there is no infringement.

    Source code is really no different than books, magazines, and newspapers. You don't see newspaper editors scrupulously avoiding all printed materials besides their own paper, do you? You don't hear about musicians carefully avoiding listening to the radio, do you?

  • by sigwinch (115375) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:50PM (#70187) Homepage
    Read about how computer BIOS programs were reverse-engineered and cloned to see the lengths that companies such as Compaq have to go through to make sure that they don't "accidentally" create a derivative work.
    The issue was not "accidentally creating a derivative", it was "being able to tell IBM to go to hell, and having the federal judge draw them a map for exactly how to go there." If they hadn't clean-roomed their BIOSes, IBM would have been able to show enough doubt to drag them into court. IBM would have lost, and lost big time, but the case would have cost the BIOS maker critical time to market (which would have been especially deadly for the first Compaq BIOS, the success of which made Compaq the billion dollar company it is today).

    Clean-rooming the BIOS has nothing to do with this mythological contamination. It's simply so that the judge will instantaneously see that there is no merit.

    You're going to have to translate the source code into English and "summarize" it down to an API, and somebody with whom you have never met face-to-face (and thus has never had a chance to see the actual code) will have to actually implement the API.
    This is a completely erroneous misinterpretation of copyright law. If it were true, musicians would routinely go to prison for 'willfully and with malice aforethought' listening to the radio. Visiting artists would be deported for going to galleries.
    DISCLAIMER: Nothing you read on Slashdot is legal advice; only your attorney can provide that.
    In other words, everbody is full of shit. I deeply resent this attack on my knowledge and character. I *am* full of shit, but I resent being told so. ;-)
  • Using it in your business is not allowed because you make monetary benifit from using thier software and in that case MS should be reimbursed.

    I would say however that if you have a licence to use wince in your business in the first place that there should be no problems with you then using a modified version of that. I am pretty sure that MS just doesn't want every business to grab a compiler and whip up wince for thier business machines robbing MS of revenue. Not that most people that could use wince don't already have the licence because the OS was distributed with the hardware heh.

  • by jallen02 (124384) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:06AM (#70194) Homepage Journal
    I have had the source of WinCE for a LONG time.

    If your on the MSDN network you can get the source from the CD's. Im sorry this is a bad example since the source has always been available. .. They arent doing anyone any favors here...


  • by ozbird (127571) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:33PM (#70198)
    The only safe way to view it is in an mirror:)

    Wouldn't that be considered a copy protection circumvention device?
  • by Radical Rad (138892) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:00AM (#70203) Homepage
    Let me guess. Wince3.0 is code named "Medusa".
  • You've actually checked??

    Good advice: on april 1st, stay in bed :)

  • I think looking at the source would be a great way to deep-six any open source projects you're working on at the time.

    No, it's not.

    Please read the Shared Source license (a link to it was generously provided in the article) before spouting off any FUD about it.
  • But the shared source license doesn't give you the right to create derivative works. It's a "look but don't touch unless you get special permission from Microsoft first" license.

    Wrong. Quoted directly from the license []:

    You can use this Software for any non-commercial purpose, including distributing derivatives.
  • by Chester K (145560) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:27AM (#70208) Homepage
    6) That the patent rights Microsoft is licensing only apply to the Software, not to any derivatives you make.

    * I don't understand this one, someone care to explain? (I think that they mean that if I make a derivitave, it is not owned by Microsoft? Or, does it mean not protected by Microsoft?)

    Basically what it means is that if Microsoft had to license any 3rd party patents in order to produce the software, their license to the patents does not cover any derivative versions of the software you make and distribute, meaning if you wanted to be on the up and up, you'd have to license those patents yourself.
    It sounds insidious, but it's more likely than not just in the license to cover their butts, if a derivative that uses someone else's patent becomes popular, the patent-holder can't come after Microsoft for subletting access to their patent.

    All in all, their Shared Source license isn't as horrible as some Slashbots would like you to believe. In fact, it's simpler, more concise, and more direct than the GPL, and arguably doesn't restrict you any more than the GPL does (aside from "commercial use" of the code)
  • by Chester K (145560) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:09AM (#70209) Homepage
    With M$'s focus on the 2k/XP kernel, is this just a red herring to attract good press?

    Perhaps, but this is a big step for Microsoft, to release the source code to what at one time in the recent future was intended to be a flagship product of theirs, and is still in moderate to heavy use. You didn't seriously expect them to start out by opening the Windows XP codebase, did you? (And how come nobody has a similar accusation for id Software when they released the source to Wolf 3d or Quake?)

    Armed with only my Hotmail login, I now have their source code on my hard drive. In other news, Hell has frozen over, pigs are flying, and the cows have come home. Film at 11.
  • by Chester K (145560) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:39AM (#70210) Homepage
    [ck@server1 ck]$ cd wince300
    [ck@server1 ck]$ grep -r fuck *
    private/winceos/coreos/nk/schedule.c: // fuck Linus Torvalds!

    Those sneaky bastards!
  • What is the fallout of loooking at the source code for a product and then writing your own from scratch. First of all, what does it take to actually establish guilt if the company that allowed you to see the source thought you had done wrong with it?

    Is the possibility of being sued after having looked at someone else's code real, or is this just /. paranoia? If this were true, whats to stop Linus from suing Microsoft when he sees in's transfer logs?
  • So how in the hell are they going to look up your name and trace your footprints regarding who downloads what, when all they really have (using reasonable security with cookies turned off) is your IP address? Sounds like a false alarm on the legal front to me.

    If they really want to they can use HTTP request logging to get a list of IPs that download the source, at what time, from what user agent etc.

    It would be a big PITA to trace each IP. But they could have charts set up that would automatically determine what ISP each IP block belongs to and then filter out the average home users from universities and companies that most likely get hosting from places like verio and tellus.

    That would be one hell of a start if they really want to know who is downloading the source. But that's still a quite enormous amount of information to go through if they want to keep a list of names.


  • by SpookyFish (195418) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:55AM (#70226)

    With M$'s focus on the 2k/XP kernel, is this just a red herring to attract good press? Isn't CE going to be replaced by XP Embedded or whatever they decide to call it, so they have a common kernel across all their platforms?
  • Remember the exact same problem exists for Microsoft. If any of their kernel programmers become "contaminated" by GPL code (ie Linux) then they have serious problems in the CE or NT code base

    No. This entire notion of "contamination" comes from trade-secret law, not copyright law. The GPL is a copyright license, controlling how GPL'd code may be copied and redistributed. It says absolutely nothing about ideas derived from reading GPL'd code.

    The reason that Microsoft is so careful about the GPL is that they know perfectly well that they are everyone's favorite target.
    Can you imagine Ballmer playing Valjean to RMS's Javert?

  • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio&yahoo,com> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:10AM (#70233) Homepage Journal
    The only safe way to view it is in an mirror:)


  • by InsaneCreator (209742) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:10AM (#70234)
    Note: Before downloading (5.03 MB executable file), you will need to register using your Microsoft Passport. Passport is a suite of personal authentication services that makes it easier for you to use the Web.

    Sice when do "easier to use" and "a pain in the ass" have the same meaning??
  • by Technician (215283) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @12:00PM (#70236)
    Microsoft just wants the hardware builders to build hardware and diddle with the code as needed to make the devices work better. They need to get the market from Palm any way possible. That is why any modified software for commercial use will require paying a Microsoft tax even if you re-wrote most of it yourself. It's to show the hardware developers, this is a neat modifiable OS that we can use in our new killer PDA. It's Marketshare and nothing more.
  • by very (241808)
    Sure, it will make a huge impact. Windows CE is so widely used that the source would make a different.
  • by samrolken (246301) <[samrolken] [at] []> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:57AM (#70251)
    You can come to church, but that doesn't mean that the blessing of the lord is with you, you know... just because they release the source code, it doesn't mean anything. It is just them trying to make it seem like they are dealing with competition (linux) so that the government doesn't get mad. Duh!
  • by V50 (248015) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @02:33PM (#70252) Journal

    I knew a nice Linux developer. Today he downloaded the Windows CE code to look at it. Between then and now he has been killed. He laughed himself to death. This is a BIG Microsoft conspiracy to kill and Macintosh and Linux developers. And what is left of the BeOS, OS/2, and Amiga developers. And finally all two of the AtheOS developers.

    Once they all have downloaded the source and laughed themselves to death,the only ones able to survive will be the Windows developers, as they already have to use Microsoft's joke of an OS. If this isn't anti-competitive than what is...


  • by The Vulture (248871) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @03:28PM (#70253) Homepage
    Windows CE 3.0 will not work on a Dreamcast without extensive porting for the hardware (i.e. the PowerVR chip (video), Yamaha AICA (sound)), which is why when Sega developers asked if Windows CE 3.0 would be made available for DC, MS said no. I worked at Sega (until I got laid off because of their new strategy, software publishing, which killed off the Dreamcast), and I couldn't even get the source code for Windows CE for Dreamcast 2.0 from Microsoft whenever developers had a complaint.

    And now for my personal ranting...

    Unfortunately, it seemed that Windows CE for Dreamcast was an afterthought - the documentation was horrible, to the point that some functions not available on the Dreamcast were listed, or some functions had completely incorrect information. And, oh, the bugs - the worst thing was finding the cause of the bug, only to have to tell the developers, "Sorry, you'll have to wait for the next bug-fix release". At least with the Sega libraries, I could recompile them myself when needed.

    After my experience with Windows CE, I certainly hope to not have to program in it again (or use any of MS' API's) - I found it rather messy and inelegant. For now I don't have to worry about it, since my current job has me doing embedded work using vxWorks.

    Wish this "Shared Source" abomination was around back when I needed it, I could have helped some third party Sega developers better.

    Actually, one question that I have... Does normal Windows CE come with DirectX, or does it use normal GDI stuff? For the Dreamcast, it came with DirectX 6.0, and a vast majority of the GDI stuff was removed by default (unless you used the integrated version of IE, then it included GDI components, to the best of my knowledge).

    -- Joe
  • A> MSDN is pretty much essensial if you want to develop under Windows, period.
    B> You can get large parts of MSDN if you install the Platform SDK, which is free.

    Two witches watched two watches.
  • We *know* that MSFT developers read/modified GPLed source code (their IPv6 & the GPL web server).
    No, that line of reasoning is way of course.
    As a matter of fact, *many* people copy UI from MS.
    When you do that, according to the above poster reasoning, you *steal* from MS.
    MS makes extensive usability studies, so it's pretty much certain that copying the interface will gives you at least some of the advantages that they got from their usability studies.
    MS never did anything about it. Now, they probably might be able to do something if it's a balatant rip off (Apple does it for much less, frex).
    But for code you wrote on your own? I seriously doubt it.

    Two witches watched two watches.
  • No, it isn't.
    You aren't forced to Share Source your own code.

    Two witches watched two watches.
  • Where did this twisted notion come from that one should not benefit from reading copyrighted or patented work? The whole point of copyright and patent law is to encourage people to share their creations so that other people can learn from them. What's going to be next? You'll forever have to pay licensing fees to a textbook author because they help you avoid making mistakes?

    Yes, contamination clauses are real. They are usually based on licensing agreements. They are sometimes enforceable, but when they are, they stand in contradiction to everything intellectual property law was meant to achieve.

  • There are no explicit contamination clauses in the license. I think it is wrong to assume automatically that published, copyrighted source code contaminates you. It would be best to check with a lawyer and settle this once and for all. If contamination exists from looking at WinCE3 sources, more people than Linux kernel hackers need to know about it, and it could be a PR problem for MS. If no contamination exists, then people should feel free to look at the code.
  • >a simple database query can establish whether "Yourname Lastname" had access to the Microsoft-owned code, which could result in legal problems down the road. Even if you never look at the downloaded code, the electronic trail will look like you did -- which is perhaps the most insidious aspect of this version of sharing.

    So maybe they plan to look through open souce apps, find code similar to what they release, claim it was stolen, and litigate? I think I'll not download this, but thanks anyway.
  • It'd be so hard to prove though. Programming, at least part of the time is recycling old ideas or code snippets. Even if someone isn't cutting and pasting, it's hard not to be influenced by other code.

    If I read the MSFT code today, and did an open source hack 1 year from now that used something similiar to what I saw in the MSFT code, could they really come after me?

    How the hell is anybody supposed to get any work done if they have to worry about stuff like this?

    I'm curious to see what MSFT code looks like. I actually expect it to be very high quality. I'm sure I could learn a few things by looking at it But I'd hate to pick up a really good idea and have to pay for it later.


  • There are TONS of good code!
    No reason to look at the devils code if I have to give my soul for it.
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @12:10PM (#70280) Homepage
    It's my understanding that Hotmail accounts are full-fledged Passport accounts. Hotmail accounts also required no real authentication, allowing any user (including myself) to set up some arbitrary ones with the name "Joe User" and the address "123 Anwhere Street".

    So how in the hell are they going to look up your name and trace your footprints regarding who downloads what, when all they really have (using reasonable security with cookies turned off) is your IP address? Sounds like a false alarm on the legal front to me.

    Do I intend to download the source? Absolutely. I'd love to see how they code embedded devices (which essentially have to be as tight code as you can get). Do I plan to use the source and redistribute it? No. Do I plan to think more about the more creative code and use highly-changed variations myself? Absolutely. There's only so many ways you can write cout I think I'm going to make it a habit to shoot down alarmists on Slashdot, because there seem to be a great number of them (including the editors).

"Love may fail, but courtesy will previal." -- A Kurt Vonnegut fan