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Microsoft's Mundie to Continue OSS Outreach 244

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the so-much-excitement-for-one-guy dept.
Techie writes "In an interview with eWeek Craig Mundie, Microsoft's new co-head-honcho and chief research and strategy officer, says he plans to continue to push the Redmond software titan forward with its goal of greater interoperability with software licensed under the GPL." From the article: "Even in Bill's own public remarks, he pointed out that he thought his iconic status and the way that was reported tended to overemphasize his role in the company's innovation and execution. This is really a transition that has been in the works for a couple of years, with a couple to go before, and we will see the emergence of a lot of great talent that has today been portrayed as all Bill. This is a company with, in many cases, the best people in the world. "
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Microsoft's Mundie to Continue OSS Outreach

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  • by AuMatar (183847) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:41PM (#15559543)
    Its a trap!
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:46PM (#15559553) Journal
      It sounds more like Emporer Palpatine trying to bring Anakin over to the darkside.
      • Bad analogy (Score:5, Funny)

        by donscarletti (569232) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:55PM (#15559716)
        The emporer had force powers that allowed him to control weak minds and shoot lightning from his fingertips. Microsoft has money and a bunch of software that works sorta, most of the time, in some ways, if you don't try to do something important with it. I guess they both have covert control over the senate, but if MS was designing the death star, the rebel alliance wouldn't have needed to fly through the exhaust tunnel, or hit a thermal vent the size of a "womp rat" because the reactor would have been put on the outside to remain compatible with deathstar 98 and to allow a certain class of star destroyer to dock that hadn't been used for ten years.
        • I thought IBM designed the DeathStar, to which I proudly own 2, one of which has data loss, but works.
          • I thought IBM designed the DeathStar, to which I proudly own 2, one of which has data loss, but works.

            Hm.. Aren't you thinking of AT&T?

            • Re:Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday June 19, 2006 @04:12AM (#15560468) Journal
              This is a company with, in many cases, the best people in the world.

              I don't know which is more disturbing. I mean, I use windows, I form an impression about the quality of its makers, and I think how scary it is, that good management can bring such a bunch of monkeys to world domination. Then I read something like this, and I think how scary would be if he was right, that bad management really can cause the best people in the world to produce something like windows.

              He can't be right, can he?
      • Good good. let the hate flow through you....
    • I think userfriendly [userfriendly.org] says it all.
      Two year transition? Come on. Am I the only one that thinks this means the moment they try to do things differently he's going to step right back in and send them packing?
  • by ClamIAm (926466) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:43PM (#15559545)
    So they want to extinguish their bad-guy image, and extend an embrace towards the GPL?

    Wait, maybe I have this backwards...
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:55PM (#15559569)
      I think they are realising that OSS isn't going away, each year it continues to get stronger and because of its structure they cannot aggressivly compete against it in a traditional sense.

      We are already seeing huge benefits of OSS and what it can achieve and I think Microsoft have realised if they are going to have any future in it they need to work with it to some extent.
      • by truthsearch (249536) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:08PM (#15559747) Homepage Journal
        From a quarterly report filed with the SEC by Microsoft on January 31, 2003 (emphasis mine):
        Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations...
        Challenges to the Company's Business Model. Since its inception, the Company's business model has been based upon customers agreeing to pay a fee to license software developed and distributed by Microsoft. Under this commercial software development ("CSD") model, software developers bear the costs of converting original ideas into software products through investments in research and development, offsetting these costs with the revenues received from the distribution of their products. The Company believes that the CSD model has had substantial benefits for users of software, allowing them to rely on the expertise of the Company and other software developers that have powerful incentives to develop innovative software that is useful, reliable and compatible with other software and hardware. In recent years, there has been a growing challenge to the CSD model, often referred to as the Open Source movement... The popularization of the Open Source movement continues to pose a significant challenge to the Company's business model, including recent efforts by proponents of the Open Source model to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of Open Source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent the Open Source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the Company's products may decline, the Company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline.


        Three and a half years later and they're just starting to figure out what to do about it. They've known for a long time OSS would be significant competition. So far the only thing they've proven is they have no idea what to do about it.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:46PM (#15559554) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft executives have recently said they are committed to a greater outreach to the open source community and to make Windows software interoperable with that licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Is that a priority of yours and something you plan to move further forward?

    I have been one of the principle people architecting the way we are going to step up to this bigger question around interoperability, and that will certainly be a focus of mine going forward, along with Bob Muglia.

    Isn't interoperability more a question of standards compliance than licensing? Or did eWeek's question pertain more to 'general interaction', as if Redmond needs to be more aware of the existence of, say, Ogg.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:00PM (#15559583) Homepage
      Yeah, Maybe if they want to interoperate better with OSS they should implement CSS 2, or transparent PNGs. Or maybe use ODF in their next word processor. Or fix their broken Kerberos implementation. There's a million things they could do to make it easier for their software to interoperate with GPLd softwaree. Maybe they should release some specs to their API, file formats, and network protocols so that OSS programmers don't have to guess how things are done, or reverse engineer them.
      • What, exactly, is wrong with their Kerberos implementation? I have generally found that it isn't that hard to interop with it.

        OTOH, you have a lot of areas where you have serious defiencies, but these are getting worked out. IDMU now ships with proper LDAP schemas for LDAP user/group lookups via ActiveDirectory, and once open source directory servers become better at internal DS tasks (as opposed to massive web apps), then I will expect pressure to interop there as well.

        I have little faith in Microsoft, b
        • by aaronl (43811) on Monday June 19, 2006 @08:02AM (#15560798) Homepage
          A quick web search would've revealed that MS required vendor fields for authorization. They did not document these fields initially, so you would've had to reverse engineer their implementation. Eventually, MS published most of the details, but did so under a very restrictive license that didn't allow a "competitor" to use them. That means you still would have to reverse engineer those fields.

          You can authenticate without the undefined extension, but cannot be authorized to specific resources offered by Windows machines. So it isn't hard for you to authorize *to* a MS Kerberos implementation, but you cannot authorize Windows against anyone else's implementation. You're missing group membership information and the NT ID without using the proprietary MS extensions.

          This is a company that choose to ignore the Kerberos V5 spec, which was altered specifically to help them, they lied to the Kerberos developers about following the spec, lied about splitting authorization functionality, and lied about a non-NT version of the domain controller services. They attempted to undermine all existing Kerberos installations by breaking compatibility, and requiring people to run the MS version of the Kerberos protocol to have it work properly with Windows.

          IOW, standard procedure for MS: they took the established Kerberos spec, added proprietary extensions to it, and made it not work properly without using those extensions, while ensuring that those extensions are only available under Windows with MS software.
    • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:06PM (#15559597)
      Looks it's a computer journal. The job of a computer journal is not to ask hard hitting questions. It's to suck up to your advertisers and to make sure you get their press releases published as articles and to generally act as their publicity agents.

      If Ms wants to play nice all they have to do is the publish some specs. NTFS, SMB, Active Directory, Office file formats etc. I mean full disclosure. They could also remove the DRM from their file formats which prevents open office from even attempting to open their files.

      Ask yourself this question. Is a company which makes sure that the sample files it ships with office can only be opened up with MS office serious about playing nice? I don't think so. NOTE TO SHILLS: The previous statement has nothing to with the capability, the files are locked and refuse to be opened by open office.

      Anyway this is Mundie we are talking about. If he doesn't lie a dozen times by lunch he feels quesy.
      • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @11:15PM (#15559869) Homepage
        Looks it's a computer journal. The job of a computer journal is not to ask hard hitting questions. It's to suck up to your advertisers and to make sure you get their press releases published as articles and to generally act as their publicity agents.

        I hear this all the time, and I've come to the resignation that it's just a fact of life that people want to think this way, but frankly it's bullshit.

        I am a senior editor at InfoWorld. [infoworld.com] I can tell you unequivocably that the editorial staff at InfoWorld is not in the business of sucking up to advertisers; indeed, we are not involved in the business of procuring advertisements in any way. Any reputable publication has a "church and state" policy with regard to sales and editorial. InfoWorld does, and I have no reason to believe our distinguished competition at eWeek is any different. (Of course, they're not as good at their jobs as we are, but they're not crooks.)

        At InfoWorld we are also not in the business of repurposing press releases, nor do we accept any so-called bylined articles contributed by vendors. Any "advertorial" is clearly marked as such -- it's the rules.

        Editorial staff at computer journals do nurture relationships with major technology vendors but that's because it's necessary to what we do -- which is report on IT. We may not print answers to the "hard-hitting questions" as often as you might like. In many cases, however, the reason you don't see answers to those questions in print is because the person we ask refuses to answer them.

        You don't have to believe me, of course. But come on -- do I walk around saying programmers don't do anything but eat Cheet-Os, drink Mountain Dew, and add bugs to software?

        • Mod parent up. As succinct a description of good tech journalism as I've read, although I'm an IDG-syndicated columnist and have been for the last ten years so I'm just biased as well :)
        • by Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) on Monday June 19, 2006 @01:37AM (#15560185) Homepage
          Not answering your question, but taking the opportunity to talk to an InfoWorld editor.... :-).

          As someone who makes their living creating interoperable software with Microsoft Windows, I have to say that even with the appointment of Bill Hilf (who is a very nice guy personally) and the Port25 crowd in Microsoft's interoperability lab I haven't seen much of a difference in Microsoft's attitude to OSS and interoperability. That is, they *hate* it :-). Currently they're on a big publicity push to explain to customers (who usually don't understand much of the technical details) how interested they are in interoperability with OSS software, but it's a really hard problem etc. etc. The problem is it's not actually a hard problem, they just need to document the proprietary way they do things. There are few (if any) proprietary protocols on the OSS/Linux side of things.

          Interoperability with Microsoft is actually quite easy from their side, as they're the ones who create the difficulties. If Microsoft wanted to promote interop they'd fully document the specs that the EU is asking for in the anti-trust case. A sea change from Microsoft will come if you see them actually comply with the EU judgement. Until they do they can talk up interop until they're blue in the face but they're not actually doing anything about it.

          I've sat down with Microsoft execs and tried to explain they need to see GPL software as an opportunity, not a threat. They need to try and work out how to make money with it. IBM has figured this out (so have Red Hat and others). The problem is Microsoft make too much money on their current business model (a monopoly, charging monopoly rent) in order for them to easily change.

          It's a problem for them, in many ways I do sympathise....

          Jeremy Allison,
          Samba Team.
        • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:04AM (#15560250) Homepage
          Any reputable publication has a "church and state" policy with regard to sales and editorial.

          Hmm - let's see. So you're saying that Microsoft, IBM, Forrester, Gartner, and BEA repeat things to you over and over again until you believe them (white papers and PR / church services), then you attempt to convert others to your beliefs (editorial articles / laws, evangelism, and public proclamations)?

          haha only serious.

          Editorial staff at computer journals do nurture relationships with major technology vendors but that's because it's necessary to what we do -- which is report on IT.

          Treat with extreme skepticism any politician who hasn't been in the situation in question, or any editorialist who doesn't build what he writes about. Common sense has only a moderate track record in general, and is miserable in relatively new scientific fields like information science. While it is true that tech magazines attempt - perhaps even go to great lengths - to know and profess truth, how well can one understand a fish while standing on dry land? How well when most of the information one receives comes from commercial fishermen?

          It makes me think of Dick Cheney's views on homosexuality. It is incredible how far personal experience can go.

          Do I trust you to report what you hear with relative accuracy? Sure. Do I trust that what you hear will be from unbiased sources? It is to laugh. Do you have your own experience against which to measure what you hear? Not for the most part (Joel Spolsky and Paul Graham notwithstanding). Then do I trust that what you report will reflect the truth? Should I?

          Information science is science. Not fashion. It is not about what Coco Chanelle or Bill Gates proclaims to be true. It is about what scientists discover to be true. Give me Communications of The ACM and Consumer Reports, not PC Magazine and Popular Science (except when I'm trying to impress the boss - then give me CIO magazine, haha).
          • Hmm - let's see. So you're saying that Microsoft, IBM, Forrester, Gartner, and BEA repeat things to you over and over again until you believe them (white papers and PR / church services), then you attempt to convert others to your beliefs (editorial articles / laws, evangelism, and public proclamations)? haha only serious.

            Now you're talking about a different topic. The grandparent was saying that computer journals write what they write because they need to woo advertisers. I'm saying that's false; that

        • I don't read infoworld so I can't speak for your magazine but I have never once, ever, in decades of reading computer magazine read any so called journalist ask a hard question to a MS executive. If they do ask a question that's even mildly challenging then the marketdroid gets to spew pure lies and bullshit for a couple of paragraphs without any kind of a challenge.

          How many times Bill Gates and his staff lied to your magazine? Have you ever confronted any of them about it? If you have then I will subscrib
        • We may not print answers to the "hard-hitting questions" as often as you might like. In many cases, however, the reason you don't see answers to those questions in print is because the person we ask refuses to answer them.

          why it so rare to see something like "he refused to answer these questions :" ?
          that might make the responder mad at you, but what's the point from journalistics that ask only the easy questions ?

          there are a lot of good questions to ask about interoperability to them, especially about inter

    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:10PM (#15559607)
      Ok here's a tip I got from my karate instructor, when someone's spoiling for a fight and are clearly about to start flailing, ask them a question, something dumb, irrelevant and obscure. When they take their eyes off you to think about it (and yup, people do exactly that when they're thinking, one of the reasons mobile phones are so dangerous in cars) you kick them in the balls and run for it.

      The moral is watch what people do, don't listen to what they say.

      The guys at the top of companies are all politicians, they tell you what you want to hear while continuing as always.
       
      • by dj245 (732906) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:02PM (#15559733) Homepage

        Ok here's a tip I got from my karate instructor, when someone's spoiling for a fight and are clearly about to start flailing, ask them a question, something dumb, irrelevant and obscure. When they take their eyes off you to think about it (and yup, people do exactly that when they're thinking, one of the reasons mobile phones are so dangerous in cars) you kick them in the balls and run for it.

        All that leadup in your story and you didn't give us a good question? I was severely disappointed.
        "What is the weight of an unladen swallow?" If they ask african or european, just fight them, they're a wimp.
      • Argh!

        When they take their eyes off you to think about it (and yup, people do exactly that when they're thinking, one of the reasons mobile phones are so dangerous in cars)

        This would prove that radio talk shows cause accidents, that radio quiz shows cause accidents and that advertising causes accidents. For that matter, trying to figure out the nuance in the song you're listening to would cause accidents.

        If you can't drive and talk on your cell phone, don't do it. But I've seen a lot of people who can't dr

    • by zzatz (965857) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:24PM (#15559645)
      "Isn't interoperability more a question of standards compliance than licensing?"

      Standards often include patented features. Most standards bodies require a minimum of RAND licensing. RAND is not sufficient to allow GPL implementations, however. Microsoft has a history of crafting licenses and patent grants that preclude GPL implementations.

      The benefit of open standards comes from opening up competition, by removing standards compliance from control by a sole source. In the current market, Microsoft can crush any competitor that uses the same business model as Microsoft, so 'standards' that may only be used by similar commercial enities don't offer real competition. Only Free software, supported by a business model that can't be crushed by Microsoft, has shown a serious threat to Microsoft's domination. Yes, Apple, Sun, and others have had an impact, but they are vulnerable to changes in management direction. Sun may have saved Java from Microsoft, but they could turn around and sell it to Microsoft. I don't expect that to happen, but it's possible.

      Interoperability with standards isn't enough. The standards need to be open, too. There's a lot of professional PR doublespeak about what 'open standard' means, but I rely on one test: can someone write a GPL implementation that complies with the patent licenses?
    • The key phrase is "interoperable with software which uses the GPL", sounds like maybe a compatibility layer for using Linux stuff to me (will have to name it LINE or something I guess). So they can say, you can run your Kontact or whatever (insert Linux only software title here) on Windows, there's no need to deal with sound or video driver hell...

      Or maybe MS certified VPC for Linux, that would make "Windows Software interoperable" with GPL stuff.

      They really isn't any mention about "documents", "media"

    • Why would anyone in the open source community trust Microsoft [com.com]?

      Trust needs to be earned, and Microsoft's action have shown that they are not worthy.

  • Don't trust Mundie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2006 @08:52PM (#15559563)
    Don't trust anything Mundie says about F/OSS any farther than you can spit. Just a short time ago, Mundie was Microsoft's anti-open-source poster child. [zdnet.com] Now he's pulling an olive branch out of his ass. Either he's lying through his teeth, or he's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    Microsoft's sins are legion. They have a hell of a lot of work to do before they should expect anyone with a brain larger than a peanut to trust them.
    • Or you know, maybe he changed his mind. Not everyone who has strong opinions is irrational.
      • So what happened? Did God speak to him last night and pointed out the error of his ways? Exactly how does one change such fundamentally held beliefs in such a short time anyway?

        I think occams razor applies here. He has lied dozens of times in the press already. What's more likely? he is lieing now or he has truly changed his mind and now wants to make sure all MS products can work with GPLed software.

        Let's take a vote.
        • Maybe someone just showed him some numbers that demonstrated that opposing OSS would cause MS to lose money in the long run. Also, I fail to see what a vote has to do with the truth; if popular opinion did reflect the truth science would be much simpler. Special relativity? Let's take a vote.
          • "Also, I fail to see what a vote has to do with the truth; if popular opinion did reflect the truth science would be much simpler. Special relativity? Let's take a vote."

            YOu missed my point entirely. The vote was not on what is the truth, it's was what is more likely.

            Is it more likely that...

            1) Mundie is lieing?
            2) MS has changed their tune and wants to play nice with GPL?

            My bet is on 2.
            • What is likely has nothing to do with opinion either. (If we all think that a die will land on a 6 it is no more likely to than if we all thought it would land on a five.) The problem with your argument is that no matter what MS does you will not be convinced that they are playing nice with the GPL, and thus it is not falsifiable, and hence not rational.
              • "he problem with your argument is that no matter what MS does you will not be convinced that they are playing nice with the GPL, and thus it is not falsifiable, and hence not rational."

                Right. I won't and I am guessing most people won't either. Since we all lack the ability to read his mind we have to guess at which if the possibilites are more likely. Perhaps you have some special skill which allows you to read his mind and know for sure that he has changed his mind and is now sincerely interested in playi
            • I am reminded (once again) of the recurring theme in Peanuts where Lucy holds the ball for Charlie brown to kick it.

              how many times do you need to fall flat on your ass before you learn?

    • When refering to pulling something out of somebody's ass, stick with immaterial things like ideas, numbers, statistics and such

      Posts about people pulling material things out of their asses, such as olive branches, baseball bats, cars, factories, bridges, PR representatives and lawyers have the nasty effect on some of of us of, even if only for a second, making our imagination conjure images worse than goatse ...

      Please don't.
  • I am neither a programmer nor a lawyer, so there may be some nuances I'm missing, but here's how I see it.

    - FLOSS reveals everything there is to know about how it operates and interoperates.

    - Microsoft reveals as little as possible about how it operates and interoperates.

    - Microsoft has a high-profile, highly-paid person trying to figure out how to make the two work together. So far, this appears to be quite a challenge for them.

    Unless I've missed something crucial, Microsoft will never fix this problem to everyone's solution. The problem isn't in their software. The problem is in their business model. But they can never admit that, so they'll go on trying to figure out which size wrench to use to hammer the light bulb into the socket.

    • Edit: "...to everyone's satisfaction,..."

      And I did use the Preview button!
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:49PM (#15559709) Homepage Journal
      That's exactly right. It's more than just a problem in their business model, though. As others have pointed out it's also a problem of mindset and perception. They've had a very long-standing mentality in their management that promotes disconnectedness. They need to change a lot more than their business model. Their management needs to fundamentally think differently about their software.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:00PM (#15559586) Homepage Journal
    IBM was the Microsoft of it's time and now it's a darling of geeks everywhere. All companies eventually have to learn to transition from being an entity that makes standards to merely contributing to them. Microsoft will learn this lesson albeit the hard way but they will learn.

    Then in the future we can adjust our ire towards future threats like Apple for closing Darwin off to development and Google who is probably amassing more power than any one company should.
    • by rm69990 (885744) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:28PM (#15559656)
      How is Apple closing off Darwin any more of a "threat" than Microsoft never opening Windows in the first place? You're being ridiculous.

      How is Google amassing so much power....by launching a bunch of free services that next to no one actually use? I'd be far more scared of a company like Yahoo!, which has far more data about its customers than Google will have in the next 5 years. Yahoo! offers the full range of portal services, and unlike Google, people actually use these portal services. Portal services can amass far more data than search records ever could. Gmail is far behind Yahoo! Mail in terms of users, as is Google Finance, Picasa Web, Google Calendar, Froogle, Google Maps, Google Talk, etc. Despite having better technology (IMHO), Google is an also-ran in the portal market.

      With a Calendar service, for instance, the Calendar provider could potentially view your entire life schedule and what you do in your time and use that for advertising purposes. With a Mail service, they have access to your communications. With the majority of people using google.com, they have access to search records attributed to a random IP address, and they have absolutely no way of actually tracing that IP address to a person without a court order, which they simply would not get.

      Wow, Google has like so much data about like the 5 million people worldwide that actually have accounts on Google.com! Oh, and they can trace your IP ADDRESS!!!! *shivers* (/sarcasm)

      Oh, wait, I'm on Slashdot, conspiracy theories and fearing all companies that make more than $10 million a year in profit is the norm here. Carry on then!

      (disclaimer: I use services from both Yahoo! and Google, depending on the service, and also MSN Messenger. I have no problem doing so, because I'm not paranoid of everything that exists to make money)
      • Google makes some people concerned (not me personally, mind you, but some people), because they are getting increasingly good at correlating apparently unrelated or distantly related data. Yahoo may have more user data that's an obvious risk, info that's at least roughly like a SSN or pay voucher in that some potential abuses are obvious, but Google shows some real ability at taking lots of normally innocuous data, i.e. the equivalent of shoe size and brand of pet food, and getting something unexpected from
    • Good point. Centralisation of power did neither the USSR nor ancient China nor IBM any good, and Microsoft is growing into a monolith large enough to suffer from to similar problems, problems that have their origin in the difficulty of internal communications -- e.g. not the type of mail, but the sheer bulk of it. By the time any catastrophe has made it through all the layers of frightened functionaries, the only message from within your own Empire that survives is refined into "All is well with the Empir
      • The USSR took a thirld world country and turned it into a super power beating america in the race into space. Ancient China has one of the oldest still existing cultures and IBM is one of the oldest IT companies and still is an absoluut powerhouse that you would be foolish to ignore. Ask SCO.

        By your logic Microsoft will beat NASA to mars, be around for 5000 years and then still be at the top of its business. Well that should teach them.

  • This [microsoft.com] Craig [slashdot.org] Mundie [zdnet.com]? What a joke. So is he a hypocrite or a liar?

    In a related announcement, Microsoft announced that Raynard D. Fox will be their new Executive Vice-President for Henhouse Security.

  • With one caveat ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:17PM (#15559622)
    This is a company with, in many cases, the best people in the world.

    The best people that money can buy, certainly ... maybe not so many now that Google is on the scene. The problem with Microsoft is how little the use of that talent translates into actual products. One has to wonder if the reason that Microsoft keeps so much highly-paid intellect on staff is more a matter of keeping those brains away from the competition (or from becoming competition) than for developing new products. They've used that principle in their lobbying efforts in Washington: hire everybody who's anybody and make sure that nobody else can have them. A Microsoft spokesperson once called that "sucking the air out of Washington."
  • It's often been noted that MS overall tends to follow on the innovation of others. Netscape's early dominance as a browser is the most often pointed to example.

    It's not unlikely that MS has been waiting for F/OSS to die only to watch it grow stronger. MS may now see F/OSS as something it must embrace, (images of a giant anaconda). Bill Gate's impending retirement as chief architect may in part be a way to remove himself (perhaps Ballmer will follow) as a way to distance MS from his and Ballmer's past attack

  • by argoff (142580) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:30PM (#15559660)
    I tell you what. If MS puts their patents on the table and removes their support of SCO and copyright liability, then I'll consider talking. Until then, forget it, actions speak louder than words.
  • by m874t232 (973431) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:33PM (#15559667)
    I'm not sure what all this "outreach" is supposed to be about. FOSS licensed software is there for all to use, including Microsoft. FOSS developers are making enormous efforts to accomodate Microsoft already, to interoperate with Microsoft software, and even to reverse engineer Microsoft's protocols.

    If Microsoft wants even more cooperation from FOSS developers, all they have to do is dedicate patents in areas like FAT, .NET, and SMB to the public domain (so that people can create interoperable implementations without nagging legal questions), and document and stabilize formats and protocols like those used by SMB, Exchange, Office, Sharepoint, and others.

    So, open source is already doing all it can do under the limits that Microsoft itself is setting for open source. If they want open source to support Microsoft products even better, it's in their hands.
  • They don't get it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:36PM (#15559675)
    Microsoft declared _war_ on Linux, the GPL and anything else that threatens their hegemony. And we're just supposed to smile and say thank you when they want to "increase interoperability" between Windows and Linux? After all the bullshit they've pulled? This is a war, and if Microsoft wins, we're screwed with DRM, formats that change year after year, and more monopoly tactics that wipe out budding technology like Ballmer steps on an ant. There's a reason why Penguinistas don't like Microsoft and it's because we've seen what happens to Microsoft "partners." It's like watching people get tossed in a tank of sharks and then being asked if I'd like to go for a swim in the new pool.

    Craig Mundie is an ass.

    Hey Craig, how come I can't get Word Perfect for Linux anymore?

    --
    BMO
    • "There's a reason why Penguinistas don't like Microsoft"

      I believe you meant to say trust.

      And no, I know many (even those "devoted" to Microsoft products) that do not trust them. Any further than they could bribe Bill himself. They're history (as a company) has proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy. There's really very little they could do anymore to garnish my personal interest. Yeah, I'm one of those still (grudgingly/happily?) using Win2K -- and very thankful that I'm not caught up in the
  • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @09:56PM (#15559717) Journal
    Several techniques to waste your time

    1. Speculating WHY / WHETHER REALLY Microsoft is suddenly cosying up to Open Source and GPL.
    2. Speculating WHY Vista is getting delayed.
    3. Speculating WHY DNF is getting delayed.
    4. Speculating WHETHER Gates really stepped DOWN ... FROM Chairman TO Chairman.
    5. Speculating WHETHER Ballmer might get promoted to Chair-Man.
    6. Profit! (Note... this list is always Profitable for Microsoft - not you. One last time... Misrosoft is not a philanthropic organisation - Gates might be one individually. MS is answerable to it's shareholders, and it's only motive is MONEY, not shipping Vista, developing a better Office, kicking Gates, or rewarding Ballmer.
    7. If we want to spend your time PROFITably, I guess we can simply skip such articles, and start using REAL open source apps, or writing more code under the GPL.

    Such articles are a real waste of time, IMHO.
    1. They ignore you
    2. They laugh at you
    3. They fight you
    4. They try to accomodate you you are here!
    5. You win?
  • For a long time, we've had the evidence that their code has deficiencies.... glaring ones. The closed source model bites for numerous reasons, including masking the quality (or lack thereof) in code, algorithms, and so on.

    What if MS coders across the world did F/OSS code? Is that competition for all of the coders that can lay claim to kernel trees before 2.2 in Linux? Or those that can do a conditional compile for another processor/platform other than Intel/AMD/Via?

    What if those coders were actually good? O
  • Tipping point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:21PM (#15559781) Journal
    Microsoft is on the horns of dilemma.


    When Linux was only a tiny or isolated part of the OS market, it's was to MS's advantage to do everything they could not to recognize, support, or interoperate with it.

    But as Linux reaches a significant size, MS's lack of interoperability becomes a liability. People start not bothering buying Windows licenses because it doesn't work well with their favourite OS (e.g., read and write common file formats), despite the fact that Windows may have functionality they would like to access.

    As Windows begins its descent from dominance, it will be forced to start "playing well with others".

    This prediction is worth everything you paid for it.

  • I love the responses to this article. No matter what they do everyone hates MS. If they had announced that they weren't going to be compatible with OSS eveyone would have, justly, been accusing them of being evil. However instead MS has agreed to at least interoperate with OSS, and yet everyone still accuses them of being evil (not in general mind you, evil on this specific issue, i.e. They are going to corrupt the standard!). This indicates the many people's opinions about MS are not based on the facts
  • by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Sunday June 18, 2006 @11:28PM (#15559888)
    With some groups, I'm willing to extend trust. MS, however, has a track record. They will need to PROVE that they are trustworthy before I will trust them. Even then it will be an iffy kind of thing for a decade or so.

    But proof comes first.

    1) Stop campaigning for closed standards. This is the first step towards earning trust.
    2) Stop attempting to corrupt existing standards. This can be done simultaneous with 1.
    3) Stop spreading FUD. If you continue to act like an enemy, there's no way I'll be willing to trust you.

    Those steps are negative, but essential. Until those conditions are met there is no possible positive action that I would trust.

    4) Do something positive. There are lots of options here, but if a government forces you to it, then it doesn't count as a positive action from you. Merely neutral (at best).
    Possible examples of positive actions are:
    1) Pushing an open standard, and adopting it in your own programs.
    2) Opening the file format specifications beyond what the EU is demanding. (Alternatively, creating a new Open file format specification and adopting it...but this is 1 again.)
    3) Releasing a version of MSWind that doesn't automatically remove the ability of other OSs on the same drive to boot. (Yeah, Linux isn't so good about this either. SuSE seems to do this, but most distros presume that they are the grand PooBah *AND* the Lord High Executioner wrapped into one bundle.)
    4) Other. (I said there were lots of choices. There's really too many to enumerate.)

    But proof comes before belief.
  • This is a company with, in many cases, the best people in the world. "

    Yeah - right around the time when Monkeys come Flying Out Of My Butt.

    OK- I can grant that the best people in the world work there. But they sure aren't doing the programming. proof?

    1. Vista
    2. MS Word
    3. IE
    4. fill in the blank: _____________

    MS makes horrible software, a nasty OS, Arf. Please, God, make it go away.

    RS

  • by grotgrot (451123) on Monday June 19, 2006 @12:10AM (#15559964)
    Microsoft executives have recently said they are committed to a greater outreach to the open source community and to make Windows software interoperable with that licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

    A nice start would be allowing redistribution of MSVCP71.DLL and MSVCR71.DLL as part of GPL applications? Python 2.4 switched to a newer Microsoft compiler and requires these DLLs on machines. Microsoft provides free compilers - see http://wiki.python.org/moin/Building_Python_with_t he_free_MS_C_Toolkit [python.org] However the C libraries that the compilers use can only be redistributed under terms that preclude GPL licensed software, although some debate the interpretation.

    Consequently that means that people who have GPL licensed Python apps can't move to Python 2.4 or newer because of Microsoft's licensing.

  • Isn't this they guy who said Linux was the resurgence of communism? As if what they SAY about "working with the GPL" has any relevance to reality. None of their past actions show this to be anything more than lip service. IMO.

    LoB
  • Evil Microsoft agrees with many others though...

    In the latest bit of news we once again find our villain, Microsoft, but this time they are not trying to destroy the world, but instead are joining the fight alongside many on the good side of Open Source.

    Ok, drama aside, there is a fundamental issue here that should be revisited, and that is the restrictions of some of the rules of what we call Open Source and the definitions we abide by.

    The GPL has flaws, and as much as we would all like to protest, these f
    • by expro (597113)

      Look for any Microsoft license on serious new open source technology to be more restrictive and viral, not less, than the GPL.

      There is a lot of silliness like this post claiming that Microsoft would somehow be more open to open source if only the GPL were not so viral.

      The fact is, Microsoft would be far less inclined to release code that could be trivially redeployed against them by rivals using licenses less-viral than GPL.

      The only situation where having a less viral license helps them is when their riv

  • by TehBeer (860440)
    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1978009,00.as p [eweek.com]

    Microsoft executives have recently said they are committed to a greater outreach to the open source community and to make Windows software interoperable with that licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Is that a priority of yours and something you plan to move further forward?

    I have been one of the principle people architecting the way we are going to step up to this bigger question around interoperability, and that will certainly be a focus

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