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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals 471

Posted by Zonk
from the internals-are-eternal dept.
SJasperson writes "In a move that will be good for Redmond but may have consequences for the rest of us, Microsoft has acquired Winternals and Sysinternals. This gives them well-known developers Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell as well as dozens of well-loved and much-praised utilities, both commercial and freeware. Though Mark says on his blog that the Sysinternals site will remain 'for the time being,' this would be a good time to download the latest version of essential Windows tools like Process Explorer before they can go mysteriously missing or be locked up behind the wall of Windows Genuine Advantage."
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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals

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  • by caffeinatedOnline (926067) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:22PM (#15737343) Homepage
    Noooooooooooooooo!!!! WHY, God, WHY!?!
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:23PM (#15737349) Homepage
    After months of ripping out what's not important, Windows Vista is finally getting a heart and a brain. Alas, no courage is yet available.
    • New features of Vista.

        - improved task manager.
        - ability to actually kill processes.
        - new debug utilities.

      woohoo! At least they can release it with something new, besides the graphic card eating Aero.

      (New Aero on Vista - how can nothing costs like something?)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#15737375)
    Q. What are you announcing?

    Resistance is futile.

    Q. How does this acquisition affect Winternals' customers?

    Cost is going up, delivery is going to suck.

    Q. Will you continue selling Winternals' portfolio of products?

    There is no such thing anymore.

    Q. Why is it a good thing for Winternals' customers?

    These aren't the droids you're looking for.

    Q. Will I still receive technical support and if so for how long?

    How long can you tread water?

    Q. Why is Microsoft acquiring Winternals and Sysinternals?

    To assimilate.

    Q. What exactly is a Technical Fellow?

    Microsoft Bob.

    Q. How many Technical Fellows are there at Microsoft?

    There can be only one.

    Q. My Product Assurance Contract with Winternals on Administrator's Pak (or other tool) is about to expire (or has just expired). Can I still renew it?

    You're new around here, aren't you?

    Q. What were the terms? How much did Microsoft pay for Winternals? Was it a cash or stock deal?

    A few spare souls that have not been allocated yet.

  • Someone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eighen Indemnis (893363) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#15737376) Homepage
    Make a torrent of the latest tools STAT!
    • Re:Someone (Score:3, Informative)

      by baadger (764884)
      I'm downloading all 92 zip files now (with URLToys), thats all the tools and all the versions, when i'm done i'll rar them up and put a torrent somewhere ;-) I suppose I best check if we are allowed to redistribute the tools before I do so, I don't fancy any wrath from Microsoft.
    • by teeker (623861) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:57PM (#15739572)
      I just took a peek at the EULA.TXT included in a fresh download (PsTools .zip file) vs. a copy that came with the same download a couple months ago (file dated Jan 11 2006), and it's *completely* changed. The new version is a "free for personal use only" sorta thing whereas the previous EULA was free for all uses short of infringment and void of warranty. Have to see how well those EULAs hold up. IANAL of course, but it looks to me like if you're a sysadmin at a commercial entity, you can't use their previously-free tools for free any more. Pretty sad. Somebody please tell me I'm reading it wrong....
      • EULA: for comparison (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mitchell Mebane (594797) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @06:41PM (#15740114) Homepage Journal
        For comparison, here are the EULAs from two versions of Process Explorer. The new one is far more restrictive, and over *10 times* as long.

        Process Explorer 10.11 (old version):
        This software is provided "as is" and use of the software is at your own risk. Sysinternals disclaims any and all warranties, whether express, implied or statutory, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement of third-party rights. Sysinternals does not warrant that the software is free of defects.

        You are allowed to use software published by Sysinternals at home or at work without paying a commercial license fee provided that you downloaded the software yourself directly from Sysinternals, and:

        * Use the software on computers for which you are the primary user; or
        * Use the software on computers for which there is no primary user
        (e.g. servers, including Terminal Servers) and you are a full-time
        employee of the company that owns the computer; or
        * Use the software on computers within your residence

        A commercial license is required to use the software in any way not covered above, including for example:

        * Redistributing the software in any manner, including by computer
        media, a file server, an email attachment, etc.
        * Embedding the software in or linking it to another program
        * Use of the software for technical support on customer computers

        Sales of commercial licenses support Sysinternals product development and assure that this Web site continues to offer valuable, up-to-date tools. Established software companies redistribute these utilities and incorporate the code into their products because this offers the potential to save significant development time. Sysinternals commercial licenses are priced according to the complexity of the licensed code and its role in the target application. If you are interested in licensing Sysinternals tools or source code for redistribution or for inclusion with or as part of a software product, please contact licensing@sysinternals.com.

        10.2 (new version):
        Sysinternals - Information on Terms of Use

        ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS.
        The services that Sysinternals provides to you are subject to the following Terms of Use ("TOU"). Sysinternals reserves the right to update the TOU at any time without notice to you. The most current version of the TOU can be reviewed by clicking on the "Terms of Use" hypertext link located at the bottom of our Web pages.

        DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES.
        Sysinternals provides you with access to a variety of resources, including utilities, download areas, communication forums and information (collectively "Services"). The Services, including any updates, enhancements, and/or new features are subject to the TOU.

        PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE LIMITATION.
        Unless otherwise specified, the Services are for your personal and non-commercial use. You may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information, software, products or services obtained from the Services.

        PRIVACY AND PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION.
        See the Privacy Statement disclosures relating to the collection and use of your information.

        NOTICE SPECIFIC TO SOFTWARE AVAILABLE ON THIS WEB SITE.
        Any software that is made available to download from the Services ("Software") is the copyrighted work of Sysinternals and/or its suppliers. Use of the Software is governed by the terms of the end user license agreement, if any, which accompanies or is included with the Software ("License Agreement"). The Software is made available
        • I took a peek at the new Rootkit Revealer. README.TXT dated 22 Feb 2005, 825 bytes is replaced with EULA.TXT dated 18 July 2006 at 10:22AM and 19,974 bytes. Content changes are similar to the others posted.
  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyber_rigger (527103) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#15737380) Homepage Journal
    The (near) monopoly maker of flat tires buys out all of the patch companies.
  • by guruevi (827432) <(eb.ebucgnikoms) (ta) (ive)> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:26PM (#15737391) Homepage
    Before it gets slashdotted:

    Q. What are you announcing?
    A. Winternals and Sysinternals have been acquired by Microsoft. Winternals is a leading provider of systems recovery tools for Windows-based enterprises worldwide and Sysinternals is one of the leading community and enthusiast sites for people interested in information about the internals of the Windows operating system.

    Q. How does this acquisition affect Winternals' customers?
    A. Microsoft will stop and kill everything as soon as all legal, hardcopy contracts are over

    Q. Will you continue selling Winternals' portfolio of products?
    A. No, it will get integrated halfly into Windows 2006 though.

    Q. Why is it a good thing for Winternals' customers?
    A. It is a good thing because now they can't spend any money anymore on stupid tools and they can finally switch to Linux

    Q. Will I still receive technical support and if so for how long?
    A. Winternals will continue to provide technical support for the current term of your Product Assurance Contract.

    Q. Why is Microsoft acquiring Winternals and Sysinternals?
    A. Extend, embrace and extuingish.

    Q. What exactly is a Technical Fellow?
    A. The guy that will come install Linux on your servers

    Q. How many Technical Fellows are there at Microsoft?
    A. A lot, they are undercover penguins.

    Q. My Product Assurance Contract with Winternals on Administrator's Pak (or other tool) is about to expire (or has just expired). Can I still renew it?
    A. No, there are no plans for renewal.

    Q. What were the terms? How much did Microsoft pay for Winternals? Was it a cash or stock deal?
    A. Microsoft threatened with a lawsuit over some of the programs.
  • Oh Boo Hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robpoe (578975) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:28PM (#15737413)
    I love their tools too, but why the commotion?

    Good for them. Now they get fat paychecks, good bonuses, and they work for the empire.

    And I'd bet that if MSFT offered you $$$$ for whatever you were making, and a fat paycheck with good bonuses - you'd be a fool to not take it...
    • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:2, Interesting)

      Because now the tools won't support Win2000 anymore? No one is saying its bad for the companies involved, just bad for the users.
    • Two of my concerns - all the great tools will disappear, and he won't right so much on his great blog, where he goes into great details with the problems of windows. He probably wouldn't have been able to speak out about Sony, if he is working for Microsoft (Microsoft would liable? - see the recent IBM lawsuit in the UK)
    • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jimmy King (828214)
      When was the last time you saw a small, quality, company being bought out by a large company be good for anyone other than the large company? It's rarely good for the employees of the smaller company, who get a nice, big, paycheck, but frequently end up hating their job and ultimately quitting or being fired. It's even more rarely good for the users of the product when corporate ethics and ideals start being applied to their software which was previously being written and overseen by someone who truly car
    • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:4, Interesting)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:00PM (#15737715) Homepage Journal
      I used to get a fat paycheck and great bonuses. Now I make less money and no longer touch Microsoft software. I'm much much happier. Money isn't everything.
      • by westlake (615356)
        I used to get a fat paycheck and great bonuses. Now I make less money and no longer touch Microsoft software. I'm much much happier. Money isn't everything.

        Still living the single life, I see.

        • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

          by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:07PM (#15739613)
          Would your wife and children prefer that you be miserable and making more money? I hope to god not. Your misery will rain on them every day when you come home all pissed off or distracted.

          People can live on less money you know. Lots of people with wives and kids manage to live on salaries you would consider insulting.
    • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:01PM (#15737732)
      Of course failure is not tolerated...

      Admiral Cogswell: Lord Ballmer, the company has moved out of hyperspace and we are preparing too...unk...ack...cough

      Lord Ballmer: You and your cogs have failed me for the last time Admiral....Captain Russinovich!

      Captain Russinovich: Yes, Lord Ballmer.

      Admiral Cogswell: hack....cough

      Lord Ballmer: Make ready to deploy our programs beyond their firewall and deploy the company so that nobody can switch OS...you are in command now Admiral Russinovich.

      Admiral Cogswell: THUNK!

      Captain Russinovich: Thank you, Lord Ballmer.

    • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aeoo (568706)
      I disagree. You'd be a fool to take Microsoft's offer if you run a successful independent company. I bet Mark and others made enough money as is. Past a certain point, getting a pay raise in exchange for sacrificing your ethics is not really worth it. I say "really", but arguably it's never worth it.

      This is hypothetical, but imagine you make 100k a year (after taxes) as an independent software company owner (this also means you can live in lush and cheap areas, keeping most of that money in your pocket)
  • Interoperability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Elektroschock (659467) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:37PM (#15737506)
    This has to be seen in the context of anti-interoperability action of Microsoft and orders from the competition authorities e.g. in the European Union. Still Microsoft fails to comply with the documentation orders of the European Union.

    Now Microsoft takes over tools which enable interoperability with its plattform and puts them under their licensing control. What we will see next is a restrictive Microsoft EULA for it which discourages use for reengineering or interoperability for Ms competitors etc.

    Worth to file a complaint at the responsible EU competition consumer liason office [europa.eu].
  • by rickkas7 (983760) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:39PM (#15737524)
    Does anyone else find it a little funny that Microsoft bought out Winternals to get Mark Russinovich? According to a Microsoft employee [com.com], "Mark is one of the top five or 10 people in the world when it comes to Windows internals." I'd believe that, but isn't it just a little funny that Microsoft had to go to a 3rd party company to find an expert in the internals of Windows?
    • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:52PM (#15737655)
      No, it's not funny at all. Why would someone who spent time understanding something have to work for the company that made it? On top of that, few people at Microsoft would ever have to work with so many of the different parts of Windows to be able to be considered an expert in the internals of Windows. There are probably a tonne of people in MS that know a hell of a lot more about their part then he does, but have little to do with other parts.
    • They want to halt all the tech calls, gray hair and suicides caused by this. [sysinternals.com]
    • Microsoft had to find someone that knows how to document their APIs so that the EU will be appeased.

  • by SloppyElvis (450156) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:42PM (#15737548)
    Some of Mark's blog entries in the past have cited shortcomings and oversights in Windows systems and he has often provided utilities to get around/address them. Now that Mark is a Microsoft employee, will such criticism be forthcoming, or silenced?

    Mark's investigations into Windows workings have been very informational and useful over the years. Now that he'll be under NDA and non-compete...
  • the reason (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The reason for the acquisition is obvious. The programmers at Microsoft were constantly complaining about not knowing what processes were running on their machine, or the need for a utility to defrag their pagefile, etc. Most software development shops would develop the necessary tools. Microsoft, not having a clue what's actually going on in their OS, decided to purchase the company that made these tools...
  • by Lazarian (906722) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:45PM (#15737581)
    I've found Process Explorer and Registry Explorer to be great tools to help find out exactly what's going on in a Windows box, and they're great for tracking down malware. They're a hell of a lot more useful than the ctrl-alt-del dialog box in XP.

    I'm sure with Vista coming out soon that Redmond would love to obfuscate or disappear these utilities that would help let people know what Vista is really doing under the hood.

  • by rnbc (174939)
    Yet another proof that Microsoft can't behave like a normal market player. They fear even those working for them. They feel the need to control everything under the sun.
    • by justasecond (789358) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:19PM (#15738390)
      How is this insightful?

      When Google hired Guido van Rossum (Python head-honcho), there were no "Google is hiring this guy only to NDA valuable information from the rest of us" comments. Everybody understood that Google merely found a bright guy doing something related to their business (Google uses Python on a massive scale) and snapped him up. But when MICROSOFT hires a coupla guys who seem to be doing something cool with Windows, we get dumb comments like "Yet another proof that Microsoft can't behave like a normal market player".

      Look, I hate Microsoft as much as the next geek (*more*, probably, as I've been stuck developing exclusively on PCs since DOS 2.1), and I'm sure SysInternals will soon disappear, but comments like "they feel the need to control everything under the sun" just don't add anything to the discussion.
      • There's a big difference though. Guido is allowed - nay, encouraged - to spend half of his work time at Google improving Python, an language from which anyone can benefit thanks to its license. Microsoft on the other hand have a long track record of buying up threats. Off the top of my head I remember a company called Coopers and Peters who had developed an Office clone in Java in 1997, a pretty incredible piece of work. Microsoft bought them and that was the last we heard of that.

        Maybe it's just me being c
  • by slapout (93640)
    I was having a good week until I read that.
  • Anyone know of a single .zip that includes all the sysinternals downloadable programs? I started to download a few and realized it would take me hours clicking to each page.
  • Good news, bad news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meburke (736645) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:07PM (#15737777)
    I've followed Mark's advice and used some of his utilities for years. I will be forever grateful for the things I learned by analyzing the source code to some of the utilities. I think Mark is entitled to cash in on his effort, but I'm not very optimistic about the quality of stuff that will come from Winternals from now on. Mark (and Winternals) was independent and worked at an independent pace, which is going to degrade now that there are layers of bureaucracy added.

    On the other hand, the Winternals utilities represent about 10% (IMO) of the utilities needed to really analyze and fix Windows when it malfunctions. I'm too old to do this myself, but maybe a group of ambitious analysts could step up and continue the good work. Even more important, maybe a good group of analysts could develop a methodology for analyzing the OS and then point the way toward needed utilities.

    I'm actually feeling a little grief over the demise of Winternals as an independent company.
  • by soldack (48581) <soldacker&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:17PM (#15737850) Homepage
    Check out http://www.osronline.com/ [osronline.com] . They have some similar utilities and are the place to go for windows device driver questions and debug. They are the folks that finally fixed much of the DDK documenation . I still have the mugs they gave away for finding doc errors.
    By the way, I highly recommend their classes. I have taken a bunch of them and I am pretty sure that these folks know windows internals better than any other organization...maybe even MS.
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info.devinmoore@com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:20PM (#15737872) Homepage Journal
    http://www.winternals.com/products/repairandrecove ry/locksmith.asp [winternals.com]

    what a surprise... Microsoft takes down the locksmith. Anyone have it for me?
    Thanks
    • You don't need it. Get Hiren's Boot CD, which (among many other things) has a linux tool that resets NT passwords. (It's supposed to be able to set them, and not just zero them, but that didn't work last time I tried - which was many versions ago.) I think you can get the tool by itself on a floppy or two. Hiren's has copyrighted software on it, so you may have interest in finding the utility by itself.
  • by crazygamer (952019) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:03PM (#15738252)
    Google aquires former Microsoft developers Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell
  • need a new icon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @07:25PM (#15740321) Journal
    Bill Gates is no longer with Microsoft. Besides, Ballmer looks more like Locutus already.
  • by Fëanáro (130986) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @09:49PM (#15740883)
    Regarding the tools from SysInternals:
    Some old downloads do not seem to contain any EULA at all (just a readme.txt with some general disclaimers)

    more recent downloads (february 2006) contain a short and easily understandable EULA.

    All zip files I just downloaded from sysinternals have a change date of 18.7.2006 17:53 GMT+1 (yesterday) and contain a changed and much longer EULA, that also mentions that sysinternals is a part of microsoft now

    Old EULA:

    This software is provided "as is" and use of the software is at your own risk. Sysinternals disclaims any and all warranties, whether express, implied or statutory, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement of third-party rights. Sysinternals does not warrant that the software is free of defects.

    You are allowed to use software published by Sysinternals at home or at work without paying a commercial license fee provided that you downloaded the software yourself directly from Sysinternals, and:

    * Use the software on computers for which you are the primary user; or
    * Use the software on computers for which there is no primary user
    (e.g. servers, including Terminal Servers) and you are a full-time
    employee of the company that owns the computer; or
    * Use the software on computers within your residence

    A commercial license is required to use the software in any way not covered above, including for example:

    * Redistributing the software in any manner, including by computer
    media, a file server, an email attachment, etc.
    * Embedding the software in or linking it to another program
    * Use of the software for technical support on customer computers

    Sales of commercial licenses support Sysinternals product development and assure that this Web site continues to offer valuable, up-to-date tools. Established software companies redistribute these utilities and incorporate the code into their products because this offers the potential to save significant development time. Sysinternals commercial licenses are priced according to the complexity of the licensed code and its role in the target application. If you are interested in licensing Sysinternals tools or source code for redistribution or for inclusion with or as part of a software product, please contact licensing@sysinternals.com.

    NEW EULA:

    HEREIN. SYSINTERNALS AND/OR ITS RESPECTIVE SUPPLIERS MAY MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AND/OR CHANGES IN THE PRODUCT(S) AND/OR THE PROGRAM(S) DESCRIBED HEREIN AT ANY TIME.

    NOTICES REGARDING SOFTWARE, DOCUMENTS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE ON THIS WEB SITE.
    IN NO EVENT SHALL SYSINTERNALS AND/OR ITS RESPECTIVE SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF SOFTWARE, DOCUMENTS, PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, OR INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM THE SERVICES.

    MEMBER ACCOUNT, PASSWORD, AND SECURITY.
    If any of the Services requires you to open an account, you must complete the registration process by providing us with current, complete and accurate information as prompted by the applicable registration form. You also will choose a password and a user name. You are entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your password and account. Furthermore, you are entirely responsible for any and all activities that occur under your account. You agree to notify Sysinternals immediately of any unauthorized use of your a

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