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Windows CE 6 Arrives Complete with Kernel Source 169

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has launched the sixth edition of their embedded OS Windows CE and this time has included the full source. From the article: 'Developers can now access shared source code for the Windows CE kernel -- as well as certain device drivers and application-level components -- directly from within the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 distribution package. To do this, they click on a function in the IDE that installs the shared source, and indicate their acceptance of the associated shared source license.'"
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Windows CE 6 Arrives Complete with Kernel Source

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  • With the Zune being a PocketPC device with a nice facelift, and some propriatary software running... will this help the hardware modding/hacking community to make some very cool other uses for the Zune hardware?

    or am I just being optimistic, because I'm gonna buy one anyway?
    • by Thai-Pan (414112)
      Zune is not PocketPC based.

      Windows CE 5 also had the source code available, I wonder why in the world this made headline news..
      • by Ucklak (755284)
        Windows CE 5 also had the source code available, I wonder why in the world this made headline news..

        Because everything Microsoft re-brands, re-issues, re-hashes gets headline news. It keeps mindshare alive and investors happy.

        I hear that Vista Professional will include a text editor too. It was know as notepad in Windows 3.x
        I also heard that MS chat will have video. It's been available since Netmeeting had it in 1996. Netmeeting 3.0 was by far the best video/desktop/whiteboard sharing at the time. They
    • You get the **kernel source**. That's not much in a micro-kernel OS. You probably won't be getting all the source to device drivers, device driver manager, gwes,...

      You get to see it, but you most likely are not allowed to ship modified versions of it.

      The Windows Mobile licesnce is very likely more restrictive than the WinCE6 license. That is, while you might get WinCE 6 source, don't expect to get as much source for Windows Mobile. Also, don't expect to ba allowed to ship modified source in a WM device eith

    • This is kernel source, which will be the same for every CE6 device. The interesting bits would be the drivers and they would be in a devices BSP. I'm pretty sure MS won't be releasing the BSP for the Zune. For that very reason.

    • Zune is a rebranded Toshiba Gigabeat, not a PocketPC.
      • It's still running WindowsMobile, I believe. Specifically, the Portable Media Center flavor.
        http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/help/portab lemediacenter/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

        The current version of Portable Media Center is PMC 2.x, which Toshiba Gigabeat uses. According to the Zune blogs, Zune doesn't run PMC 2.x, it runs it's own thing, but I assume that Windows Mobile is used underneath, particularly the kernel.

        BTW, Zune isn't a "rebranded Toshiba Gigabeat", though one could say that it's derived from it. Zu
    • by hxnwix (652290)
      As any WinCE developer should be able to tell you, Windows Mobile has a lot of stuff that plain WinCE does not. Windows Mobile = WinCE + a different shell + piles and piles of other stuff. With WinCE 6, at least the mobile version will be based off the same underlying CE kernel - Windows Mobile 5 is actually based on WinCE 5.01 and while WinCE 5.00 is available, for no good reason WinCE 5.01 is not to anyone, anywhere, for any reason, at all, in any way shape or form and never, ever ever ever ever will be
  • Wait... what??
  • A Trend, I'm Sure (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mordors9 (665662) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:39PM (#16677759)
    I'm sure that M$ will be releasing the source code to Vista soon, showing this face of openness is a new corporate stance.
    • I'm sure that M$ will be releasing the source code to Vista soon, showing this face of openness is a new corporate stance.


      That's good because our stance as their customers had us grabbing our ankles, and our arms were starting to fall asleep.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dch24 (904899)
      Yeah, I think this is pretty easy to understand (heh, heh, heh). For instance, click on the link in the article [windowsfordevices.com] that explains what "Shared Source" means. Then read this:

      Background information

      Understanding Microsoft's new, simplified Shared Source licenses -- Oct. 19, 2005 -- a description of the newly released shared source licenses, including sections on the Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL) Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL), Microsoft Community License (Ms-CL), Microsoft Community License (Ms-CL)

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      Between this and Microsoft's announced cooperation with Zend, I'm wondering if perhaps Steve got hit by one of his chairs...
    • While MS doesn't GPL their code, it is not the tightly held secret that some people seem to think. Many organizations, mostly universities and governments but some companies too, have the Windows source. There are plenty of restrictions on it's use, but you can have a look at it and not have to sign a non-compete or anything.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      Customer source licenses at least let the developer do detailed debugging, which is invaluable for embedded hardware programming.

      It might make people a little more comfortable with the "closed" aspect of Microsoft being the only maintainer. As sole maintainers, they're taking responsibility for the security, reliability, and scalability of the implementation(s). They get paid rather well for the job, don't they?

    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      I'm sure that M$ will be releasing the source code to Vista soon, showing this face of openness is a new corporate stance.

      Don't be so quick. Notice the massive differences in deployment of Windows CE versus the NT series. Windows isn't opening the source for the public to see, instead, they ship the source to those parties who license it for their devices.

      This is not applicable to desktop machines (I don't think HP or Dell for example would need the source of Vista for ex.).

      Of course what they did is commen
  • by Churla (936633) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:39PM (#16677769)
    in 3...2... 1...
    • by Pseudonym (62607)
      Once the shield is down, our cruisers will create a perimeter, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.

      That is the quote you meant, right?

  • Did hell just freeze over? Microsoft releasing their source? Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that SCO went under!
    • You can find the source for much of the CE operating system (although, up until now, non-kernal) in most MSDN Universal kits over the last 10 years. This is just an extension of a division that has a history of bucking Microsoft Standard Operating Procedures and programming.
    • You forget that the "Shared Source Initiative" is a whole different ballgame than either the GPL or BSD/WTFPL/Public Domain. Though I haven't read the actual contract, I'm guessing you will probably be able to look at the source, but you're forbidden to post it online, or even discuss it online with anybody, with any "unauthorized" people who haven't clicked "accept". Moreover any modifications you do have to be kept secret, or you can only tell about them to MS.. or some stuff along those lines. That remin
      • That reminds me it's funny how the linux kernel stuff can be openly discussed and viewed online, and modifications shared, even before clicking "accept" on the GPL.

        Allow me to reveal why this makes sense.

        The GPL isn't a EULA...it's the terms of redistribution of copyrighted material. There's no need to 'click' at all, ever. The GPL only comes into play when you wish to redistribute modified versions of GPL'd software. Then you must abide by the terms, because those are the terms that the author of the co

        • I guess that's a good analogy mimicking the GPL, because my first question would be why can't I just use the BSD/WTFPL/Public Domain license with these cookies, and shove them wherever I want them to, or give all of them away. But obviously mom wants to put some restrictions on their use, limiting my freedom, in a sense limiting my freedom to do nasty things, to do harm or self destruct, because she cares about me and also about the cookies she made. She wants me to eat at least some of them, or give them a
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:42PM (#16677851) Journal
    Multitasking enhancements -- CE 6.0 supports up to 32,000 processes with 2 GB of virtual memory per process, versus CE 5.0's maximum of 32 processes having a maximum of 32 MB virtual memory each
    That's a huge leap.

    What kind of portable or industrial machine is going to need those kinds of capabilities, much less have the onboard hardware to fully utilize 'em?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rbanffy (584143)
      The ones you buy a couple years from now.

      Writing this on a notebook that outpaces the US$ 100K workstation of a couple years back.
    • by 0racle (667029)
      A really big one.
    • by Bandman (86149)
      yadda yadda 640k of ram yadda yadda

      We have 4 and 8 GB flash chips the size of my thumbnail.

      We'll have pocket pcs with 2 GB of ram soon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``CE 6.0 supports up to 32,000 processes with 2 GB of virtual memory per process, versus CE 5.0's maximum of 32 processes having a maximum of 32 MB virtual memory each
      That's a huge leap.

      What kind of portable or industrial machine is going to need those kinds of capabilities, much less have the onboard hardware to fully utilize 'em?''

      At any rate, 32 processes and 32 MB per process clearly doesn't cut it anymore. It's about time they lifted those limitations.
      • by dmccarty (152630)
        No one is going to use 32K processes. Most people are just interested in process #'s 33 - 40 that everyone was having to write services for instead. (In CE a service doesn't take up a process slot.)
    • by zlogic (892404)
      Better support 2+ Gb than crash on 33 megs (with the 32 meg limit).
      Remember, 640k is enough for anyone ;-)
    • Huge leap? The 32->32,000 part was probably something like changing

      #define MAX_PROCESSES 32

      to

      #define MAX_PROCESSES 32768
      • by GroovBird (209391) *
        Actually, it is not.

        In Windows CE (prior to 6.0, at least), the process identity also meant the exact place in addressing space that the process was placed. Think about it: 32 processes at 32MB per process max, means a total needed address range of 1GB.

        Check this out: http://www.addlogic.se/articles/articles/windows-c e-6-memory-architecture.html [addlogic.se]
        • Ugh! It's weird how even in the early days PDAs have had hardware that outclasses workstations from the days of yore and yet MS saw fit only to manage the memory like a PDA was some kind of toy machine. Still, I won't criticise too loudly, PalmOS is even worse.
          • by GroovBird (209391) *
            Well,

            I suppose that was the tradeoff for having an OS that ran on industrial PC's as well as poor old StrongARM embedded hardware. Working on such an embedded project, I must say I've never come across this 32MB per process limit, or the 32 processes limit. I suppose that in many cases, since WindowsCE is used mostly on OEM solutions, the application software can be designed to meet this limitation.

            Talking about PalmOS, I personally think that they had a better concept than the PocketPC OS. On the Palm, onc
    • by Tim C (15259)
      32,000 is the largest number representable in 15 bits, give or take; similarly, 2GB is the largest space addressable using a 31 bit number. I doubt that's entirely coincidental.
    • by hxnwix (652290)
      It's what they should have done in the first place. Rather than just slimming down their binaries for an environment with less RAM, MS originally envisioned CE as some sort of bizarre AMIGA-esque environment where processes go in 'slots'. Additionally, they looked at palm and decided to give the slots an extremely small max memory limitation, because, THEY REINVENTED SEGMENTED MEMORY! Yay! On platforms that universally natively have flat 32-bit memory. Oh wait, WTF? Yeah, Microsoft sure slotted someth
    • 64,000 GB ought to be enough for anyone?
       
  • Wow ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sonic McTails (700139) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:43PM (#16677865)
    Damn, I've been interested in Windows CE for ages, and I always wanted to pick the bugger apart, but I never had $3,000 dollars for the platform builder. For those you don't know, 90% percent of Windows CE code (I think its everything expect Windows Media Player and Pocket Internet Explorer) and only charges small royalities (I think it's $6 dollars) per device, and you can do things like port it to a new platform if you wish (assuming you had the required compiler).

    I realize this isn't open source persay, but I'm very interested in it, and I wonder why they decided to open the CE kernel up. I also wonder if there is enough code to flash CE 6 onto a CE 5 device (I have a T-Mobile MDA with Windows CE 5, I wonder if I can simply drop the new kernel in there).
    • by mnmn (145599)
      I'm still a little stuck on Wince 4 because it can handle ARM7TDMI. The other two require an MMU and generally require ARM9 (except one BSP).

      With an ARM9 and that much memory, thats a full standard Linux or BSD distro.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``you can do things like port it to a new platform if you wish (assuming you had the required compiler).'' ...and the license allows you to.

      ``I realize this isn't open source persay, but I'm very interested in it, and I wonder why they decided to open the CE kernel up.''

      To reduce the competitive advantage of open source operating systems?
    • Used to be you'd get copies of the Platform Builder for less than the $3000 with an MSDN Universal subscription- admitedly not much less, but less (last I looked, MSDN Universal was around $2500).

      As for why they're opening it up, I think the answer would be obvious- they want it to be ported to more than ARM compatible platforms, and don't want to have to pay for the development to do so.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        As for why they're opening it up, I think the answer would be obvious- they want it to be ported to more than ARM compatible platforms, and don't want to have to pay for the development to do so.

        Last I looked they supported MIPS and SuperH as well, but that might have been a long time ago. I know some prior-generation PDAs used these.

        I think there's another reason: Linux is chewing up a big part of the embedded market and we're now seeing it on phones and even PDAs. Microsoft's customers have probabl

    • It's "per se", not "persay". I tell you this, not to be a grammar Nazi, but to spare you future embarassment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dmccarty (152630)
      I see the moderators are giving points to anyone with a keyboard these days...

      A few minor corrections:
      - Platform Builder doesn't cost $3,000. It costs $995. And that's after a 120-day free eval.
      - PB used to be its own toolchain and IDE. Now it's been integrated into VS2005. (I'm not sure how MS plans on doing the eval, though my beta was good for 180 days.)
      - WinCE core licenses (no Pocket IE, no Media Player) are about $3. Upgrading to Professional (including both IE and WMP) bump it up to about $13.
  • by xtal (49134) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:02PM (#16678253)
    We do a lot of embedded linux projects - mainly custom boards, done around some sort of ARM chip with standard connectivity - LCD, ethernet, or wireless options.

    My company invested a lot of time in implementing and setting up our own toolchain and utilities, support libraries etc around the linux kernel. What we end up with is a redistributable result with no liscencing whatsoever.

    Of course, it requires you be able to work to produce a flash image and toolchain. Once that pain is dealt with..and there is pain, a lot of it on a custom board.. then you're free to do whatever you want.

    x1000's, people count pennies, and WinCE is not pennies.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Little or no advantage over embedded linux''

      Well, it's from _Microsoft_ and it's called _Windows_, so it's obviously the best and the user-friendliest and what everybody runs and has the best hardware support and all that.

      Beat that, Lunix!
    • by turgid (580780)

      We do a lot of embedded linux projects - mainly custom boards, done around some sort of ARM chip with standard connectivity - LCD, ethernet, or wireless options.

      NetBSD [netbsd.org] is also extensively used in similar situations, so it goes.

    • If you'd like to hear a very well-spoken argument to explain how unique the GNU/Linux system is in the market for small portable computers, listen to Eben Moglen's talk from the 2006 FSF Associate Member meeting [fsf.org] in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This talk was a hit in its own right and a highlight of the day's events. This talk is called "The Hardware Wars and the future of free software". Other talks from the meeting are online as well [fsf.org].

      While it's a shame that the entire OS isn't free software, I would love

  • by linuxg0d (913436)
    Hmmm...

    This must mean Windows CE has some flaws their developpers can't figure out. ;) Who better than the Open Source community?

  • Anyone care to give me a quick summary of what the "shared source" license means in this case? MS has never used particularly liberal licenses.
    • Re:License details? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:14PM (#16678547) Journal
      I'm not sure which of their three shared source licenses it's released under, but it should be one or more (sometimes they dual-license stuff, as with the Windows Template Library) of the three listed here [microsoft.com]. I think the article just called them "shared source" so I can't tell from that one anyway.
  • by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:08PM (#16678387) Journal
    !(I'm sure this will help make Diebold machines much more secure.)
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``!(I'm sure this will help make Diebold machines much more secure.)''

      I doubt they run CE. MS Access doesn't work on CE, does it?
  • Thanks! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:10PM (#16678443) Journal
    Seriously, I'm sure this may not be under exactly a GPL license but rather a MS derivative. Nevertheless it can prove very useful for a large number of embedded device developers. Heck, I've been more impressed by developing for their late Windows CE operating systems than doing the same for Windows XP. :-P Windows CE 6 seem to be an OS that can truly do a heck of a lot of things for the hardware it's running on, and I'll be damned if it isn't a more impressive craftmanship than Vista...
    • by ebuck (585470)
      Typically Micosoft's shared source means that they can share the source code with you, but you can't modify it and redistribute or share it with anyone else. Most of the time it won't compile properly or will fail to operate after compilation due to not knowing what compiler flags to set and / or not having a compiler that will understand and handle any non-standard syntax that's been "injected" into the language.

      I don't know if that's the case here, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.
  • I hope they'll have a license agreement form like the form they had [utwente.nl] for their driver DDK a cooupe of years ago. ;-)

    (No image editor was used to create this image. They just forgot to set the read-only flag for that form. :-D)
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:03PM (#16679459)
    At this point in time there have been a number of projects from microsoft that have released their sources under some license or another. Some of them have been true open source licenses, and remarkably those have been hosted on sourceforge along with all the other oss stuff. I'll list the few I know about here and maybe others can mention a few.

    Wix:
    A toolset for building installer packages on windows. Supposedly one of the better ones.
    license: cpl
    http://wix.sourceforge.net/index.html [sourceforge.net]

    WTL:
    An extension to the ATL. Probably the best toolkit for developing win32 guis in c++ (lightweight and powerful). It's hampered by the fact that documentation for it is scatered around the net (mostly on the code project) and so mostly people usually end up learning about it by reading through the largely uncommented source.
    license: cpl (alternately available under a different, maybe equiavent license if downloaded from microsofts site)
    http://wtl.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    Rotor:
    A cross platform implementation of the .NET runtime developed by microsoft. Runs on windows and BSD I believe, and has been ported to linux by third parties. I don't believe it includes the .NET framework, and is more designed as a reference implementation of "how to get .NET working on other platforms" than anything else.
    License: shared source
    http://research.microsoft.com/programs/europe/roto r/ [microsoft.com]

    Windows CE:
    Mentioned in article. I think they release it under this license for custimization and debuggin purposes.
    License: shared source
    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/Li censing/WindowsCE.mspx [microsoft.com]

    Licenses:
    So far microsoft seems to use the shared source license and the CPL license.

    The shared source license is relatively restrictive, and generally leaves microsoft with most of the power over issues of reditribution and use of source. Shared source seems to be largely used to distribute code for educational, debugging, and customization uses.

    The CPL is a full blown open source/free software license that was actually written by IBM and I believe is the license that eclipse is distributed under (only under a different name). Community projects like Wix and WTL are being handled under this license.

    My impression from talking to microsoft guys and from working there briefly is that the antipathy felt towards linux and open source is not particularly pervasive in the company. I've met a few people who had negative misconceptions about open source, but whatever the average slashdotter might think microsoft tends to hire smart people who are aware of industry trends and best practices including oss.
  • I'm pretty sure the source for WinCE has always been included with the platform builder. It's kind of necessary for getting it to run on obscure embedded hardware.
  • I looked into the CE 6 offer this morning just like any other embedded Developer/Engineer should. This announcement is clearly aimed at the clueless PHBs/Middle Manager types.

    1) You need to have a passport account to even download the CE 6 evaluation kit.
    2) You need to purchase the Microsoft YOU_NEED_AN_ARMY_OF_LAWYERS_TO_READ_AND_SIGN_THIS_ LICENSE (TM) License Agreement.
    3) From what I understand, when you finally get authorized to see the source, you can only look. You can't touch/modify/customize it for
    • by dkleinsc (563838)
      YOU_NEED_AN_ARMY_OF_LAWYERS_TO_READ_AND_SIGN_THIS_ LICENSE (TM)

      This license is perfectly simple to understand: Microsoft grants you the right to bend over and spread your cheeks, while you give Microsoft the right to ... I'm sure you can figure out the rest.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kjart (941720)

        Wow, you both seem to be trolling. The Microsoft Shared Source Licenses [microsoft.com] are actually quite simple to read and easy to understand. The GPL is actually far more complex, imho.

        • by NullProg (70833)
          Wow, you both seem to be trolling. The Microsoft Shared Source Licenses are actually quite simple to read and easy to understand. The GPL is actually far more complex, imho.

          IMHO, your opinion is lacking. By calling me a TROLL, serves no purpose. You didn't read the article or reseach anything before your non-sense post.

          GPL = you can use for free,ship for free, and cannot change without giving changes back.
          I can benchmark and publish results. Its a pretty simple license.


          In order to explain what CE 6.0 OS a
  • They had to do it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458)

    I recently worked in a shop which did development in both WinCE and Linux. The source code has been available for WinCE for quite a while, under NDA.

    Truth be told, they had to open the source code. The Linux group consistently delivered features before the WinCE guys. The problem was that anyone hired for WinCE development had a substantial ramp up time, whereas we could hire engineers who already knew Linux.

    The open source nature of Linux allowed us to hire engineers already proficient in writing

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dmccarty (152630)
      What you say about hiring is really true, at least in the Midwest. CE developers are h-a-r-d to find. Maybe they're all on the left and right coasts.

      While I don't really disagree with you about Linux/CE, I'll present the same story but from a different standpoint. We use 3 main OSes for development: Linux, VxWorks and WinCE. The other day we received a code drop for a Linux wireless client from a major vendor everyone has heard of. It was a piece of crap. That's great that it was open source, but it w
      • by JohnFluxx (413620)
        I don't get the comparison. Do you pay MS for that level of support? Couldn't you pay the linux company for that support as well?

        It seems the story is about how crap support you got from the linux company compared to MS, rather than any open/closed source issue.
      • So why didn't you hold the vendor accountable for the poor quality? You seemed to expect Microsoft to fix its bugs, why didn't you expect the same service from vendor X?

        While MS certainly did respond quickly, they always had the option of ignoring you. Fortunately for you, they paid attention to your problem. I'll bet that a lot of other people were also experiencing the same problem.

        However, what do you do when you find yourself with a problem that you can't reliably reproduce, or one that the ve

        • by dmccarty (152630)
          For starters, let me just say that I don't expect a very unbiased view from someone whose username is gillbates.

          Now that that's out of the way...

          Saying that "source code gives *you* options" is a nice aphorism, but in real life scenarios I don't think it means that much. Sure, we have the option of hiring any number of Linux/wireless engineers to fix Vendor X's (VX) bugs. Why would we want to do that when we're pushing VX* to fix their own bugs?!

          VX has had a team of half a dozen engineers or so working on
    • "Windows on the desktop already has something Linux doesn't: inertia."

      That explains why it makes such a great doorstop... :-)

  • You are tainted for life and your career as a programmer lies in the hands of microsoft.
  • Windows CE 6.0 has an open source kernel, but there is a catch, Catch-22, which means when you agree to the CE 6.0 Kernel license, you are giving up a lot of your rights to Microsoft plus fees to even look at the CE 6.0 Kernel.

    On the other hand, the ReactOS [reactos.org] Kernel and entire OS is open source, and I'd much rather see people try to convert ReactOS 0.30 to Windows CE devices and develop drivers for it. No Catch-22 there, but it is free as in speech not as in beer, still it is free to download and look and wor
    • Oh by the way, I did research Linux for the iPaq once and there was a risk of turning it into a brick, so I opted not to go that route. Has that changed and there is no longer a risk of turning the iPaq into a brick?

      The iPaq with a SD card was playing MP3s before the iPod was invented. There was even a Compact Flash HD card with 1G or 2G of a small hard drive from IBM for the iPaq before the original iPod. Windows CE was playing MP3s before the iPod was even invented. I had forgotten about that because I wo
      • by treke (62626)
        Well, there's always a slight chance of turning the iPAQ into a brick, but for most devices it's an extremely small chance if you follow the directions. The problem is that people tend to not follow directions.
        • Apparently even following the directions can lead to a possible risk of turning the iPaq into a brick.

          Besides I found out the battery is dead and won't hold a charge with the recharge, and it only works in the cradle yet needs a full battery charge to synch up with Windows to even attempt a Linux install. I am on disability and cannot afford a new battery yet.
  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:45PM (#16681355) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: The opening up of Windows CE's kernel source code is likely to make Windows CE more attractive as an alternative to Linux in many embedded applications and devices that require substantial customization of the OS, or where source code availability has been mandated by the development team. Additionally, Microsoft touts the terms of its BSD-like shared source license as being preferred by many device and equipment manufacturers that don't want to be compelled to make their OS customizations public and available to their competitors.

    On the other hand, following a long to an older article, I read: In terms of impact to Microsoft's Windows CE Shared Source and Shared Platforms initiatives, Windows Embedded product manager Nic Sagez told WindowsForDevices.com that these programs are not migrating to the new licenses any time soon. However, Sagez did not rule out the possibility of a longer term change, based on customer feedback and market requirements.

    Back to TFA: For the first time, Microsoft is making 100 percent of the source code of the Windows CE kernel available as part of the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 operating system package, to everyone who gets the OS package.... but nowhere does it explain just which of the many licenses described in the earlier article [windowsfordevices.com] is actually being used. It seems disingenuous to "touts the terms of its BSD-like shared source license" if the license it's using isn't BSD-like... and, clearly, it's not:

    Developers and companies are permitted to use the evaluation version to begin their projects, and need not pay anything to Microsoft until the time limit expires, after which a non-evaluation version is available for $995 -- or when they begin to ship product that requires run-time royalties, Microsoft says.

    Run-time royalties? BSD-like license? Please!
    • by cbhacking (979169)
      Except for the restrictions regarding legal action, the Ms-PL (Permissive License) [microsoft.com] seems sort of BSDL [opensource.org]-like. You're allowed to edit the source, you're allowed to redistribute it, and you're even allowed to close it (redistribute it sans source). You're not allowed to take credit for the original version and the software is licensed "as-is".

      IANAL but I think the main difference between the Ms-PL and the BSDL is the Ms-PL term 3B:

      If you bring a patent claim against any contributor over patents that you claim

      • by argent (18001)
        Except for the restrictions regarding legal action, the Ms-PL (Permissive License) seems sort of BSDL-like.

        The point isn't "does MS have a BSD-like license".

        The point is "if they're going to tout their BSD-like license when talking about Windows CE, they bloody well better be using that license for Windows CE".

        Because they're obviously not. Which one are they using? Do you know?
  • This could be a big boon for development of Linux ports to these handheld platforms. The hassles of figuring out how to access certan bits of hardware, could be greatly mitigated through the information in these sources. Of course, great care would have to be taken to avoid contamination and legal issues, but I think it's manageable. I'm a bit concerned that it talks about the kernel and "certain device drivers," though.
  • By reading this EULA, You, also known as User, also known as Screwed agree to the following terms and conditions:

    I. By reading the code contained herein User agrees to give up their First Born Child. If User is also Slashdot poster and will never conceive said Child, the User agrees to remit a pound of flesh from a location of Microsoft's choosing.
    II. If User has recently purchased a computer running Linus or OS X, user shall be required to set said computer on fire before reading the code. See Sony Bat
  • by hamsterboy (218246) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @12:12AM (#16684433)
    I worked on products using CE 4.2 and 5.0, and we had the source then. Most of it's there, just not some deep kernel internals (like the scheduler). The SS license is a bit restrictive, but hey: whatyagonnado.

    I think they're lowering the cost for everyone. It turns out that most companies that are making a CE product want the source. MS didn't charge for it (well, the CE licenses were pretty expensive to begin with), and it was just costing everybody lawyer-hours.

    -- Hamster
  • Microsoft are merely following a bandwagon. They won't jump on it, however, until they can be sure of overpowering the driver.

    Back in the 19th century there was much heated debate over whether AC or DC would be better for power distribution. DC had all the big money behind it, but AC had the Laws of Nature behind it. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that most of what we know today about electronics, would never have been discovered if we were still trying to distribute DC power.

    Edison and hi
  • So is this the beginning of an open-source Microsoft operating system kernel, atop which a new (.NET powered, perhaps?) Window manager will run? Did Wired have it right all along [wired.com] -- except the core will be OpenWinCE instead of Linux?

    Hey -- if Apple fanatics are right, then MS will do something to further imitate Mac OS X, and OpenWinCE under Avalon 2.0 (et al) and dropping all backward compatibility makes more sense than Torvalds taking over the kernel team in Redmond.

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