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Will Microsoft Open Windows Source Code? (No!) 571

mTor writes, " is reporting in this story that Microsoft is willing to open the source to Windows to settle its case with government. " Personally I think this would be pretty sweet. It'd definitely be a boost for projects like WINE. Wonder what license they would use? *grin*. CT : several folks sent us this Yahoo story where Bill denies the cnet story linked above.
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Will Microsoft Open Windows Source Code? (No!)

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Peeve: It's not an OS. It's a platform, e.g. a consistent set of facilities that applications developers can rely upon.

    Anyway, COM is spec'd and so is DCOM. There are lots of 3rd party implementations, for example, there is the Haskell and Oberon COM support.

    For specs, see
  • This is an unfortunate example of comments being misunderstood by people with limited understanding of the underlying issue.

    The Win32 API is the definition of Windows. It's what people write software for (including Microsoft). The undocumented NT APIs are designed for developing emulation subsystems (e.g. Win32, POSIX, OS/2, Interix), not applications. An application that used the NT APIs wouldn't even run on Windows 9x, so wouldn't be terribly useful.

    In some cases, Win32 APIs simply provide a consistent interface to NT APIs which may change over time (in other words, the microkernel design allows Microsoft to change the implementation of the OS without changing the interface to it). In other cases, the NT APIs have no practical use for anything other than the development of emulation subsystems.

    It would only make sense to publish the NT APIs if Microsoft planned to let other companies write subsystems for NT. This would probably be a bad idea, and would require them to freeze and document all of the NT APIs (providing more work for them, and limiting their ability to modify the NT OS).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Erm... let's see....
    Post 1: []
    So... kernel calls themselves are undocumented, since MS wants everyone to use Documented API's to communicate with the kernel instead. I really hate it when abstraction is used - damn those evil MS people. Note that he has no reason to believe that these calls would improve performance over the Win32 API, and certainly none to believe that these calls are being used in an unfair manner...

    Post 2: []
    Um, hello? NT 3.1? The good old days, eh? This does show (probably) that this stuff *did* occur, but it doesn't bear any real relevance to today... MS was burned when the first round of hidden API calls were discovered, and it's possible they cleaned up their act.

    Post 3: []
    First off, if we conceed that, just maybe, NT's networking protocols are part of the OS (or at least part of the platform), then these aren't hidden API's at all, but are rather simply exported functions that are called within a coherent product. If *not*, then I guess I'd need more information to understand why Jeremy Allison needs to call the kernel functions directly and why the Win32 API is insufficient for his needs.

    Post 4: []
    Ah yes... more about that one call in NT 3.1... and an unspecified reference to an unnamed call in some version of NT (I don't doubt that this exists, but there's not much info here). The rest is just more about how, yes, we've got this "Win32 API", but I want to use the kernel's calls directly. I'm not going to tell you how or why, but I do...

    I don't know... while these seem to indicate that, yes, there were a couple calls (perhaps more) that were undocumented in previous versions of NT, it gives us no reason to believe that this practice continues, or that it was even abused in more than two instances.

    Oh, and, while it probably didn't exist then, just for kicks LsaLogonUser []

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Congratulations, you have found SlashDot's gateway to parallel universes.

    In that universe, Cowboy Neal posted the story with a very sarcastic tone, which lead to so much trolling that SlashDot crashed, causing Andover.Net shares to plummet, triggering a panic effect in tech stocks...causing a huge stock market crash that destroyed the US economy.

    Luckily, before some nut managed to detonate the entire world's nuclear stockpile, CmdrTaco activated the time portal he got at a Slider's convention...jumped to a universe where the story had not yet been posted...and thus was able to post the story before Cowboy Neal and save humanity.

    Just be glad you didn't have to see the universe where JonKatz posted it...[shudder]
  • One word: Framemaker []

    GUI, great layout ability, perfect for long complex documents.
    I have seen the light, and I'm not going back...
  • For a complex document, you don't use Office, you use LaTeX. It's much more powerful, the output looks better, and you can use emacs or vi to edit it instead of the 2000 lb monster that is Microsoft Office.
  • Well, I'll tell you this: if Microsoft releases their code under some license they work up for themselves (MSPL? MS-GPL?) that does not conform to the Open Source Definition and/or the Debian Free Software Guidelines, I will not download it, I will not look at it, and I will most certainly not hack on it. If Microsoft wants to try to subvert the community in the name of "openness," they're welcome to do so, but I will not aid and abet them in their efforts.

    (And, for the record, I haven't downloaded, looked at, or hacked on Sun's Java source either, and I don't intend to. Just to show you that this is not just a Microsoft thing.)

    I encourage everyone else to take this pledge as well. Franklin put it best: "We must all hang together, or we will surely all hang separately."

    "Free your code...and the rest will follow."

  • Looks like someone didnt read the article. They will not Open Source the linux source code, they will license out the viewing of the source code to other companies. You wont be able to just go download it. In fact, they already do this to embedded companies that need to modify the source code. And the license will be very strict, like an NDA.
  • That is, if it's under an OSI licence :-)

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • Ignore this talk about Microsoft voluntarily opening the source code to Windows, and hope it never happens. Here's why:

    - Settling the case this way would mean dropping all of the judge's Findings Of Fact, because the court case would be rendered null and void. Microsoft could turn around tomorrow and go back to its old thieving ways, and the only legal recourse would be to start another antitrust lawsuit all over again.

    - Putting control of the distribution of Windows source code directly into Microsoft's hands would be like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Who knows what sorts of restrictions they could put on their source code release to make it irrelevant and useless?

    - Nothing in the CNet article mentions 'open source' specifically, and you've got to believe Microsoft isn't going to be so cavalier about giving up its crown jewels. Maybe Gates would choose two specific companies to give the code to, for two hundred fifty million dollars and one Non-Disclosure Agreement each...

    - Or maybe the code to Windows 2000 will be offered, a month or two after Windows 2002 is released...

    - And who says that Microsoft would accept any bug fixes or other enhancements to go back into Windows?

    In short, this is just noise from Microsoft to make them look like helpful conciliators and to make the government look like heartless bureaucrats. Don't believe it, and don't read too much into the news story.

  • A word processor (sorry, I don't care how much "layout" it does it's still a word processor) for 5 times the cost of Windows? No thanks. I could buy a 21" monitor and a stick of 128Mb RAM for that.

    Firstly, I don't care how much you try and claim otherwise, FrameMaker will always be more than a mere word processor. Find me a word processor that has the functionality of FM, and I may start using it...

    Secondly, why not take your money, go buy your monitor and memory, and then download a free copy of FrameMaker for Linux. It's a beta, and the license expires at the end of 2000, but that should be enough for you to decide if you actually want to spend the money on the full product. /framemaker/fmlinux.html []

  • I agree. My first thought was: "What kind of liscence would MS use?" How MS opens the source is going to greatly affect the software industry. If they choose something so restrictive that one couldn't even use it to improve other projects like WINE, then what good would it do?
  • First we had marketing FUD. Then we had investor-targeted FUD. Then we had legal FUD. Then we had spin-the-results-of-the-failure-of-legal-FUD FUD. Why should we be surprised to have make-unlikely-statements-off-camera-then-deny-it-o n-camera FUD?

    Bloomberg is a generally reliable source. And it is a pretty tech-savvy company.

    Microsoft is an unreliable source. And Bill Gates is a very bad liar (probably the real reason he turned those duties over to Ballmer).

    From the above, one might conclude that MS really is willing to open source (in the sense of letting people see it, not in the GPL sense), except for one fact: It's so unlikely.

    Why is it unlikely? Well, consider this: There are four possible settlements (which can, of course, be combined into a large number of permutations) --

    • Big fines and complex agreements to behave
    • Breaking up the company
    • Publishing ALL Windows APIs
    • Opening up the source

    From history we know Microsoft probably prefers the first. The Justice Department has been burned this way before and may be reluctant to accept it easily.

    Of the remaining choices, breaking up the company results in massive gains for stockholders. The final two choices are probably the death knell for Windows (and, therefore, MS).

    If you discount the Br'er Rabbit strategy ("Please don't throw me into the breakup briar patch, Mr. DoJ"), it seems unlikely that Microsoft would choose the paths most likely to provide outside competition for the Windows-compatible OS market when the breakup path allows stockholders to continue to own the monopoly, while introducing the benefits of competition between the Baby Bills.

    The only person who might prefer open source to the breakup scenario might be Bill himself. If you look at MS as a big playground for Gates, breakup would mean going back to a much smaller playpen. You don't suppose he could have let his real hopes slip to Bloomberg's reporter, then gone back to Ballmer and lied about it, do you?.

  • I believe that mandating Microsoft open up the Windows source in any way is bad for Microsoft and, more importantly, bad for the industry as a whole. Like it or not Microsoft has done a lot to bring computing to the common person and, with that, has grown the industry. Anything that would undermine Microsoft does threaten the industry as a whole.

    The solution, in my opinion, is to put in place a standard for the Windows API and executable interface (similar to POSIX). The standards should be overseen by the industry. Microsoft can be a member of that organization that sets the standard. This would allow Microsoft to continue to operate with their main product line but takes away the unfair advantages that they allegedly have in their application development. More importantly, since the standards are open anybody can use them. This means that the barrier to entry into the consumer desktop market is dramaticly reduced because anybode can take advantage of the vast set of applications that already exists in the Windows world. Now competition for the desktop market can take place on a level field.

    Remember, it is not the Microsoft programs that we want openned up, it is the interface. We can write our own programs--and we will be much more pleased with our own open code than any code from Microsoft.

  • No, see, you didn't get what I said.

    Your PROPOSAL is already in effect. You said:

    They will not Open Source the linux [sic] source code, they will license out the viewing of the source code to other companies [...] And the license will be very strict, like an NDA.

    That's what I'm trying to tell you. They ALREADY do this. (And if the article were talking about something Microsoft has done for years, wouldn't that be a pretty pointless article?)

    You are just reiterating what I already said.

    No, I'm disagreeing with what you said, and supplying points to back up my opinion.

    I dont understand why you think they are obligated to show the linux community the source code, especially if like you say, they consider linux a competitor.

    How fast did you read the article? Look Again:

    "Microsoft would be willing to open the source code for its Windows software to competitors in order to settle the antitrust case filed by the U.S. Justice Department, chairman Bill Gates said."

    That says to "competitors"!!! That is the very first paragraph of the article. And since Microsoft has openly acknowledged Linux as a competitor, I would say that justifies an obligation.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Actually, are you sure it's not You who is lost?

    First of all, of course Microsoft won't be open sourcing the Linux source code. A) The Linux source code is already freely available, and B) Microsoft doesn't have the authority to do that anyway.

    Also, what you say about licensing the viewing of the source....Uh, Microsoft already does EXACTLY what you propose. What changes, is the fact that Microsoft is willing to open the source to their *competitors*. Microsoft has openly admitted on SEVERAL occasions that Linux is a competitor, so they would have an obligation to show whatever source they open to the Linux community.

    Gates said he would agree to open the source code for the company's Windows operating system as part of a settlement, a move that would allow competitors to create and sell their own modified versions of Windows.

    You said: "they will license out the viewing of the source code to other companies." I would say that creating and selling modified versions of Windows goes a bit beyond "viewing."

    Looks like someone didn't read the article WELL.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Well, if win9x and NT were OSSed then what about win00? Win00 is "mostly new code", so that means what? Windows is a dead end now anyway... X-box is what MS will really be pushing on coned-sumers, er, consumers. =)

    I personally would like to have wine running win9x apps optimized to run on my SMP machine! =)

  • There's been loads of disappearing stories over the years here at Slashdot, such as the one revealing collusion between Microsoft, the NSA and the KGB, and the fascinating interview with an alien escaped from Area 51 (itself a prime subject of disappearing stories). Unfortunately, for various reasons, these stories were deleted, and to all intents and purposes never existed.

    Hang on, there's someone at the door. Excuse me while I become an unperson...

    Ford Prefect
  • But wait, didn't Tim Berhnse-whats-his-name just tell us the codes were not needed or available?

    No, this is what he said:

    ...the lightbulb flashes and you realize (I know, I know... you're not going to believe this) that Reveal Codes is not necessary, and is in fact a kludge to make up for an inelegant interface.

    They may not be necessary for him, but I don't speak for him. I'm simply pointing out that they have been in word for as long as I can remember. We don't want people to spread misinformation about something, do we? After all, the Open Source community is about being Open Minded, right? :)

  • If Microsoft can release an OS with the functiality of windows and the rock-solidness of Linux, more power to them!
    Why in the world would you want to restrict OS evolution just because it isn't Linux? Remember, it is about the people who work with computers, not about the linux jihad.

  • by Noke ( 8971 )
    ... Or you can just click on the 'show/hide' button on the toolbar and the codes are revealed. This works in Office 95 & 97 too I beleive. Am I missing something?

  • Microsoft Word totally chokes on long documents with lots of equations and included figures, and is ridiculously slow compared to the competition on linux (Framemaker and TeX derivatives like Lyx and kLyx and LaTeX).

    For my economics class, I created an 8.5x11 word 2000 document that was litterally full of equations (real equations using the equations builder tool), and didn't have any problems whatsoever. Can you elborate on 'totally chokes' ?

  • The c|net article linked to above has apparently been updated to include the M$ retraction. However, it also says that Bloomberg (original source) maintains that it's sticking by the story.

    Zontar The Mindless,

  • adding to collection
  • The problem is that Office is heavily dependent on OLE, COM and the registry. Do you really want to port that junk from Windows to your operating system?
  • If this turns out to be true... This would ultimately be a good move, for M$, consumers, Linux, and everybody. It doesn't sound like they would open source Windoze, just license the source to competitors. With 100M+ lines of code and 65K+ bugs, this is probably the only way they could debug it. We might get a fairly stable Windoze release and a company like Corel could license the code and create a "Virtual Windoze Machine" for Linux to run win32 apps, probably even faster than a native Windoze box.
  • If it was me making the choice as to what M$ was going to have to do to avoid being broken up I'd force them to release all their source code under a true opensource license (ie it must get the approval just as any other OSS license has to) and preferably either under GPL or BSD. GPL might be best in this case as it'd help keep fragmentation down but it isn't needed as once the source was open anyone could make things compatible. Releasing only Windows allows them to simply rename the product. Releasing only the OS allows them to simply recatagorize large chunks of the code. We have seen companies prosper with all OSS'd code so there is no reason M$ couldn't. They have a large R&D labs and could turn out an amazing amount of wonderful code if they were just taken and shoved into the light kicking and screaming. They'd probably come out stronger as it'd force them to make prices more affordable and fix their support (which honestly sucks) -- they already charge enough for their support to make a large profit off of it if they tried. The new commercial could be, "Where do you want to go today, call us and we'll show you how." M$ almost missed the Internet, will they miss opensource? Linux may catch up some with Windows it's true but Windows would also catch up with Linux. Imagine tomorrows students having such a wide list of OSS OS's to study from. It can't do anything but make tomorrow's computing better.
  • Yeah but...If all the current linux developers (and that's the mind share you are talking about) go to Windows and actually *improve* the software, why would you have to remain hung up on linux?

    As soon as linux stops being the Best Tool for the Job, it should get kicked to the curb and nary a glance back at its sorry ass.

  • Patch Windows bugs and holes in few days? Who do you think will be looking at this code? It will take at least 5 years for hackers to comprehend it, followed by a several emergency cases of severe vomiting. Eventually, they "might" start fixing it with medical permission.
  • How large is the source code for Win2k?

    Millions of lines? I can't see it as worth
    the effort for the Open Source community to
    bother with what is probably an intractable
    morass of buggy garbage.

    It'd be MUCH more useful to force them to
    accurately publish their API, and split them
    into an Apps division and an OS division, with
    the Apps division using the same documentation
    as everyone else.

    As with Mozilla, the world doesn't really want
    to share responsibility for a project which
    wasn't theirs to begin with and was arguably
    ruined before the world ever got access.

    I, for one, will be VERY displeased the only
    remedy forced on MS is to open their source.
    This measure would be woefully inadequate on
    its own.


  • We don't need office, we need file compatiblity! I'd be perfectly happy using Star Office, Koffice, or Word Pefect. I just want the files to be compatible!

  • One number: $769. What, do you work for Adobe? A word processor (sorry, I don't care how much "layout" it does it's still a word processor) for 5 times the cost of Windows? No thanks. I could buy a 21" monitor and a stick of 128Mb RAM for that. Hell, I could hire migrant workers to write my documents with calligraphy pens (for a couple of years if I'm willing to go offshore). My previous car didn't cost that much!

    I think the light was in the emergency room after you went into shock from the price tag.

  • I would hate to be the peon who just got hired to be a code jockey... then when the boss hands me the following assignment, I would quit:

    "Dear Scott,

    Please go through the 10 million lines of windows source and remove all comments describing our techniques of making competitive software function less efficiently.

    We will be making our code open source, so we need to use numerical codes to mask our policies... The 4000 page code manual will arrive shortly, please replace comments with the appropriate alphanumeric codes.

    Thank you,

    Mr. Pointy Hair"

    If it is anything like the geek code, we could see some really neat comments coming out of Redmond.

    Scott Ruttencutter
  • Actually, historically most monopolys have only come into existance when the government gave them the exclusive rights to provide a service. Ie.. local cable companys, local phone service, etc.. Only recently have these areas been opened up by the government to competitors. The free market is the best solution.
  • Windows Millennium will be a lite version of Windows 2000 and will be based on the Windows NT architecture.

    Likely Windows Millennium will lighten up on the "authoritarian" control or else offer perhaps a "Windows 98 Application Mode" or something :)

  • Please name some of these undocumented API calls.

    I don't do (MS) windows. In DOS 2.0 there were several vital system calls that weren't documented. These included:

    • return DOS entrancy flag
    • (Useful when writing add-on software that responded to hardware interrupts. If this flag wasn't set, it was safe to make a DOS system call.)
    • load program but do not execute
    • (Useful for writing debuggers.)
    • set/get option/path separator character

    Undocumented API calls used by standard Microsoft utilities are patently unfair and create an unlevel playing field. I would agree with you if they weren't being used, but I suspect little has changed over the years.

  • Windows Millennium will be a lite version of Windows 2000 and will be based on the Windows NT architecture.


    Windows 95 was going to be the last version of MS-Windows based on DOS.

    Well, then the Win95 OEM Service Releases came out, but those didn't count (they were just for OEMs, after all), and don't worry, those are the last based on MS-DOS.

    Okay, so consumer demand has forced us to release another version of Windows95, now called Windows98. But this is the last version of MS-Windows based on MS-DOS, we promise.

    Well, in the interests of making things as easy as possible for everyone, we are going to release a "Second Edition" of Windows98. Last release based on DOS. This time, for sure. Cario, I mean NT 5.0, I mean Windows 2000, is finally going to migrate all of MS-Windows onto the NT code base.

    Okay, so the fact that half the DOS and Windows software in the world doesn't run on Win2K means we are going to release "Windows Millenium", still based on Windows95, and still having real-mode DOS code at the core of the system. But this is last time, really!

    Anyone else starting to see the pattern here?

  • If you don't like Office, then you haven't learned to really use Office.

    No, and even if that was true, it'd be a sign of quite how far wrong Microsoft had pitched it.

    Let's look at Word, as that's the Office app I'm most familiar with personally. It's quite nice, sure. It's pretty powerful, no doubt. But it also does tons of crazy stuff automatically with no obvious way to turn it off. Auto indenting and auto numbering mainly.

    Now, I'm a university student living in halls and there's a fair number of people here who know I'm a reasonably friendly soul who understands the computers. So I get asked to help people reasonably often. Same at home - I help my parents and sister when they get stuck and I've helped several members of our church learn to use their computers.

    These people are farm from idiots, but Word will catch them out fairly often - and the amount of daft playing you have to do to defeat the automatic systems is crazy. It slows people down and causes real heartache, along with forcing people to learn how to work round features. And I don't think I'm the only one here who'd say that any feature most people have to work around should be considered a problem.

    Word is powerful, sure - but most of that power's in directions which no-one except nerds like us and technical reviewers ever use. Which gets it high scores from the magazines and our respect (well, mostly) but which cause problems for everyday users.

    The problem, to put it simply, is that Microsoft don't seem to know who actually uses it. Tone it down a long way and it would be a better program for 90% of its users, along with being cheaper, faster and more stable.


  • Unless there is a cooperative process to develop specifications the fact that they eventually get published does not make them open.

    Oh, you mean like the ActiveX Working Group? []

    Well gee, ain't that the darndest thing...

  • I think you are 100% right on the money about the importance of the Office monopoly.

    I disagree that it is beause Office is so good at complex tasks. Word at least is really terrible for any kind of document that has complicated layout. Aside from awkwardness, I've had documents that whose layouts were totally rejiggered every time I saved them. Other vendors talk about rendering Word docs with fidelity, but Word itself is horribly inconsistent.

    The problem is that as bad as Office is, other packages trying to emulate Office tend to be worse. Nobody comes closer to success with software bursting at the seams with unimaginable numbers of obscure features than Microsoft does. They're the best there is at that paradigm. The problem is that paradigm is inherently flawed.

    A better paradigm is to build a nicely integrated set of small, special purpose tools. This, for example, has been the great strength of the Unix command line. However, nobody has yet come up with a working GUI model that allows small components to be knit together simply and intuitively (OpenDoc was going to be it but Apple blew it when they gave up trying to change the world).

    Mark my words. When Bonobo and DCOP based office apps start getting to release quality, the blood of the office suite vendors will run in the streets.
  • I'll be damned if I'm going to let some inane animated happy-go-lucky screen widget tell me how to do something in office.

    I should have clarified.

    I don't mean this for you or me, who hate such things (I haven't used any version of MS Office in 4 or 5 years), but for the kind of people who actually like that crap. The kind of people who would get frustrated at not being able to press enter twice. A little pop up that says, "Hey! you don't need to press enter twice" when you try to do it (making sure it doesn't steal focus of course).

    As for the "learning wizard" I mean an interactive tutorial that shows how to do something and says, "now you try it." Those people will get pissed off and give up upon seeing a whole document like the current LyX tutorial (<nasty>god forbid they should learn to read before writing something...</nasty>) explaining the methods in LyX. You sort of have to trick them into learning. They won't know how long the tutorial is, and they won't mind once they're actually doing it.

    After that crap is over, the way LyX works is already quite neat. Whenever you select a menu item or button, the status bar briefly shows what you did and the key-combo for it. Eventually the key-combos will be stuck in your mind and you'll rarely have to take your hands off the keyboard.

    Oh yeah, another thing LyX needs is a more effective way to handle multiple open documents. Not MDI! We must let that horrible interface die. I prefer multiple windows (browser-style) but will happily settle for tabs. Actually, I like how tabs are used in Lotus WordPro, allowing one to quickly go to specific parts of one document.

    Ok, I'll stop rambling...
  • Damn, I was gonna say that :-)*

    However, I wouldn't imagine the average (as in "not you or I") user would be happy writing TeX code. Fortunately, there's LyX, which is absolutely fantastic. It does need a few things though. Specifically a good grammar checker and a nice wide range of templates for traditional office stuff. So far it's most useful for academic stuff and I've used it extensively for that.

    I think the KDE guys should be concentrating on LyX rather than KWord (ho-hum, seen it before). One nice thing would be making it easier for new users to pick up. As much as I hate to admit it, a "paperclip" would be useful to quickly explain why you can't press the enter key twice, etc. How about a "wizard" tutorial instead of the text document (typical users *hate* that kind of stuff)?

    Oh well, I've ranted enough.

  • Hold on!

    I use Office to create a school newspaper. I've been doing it for three years, and i've learned how they say i should do it. You know what i've learned over the past few years?

    If you're doing anything where formatting really matters, Office sucks. The text frames can't be positioned absolutly, the text doesn't fill in around them very well, nor around other objects. The picture scaling leaves something to be desired-- and that thing is antialiasing. Don't even get me started on how the formatting is attached to paragraphs.

    I know how to use Word. I've looked up all the documentation and tutorials i could and i found that there is are two ways to do what i want to do; one of them's LaTeX, the other's QuarkExpress. Word just doesn't cut it in publication.

  • Don't be a moron. There's nothing wrong with listening to someone else's point-of-view, whether they be Moonies, Scientologists, or Skinheads. If you're so sure that your views are the right ones, then it doesn't matter what anyone else says, does it?


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Well he may be a savage, but at least he understands the value of time. There's no reason that someone trying to create a presentation needs to be a professional typesetter. Why should I have to learn a formatting language like TeX to do my job? And to the people saying "Use LyX": I tried it, and I won't go back until LyX has the ability to embed just about any other document-type in it.

    I'm not saying that TeX doesn't have it's place, but it's ridiculous to compare the two products. Office is an excellent tool for the business desktop, and TeX/LyX are very clearly not.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Yeah, sometimes Word does do some stupid things. But don't pretend that ALL the things it does are stupid. Some of it's auto-actions are fairly intelligent. I really appreciate it's ability to correct common mispellings automatically, and it's auto-completion of my [fairly long] last name. And don't pretend that you can't turn ALL of it's auto-actions off, because you most certainly can (and I often do just that).


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Now that IBM big iron talks TCP/IP, HTTP, ODBC, JDBC, XML and so on, and even runs Linux in a VM, why would anyone bother with a SNA-based client application? And without the special application support, why bother with the 'deviant' OS? (to quote an old dilbert strip)

    Because the people who run mainframes usually have 30 year old applications that they rely on a daily basis, and which are based upon SNA/3270?

    The company I work for is like that, and while it could theoretically replace it's SNA network with TCP, it needs a business reason for doing so, and so far there isn't one.

  • Sure people will.

    If you've got a huge investment in SNA/mainframe, and you need to develop a new app, are you going to spend $x to develop the app, or $x + $y to develop the app plus a new network?

    We could use every app we've got using TN3270 over TCP/IP instead of a 3270 emulator over SNA. However removing the SNA equipment and replacing it with TCP equipment costs money, for no benefit to the client.

    Applications which require TCP/IP do of course use the TCP equipment & network, but here is a small fraction of the SNA network at the moment, and will be for at least the next several years.

  • Furthermore, you would NEVER run a database on Linux because there are problems with synchronous IO in the kernel. Transactional Integrity is a 100% MUST HAVE.

    Total, idiotic, bollocks.

    I've run large, significant, commercially important databases on Linux since kernel 1.2. I know a lot of other people who do, too. The critical things you need for an on-line transaction processing system are up-time and reliability. If you put in a Linux server you know it is just going to run; none of my database servers has ever had a software failure in four years. I've had a dead hard disk and a sticking processor fan, but never a software failure.

    As far as transactional integrity goes, any serious database system has a begin/commit mechanism; it's not an operating system issue.

    Now, sure, if I ran my databases on A/S400 I would get at least as good reliability; I might on AIX or Solaris. But Windows NT does not even begin to cut it as a database server.

  • True, Open Source is not equal to GPL, but it is a superset. If you are going to talk about Open Source on Slashdot, you won't be speaking the same language unless you are talking about the Open Source Definition []. If Open Source ever means anything besides this, then I'm going to start only calling it Free Software [http].
  • I think that is was something like $1 Million for NT4 and $1.5 million for Win2k. There were some limits on the number of users.
    Yep, it means that every employee on the development team who is licensed to see the code can not work on another OS for 5 years. That includes Unisys's mainframe OS.
    MS let us have the source because we are offing them a chance at real enterprise computing. We make mainframes that have decade long uptimes and are trying to bring some of that stability to Win2k. MS (and Intel to some extent) really needs a hardware vendor to make a super Wintel box. MS can not hope for Alpha anymore so CMP (and a few other similar architectures out there) are their best bet. Big Bill mentioned this program directly at the Win2k release party in SanFran. It is a pretty big deal at MS. They are really hopeing this will be the Unix killer.
    The again...this thing supports running SCO UnixWare already and Solaris for x86 port is in the works. Even a Linux port is in the discussion phase. I am trying my best to get on that project!
  • Perhaps but I don't see Unisys or any of the employees complaining anytime soon. Most of the them are pretty excited to be working on something different and will enjoy the five year vacation from our mainframe OS.
    I have avoided joining this group because I have been holding out for a Linux port. Then, Unisys has to play Chinese Wall games with the Linux-CMP guys and the Win2k-CMP guys. Fun.
  • I am working on the storage for the big system so there are really others who could answer this better than I can.
    I will try anyway, though. Our system supports up to 64 GB of RAM which coincidentally is the limit of addressable space on Intel's 32-bit processors. The normal 32-bit limit is 4 GB but Intel added Physical Address Extensions to give you 36-bit addressing, hence 64 GB, limit. NT4 did not support this but Win2k does. The standard virtual address space for NT4 is 4GB with 2GB for the system and 2GB for user space. NT4 Enterprise allowed you to make that 1 GB system and 3GB user. Win2k's support for PAE (not on by default) gives varying levels of support, depending on the version of Win2k. DataCenter will support the full 64 GB. The support comes in three forms:
    1. Kernel Support - The kernel supports using the memory for itself in a hidden way. For example, this memory can be used to reduce paging. This is done without applications or drivers needed to know about it.
    2. Kernel Driver Support - Kernel drivers can note that they support 64-bit addressing (althought they will not see more than 36) and avoid Win2k having to double-buffer reads and writes to high memory (above 4GB)
    3. Application Support - Apps can use this memory directly using Address Windowing Extensions. This lets applications allocate physical un-paged memory and create several virtual views of this memory.

    Give that, our hardware can limit the OS's "view" of memory and make some OS changes to allow for physical memory reservations. This system of limiting and reserving is part of what allows us to move memory between systems. Also, even the "physical" address may not be real addresses in this system. This means that there could be a Win2k virtual to physical mapping and then a lower physical to real physical mapping. There are also designs to allow OSs to communicate through memory while running at the same time on this system.
    A lot of the Dynamic Partitioning stuff is still being designed by us. Since it involves Windows source, Microsoft has to approve of our designs and the changes we make.
  • Microsoft could quite possibly manage to get the court to open-source Windows with some sort of quasi-open license, that makes the government happy, without being really open. Almost certainly Microsoft would limit the right to produce derived works.

    On the other hand, if the code can be seen, so can Windows' inner workings. So even a license where you can view the code, but not produce derived works, could be enough. For the purposes of WINE for instant, while being able to reuse actual Windows code might be useful, simply seeing it would be enough to make development much easier. And it does still stop Microsoft from using hidden APIs, and a raft of their nasty tricks.

    Problem here would be proving your code was not derived from the Windows source. If fact, having the source code available may give Microsoft a bit of a club. Imagine suddenly, six months after the source was released, a company released Losedows2000, Windows but better. Microsoft get an injuction on them, claiming they've stolen Windows code. Nine months later, they're declared innocent, but Microsoft have Windows2001 out, and no one wants Losedows any more. Or, alternatively, imagine something like this happening to WINE, a project Microsoft previously couldn't touch.

    Whatever happens, the chance of seeing Windows under the GPL have to be about nil.

  • The only thing that keeps people on Windows are the applications, and Office is by far the biggest reason.

    I don't agree that it's Office the program that keeps people on Windows. Rather, it's the file formats that Office uses (Word doc, Excel, etc.).

    Very many conversations I've had with business types who want to defend M$ end with this assertion: "People send me Word .docs all the time and assume that I can read them, so I have to have Word, so I have to have Office, so I have to have Windows; and you're naive if you think that's going to change." It's hard to underestimate how strongly this argument influences the business world. My boss here at the ISP I work for is blessedly clueful and fully understands the evils of M$ and the merits of the Open Source way; and yet he fiercely advocates this position (much to our continuing dismay).

    One of M$'s many abuses is the way they make the Office file formats a moving target. They used to keep them secret, in fact, but even if they're published, you never know how they're going to be changed in the next release (you do know that they will be changed). This way they guarantee permanent incompatibility with anyone else's products, and that's why everybody thinks they have to pay for Office.

    Thus I don't agree that the software product called Office is all that great. It's exceedingly bloated, filled with features that most users never need. But it produces the files they want.

    If a remedy in the anti-trust suit is going to be focused on Office, then it should require M$ to adhere to an open standard on file formats. That's the only way there can be real competition in office software.

    I rather doubt that the government will ask for that, though, because the suit was more about bundling Explorer, throttling Netscape, and all of the exclusionary agreements. Office was mentioned in the suit, but it was not an important part of it.
  • I don't follow your logic here. If I can look at the Windows source and the WINE source for, say, GDI.EXE, and they don't look a bit like each other, I think I can conclusively prove that the two works are independent. Or am I missing something?

    This would be especially true if you use a "clean room" technique where the people writing the WINE code are working from documentation of GDI.EXE provided by another set of engineers who describe in detail what it does, but don't pass any source code to the people actually doing the coding. Then the coders can swear in court that they have never seen the source, therefore even if it's a workalike it isn't derived from the Windows code and is therefore legal.
  • I agree that styles are a Good Thing, but I still think Reveal Codes is the one WordPerfect feature that Word should have. I can't begin to count the number of times it's shown me where I made a mistake like, oh say, changing my text to 30-point bold when I didn't mean to.

    Not only that, I've used it to do exact placement of frames and graphics on a page. Something like Pagemaker would do a better job of this, but since I had WordPerfect for my hammer, all of those documents I did looked a lot like nails. :)
  • This is only true for the VERY short-term. Within a few days, all of the major holes will have been plugged, and every minor one will be plugged very soon after it pops up.

    Not really. First of all, Windows is a huge piece of software, and developers haven't had the chance to get aquainted with it as it has developed, like the Linux developers have. I would expect that when a developer did find a bug, it would be a monumental task to find what section, let alone what line of code, caused the bug. I think it would be a few weeks or monthand every minor one will be

    Also, the statement that every minor bugged would be plugged soon after it popped up is in essence probably true. Some developer somewhere would fix the bug. But that doesn't mean that it will be truly fixed. First off, consumers aren't likely to apply any patches from anyone other than Mircosoft, or perhaps another big name software company. And I don't think even MS has the resources to compile bug fixes from around the world and distribute a patch within a day. Secondly, the average Windows user is used to updating their system once every couple of years, not every day. So while the bug fix is being propagated around the world, many many systems will still be vulnerable.

  • Yes, Office is a great product.. But think about this: BSD, with little headway and open kernel internals, managed to build a binary emulation layer for Linux. We have a huge headstart with Wine. If they open Windows 95, how long before Linux/BSD + X is running Office 100%???

    Opened Office will only allow us to knock off one application. Open Windows, we can knock them all off.. Want to run a Notes client? Outlook? Sure!!
  • #define WINDOWS_VERSION "Windows 98"
    #define LITTLE_BUGS
    #define MEDUIM_BUGS
    // #define LARGE_BUGS

    #include <win95.h>
    #include <w95plus.h>
    #include <ie5.h>


  • This wouldn't be much more of a security risk because you would actually have to purchase a very expensive license to look at the code. Your average hacker/cracker still would not be able to get their hands on the code. Keep in mind that Microsoft has licensed it's code out before to other companies, though not to sell their own version of Windows, without the rest of the world being able to view it.

    I know Microsoft licensed it's code to Citrix at one point. They don't anymore. Do they still do this for anyone? I dunno. I do know about MSDN. Microsoft Developer Network CD's contain a lot of stuff that your 'average hacker' probably DOES have access too. If you work at a Fortune 500 company then you almost definately have access to a stack of MSDN CD's (a very convincing reason to switch to open source if there ever was one IMHO.) These discs give companies an 'edge' because they've paid good money for the latest information and development tools for Windows that Microsoft is willing to release (stuff that your 'average' hacker and non-hacker can legally get for free when it comes to open source.) The thing is, not all hackers work out of their basement with Linux boxes...some actually work for companies that will have access to this code should it become available Many will not hesitate to make that code availble to 50 of their closest friends.

    If Microsoft actually makes the source available to more than a few select people it will escape. The saying "information wants to be free" isn't just wishful thinking. It's a statement about something observable that just happens on it's own.

  • This is only true for the VERY short-term. Within a few days, all of the major holes will have been plugged, and every minor one will be plugged very soon after it pops up.

    The only difference between an OS that starts out open (like Linux) and one that opens after eight years of development (like W95) is how many bugs there will be to fix in that short period.

    I haven't been regularly reading Slashdot lately so I don't know if this link was ever posted...blah can't find the link... It was on ZDnet and called Win2k Bugfest or something like that about a week ago. It exposed an internal Microsoft memo about 63,000 known bugs in Win2k. The author of them memo asks his employees "Would you pay $500 for software you knew had that many bugs?" Did anyone else see this article? I did a search on ZDnet for "bugfest" and it turned up nothing.

    The reason I bring this up is that Windows has no small amount of known bugs. We know from experience that the holes in open OS's get fixed quickly. But that's because they've been exposed and fixed all along the way. Will the holes be found and fixed as quickly when they are exposed to so many eyes all at once?

    Windows was NOT designed with security in mind any more than it was designed to be a stable operating system. It was designed with making money as the focus. It was kept closed. Maybe we should be optimistic and assume that Microsoft had the foresight to think something other than "security through obscurity is good enough?" I'm not a betting man, but I'll buy you a Guinness if I'm wrong.


  • M$ is writing the successor to Win98 (code named Millenium, IIRC).

    Windows Millennium (yes, that is the real name) will be released 2Q2000.

  • I'm just thinking that if M$ acts their usual self, it would be like making a deal with the devil. M$ might release their code, but in the act, they would find some way to make it totally useless.

    For example, they could release the Win95 code now, then decide to release Win2000 with a few 'fixes' so it no longer runs normal Window software (actually, they are basically doing this anyways). We now have Win95 code (woohoo), but its useless. They goverment might even say, "hey! release win2000 code now." And of course M$ complies, but only after a couple court injunctions, +/- 2 or 3 years, etc.

    In the end, M$ would get off scott free (and I feel sorry for Scott), consumers end up paying more to upgrade all their software to use the newest M$ OS (btw, don't forget Win 3.1... anyone still run programs from that?), and M$ gets even more money then they were before.

    The one way around this that I can think of, is that gov. requiring M$ to use something such as CVS (no M$ crap where they might alter and hide code), and a required check for compilation check (that is, compile the code from CVS, and do a checksum to see they are indeed the same thing).

    One last point, don't forget, normal M$ code is crap (consider MFC for a ms or so). If they are required to share code, one can only imagine them obscuring code even further (if this is possible). Remember when Netscape opened their source code? Granted, there would be more reason to look at the source code -- but it won't be an easy task.

    Plus, who decides whats part of the operating system? Do device drivers count? Do they finally admit Windows is really just a shell on top of MSDOS 7, in which case they only release MSDOS? Etc.

  • The one way around this that I can think of, is that gov. requiring M$ to use something such as CVS (no M$ crap where they might alter and hide code), and a required check for compilation check (that is, compile the code from CVS, and do a checksum to see they are indeed the same thing).

    When you go asking the government to be your mommy, remember why you moved out in the first place. Are you sure you want the methods used to manage software projects dictated by the government? Do you think that once they got their foot in the door, they would actually stop at microsoft? Think 10 years down the line. Oh, you want to port linux to the new PDA architecture? Just fill out these forms, and we can schedule the hearing in about 18 months. The public comment period will have to be at least 3 months, and then, if everything goes well, you should be able to get started in under 2 years.

  • Example: PowerPoint only creates presentations that will work correctly with IE4.x or higher; KPresenter creates (albeit static) presentations you can even view with G!zilla and/or KFM, Konqueror, mozilla, IEx.x, NSx.x... any web browser that supports images, basically. I like that.

    Well that's the cost of using DHTML and other cool things, webbrowsers not bothering to support newer standards. I wouldn't be suprise if Microsoft started making more use of VML, which again, is a standard that other browsers refuse to support (hell, none even support XML like IE).

    Also, when was the last time that you saw Explorer embed a Word document?
    Uh, today? It's been done FOR YEARS. IE has been an OLE container since IE3, and OLE and VBX etc has been around since the very early nineties. COM/OLE is one of the key technologies that makes up modern Windows. BTW, can you embedd KDE's media player into a website? You can with media player :).

    In a frame?
    Uh, ofcourse, why would that make a difference? It's just an object in the HTML DOM.
    Here's a few links to images to demonstrate the power of COM and IE. Tis quite shocking how many people still think Windows is in the win2.0 days :|

    Example 1 []
    Word document inside IE. Notice how IE's menus are integrated with Word's menus. MS Word is acting as an ActiveX Document in this example.

    Example 2 []
    Excel document inside IE.

    Example 3 []
    PDF document inside IE

    I don't have an example for postscript cause I don't use it, or know of a viewer for windows. But you get the's not that difficult to add support.
    Note that the opposite is generally true, eg. you can host IE inside Word & Excel to display HTML/XML etc. I don't think ADOBE's pdf viewer is an OLE container, but they could make it one.

    Microsoft is going to have to worry about people wanting these cool features- I already show them to my friends and they drool, because they want a desktop that can do what mine can. No they don't, cause they came up with this kind of stuff and implemented it before Linux did, and have made it basically upbitquous(no sleep, bad spelling) in the windows world. This kind of thing is an extension to java applets - but it's been done by Microsoft in client side apps (well before the WWW become popular). Now you know, care to show your friends this? :P
  • problem is price means very little when the product is of good value. at work we use cool edit pro. it's current price is meaningless because of the productivity we get out of it. if an open source alternative can't match it's abilities or ease of use, then it's not an option at all.
  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @08:11PM (#1263684) Homepage
    See, Windows is launched by a boot loader that executes on top of the DOS shell. Here's the code:

    void main(int argc, char *argv[])
    // 10/10/90 - borgnum11034
    // Hey Bill, are you sure you want to display
    // that shitty animation for 30 seconds??
    // It doesn't even do anything...

    // 08/01/95 - godtoyou
    // WTF is this CRAP doing here!? You guys
    // never even BOTHERED to check the loader!?
    // OH GREAT... we've got to SHIP with this
    // you know!? You're all FIRED!

    Animate(30 /* seconds */);


  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @07:22PM (#1263685)
    I don't think so. The WINE folks would have to comb through so many neck-deep piles of garbage in the code that they wouldn't know what to do with it. If the goal was to develop a windows-lookalike, I think it would be much easier to start from scratch and cut the cruft. Unfortunately, since WINE is trying to run applications that run specifically with that cruft, they'd probably have to surf the largest dumpster of source code that has ever existed - Windows.

    What gets me about WINE is that it's probably not realistic to expect that everything will work perfectly ever, because there are so many programs in windows that actually DEPEND on legacy bugs in the windows API. For example, I've spoken with some lotus developers, and the cc:Mail that was originally developed for windows 3.1 that many corps still use depends on some bugs in the windows API. The kind of stuff Microsoft can't fix, because if they do, it will break applications.

    What kind of project would PURPOSELY put bugs in their code? I think that that's what you're up against when you take on Windows.

    I don't mean to slam the WINE guys, I think they're doing an abso-fuckin'-lutely fabulous job. They've got way more guts as coders than I'll ever have to take on that beast. :)

  • by alumshubby ( 5517 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:09PM (#1263686)

    ...and I'm deeply skeptical that it is, who's to say they wouldn't retain a few undocumented calls for their apps?

  • by eht ( 8912 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:10PM (#1263687)
    As has been stated somehwere else, i think on, they'd probably open source win9x and keep nt (and win2k) to themselves, after all win9x is what they're getting sued over and they're moving away from it anyways
  • by Anonymous Shepherd ( 17338 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:39PM (#1263688) Homepage
    Upon reading the article, I find myself plagued with a coupld doubts.

    They mention opening the source code Windows; not necessarily making it Open Source(tm).

    Which could mean several things. You could download and hack and recompile, but it means nothing if it isn't M$ certified, for example. Or it might need to pass some tests or follow some guidelines.

    Or you may need to pay some sort of license fee to get to the source; no one said it would be <em>free</em>, just that they would be willing to open the source/make it available.

    All 35 million lines of code...

    But this does mean one thing. WINE could get a substantial boost, if it were legal to use the source. Which means, perhaps, that Office would run natively on x86 systems, and with some level of emulation on non-x86 systems.

    Or an X layer could be grafted into Windows itself, and provided as a modified binary, assuming the code/system was conducive to such an endeavor.

    Oh joy, and would the DirectX libraries be included in this deal? Would that mean an OS version, perhaps OpenX libraries, could be provided for x86 Linux, WinNT(finally!), and even non-x86 Linux systems?

    Would this mean we could actually remove all traces of IE from Win2k and Win98?

    Could we build a WinX layer atop BSD, ala Apple's OS X? Could this be ported to other architectures?

    Heck, could we do interesting things with Darwin, WinFreeOS, SGI's JFS and OpenGL?

    Perhaps I'm being too optimistic here =)

  • I am right now about 80% certain that if they open source any source code, it will be the Windows 9x source, which means NOTHING TO ANYONE anymore at this point, since that entire architecture is basically dead.

    Windows 2000 is based almost entirely on Windows NT 4.0, so you can bet they're going to avoid releasing any of that. Remember that this lawsuit was about Windows 95 and 98. Now that the lawsuit has dragged on what? 3 years? its now pointless, because Microsoft has had it in the plan ALL ALONG to migrate their users to Windows NT-based technology.

    Bear in mind that Windows 95 and its successors are nothing more than stopgaps to get mainstream developers writing Win32 code so that they could announce one day that Windows NT (aka Windows 2000) is now the ordained successor to the Windows line. They could never have gone from Windows 3.1 straight to NT because Win16 code does not run well on NT. But now that they've got every Tom, Dick and Harry writing Win32 code, the time is ripe for them to declare Windows 2000 the successor and that is what they have done (this was announced sometime shortly after Windows 98 was released for those who haven't been paying attention.)

    So now that this lawsuit is about Windows 9x, and Microsoft has been VERY, VERY careful about AVOIDING bringing Windows NT or Windows 2000 into this lawsuit, I can be at least 80% certain that what Bill Gates is talking about making open source is the dead as a doornail Windows 98 source code. Big floppy donkey dick deal.

  • by seanb ( 27295 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:50PM (#1263690) Homepage Journal

    Check out LyX [] - basically a WYSIWYM GUI front end for LaTeX. Once you wrap your mind around a few powerful concepts, it is MUCH easier to use than Word.

    From the page:

    LyX is an advanced open source document processor running on many Unix platforms. It is called a "document processor", because unlike standard word processors, LyX encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents, not their appearance. LyX lets you concentrate on writing, leaving details of visual layout to the software. LyX automates formatting according to predefined rule sets, yielding consistency throughout even the most complex documents. LyX produces high quality, professional output -- using LaTeX, an open source, industrial strength typesetting engine, in the background.

    If you can't tell yet, I like LyX. Powerful, open-source, and easy to use. What more do you want?

  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Friday February 18, 2000 @03:45AM (#1263691) Journal
    What possible use is free access to the open source monster that would be Windows unless there is a responsible license that includes the right to practice all those patents?
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday February 18, 2000 @04:54AM (#1263692)
    > Please name some of these undocumented API calls.

    Under NT, that is easy:

    Inside the Native API []

    Inside Native Applications []

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday February 18, 2000 @04:04AM (#1263693) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing but a trial balloon (no pun intended) to see if opening the source would get MS out of hot water. BillG has learned from the master (BillC) that you can say anything and deny it later, saying "That depends on what your definition of "open" is."

    So, make a (fake) offer to open the source, and see what happens. If it looks like it would work, you add it to the "possible strategy" list.

    Now, if you think they'd open Win2000, you're foolish. They would release Win95 if anything. However, realize that most software runs on Win95, and that with the Win95 API/Bugset, Wine could run almost anything that didn't directly access hardware; i.e. anything that WinNT can run. Even is the Windows code weren't OSS, it would still be enough to clean-room Wine even faster.

    However, I won't believe this until I see the codebase on

  • by Squirtle ( 73289 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @09:47PM (#1263694) Homepage
    Please name some of these undocumented API calls.

    Do you believe Jeremy Allison (SAMBA developer)? Wham [], Bam [], thank [] you maam [].

  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:17PM (#1263695)
    Think about it. Everyone who is realiant on Microsoft now...they'll be incredibly screwed when the Windows source code is released. Open operating systems have had the benifit of being examined by many hackers for security flaws. Windows has had so many security holes exposed just from reverse engineering...I couldn't imagine what the source code would expose.

    Go ahead Microsoft, I dare you.

  • by Tim Behrendsen ( 89573 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:16PM (#1263696)

    Given the choice, I would rather have Microsoft open source Office, rather than Windows. Personally I think that's their real monopoly. The only thing that keeps people on Windows are the applications, and Office is by far the biggest reason.

    Say what you will about Microsoft, but Office is a great product. There is nothing even close to comparable. I know a lot of you people are of the mind that "Hell, I can write letters just fine using BogoOfficePerfect!", but if you want to do a complex document beyond the "Hi mom" level, the power of Office really shines.

    If you don't like Office, then you haven't learned to really use Office.


  • by Tim Behrendsen ( 89573 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:33PM (#1263697)

    Sorry, but I am not a savage. I use WYSIWYG tools. When someone bolts a civilized interface on TeX, then we'll talk. Until then, I have work to do.

    Now, This is not to say that the output from TeX can't be much better than Office; just that the inefficiency of the interface makes it not worth it for 99.99% of document creation. If you are creating a complex mathematical textbook, by all means TeX is your tool. But if you're creating a business plan with imbedded charts, financial model spreadsheets, etc., well... let's just say it's not worth some slightly better-formatted paragraphs.


  • by Tim Behrendsen ( 89573 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:49PM (#1263698)

    Also, when was the last time that you saw Explorer embed a Word document? In a frame? How about PostScript or PDF? Spreadsheets?

    IE has already been doing this for years.

    But onto you're main point... I have high hopes for KOffice, but what kills me about them is their absolute stupidity (sorry, but it has to be said) when it comes to their stand on compatibility with Office. Unless they've changed their mind recently, they've gone on record saying that compatibility is not a priority. This is just ludicrous. The industry standard document interchange format is Word. Period. Not providing compatibility is not just shooting your foot, but blowing your whole leg off.

    Now, what might actually save them is that Microsoft has made noises in the past about moving to XML as the Office file format. If that happens, it will be a lot easier to import Office docs into KOffice. But until that day, they need to change their attitude or KOffice will have very little penetration in the "normal" world.


  • by Temporal ( 96070 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:13PM (#1263699) Journal

    Another version of this article was posted a bit ago, and then removed. Find it here: / []
    -Everything has a cause
    -Nothing can cause itself
    -You cannot have an infinite string of causes

  • by seaportcasino ( 121045 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @10:39PM (#1263700) Homepage
    Feb. 18, 2000 - Microsoft announces the availability of Windows 2000 Source Code under the new "Nopeekie" license.

    According to Steve Ballmer, the "Nopeekie" license improves upon the popular GPL license, which is used by a competing operating system, Linux.

    "Basically, we take the existing GPL and twist it to serve our needs, I mean our customers' needs more fully.
    This is the way it works: We will be providing the source code for Windows 2000 on every cd we sell. This will please shareholders and brokers and keeps our stock price up, I mean keep our customers happy.

    The "Nopeekie" protects us in the following way. Under the "Nopeekie" license, the customer is not allowed to actually look at the software. They can use the source in any manner in which they do not have to look at the source.

    We knew enforcement of the "Nopeekie" license was going to be a tricky procedure. But luckily I personally came up with the winning solution.

    In order to lower legal fees and improve our bottom line, our "Nopeekie" license will not be enforced in the traditional legal sense. Basically, we have negotiated a long-term contract with a fellow from New Jersey, a Mr. Soprano, to head an enforcement task team. Mr. Soprano will work directly with me in regards to this endeavor. He will hitherforth be our new Senior VP of License Enforcement and Piracy Prevention.

    We immediately expect to increase our sales 50% over the next four quarters as a result of this. We also expect that 100% of our proprietary source code will remain safe in the hands of Mr. Soprano and the "Nopeekie" License."

    So there you have it. It looks like a serious challenger to Linux and the GPL is stepping up to the plate, baseball bat in hand. What are you gonna do about it?

    Tom S. From CNET.

  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:19PM (#1263701) Homepage
    If anyone is interested, the original Microsoft Open Source thread it can be found right over here []. There were about 50 posts on that one.

    Kurt, Your DB move failed again.

  • by Jebediah21 ( 145272 ) on Friday February 18, 2000 @03:15AM (#1263702) Homepage Journal
    I really don't care if Windows is free to use. I would still use Linux because I feel that my learning reached a wall in Windows. There is much to learn in Linux and that is what I like. Not to mention I can surf the net, do papers, and all the other things I need to do as a student in Linux.

    The reason I care about Windows being open sourced is not so it can be made into a competing OS to Linux. I care about it being open sourced so that I needn't dual boot simply to see Windows Media Files. I don't want to boot into an inferior OS just to call my freinds over the net. I think Linux has come a long way as far having the essential applications that Windows does, but the open sourcing of the code would speed this greatly, especially if the IE and WMP code were with it. If nothing else this would boost WINE to a grand level, something I would much like to see.

    For these reasons I am not interested in seeing programmers use their valuable time trying to refine an obscene amount of code to make it a worthwhile OS. I want them to spend a smaller amount of time adding to what we already have.
  • by DarkFyre ( 23233 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:22PM (#1263703)
    This would be a great thing for some people (although fragmenting Windows even more would be a pain in the ass), but think about this : A great deal of Windows code doesn't belong to Microsoft.

    MS has NDAs with hundreds of companies, ranging from Apple (Sorenson codec, anyone?) to Intel to Unisys. Hell, I think I've heard there's some Berkely code in Windows that's legally undisclosable.

    If they disclosed only what they had written, you'd have a pretty incomplete picture, which may or may not be useful.

    Just something to think about.
  • by thales ( 32660 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:27PM (#1263704) Homepage Journal
    Gates knows that open source hackers wouldn't be able to resist looking at Win source. So MS dumps miles of poorly documented spagetti code on them, resulting in real open source projects being delayed for years due to Win source induced trauma.
  • by CoughDropAddict ( 40792 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @09:12PM (#1263705) Homepage
    Dammit, I'm tired of this "Take over the world" mentality. I don't particularly care if linux has 2% or 20% of market share.

    Maybe not, but I bet you would care if Linux suffered massive brain drain, developer migration to another OS.

    You want drivers for that brand new GeForce 65535? Sorry, there's no interest. And you can forget about the vendor releasing one anytime soon--there's nothing in it for them to make a few scattered hackers happy.

    You want DSL? Sorry, your ISP only allows Windows. Linux is only used by hackers and frankly, we don't want to provide tech support.

    You want the latest release of Debian on CD? Sorry, Cheapbytes went out of business because everyone uses Windows now. Not to mention that Debain is losing package maintainers left and right, the maintained package count is down to a record low of 522.

    Exaggerated maybe, but my point is that though market share is nice if we want corporate interest, but much more important for the free software community is mind share.
  • by soldack ( 48581 ) <soldacker@yahoo.cCOFFEEom minus caffeine> on Thursday February 17, 2000 @07:03PM (#1263706) Homepage
    Companies can already license Windows source code. We did it at Unisys for our CMP group. They need to hack away at NT4/Win2k to get it to support Dynamic Partitioning (where memory, hard drives, processors, etc. can be moved to other OSs running at the same time on the same system), multi-processor support with linear performance increases, and other main frame like features. The big drawback to their current license is that you can not work on another OS for five years. Ouch. There are several other restrictive aspects of the non-disclosure agreement but this one is the toughest to swallow. It is the one that MS would have to give up to satisfy the goverment.
  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:10PM (#1263707) Homepage Journal
    Up until now, Microsoft has called everything the OS. Will this change? Will IE suddenly be merely an application?

    More importantly, what about the dev tools? If "Windows" is open, but COM is not, this doesn't really mean much.
  • by pangur ( 95072 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:11PM (#1263708)
    Bloomberg originally ran this story, saying that Bill Gates said he would ``do our absolute best to achieve it" (meaning a settlement). The interpreted that to mean opening up the Windows source code, and ran the story. Here is the links where Bloomberg admits that Microsoft completely denies this story. contains []
  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @07:31PM (#1263709)
    Dammit, I'm tired of this "Take over the world" mentality. I don't particularly care if linux has 2% or 20% of market share. I just like to use linux because as a developer, it kicks tremendous ass. Windows, on the other hand, might kick ass if you spent several thousand dollars on development tools, but it still wouldn't be as cool as linux.

    For 99% of people, the computer is to get something done. If you can get your job done, and work with other people, then who cares what OS you're using? Just use the one you like most! For me, that happens to be Linux.

    So basically, who cares if a bunch of hackers improve Windows? If it was GPL'd today, it would probably take 2 years of hacking at least before it even approached linux in terms of stability.

  • by David Mooney ( 15076 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:38PM (#1263710)
    They interpreted this to mean 'opening up the Windows source code'...

    After the on-camera portion of the interview was completed, Gates was asked whether the company would be willing to open the Windows source code in order to settle the case, and Gates said ``yes.'' He then added, smiling, ``if that's all it took.''
  • by Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:22PM (#1263711)
    please Please PLEASE do not confuse "I can read the source code for Product Foo" with "Product Foo is Open Source". I can read the source code for Java, but I'd be in a world of pain if I did anything with it that Sun didn't like. Especially if I wanted to sell it.
  • by er333 ( 32834 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:15PM (#1263712)
    ABC News is re porting [] that Microsoft is denying Gates ever said this. From the article: "Microsoft Corp. strongly denied that Chairman Bill Gates had told Bloomberg Television in an interview that he would be willing to open the Windows operating system source code antitrust suit with the U.S. Justice Department. "Bill did not make any of the comments attributed to him about the settlement," Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said. "The comments they said Bill made are just not true."
  • by Cplus ( 79286 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @10:32PM (#1263713) Homepage Journal
    We're talking about ridiculous amounts of code here. IF it was open sourced most people/"hackers" wouldn't even be able to compile it. It would take a huge amount of concerted effort to release a *fixed* Windows.

    The problem with this in my mind is that the majority of Winusers are very apathetic towards their OS. They don't get bug fixes, hell a lot of them don't even know what that means. If Windows code is released it's available for the scrutiny of people who want to do damage. These people.....should they exist and find/take advantage of the weaknesses in Windows code could take out a lot of users at the knees.

    I hear a lot of people say that security through obscurity doesn't work but in this case I have to insist that when you take away the obscurity you show all of the flaws. It really hasn't seemed that hard thus far to find security problems.....imagine it multiplied on this scale.

  • by Platonic1 ( 126290 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:27PM (#1263714) Homepage
    It turns out that MS is NOT offering to open source Windows. I got this from MSN Investor, a site that requires a login, so I'm posting the relevant part of the artcile here:

    Microsoft denies Gates offered to open Windows code
    February 17, 2000 08:38 PM
    SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp.MSFT on Thursday strongly denied that Chairman Bill Gates had told Bloomberg Television in an interview that he would be willing to open the Windows operating system source code to competitors to settle an antitrust suit with the U.S. Justice Department.

    "Bill did not make any of the comments attributed to him about the settlement," Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said. "The comments they said Bill made are just not true."
    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:16PM (#1263715)

    What happens if Windows goes Open Source, an entire legion of pissed off Win32 hackers goes to work on it and it becomes stable and secure, and starts winning back market share from Linux?

    Another good question: Would this be a bad thing? Real competition would probably improve Windows AND Linux.

  • by jailbrekr2 ( 139577 ) on Thursday February 17, 2000 @06:17PM (#1263716) Homepage
    When people ask if I am ever going to cut my hair short (My hair is currently below my shoulders, and growing), I respond by saying 'I'll cut my hair when Microsoft goes open source!'.

    This is not good. Nope. Not good at all.


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