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Microsoft

Microsoft Trying To Look Open Source With CE 255

MajorBlunder writes "There is an article at ZDnet about Microsoft opening up the source code for Windows CE. I really don't care to guess what demons of Redmond are thinking, but this certainly puts some power behind the whole Open Source concept. " Looking deeper into the story, it appears that MS is more concerned with appearances (that is, looking like it's embracing Open Source, at least at some level) rather than actions. I'm guessing only "selected" developers get the source -- at which point, so what?
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Microsoft Trying To Look Open Source With CE

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is this kind of forward-looking action that has put Microsoft on the map and given it the status that it enjoys as a company today. Sure, at first, it might sound a bit counter-intuitive. Not only do you give away your software, you give away the source code to your software, as well! This allows people to look at it, poke it, prod it, and in general learn how it works. This also allows people to improve your software themselves and submit the changes back to you! I must say, Microsoft has certainly developed an innovative paradigm here. By opening up their source, they stand to stimulate an entire stagnant industry!

    I predict that this whole "open source" thing will be one of the most important of Microsoft's contributions to the computing and software industries. I also imagine that other companies and individuals will start using this concept to write C compilers, text editors, operating systems, etc. Let's hope that they give due credit to the company that originated this idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would someone out there, please name ONE good piece of software that Microsoft has written.

    Here's my list:

    format, works rather well with the argument C:\

    fdisk - particularly when destroying old MS-DOG partitions.

    Linux fdisk: liberating PC's the world over!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not that I would ever defend M$, but the slashdot mentality cracks me up. Microsoft actually releases something as open source, and everyone here slams them. I mean come on, what the fuck did you want them to do, open source NT? Like that would ever happen. So what we have here is M$ doing a quite reasonable thing by open sourcing CE, and even the slashdot editors can't keep from taking a jab at them with the title of the article. What a bunch of hypocrites. It's exactly this sort of mentality that will cause open source to be rejected by the typical corporate entity.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm sorry - but he _is_ right. Some OSS code is truly horrible. Things such as consistent code formatting and commenting have simply passed many OSS programmers by... Having seen large chunks of the Win CE code (just look in your MSDN subscription!) I can say that it is well formatted and commented. You will find that code produced by professional programmers in a coporate environment WILL be good - any half decent software comapny DEMANDS rigid compliance to a house style.
  • Just like when Micros~1 claimed to invent Symbolic Links.

    Um, Microsoft did invent symbolic links. Hope it doesn't spoil your condescending, blind devotion to the UNIX "operating system," but the whole concept of names that "point" to an actual file, but refer to no physical file themselves, was pioneered by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a 1972 paper at Harvard. Ken Thompson, most likely in a drug-induced haze, blatantly stole that idea and put it into his own "operating system." 'Course, the revisionist historians will never tell the story that way, because we can't actually give Microsoft credit for anything, noooooooo, we gotta make sure that they're the BAD GUYS .. geez
  • are the three worst parts of /. comments. I don't read the /. comments to see a bunch of spoiled brats whine about how *this* story was selected instead of *that* story, or how much /. sucks for being /. (a subjective view of what happens in the Linux/Open Source/Geek) instead of trying to immitate the pseudo-objectivity of traditional media.

    I read the comments because the store interest me, and one can sometimes find corrections or further information or insigts about the story in the comments. I suspect this is what the same the vast majority of readers are after, and I moderate and meta-moderate with that in mind. The original comment was not only stupid and wrong, it was also absolutely off-topic.

    If a story doesn't interest you, skip it. Don't misuse it for whining about how /. does not match your interests perfectly. Believe it or not, you are not the only person in the world, nor a particularily important one.
  • You = "the whiners in general", not you = "any particular whiner". It even includes me, since I'm whining about the whiners, and thus contributing to the off-topic noise like the rest of the whiners.
  • Yes! It's a mass-murder attempt by Microsoft. This code is actually a "Killing Joke"!

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Yes, change the definitions.

    Intel has had a stranglehold on the CPU market for years now by simply defining "best CPU" as a function of higher MHz. Those that don't know better, buy the faster clock, the higher number.

    So Microsoft has finally realized that the way to slay this "Open Source" dragon is to utilize it's best assets: Stupid consumers and FUD. If Open Source means one thing to the minority geek community, Microsoft can easily define it to mean something completely different to the mass market.
    \
    Again, here, Microsoft is ripping off Apple, who was the FIRST major software company to pervert the definition of "open source" to it's own purposes.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • It would be more useful if you could modify the code. Then someone could fix the CE posix routines to actually be posix compliant. (For example, actually have them return error codes on opening of a socket.)

    If you can't use it to get the bugs fixed, it is not of much use other than to point and laugh.
  • by peter ( 3389 )
    What's so big about having it GPLed? If they released it under a less restrictive license, it would be better for everyone except them. (The difference between e.g. the X license and the GPL is that you can do more stuff with X licensed code than with GPLed code. The purpose of the GPL is to defend the author's wish that the code not be used in closed projects.) I GPL stuff I write, (which isn't much to speak of yet :( ). It would be cool if they released it under the GPL, since that would really make other companies who still like Micros~1 think about going GPL to be able to use the code. Releasing X licensed code is just as big a plunge for Micros~1, though, it's the real deal, Open Source the way its meant to be. (among other things, both the GPL and X style licenses meet the DFSG-free (Debian Free Software Guidelines) requirements.)
    #define X(x,y) x##y
  • ...is that an operating system ought to cost about a dollar.

    (Actually, I think the correct price ought to be between $1.60 and $7, but I suspect they are engaging in dumping in order to obtain marketshare in the case of WinCE.)

    Why then can they charge $85 to $200 for Win98SE? Even more for NT? Still more for W2K? And still charge you more for a server edition? And tag on more charges for IIS, etc, etc?

    The answer is simple: WinCE is in a competitive market. The difference in price is the overcharge of the monopolist. I wonder if DoJ is paying attention to this.
  • This is yet another example of Microsoft's strategy of announcing products that either will never happen or are very far from being a real product. This strategy allows them to "steal the thunder" from other competitors. How many times has the rumor circulated that MS will relase somthing as OpenSource? Bugaboo. How many times has MS overmarketed a product years from release, even going as far as saying it beats tangible products already on the markey? Bugaboo. Can we say X-Box anyone? Woh about NT with good 3D support? How obout embedded NT? Bugabuggabooooo.
  • Sorry, I did not follow it to make sure it was a valid link. My fault. Moderate it down, so that no one follows my idea, and flames me for it. I had not realized it was a joke until I had already posted. Forgive and moderate down, that is all I ask of you.
  • Aparently it is not bold

    Have fun Rob!

  • I notice that someone forgot to post as html...

    C'est la vie.

    Here is the link so you can just click instead of cut and paste... LinuxCE [linuce.org]

    No, thanks, please. It had to be done.

  • Not only is it different in places, but also many calls and many options to calls are missing. This is why porting anything from Win9x to WinCE is many times more painful than porting to NT. If the WINE project put too much stock in following whatever WinCE source they could get hold of, they'd just end up with a swiss cheese API, which is what WinCE itself is.

    As for the second question, someone always wants to emulate anything. What if we could shoehorn WINE into a Linux-based PDA? Then I'm sure it wouldn't be long before all kinds of WinCE apps were running on it....
  • by pen ( 7191 )
    If you haven't visited the article yet, read it here [zdnet.com]. Perhaps Slashdot should always link the printer-friendly version, so that we don't have to look at all the other crap?

    --

  • Actually, Walnut Creek CDROM didn't ship 4.0 to people who subscribe to the FreeBSD CDROMS. That tells me that it's not a worthy release. I think 4.1 will be the one to watch out for.
    --
  • This is obviously an attempt by MS to confuse the slashdot community! By carefully combining the words "Microsoft" and "Open Source" into one press release, MS was hoping that the Linux community would run pay attention to their Windows 2000 Ads.

    Linux user sees Windows 2000 Ad. Thinks to himself, "2000 is a lot larger than 2.4 - and 2000 is the new standard in reliability" and "MS = Open Source = Cool" Still dazed, the user buys a copy of Windows 2000, returns home and installs it, removing linux.

    Do not read this press release! Do not become a victim in the OS war!
  • You're right, but you're wrong.

    Linux is too large for a number of types of embedded devices, and Linux is _certainly not_ realtime, nor are the realtime Linux extensions ready to be used in ABS, rockets, satellites, etc.

    However, this still leaves a very large and rapidly growing segment of the embedded market. Designs where the underlying OS is not important, and simply making the thing go, networking, tasking, filesystem too, without spending too much money on it.

    You have to remember, there are two main costs in embedded. Engineering costs, shipment costs. Linux may raise the latter slightly, but it can cut down on the former GREATLY. It also runs on commodity system hardware, which means the hardware costs often drop as well. Again, we're talking about roles that don't directly affect people's lives.

    Lastly, reliability is always always always going to depend upon the developers of the system. No operating environment can fix that problem. You can provide tools, etc. to identify problems. You can provide tools to help solve problems. You can provide testing environments, etc. But in the end it is always up the developers of the embedded product to make it stable. This is as true on Linux as it is on CE as it is on VxWorks.

    Now, if the operating environment itself is not stable, this screws the developers as well. Fortunately, most embedded OSes and Linux are both stable enough when the hardware and software run on them are restricted (as it is with all embedded systems).

  • Let's not be too hasty here. Have you taken a browse through many open-source projects lately?
  • Seeing the code is but the first step. Did you actually *compile* the code and then execute it? Microsoft has given lip service to opening source code before, but they've never promised to release all the source to a working version. Unless you can take the source, compile it, and produce a working executable, then there's no point.
  • Yeah, I was aware of the CE NCs. However, my understanding is that they weren't selling well because most orgs just recycled 586-class PC hardware for this purpose.
    --
  • Now this is amusing. After seeing a constant barrage of "M$ Should Open Source...", they take a step in the direction of open sourcing CE, and now we have a barrage of whining too.

    Is this a case of "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it" or is it simply a case of complaining about M$'s evil empire no matter what they do? Lets all try not to be quite so hypocritical when we ruthlessly slam MS while elevating our dear Linux.

    -Jer
    -Jer
  • This is pure marketing hype. CE has been a source-release, or at least modular with a good ammount of source since inception. Any small footprint OS comes with source.

    Why?

    Because you only compile in what you need. QNX, VxWorks, CE and others. This is nothing new at all, almost redundant. Microsoft is just trying to get some hype.

    Again, nothing has changed.

    -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

  • That attitude is short sighted and elitist

    you forgot: ironic, sarcastic, and funny ;-)

    Don't take everything so seriously...

    Chris
  • Yep nothing really has changed, except the cost.

    It's not OpenSource though.

    It's just going to be free. They're giving away WinCE to help grow market share and sell more compilers. I realize that amazon has not yet patented this business strategy, but in the RealWorld it is generally known as loss leader marketing.

    Give away the razor, make a fortune on the blades.

    I agree... Yippee, big freaking deal.
  • Again, here, Microsoft is ripping off Apple, who was the FIRST major software company to pervert the definition of "open source" to it's own purposes.

    Um, how has Apple "perverted" the meaning of Open Source? If you want the source to the kernel underlying Mac OS X (Darwin), you can go and download it. You can do what you want with it. The same is true for a streaming QuickTime server.

    Apple hasn't open sourced any of the graphical layers of Mac OS X, but this is abundantly clear in the documentation. It's their choice. Put whatever GUI you want on top of Darwin and redistribute it.

    -jon

  • To quote from "The Princess Bride":

    Hah hah hah hah hah hah clunk...

    [Hey, send a not to Bill G, we just offed one more Linux developer...]

    Just kidding. Actually, I've got better things to do with my time than look at any of Redmond's source code.
  • Someone mod the parent to this down. I'm usually the last to get into Moderation babble, but this one is just godawful. I mean, yes, some OSS code is pretty damn bad. Looking at RandomFreshmeatApp version 0.0.1 that just had its first public release, it's pretty bad.

    And even some more important apps out there aren't coded too well (Imlib comes to mind). But part of what makes Open Source what it is, is the improvement of important things. If some software is really that important to everyone, it gets worked on. And it gets prettier. Want an example, look at pixbuf-engine in the Gnome CVS tree. The biggest effort of the current maintainer was to clean everything up from the old pixmap GTK engine. And it became better.

    But in the end, the fact that a commercial company, making gobs of money, shouldn't be putting out amature code like you get from the RandomFreshmeat app. And also in the end, a comment that has no real substance and just trolls on deserves a *4*.
  • Well, when coding for WinCE, what API do you use? It's not just Win32, is it? Because if it isn't, it means that they still bring in money from their real cash cow, Win32.

    Now, if Win32 was opened and every major OS out there could have a Win32 implementation that ran any Windows App imaginable, Windows would be dead.

    But letting people peek at CE won't help us move toward that goal.
  • by toofast ( 20646 )
    I don't see why M$ would embrace Open Source software. If they were to Open Source WinCE, do you think that they would publicly admit that th OSS community actually improved their product?

    That would be an indirect endorsement of Linux.

    I think M$ know that some of the best programmers (technical aspect) are OSS programmers, but they wouldn't have us believe that!
  • Sure, I love FreeBSD and OpenBSD like anyone, but only geeks know about xBSD. The whode damn planet knows about Linux, and that's where public perception sees Open Source.

    I appreciate your support of Open Source, but it is Linux that has rendered the Open Source movement a public one.
  • This means nothing to any of us until this stuff is released under the GPL. Until then, its useless marketing garbage.
  • by eln ( 21727 )
    I would argue that in the eye of the general
    public, Open Source DOES equate to Linux.

    The Linux community and the Open Source community
    are considered identical by the plebes, and in
    fact by quite a few of the members of the Linux
    community (the less informed ones, obviously).

    Hence, I think the poster you're replying to has
    a valid point...if Microsoft were ever to actually
    Open Source any of their stuff (for the publicity,
    obviously), they would never admit to having
    gained anything useful themselves from the
    experience, as that would validate the method
    as more than just a publicity gimmick, and
    would give more credit to the process that drives
    the Linux world, which is obviously not what
    Microsoft wants.
  • This does not suprise me.

    If you look at what WinCE is supposed to be; a Microsoft STRATEGIC MOVE, it was done as quickly and as cheaply as possible to give MS a product to offer in the handheld/settop market, to prevent possible competitors from making an end-run around the PC.

    If your project's #1 priority is "get something out there fast!!" it's not going to result in clean or elegant code.

    Needless to say, this is probably the most common #1 priority among commercial software products in this industry.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Ahh. Right. Another oops. The link really is LinuxCE [linuxce.org]. Just as a friendly note to moderators, when you see something like this and see that it is not a valid link, make sure that it is true, that it does work, and that it actually exists. I should have noticed that the first thing, but I failed to do so. Once again, I apologise.
  • by jtn ( 6204 )
    No, it would be an indirect endorsement of the open source method. Open source development does not equate to Linux; or would you have us believe that XFree86 and Apache are merely Linux projects?
  • Linux is out of its league in embedded systems.

    I disagree. It's relatively small, very powerful, efficent, portable....

    I like Linux, but would never want it to be used on aircraft or controlling an anti-lock braking system.

    Would you rather those systems run Windows CE? Personally, I'd feel a lot better with a proven and stable OS behind the scenes. (I see no problem with Linux on an aircraft.)

    "Best tool for the job" is infinitely more important than advocacy.

    If you read my post, I said: "Which is better at doing the job, doing it right, and doing it quickly? THAT'S the one the developers are going to pick."

    I didn't say it *had* to be Linux.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • What was that in the Halloween documents about embracing and extending into the OS arena much like they have in other areas?

    Could this be some sick twist of that old MS ploy.

    Embrace - Call what they're doing OS even though it blatantly isn't.

    Extend - Use their market power to convince corporate america that what they're doing is real OS.

    Then just use that posistion to downplan Linux and true OS as some sort of communist joke.

    Man, I depress myself when I try to think like MS.

  • You can download the slashdot code yourself, setup a pro Microsoft discussion forum, and editorialize (or not) any way you please.

    That is the meaning of open source: you have access to the source code and can do with it whatever you like (subject to conditions of the GPL, MIT, BSD, or other open-source license it is distributed under).

    Open source is completely orthogonal to the issues you raise. Certainly slashdot, an unashamed open-source advocacy, news, and disucssion community, is in no way obligated to pay any lipservice whatsoever to stories or products you may think highly of, but you have access to the very source code slashdot is built from and can easilly build your own pro-M$ (or pro-whatever) site yourself.

    Oh, BTW, the FreeBSD 4.0-RELEASE story came out yesterday. I just finished an ftp install onto a test box about a half hour ago. A very, very nice release, and a significant improvement over the already excellent 3.4-STABLE.
  • The article goes to great pains to be clear that they aren't going open source. But also from the article, it sounds as though the "sources" -- probably Microsoft's Office of Media "Leaks" -- may not have been as careful about the distinction, in the hope that sloppy reporters would not have made it clear.

    It's not like Microsoft has never done this sort of thing before. The only surprise is how many reporters still don't read MS PR carefully enough.

  • I like the assertion that a network switch is more complicated than a handheld device, and will therefore require the extra beef of NT.

    I guess the author is just rephrasing some M$ propaganda, but, come on, that's a ludicrous statement.

    Unless, of course, the handheld device is a spork.

    --
    blue
  • whine whine whine. Is that all people do on here anymore? I think it's cool that MS is going to open up CE under whatever license, why? CE has alot of potential applications that open code would be great for. One of the best examples would be embedded and non-legacy systems. Right now If someone wants to build a low power limited feature product they need to make their own OS with their own software APIs or figure out how to fit a current OS onto their design. You say Linux; a multi-user OS is fine for workstations, servers, and to a lesser extent plain Joe Average desktops but when it comes to closed single user mini-boxes its utility dimishes. WinCE has the advantage of being very similar to Windows which means programmers could port their code relatively easily to whatever device. I bet one of the first places it pops up will be set top boxes, RTOS non-legacy low power products. Because of DirectX being deeply embedded into the CE API it wouldn't be too difficult to build fairly advanced gaming machines using stock hardware rather than spending megabucks designing your own. DirectX would also benefit game programmers because they could develop in a familiar environment. Stop whining you whiners.
  • For an article describing something that is completely different from open source, they sure did use the term quite a lot. It sounds like they're just talking about a free-as-in-beer but very restrictive license for some hardware developers.

    Damned straight you'll incur my wrath.

  • Perhaps some of the Win32 code would be useful for the WINE project? Of course, Windows CE has a different quirky implementation of Win32 than Windows 9X and NT. Presumably, no WINE user will want to emulate WinCE apps?? ;-)
  • The interesting thing was I used extrans, and a is one of the supported links. Right now the box definitely shows as "Extrans (html tags to text)", and if this isn't <b>bold</b> I think Rob has a bug to fix.
  • You are correct. My type-o. I suck.
  • I will not buy an American made car. Or better to say, I will not buy a car designed by an American corporation. Why? The same reason I don't use M$ products. Neither entity has a goal of delivering me a quality product. Instead, they both concentrate solely on maximising their own gain. American made cars appear to be designed to die at about 5 years (this has been my experience, YMMV). What a suprise that this is about the same time as most people's finance period. It is my belief that American metallurgy and quality control is good enough that a corporate boss can say "I want this part to last between 30 and 36 months" and he'll get his way. The point here isn't that American make poor quality cars. Just the opposite, they make high quality cars that are designed to break down under coporate fiat.

    The same is true of M$. The quality of the end product is not controlled by the quality of the engineers. It is dictated by corporate fiat. In this case, Bill says "You have 3 months to produce a product", and then the company markets a first pass attempt. M$ definately has good programmers, but that doesn't mean that they are allowed to make good products.
  • But don't bias the reporting of the stories.
    I dunno about you, but I come here for a specific brand of news. That news must be selected with one, and only one set of criteria. I don't think that it's unfair to call this criteria a bias, but I do think it's wrong to chastize slashdot for it. I personally am rather fond of the stories I read here. If I wanted to read about general computing, I'd go to ZDNet Computing or one of any number of other sites. If I wanted to read about pseudo-trendy almost-cutting-edge news, I'd read Wired. I think it's important to realize that the bias which you call for the disposal of is quite necessary.

    Furthermore, many respectible news agencies have extremely biased reporting styles. ZDNet appears to irrationally favor Linux over other operating systems, www.benews.com seems to like BE and for whatever reasons, and www.microsoft.com appears to be a page devoted largely to talk of some familiy of operating systems I've never heard of.

    Serriously though, everyone gives Slashdot a lot of crap about their reporting. If you're looking for something that you're not getting here, go elsewhere.

    And as others have mentioned, yes, BSD did get it's own article. Look before you leap :P.

    -rt
    ======
    Now, I think it would be GOOD to buy FIVE or SIX STUDEBAKERS
    and CRUISE for ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING!!

  • So is the source from WinCE available anywhere on the Net? Someone who reads /. has to be an MSDN member, right? get a free GeoCities homepage and post it!


    Cthulhu for President! [cthulhu.org]
  • Also, I think a little less bias in the selection of the stories themselves could be useful. Who on earth made the decision that the release of FreeBSD 4.0 wasn't even worthy of a mention as a "quickie,"

    Perhaps you should read a little more of slashdot in future, to catch information about FreeBSD 4.0 [slashdot.org]? Or, if you're more specifically interested in BSD articles only, maybe just read all the articles about BSD [slashdot.org]? After all, the information is quite available to you.
  • I found this ironic too, then I went and re-read the article's header/title:
    MS may try to boost WinCE, Linux-style
    But as you say, the article then falls over itself (as any net reporter without sufficiently flame retardant attire should) to say that MS has no intention of open sourcing CE. *chuckle*

    On a side note...I noticed the article on ZDnet earlier today but after reading its title blurb I deemed it a waste of my time to read. But, of course, once it shows up on /. I follow the rest of the moo-cows and read the friggin thing! *belch* Scuze me, cud going into stomach #2.

    --
  • No offense, but Linux is out of its league in embedded systems. Sure, you could use it, but embedded systems programmers are very particular about things--as they should be, considering that they're often working on systems that lives depend upon. You would never want a system with unpredicatable context switching times or free-for-all memory usage (i.e. dependent on malloc) in a critical system. I like Linux, but would never want it to be used on aircraft or controlling an anti-lock braking system. Never. There's a huge difference between reliability on the desktop and reliability in situations like these. "Best tool for the job" is infinitely more important than advocacy.
  • A gimmick indeed.

    WinCE has been dropped by more and more vendors. They need something to get it back up in "the public eye." So they pretend to "open source" the code and get idiots to wet their pants over it.

  • Why don't moderators browse at -1? This AC has a valid point. Are you telling me that his comment, at score 0, is worse than THIS
    {
    As most users in the corporate world already know, WinCE is the one and only operation system to run. It is the best OS ever written. I run everything on CE, it totally rules.

    I asked my friends and they all agreed that CE is the best OS in the whole world. Why anyone else would write anything that would compete with this wonderful OS is beyond me. CE runs games and solitare, and doesnt crash much. What else can you ask for?

    I think everyone should be running CE and i cant figure out why Microsoft would release the source. I think they must be losing their minds... LONG LIVE CE!!

    Brought to you by an adoring fan of the Natalie Portman fan club.
    } comment which scores 1? C'mon folks, MS might be bad, but nothing gives moderators the right to be baised like that.
  • Also, I think a little less bias in the selection of the stories themselves could be useful. Who on earth made the decision that the release of FreeBSD 4.0 wasn't even worthy of a mention as a "quickie," yet the book review on assosciate programs was worthy of a whole article?

    Erm...however decided it wasn't worthy of a mention of a quickie probably made that decision based on the fact that it already had its own article. FreeBSD 4.0 Released. [slashdot.org]

    I have to say that I agree with the main thrust of your comment; the editorializing in the article topics and some of the article selection does get a bit ridiculous sometimes. However, you might want to do the slightest modicum of research (i.e. scan the Older Stuff slashbox) before you spout off ignorantly.
  • yeah, but in the past N years the Linux TCP/IP stack has been rewritten from the ground up something like 7 times. At least as of NT 4 (I don't know anyone working on 2000) the stack was the same code that was written for win3.1


    Want to work at Transmeta? Hedgefund.net? Priceline?

  • Although they do release the source to NT to select partner schools/companies, I've heard some people inside MS say that they would never release it generally because they are embarrassed at how sloppy/messy it is.


    Want to work at Transmeta? Hedgefund.net? Priceline?

  • Sigh... I hope I get this one in M2. This is absolutely not off-topic. Until we have some kind of persistent thread where we can discuss topics primarily related to Slashdot, a post to a related/example article is the only acceptable forum for concerns of this nature.

    jimjag was, in my opinion, out of line with his comments. Yes, he's obviously been around long enough and is knowledgable enough that the Slashdot powers that be respect his opinion more than they do mine; he gets to post the stories, and I do not. However, that does not mean he (or myself or anyone else) is above reproach. There was no good reason that his thoughts couldn't have -- and shouldn't have -- been posted in the discussion forum.

    Please, let's see a little less editorializing in the items posted. Leave that to the person who submitted them, or to the discussion itself. There's no need for a display like this one.

    -jay
  • Don't fret too much about Embedded NT. It's just one of the VMS test kernels they had lying around, with a couple of K in code tweak. In fact, most of the changes they made were to remove the 'Copyright 1989 Digital Equipment Corporation' notices, so you they couldn't have fucked it up too badly..
  • Eventually you'd have different versions of the kernel, 15 different (and not totally compatible) window managers, config files that you had to edit by hand using an external keyboard, etc.

    :)
  • Why does everyone keep saying that Microsoft is going to open their source code to satisfy the DOJ?

    Opening the source code will not remove the monopoly. I seriously doubt it's even being considered. I know it makes all the unix hax0rs happy because it sounds vindictive and it's something Microsoft doesn't want to do.

    That's not usually how punishments work. Just because something is something *you'd* like to see doesn't make it a valid punishment.

    Hey, I know, why don't you write the DOJ a letter and say "I think a good solution to the Microsoft monopoly abuse would be to make Bill Gates eat some dog shit. That would be funny!"

    Bah. Try to be realistic, okay people? I realize you all want to be Altruistic Open Source Hackers but that doesn't mean the rest of the world works on your sense of irony.

    If anything it will be a serious internal change to prevent them from exploiting the monopoly powers that they have. Open sourcing their software won't do it, and I even have doubts if that's within the governments power.

    By the way, this article isn't necessarily to the author of this specific post, 348's was just the most recent one I saw on this thread when I finally got annoyed enough to post. Nothing specifically against him.

    So...will this get moderated down Flamebait or Off-Topic?

  • do you think anyone anywhere will be able to figure out what the code does? Or fix the bugs? Or make the system workable with any reasonable amount of work? Bah. They're "Open Sourcing" it because it seems like a good move to their PR department. "Hey - look! We support Open Source! See our code? See how big it is?" Yeah, I'd love to see Windows source code - I don't know if it would be readable by me, but I'd still love to see it.

    Eruantalon
  • Depends on what you mean by good. They are fairly "user friendly" (although there are several notoriously BAD elements in the UI design, I still have to admit that it's way ahead of what I have been able to find for linux - while some programs actually have very nice GUIs even those are hampered by the failings of X still, i.e. things like no "real" cut and paste across programs - usually it can be done, I know, but X is still far less friendly than windows, and this has to affect the real world rating of programs under them.)

    On the other hand, in a number of other respects these programs are EXTREMELY poor - security being the number one concern, executable documents and the like offer very little boost to usability and totally break any notion of security. Of course, this may be on purpose - if it weren't for Word and Outlook's offences in these respects folks like McAffee (sp?) would be considerably less wealthy...

    Wandering perhaps to the edge of being off-topic, my personal nomination for the one thing that linux needs most atm is a good GUI standard - no flames, I agree one hundred percent about freedom of choice, I love being able to choose how to set up my desktop to make me happy and so forth. But - the problem is, none of the currently available environments are really good, in a UI design/ease of use sense. It would be really nice if I could set up a workstation with a consistent, well designed UI using linux, but I can't quite do that yet. GNUStep anyone? Seriously... the NeXT stations were, in my opinion and in the opinion of a great many experts in the field, the pinnacle to date for usability. They are far superior to anything M$ has put out, Apple is trying to improve on it, but they seem to be breaking as much as they improve - this looks like a great opportunity for anyone that wants to see linux become viable in the desktop market. I suck as a coder or I would be hacking away at GNUStep right now, but since I haven't coded my way out of a paper bag in years I'll have to be satisfied hoping some people that CAN code think about this and maybe do something about it.

  • Why do companies get blasted here for finally releasing something as open source, even if it isn't under the GPL or to a wide distribution?

    Logic dictates that there has to be a first time that a company releases something as open source. I had to make the same comment when Glide was opened up. The idea is that the momentum will build and eventually they'll release everything (in a perfect world). Don't blast them for not following the practices of Redhat, RMS et al.... blast them because their software is buggy, bloated and ill-conceived.

  • Having actually seen WindowsCE code I can say its *HAS* to be a much cleaner API than the One used in Win98 and Win2K.

    Okay its not THE greatest but I did not die laughing or anything. Take this with a grain of salt since I have no qualifications really to say if WindowsCE code is higher quality than Linux code or vice versa however there did not seem to be all that much kludge and stupid stuff going on. The API is a bit cleaner than the regular windows API. :-o

    I had to do a small thing for CE once and I found the source on our MSDN disks :-).

    So what! WinCE being made Open Source a la Microsoft means nothing to the real world. Nobody will embrace it because Microsoft is crooked, dishonest, greedy, and devious, and the world has already awakened up to that fact. Can you imagine a Nazi opening a Jewish community center?

    Microsoft is incapable of writing good code, so why should the Open Source community do it for them. WinCE is properly named. There are no honest open source coders out here who will sell their souls to Microsoft to promote their crapola idea of "open source" WinCE.

    It is not that Microsoft "doesn't get it" about what Open Source really is-- They don't want to get it-- they just want the world to think they are joining the human race. Fat chance! As one human with voting rights, I do not intend to let them in! Fsck Bill Gates. Fsck Microsoft.

    Microsoft is dying. Linux isn't killing it. Their own greed and stupidity is.

    I hope the DOJ wins the antitrust case, and all of the appeals that Microsoft makes fail. But I also hope that nothing is done to break them up. They deserve to be destroyed as the whole entity of evil that they are. And they will be-- by their own inept, stupidly greedy, Machiavellian deviousness. The world already knows what they are-- just let them sink into their own quagmire of putrifaction and feces.

  • If the Wine people got their hands on that source, in some mysterious way, it could parhaps help them a bit with the rather inadequately documented Windows API. How much of the standard Windows APIs can be found in CE? Any windows hacker (Ehumm) care to comment?
  • Point well taken. . . However, M$ actually hasn't been found guilty of being a monopoly yet. There was a finding of fact ruled on by a judge, that does not make them guilty with imminent punishment. I think it's safe to day that that day is coming. And they know it. They are currently in a form of arbitration with the DOJ. If they can prove, act or justify to an extent they they are going to change their monopolistic ways, the DOJ HAS to listen and this WILL have an impact on the possible breakup of M$. They are/will do anything they can to protect their domain and keep their shareholder value as high as they can. If this means tossing a few meaningless morsels to the open source community to save a much bigger % of marketshare and stock value, they'll do it. Seems like a pretty good defense to me.
  • Your post was not read as a flame. The reason they were tagged as a monopoly was for their business practices. The main one being that M$ just doesn't play nice in the sandbox with competition. What better way to show good sportsmanship that to publicly release the source. (Although we know it's not truly open). For PR, this is great M$ says, look we're cooperating, in fact we're giving our hard work away for free.

    Ernie

  • They are looking at CE because this way they can tell DOJ "we are seriously looking at open sourcing our products now". CE is the least impacting product they could do this with, if they actually move ahead and release the source. Who would care about hacking CE? Palms killing them anyway. If they have even one open product they get leverage with DOJ and say, hey we're the new M$, please be nice and give us a break, look we support open source and open competition.
  • Its not *THAT* hard to license parts of windows source code. It just costs money thats all. I think of they are speaking of open source it will be something a little more open like possibly a MSDN thing or so. I know people who have seen doze source and lived so you can get access to it if you want it bad enuff :-)

    Jeremy

  • And finally, if Slashdot's editorial policy bothers you so much, there's a place you can go that may help.

    Why is it that every time someone criticizes slashdot, the only response that anyone gives is that the person doing the criticizing should take the code and start their own threaded discussion stie? I'm not claiming for a second that I could build, from the ground up, a site of the quality of slashdot. What I am suggesting, however, is that there are improvements that could be made to an already great resource. It seems like the knee-jerk reaction is just "go get the code and do it yourself," but if you stop and think about it, that's a pretty weak argument. If you disagree with my contentions, argue agains the contentions themselves. Constructive criticism has never hurt anyone. Just because I think there's something wrong with the current system doesn't mean I want to scrap it all, nor does it mean that I think that the problems are irreperable.

  • I find it hard to believe that so many people seem to think that because WinCE came from Microsoft that it is crap. Are all of you that much better than any programmer at Microsoft? Yes, it may be a marketing gimmick, and no, it's not the crown jewels, but I'm sure that there is *something* in that code that could be of use to someone. Even if as an anti-microsoft zealot, you can use it to see ways not to do something. In any case, I think it's detrimental to disparage this code just because of its source. If you are pro- open system, then you should welcome this - obviously if you have the source, it makes it much easier to develop applications that interoperate. Why not take this opportunity to allow people to use their Windows CE devices with Linux boxes, including more advanced functionality that hasn't yet been developed. Anything can be a resource.
  • Hey, "Relatioship Marketing" equals "Good Juju" for the stockholders.

    kwsNI
  • Actually, you sir, are misinformed. Slashdot, being the great service it is likes to email me the last 24 hours of headlines for the days when i'm not clicking every 15 seconds to look for a new one. I just happened to notice that FreeBSD 4.0 was a headline on there, so I believe that you must have missed it. Read about it here [slashdot.org]

    -d11

  • by mosch ( 204 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:02AM (#1197345) Homepage

    Actually it is a valid link. It's just supposed to be www.linuxce.org [linuxce.org].


    ----------------------------
  • by diaphanous ( 1806 ) <pgarland.gmail@com> on Thursday March 16, 2000 @01:48PM (#1197346)
    Human beings, (and any similarly designed AI programs and humans) including Cmdr Taco, Hemos, and whoever the hell jimjag is, have opinions. What is much worse than the *editors* editorializing, is when media outlets assume a veneer of objectivity while concurrently promoting an agenda or not questioning the agenda or the people they agree with or who pay their salaries. Slashdot has been pro-free-software before "open source" was a buzzword exploited by Sun/Apple/(MS?). I know this and I know they are owned by VA.

    I am a reasonably intelligent human being (or AI or alien...) and I don't have to agree with what the editors of slashdot think. (except when Rob comes to me in my dreams and orders me to buy a VA Linux box). If I think that they are misreporting something, intentionally or subconciously, or just have their basic data wrong, I can check the facts myself, and make up my own mind and try to convince other people of my view. Moreover I hope that other people would take a rationally skeptical view when I open my mouth (or logic gates or jlkjds'ds oriface)

    I've been reading slashdot for more than 2 years in part because it is visibly run by human beings (or AIs (who need to get a date with a pretty little ispell program) or aliens). Sometimes they f*ck up. But I can deal with that, I'm a human being too (or ... )

  • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:30AM (#1197347)
    Microsoft may give away the software to developers in the embedded-device market -- an effort to blunt Linux inroads.

    In a lot of cases, it's not about who's open-source and who isn't. People are using Linux in embedded systems (as well as other places) because it does a better job than it's counterparts. So what if it's free, and open source. Which is better at doing the job, doing it right, and doing it quickly?

    THAT'S the one the developers are going to pick.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • by Zoltar ( 24850 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @12:09PM (#1197348)
    Amen to that my brother. In my quest to learn GTK programming I have spent some time hacking through some of the apps that ship with gnome and I have to say that they SHOULD LEARN TO PUT SOME FUCKING COMMENTS in their code.

    Writing good code is more than coming up with clever little hacks or the tightest algorithm. Writing clean, well commented code with descriptive variables goes a long way in my book. Some code I looked at was just fucking awfull..no comments at all and variable names with no meaning at all. Yeah it's a pain in the ass to write comments, but it's more of a pain in the ass to slog through uncommented spaghetti code.

    So don't get all high and mighty until your house is in order.
  • by a.out ( 31606 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:06AM (#1197349)
    I know for a fact, from talking to a Microsoft employee that there *are* people at Microsoft who are pro open-source. Remember when ESR gave a talk at Microsoft a while back in the summer?

    Well it seems as though they might be taking some of the good points of his talk (like they would do with ALL of the people that they bring in: and they have a very *large* impressive list of speakers) and applying it possibly to CE.. Why you may ask?? here is my theory:

    CE is loosing badly in the PCD market. Palm has taken out the whip and is giving them a good beating. CE is a very modular Operating System that you *can* hack on to some extent. For example let's say that you don't like the graphics subsystem (as in the case of some OEMs) you can rip it out program you own and plug it back in using the hooks that exist in the other modules. Of course the next logical step here is to open some of the source up.

    But then again it might not be a PR thing. CE 3.0 is just around the corner. (could this be ths oss release??) With CE 3.0 they are promising some sort of Real Time capablility which would be geared towards the embeded environment. Now wouldn't it make a bit more sence to have an open environment for this kind of thing?

    Getting back to MS and open source. Most MS employees took ESR's talk very well but there were two points that some could not get over
    1) Security in an open environment is harder: (we all know the downfalls of security though obscurity: sooner or later someone figures it out)
    2) Smart people don't work for free making free projects: (actually I heard that someone put up their hand and said "hey: I will never work for free" In which I reply with two things, first think speech not beer, second one if my boxes has been up for 108 days cause it was programmed by someone stupid :)
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:38AM (#1197350) Homepage
    Can't you see what this is? A cynical attempt to kill a large proportion of the open source community. How many of us are literally going to die laughing when we see the quality of this code?
  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:01AM (#1197351) Homepage Journal

    The article had MS PR flaks describing CE in a number of unflattering ways--including as a "companion to NT Embedded." I guess I should count myself fortunate that I've never even heard of this critter. Personally, I can't imagine NT having the uptime, stability, or simplicity to operate as an embedded system.

    In the meantime, can anybody here think of anything in CE's source that might be worth reading? MSFT's not exactly giving away the whole store here.

    You know what I really want them to open source? Word for DOS 5.0. There never was a nicer word processor.

    --

  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @02:57PM (#1197352)
    Actually, CE is a pretty damn good OS in its own right. It is influenced by NT, offers DirectX support in some versions, is fairly light, fairly memory conserving, fast, and fairly stable. Might suck as a palmtop OS (too big) but would be pretty nifty as a general purpose desktop OS. If the Sound/Input/Graphics/Music parts of the Win32 API were taken out of CE, and ones based on DirectX with some extra libraries over them to implement some easier to code functionality, it might make a fairly good general purpose OS. The reason is that
    A) It already runs on x86. The only thing that would be needed would be to tweek it for the architecture.
    B) It already runs on a lot of RISC procs. Should be fairly easy to port it to some more. The code base is probably protable because it runs on x86, MIPS, and SH3.
    C) Most hardware already has DirectX drivers. Small tweeks and a recompile might be necessary, but could be doable.
    D) DirectX on this system rocks. It is pretty deeply embedded. Imagine, your normal desktop being drawn through DirectDraw, ultra low latency sound through DirectSound, and low overhead input from DirectInput. Okay, enough about DirectX, I think you get the point.
    E) At an 8 meg memory footprint (maybe 16 meg if you put all the other stuff I mentioned) it would whoop Linux/X, Windows, and most of the other GUI OSs out there. (Even BeOS needs 32meg to feel like BeOS)
    F) Back to DirectX, the driver model is greatly simplified, giving a smaller chance of stuff breaking.
    You do realize that MS is standing there with an OS that with a few months of careful coding, could easily become a very kick-ass Windows 2001.
  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:59AM (#1197353)
    Here's a point-by-point dissection:

    Microsoft Corp. is contemplating giving Windows CE to some developers for free.

    The keyword is "some". And by developers, they mean the developers they recognize as developers. That is, friends. There is nothing wrong about doing it. Nor is there anything new about it.

    Microsoft's revenue comes, instead, on development tools and maintenance contracts, sources said.

    The open source OSs, Linux, *BSD, and Hurd, come with all of the development tools bundled. You can get them from the same sources that you got the OS and all of the applications from. If you have the program, you can get the source and the tools to compile it. Every user is a potential developer, or more to the point, every potential developer can become an actual developer for the cost of downloading and installing the tools.

    For now, developers say, Microsoft isn't contemplating going so far as to turn Windows CE into an open-source project, which would allow developers to make changes to the source code and share their work with Microsoft and others in the development community.

    So they are not creating any potential developers.

    Why now? Microsoft is considering the move to stave off competitive embedded Linux products.

    The bottom line is that Linux is more portable. For embedded systems, having a portable OS means that your code can outlive the hardware it originally ran on. Oh wait, that is true of any kind of code. It also means that your choice of hardware is not limited by the OS as much. I'd say that constitutes substantial pressure.

    Now, why could this help them anyway? Is there anyone inside Microsoft or out who believes that the open source community is Microsoft's friend? Okay, there are many people in open source who also use Microsoft products and are happy with them. But alienating the open source community is not exactly something Microsoft loses sleep over. This gesture doesn't mean much, but the people it is meant to impress are people who have heard the words "Linux" and "Open Source" only in connection with business news about the Redhat and VA Linux IPOs. They haven't read The Cathedral and the Bazaar [tuxedo.org] and they don't know what makes open source work.
  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:41AM (#1197354)
    This looks a lot like Ballmer's constant officially-denied claims that MS may consider open-sourcing Windows itself. Key words that give away that this just sounds like publicity: "Microsoft Corp. is contemplating giving Windows CE to some developers for free". In fact, it doesn't even really look like they're going to make it "open source" in the sense that Sun thinks of as "open source" meaning "Yeah, you can look at the source code, but if you do anything to it, you can't distribute the changes to anyone but us." It looks more like "you can look at the code, but don't even think about changing anything."

    I think the article should have said something like: "Microsoft is contemplating the possibility of thinking about maybe considering letting some specific developers in certain situations look at parts of the WindowsCE source code."


    -=-=-=-=-

  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @02:18PM (#1197355)
    micros~1 spends millions each quarter slamming their message in my face about how wonderful their pithy little products are. I see /. as equal time.

    Our humble little /. is only a tiny little blip compared to the mountian of marketing garbage that micros~1 spews out every day. I, for one, welcome the editorializing about micros~1 in order to have a balanced opinion of the facts.

    Where can I turn to find real-world, hands-on evaluations of micros~1 products? MS? ummmm no. They're so in love with their stock options you hear actual ms "product managers" using phrases like 'this __DOS2.1-DOS3.0-Win1.0-Win3.0-MsBOB-WinCE___ is an exciting new paradigm shift'.

    The best anology I can think of is watching your network evening news (liberal) and tuning into Rush (conservative). Neither may be perfect, but by sampling content from both sources, I get to decide what's signal and what's noise.

    The problem is that you're so conditioned to reading the "ZDnet ms press release" on a daily basis that this is the first time you're hearing "The emperor has no clothes".
    _________________________

  • Uhm Having actually seen WindowsCE code I can say its *HAS* to be a much cleaner API than the One used in Win98 and Win2K.

    Okay its not THE greatest but I did not die laughing or anything. Take this with a grain of salt since I have no qualifications really to say if WindowsCE code is higher quality than Linux code or vice versa however there did not seem to be all that much kludge and stupid stuff going on. The API is a bit cleaner than the regular windows API. :-o

    I had to do a small thing for CE once and I found the source on our MSDN disks :-).



  • by medicthree ( 125112 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:49AM (#1197357) Homepage
    I'm a little sick of the editorializing thats going on on the level of the actual story presentations here at /. I understand that the whole point of the site is to let any and all opinions be heard--that's fine, as long as the opinions are coming from the posts themselves. I see little to no value of there being opinions in the stories themselves--let the readers read the stories and make up their own minds. If a particular reader--or even the vast majority of readers--believes that MS (wow--can you believe it, I'm not writing it as "M$"--that must be a /. first!) is evil, that's great.. let him/her have her opinion heard in the replies. But don't bias the reporting of the stories.

    Also, I think a little less bias in the selection of the stories themselves could be useful. Who on earth made the decision that the release of FreeBSD 4.0 wasn't even worthy of a mention as a "quickie," yet the book review on assosciate programs was worthy of a whole article? God forbid a VA Linux subsidiary would have any mention of a non-Linux based OS in a somewhat positive light! Okay, openness lovers, why not open up your story selection process a little bit?

  • by Raunchola ( 129755 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:08AM (#1197358)
    Yes, Microsoft opening up their source code to CE doesn't exactly match what Linux zealots consider "true" open source. Quite frankly, do you even expect that they would open up the source code to any of their programs and say, "Here, take it and redistribute our programs for free?"

    Microsoft is in this for the money. If they're going to open up the source to their flagship programs, then it'd be stupid not to expect that there will be heavy licensing and the such attached with it. Do you think Microsoft could afford to let their programs go open source...at least as defined by the Linux crowd?

    Microsoft has stockholders to keep happy, and they sure as hell aren't going to keep them happy by losing money by open sourcing their flagship programs.

    ...expecting this post to be moderated down as "Unpopular Opinion," or something related...sense the cynicism?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:51AM (#1197359)

    The Open Source pot should NOT be calling the Microsoft kettle black... take a look at some of the code from Open Source projects some time. It's some of the worst, inconsistently indented, uncommented, algorithmically brain-damaged on earth.

  • One of the original ideas behind CE was to use it as a 'network computer' OS, and also as a settop box system (XBox? WebTV?). The big problem with it is that it's never really gotten used for these things, and instead has been misapplied as a handlheld OS.

    The biggest problem with CE is that the rest of Microsoft isn't really behind it. New applications and services get rolled out for NT/98, and CE kinda gets left out in the cold. They haven't even provided CE a reasonable facimilie of Office, for example. Also, Windows 98 has been such a gold mine as a legacy system, they're in no hurry to replace it.

    The bottom line is that whatever technical merits CE has are obscured by MS political considerations. Too bad, as the consumer world would probably be better served by CE than the mess that is Win98.
    --
  • by barzok ( 26681 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:29AM (#1197361)
    Not a quickie, a whole article. Right here: BSD: FreeBSD 4.0 Released [slashdot.org]
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:27AM (#1197362) Homepage Journal
    Who on earth made the decision that the release of FreeBSD 4.0 wasn't even worthy of a mention as a "quickie," yet the book review on assosciate programs was worthy of a whole article?

    Did you miss this article [slashdot.org]?
  • by Mr Krinkle ( 112489 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:38AM (#1197363) Homepage
    Granted it isn't as much of a step as they could take. But it is still a step in the right direction. Of course I don't care if it was open source I would never look at the billions of lines of code for windows 2000:) Unless I was really into optimizing it for a game I was programming, but I don't program games so I will continue using my friendly UNIX servers. I would like to see them starting to open up more source so that maybe we could yank out parts of applications we dont need so that we could get them back to working on our old boxes. If this is a first step great and let us hope that. However, the bashes that are going to come will probably tell much more true of MS than hoping they will see this is good and become more and more open source in the future.
  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @01:17PM (#1197364) Homepage Journal

    You are certainly correct in assuming that Microsoft will act in Microsoft's best interests, but in this case I think that you are seriously mistaken in what their best interests might be.

    The fact of the matter is that Windows CE is going no where in a hurry. The Palm OS is creaming it for handhelds, and if it loses any more of the embedded market then it will be the first program in history to actually have negative marketshare. The only people interested in Windows CE are the people that Microsoft is paying to use it.

    Needless to say, there isn't much of business model in paying your customers to use your product.

    That's the whole point of this article. Microsoft can afford to give away the source code to Windows CE. Heck, they can even license it in such a way that it is basically free to use. What they can't afford is to be a non-entity in what is poised to be the next big thing. Hand-held and embedded devices are poised to become a market that is an order of magnitude bigger than the PC market. Microsoft has to have an OS that contends in this space even if they have to pay people to use it. After all, in the long run they can always recoup their money by selling development tools, or by charging small licensing fees. Licensing fees of less than a dollar a processor could be worth billions if Windows CE ran on every single one of your kitchen appliances, your car, your pager, your cellphone, your toilet, and your pet AIBO.

    Microsoft is finally coming to the realization that being the king of the desktop does not mean squat when it comes to PDAs and embedded OSes. They are faced with actual competition in this arena, and they are being handed their head. What's worse is they have very little leverage in this industry. No one cares if Office 2000 runs on their cell phone, and there are plenty of embedded OSes that are either free or ridiculously inexpensive (Linux being one that comes to mind). So Microsoft has to do something, and lowering the price and offering some access to the source code is a fairly obvious move. Their only real alternative is to give up this particular market as a lost cause.

    What you can bet that Microsoft won't do is release Windows CE under a license that would allow someone to fork the code base. I completely agree with you there. They are certainly not going to use a license like the GPL or BSDL. They probably won't even use a license as free as the Netscape Public License, but they will instead probably opt for something like Sun's Community Source License (or worse).

  • by Chris_Pugrud ( 16615 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:41AM (#1197365)
    Read the article. MS is focussing on giving away WinCE for free. They may give away the source, but that's doubtful. If they do give away the source, it will probably go out to a limited group.

    Why bother? There is too much publicity about companies that chose Linux because it was "Free". not "Open Source". MS Sees opportunity, they can capitolize on "Free" cause they hardly make any money on licensing. So this definately won't grow to the regular Wins because they make most of their money on those from licensing.

    We need to get more companies to emphasize "Open Source" when they discuss their choice of Linux for embedded systems.

    chris
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @11:26AM (#1197366) Homepage
    I briefly worked at a company that writes WinCE compilers and build tools for Microsoft. Microsoft outsources these projects to other companies. Compiling a WinCE kernel requires many batch files and a custom IDE called Microsoft Windows CE Platform Builder to edit the (ugly) config files. The Platform Builder IDE is based on the source code for Microsoft Visual Studio 5.0 (yes it's old code). This Microsoft C++ code was literally the worst code I have ever seen/debugged! I'm not exaggerating. I'm talking about C++ classes with 50+ public methods and 20+ public data members! Microsoft has no concept of modularity or data encapsulation.

  • by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Thursday March 16, 2000 @10:38AM (#1197367)
    You have been able to get the source for CE for a long time. An "evaulation" version of the Windows CE source comes with our MSDN disks. Of course, you still have to license it if you want to do anything with it, but the souce *IS* already available and has been for at least a year.

    If you really want a true open source OS for your Windows CE machine, take a look at <a href="http://www.linuce.org">LinuxCE</a>. A port of BSD is also up and running on the same devices.

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