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Microsoft

Petreley On Microsoft And Linux 156

Quite a number of people have woken up early in the morning to submit Nick Petreley's latest column in Linuxworld. It's kinda a grab bag column but he does reference a rumour that Microsoft has rewritten portions of Linux for use in Windows. I doubt anything like that has actually happened - but it's a strange world out there.
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Petreley On Microsoft and Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot which recently has become almost respectable and unbiased?
    You oweee mee a new keeeeyboard, this oneee has coffeeeeee undeeeer the keeeys now.
  • No, it is more pervasive than that. IMHO Microsoft definitely grafted some level of the entire BSD TCP/IP stack onto Windows to add "internet functionality" waaay back in 93/94. Until then they had no expertise in the protocol and needed a solution ASAP. As proof, I present the Windows NT directory "C:\winnt\system32\drivers\ETC". Note the odd name of that directory... now note its contents... among other things "services" and "hosts"... why in the world would Microsoft put a GUI on top of every aspect of TCP/IP but leave those two files alone as hand-editable plain-text files? Certainly you could argue that Microsoft coders got lazy and made them that way because they didn't want to bother with a gui for them, but *I* would argue that they in fact simply ran out of time (or didn't feel it was necessary) whilst porting the BSD stack to Windows. Yeah, I know that is flimsy proof, but if you think a company like Microsoft is above "lifting" code from a BSD'd OS (ie: no legal ramifications) then I'd say you're wrong.

    As for GPL'd code... I suspect Microsoft doesn't really need it. Imagine grafting a million lines of Linux kernel code into the XXX millions of lines of NT code... I doubt they would be compatable enough to make the time worthwhile. They might as well rewrite all that code from scratch.

  • By and large, I think that article is the biggest pile of shite I have ever read. If it were posted to /. it would quickly get moderated as "Troll", its that funny

    Quite. I rather think Nick has lost it with this one. Mostly because I can't actually imagine MicroSoft taking that kind of risk with parts of the crown jewels - a loss in a court battle vis-a-vis the GPL would result in huge chunks of Windows being forcibly released, something which Microsoft fought tooth and nail against during the antitrust trial.

  • Since the BSD license by purpose allows reuse in proprietary products.
  • Well, he may be going with another delusional conspiracy theory: that there may be a correlation between the recent Microsoft break-in and Corel selling their Linux operations.

    Think about it this way:
    -Corel hacks WINE to use it to port PerfectOffice/CorelDraw to Linux
    -Microsoft buys non-controlling stock in Corel
    -Microsoft claims break-in allowed sensitive code to slip out
    -Corel dumps their Linux operation

    Now, no matter what you think of Corel, it at least *looks* kinda fishy. I mean, Corel was already on Microsoft's shit list over buying WordPerfect, then decided to go into the OS market, and got more entries on the shitlist over helping develop a free Win32 API clone. So waddaya do to combat it? Buy stock, claim you've been broken into and that code has been stolen, and pressure Corel to stop developing WINE lest Microsoft take a claim that WINE has actual Win32 code in it public.

    Now, if you're the type of person to believe such a conspiracy theory (which Peterley seems to) you might feel compelled to fire back. Unfortunately, this theory may not be true and Peterley has decided to take on the 900lb. gorilla. Good luck, Nick. You're going to need it.
  • Well, if it weren't for the deplorable things Microsoft's PR/Marketing departments have been saying and implying about the free-OS world recently, I'd agree totally.
  • Yes, backdooring of this nature is certainly possible. However, it is fixable too. Just replace all the compilers and linkers and libraries on your system with signature verified binaries available from a trusted vender and then recompile your apps. This is equivalent to getting an authentic CD of the product from your vendor (Microsoft, or RedHat, or the FSF or whoever you choose).

    The tough part is detecting the backdoor. I dont believe that there is any good way to do that unless one audits the assembler code with a trusted disassembler.

    However, this is really not a disadvantage for *IX. Microsoft can fall prey to the same problem too. In fact, they would probably be in more trouble if this occurred. If by any chance all copies of Micrcosoft's build compiler got hit by the "Thompson poison", they are faced with an uphill task of purification - there is no other trusted source for the compiler.

  • You've missed the point

    1. This problem has nothing to do with *IX or WinXX. It is OS-independant

    2. *IX have more trusted copies because of multiple sources. It would be hard to backdoor every single trusted copy because you would have to do it at the FSF, at Redhat, Slackware, Debian,....you get the idea. This assumes of course, that the original FSF version from which all the other vendors got their trusted copies was good. In other words, if today, someone had to introduce a backdoor, they would have to backdoor all these copies. As opposed to just backdoor-ing the Microsoft trusted copies.

  • Not true. He demonstrated a compiler backdoor that would re-insert itself only if compiled with an infected compiler. Reread the ACM paper please.

  • I don't think Microsoft is using Linux in Windows... Where's Petreley's proof. Just a rumor... Geez.

    Since they've used the BSD code base before in Windows (take a look at the Winsock stuff and Winsock2 and some of their TCP/IP stack in NT) they may be using it to improve things. This, of course is legal and ok under the BSD license.

    Perhaps "Linux" is just the Microsoft shorthand for Open Source Unix-like software.

    --Bill Pechter
  • I think I'll have a little fun and bite back.

    You god damn Linux zealots make me SICK.

    I guess turnabout is fair play, since you Microsoft people have been making us sick for years.

    I work for Microsoft as a developer, and I really resent the fact that I and my coworkers are being called thieves.

    Perhaps because there is a grain of truth in it, and that truth hurts.

    We work hard on developing quality, innovative products here at Microsoft,

    Now it's my turn to be offended. Microsoft has a reputation of developing low-quality, copycat programs. Microsoft has been the number one contributer to the public's notion that computers are unreliable and crash frequently. Microsoft has a reputation of buying companies rather than developing software in-house. What you are describing seems to be the exception, not the rule. Furthermore, Microsoft has gone through great efforts to eliminate open protocols and standards and supplant them with their own. It is specifically for this reason that I hate Microsoft.

    and sorry but the odd time I have looked at Linux source code to get a better idea of how to come up with innovation solutions in Windows 2000 does *not* make me a thief!!

    If Linux were for sale Microsoft would probably have bought it already. That would make Microsoft less of a thief, n'est-ce pas?

    I wish you pimply-faced teenagers would take your 1960's-era piece of crap toy shareware so-called Operating System and shove it!

    God, where to start!

    • Linux has its roots in 1960's technology. So does IBM which currently rules the world. So does ethernet which currently runs the majority of all the networks.
    • "piece of crap" in what sense?
    • "toy"? yes, and also a valuable work tool. My company currently uses it to power all of its back-end servers. How expensive would the NT solution be?
    • "shareware" is simply false.
    • Most importantly, if Linux is as bad as you make it out to be, then why are you wasting time looking at the source code for ideas?


    Just stop sullying the reputation of my fine employer.

    Your employer has a well-earned reputation. Gone are the days where no one dared criticize Microsoft. Perhaps you just don't like hearing the truth.

    We are having enough problems without you faggots making things worse.

    Speaking as a gay man and not as a "Linux zealot," your problems are caused by your company's poor management and evil culture -- not by me and my faggot brethren. And since your argument is so pathetic, I don't really mind being your scapegoat.

  • by Howie ( 4244 )
    My memory of NT 3.51 is one of a much stabler OS than NT 4 - once you got to SP5 or whatever it was when the TCP/IP worked properly, NT 3.51 used to run and run for us, even on the little 486 we were using for it. It also had the benefit that when the shell crashed (which did happen), it *wasn't* in the kernel, and the file sharing and whatnot all carried on, so you could still admin the machine remotely to cleanly shut it down. NT4 and Win2k just stick their legs up in the air at that point.
  • Why not one of the BSDs. I look at different code all the time to learn from it. Does that make a thief I do not think so. So are we saying now what AT&T was saying if I look at your code I become mentaly infected therefore I am in violation of your license. Anyways the article seems more like a ad for WIN4Lin than anything else.
  • > I think many of the MS-Windows instabilities are
    > due to flawed design decisions. Not just code
    > bugs.

    I partially agree with this statement, but it's more often a case of NO design.

    Take NT's migration from the OS/2 kernel, to a microkernel architecture, then hacking in ring 0 drivers for video and such because the performance sucked so badly, and then whatever they did to clean it up in 2000. Crisis juggling and hot potato management, pure and simple. "What shall we panic about today?" If it ain't broke, we've got a huge list of things to deal with first that ARE clearly broken. Plus marketing drives the agenda anyway.

    > The Registry and it's access methods, for one.

    Replace config.sys and autoexec.bat with something non-text based so clueless windows users don't think they understand it and trash things editing it. Cure far worse than the disease, but also another example of purely reactive design.

    > Including foreign drivers into the NT4
    > kernel for another.

    I'll argue with the way they did it, but the idea of pluggable drivers IS something people have been pushing for even in Linux. (Can we say closed-source binary modules? They're evil, but it's usually better than not having them at all. No, I won't get sucked into an "incentive to reverse engineer" discussion, we're talking the old-style market microsoft's in.)

    > FAT in general.

    Fat came from DOS, which was originally architected for a machine with 64k of ram. For the OS and the programs combined! You couldn't AFFORD to do anything more fancy there: a linked list stored in a table, even hand coded in assembly, took up several precious kilobytes. After that, they were stuck with it (again, backwards compatability).

    (Paul Allen wasn't really a slouch by the way, he saw Unix as the upgrade path for DOS until he retired in 1983 or so. THEN marketing took over.)

    > Idle busyloop in 95|98|ME [how the EPA let that
    > one slip, I'll never know].

    That's implementation, pure and simple. Yes it was a bad decision to implement it that way, but how does that impact any other subsystems?

    > Low tick frequency.

    Also inherited from DOS, which they didn't want to change so as not to break application compatability with all the to-the-bare-metal programs that predated enough system resources to actually HAVE an operating system. (Although again, this is half an implementation issue. They could have emulated the slower one for applications...)

    Rob

  • How to do this? Well, for starters, they could release it either bundled with windows (running in a vmware-like box perhaps, that couldn't be turned on and off, of course, and ran M$-approved Linux apps only --- no apache, samba, etc.) or in the event that they are forced to separate win-os and win-apps, they could tie M$-Linux to M$ Office for Linux and M$ IE for Linux to the OS like they do with windows, claiming of course that they cannot release the Linux sources because doing so would enable hackers to also access their software souces (IE and Office).

    Um, just because releasing the linux source tied with IE and Office would release IE and Office source too doesn't mean that's a valid legal reason for not having to do. You don't get to avoid legal reprecussions cause they're 'bad'.

    One of the great things about the GPL is that, while MS can write apps on Linux, they still have to give away all modifications to the GPL stuff. Sure, they might have a fancy custom firewall, but odd are half off it will be in the kernel and they'd have to release that. The Linux community can hack another frontend onto it and presto.

    It's the same with almost everything. It would be very hard to make an MS-Linux...now, making Linux appilcations is certainly a possiblity. And I wouldn't put it past them to build a user-mode linux (Which they'd have to give the modifcations out to, but half that work's already done.) and put as a standard part of Windows 2005 or whatever. But, thanks to the GPL, theu can't create incompatible interfaces and keep them hidden. They either create new, closed libraries and give them out with their apps, which is fine, doesn't hurt anyone, or they 'extend' the standard ones...but they have to give the changes out to those! And if they want standard Linux apps to work, they can't change existing interfaces, only add ones.

    The great thing about MS creating unstandard closed interfaces on linux is that no one would use them unless they were a lot better, because open source libraries for almost anything on Linux exist.

    -David T. C.

  • (If anything, it's the other way around.)

    What? Huh? How would there be Windows code in Linux? Don't you think MS would notice? How would it get there in the first place?

    -David T. C.

  • What you mumble here is clearly bull. Win2K is designed to be rocksolid, as was NT. There is no designflaw in NT that makes it unreliable.Mostly just hardware or driver failures are causing it to get unstable, the same with other OS-es.

    True, but a printer driver should not take down the entire OS.
  • I used to admin lots of NT 3.x and 4 boxes, and I think what he wass getting at is that the GUI could go sketchy or black with 3.5, and the servers would stay up. However, I only saw this happen maybe 3 times in a number of years, and never saw a NT4 Server blue screen on the video driver, so the whole GUI-in-the-kernel thing is really a non-issue in my book from an operational standpoint.

    A worse problem with early versions of NT4 was NTFS.SYS and SCSI layer and bad NIC card driver blue screens. The new mindcraft-ready SMP kernel with SP3 was a total disaster too. Things didn't get decent with NT4 until about SP5.
    --
  • > The Registry and it's access methods, for one.

    Replace config.sys and autoexec.bat with something non-text based so clueless windows users don't think they understand it and trash things editing it. Cure far worse than the disease, but also another example of purely reactive design.


    I think what motivated that design decision wasn't fear of the users, but more the fact that Win3.1's GUI tools just could not edit INI files reliabliy. The video driver installer just failed. So did the network setup tool in WfW most of the time. (The Registry was introduced with OLE2 in Office, so file size might have been an issue, with Win3.1 limited to 64K INI files.)

    So instead of fixing the tools (text parsers), or the INI file format, they just chickened out and went to a database. Might have been the right decision, but when they decided that it must hold every tiny piece of config info, it was doomed from the start.

    --
  • I forget, but I know it was for a commercial Unix and not linux therefore the BSD acronym. (I used it before linux existed on a Xenix platform)

    Anyways samba isn't linux, but MS people like to think it is. Just like the other 60,000 apps out there that run on it.

  • It is funny how the MS zealots scream that Linux copies Ms products at every turn, while the Linux zealots scream that MS is stealing ideas from the Open source world.

    It makes for entertaining reading and firey debate, except the fact that both sides are arguing based on pure speculation and angst.

    I'll use one example... samba.

    The Ms nuts are screaming that linux is copying NT.. Not to Ms nuts... samba is NOT LINUX! it is an application that happen's to run under linux. it was written for BSD to begin with!

    Why do MS wierdos equate anything Open source to be Linux?

    and why do Linux Nuts equate every innovation as being stolen? (Ok, so MS has proven that they do this on a regular basis.... but anyways....)

    Will this ever be solved? No. Anyways it makes for fun reading :-)
  • Insightful? Unbelievable...

  • >Half of which are text editors, the other half being mail, Usenet and IRC clients.

    Or graphics programs, word-processing (latex, if you don't count staroffice etc. :), spreadsheets, a myriad of servers, audio programs (midi, wave, formatting, mp3), games (bit limited there I'll admit), databases, modelling, emulators, circuit designers and simulators .. you get the idea.

    Some time ago it was mostly networking stuff, but it's expanded. I'm not saying they're all great, because obviously they can't be - but there's way more than the stuff you listed.
  • If Microsoft was using Linux code in Windows, why the hell does it always crash? Ever notice how Windows 2000 is working better then all other versions of Linux euh... Windows ;)
  • Oh, and you think that M$ 'owns port 139' or some crap like that?
    Wine? wine works on freebsd also, or din't you notice?

    Look & feel of desktops MUAHAHAHAHA.
    If anything M$ fucking copied Apple. Or don't
    you see the inverted Mac bar on the bottom with the
    M$ logo stuck on it. ITS called THE TASK BAR.

    M$ coped AD from Netware also. What are you trying to
    say? Because your not saying anything. M$ copies
    EVERYBODY because they can't think of anything
    to make for themselves. They were cracked twice in
    one month. How smart do you think they are now?


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • Ya, its in 2.2.x.


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • ALSO: I would like to add.

    M$ nuts go fucking crazy when you say winx is unstable. And THEY BLAME IT ON THE DRIVERS.
    Must i remind the ignorant M$ users that linux 2.4 has MORE drivers than win2000, or winME !!!
    And then they say it doesn't when the proof is right there and they are afraid to count the damned drivers.

    And then they say it crashed for you because it was 'user error' or some bs like that. When they know
    damned well they can't keep their M$ box up 15 days, while my server is sitting here chugging away at 100 days. Look at M$ on netcraft, and look up http://www.anticlan.com which was a victem of a BIG ASS D.O.S attack not to long ago simply because they run M$. Then compare them to the Unix boxes listed. Or even my box thats been up right at 100 days. And tell me. Which one is stable !!!!!!

    Win users can't claim anything. There is NOTHING there for them to claim !!!
    Fact is fact. They can argue with it in their closed-source minds all they want. But its
    FACT.


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • Because I left them to run what I run now.
    Don't start me with YOUR M$ bullshit.

    Most people who use Linux LEFT M$ TO USE IT
    BECAUSE THEY ARE SICK OF THE CRASHING..


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • You are owned.


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • Ya, you keep repeating your stupid remarks.
    You have a lot of time on your hands don't you?

    Why don't you get a job, or go into buisness, and
    quit being some NY bum out on the street.

    I can smell a yankee a mile away. They smell
    like smog.


    The willingness of humanity to follow without question is the fall of them.
  • I would guess that they aren't just cut-and-pasting code, but are using it as a "cheat sheet" for their own code. They're just figuring out the right algorithms and gritty details about certain stuff that Windows and Linux have in common. At least that's what I hope they're doing, if not they are either too stupid or too arrogent for their own good.
  • I have to disagree with most of your statements.

    MS Windows NT and 2k may have been intended to be ``rocksolid'', but they completely failed to meet that mark. A quick look through the bugtraq archives at securityfocus.com will prove that.

    You also suggest that MS Windows stability problems are caused by faulty hardware and poor drivers. Since the vast majority of drivers are provided on on the OS install disc, or are at least approved by MS, any blame for them still belongs with the OS.

    Linux and BSD have repeatedly shown themselves to be more stable than Win98 or NT on the same hardware. I personally have had several machines that could dual boot between various flavors of MS Windows (3.11, 95, 98, or NT) and Linux. Every one of them was more reliable while running Linux. In particular, I had an old Dell, that reached 452 days of uptime under redhat 4.2 before the power was cut. Under windows it had trouble staying up for more than a few days and often crashed during normal use.

    Virtually every other experianced admin has similar stories. I regret I can't point you to any independant studies of reliability. Almost all of the tests have concentrated on performance.

    Many of your other statements are also misguided. NT contains numerous design flaws. Obvious examples include the registry, the domain system, and COM. Please note that Microsoft is revamping the first, and scrapping the later two of those.

    To the best of my knowledge, Dave Cuttler has designed only one other operating system, VMS. VMS was a good, solid, robust OS in it's day, and is still in use in some specialized sectors. However, there has to be a reason so many Vaxen were reconfigured to run BSD in the 70s and 80s.

    I'm afraid your last claim ``Win2k is rocksolid and stable'' is obviously untrue. Just look at bugtraq, and at service pack 1.

  • It allows an amazing level of interprocess communication, but with a total neglect for security. Almost every VB and macro virus has depended on COM. Most of the serious explorer holes have used it. Microsoft is scrapping it for their new .net architecture.
  • Anyways samba isn't linux, but MS people like to think it is. Just like the other 60,000 apps out there that run on it.

    Half of which are text editors, the other half being mail, Usenet and IRC clients.

    Oh, and a brace of fancy colored versions of LS

    Simon
  • ... When they know damned well they can't keep their M$ box up 15 days, while my server is sitting here chugging away at 100 days. ...

    Gee, that's weird... (chooses server at random)

    D:\WINNT> net statistics server

    Server statistics for AKL_SVR_1

    Statistics since 6/7/00 8:58 PM


    That's a boot date of 6/7 (6 August for you Americans), meaning an uptime of more than 120 days so far, which is nothing out of the ordinary for the NT servers around here. The reboot on the 6/7 was to apply some patches. (That's an NT 4 SP 6a box, BTW; W2K boxes tend not to require reboots after patches, which is A Good Thing.)

    It'll keep on chugging away until we need to reboot for the next set of patches, probably next year some time.

    So what was your point again?
  • Why would M$ steal GPL-ed code when they could incorporate pieces of one of the BSDs with very few consequences thanks to the new BSD licence?

    (Yes, I know that M$FT sometimes does very silly and/or stupid things but I'd expect their coder minions to not miss a sure bet like this....)
    --

  • They have. I remember looking at the FTP binary in Windows 95 (B or earlier) and seeing BSD copyright strings. Lots of the networking utilities (ftp, ping, netstat, route...) function very similarly to the Unix versions, right down to the command line options. ...
    A big "yup" to that, although another post claimed that those strings were due to including socket.h Still, the "great innovator" (8-P) seems to have snatched those programs outright, which is allowed by BSD.
    ... I think the TCP/IP stack is even BSD-derived (if true, I don't think it's a secret).
    Here I disagree. WinXX's TCP/IP stack is screwed up enough to indicate that it wasn't derived from BSD code (much). Note how easily Nmap can identify M$FT systems in it's OS fingerprinting mode by the RFCs that they don't follow.
    Not once have I seen the obligatory "This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors." message in any Microsoft OS-related advertising, even before the advertising clause was withdrawn. Of course it's a moot point now.
    Dern straight, although I admit that I never ran it under a debugger to see if the required message was displayed for 10 milliseconds or so.
    --
  • I think that it is extremely likely that MS scrutinizes Linux and BSD code; They probably steal good ideas, and such, but they are very stupid, if they directly cut&paste code sections.
    (Stealing Stacker source code and integrating it in Win95 did cost them some money)

    MS probably read the kernel list very intensly too. It was rumoured a while a go on that list, that some suggestions and code snips, had seeped into "Whistler".

    Only MS knows for sure, how much linux technology has seeped into their products. But it is extremely likely that some amount has. I mean, openly "stealing" overt features from the competition, has always been MS's default behavior, so why not be "inspired" by Linux core technology?

    I think, that MS views Linux and OSS, as a giant, free, R&D lab. The Xerox parc of the new millenium.

  • Come now, I don't even think that Nick really believes that there is Linux code in Windows. But I think he loves the attention when he pushes the rumor.

    Now I will say that Win4Lin has been a life saver at work for me. I'm "forced" to use Word as my "official" document word processor. But I use Linux for development and code. I deliver code to Sun, AIX and Linux platforms and Linux seems to be the easiest to port to and from. As well I enjoy working straight from my own PC then to telnet to a server that I don't control.

    Ever since I found Win4Lin, my rebooting days were over. It is fast and doesn't bog down my 94 meg 300MHz Pentium II. It is not as robust as VMware, but it doesn't take up the resources, and can use the same filesystem as Linux. So for just needing to use Windows apps, I strongly recommend it.

    And it was really funny when I received the BSOD, which I had to do a screen save to send to friends, and all I had to do was restart Win4Lin and I never lost any of my development work.


    Steven Rostedt
  • I have to agree on the quality of the article. It simply isn't up to snuff...in addition to the questionable validity of its assumptions, its analysis is quite childish.
    Let's face the fact that MS/windows copying the good aspects of Linux or anything else has to be seen as a good thing. One of the best things about Linux is the competition it creates. Because Linux exists, MS simply can't shovel out crap like win98--I don't know if you've noticed, but the price for the WinME upgrade fell by half, to about the same level as win95. Hopefully, this trend will continue. And most importantly, MS products have to be better and more stable.
    I know a lot of people would like MS to simply roll over and die. Not going to happen. It's in everyone's best interest that MS learn from Linux. At least that way, we'll get fewer headaches from helping lusers at work when their winbox crashes. And let's not even talk about when you're forced to use Windows like I am right now...
    C'mon people. We can do better than this. It's time for Linux advocacy to grow up.
  • We shouldn't? =)

    ALG
  • please send me a copy.

    that's what this 'journalist' says at the end of the article.

    "I'll compare [your evidence] with my sources."

    (Hey, look everybody, I'm a source, howdy howdy howdy)
  • Some Slashdot followers really need to get the "all journalists are fools" stick out of their asses.

    Indeed. All? Surely Sturgeon's Law [tuxedo.org] applies.
  • Writing an OS is such a complex task, that a look into other people code shouldn't be a problem.

    Hey, that's what Open Source is about. But you are not allowed to integrate GPL'd code into your product.

    What we need is some kind of proof, like function names in debugging versions of the NT/Win2K kernel. Otherwise Petreley has lost the basic of good journalism: No fiction!
  • Um, smoking crack? That's a good point, my only excuse is that it's a Monday, and I am still asleep and this is all a dream.

    Thanks for the wake up call!

  • Thanks for the information; but the question still remains: how would you reconstruct it, assuming that time isn't a factor?

  • That would be the normal way of looking at things. However, Microsoft does not always take the normal view. I'm not by any means convinced, but I would say on Petreley's behalf that Microsoft obviously sees the law not as a constraint but a system for winning arguments.

    Given that, why wouldn't they investigate the guts of Linux to see if there's any useful x86 code they could rewrite and adapt? Clearly the idea of being sued would not frighten them- they have more expensive lawyers than the FSF. It's overwhelmingly likely that they don't consider that boundary worth respecting- the remaining question is whether they identify Linux code as worth stealing, and I'm not convinced- it goes against their tendency for NIH. On the other hand, lots of Linux code is heavily x86-centric- which would be Microsoft's primary interest.

  • That's a public relations statement, kind of like "Microsoft wishes only to continue innovating and bringing technology and choice to consumers".

    If Petreley is correct, we're hearing about another well known characteristic of Microsoft- a tendency to treat the law as a suggestion. It's good to bear in mind that even if they simultaneously have a policy of investigating what Linux code might benefit their products, they will still maintain that nobody ever looks at GPL code and protest loudly at the distrust and negativity. It's a winning strategy that allows them to on the one hand try anything they need to try, legal or not, and on the other hand rely on people's assumptions about ethics and morality.

    I am not aware of any corporate law specifically requiring corporations to be ethical or indeed to refrain from outright lying in PR statements (barring specific fraudulent claims about products, which I think is illegal). They _are_, however, legally compelled to maximize shareholder value, and MS is completely dependent on doing that without fail. Given that Microsoft cannot consider the GPL a threat, it is entirely plausible that they are seeking out good x86 code in Linux, secure behind two levels of defense- one, denial ("Microsoft policy is simple...") and two, the law (their capacity to obstruct and manipulate the legal system).

    Seriously now- the GOVERNMENT has been hard pressed to deal with their obstructionist tactics and keep an advantage, and the Government has somewhat more resources than the FSF. How can anyone seriously believe that Microsoft is afraid of the GPL? Their attitude must be 'see you in court' and a conflict is inevitable. The only question is when- and in the event of this conflict, it's interesting to consider that Microsoft's extreme confidence is a matter of corporate culture and does NOT necessarily translate to victory on their part. The GPL is a contract- and the legal system is built on centuries of disputes over contracts. If Microsoft ends up in court trying to get the GPL invalidated, they will not necessarily win. They will, however, _think_ they can win, every step of the way.

  • It's not a _question_ of putting the Linux kernel in Windows. At all.

    It's a question of 'woooo, drawing the background of this menu isn't fast enough- where's an example of some x86 code that draws a background and uses (SSE/MMX/whatever x86 PC-specific stuff)?'

    There's no way this is suggesting wholesale kernel replacement- or even major chunks of code. The MS programmers are largely fresh new just-out-of-college codemonkeys, and there's nothing like looking at some examples to whip out a working prototype or project. I think it's completely implausible that there's a highlevel movement at MS to intentionally steal Linux code. Instead it's probably a widespread tendency to look to Linux code for examples of how to deal with typical problems. Not kernel, but tiny bits of kernel functions. Not interface, but scraps of optimised x86 routines. Those are the times where you might be grovelling the web or your documentation looking for an example of how to SSE-optimise something or other- and if it's not in your textbooks? Then maybe it's been implemented by some geek much like you who happens to be writing open source for Linux. He'd probably want to share his idea with you anyway, deep down, right? Filch away and let the lawyers sort it out- they can't _really_ believe a mere license agreement is a threat. And that's how it'd go.

    There's no grand conspiracy, just the interactions of different characteristics of Microsoft and open source developers.

  • Ok, maybe Microsoft looks at Linux and says "hey, that's a neat feature. let's put it in Windows".

    They probably even look at the source code and say "Hey, that's neat too. I'll remember that."

    But claiming that they can just drop Linux's code right into Windows, in turn improving the overall stability of 30 million lines of code is insane.

    Microsoft employs a lot of people, some of them are even talented. They are probably capable of producing a stable product. It was just never a priority for their company. People would buy their crap because they really have no choice. People are still buying their crap because they have no choice, but a lot of people are seeking alternatives. That is why the company has suddenly decided that maybe it's time to work on stability. They're probably not going to win any awards for stability, but they're definitely making improvements relative to Microsoft's standards.

    If stability was the primary goal for a company that makes billions of dollars a year, they would certainly dedicate vast resources towards meeting it. It's obviously not their primary goal (I guess "GREAT SOFTWARE!" doesn't mean stable software), so it'll suck a big one. Stability is now more important to them than it used to be, but it'll probably never be the number one priority.

    The moral? Don't listen to Nick Petreley.

  • Under IIS 5.0 web sites can run under seperate processes, and those processes are monitored. If they do not appear to be running correctly they are killed and started afresh.

    The Apache strategy is to have a child process only handle so many requests and then kill itself to free up memory leaks, etc.

    I don't really see the big deal. The strategy is not particularly innovative or new, it's been done for years. Many people implement systems which check whether a process is working and restart it in the event of failure.

    I think the idea that Microsoft used GPL code to implement this idea is laughable at best.
  • Odd... I was agreeing with the poster, and disagreeing with the Petreley article.

    You should probably stop getting wedgies before coming to work in the morning.
  • It really depends on how they're doing this.

    If they reimplement the same ideas, then it is ok (in theory).

    If they port the code, it is not ok.
  • Nicholas Petreley is perhaps responsible, more than any other person, for helping to move Linux into the mainstream. The effects of having a champion at Infoworld during Linux's formative years, a journalist who was able to not only regularly write columns about Windows but to influence the magazine to actually get front cover stories about this unknown OS--when the rest of the IT world was working diligently to collar itself to Microsoft's leash--cannot be overestimated. As far as I know, Petreley was instrumental in there being a Linuxworld.com in the first place. He's put his financial livelihood on the line for Linux. Can you say the same?

    Some Slashdot followers really need to get the "all journalists are fools" stick out of their asses. All history tends to be forgotten if the writer says one thing they don't like, don't believe or--heaven forbid--is actually a mistake. News flash: journalists are humans, with not only the capacity to make mistakes, but with opinions they'll occasionally express. One may, in fact, argue that they're getting paid to express those opinions. That doesn't obligate you to like them or respect them (I have no measurable respect for Fred Moody, for example), but it behooves you to get half a clue yourself before you start slagging them.

  • One problem with Microsoft is that they have enough well-paid corporate lawyers, and a big enough war chest, that they really do believe that they're invincible. They'll take GPL code if they want, and worry about the legal issues later.

    No court would force Microsoft to open-source a GPL-tainted Windows, especially a conservative Supreme Court full of Bush nominees. They'd be much more likely to declare the GPL non-enforceable and declare code covered by it to be the legal equivalent of Public Domain. It's the Golden Rule, folks: whoever has the gold, makes the rules. Welcome to the Corporate Republic.

    Now, do I think they've actually stolen any code? Of course not. Anyone who's written code for both Unix and Windows, and especially anyone who's had the unfortunate experience of having to port code from one to the other, knows that the architectures of these two systems are way too different for ported code to run efficiently. It's hard enough making ported code run at all.
    --
  • yeah, he gives the general disclaimer that he doesn't hate Windows as much as he used to, but points out that he only uses it for games now.. I am no Windows lover, but I definitly see it as more useful than just a game OS.

    He also seemed very adament about Win4Lin. Why not just put the damn banner in the middle of every paragraph. I wonder if he was making some sort of ad revenue from that. He should be, he sure was plugging them enough.

    I am sure that using Linux code in Windows would be a violation of the GPL. I highly doubt that MS is doing that though. Just what they would need. More bullshit for themselves to dig through. Bill Gates putting up w/that sort of strategy? I think not. He would be embarassed as all hell if anyone ever found out. Give the coders at MS credit. They are extremely bright individuals. I am sure they are working their slave asses off to make a better product. Do NOT jump to baseless conclusions like that.
  • Well this may sound crap at first moment. FUD, crap and yellow journalistics. Penguins at wild...

    But...

    In the light of such things like this on (READ IT!): Microsoft honours Linux programmer with patent gong [theregister.co.uk]

    I would take a more careful and detailed look at such rumours...

    PS: Btw I submitted this thing to Slashdot some days ago, but, as usual "rejected"...

  • Why would M$ steal GPL-ed code when they could incorporate pieces of one of the BSDs with very few consequences thanks to the new BSD licence?

    They have. I remember looking at the FTP binary in Windows 95 (B or earlier) and seeing BSD copyright strings. Lots of the networking utilities (ftp, ping, netstat, route...) function very similarly to the Unix versions, right down to the command line options. Imagine my suprise the first time I accidentally typed a netstat command at a C: prompt and it actually worked. :) I think the TCP/IP stack is even BSD-derived (if true, I don't think it's a secret).

    Not once have I seen the obligatory "This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors." message in any Microsoft OS-related advertising, even before the advertising clause was withdrawn. Of course it's a moot point now.

    Expect Linux stuff to be included in MS OSes. They couldn't call themselves "innovative" if they stole from the same schmuck every time, could they? :P

  • yup...still there

    N: Raymond Chen
    E: raymondc@microsoft.com
    D: Author of Configure script
    S: 14509 NE 39th Street #1096
    S: Bellevue, Washington 98007
    S: USA

    in /usr/src/linux/CREDITS

    and that from a 2.4test series kernel

  • Explorer.exe is the NT shell. It is not in the kernel. In fact, when you can kill Explorer.exe from Taskmgr and it will restart (useful when your shell freezes). With NT4, Microsoft moved graphics and GDI into the kernel, not the shell.

  • > There is no designflaw in NT that makes it unreliable.

    Ever run it without the GUI?

    > Dave Cuttler is a well known and well respected Operating System designer

    ...who unfortunately works for Bill Gates, who is happy to walk through the lab and say "make it more like the Mac".

    The best engineers in the world are useless when their environment's politics are maladaptive.
  • And where does the "trusted vendor" get compilers and linkers that aren't backdoored?

    It seems unlikely that GCC is backdoored, but can you prove it is not?
  • We work hard on developing quality, innovative products here at Microsoft, and sorry but the odd time I have looked at Linux source code to get a better idea of how to come up with innovation solutions in Windows 2000 does *not* make me a thief!!

    (Disclaimer: I know this is a troll, and deserves the Mod that it received. I'm also an expatriot of the Empire.)

    Another way to say this is 'I couldn't think of anything on my own, so I had a quick peek at the Linux code for inspiration.' Some innovation. Still, I can't fault you for wanting to avoid reinvening the wheel.

    However, I seem to recall an email from Ballmer forbidding everyone in the company working on or looking at the code for OSS projects, lest it 'infect' the MS code. Do you not remember that?? I don't have a particular problem with drawing inspiration from Linux code, but I'd prefer that you not do it, since it leaves the impression that MS code (or at least ideas) could also end up in Linux code, exposing it (GNU/Linux/OSS projects) to very expensive litigation for the misappropriation of MS's 'intellectual property'.

    I don't agree with Ballmer on much, but on this point I do - If you code for Microsoft, you should/must not code for OSS projects (and VV), to avoid these kinds of cross-pollenation issues.

  • Is this a joke? Seriously how did this piece of crap end up on Slashdot which recently has become almost respectable and unbiased?

    Hemos (and others) never said Petreley was right. Remember, one of the major points of Slashdot (now) is to get hits and people posting comments, and this article certainly accomplished this. It *is* food for thought, even though it is (IMHO) unfounded rumour-mongering.

    This Petreley column is almost in the same vein (albeit less vitriolic) as Fred Moody's verbal diarrhoea, and that got posted to /. too. It also got people clicking on links, viewing banner ads and posting comments.
  • A larger point is not the trustability of various Linux binary distributions, but that the Founding Editor of LinuxWorld magazine did not seem to be aware of this very well known hack. I guess I just assumed that anyone who had been around as long as he had would have read the Jargon file or one of the printed "New Hacker's Dictionary" editions. It's generally considered one of the most ingenious hacks ever perpetrated...by one of the fathers of *NIX.

  • Nick wrote:

    Anyway, here's what I've had to say about Windows lately. Two weeks ago, I called for Microsoft to open the source code to Windows so that we could be certain it didn't have any secret backdoors (see Resources for a link). Most of the people I've heard from on the topic agree. One person insisted that people could be embedding backdoors into Linux as well. I agree -- it is certainly possible. But here's the crucial difference between Windows and Linux: if someone puts a backdoor into Linux, someone will eventually find it. Once it is found, I can eliminate it, rebuild the kernel, and get back up and running safely within minutes.

    In fairness, it must be pointed out that the Jargon File [science.uva.nl] mentions a famous hack, where Ken Thompson put an undetectable backdoor [science.uva.nl] into a version of *NIX. Does anyone know a reason to assume that they same hack couldn't be inserted into a binary distribution of Linux? I'm just trying to keep things fair.

  • I agree with the posting that Linux code is unlikely to help MS-Windows. But I must have another thing coming, because I think many of the MS-Windows instabilities are due to flawed design decisions. Not just code bugs.

    The Registry and it's access methods, for one. Including foreign drivers into the NT4 kernel for another. FAT in general. Idle busyloop in 95|98|ME [how the EPA let that one slip, I'll never know]. Low tick frequency.

    Knowing these design flaws helps to run MS products stably. I run MS-Win95b too much, but haven't had a crash in 6 months. It does take alot of maintenance to keep them this way, though. My wife won't let me at her box until it crashes too often. Then I'll sweat for a couple of hours [no reinstall] and it'll be good for a couple of weeks. [double entendre intended]

  • If Microsoft was using Linux code in Windows, why the hell does it always crash?
  • FWIW, nmap'ing a Win2k professional box results is a vastly superior tcp/ip stack results. Used to be in the one to two digits, now for sequence prediction I got a 9499 (worthy challenge).
  • But there must be a way to check for the code; a utility at www.insecure.org called nmap analyzes the differences in the TCP/IP stack implementation of the different OSes. There must be something that allows the similar debugging in at the application level of most networking programs.

    As well, what about the debugging output of various programs? Can you use the output of, say dbx, debug, or other programs to determine if the code has a certain level of similarities? I mean, if the code has 200 identical assembly commands as a native Linux command on the same hardware, wouldn't that be a strong enough indicator of code copying?

    Lastly, if Microsoft is violating the GPL, it doesn't matter if they are causing financial damage to the original programmers. They are breaking a licensing agreement, pure and simple; and that's grounds for litigation. I don't understand why financial damage is even brought up in the article.

    Of course, it's Monday morning, I am only one cup of coffee awake, and it's too early to think.

  • Agreed, complete BS. The fact that Linux users (or is it just the authors or columns?) are so high on themselves that everything must be a conspriacy against them. More to the point, if Microsoft was to take source from somewhere, it would be BSD due to the license. As a BSD user, I welcome this achievement as much as MacOS basing a good portion of their new OS on what I'm already using.

    If they convert over enough, they'll start sending in patch kits (it's much much cheaper to let others maintain your source and business is still about money more than IP) for the parts they can allow.

    Besides that, do you want to pay $1500 for a copy of BSD or Linux repackaged by Microsoft (considering it's a free download otherwise)? Certainly the average home user doesn't want to either. Using that logic, they'll never take so much source that they're similar in every way. Mac's sell due to hardware not just software, and as such they can afford to have much more floating around.

    All that said, Microsoft still has an extreamly high number of inteligent programmers working on their staff. Probably gets as many man hours into their projects as significant opensource projects so theres absolutly no reason they couldn't come out with as good if not better product. This is an example of their customers finally getting what they want. Even most of those without computers are well aware of the Blue Screen of death.

    I hope increased windows stability forces ram manufacturers to make better ram. That stuff's always going bad. (I'll only buy Micron and IBM anymore due to it).
  • Win2K is designed to be rocksolid, as was NT. There is no designflaw in NT that makes it unreliable.

    Such a flaw does indeed exist, and it is NT's integration of the GUI code into the OS kernel. If MS designed for stability, then NT and 2000 might look and run more like Netware or Unix.

    Mostly just hardware or driver failures are causing it to get unstable, the same with other OS-es. that makes it unreliable.

    Why, then, can other OS's run on this same hardware (using drivers not provided by the hardware manufacturer, I might add) and still be much more stable? Hmmm...

    You state it as if you have to DESIGN reliability. That's untrue.

    We all know that careful OS design leads to better systems, but one of the key aspects of careful design is reliability. Contrary to what you may believe, stability *must* be actively engineered. Example: memory protection. It doesn't happen on its own. If you don't put it in, your OS will not be as stable as one that has good memory protection. MS has learned this the hard way.

    Dave Cuttler is a well known and well respected Operating System designer, not known for misdesign in what he designs for a living: OS-es.

    Dave Cutler is obviously very talented. VMS works, and keeps on working. If Windows NT and 2k ran like it, we would not be having this argument. However, I don't think it was Cutler's idea to try and maintain backwards binary compatibility with legacy 16 bit code and integrate the GUI into the NT kernel. These are marketing ideas, and they do not result in world-class reliability, as evidenced by NT and now 2k.

    There is nothing wrong with trying to build the most popular operating system; MS has succeeded there. However, it is an entirely different thing to build a good operating system.

  • Agreed. BUT...

    There's no rational reason for a tradeoff between
    stability and usability. Win9x definitely has the
    best overall consumer usability out there, but
    that's not a reason for it being unstable.

    Bad coding and the manner in which the third party
    drivers are imbedded into the kernel is what makes
    Win* unstable.

    As for Linux, well it's definitely a teenager of
    an OS. I've been using (fighting with) Solaris
    since 2.2, SunOS before that, and various others.
    They have their problems, but they're at least
    mature OSes, which Linux just ain't. I'm worried
    that its immaturity is due to the immaturity of
    its coders (no offense, but most of them just
    haven't been around enough to see what else is
    out there), and won't get any better.

    Still, it makes a damned fine router/packet
    filter.


  • Oh, Lord. Not this canard again!

    All of the various Microsoft products contain the Berkeley sockets header files. Until recently, each of those files, in turn, contained the famous "string header", and the requirement that it propagate. (Yes, the license has changed, but the poster was referring to the Windows 95 ftp code. That was issued under the terms of the earlier Berkeley license.) So, yes, of course they would pop up the Berkeley CVS entry.
  • Reliability has to be designed in from the ground up. Frankly, that's why I give more credence to the people claiming that W2K is unstable than to those who claim that it's stable. Stability wasn't an issue at MS until Linux started getting popular. By the time MS started talking up the stability line, W2K had already been in development for several years. I know they didn't go back and retrofit stability as an add-on, because it simply isn't possible.

    Because you're not ranked as a troll (which should be a better qualification) but 'insightful', I care to reply.

    What you mumble here is clearly bull. Win2K is designed to be rocksolid, as was NT. There is no designflaw in NT that makes it unreliable. Mostly just hardware or driver failures are causing it to get unstable, the same with other OS-es.

    Reliability is something that is the result for careful designing and developing software. Not something like security you have to 'design in to get it'. You state it as if you have to DESIGN reliability. That's untrue. If you careful design the software you're working on, it will be reliable, unless your design has flaws, which I then don't call a careful designed system.

    Dave Cuttler is a well known and well respected Operating System designer, not known for misdesign in what he designs for a living: OS-es.

    Adding that up, plus the fact that Win2k is rocksolid and stable, I don't see why you're rambling about 'we won't see a stable windows for the next 4-5 years'...


    --

  • Ehm, not to ruin a perfectly good conspiracty theory, but: Microsoft already owns the source code for a full *ix implementation. It's called Microsoft XENIX, and they used to market it way back when Unix was still considered a possible follow-up to DOS 1.x. From what I remember, it was a piece of crap, but if MS truly wanted to, they could legally have all the Unix source code they wanted in their products...
  • Microsoft produces closed source software, without a lot of reverse engineering who is going to be able to prove their using GPL code ?
    In reality it will probably be a Microsoft employee who will leak whether or not they are using GPL code after all they know whats going on.

    Rememeber not every Microsoft coder is anti open source software. Don't assume that just because someone works at Microsoft they believe in Microsoft's politics. Most coders have a strong belief in ethics and professional responsibilites...someone would leak this if it was true.

    Good article though, but the Microsoft using GPL code angle is purely theoretical and seems to rest on the argument that if Windows is getting more stable they must be using GPL code.

  • You're right that Petreley's article was absurd on the face of it. However, based on my experience with it, from NT3.51 through NT4 (with all six Service Packs) to Windows 2000 Pro (with its first SP), I have to say that the OS has gotten more stable with time. What was once weeks of uptime has gone to months (hell, I haven't crashed W2K in the ~2 months I've had it on this box -- not that that's any profound recommendation!).

    I think Microsoft's problems with stability come not from failure to care about stability, but their ranking of stability in their goals: it clearly comes far below things like gaming (yeah, even on their "professional" OSes) and backward compatibility with some of their earlier kludges. As a result, they're always patching the OS to try and get back the stability they sacrificed for other capabilities... and as a side effect, they get the bloat the OS is infamous for, which itself does nothing for stability.

    I realize that this isn't completely different than what you've said, but I wanted to make this point: they do design stability in from early on... but they do it without much enthusiasm, and they do a relatively poor job of it.

    If you really want to see an unstable OS, check one of their "consumer" OSes, like Win98 -- which must be rebooted at least once daily. Even NT3.51 was a paragon of stability in comparison.

    ---

  • Some Slashdot followers really need to get the "all journalists are fools" stick out of their asses.

    Dunno about the generality, but I do know this: this journalist (Petreley) just made a fool of himself with this article.

    The article is patheticly absurd on the face of it, regardless of what the man may have done for Linux in the past, and I can't imagine this latest article will do Linux any good at all.

    ---

  • Look at the menuconfig script, particularly the email address of one contributor.
  • The orignal author of menuconfig had a Microsoft email address. It was still in there the last time I looked, and I'm certain it is still in 2.2.x. I've not got access to a full source tree at the moment to double-check.
  • Of course, Windows and Linux share code: networking-related code from BSD. And I wouldn't be surprised if Windows has borrowed whereever legally possible from other open source projects.

    You can also bet that Microsoft analyzes open source code. As benchmark-obsessed as that company is, how could they not? If GNU C, Apache, some device driver, or some other piece of software does better on some benchmark, Microsoft will surely analyze what is going on and reimplement whatever they learn in Windows.

    Keep in mind that the reverse has happened to some degree for years as well: for example, people have disassembled Windows to figure out how to talk to specific devices.

    Given that Microsoft is a large organization with lots of closed source and many fairly inexperienced programmers fresh out of college, I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Microsoft had violated the GPL. But I somehow doubt that it is Microsoft company policy to actually incorporate GPL'ed code--it doesn't make economic sense, and Microsoft is largely about making money.

    So, I think altogether, there is a kernel of truth to the assertion that "Microsoft takes code from Linux". But I that isn't the same as widespread, blatant violations of the GPL.

  • Because that is what the OSS spirit of sharing is all about.

    The Linux community copies MS ideas at every opportunity it gets - WINE, Samba, even the look & feel of the desktops.

    If MS really does copy aspects of Linux, then it is a victory for the Linux community, and validated us in copying MS ideas.

    KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.

  • Most everybody here says this article is bull, and I agree, but there is ground for discussion here.

    Let's say, for just a moment, that in an effort to deal with problem areas in their own software, Microsoft analysed Free Software like Linux or Apache. In doing this, they may have found portions of code (let's say 200 to 500 lines) that do something better than a similar portion of code in Windows (in terms of reliability or speed). What's to keep them from copying a short portion of code like that, and damaging it into their system? Sure, it would take a lot of damaging, but admit it: it's nearly always easier to code something when you have someone else's example to tinker with and improve. (Or, in their case, to tinker and ruin.)

    Besides, the author of the article has a very good point. (I like it more for the insult than for the truth in it.) From the article:

    The principle of the GPL is that you are not allowed to create and distribute software that includes GPL source code without giving back your additions and modifications to the developer community. I'm not sure you could find a Linux developer who would take the stand and testify that the developer community is being hurt by the fact that Microsoft isn't contributing back to the Linux code base. Considering the talent that put together Windows in the first place, such a contribution would probably be classified as unintentional sabotage.

    Or, perhaps, intentional sabotage :-)

    Actually, I believe the real difficulty in a lawsuit with Microsoft is that no Free Software developers that I can name have the resources with which to actually sue the giant.

    I think most of us don't like Microsoft because of their business practices. They simply do things that shouldn't be done for legal or moral reasons. (Remember the Caldera lawsuit, where Microsoft paid an undisclosed amount because Windows 3.1 was designed to crash intermittently when run under DR-DOS.) In my opinion, complaining about Microsoft won't help us. The only way to fight them is to improve Free Software. This takes cooperation and competition between Free Software developers, but I feel that cooperation needs to increase and competition needs to decrease. (How many of us need 17 competing, buy very similar word processors for X on our computers?)

  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @10:53AM (#599324) Homepage
    While I agree with the notion that this is hype and not to be believed, it does highlight something about the GPL that frightens me: It's impossible to enforce it. *IF* a closed source product were to illegally include GPL code in it, how would anyone ever find out about it? The only way to ever find out would be to look at the source, and it's closed.
  • by keepper ( 24317 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @06:08AM (#599325) Homepage
    I now now that linux zealouts are idiots.

    Before you flame, read on, PLEASE.

    First off, let me state that am a long time unix user and admin, and I consider FreeBSD and Solaris my favoritre OS'es. And i have dabbled with linux since early '95 ( i think feb or so )

    But come on guys, the windows 9x series is NOT, i repeat is NOT, aimed at stability, it's aimed at the consumer. Where easiness of use, and support is what matters.

    Are these guys too idiotic to realize this, or are they just flame throwers and FUD spreaders?

    And NT, as much as i dislike it, has some features, that although not turned on by default, are of great use, and not available on most os'es? ACL's, file attributes, etc etc.... stuff that most unixes are still trying to implement or get right.

    Goin back to win 9x? does XFree even come close, and don't even bring the "remote display capabilities argument" , because it DOES NOT MATTER on a consumer OS, in terms of speed and display quality.

    Linxu for extreme stability? HAH, sure linux is stable, compared to win 9x, and ok, i might give you NT on SOME configs, but there are so many cluless linux "ADMINS", and that alone makes it less stable than any other os. now that's the truth, not pretty, but true.


    Microsoft might no be the best company, but donot question what they have done, they have managed to support the greates array of hardware than any other os. prolly as much as all the other combined, and still managed a reasonably stable os with all the legacy.

    as a fact, most of the instability is due to third party drivers.

    COme on guys, linux is getting better, and i applaud that, but it is IN NO WAY, th ebest OS" out there, it has a LONG WAY to get there, and there are situations where it is well suited it, but come on, don't push it...

    i'll stop this cause i don't have the time to go into more detail....
  • by a.out ( 31606 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @07:29AM (#599326)
    I personally know at least two people who work for Microsoft and I know that they were told by Microsoft Legal that they are not to look at any Open Source software code. This is to prevent even the accidental use of some ideas from Open Source Software in any of the Microsoft products. The last thing that MS needs right now is another legal battle saying that they stole some GPL'd code. This would be a very dumb move to make on the MS side of things if you think about it.
  • by segmond ( 34052 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:27AM (#599327)
    "The bad news is tied to the explanation for why Windows may be getting more stable."

    What is wrong with this? Is this not what we want? Do we want windows to die a horrible death or do we rather see it get stable? If you don't want it stable, why? are you afraid of a little competition?

    "According to a source who has access to internal Microsoft developers, Microsoft has dedicated resources specifically to the task of analyzing Linux source code and rewriting sections of it for use in Windows."

    Note these two words "ANALYZING" and "REWRITING"
    Anaylzing is nothing wrong we do it all the time.
    Rewriting again is nothing wrong, I can take any GPL program analyze it and rewrite it, and still keep within the boundaries of GPL, It is even much safer when 2 developers are involved at least. The first set does the analysis and translates the code to english/pseudo-code/specs, the second group works from the specs and produces code.

    "According to the source, it is the adoption and translation of Linux code that is helping Windows become more stable."

    Imagine someone quoting that the unstability of Windows is making Linux more stable. Or perhaps a few peeps from the BSD camp quoting that BSD code is making Linux more stable. Contrarily to popular opinion porting of a stable code doesn't necessary result in a stable port. It largely depends on the program especially when working on a huge and complex code base.

    All in all, this is a useless article to start the end of my thanksgiving break. It is not worthy of discussion, I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving, as I did. I watched Gladiator 3 times, I am on my 3rd day without sleep. *Yawn*

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @05:21AM (#599328) Journal

    His reasoning about reuse of Linux source turning Windows into a catchup OS is flawed. Any large program is likely to contain a large number of "components". Many of these will be useful but mundane things such as link list classes, tree sorters, task schedulers, etc.

    Innovation doesn't arise from the quality of the individual components, but from the way in which those components are assembled.

    Therefore, it is quite possible for MS to steal Linux code and use it to produce products that are ahead of Linux. In fact, we should expect that the result of such theft would be a product better than Windows without the theft, otherwise why bother?

    As for whether or not MS is doing this, I suspect they are not. It would be foolish to do it with Linux when high-quality, legal BSD code is available for the same purpose.

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:13AM (#599329) Journal
    According to the article " According to a source who has access to internal Microsoft developers, Microsoft has dedicated resources specifically to the task of analyzing Linux source code and rewriting sections of it for use in Windows.....I suspect that such a practice may constitute a violation of the GNU General Public License"

    Clean room reverse engineering is perfectly legitimate. The GPL gives you the right to ignore the licence and not redistribute. This still allows you to receive the code and learn from it, and even extract a specification from it. This is called fair use. The fact that source is provided makes reverse engineering a lot easier.
  • by WillSeattle ( 239206 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @02:51PM (#599330) Homepage
    It's impossible to enforce it. *IF* a closed source product were to illegally include GPL code in it, how would anyone ever find out about it? The only way to ever find out would be to look at the source, and it's closed.

    Which was one of the funny things about MS-DOS when it first came out, it was obviously ripped off from CP/M, right down to the internal names and variables, when you examined the binary with a disassembler.

    Don't think, just because MSFT legal tells programmers not to use Open Source, they won't use Open Source. It works, it's been hacked to high performance, and it's a lot better than the usual MSFT spaghetti code. When you need code that won't fail, are you really going to reinvent the wheel, when they already built the best wheel there is and you just have to "borrow" the code and pretend it's yours ...

  • It's good that MS adapt Linux code
    ... Because that is what the OSS spirit of sharing is all about.


    If this were BSD code we were talking about, you'd be right, but since it's GPL'd Linux code we're (hypothetically) talking about, MS would be obliged to publish the entire source to whatever component of Windows this (hypothetically) is under the GPL too.

    The Linux community copies MS ideas at every opportunity it gets - WINE, Samba, even the look & feel of the desktops.

    That's a trifle unfair. SAMBA is merely a protocol implementation. The "idea" in SAMBA is filesharing: hadly a Microsoft innovation; and Jeremy Allison is on record as saying that SMB sucks as a protocol: nobody actually *wants* to use SAMBA: it's only there as a compromise. Windows won't do it our way (NFS), so we'll be nice about it and talk to Windows the way it wants. Mohammed going to the mountain.And, just so we can brag about it, we'll make SAMBA better than native Windows SMB....

    WINE is similar: nobody *wants* to use WINE. Every WINE user would prefer Linux native versions of the applications they're running in WINE.

    As for the desktops, I'll regretfully half-agree with you on that one. Whoever decided to make FVWM95 a default window manager wants shooting - it's terrible PR. Personally I use WindowMaker, which is sufficently dissimilar to any iteration of Windows as to totally confuse most people who try to use my desktop (and I get confused using Windows -- damn click-to-focus --shudder--).

    Anyhoo: this is all moot. MS are not daft enough to be putting GPL code in Windows. I don't work for MS, but where I do work we have lawyers jumping through hoops to make sure freeware licenses are adhered to. If we do it, I'm certain MS will do it. If they're replicating Linux functionality, I'm sure they'll be doing it in a clean-room manner.

    --
  • by alacrityfitzhugh ( 195044 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:37AM (#599332)
    to write anything. These salesmen posing as journalists are getting way out of hand. They pretend to be objective but they aren't. Clearly Petreley is owned by Sun and Oracle. He is so deep in their backpocket that he hasn't seen the light of day in years. But he wants YOU to know that HE knows everything and, if you disagree, you know nothing. He is a self-absorbed geek and his remarks do not bear examination.
  • by Ergo2000 ( 203269 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:31AM (#599333) Homepage

    Is this a joke? Seriously how did this piece of crap end up on Slashdot which recently has become almost respectable and unbiased? The overwhelming absurdity of this article is beyond the imagination and anyone who actually believes it must be smoking some mighty strong crack (and NO ONE in software development will believe this shit and will immediately discredit this fool as exactly what he is : A pandering rumor monger eaking up hits however he can with absolutely no integrity or ethics).



    HWND CreateWindow(LPCTSTR lpClassName,LPCTSTR lpWindowName,DWORD dwStyle,int x, int y, int nWidth, int nHeight, HWND hWndParent, HMENU hMenu, HINSTANCE hInstance, LPVOID lpParam) { // Do windows creation code // Insert super stable, mondo awesome Linux code here! }

    Unbelievable. If any of you believe this, please become luddites and get out of the software and computer businesses, because you're very stupid.

  • by Zecho ( 206792 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:13AM (#599334) Homepage
    ..that indeed MS is examining certain parts of the source code to linux. From what I understand, they have exhausted their supply of Mac source code and are in need of YET ANOTHER OS to rip off!

  • by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot@@@tossed...org> on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:50AM (#599335) Homepage

    This claim is absurd. There is only one kind of hint you can take from the Linux code: Design decisions. If you think that any Windows instabilities are caused by flawed design decisions, then you have another thing coming.

    Finding errors with design decisions could be done by purely looking at theory on paper. However, the problems are much more deeply routed. They are problems with the implementation. I don't see how spying at Linux code could improve this. Let's call this bullshit a product of hype and move on...

    Michael Labbe

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:23AM (#599336)
    The claim that MS is stealing Linux code to make Windows more stable is absurd on the face of it.

    Windows and Linux have almost nothing in common. You can't just stick the Linux kernel in Windows and expect it to fit. Nor any major portion of it.

    Reliability has to be designed in from the ground up. Frankly, that's why I give more credence to the people claiming that W2K is unstable than to those who claim that it's stable. Stability wasn't an issue at MS until Linux started getting popular. By the time MS started talking up the stability line, W2K had already been in development for several years. I know they didn't go back and retrofit stability as an add-on, because it simply isn't possible.

    Now if they were desinging a new OS from scratch they might be able to benefit from Linux. But there's not really even any need for that. Good OS design has been an open topic of discussion among researchers for decades. All you have to do is want it and then apply yourself.

    The problem with MS and stability isn't a matter of know-how, it's a matter of care-how. They have always been more interested in bells and whistles than in substance. If they are suddenly interested in stability now, it's because Linux's stability has been killing them in markets that they wanted very badly to corner. Expect them to brag about new, improved stability for several years while they go back and design their third generation of Windows with stability actually built in. If they're still in business you'll be able to buy stable Windows systems in 4-5 years. Not sooner.
  • by Vryl ( 31994 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:11AM (#599337) Journal
    By and large, I think that article is the biggest pile of shite I have ever read. If it were posted to /. it would quickly get moderated as "Troll", its that funny. But ...

    My m$ sources tell me that the recent 'stability' in IIS is due to analysis of Apache and copying the strategy, namely forking the process and periodically killing the children and restarting new processes.

    So ... whilst I would seriously doubt the existance of any GPL'd code in windows, there may be some analysis and subsequent adoption of sucessful stategies, but this should hardly come as a surprise to anyone.

  • by jallen02 ( 124384 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @04:59AM (#599338) Homepage Journal
    Thank you.. why would anyone bother with GPL'd code anyways?

    By my experience (take this comment with a grain of salt) FreeBSD is a great server OS that at least rivals any Linux distro in the ability to be a server under heavy load serving... files, webpages, whatever it is reputed for its rock hard stability also, my machine has been up 70 days or so, thats pretty stable considering I run quite a few programs including Seti for over 60 of those days, pretty good

    Okay so why would I bother with Linux code when I can just take BSD kernel code and do so LEGALLY? Hmmn.. one wonders

    So I reached the conclusion that I lost a lot of respect for peterly...

    He sems like a zealot, like hes just looking to make these asanine stories find some more "substantial" proof when its not there because MS does not make billions by being stupid (take THAT comment as you may too)

    Jeremy

  • by divine_whore ( 253151 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:22AM (#599339)
    I am an avid Slashdot fan for at least a year... and I am used to the Win/Linux "comparisons" popping up from time to time. Fair enough, it's a competitive world. But the fact that a newspaper publishes a whole column revolving around a *hypothesis* that there is code stolen, and bashing Microsoft over a whole A4 page for the supposition that this would happen - that's a bit too much for me. It's not logical, it's not funny and it's a shame for Linuxworld to publish something like that. Go on, flame me!

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