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Microsoft

I Suspect M$ That Has Broken The GPL 177

Doug writes "With all this recent heat from Microsoft about the validity of the GPL, I am drawn to wonder if they have if fact broken the GNU General Public License by stealing code from GNU software? You all know about how the thief always returns to the scene of the crime. If they hadn't done anything wrong this wouldn't be an issue. I wonder what it was that they horked..."
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I Suspect M$ That Has Broken The GPL

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They probably stole all the work done on the Blackdown project to make C#.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    gates & the crew are the truest anarchists
    i've ever seen because they know no rules whatsoever.
  • Do you also tell them to dump Microsoft stock and buy VA Linux and RHAT instead?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Press release here [3286301978].

    No it's not a goatse link. Besides, anybody who knows how to use a text editor has entered that site and compugeek in thier hosts file anyways..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They totally stole all the code for Windows from the WINE project.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2001 @01:28PM (#322395)
    ...and every few months e-mail from legal would come through reminding all employees to not even LOOK at GPL'd code.

    Hard as it may be for Slashdotters to believe, there are too many people (and managers) with real, bona fide moral fiber for something like that to happen.

    And even if there weren't people with morals, there are plenty of people there who are tired of Microsoft's legal troubles. The fear of most VPs is having a product recalled for legal reasons.

    Doing something as stupid as using GPL code in a Microsoft product would, in Microspeak, be a serious CLM (Career Limiting Move) for a developer.

    Furthermore, from a cultural standpoint, most Microsofties hold such disdain for GPL software that it would be too big a blow to their (rather large) egos to even consider using it in a Microsoft product.

    Now, back to your regular April Fool's programming. Anyone listen to NPR's piece on Moon advertising?

  • by Tony Shepps ( 333 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @03:36PM (#322396) Homepage
    Bizarre, dude!

    Taking a job isn't about ethics. It's about making a transaction whereby someone pays you do spend your time doing what they need to have done.

    A company's actions don't reflect the ethical approaches of its employees. Haven't you ever been an employee?

    It is NOT "perfectly OK" to spread FUD! That's just an unethical, immoral approach, on which we have lost the moral perspective because so many business majors have been taught otherwise.

    It is NOT "perfectly OK" to embrace and extend. Standards depend entirely on the good will and cooperation of the developers. Crushing the standard in order to gain a better position for yourself is the moral equivalent of poisoning a stream to get rid of your waste.

    Saying something is "true, as far as I can ascertain" is basically to nullify the statement. Ethics is clearly not the driving force of any company. You'll find out when you go to work for one.

    If this is a 4/1 joke, you should know that making your joke realistic enough that it is not clearly a joke to a majority makes for a poor joke. If the majority are going to take your post seriously, then it demands a serious and studied reply anyway.

  • You don't need to agree to the GPL to *use* the software.

    You only need a license to *redistribute* the software.

    From COPYING:

    5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.

  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @11:15AM (#322398) Homepage Journal
    No matter how nice the people who work there might be, Microsoft probably won't ever touch any GPL'ed code for strictly selfish reasons, because they don't want to incur the least little bit of risk of getting into a court case where anybody outside of the company gets so much as a peek at any of their code for fear of the creation of a precedent. Once they allow any outsider to get a look at any of their code, it'll be easier and easier for other outsiders to come up with reasons that a court will go along with why they should be allowed access to that code.

    Another reason is that if it would become public knowledge that they actually used the stuff they have been bad-mouthing, and that they thought it worth breaking the law to do so, it would be such a public relations nightmare that they dare not risk even the smallest chance of it happening. If you think the government's already in a good position to do to them now what they've been doing to customers for years, imagine the extra leverage to be gained if the federal courts caught them plagarizing outside code.

  • It doesn't matter if you are guilty or innocent. You request the code as part of the discoveries. The court would probably order the code being kept confidential, but this is easely circumvented by leaking to the press that publish the stuff. The press is pretty well covered even if flaunting the courts rulings. Just ask President Clinton or rather Paula Jones.
  • by weasel ( 8923 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:38AM (#322400)

    Slashdot's idea of an April fools joke... one inane story after another with no links...
  • by Julz ( 9310 )
    Maybe they have taken the initial beta's of Mozilla? ;-) Stupid...
  • by rkt ( 9943 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:46AM (#322402) Homepage
    So now stories come on slashdot just because someone starting "think"ing ? I think we are all Martians... and I also think think that Earth is actually flat... and I think in the parallel universe linux sucks.. and I think the movie Matrix should be given out free...

    But who cares what I think... ?? Anyone ??

    But it seems slashdot cares when someone points fingers at Microsoft....

    I think this is an april Fools joke...
  • The slashdot community should also be able to moderate posts made to the homepage by CmdrTaco and everyone else. That way when some drivel like this gets accidentally posted we can vote it off the site as of no interest whatsoever to us.

  • From what I've been hearing from my sources,
    there is plenty of _idea theft_, but no code
    theft. And the ideas that are being stolen
    are from neither KDE nor GNOME, but BeOS.

    How many times do people have to bang their
    heads against the fact you can't really sell
    Linux not just because it's under the GPL, but
    because OS's have no intrinsic value to the end
    user? OS's enable applications, applications get
    a task done, and what you really want to sell
    is a black box for doing something (or several
    things).

    Microsoft is acutely aware of this. You might
    even notice this from several facts, like that
    Microsoft generally charges users only for OS
    upgrades, and that OEM's of prepackaged systems
    are the ones generally paying "The Microsoft tax"
    and adding it into the prices of systems. The
    second part of this is that for all the talk of
    operating systems going on, the only real thing
    people are noticing is the middleware, if even
    on that low of a level. I have yet to see anyone
    here mention one whit of actual kernel
    functionality in their "OS discussions". Instead
    it's all GUI toolkits and perhaps even specific
    applications.

    If you want to challenge Microsoft (and I'd be
    more than happy to see this happen), doing so
    on the kernel level is the wrong way to go. In
    fact, GNOME and KDE seem to have more to do with
    that than Linux itself. Create the applications.
    Make them look sexy. Make them run well. And
    that isn't even the hard part. For example, what
    would you have to do to get a Quicken or an
    equivalent on Linux? There is still more to
    consider here than writing good code.

    Cheers,
    Bill
  • Now nobody is gonna believe anything /. says today anyway.

    What happened two years ago? Some site shut down entirely. Was it Freshmeat? That was funny.
  • Bt morals? Is that like Bt Corn or Cotton?

    Are you implying that Microsoft employees are products of recombinant DNA experiments, and they now produce their own natural insecticide?

    Microsoft must be really desperate to find a way to deal with all of the bugs in their software if this is true...


    ---
    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • [This is an extract from a log entry I wrote about the Stallman/Allchin "GPL is Unamerican" saga.]

    I have a somewhat different theory about the Microsoft attitude to the GPL. I think they fear the GPL because they fear that they will be trapped by it someday. Microsoft's culture is an extremely proprietary one: they guard their intellectual property with the covetousness of a dragon guarding its treasure hoard. I think they fear that someday some careless employee will incorporate tainted GPL code into a program, and they may then be obliged to share some of their treasure. Horrors! The old dragon wants to keep all of its treasure and acquire more at every opportunity, and the idea that this GPL code is out there with the intention of making them part with it is anathema to them.

    I think that RMS is operating under a misapprehension if he sincerely thinks that the GPL is any realistic kind of defence against Microsoft. Given that it can't defend against embrace and extend, then what exactly does it defend against? Stallman uses the GPL as a tool of obstruction, not defence. (The GPL can be used in a defensive mode, but Stallman doesn't use it that way.) He wants the GPL to be a stumbling block to Microsoft: if they won't play by his rules, he wants it to be hard for them to gain any benefit from his code. Microsoft isn't intimidated by such defences, really, but they are appalled that a tool like the GPL can exist at all -- a tool the intent of which is to force them to share their hoard.

    This, I think, is what Allchin meant when he called the GPL "un-American". Allchin is living in the Gordon Gekko Wall Street [imdb.com] world of "greed is good". If greed is good, then Microsoft is a saint and the GPL is a tool of the devil, since its raison d'être is to enforce sharing, not selfishness. I think that Allchin was being entirely sincere, and that the concept of sharing intellectual property (as a good in its own right, as opposed to a means to the end of acquiring more property) evokes revulsion in members of the Microsoft subculture. The concept of being under a legal obligation to share, as the GPL would have it, must grate against every virtual fibre of their corporate being.

    To put it another way, the "American way" (as I imagine Allchin sees it) is to be able to do as one damn well pleases with one's own property; to have an inalienable right to be selfish, or not, as one chooses. The GPL would take that choice from you (for the greater good). Microsoft have no problem with people choosing to give away their property if they want to do that, but the concept of revoking their divine right to be selfish with their own property, as and when they please, is appalling.

    [The original log entry is currently hosted at a temporary URL [nutters.org]. I realise that this story is probably just another case of April Fool irony, but I thought I'd make a serious comment anyhow since I had a ready-rolled post.]

  • Linux coders, on the other hand, tend to be very conservative when they declare something "1.0."

    Really? You never used GNOME 1.0, didya?

  • while i do realize it's april fools day, this is a really poor attempt at a joke.

    as i recall, this "joke" has been said long before today.
  • ...of stealing GPL'ed code for their half hearted attempt at a POSIX compiliant OS, I'd wonder what commercial code they stole as I am sure you'd be able to frind sources for every single OS on the planet somewhere on their campus. After all, why settle for using Linux code when you can steal Solaris'?

    But I digress.

    I would be taking a look at Apple horking FreeBSD for OSX before accusing Microsoft.
  • I couldn't come by this using http://microsoft.com./products/ nor by their own search, but Google did the trick:

    Interix as related to Windows 2000 [microsoft.com]
    The FTP site. [microsoft.com]
    The main Interix site. [microsoft.com]

    --
    Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete Dutra
    DBA, SysAdmin
  • Can we have a link please? Something, anything?
  • Interix was a product called OpenNT created by Softways; MS bought them and their technology years back. I remember using OpenNT on NT4 when it came out and it was killer.

    I still have a demo copy of it from 1996 or so. it was really cool, but MS has leveraged it as a way to help people migrate from unix to NT, rather than as a way to help make NT boxen useful. that's life when a huge corporation has unlimited money to crush opponents :)
  • by YoJ ( 20860 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @11:09AM (#322414) Journal
    I thought this was a joke, too, but it's REAL!! Micro$oft really is stealing GPL code and using it in Windows! They are so evil I can't believe it! Look at this:

    [nwhitehe@ip18] /mnt/cdrom/win95$ strings *.* | grep -i gpl | wc -l

    9 !!!!!1!!??/!!!???!!!1

    We need to come together as a community and tell Micro$oft what GPL is all about. Down with stealing intellectual property! Down with illegal copying! Except MP3's. And old DOS games. Those are cool. I played Leisure Suit Larry the other day, it was fun. I scored with a prostitute.

    MICRO$HAFT IS 3V17!!!!!!!!1

  • by DoorFrame ( 22108 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:45AM (#322415) Homepage
    Ok, so usually the point of April Fools jokes is to have a JOKE. There's usually a trick whereby somebody is fooled into believing something something that's not true.

    But this is just boring. For some reason Slashdot has decided to flood us with inane crap all day. Not funny inane crap, just inane. Is anybody amused or laughing yet?

    I'm kind of wondering if this is perhaps building to something. Maybe this is all part of a larger joke, a bigger better joke just waiting to burst from the seems of this site.

    But I don't think so, I think they just think this is funny. It's not.

    --

  • You know how some sites dumb down their stories because they're getting TOO popular, and need to reduce their hits to get their bandwidth fees lower? Well...
  • In 1995, my family bought a computer from Gateway, then Gateway 2000. It came with a fairly good selection of M$ software, including Windows 95 (oooh! no more Program Manager) and Microsoft Bob (what the hell is this?). It also included one of the Entertainment Packs, which included a chess program. I had downloaded GNU winchess and played it on the old computer, and I noticed that the chess program in the Entertainment Pack was disturbingly similar . . . in fact, when I tried to run them simultaneously, they generated error messages saying that only one copy of the program could be run at a time. I think I still have the original CDs somewhere, actually. Does anybody else remember this, or am I just hallucinating from too much coffee?
  • Make sure to get into the Witness Protection program first, though.

    Except... BillG owns the government, and therefore also the FBI, and by extension the Witness Protection Program.....

    ... because...
    .... Bill gates is Kaiser Soze!!
    .... Bwwaaahaahhaaaa!!

    (note, the above depends on your having seen the movie The Usual Suspects [imdb.com])

  • I thought there was way too much bad inference in that editorial. Much more supporting evidence is needed.

    "The lady dost protest too much, methinks."

    So because I say that the law against selling horsemeat is a bad law, you know that I am a horsemeat marketer?

    Incidentally, have you stopped beating your wife?

  • I can't believe it took me this long to catch on that everything being posted today it tongue-in-cheek. You can spin how long it took me three ways:
    • Slashdot has gotten so stupid that parody is no longer recognizable,
    • Slashdot's authors are cunning and subtle parodists, or
    • I don't drink enough coffee on weekends.

    Take your pick
  • Actually, the Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), the most northerly occuring penguin, lives at the Galapagos Islands (no shit). Not very north nor atlantic, but way north of the south pole.

  • GPL -> Open Source
    but
    not (Open Source -> GPL).

    You can reuse code covered under some "Open Source" licenses in proprietary and closed products.

  • Slashdot trolling Slashdot. It's supposed to be
    ironic.
  • irony (ìre-nê, ìer-) noun
    plural ironies
    1.a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See synonyms at wit1.
    2.a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain). b. An occurrence, a result, or a circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.
    3.Dramatic irony.
    4.Socratic irony.

    [French ironie, from Old French, from Latin ìronìa, from Greek eironeia, feigned ignorance, from eiron, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say.]

    Excerpted from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation; further reproduction and distribution in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.
  • Hear ye, hear ye! April Fool's 2001 proclaim crappy by all!

  • i'll believe that they are stealing GPL code, when i try to print and an error message pops up that says "lp0 is on fire" or if i see some other form of hard evidence.
    ----------------------
  • Man can I have whatever drug you are taking.
    MS is a corporation it's driven by greed and an imperitive to make money. Aside from that they are the one of the most unethical companies on the planet.
    They stole code from stack and got sued and lost.
    They stole from apple and got sued and settled.
    They stole code and emplyees from borland and settled.
    They stole from corel and settled.

    Your ethical compass is way out of whack if you look at MS as being an example of how to run an ethical business.
  • Bill Gates may not be the antichrist but he is unethical. Certainly more unethical you or me or a billion or two other people on this planet. It's OK to judge people by their actions.
  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Sunday April 01, 2001 @12:32PM (#322429)
    Guys, please. This is the kind of paranoid delusional ranting that gives us all a bad name. Let's look at it from both a MS-is-the-Antichrist and MS-is-Just-A-Very-Ruthless-Competitor angle:

    Bill Gates is the Antichrist:

    If Bill Gates is the Antichrist, then don't you think he's read the Evil Overlords list? And somewhere on that Evil Overlords list, shouldn't there be I will be very careful to make sure all of the IP for my company's flagship products is on extraordinarily firm legal footing? If Bill Gates is the Antichrist, then you have to admit: he's a smart, wily, ruthless Antichrist.

    The Devil doesn't need to break the rules. He's already the best in the world at cheating within the rules.

    MS-as-Ruthless-Competitor:

    If you believe this, then you have enough intelligence and reason to see how utterly absurd the question is in the first place. Bill Gates is terrified of the GPL; the company, as evidenced by Allchin's testimony, thinks it's unamerican, dangerous, and--worst of all--"stifling to innovation". Would Bill Gates really let any employee of his put anything in Microsoft code which "stifled" his company's ability to "innovate"?

    ... Good grief. I can't believe such a stupid question qualified for a Slashdot story. I'll just write it down to an April Fool's thing, but really, I don't see what the joke is.
  • If this weren't April Fool's, I'd suggest that are are probably several parties that would cheerfully make the damage to your career worthwhile. As it is your normally suspect post is doubly dubious today.
  • Take a look at the feature set for BO2K.

    Now take a look at the feature set for Win2k's new admin tools, which oddly enough were announced a couple months after the source for BO2K was released under the GPL.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • What the fuck is this? I hate microsoft as much as anyone, but come on, give it a rest.

    And my apologies to all you non-Parisian frogs who actually aren't all that bad.
  • So that'd be... a Windows emulator for Windows?
  • you know, stealing is cheaper than buying or doing it on their own, reminds me on the little bug in their commandline ftp client...hmm...
  • Right, and when Digital Convergence does it, we call it a "click-wrap" license and shit all over them.

    DC claimed that there was a license to use a piece of hardware, something which cannot be copyrighted. To make matters worse (for DC), they had sent these items to a large group of people unsolicited. The rest had been given away at Radio Shack.

    There's a big difference between a simple piece of hardware and a copyrighted program.

    Michael

  • This has to be the WORST slashdot story ever. It's just some guys stupid conspiracy theory. No evidence, no corroboration, no nothing.

    Hey, Slashdot, I think Aliens are controlling my mind through my cable box, so I won't reveal the secret of who really killed Kennedy, that I discovered while stumbling around their mothership, the last time I was abducted, and ran into Elvis, who told me tha @#%@@NO CARRIER
  • Penguins only come from the south pole, not the north atlantic
  • My understanding of copyright law is that if software is copyrighted (as GPL code is), you have *no* rights of use or redistribution unless you agree to a license. Thus, by using the software as is or using portions in your own code, you are agreeing to the terms of use given in the license.
  • by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @10:54AM (#322439) Homepage
    With all the recent heat from Microsoft above the top-secret R&D facility off the main campus, I am drawn to wonder if they are actually developing thermonuclear weaponry. You all know about how a massive infrared presence from satellite usually indicates a controlled test fission. I wonder what it was that they used as fissionable material...
  • I'm not saying I agree with this kind of bullshit; I'm a lifetime fan of GNU and everything it stands for, since I started using fsf software, circa 1990. I contemplated posting the name of the consultancy I worked with, but that just opens a can of worms that's really not worth the trouble. The fact is, m$ and anyone else who can get away with this kind of thing - does.

    In the case of the NT utilities, most (but not all) of the IP taken from GNU sources was not simply inserted verbatim - it was "paraphrased". I actually don't know of the legality of that.

    ...and as for april 1st pranks, they're only valid until noon.

  • by Raving Lunatic ( 67643 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @10:08AM (#322441)
    You people have your heads up your asses. I was once directly involved (as a consultant) with a microsoft project through a fairly well-known consultancy, that used the sources for the GNU base utilities to construct... you guessed it: the base NT unix-like utilities. This kind of crap has been going on for the better part of a decade. And really, there's dick-all you can do about it. If I opened my mouth about this publicly, i'd seriously damage my career.
  • ...breaking from their usual tradition of one inane story after another with limited links of minimal information and value that soon become Slashdotted and unaccessable after 5 minutes anyway :)
  • That's about as grammatically correct as "Somebody set up us the bomb."

    MOVE ALL 'GPL'. FOR GREAT FREEDOM.

    Sorry, couldn't stop myself. :)
  • You don't need to agree to the GPL to *use* the software.

    You only need a license to *redistribute* the software.

    And it seems as if Microsoft does follow the GPL requirements for the GPL software they redistribute, see ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/interix/ [microsoft.com].
  • notice the "@" in the URL which makes everything before it a login name and the numbers after are an ip address. Old trick.
  • Probably a lot, but I doubt they even have much way of knowing. I doubt they would make it a corperate policy to steal GPL code, but I bet a few of their developers whacked some code because they were in a time crunch from management. And of corse checking for GPLed code would entail reading over GPLed code which might propogate the problem. The only way to solve this is some sort of peer review, or some really great dissasebely work.
  • Go talk to Boole. I think he has something like that available. =)
  • I hear that Antarctica has loose laws concerning pornography and that Linus is taking advantage of this to webcast the world's first penguin porn site. They're so slippery, so sexy......
  • With few exceptions, Microsoft employees are told to stay as far away from OSS as possible, especially the GPL. To Microsoft, the possible benefits of including GPLd code in an MS product are not even neutrino sized compared to the universe of fucked they'd be if the very-grey GPL was somehow interpreted to mean that they had to give up their IP on a royalty free basis.

    IIRC, To do anything with OSS/GPL code, you need VP level approval, and it has to be okay'd by the legal team (theres an "OSS issues" team within the MS legal group)

    In fact, microsoft employees aren't supposed to contribute to completely unrelated OSS/GPL projects at home either.

    Unlike the average slashdot weenie, there are lawyers at MS who sit down and think about what the GPL and other OSS license mean under different contexts all day long. They are aware of what the GPL says and how ambiguous it is and they're (rightfully) scared shitless of in any possible dimension being construed as in violation.

    At any rate, the places where GPL'd code in an MS product make sense are few and far between. If you can think of any peice of GPL'd software that is shipping "secretly" in an MS product, i'd be curious to hear about it. Frankly, theres not much thats GPL'd thats "best of breed" software, or where there is, its not something MS has any (current) interest in shipping. For example, someone once posted here about how win2k had stolen the scheduler from the linux kernel.

    Amusing, to say the least. I trust I wont have to make a list of why "theres no fucking way".
  • "I think MS might have violated the GPL. Call it a gut feeling."

    What was that screaming noise? Oh, right, journalistic integrity.

    -Legion

  • by edibleplastic ( 98111 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @08:13PM (#322452)
    'nuff sed.
  • To any Microsoft employee with access to any source code: If you have seen any GPL'ed code in any Microsoft product please do your legal and ethical duty and present these violations to the proper authorities (i.e. the Juctice Department). Thank you.

    --
    Spelling by m-w.com [m-w.com].

  • by MrHat ( 102062 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @10:17AM (#322454)
    ...All your M$ are belong to us.
    ...For great justice.


    Hey! Jamie!
    1. Read the submission.
    2. Follow the provided links. Read what those links point to. No links? Put it in the circular file. Or /dev/null. Or whatever you want to call it.
    3. Read the submission again, checking for correct grammar and spelling. (Note that Commander "can't spell" Taco is not permitted to be in the room during this step).
    4. If, after reading the submission, you don't wish you ended your life five minutes ago, then post.

    That's all there is to it. I would have a real hard time bringing myself to post crap like this unless I had a 5% blood alcohol level and were in the middle of recieving oral sex. And I know nothing like that is going on in your geek compound.

    Give both of our sets of eyes a rest. Don't post crap like this unless you plan to apologize profusely afterwards. God knows you'd demand an apology from Microsoft if they accused GPL projects of stealing code.


    43rd Law of Computing: Anything that can go wr
  • They force you to agree in the installer, if you click "no", it terminates ;) Even with sun java, you have to agree on extraction, AND on download.
  • As much as I dislike M$ this sounds like thought crime...
  • In the conservatory with the candlestick!
  • This is just inane. This is more like the slashdot editors crapflooding their own site.
    I mean, c'mon, the "lossy zip file compression" wasn't a bad attempt, but this one isn't even funny. It's like a bad attempt at a troll.
  • by bluto29 ( 123004 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @04:44PM (#322462)
    Whoa - OK, I agree that MS is rather careful. Serious questions for you: 1) In 1996, MS shipped the POSIX virtual environment from NutCracker, which can not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called "clean room code" WRT open source GPL products. In their zeal to avoid breaching the UNIX source copyright, the NutCracker team relied heavily upon open source for hints, pointers, behaviors, etc. Yes, they were also working to the IEEE 1003.1 spec, BUT they also wanted "UNIX" behavior. I know Pat Higby pretty well, and he is NO STRANGER to open source code. 2) MS has a huge team in India working on the services for Unix product line that runs on NT. Do you believe that this rather large team has no access to open source code? Who controls it? Is it the same manager in India who "controlled" the Excel team when a programmer put a mini version of flight simulator inside the shipping product? 3) What about the Interix product I mentioned above. The Interix team (prior to purchase by MS in June 1999) opennly stated, in writing, that the untilities shipped with Interix were based on open source. What happened to NEVER using open source? Serious comments, from persons with actual data, are appreciated. Opinions will go to /dev/null. -Bluto
  • I doubt they would make it a corperate policy to steal GPL code

    In fact, Microsoft has a strict policy against this: Microsoft employees may NOT read code licensed under a copyleft license.

  • Not only do Pengiuns not come from the North Atlantic but JCPenny's doesn't even sell a quality Cardigan, if you want a nice cardigan I suggest The Gap.

    Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
    Domain Names for $13

  • Upon examination of Microsoft programs, it is revealed that they are, in fact, only simple sequences of ones and zeros. Through proof of prior art (ones and zeros have been used for many things throughout history), the court has determined that Microsoft may no longer continue to assert ownership of their products.

    april fools day just isn't what it used to be
  • It's actually fairly amusing for a couple reasons.
    1) This is a parody of the typical MS-bashing story they post, and you actually have to read the whole thing before you're sure it's not real, because this is /.
    2) A lot of people actually DO think it's serious, which scares the hell out of me. But it's still funny. For example, this post [slashdot.org].
  • It's a hoax - not even worth discussing.
  • I think it would be great if M$ used GPL'd software. It would lend a tremendous amount of credability to the movement and inhearently ease the interoperability between UNIX and Windows. The greatest danger for UNIX and friends is that Windows continues to deliberately and successfully prevent integration with UNIX. Let's face it folks, M$ has the desktop locked up tighter than a dolphins ass(I use Linux mainly but I have nothing against Windows as a client platform). Mac OS X, Be, GNOME, or KDE are still riddled with show stopping issues(the lack of a competitive "Office" like software is the biggest). Besides I don't want a windows clone(I use WindowMaker).

    So let them use GPL software. Maybe it will ease it's acceptance within the company and help close the gaps. Then one day the truth will come out and we'll all be better off. You think it will really help M$ be competitive. They don't need it. They have clueless IT managers snowed several times over.

    Let'em have it. Can't fight it any more than they can stop the whole OSS movement anyway. It's only a matter of time.

  • by NSupremo ( 161699 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:48AM (#322488) Homepage
    Normally, when someone steals code, it STILL WORKS after you are done.
  • Are you kidding me? This stuff is hilarious! Its like one big troll after another. Hell, today is the day if you want to get a story through with a goatse.cx link in it, or at least one on something controversial that is sure to rile at least half the Slashdot community.
  • My God, you are a crotchety old bastard. Think about it, this is exactly the kind of exaggeration of the general attitude present on Slashdot that it is actually pretty hilarious.

    Ahem... unfounded rumors that bash Microsoft or other enemies of the Open Source state

    There, better now?

  • That's a valid argument with The Gap. I apologize. I mean, hell, the guy owns his own jet. He'd go J.Crew or The Gap over JCPenney's anyday.
  • Uh, I was talking about Jobs?
  • You can think it up, but I'm sure Linus has thought of it before. :)
  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:44AM (#322498)
    And in other news, Steve Jobs was found to be stealing Cardigan sweaters from his local JCPenney's. And Linux Torvalds abducted several penguins from the front north Altantic.

    Please...

  • A newspaper though.. would be open to civil liabilities of the most harsh and obscene nature. Imagine if the Wall Street Journal published the Windows 2000 kernel. They would be chewed up, in a matter of seconds, by Microsoft lawywers, and rightfully so.

    Quite seriously, if the case you describe did occur, I would expect that whatever entity published the results would be sued, lose in court, and be forced in immediate bankruptcy.
  • by jmu1 ( 183541 )
    I would say ping...
  • by Ondo ( 187980 )
    Someone suspects Microsoft of violating the GPL.
    This isn't news for anyone, and it doesn't matter.
  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:58AM (#322516)
    I Suspect M$ That Has Broken The GPL

    That's about as grammatically correct as "Somebody set up us the bomb."

  • IT'S LIMBO TIME!!!!

    how low can you go...
    how low can you go...

    how low can you go...
    how low can you go...

    ...sorry. hehe
  • by Eladio McCormick ( 226942 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:42AM (#322519)
    Now *this* is content free .

    You know, back in my day, when we wanted to make up a false conspiracy theory, we did it the hard and right way, and fabricated evidence. Jamie, I'm sorry, but you lose.

  • Woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

    Does anyone remember what happened last year on April fools day? Was it really this bad? For a bunch of nerds (readers included) with nothing better to do, I was hoping for something better than my own lame excuses for April fools jokes.

    By God, even MIT (those nerds) [mit.edu] had pretty funny stuff on their front page. Most hilarious pictures (and article) ever. [mit.edu]

    ---
  • yes, Microsoft and many other companies are driven by Ethics. I agree with you. THe basic case for Ethics goes like so:

    There is one ultimate good, which is the life-blood of any business. It is called currency. Now many of you might be thinking I mean currency of information (i.e. making sure that your information is current) but I mean the old fashioned kind of currency-- profits. The greatest good is attained by attaining the largest sum of that ultimate Good (i.e. Money).

    Not that this is a bad thing in and of itself. Money allows you to pay your employees so that they have time to help you change the world.

    However, there is a problem that exists when companies are willing to leverage undue influence not to extend their profits but rather to crush competitors. This is an action which appears ethical when indeed it is not. For such behavior causes customers to begin to resent the "success" of the company which is not living up to its responisibility for fair play and look for alternatives. Hence the overall profit of the company is reduced in the long run.

  • So what if they did? How is anyone going to really Prove it? They arn't going to let anyone look at their source code for their products. If the courts order it, and it is found to be true, Could MS be forced to open source what ever it is they used the code in? Can they deny the courts access to their code? Can you plz give a link with more info as to what they did btw?
  • 1) If I respond to this story on topic and sincerely, am I being trolled?

    2) If I troll the story, am I trolling the story and being trolled?

    Too confusing.. must go smoke a joint.

  • by Shade, The ( 252176 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:57AM (#322537) Homepage
    What?! Linuxy software being turned to the Dark Side? Nooooooooo!!!
    Cue Star Wars Scene:

    Darth Gates: *wheezing noises* I am your father *more wheezing*
    Tux Skyswimmer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    You get the idea :)
  • I have never GPL'd any of my code. If I put code out there for people to use I put it out for them to use any way they want.

    All the large computer companies have read the GPL and are aware of the implications. I have had the 'we can't use that code' discussion with folk from IBM, Microsoft and several other companies. That is why all the Web code from CERN was made public domain it was never at any time GPL.

    I know RMS, I have shared a building with him. He is by anyone's definition 'high maintenance'. You can agree that 'open software is good' without accepting the premise that 'RMS and only RMS is the keeper of the true flame'.

    Not all of the successful Web projects are GPL. Apache in particular is not GPL.

    What GPL boils down to is 'I am going to force you to do everything my way'. I don't think that is a very 'Open Source' type notion.

    Unlike RMS I am not out to prevent anyone making money from selling software. Unlike RMS I believe money has a social value (albeit disputing the GOP belief in money as an absolute good in its own right). For the past fifteen years RMS has lived in his office in 545 Tech square, I don't believe that programmers should be forced to aspire to live like hippies. I don't think Richard's utopia is scalable.

  • It is perfectly ok to spread FUD, to embrace and extend one's competitors, because that is what one's competitors would do to you.

    The complaints tend to be about embracing and extending your business partners.

    Mind you it is amazing how many folk can get themselves whipped up into an indignant lather about the evil empire snuffing out some startup outfit by buying it up for several hundred million.

    I met the ex-CEO of one such company, he said that the decision to sell had been one of the hardest he had been forced to make that day (the hardest being the choice of the Jaguar XK8 available immediately or waiting 6 to 12 months for the supercharged XKR version, he bought both).

  • Force them to submit all their code as evidence, that way it's publically available.
    Even if we lose, we win!

    On a more serious note, it's going to need more than speculation to do so. And the GPL was never tested on court, losing such a case (and MS has *way* more money the FSF) will result in GPL being null & void.
    Hopefully, so will MS' EULA.
  • by corphack ( 323994 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:43AM (#322553)
    That's an insult to GPL'ed code and GPL'd coders everywhere! Our code isn't that poorly crafted! To suggest that M$'s bugs are the result of their plagerizing the quality efforts of GPL coders is simply bad taste.
  • by ethics major ( 325440 ) on Sunday April 01, 2001 @09:48AM (#322555)
    As much as people like to think that Microsoft is a behemoth driven only by profit, the simple fact is that it does have an ethical position, and is driven by morals very fundamentally.

    The reason for this is that MS is nothing more than the sum of its employees, being an Intellectual Property company.

    The reason we all take jobs and the reason we all do anything at all is because of ethics. Its about duty, honour and responsibility.

    The ethics of the MS employees will be expressed by the company as a whole at an emergent level.

    I would hazard as follows: It is perfectly ok to spread FUD, to embrace and extend one's competitors, because that is what one's competitors would do to you. However, the GPL is an Ethical step too far, even for MS. Despite the fact that the GPL is itself designed to embrace and extend, MS is not about to start using GPL'ed code, not just because it is legally shady, but because it is wrong.

    I have studied many organisations, commercial and otherwise, and what I say is true, as far as I can ascertain. Ethics is the driving force of any company, and though those ethicvs may leave much to be desired, they are still present.

    Stealing the GPL is too much for MS.

  • I don't know whether it's a joke or not, but it really doesn't matter. Sooner or later Microsoft is going to be forced to release their code under the GPL (GNU Public License) or another Open Source license if they want to be able to compete against Linux. They will probably be very resistant to doing this at first, and they may not do it in time to save their company, but in the end they won't have any other options.

    My friends often come to me for advice on investing, since they regard me as something of an expert. I always tell them to get rid of any Microsoft stock that they own. In a couple of years it will be valueless. Why? Their chief product is competing with an Open Source OS that people can get for free. Sooner or later investors are going to realize this and the stock price is going to collapse.

    I also advise them to stay away from any mutual funds that have in invested in Microsoft. Not just because of the immediate danger of MS's stock price falling, but because I wouldn't trust any fund manager who hasn't realized what a house of cards that company is.

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