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Microsoft's GPL IPv6 Web Server. Not Really. 148

So, quite a number of people have submitted this hideously poorly titled story that talks about a GPLed IPv6 Web Server that's on A number of people thought it means everything will be GPLed starting this afternoon - it's their research server called Fnord!. Now, please stop submitting it *grin*
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Microsoft's GPL IPv6 Web Server. Not Really.

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not the first time Brian has helped MS: fnord was his login at WPI, too, apparently.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Are you, perchance, confusing Microsoft with Microsoft Research?

    There's a whole bunch of un-jazzy material at and, to be fair, some jazzy stuff as well.

    Statement of interest: I'm responsible for some of the un-jazzy material. Not, unfortunately, for the layout of my home page [] itself where I had to take a predefined template.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Kala bandar aaya hai!!!! []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anybody who wants a usable POSIX subsystem to run
    on NT buys Interix, which is now sold directly by
    Microsoft. It represents an entire independent
    POSIX subsystem that runs directly on the NT
    kernel, and includes all the POSIX utilites, and
    even a fully working copy of the GNU C Compiler.
    They distribute the bare minimum of GPL'd utility
    versions, of course, similar to the BSD OSes,
    because there are BSD licensed versions of most
    of the utilities.

    Cygwin, on the other hand, is a psuedo-POSIX
    implementation. It's just a thin layer that runs
    on top of the Win32 subsystem, all wrapped in a
    few DLLs,

    INTERIX is a certified POSIX implementation, by
    the way. When you install INTERIX on an NT
    system, it's a legally branded Unix box, someting
    Linux only wishes it could be.
  • It looks like someone else wrote the software, and Microsoft is complying with the terms of the GPL. You are free to use or not use the product, it doesn't "belong" to Microsoft.
  • Maybe the fact that Microsoft didn't write it? They just ported its networking code to their research IPv6 stack?

    Sam: "That was needlessly cryptic."
  • I mean, a web server named after a punctuation mark? How do you pronounce "!"? I'm going to get some weird looks from my hacker buddies if I say I'm running Microsoft's GPL-ed IPv6 web server, "bang".

    Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, DEATH, SubGenius, mhm21x16
  • The ISPs have long been screaming that IPv6 wasn't ready. That there wasn't any software for it. That there wasn't anyone using it, if there WAS any software.

    (They've said much the same thing about multicasting too. Sadly, IMHO, multicasting is dying and will soon enter the Great Betamax in the Sky, where all wonderful, but pathetically handled technologies go when they perish from this Earth.)

    Personally, I doubt the Microsoft IPv6 stack is even close in quality or readiness to, say, the KAME stack, or the Japanese alternative Linux IPv6 stack.

    But that's not the point. The point is, this is Microsoft. Never mind it's not an "official" MS site. It's got the Microsoft label on it. All it would take is for one or two major news outlets (besides Slashdot!) to cover this, and IPv6 will be =THE= technology to use. Simply because of the label.

    Played right, this could make or break IPv6, as a practical, day-to-day alternative to IPv4, simply because of the value on the sticker.

  • This is based on me testing & using the MS-Research IPv6 stack, and upon their own comments.

    (Entries like "xyz Not Yet Implemented" have been somewhat common in the M-R IPv6 stack. It's still worryingly common to see in the default Linux IPv6 stack.)

  • Anycast is just Multicast Send/Unicast Receive. It's not so much a replacement, as a logical (and necessary) extension.

    Anycasting, for example, would be invaluable for finding servers, routers, etc. Want to resolve a name? Then simply multicast your query, and the first nameserver with an answer will reply.

    You're right that it's better technology, within that field, at least. It takes time to search, decide if to forward, check for looped queries, etc, ad nausium. Checking ALL servers of a given type, in parallel, means that you don't have that issue. Each server is self-contained and doesn't need to do anything beyond search within itself.

    However, for videoconferencing, where both the request AND the response are going to multiple destinations, you have to use pure multicasting. Anycasting doesn't save you any time, here. It's not even a question of hooking up to the best server, as multicasting is "serverless". The network IS the server.

  • Almost forgot to answer your other point, about deployment.

    People follow Microsoft. If Microsoft says "jump", people jump. If Microsoft says "Internet Explorer is part of the OS", people believe them. What Microsoft says is, in a very real sense, Law.

    In this case, Microsoft Research says "we're running IPv6". The web server doesn't matter, IMHO. That's just a distraction. So is the GPL stuff. What matters is that a group with the Microsoft label has pronounced IPv6 as kosher.

    THAT is a major statement to make. There have been IPv6 stacks for Windows for years. FTP Software sold one, long before Microsoft's engineers even produced their first alpha-test version. Nobody used it, because Microsoft hadn't labelled it acceptable.

    Well, technically, they still haven't. It would require a bit of spin-doctoring to turn it into an official-ish "OK" for this technology. But news outlets do that all the time.

    ALL it would take is one news outlet to declare that the next release of Microsoft's web server will use IPv6, and that they've made an IPv6 upgrade available from such-and-such a site, and you can expect a mass migration to it.

    (The statements wouldn't be "false", technically, they just wouldn't be "true", if you assume that they're referring to their commercial web server.)

    If rumour had it that Nike were going to make patent leather soccer boots for poodles, you can reckon on a good few million poodle-owners going out to buy them.

    Likewise, if rumours in the news your typical computer pleb reads/watches reports that Microsoft is pushing IPv6, it would be a safe bet that every secretrary, every corporate executive, every non-techie computer user in the country WILL upgrade, out of sheer panic, if nothing else.

    From there, you can expect companies such as AOL to follow suit, cashing in on the panic. "We support IPv6! Our competitors don't. You can trust us, we're safe!" That's how marketing works. You don't sell a product. Joe Bloggs doesn't know a 64-bit RISC architecture from a hole in the wall. What marketers sell is fear, then safety from that fear.

    It doesn't even matter if the fear isn't real. It just has to =sound= real to your average customer. Here, any marketer who wanted to could have a field day. "Microsoft starts moving to IPv6! Download now, before it's too late!" It would sound plausable to someone who didn't know any better. The website would certainly add to that impression. From there on, the herd mentality would take over. "Must have! Gotta have! The sky is falling!"

    I'm not saying any of this -will- happen, or that we'll wake up tomorrow in a native IPv6 land. What I'm saying is that it -could- happen. The ingredients are all there. All that would be needed is a major news outlet to mix them in the "correct" proportions, add a touch of spin, and circulate it as a Major Internet Event.

  • It strikes me that the reason MS has been coming down so hard on the GPL could be to get managers at MS Research to keep people from doing this.

    It seems to me that they could be worried that carelessness or malice at MS Research could put them in a situation of having GPLed code they own but whose licensing they can't withdraw infect their main products.
  • by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2001 @10:56AM (#198890) Homepage
    ... I should ask to include "MS releases a server under the GPL." as an example.

    The entry is copied from the Jargon File []. Maybe you can try asking ESR to add your example... =)

  • I used to run an Fnord! web server back in college (pre linux days) it was a pretty kewl web server. I tried to find it again a couple of years ago, but 99% of the links to the software were dead, or said this software has been removed at the request of the author. I guess I now know what happened to it.

  • Even if you do download it, you're still stuck with an EXE file that (presumably) isn't terribly useful on non-Windows platforms. Why they couldn't just use a nice, platform-independent archive format like tar/gz or zip or something I'll never know.

    Oh, wait, it's Microsoft. Guess I do know.

  • It just seems a little silly to me, in some way I'm having trouble articulating precisely -- "here's some free software, but you have to use our proprietary platform to even look at it."

    The extra time it would've taken to provide both a zip file, and the self-extracting EXE, is minimal, and would've been a nice gesture on their part. (If they still make NT for Alpha and other non-x86 platforms, chances are they're just as hosed as the Linux users, so it's not just a "Linux geeks" problem.)

  • We're expected to believe someone who hand-wraps their HTML?

    Why are you doing that anyhow - it's annoying.

    Back to the topic I doubt MSR has any admonition against reading GPL'd code. Certainly many of the folks they hire have read GPL'd code before MSR employment and many are likely exposed to it in the course of their jobs, looking at snippets, holding discussions with peers in academia and other research areas, etc.

  • As many have mentioned, Microsoft *isn't* releasing a GPL'd webserver. Their research team is using an existing webserver for hacking and testing.

    The real significance of this event is that their researchers are quietly disproving what their marketing and executive leadership says. This is *exactly* why Free Software is useful. These folks realized that it would take a long time to modify IIS and it would have been buggy. All they want is a way to test their IPv6 stack. Now, why should they go to all the hassle of rolling their own when it's so easy to "stand on the shoulders of giants"?

  • Well, the production server that runs on seems to have been supporting IPv6 for a long time.

    According to this document [].

    Apache is now IPv6-capable. On systems where APR supports IPv6, Apache gets IPv6 listening sockets by default. Additionally, the Listen, NameVirtualHost, and directives support IPv6 numeric address strings (e.g., "Listen [fe80::1]:8080").
    [Jeff Trawick]

    echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln80~Psnlbx]16isb15CB32EF3AF9C0E5D7272 C3AF4F2snlbxq'|dc

  • Personally, I doubt the Microsoft IPv6 stack is even close in quality or readiness to, say, the KAME stack, or the Japanese alternative Linux IPv6 stack.

    And this is based upon what information? MS (particularly MS Research) has been working on and readying an IPv6 stack for several years now.

    But that's not the point. The point is, this is Microsoft. Never mind it's not an "official" MS site. It's got the Microsoft label on it. All it would take is for one or two major news outlets (besides Slashdot!) to cover this, and IPv6 will be =THE= technology to use. Simply because of the label.
    Played right, this could make or break IPv6, as a practical, day-to-day alternative to IPv4, simply because of the value on the sticker.

    Huh? Because MS took a GPLd web server and tested it against their IPv6 library and headers that means that IPv6 is going primetime? MS has been doing stuff with IPv6 for a long time and this changes nothing. The only reason this is news is because of the GPL.

    IPv6 has a long uphill struggle ahead of it. Mind you we'd all already be using IPv6 if there wasn't a little something called NAT, but since there is the reality is that for 99% of the population IP4 is adequate and works. And when you have that network effect (for example like gasoline and gasoline powered cars) it's extremely hard to overcome.

  • good lord, I remember using EMWACS on NT 3.5.
  • It doesn't have to die. One of these days, in my copious free time, I will make some kind of implementation of Radia Perlman's idea for doing multicast into the Linux UDP/IP stack. Then, if ISPs and router vendors don't implement multicast, they'll just suffer higher traffic loads than they need to until they do.

  • Did anyone know when Itanium would actually ship back in November? (Even now, launch date is soft.)
  • Well, Microsoft is very interested in feature checkbox marketing. They obviously don't like to see something like:

    Linux: Yes
    Solaris: Yes
    Windows 2000: No

    64-bit support
    Linux: Yes
    Solaris: Yes
    Windows: Pending

    BTW, did anyone else notice, that despite 6+ YEARS of promises that "64-bit Windows will ship on the same day as IA64", that Itanium will roll out with only beta-level Windows support? Somebody submit it to Slashdot so we can have a 600 post flamefest. Story on ZDNet.
  • Huh, I just thought: "What are we going to fnord do tonight, Brain?" I guess that it would make sense for mice that intend to take over the world to qualify as "elaborate conspiracy" theorists.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • The fnord URL has mysteriously disappeared! ALso the link from MS's IPv6 research page has gone too! MS's PR department is obviously very quick and must be reading /. often
  • Hey, if y'all had lived through a four-hour power failure last night, like I did, you'd think this was funny too! I'm off to shop for a fuel cell...
  • by tsa ( 15680 )
    If I were Steve Ballmer I would fire the people who put it up there. It's a danger to society in general and Microsoft in particular.
  • by tsa ( 15680 )
    Why is this not moderated `troll', while my comment (#13) is?
  • If they haven't distributed the software, they are under no object to release the code. Since this is an internal R&D effort and has not been distributed, you don't get to see the code.
  • Maybe it's time to hire some real journalists?
    "Real journalists" thought Linux was RedHats property..
    The great IP shortage was news.. 2 years ago...
    A hacker convention was a gathering of technology terroists.
    Macintosh was news.. So was the release of Windows 95. But not SunOs, Solarus, or OS/2 warp.

    Also Windows crashed durring a demo.. thats news.. Other demos crash.. not news.. Ok Slashdot agreed but there is the point...
    When it comes to technology news the reason it's not reported on CNN isn't becouse they know better.. but becouse they don't understand it.
    When they do they'll report garbage more often than Slashdot.

    If you want good technology reporting you need to fork it over to publications that pay technology experts... not jernalists.. Taco is some sort of hybred between a jernalist and a tech expert.

    Also you want the good people who still need to build a name for accuracy and technical understanding not the old guys who need only mouth press releases. The later is worse than Slashdot and almost as bad as jernalists.

    Also you want publications with editers who know the diffrence between someone who understands technology and someone who mouths what Bill Gates or RMS say.

    "How do you feel about FidoNet" would be an example of a question a good editor should ask of a prospective reporter..
    It dosn't matter if his opinion matches the editors. As long as it's a coherent opinon that shows he knows what fidonet is...
  • I considered it ethicaly and perhaps legally wrong.

    Yeah. Clearly the GPL is ethically and legally bankrupt - it impedes your employers "ability to innovate and to create Great Software(TM)".

    I know this isn't what you meant, but it reads that way anyway ;)
  • *Please* stop using that neologism - it's lame, it's intensely annoying, and it marks you out as a smug, arrogant fool.
    Perhaps you'll understand when you're older.

    *Please* stop using that cliche - it's lame, it's intensely annoying, and it marks you out as a smug, arrogant fool.

    I *AM* older, and any time I hear somebody of my generation chiding a younger person with that taunt I cringe.

    It very rarely has the effect they are looking for.
  • I don't think it is a joke. This truely was the name of a GPL webserver written by Brian Morin, who was a student at WPI. I've used Fnord! before. IT was a nifty web server for Windows. But then, Morin got hired by Microsoft and the project seemed to have been abandoned.
  • ...have submitted this hideously poorly titled story

    Such as the ones we see all the time on /.


  • Let's consider this, though. Platform-independent or not, it's not terribly simple to extract a tar/gz archive on a Windows machine - easy enough, but not quite like a Zip (much less a self-extracting EXE).

    Actually, with WinZip extracting a .tar.gz is exactly the same as a .zip

  • It's funny to see a Microsoft domain with completely unformatted text, just plain jane text, no graphics, funny verbage, etc. Everything they do on the web is so incredibly over-produced, it just screams "ad agency", but then you come to this page and it's just black text on a big white blank page. It reminds me of when I first started surfing the internet, and how everything was really content-driven instead of image-driven.

    It bowled me over. I was actually excited to see this page, because I'm sure the guys who wrote it (and posted the server) are just as excited. They're working on cutting edge stuff (well, IPv6 is more cutting edge than MY projects) and they're probably having a blast. You don't hear about this often from the MS camp - by the time things make it to their web site, you get the feeling a dozen graphic artists and content managers have put their OK on it, and it's completely sanitized of humor.

    I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to these poor guys when some image-driven schmuck from MS catches this page. "What?!? This is our first IPv6 web server, and it's this plain and ugly? It should be jazzy! It should have lots of IE-only controls! And take out that humor! Now hop to it!"
  • "Fnord" and "Illuminati" are both trademarks of Steve Jackson Games ( and may not be used without permission. Please report to the Intellectual Property Re-Education Center for debriefing.
  • by ajs ( 35943 )
    Still, this is another example of shoddy, biased reporting in the Linux media. After all, why use the whole truth when half of it will do just as well! Now that's efficiency!

    Actually, Linux Today is one of's rags (INT Media Group, Inc). They are more mainstream media than most of the well-known on-line Linux news services.

    I suggest that if you want decent Linux reporting you go to [] or [], or just read /. for cogent evaluations of bad reports, like the above. Also, [] tends to "not get it" as much as the specifically Linux-oriented sites, but they have some excellent general technology reporting (in spite of being CNet).

  • I used to use that back when. May not have been the best web server ever written, but it was preferable to Microsoft's "Personal Web Server" and IIRC it was out earlier. I even got Perl CGI working on it!

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.
  • All I'm getting is a 404 error. Did they pull the page down? Lynx tells me that:
    Lynx 2.8.3rel.1 (23 Apr 2000)

    File that you are currently viewing
    Linkname: 404 File Not Found - HEAD
    Charset: iso-8859-1 (assumed)
    Owner(s): None
    size: 9 lines
    mode: normal

    No Links on the current page

    HTTP/1.1 404
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
    Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 17:33:02 GMT
    Content Location: Http://
    Connection: Keep-Alive
    Content-Length: 7649
    Content-Type: text/html
    Cache-control: private

    Unless IIS version 5 is GPL all of a sudden, it looks like this story has been cut off. Are they trying to cover their tracks here?

  • Well if they were the sole authors they have the right to change the licence and release future code under without the source. But all previous code will still be under the gpl and you cannot retroactivly change the licence.
  • or MS has been infiltrated by the Illuminati.

    The truth about this can be found here [].
  • With all the things that "corporate" Microsoft does, it's very easy to dislike everything that is Microsoft. But then, you see a page like this and you realize that MS has some pretty cool geeks workin' for them, too.

    Note: If in any way you might take from this note that I consider myself a cool geek, DON'T.

  • Well, I suppose they didn't anticipate the's gone 404 now.
    • 2) This isn't 'hidden', it's linked off the Microsoft Research IPv6 homepage, which in turn is linked off of the Current Research page (Although they want you to register if you go in that way).

    WELP, It's hidden now! They took it off their webpage. No GPL for you!, microsoft says. Bahhahahaha *Watches as 10 weeks of carefully planned PR Streak across the sky like the comet the killed the dinosaurs* (link) []
  • yeah i remember using Fnord! in 1996 or so for my personal web site. wasn't Brian Morin involved in the ANSI art scene or something? i know a lot of ANSI scene people used Fnord! to host their art sites. i didn't know it was GPL though, but perhaps that's a recent thing.

    - j
  • This is not a good test of the GPL. They fully give you the source. They include the copywrite and the credit to the author. They do not violate the GPL at all.

    It also should be noted that MS did not develop the fnord web server. They just adapted it to use IPv6 and contributed back there changes.

    This is just a case of, "instead of reinventing the wheel lets take an open source wheel and put IPv6 spokes on it."

    They then did the right thing by releasing the IPv6 code back. Though they would not have to if they intended to only use the code internaly.

    Just cuz MS uses GPL code does not mean they violated it. Hell if you look at the NT4 Extra (or something like that) the GNU tools come on it, with the GPL and sources.
  • Only they would think of naming software with only a punctuation mark fnord.


    Zaphod B
  • It's scary to say it, but there is another well designed and useful Microsoft web site for their typography stuff at (Lets be upfront about the URL and avoid goat fear) []

    Do you think there are some independent groups in there doing their own thing?
  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:01AM (#198928) Homepage
    From [], a link to the old Microsoft website [].
  • For the lazy(read: efficient) among us who find it too much work to hit google, would somebody care to describe the status of linux and apache with ipv6? or any other web server, for that matter. and since at least one freebsd freak is going to post 'we've had ipv6 working for ages now. that just proves we're better.' well, who cares? but post it anyway.
  • MS is just followinf their normal use of other peoples code as a base for their own products.

    This time the code where licensed GPL and it is code to see they include the source as they must.

    They probably will not make a full blown program out of this one as they have done to IE, BSD TCP/IP, paint etc. But in the name of the GPL other programmers can.
  • Should have been and it is good to see they include the source as they must. Sorry about that, made it hard to follow :)
  • Remember, GPL is a licence. The original author have the choice to do whatever he want's with his code but if it is released under GPL newer versions may or may not be GPL. What is released GPL stays GPL. If other programmers make changes and included it in his code he may not just take that source and release it with another licence. In short. you are still the owner of te source when you release GPL.
  • Well of COURSE it's going to be plain. I'm sure they anticipated the flood of SlashDotters going over there to check it out, and with a page as small as that, the bandwidth used will drop dramatically from what it would be if there were a full fledged presentation.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • The Death [fnord] plans are not in the [fnord] computer.

    This Star Wars quote edited for content by (Not available at your clearance level).

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • when i was a little boy in third grade
    Thanks for that clarification. How old were you when you finally graduated third grade?
  • "Definition

    SecurityFocus is a non-profit hobby site run by a handful of volunteers in their free time. Each staff member at SecurityFocus has a day job that takes a considerable amount of time, as well as other hobbies, and a social life (despite popular rumor). Over the last two years, the site has moved from a few random specialty pages to an archive of over seven gigs of diverse material and specialized content. With no corporate backing, no income, no 'guidance', no leash and no muzzle, SecurityFocus continued to move in a direction that values truth and bluntness over sugar coated words and fluff.


    One of the most predominant sections of SecurityFocus has been the Microsoft vulnerabilites mirror. What began as a small collection of minor hacks soon turned into a near 24/7 chore of keeping it up to date. In the last month, we have experienced single days of mirroring over 100 vulnerabilities, over three times the total for 1995 and 1996 combined. With the rapid increase in hacking, there are times when it requires one of us to take mirrors for four or five hours straight to catch up. Add to that the scripts and utilities needed to keep the mirror updated, statistics generated, mail lists maintained, and the time required for basic functionality is immense. A "hobby" is supposed to be enjoyable. Maintaining the mirror is becoming a thankless chore.

    During this time, we have struggled to keep up various other sections of SecurityFocus that have been a core part of the site. As the mirror grew and began to consume more resources, the other sections have found themselves on the backburner and rarely updated. In essence, what was once a hobby site run in spare time for fun has turned into a beleaguring second job. A job that comes with more headache, complaints, criticisms, slander and attacks than productive output or reward. In two years we have turned away countless computer security work that could have been fulfilled by a number of us. The abuse and ignorance we deal with from defacers and defacement victims is staggering, and some of that abuse spills over into actual attacks. SecurityFocus has been taken down more than once by massive denial of service attacks which have inconvenienced our generous upstream provider, hundreds of other colo customers, and thousands of dialup customers, making our job even more difficult.

    With that, and the announcement of a new Microsoft IPv6 web server, the Microsoft vulnerabilites mirror will no longer be maintained. We've served our time."

  • If this is the same program that I recall (and I'm pretty sure it is), this was a rather nice little bare-bones webserver.

    Back in earlier days of the web, sometime around 1995 or 1996, I recall finding this on the website of the student who wrote it. At the time, I needed a personal webserver and I don't think that Apache had released a port to Win32 at that point (I may be wrong). Anyway, I installed this sucker and it ran beautifully. It also had a tiny little Illuminati pyramid that sat in the systray.

    Interesting that M$ picked it up for experimentation. I would hasten to point out though that they are merely complying with the previous software license, since I doubt they would have used the GPL of their own accord.

    Project ELF [] - Anonymous Distributed Filesharing

  • Heh. That's not what I think of when I see 'Fnord' :) Then again, I think reading the Illuminatus! trilogy did plenty of brain damage as well.
  • You're my hero.

    ICQ 77863057
  • Woohoo! My School [] is famous once again. Go here. Better than MIT (they are lifeless losers), because we DRINK.
  • why release it under GPL?

    um, **because they had to**? This is the whole damn point of the GPL: if you take and modify GPLed software you must license any release under the GPL or a fully compatible license.

    When will people understand this? It's really not difficult.

  • Yes, you're missing something.

    From the file `readme.msr' inclded in the downloadable zip file:

    This release contains:
    Fnord! Server version (Feb 10 97) sources to which we have
    made MSRIPv6 modifications.
    A new Makefile for building Fnord! Server in the MSRIPv6 environment.
    Precompiled compressed executables (fnord.ex_ and fnordnt.ex_) built
    with MSRIPv6 defined.

    All of the IPv6 related Microsoft Research modifications to the Fnord!
    Server sources are contained within #ifdef MSRIPv6 contructs. In addition,
    we made a few minor changes to allow the sources to compile using Microsoft
    Visual C++ and wrote a Makefile for building the executable (the original
    author apparantly used the Borland IDE). The Makefile we've included
    defines MSRIPv6. If MSRIPv6 is NOT defined, these sources will build a
    IPv4 version of Fnord! Server.

  • From _The_Golden_Apple_ by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
    [as extracted from pp.438f of _The_Illuminatus!_Trilogy_ compilation]

    ``Very nice,'' I said. ``But why did you bring me up here?''
    ``It's time for you to see the fnords,'' he replied. Then I woke up in bed
    and it was the next morning. I made breakfast in a pretty nasty mood, wondering
    if I'd seen the fnords, whatever the fell they were, in the hours he had
    blacked out, or if I would see them as soon as I went out into the street. I
    has some pretty gruesome ideas about them, I must admit. Creatures with three
    eyes and tentacles, survivors from Atlantis, who walked among us, invisible due
    to some form of mind shield, and did hideous work for the Illuminati. It was
    unnerving to contemplate, and I finally gave in to my fears and peeked out the
    window, thinking it might be better to see them from a distance first.
    Nothing. Just ordinary sleepy people, heading for their busses and subways.
    That calmed me a little, so I set out the toast and coffee and fetched the
    _New_York_Times_ from the hallway. I turned the radio to WBAI and caught some
    good Vivaldi, sat down, grabbed a piece of toast and started skimming the first
    Then I saw the fnords.
    The feature story involved another of the endless squabbles between Russia ad
    the U.S. in the UN General Assembly, and after each direct quote from the
    Russian delegate I read a quite distinct ``Fnord!'' The second lead was about a
    debate in congress on getting the troops out of costa Rica; every argument
    presented by Senator Bacon was followed by another ``Fnord!'' At the bottom of
    the page was a _Times_ depth-type study of the growing pollution problem and
    the increasing use of gas masks among New Yorkers; the most distressing
    chemical facts were interpolated with more ``Fnords.''
    Suddenly I saw Hagbard's eyes burning into me and heard his voice: ``Your
    heart will remain calm. Your adrenalin gland will remain calm. Calm, all-over
    calm. You will not panic. you will look at the fnord and see the it. You will
    not evade it or black it out. you will stay calm and face it.'' And further
    back, way back: my first-grade teacher writing FNORD on the blackboard, while a
    wheel with a spiral design turned and turned on his desk, turned and turned,
    and his voice droned on, IF YOU DON'T SEE THE FNORD IT CAN'T EAT YOU, DON'T SEE
    I looked back at the paper and still saw the fnords.
    This was one step beyond Pavlov, I realized. The first conditioned reflex
    was to experience the panic reaction (the activation syndrome, it's technically
    called) whenever encountering the word ``fnord.'' The second conditioned reflex
    was to black out what happened, including the word itself, and just to feel a
    general low-grade emergency without knowing why. And the third step, of course,
    was to attribute this anxiety to the news stories, which were bad enough in
    themselves anyway.
    Of course, the essence of control is fear. The fnords produced a whole
    population walking around in chronic low-grade emergency, tormented by ulcers,
    dizzy spells, nightmares, heart palpitations and all the other symptoms of too
    much adrenalin. All my left-wing arrogance and contempt for my countrymen
    melted, and I felt a genuine pity. No wonder the poor bastards believe anything
    they're told, walk through pollution and overcrowding without complaining,
    watch their son hauled off to endless wars and butchered, never protest, never
    fight back, never show much happiness or eroticism or curiosity or normal human
    emotion, live with perpetual tunnel vision, walk past a slum without seeing
    either the human misery it contains or the potential threat it poses to their
    security . . . Then I got a hunch, and turned quickly to the advertisements. it
    was as I expected: no fnords. That was part of the gimmick, too: only in
    consumption, endless consumption, could they escape the amorphous threat of the
    invisible fnords.
    I kept thinking about it on my way to the office. If I pointed out a fnord to
    somebody who hadn't been deconditioned, as Hagbard deconditioned me, what would
    he or she say? They'd probably read the word before or after it. ``No _this_
    word,'' I'd say. And they would again read an adjacent word. But would their
    panic level rise as the threat came closer to consciousness? I preferred not to
    try the experiment; it might have ended with a psychotic fugue in the subject.
    The conditioning, after all, went back to grade school. No wonder we all hate
    those teachers so much: we have a dim, masked memory of what they've done to us
    in converting us into good and faithful servants for the Illuminati.
  • Damn does that picture bring back memories. Wow do we look like a bunch of geeks....
  • To be clear. What I ment was I just spent a summer working with one of the best web severs ever written. It would be grossly unfair to apply what I had learned to Fnord and release the result of that GPL.

    As for my personal view of GPL and free software, lets just say I'm more conservitive than Karl Marx and more liberal than Jim Allchin. But lean a lot closer to Jim Allchin. :-)
  • by Henry Fnord ( 134773 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @10:17AM (#198947)
    It's funny how these things just keep comming back. I always got a kick out of seeing it show up on the Netcraft survey (at least at recently as a year ago.) Anyway I guess a few comments are in order (easy Karma too.)

    I wrote Fnord back in my Junior yeah of college (96-97.) Partialy because EWACs (or something like that) was the dominant web server at the time with IIS just comming around with it's magical version 3. Partitialy just to learn how they worked under the covers. The name Fnord was a joke that stuck. The thought of Fnords on the web being served by a Fnord Sever had a certain ring to it. Why GPL? Since part of my goal was understanding how these things work and would work under NT, GPL was as good of a way as any to share my work with others. I ended getting a little help from a couple people in the process. Overall, it was a fun experience I learned a lot from.

    The summer of '97 I accepted an internship at Microsoft on the IIS ASP team. In the process I learned a hell of a lot about stuff I didn't know that I didn't know. After that experience, by my own initiative, I ceased to work on Fnord. I considered it ethicaly and perhaps legally wrong. So it laid idle on my homepage at WPI. Around then I got a letter from Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson games asking me to cease and desist using the pyrimid and eye icon. However, by that point there wasn't much to cease and desist doing. Being a fan of his work made it all the more humorous. After graduation I accepted a postion at Microsoft.

    After working for Microsoft for about a year, someone from research called me and asked me if they could use Fnord as an example for their IP6 effort. They needed a server example, releasing a subset of IIS was not possible (I suspect size and intellectual property issues) so Fnord fit the bill. Other than saying yes and being glad Fnord still was of some use to someone, I had no other role in MS release it.

    Currently, I'm still working for Microsoft in XBox Online.

    Hope this sheds some light on how this little inside joke came to be.

    Brian Morin
  • Fnord isn't owned by Microsoft, it's a GPL'd webserver they ported to run on their IPv6 IP stack so they're required to GPL their version of it.
  • Guess what's up at [] :)
  • Actually this story [] at Windows NT magazine ENT, pointed that out back in November.
  • The saddest part is that that looks a lot easier to find what you need!
  • Why GPL? Since part of my goal was understanding how these things work and would work under NT, GPL was as good of a way as any to share my work with others. I ended getting a little help from a couple people in the process. Overall, it was a fun experience I learned a lot from.
    I assume you mean that some people contributed to the code.
    After working for Microsoft for about a year, someone from research called me and asked me if they could use Fnord as an example for their IP6 effort. They needed a server example, releasing a subset of IIS was not possible (I suspect size and intellectual property issues) so Fnord fit the bill. Other than saying yes and being glad Fnord still was of some use to someone, I had no other role in MS release it.
    I assume the code was released not under the GPL as the guy from research explicitely asked your permission.

    If these assumptions are correct then you and/or Microsoft (IANAL) have violated the GPL by not asking the co-authors of Fnord if it was OK to relicense the code.

  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @07:02AM (#198953)
    If you look a little longer than your nose you will notice that the fnordserver is written by somebody else but is put on the Microsoft site because it works on W2K.

    Get your facts straight. The software is on Microsoft's site because they ported it to W2K. It doesn't just happen to work with W2K, as you implied. From their page []:

    Fnord! is a web server for Windows NT/2000 which we have ported to run on our IPv6 stack.


  • Somebody should mod this guy up, expecially [] because he seems to be telling the truth []. The home page [] seems to point back to a defunct link at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

  • by Jon Erikson ( 198204 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:54AM (#198967)

    Come on folks, as if Microsoft would ever GPL any of their stuff! I mean, if they're anything, they're always looking out for their bottom line, and they're not going to do something so obviously dangerous to their profitability...

    Still, this is another example of shoddy, biased reporting in the Linux media. After all, why use the whole truth when half of it will do just as well! Now that's efficiency!

    I know that these sites are strictly amateur, but amongst professionals like myself it just tarnishes the reputation of free software as a whole when such blatent propaganda pieces come to light.

    Maybe it's time to hire some real journalists?

  • What are you talking about? I don't see the fnord.
  • or MS has been infiltrated by the Illuminati.

    I think the second one is more likely, I can even feel the mind control beams emenating from the NT I'm typing at.
  • by Fatal0E ( 230910 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:55AM (#198981)

    1. A word used in electronic mail and news messages to tag utterances as surrealist mind-play or humour, especially in connection with Discordianism and elaborate conspiracy theories. "I heard that David Koresh is sharing an apartment in Argentina with Hitler. (Fnord.)" "Where can I fnord get the Principia Discordia from?"

    I should ask to include "MS releases a server under the GPL." as an example.
  • by Xibby ( 232218 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:23AM (#198983) Homepage Journal
    Ok everyone, calm down. Fnord isn't written by MS. The researchers probally choose it because they needed some kind of server application to test out on their IPv6 machine, and adding IPv6 support to IIS isn't pratical for their research and testing. So they found this small open source webserver that they could hack at and get running on IPv6 in a few hours. As required by the GPL, they've released their modifications to the public. Personally, I think it would have been fun if they forced you to download the code via IPv6. Would have given the /. community a reason to setup IPv6.

    In the grand scheme of things, there really isn't much to see here. It's a Microsoft research/test server running something besides IIS, on IPv6. The webserver is a small, GPLed little server that they made a few patches to. I'm still trying to figure out how the hell this is newsworthy. Did everyone download the fnord code and check them for GPL complience? Don't bother. It's there. The author of the Linux today article obviously has no idea about the orgin of fnord, or the nature of research. Why the hell would IPv6 support get into IIS before their IPv6 stack was ready? Why would a small research team modify IIS to support IPv6? They wouldn't. That's what MS pays the IIS developers to do. Please, use you're grey matter just a little bit.

    Why not add a feature to slash that will look for a URL ( in this case and -25-005-20-OS-MS ) and automatically reject the story (since you're motivation for posting this story was "stop fscking submitting it!")
    Ok, I think I'm done now.
  • The most recent releases of Linux has support for ipv6, and the recent betas for Apache 2.0 do to.

    Where is Craid Mundie when you need him?

  • Nope. It stands for "Foundation for Neuro Ontological Research and Development.

    Ewige Blumenkraft!
  • Yeah, and the icon is a pyramid with an eye in it. *shiver*
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • Multicast is being replaced by Anycast for very good technical reasons - it's better technology :)
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • They're still distributing GPL'd software, whether they wrote it or not, whether it's an official capital-R Release or just something a few engineers threw up one weekend...
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • *Please* stop using that neologism - it's lame, it's intensely annoying, and it marks you out as a smug, arrogant fool.

    Perhaps you'll understand when you're older.
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • by imipak ( 254310 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:48AM (#198992) Journal
    ...and of course a quick look at the docs shows that the original fnord server dates from 1997, and the IPv6-enhanced version from Januray 1999.

    Of course, Microsoft already include a bunch of GPL'd software with the NT4 Resource Kit, including a horrible old build of Perl, some GNU utilities etc. IIRC these were licensed from MKS. Anyone know whether the W2K Resource Kit comes with similar goodies? Or have MS noticed that everyone who wants a usable Windows system these days gets this stuff (and tons more) from cygwin?
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • It's gone now...nuttin' left but a 404 page.
  • Why does it say "not really"? How is this not really releasing a GPL IPv6 Web Server? Just because it isn't shipping with windows 2000 doesn't mean it isn't out there in the wild. I think this is great! It IS gpl'd and it IS microsoft.

    Someone is probably about to get fired tho when the higher ups get wind of this.
  • Actually, that was inherent in the metaphor. Consider: my first trip into the 'dacks, I picked a flower for a girl I liked, who didn't like me and was a consumate woodsman. "You shouldn't pick the flowers," she said, "because there aren't many wild flowers left. If you pick them, they won't grow back, and then there won't be anything left for the next group."

    Wise young girl, with the exception of her taste in guys...her current boyfriend is a dipshit.
  • You know, I've always thought something like this had to exist at Microsoft.

    You see, I've seen a lot of smart, talented young coders and scientists get recruited by Microsoft. Half of them go in for the huge stock options, their name on a blue MS shirt, and, of course, the booth babes. The other half are misfits and nutjobs who really want to change the world. In fact, that's the reason why I'm not anti-MS...I've known too many good men entering the behemoth to think that it's all fluff and marketeering.

    We all like to think of Windows as an underpowered, oversimplified mush...but Microsoft, despite its market crap (XP, .Net, ASP), has been doing a lot of great shit. Fast XML parsers. Semi stable windowing OSs. A decent scripting language (or, rather, engine...i write my WSH stuff in Perl or JavaScript). All of these things well documented in MSDN with text files that were obviously not hit with the same marketeering technical writers who tried to sell us on Windows Media 8, the death of the paper clip or the "excitement" of .Net: The Network is the Comput-oh wait, that's not .Net!

    This "Fnord" box is apparently the house of some of these innovators at Micrsoft. The ones taking the ideas that UN*X users come up with and adapting them for the mass market. These are the guys that are going to eventually build the Ipv6 core that us Windows users will have underneath it all in four or five years -- before marketting makes them paint it yellow and cover it with MSIPv6 logos.

    Don't hate MS for looking at GPL code...that's what GPL code is for. Hate the marketeers who cover this free code with bumper stickers and sell it back to us at a premium. We're all in a field of flowers, but Microsoft is picking them and selling them to folks who are too lazy to come to the countryside.
  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:15AM (#199008) Journal

    We're all in a field of flowers, but Microsoft is picking them and selling them to folks who are too lazy to come to the countryside.

    Too true. And in the process, they first have to destroy that which they are selling us.

  • 1) This isn't new. I downloaded their IPv6 version of Fnord! 3 months ago, and it's been around longer than that (The oldest version on their FTP server is from 9/2000.)

    2) This isn't 'hidden', it's linked off the Microsoft Research IPv6 homepage [], which in turn is linked off of the Current Research page (Although they want you to register if you go in that way).

    3) This isn't Microsoft, the OS maker, it's Microsoft Research, the R&D Lab.

    4) Microsoft didn't write Fnord!, it specifically says on their page 'Fnord! is a Windows web server we found on the net and ported to run on our stack.' and 'Fnord! was apparently written by Brian Morin while a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.' The readme.msr goes on to give the URL of the authors website (now defunct) and a URL of a Tucows mirror where the original could still be found when they wrote the readme. (I didn't check if that mirror still works.)

    5) Yes, they included the source code in their port. No, it's not for Visual C++. It's actually a Borland C++ 4.5 project, although I believe their binaries are compiled with VC++.

    6) Finally, I'd like to point out that there are a lot of other interesting-sounding files available on, from the /pub, /users, and several other directories.

    -Jade E.
  • by kalleanka2 ( 318385 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:09AM (#199014)
    If you look a little longer than your nose you will notice that the fnordserver is written by somebody else but is put on the Microsoft site because it works on W2K.

    It isn't Microsoft's software; it's just hosted there.
  • Yeah, they are happy with building shell over shell on top of their crappy early-80's OS. (stolen). :)

    Personally, I'd like to run a vaccum-tube/plugboard simulator and play with all the ballistics stuff from even earlier. Now *that* would be an OS...
  • This isn't Microsoft, the OS maker, it's Microsoft Research, the R&D Lab.

    They are one and the same company. Employees get the same stock options and they are under the same CEO. And most researchers are at Microsoft Research because they believe in the company and the mission. There's no use pretending: Microsoft Research is part of the Evil Empire.

  • Yeah, no doubt they are infiltrated, but how does it come I can see the Fnord!?

    And is this the first step towards the end-phase for Illuminatus Primus Bill Gates, whatever this might be?

    However, I am scared...

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.