Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

What if Microsoft went Open Source? 409

An anonymous reader writes "This article on newsforge takes a speculative look at what would have to happen if Microsoft decided to jump on the Open Source bandwagon (using Microsoft Project as the source of speculation). Amusing to think about, unlikely to happen."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What if Microsoft went Open Source?

Comments Filter:
  • Give it up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maukdaddy ( 244282 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:04PM (#5574071)
    It's not happening, for obvious reasons. Companies exist to make money!
    MS is doing just fine without being OS!
    • Re:Give it up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:14PM (#5574359)
      It's not happening, for obvious reasons. Companies exist to make money!

      So ... your point is?
      Why can't a company be open source and sell its product for profit? What's wrong with this?
      • Re:Give it up (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @02:20PM (#5574691) Homepage
        If Office is your $496.99 product, what prevents me from just building and selling a non-supported version for $5? Answer: nothing. You would have to bring your price way down and cut development and support costs or lose a ton of money. You might say "but they can afford to lose a ton of money" Yeah, there is a good business plan. If many of you OSS supporters were in the same situation I am sure you would do the same. That "Information wants to be free" shit would end fast.
        • Re:Give it up (Score:3, Interesting)

          by timeOday ( 582209 )
          If Office is your $496.99 product, what prevents me from just building and selling a non-supported version for $5? Answer: nothing.
          What stops somebody from reselling copies of Microsoft binaries for $5 each? Nothing. (Except the police). So what does the source have to do with it?
      • Re:Give it up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pr0c ( 604875 )
        Because you at the very least take a very huge hit in profits. mySQL is a perfect example.. they do make money, i acknowldge that much but 90% of mySQL servers are probably not licensed or have paid support. Another aspect is this... Microsoft is trying to stay on top not get to the top.. open source software is doing the opposite, they are trying to get to the top. Microsoft WILL lose control of all their propriety stuff (yay for gnu/linux) if they go opensource. Anyone with 2 brain cells knows that if m
    • Re:Give it up (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timeOday ( 582209 )
      I have never understood the connection between "open source" and "free" (as in beer). What if all Microsoft products DID come with source code? There would still be no reason for pirates to distribute the source code, then have each user compile it separately. No, they'd just distribute the binaries, just like how they already do.
  • Netscape/Mozilla (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HeelToe ( 615905 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:04PM (#5574072) Homepage
    You never know, it might just eventually improve their products. Look at Netscape/Mozilla!
    • by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @06:45PM (#5575776)
      An anonymous reader writes "This article on newsforge takes a speculative look at what would have to happen if Microsoft decided to jump on the Open Source bandwagon (using Microsoft Project as the source of speculation). Amusing to think about, unlikely to happen."

      The term 'mental masturbation' comes to mind.

      Im gonna grab some hand lotion and imagine what would happen if Pam Anderson found me attractive...

  • What if Microsoft went Open Source?... Pigs shall fly and people will ski in Hell
  • What if? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rtnz ( 207422 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:04PM (#5574076) Homepage
    Slashdot comments would decrease by 50%?
    • Re:What if? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:23PM (#5574163)
      Then they would increase 100% with cries of how they weren't following the letter of the L/GPL/BSD license/whatever.
    • Re:What if? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NewWazoo ( 2508 ) <bkmatt@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:24PM (#5574165) Homepage
      If you'll excuse me for asking... what's the joke here? I <i>have</i> noticed what seems to be a dramatic decrease in the number of comments in most stories - are they invisible to me (due to the new subscription stuff)? Has everyone simply gone somewhere else? Obviously, everyone is still here (c.f. the Iraq stories).

      What's tha dilly?

      • Re:What if? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:32PM (#5574199)
        people are getting bored of this site, that's why. it's the same thing every time. the comments follow the same pattern. the karma whores remain the karma whores, and the mods act like typical mods. slashdot is becoming obsolete. people get tired of having to please the majority in order to be heard (i.e. modding down below threshold).

        don't you get sick of it?
  • They'd prolly get to kill and bury the famous bluescreen like they did with DOS if they went open-source.
  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:06PM (#5574083) Homepage Journal
    That's like saying "What if the United States decided to disband its army and install Saddam Hussein as president for life".
  • by gatesh8r ( 182908 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:06PM (#5574085)
    Every developer would laugh them back into proprietary! *drum roll; symbols crash*
  • A reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:11PM (#5574103) Homepage Journal
    There is a reason why Microsoft doesn't go open source that a lot of people don't realize, or at least they don't think about it. Sure Microsoft made the code for the NT Kernel, Office, VS.NET, etc. So they can legally release all that code. But there are a lot of things within Windows and Office that Microsoft can't legally release the code for. Like the defragger that is made by some German company. A lot of device drivers written by hardware people also. Windows now technically also includes Sun Java, which they can't release the source for.

    So while MS could open lots of source, there would be quite a few holes in it, and all the geeks who bothered to look would be wondering what was up with the swiss cheese.
    • Re:A reason (Score:2, Informative)

      by Duke ( 23059 )
      ... and that is why Sun did not provide the source for Star Office, where the spell checker and thesaurus, among others, are licensed from third parties.

      (If this is too obscure, check
    • Re:A reason (Score:5, Informative)

      by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:27PM (#5574177) Journal
      I believe the defragger is made by Diskkeeper (as of Win2k snyesyd). I remember that the German govt had issues with Diskkeeper as the CEO was a Scientologist or something like that
    • by da cog ( 531643 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:42PM (#5574243)
      Microsoft Windows has a defragger? That's so cool! Now when I get blown up while playing Quake I can just alt-tab out, punch the defragger, and watch the shocked expression on my enemies' faces as my pieces fly back together! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
    • Re:A reason (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tekai ( 128804 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:59PM (#5574312) Homepage
      of course they can't release the whole sourcecode for all of their applications, for the reasons you just mentioned. But even if only if they released the sourcecode to a tiny fraction of their it could benefit them., Mozilla/Netscape, Mac OS X/Darwin are examples where the sourcecode has been released after code from other companies has been removed, and yet it was beneficial for all parties involved. And All of them are also sold with closed source extensions. So your reasoning is only partly valid.
      And nobody says that you can't fill the holes in swiss sourcecode.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:11PM (#5574105)
    What if the sky were pink?

    What if we lived in the year 3000?

    What if Russia had not become a communist state?

    What if the moon turns out to be the home of our overlord and master?

    What if I became Pope?

    All of these things have something in common. Can you spot what that is? Yes, they're all based on pure fantasy!
  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:12PM (#5574109) Homepage Journal
    As stated, this won't happen. First reason, money. Second reason, control. Third reason, No one would use it once they got a look at the source.
  • What if.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simgod ( 563459 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:12PM (#5574110)
    What if America was a real democracy and not run by oligarhic oportunists... ?

    Unlikely... Impossible ...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What if America was a real democracy and not run by oligarhic oportunists... ?

      Unlikely... Impossible ...

      Are you just stupid? America isn't run by oligarhic oportunists, America is really and truly an Oligarchy, which means it is run by oligarchic opportunists... Jumping Jeebus! Learn to spell!

      Not to mention it is not only run by oligarchs, but these oligarchs are also aristocrats. So we are an Aristocracy in addition to an Oligarchy.

      Jumping Jeebus! Get the facts straight!
    • Re:What if.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      What if America was a real democracy

      Democracy sucks.

      That why America is a Democratic Republic.

      Big difference
      • Re:What if.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TKinias ( 455818 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:05PM (#5575118)

        scripsit SensitiveMale:

        Democracy sucks.
        That why America is a Democratic Republic.

        Why do Americans get so hung up on this? I don't get it.

        Republic == ``res publica'', Latin for (roughly) the populus (people) is in charge

        Democracy == ``dimokratia'', Greek for (roughly) the dimos (people) is in charge

        In modern Greek, the word for republic is ``dimokratia'' (as in ``Elliniki Dimokratia'' -- Greek Republic).

        You can play semantic games all you want, but the terms have no inherent difference in meaning. If you want to split hairs, you need to provide definitions. FWIW, the difference betwen the Roman and Athenian models (hence, I assume, the hair-splitting) is pretty small. The Romans said the senators were representatives of the people, but they were the heads of the most powerful families. The Greeks said that all citizens participated directly, but restricted citizenship to the heads of the most powerful families. 6 == half dozen.

  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:13PM (#5574114) Homepage
    I expect clocks would began running backwards shortly before the fabric of universe unraveled and everyone simultaneously imploded.
  • No interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by embedded_C ( 653649 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:14PM (#5574117)
    I don't believe Microsoft will go Open Source, successfully at least. They've resisted all this time, so if and when they did go Open Source, I just don't think the interest would be there to support the product the way that Linux has been supported.

    I picture in my mind, many gleeful hackers and an overwhelming wave of new exploits, that might in fact cause more people to switch to Linux, where the support community is much more on top of things, and a reliable infrastructure is in place.

    • Re:No interest (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bwalling ( 195998 )
      I just don't think the interest would be there to support the product the way that Linux has been supported

      There would be far more interest than Linux has. Remember, 20 times more people use Windows. There are probably at least 20 times more developers for Windows. Even if only a fraction of them offer bug fixes, they come out ahead (remember, only a fraction of Linux users submit any bug fixes).

      I actually think opening the source (but not GPL) is the way to go for MS. They open their source for view
  • What if ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What if all of the trolls left slashdot in droves ?
    What if editors stopped reposts ?
    What if CmdrTaco choice disappeared from polls ?

  • What if? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spoonist ( 32012 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:14PM (#5574120) Journal

    What would happen if M$ went Open Source?

    I'm pretty sure these [] would form in this place [].

  • Can't and won't (Score:5, Informative)

    by travail_jgd ( 80602 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:16PM (#5574127)
    There are almost certainly pieces of (current) Windows code that can't be released under an open license. So the idea of the entire Windows code base being GPL'd will never happen. Even if earlier versions of Windows were "clean", they still wouldn't be released: older versions of MS software are the biggest threat to the newest versions. According to Google Zeitgeist [], there are more people running "obsolete" Microsoft OSes (95, 98, NT) than "current" ones (2000, XP).

    OTOH, Windows could follow Apple's lead, and use Linux or BSD as a starting point for their next-generation OS. The problem with that idea is that it doesn't really match MS's current goals of DRM, software leases, and increasing MS's revenues.

    (I RTFA the day it was published.)
  • by obotics ( 592176 ) <> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:19PM (#5574138) Homepage
    Check out []. It is a very good open sourced project for managing teams and projects.
  • Competition! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spoonist ( 32012 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:21PM (#5574152) Journal

    Various word processors (e.g. KOffice []) and other programs would snag the code and, thus, be able to perfectly handle MS Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc. Imagine that! Competition in the marketplace!

    Faced with such competition, MS would have no choice but to change its business model for Office. MS could no longer make a profit directly from Office. MS would have to figure out how to make a profit indirectly from Office.

  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:22PM (#5574156) Homepage Journal
    Me program many things for stable OS MS-DOORS. Me keep source open so you can see there are no bugs and use the code as you hate.
  • by AtomicX ( 616545 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:22PM (#5574157)
    ... they would romp home at the annual Obfuscated C code contest.
  • by AdamBa ( 64128 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:23PM (#5574160) Homepage
    ...and free drugs will rain down on slashdot readers!!

    The guy forgot to mention all the money Microsoft will make selling t-shirts and Project stuffed animals (featuring Projie the Scheduling Salamander). The backbone of any open source business plan.

    - adam

  • Mu (Score:5, Funny)

    by Landaras ( 159892 ) <neil@we h n e m a n . c om> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:23PM (#5574161) Homepage
    I believe the correct response would be "Mu." That is (extremely roughly translated) a Zen word for "unask the question." The example that is often given is

    Q: Does the dog have the Buddha nature?
    A: Mu

    Microsoft and Open Source are on completely different planes of existence, and as such combining them in any sort of comparison is pointless.

    Note: The above is intended as humor.
    • Re:Mu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft and Open Source are on completely different planes of existence, and as such combining them in any sort of comparison is pointless.

      Actually, Windows incorporates quite a bit of open code: MS is perfectly happy to take projects under a lenient license a la BSD and absorb them. I seem to recall that the TCP/IP stack in Windows owes some things to BSD licensed code. They finally started properly acknowledging those contributions in XP -- I'm not sure where it is exactly, but I have it on good re

  • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:27PM (#5574183)
    If you look at Microsoft's current business model, a significant portion of their revenue is the up-front sale of their products. Yes, support is also offered, but the business model mainly relies on pumping out the latest and greatest versions and abandoning support on older versions, particularly for security.

    In fact, the security issue is one that has, time and again, been proven by Microsoft to be sorely lacking precisely due to their business model and reliance on the front-end revenue stream. With all this cash in the bank, how is it possible for Microsoft not to quickly respond to their customers and push out patches within 24 hours of understanding the problem? Even if some company were to set up a "special" service contract at some ridiculous price, I would be willing to bet that any security patches developed under that model would not be widely distributed and would be under NDA until such time as Microsoft saw fit to repair the problems for everyone.

    In short, Microsoft simply wants to have its cake and eat it too, but that simply can't last forever.
  • by Squidgee ( 565373 ) <> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:27PM (#5574185)
    What if it did? And what if it were artfully written? What would it do to /.?!

    On a more serious note, MS could acutally open up, say, the Win XP kernel to the public. The kernel doesn't do the brunt of the OS work; it's kind of the foundation, not the building. That way, MS couldn't be acused of being monopoilistic, but they could be monopolistic in practice.

    Also, maybe we could see some Win XP clones? For free? Of course that right there is why MS wouldn't open up a current version of Windows, but they could open up, say, Win 95. Of course, knowing hackers, there probably would be a free version of Windows out in 6 months, and MS would (eventually) be undercut by boxed versions of this "free Windows".

    MS couldn't open up Windows. Even if developers couldn't _use_ the code from Windows, they could read it so they could create a free version of Windows in ~3 years. And then they'd undercut MS's price, and eventually MS would go out of business.

    Of course this very scenario may happen with WINE + Linux. But, of course, this is going to take time. If MS opened up Windows, they would only speed the process.

    And Bill doesn't want that, now does he?

    • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:43PM (#5574523) Homepage
      Of course this very scenario may happen with WINE + Linux. But, of course, this is going to take time. If MS opened up Windows, they would only speed the process.

      No. Showing the Windows sourcecode to the WINE developers is a bad thing. So bad, in fact, that the WINE developers actively avoid it.

      This is so that MS can't claim that they saw the code and simply copied it. Of course, if it were made legal for them to see it, I still doubt that they'd go for it... MS might change their minds later and decide to sue them into oblivion for having inside knowledge of the code...
  • by smitty45 ( 657682 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:30PM (#5574193)
    If Microsoft DID actually "get it" and go opensource, dropping their strategy and opening up code and changed their development ideas...

    would the OSS/FS community be able to handle that ?

    and would anyone help them out ?
    (assuming that, let's say it's released under GPL or BSD style licenses)
  • It sounds all nice and good, but it's a somewhat contrived scenario. There are lots of plot twists that could radically affect the outcome.

    What if the developers of MS project left Microsoft and started their own OpenProject, Inc? One of the things that keeps developers working for the company that makes the software they write is that they just can't take the code, walk out, and start their own company with it. But now it's GPL, so these developers have no reason to stick around if they think they can

  • by lavalyn ( 649886 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:37PM (#5574216) Homepage Journal
    Porgrammers perusing the IIS code will gouge out their eyes.
  • by PyrotekNX ( 548525 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:37PM (#5574220)
    In the 70's and 80's we speculated that cars would use a clean energy source by the year 2000. But nobody realized that SUVs would become popular and get even worse gas milage.

    The same thing will probably happen with Microsoft. A huge business like that does not change overnight. It is doubtful that we see any changes until it is too late. Proprietary businesses no matter how good will eventually lose out to 3rd parties. There is a window in businesses like IBM and Microsoft. When that time is up, they will get hit hard.

    IBM at one time was completely proprietary. Piece by piece 3rd party manufacturers replaced IBM hardware. Eventually IBM clones were around and could compete with IBM directly. Over a span of less than 10 years IBM lost most if it's desktop market share. Now IBM doesn't even bother with consumer hardware. The last couple of things to go were videocards and hard drives. Companies like NVIDIA and ATI were innovators and blew by IBM in the videocard market. Then the IBM hard drives began to get chinsey and they discontinued that as well.

    I am speculating that the same thing with Microsoft is going to occur. Right now there are competing office suites, desktop os', web browsers etc. These products will eventually replace the need for Microsoft products one by one as more people use them. In a matter of years more people will be using open/free software and look back to the days of Microsoft and either laugh or feel dread and angst. The days of a software proprietary model are limited and if Microsoft and other companies don't change to accept opensource, then they will ultimately lose their market shares.
    • Unfortunatly I'm going to have to take a far more cynical view. To most people all there is is MS products. The few people that do remember other web browsers remember that Netscape can't do what IE can do so it sucks. Most people don't realize that something else exists.

      People buy what the CompUSA, BestBuy, insert-electronic-store-here salesperson tells them to buy, that will be Windows until the hardware manufacturers realize it would be in their best interests to stop supporting MS and the electronic s
  • Sure (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 )
    This increased number of users will give MS Project greater market penetration, making it more of a standard. Competing products can expect their sales to drop.

    And Microsoft continues to be the Evil Empire because they're undermining their competitors and being a monopoly, etc.

    Coming soon - Slashdot stories bashing "M$" because of their "unfair" competition based on the strategy of releasing the source code to their products. That should be a fun "discussion".

    Be careful of what you wish for - you jus

  • by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:39PM (#5574232) Homepage Journal

    Project has huge dependencies on Office but not vice versa. Typically Project team picks up office bits around 90 days after Office stabilizes. .MSP files are Jet databases (Access). There is always a new version of Project released based on the current Office codebase.

    All of the common code is in MSO9.dll, or MSO10.dll, whatever, as well as "external" dependencies like MSXML.dll or MDAC from Web Data, or Trident (MSHTML). I'm not going to claim that you can't GPL Project without releasing the rest (don't know enough), but I can tell you the codebases are very intertwined. Does GPL still make sense given this info?

    Basically all Project is is a specialized Access database application. (BTW, did you know that Exchange storage engine and Microsoft Access are both based on Jet? Exchange == Jet Blue. Access == Jet Red. And DHCP and Crypto DBs are stored in .EDB files, which shares Jet ancestry.) Funny, huh?
  • Well it would be the end of Microsoft since we'd all have a lawsuit against them. Then we would take the code and put it into Linux and make every Win32 program run at native speeds or faster.
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:43PM (#5574245) Homepage Journal
    Forget going OSS with some minor application. Apple has allready proven you can go half OSS with an OS and not run into big problems. Microsoft, no matter what else you say about them employs some smart programmers. They could release a decent linux distribution of their own rewriting Microsoft Windows as a closed source window manager that you have the option to run within your X enviroment. Support could be such that the MS Window manager would be garenteed to interoperate with their setup but was a standard Window Manager so could optinally be run on top of any *nix system on the market. This would achieved the desired greater market penetration, as well al allow MS to dip their collective little toe into the OSS market while retaining total control over that intellectial property they prize above all else. It would also allow them to focus on the GUI and high level layers of computing systems rather than worrying about the underlying architecture, which they really have no stake in other than as investments in companies like Intel and AMD. Why bother continuing to write, maintain and update a kernel when you can retain the same market power while just writing a desktop manager/window manager combination product?

  • ...all of which would be improvements over the original
  • by j-b0y ( 449975 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:45PM (#5574254)

    The real cash-cow for Microsoft is Office, and it is certainly inconceivable that Office could go Open Source.

    However, there are certain MS products (IIS, even the core OS) which could be at least partially opened up in order to capture some of the coding-for-free Open Source culture. But if you thought that Linus was picky with patch acceptance, imagine what Bill would be like.

    However, it won't happen, since:

    • Gates is just philosophically opposed to it
    • The enormous law suit which would follow from shareholders claiming wilful destruction of shareholder value
  • More likely: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:47PM (#5574260)
    Microsoft Linux Distribution

    A year ago people would have thought "M$" bought "Linux". But it still is a doable way and wouldn't be that late for them to do it.
  • It wont happen, why waste brain power on 'what if'?

    There are plenty of other things to think about.
  • A question (Score:3, Informative)

    by GrimReality ( 634168 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:47PM (#5574263) Homepage Journal

    I am not sure about how the closed-source software is checked for copyright infringement. Please enlighten us.

    What if Microsoft Windows code has stuff stolen from other places. The closed source system that has so far protected it (if there are any stolen code at all) won't protect it anymore.

    Of course they could simply delet those parts, but still just curious

    Pardon my ignorance regarding closed-source source-code management. I do not mean to accuse Microsoft with stealing code. Just a scenario, since no one else sees the code, isn't it possible?

    Thank you

    2003-03-22 16:45:39 UTC (2003-03-22 11:45:39 EST)

  • One thing to consider is the friction MS would have to FIGHT to be allowed to release its source code. The US government uses Windows almost exclusively, because of 1) the top brass are more familiar with it, and 2) buying into the whole "closed source is more secure" mucky-muck.

    Should MS talk about releasing the kernel, there would be generals and politicians in an uproar, and would be screaming 'No, no! National Security!"

    It would take a lot of explaining to convince them that malignant hackers couldn

  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @12:48PM (#5574266) Homepage Journal
    Opening i.e. the code for the Windows OS, making it free, open, maybe even GPL, could give finally the total global domination that they want.

    Think about it, if the cost of the OS is gone one of the main reasons to swich to linux (not the biggest, but at least one of the more easily noted) is gone. If the source is open, will be no more security by obscurity, a lot of eyes will detect and fix the hundreds of remaining critical bugs in the code, maybe even make Win95 as stable as XP or Linux, or make really safe XP. If Windows now have almost the entire market share on the desktop and not so in the server market, with this not only expand even more their dominance in the desktop, but will have the same dominance in the the server market, and more than this, the market will expand with free/open windows.

    What about Microsoft? How it will generate revenues? With services, support, not so free apps (i.e. Office), having their specific distribution, using it as a plataform of selling their own services (passport?).

  • by errxn ( 108621 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:01PM (#5574317) Homepage Journal
    What, is that code not "forked" enough already?
  • by Senator_B ( 605588 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:07PM (#5574336)
    Wheres the incentive to buy the boxed product? MS Office isn't linux. Most people buy linux in a box instead of downloading it because, for first time users anyway, it is a lot easier to install and get started. There is also a lot of documentation (i.e. on paper) that comes with the boxed retail versions of linux. However, as I said before, Office isn't linux. It almost as easy to install a downloaded copy as it is to install the boxed copy. There won't be as much incentive for the end user to go and get the retail version, especially if they are simply casual Office users. Most people will only need to perform simple tasks on Word and Excel, and a simple download and install would allow them to do that without paying money. Of couse you're going to have lots of people who will still pay money, but the casual end user who really doesn't give a damn about whether its open source or not will simply download it.
    • A sound argument, but I believe that, whether or not Office is OS doesn't matter that much, as the casual end user will simply download it anyways. Granted, downloading it NOW is illegal, but that doesn't stop a lot of people. I suppose that if it WAS legal, more people would, but how many more?

      On the other hand, MS could keep a few modules proprietary, and the source wouldn't include the clipart and so on. So an OS version would perhaps have different features, or features which behave slightly diff

  • Visual Studio (Score:5, Informative)

    by Smallest ( 26153 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:12PM (#5574351)
    With VS, you get the source for all of the MFC, ATL and C run-time libraries. The code is at least as good as any of the GPL'd code i've run across - and at least they know where to put their leading brackets (on the next line, not immediately after the "if")!!

    • Re:Visual Studio (Score:5, Insightful)

      by madmaxx ( 32372 ) <mx@wa[ ] ['rpe' in gap]> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:14PM (#5574912) Homepage

      Haha ah haha... Oh, wait ... that wasn't intentionally funny.

      Personal preference of coding style does not define good vs. bad code. Quality is defined by consistent attention to detail, where those details are related to correctness, robustness, efficiency, security, etc.

      In my years of coding, I've been mistaken in thinking there was ONE TRUE WAY in terms of coding style. I was wrong, and so are you. Style is only perpheral to other *important* qualities in software.

  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @01:25PM (#5574424)
    If they ever made Windows Free Software (as defined by the FSF), then a huge part of Stallman's war will have been won, no matter if this was the way he visioned it or not.

    This would be a huge, monumental win for Free Software, because the most visual basis of almost all desktop computers in the world would be free software.

    Will it happen? No.
  • Open Sores (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @02:18PM (#5574681)

    Thought MS already had lots of open sores ?......
  • by Soulfader ( 527299 ) < minus author> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @02:29PM (#5574733) Journal
    Code fork.


  • Worried (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:01PM (#5574861)
    I've been a little concerned about this lately:

    MS wouldn't open source their products. Instead, they'd do their own GNU/Linux distribution with some key changes. They'd integrate DRM into X along with some other "features" that make it more proprietary. Remember X is closable source (to coin a phrase) so they can indeed compromise one of the most important parts of Linux and make it their own. Remember, they don't want 10 instances of Office running on a single machine with 10 different users on X-terminals. X would clearly be the first thing they "fix". You'll get D3D or whatever they call their 3D API these days. Many stupid people will jump for joy because they can run their D3D games on Linux, meanwhile OpenGL would die off completely, leaving Linux with another proprietary standard that has no alternative. More things would happen, but I'll hold out for a job offer from them before I go on. This was just a very brief hint of a viable attack on their biggest competitor.

    In the mean time, I suggest moving ASAP to completely free (as in GPLed freedom) software. Somone please coin a pleasing phrase for GPLed so people can hop on the bandwagon. For starters I'd like to see Mozilla ported to Fresco, along with GNome. Hell, merge GNome and KDE while doing it. If that's too complex, someone should do a GPL version of X, since the maintainers seem to be having issues lately (see recent /. article) and like to remain "closable". I have been looking in to some of these projects, but I'm just one guy with not much spare time.

    You asked, and now have been warned.

  • the article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oyenstikker ( 536040 ) < minus punct> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:21PM (#5574945) Homepage Journal
    Okay, I'm actually going to talk about the article:

    In the 3. Someone will fork it. section:

    "If the boxed price is low enough, the fork is unlikely to clone the proprietary features."

    This is not at all true. Geeks will clone something for the sole reason of that it is not Open Source. Even if their version is identical to the proprietary one. The proprietary version will then be labeled as "evil". Project would fork to GNUProject, nothing would ever get actively contributed to MS Project, and it would likely deviate to the point of incompatibility (of the programs and extensions, not the file formats). Microsoft would essentially be giving their product away free, not becoming involved in the Open Source community and development.

    Does anyone have examples pertaining to this line of thinking?
  • by Openadvocate ( 573093 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:50PM (#5575061)
    That is really hard to imagine when you try to remember what happened. Go waaay back to the days of the Altair "computer", where hobbyists and future geeks would order the computer by mail. Go to meetings and swap programs and ideas. Then came Paul Allen and Bill Gates and wrote basic for it. It was a biz project from the beginning, aimed at making money. Now there is nothing wrong with making money, we all making money. But to imagine Microsoft as Open Source is really hard when you see how they complained about people swapping their Basic as they did with all the software for that computer. Now _selling_ software for the Altair seemed like overkill and I guess it was but it seemed that their plan worked quite well but to me it doesn't seem like Microsoft is built around the open source mind set at all(gasp) :)
  • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:26PM (#5575200)
    Here's a thought. Suppose MS decided to port the Win32 API from NT kernel over to BSD?

    And maybe replace some of the above-the-kernel bits too: replace IIS with Apache, etc. ISTR reading somewhere that Windows' TCP/IP stack is based in large part on BSD code already. Ballmer is on record saying that Apache is superior to IIS, and Apache's market share speaks for itself.

    MS already support .Net for FreeBSD. They could do an Apple, and sell a proprietary GUI on a rock-solid OS core. Away go the complaints about security and reliability. Hell, they could make it more secure out-of-the-box than some Linux distros.

    They could then claim to be an "Open Source vendor", whatever that means. They'd become the largest *nix vendor (by license volume) overnight. If they passed the right compliance tests, they could even call it Unix, as IBM has done with OS/390 (I know, no-one takes that very seriously outside of IBM, but it's technically true.)

    They'd need an equivalent of MS WoW to run existing Win32 software: that might explain their recent purchase of Connectix. Since Connectix already has a native version for the BSD-based MacOS X, porting would be pretty straightforward. Maybe they've tried this already on the quiet before agreeing to buy.

    They could also quit banging their faces into the ground, trying to migrate Hotmail from BSD to WinXP. :-)
  • by JamieF ( 16832 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:31PM (#5575223) Homepage
    Open Source derp de derp. Derp de derpity derpy derp. Until one day, the Microsoft derpa derpa derpaderp. Derp de derp. Microsoft Open Source da teedily dumb.

    From the creators of GNUDer, and Tum Ta Microsoft Tum Ta Too, Rob Malda is Da Derp Open Source Derp Da Microsoft Derpee Derpee Dumb. Rated PG-13.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."