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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals 471

SJasperson writes "In a move that will be good for Redmond but may have consequences for the rest of us, Microsoft has acquired Winternals and Sysinternals. This gives them well-known developers Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell as well as dozens of well-loved and much-praised utilities, both commercial and freeware. Though Mark says on his blog that the Sysinternals site will remain 'for the time being,' this would be a good time to download the latest version of essential Windows tools like Process Explorer before they can go mysteriously missing or be locked up behind the wall of Windows Genuine Advantage."
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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals

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  • Someone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eighen Indemnis ( 893363 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#15737376) Homepage
    Make a torrent of the latest tools STAT!
  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyber_rigger ( 527103 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#15737380) Homepage Journal
    The (near) monopoly maker of flat tires buys out all of the patch companies.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dupont54 ( 857462 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:27PM (#15737407)
    You're complaining that Microsoft expects you to use a purchased version of Windows? WTF

    No, he's complaining of being constantly suspected to be a thief by Microsoft, as well as, sometimes, being a collateral victim of malfunctionning paranoid DRM.
  • Oh Boo Hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robpoe ( 578975 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:28PM (#15737413)
    I love their tools too, but why the commotion?

    Good for them. Now they get fat paychecks, good bonuses, and they work for the empire.

    And I'd bet that if MSFT offered you $$$$ for whatever you were making, and a fat paycheck with good bonuses - you'd be a fool to not take it...
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:33PM (#15737466)
    They're complaining that Microsoft has software built into its OS with considerable power to mess with your property that does you no good and assumes you are a criminal. What makes it worse is that WGA will never stop real pirates.

    The name is also stupid. It should be called "Windows Copy Protection".

    You do have a point, though.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:38PM (#15737517)
    The name is also stupid. It should be called "Windows Copy Protection".
    Or perhaps "Windows Genuine Disadvantage"?
  • by SloppyElvis ( 450156 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:42PM (#15737548)
    Some of Mark's blog entries in the past have cited shortcomings and oversights in Windows systems and he has often provided utilities to get around/address them. Now that Mark is a Microsoft employee, will such criticism be forthcoming, or silenced?

    Mark's investigations into Windows workings have been very informational and useful over the years. Now that he'll be under NDA and non-compete...
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:44PM (#15737576) Homepage Journal
    Sure you can. Winternals and Sysinternals utilities don't require WGA and there's nothing but Slashdot FUD stating that they will require WGA. Download them now, burn them to Blu-Ray disc, and use them forever.
  • by Lazarian ( 906722 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:45PM (#15737581)
    I've found Process Explorer and Registry Explorer to be great tools to help find out exactly what's going on in a Windows box, and they're great for tracking down malware. They're a hell of a lot more useful than the ctrl-alt-del dialog box in XP.

    I'm sure with Vista coming out soon that Redmond would love to obfuscate or disappear these utilities that would help let people know what Vista is really doing under the hood.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:46PM (#15737591)
    Do you not shop at stores that tag their clothes with shoplifting detectors? Get a clue. That shoplifting technology saves money for the honest among us.
  • by Geeko Roman ( 304803 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:46PM (#15737593)
    People (apparently you) seem to think that the only possibility is running Windows and this utility on some nice and pat environment. Rarely is this the case with most of us here. I may have to fix some computer by shoving a CDrom in the computer and running a utility because there is some problem. So if the utility won't run because the OS is confused (which MS OSs often get confused) then there's no way to fix the problem. Essentially they would have shot themselves in the foot.

    If some MS exec decides that win.com (or whatever) is protected fine, but leave the utilities and similiar ilk alone. Protecting the world is great at some boardroom meeting, but reality is quite different.
  • by rnbc ( 174939 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#15737605) Homepage
    Yet another proof that Microsoft can't behave like a normal market player. They fear even those working for them. They feel the need to control everything under the sun.
  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jimmy King ( 828214 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:49PM (#15737619) Homepage Journal
    When was the last time you saw a small, quality, company being bought out by a large company be good for anyone other than the large company? It's rarely good for the employees of the smaller company, who get a nice, big, paycheck, but frequently end up hating their job and ultimately quitting or being fired. It's even more rarely good for the users of the product when corporate ethics and ideals start being applied to their software which was previously being written and overseen by someone who truly cared about the project.

    Now, I have no numbers to show, so perhaps it's just that we only hear about/remmeber the bad ones. But let's have a look... we've got the majority of previously great companies EA has bought up and killed, along with their great games, we've got Norton products, for a more obscure one, how about thespark.com?
  • by Poppler ( 822173 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:50PM (#15737629) Journal
    I'm with you. Without Sysinternals software, I would have killed myself when I had to run Windows at work.

    I am a little concerned about something else. Russinovich has in the past disclosed certain things (like the Sony rootkit) that he may be in no position to let us in on now that he is a Microsoft employee.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:56PM (#15737690) Homepage Journal
    WHY, God, WHY!?!

    Because you chose to run Microsoft software. These are the consequences.
  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:01PM (#15737732)
    Of course failure is not tolerated...

    Admiral Cogswell: Lord Ballmer, the company has moved out of hyperspace and we are preparing too...unk...ack...cough

    Lord Ballmer: You and your cogs have failed me for the last time Admiral....Captain Russinovich!

    Captain Russinovich: Yes, Lord Ballmer.

    Admiral Cogswell: hack....cough

    Lord Ballmer: Make ready to deploy our programs beyond their firewall and deploy the company so that nobody can switch OS...you are in command now Admiral Russinovich.

    Admiral Cogswell: THUNK!

    Captain Russinovich: Thank you, Lord Ballmer.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Da_Weasel ( 458921 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:14PM (#15737832)
    Yes but the stores remove the tags from the items when I purchace them and don't try to sneak into my house later on and put the tags back on them so that I have to make a trip back to the store with a reciept to prove I bought them so they can remove the tag again...ad nauseum...
  • This is sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by klausboop ( 322537 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:20PM (#15737875)
    I am almost irrationally sad about this. Microsoft is clearly getting a couple of deeply gifted people. But I consider several of the Sysinternals utilities, especially Process Monitor, essential for good Windows Health. Tuning performance or squashing spyware of friends' PCs or what have you, they write great stuff. Plus their web site is a great, independent resource to learn about some of these internal issues.

    I suppose a very optimistic person would assume that functions like seing what processes spawned other processes, have files open, have sockets open, etc., will now be available in future Windows versions. I guess I must be cynical, because I'm feeling a sense of loss and sadness. Thanks for the great stuff, Sysinternals.
  • Re:Someone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cryssen ( 959305 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:33PM (#15737991)
    Z-Zip format, compressed file format starting to get a foothold. not sure if there's an OS X decomp or not. http://www.7-zip.org/ [7-zip.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:44PM (#15738093)
    How about not using a cargo cult, closed source, unnecessary and contra-productive format for a TORRENT?

    RAR is only Cargo Cult behaviour. It doesn't prove ANYTHING (anyone can RAR), it means extra programs needs downloading, it means non-free programs on a computer, it means less seeders, it provides almost no space saving (on media), it's a pain when playing media and the torrent format provides all the checksumming and redownloading needed.

    It is time to stop using obsolete and freedom-unfriendly software. It is waaaay past time using a format that takes away all the good things about using torrents, especially downloading selected parts first or only.

    Oh, and if you absolutely MUST pack files together for a non-torrent reason, use something that is freely (in all senses) available to all people, not just to a select elite. Zip would be favourite, as all modern desktops handle it OOTB.

    Thank you.
  • by OfNoAccount ( 906368 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:10PM (#15738295)
    From what I recall the NDA doesn't stop you from writing code in your spare time - so even if you've been assimilated by the Borg, you can still code and share useful utils in your spare time should you wish.

    Anyway useful tools do escape Redmond from time to time, so hopefully the (Sys|Win)Internals stuff isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Heck it's even possible that they'll bundle it all with the next reskit release. *fingers crossed*
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:11PM (#15738310) Homepage

    Because you chose to run Microsoft software. These are the consequences.

    More likely: His employer chooses to run Microsoft software, and Sysinternals actually makes it tolerable.
    Time to count your options...
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:13PM (#15738318)

    If WGA is wrong (Microsoft? Bugs? Never!) then a legit copy of Windows may go inactive with a major hassle to get it working again.

    Oh please, please let them do this. The lawsuit would be staggering, and it would probably be Microsoft's XCP in terms of convincing the execs that the whole approach was a massive business liability and should be stopped permanently.

  • by justasecond ( 789358 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:19PM (#15738390)
    How is this insightful?

    When Google hired Guido van Rossum (Python head-honcho), there were no "Google is hiring this guy only to NDA valuable information from the rest of us" comments. Everybody understood that Google merely found a bright guy doing something related to their business (Google uses Python on a massive scale) and snapped him up. But when MICROSOFT hires a coupla guys who seem to be doing something cool with Windows, we get dumb comments like "Yet another proof that Microsoft can't behave like a normal market player".

    Look, I hate Microsoft as much as the next geek (*more*, probably, as I've been stuck developing exclusively on PCs since DOS 2.1), and I'm sure SysInternals will soon disappear, but comments like "they feel the need to control everything under the sun" just don't add anything to the discussion.
  • WGA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FKnight ( 521972 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:56PM (#15738705)
    this would be a good time to download the latest version of essential Windows tools like Process Explorer before they can go mysteriously missing or be locked up behind the wall of Windows Genuine Advantage."

    Or, you can actually buy a legitimate license for Windows and not worry about "Windows Genuine Advantage."
  • by Jester99 ( 23135 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @03:15PM (#15738825) Homepage
    Some Microsoftie marked the parent comment as flamebait. However, it seems likely that Microsoft bought SysInternals to silence a web site that provided software of far higher quality than software from Microsoft.

    *ahem* Flamebait? Pot, kettle, black.

    Somehow, I think that silencing [microsoft.com] SysInternals [microsoft.com] would [microsoft.com] break [microsoft.com] a lot of [microsoft.com] Microsoft's [microsoft.com] links [microsoft.com].

    Seriously. I know everybody loves to bash Microsoft, but for God's sake, is it too hard to believe that they honestly want to *gasp* hire top-quality programmers? The sysinternals guys have proven themselves to be top-quality coders. They make utilities that the MSDN knowledge base references 172 times [microsoft.com]. MS developers use Sysinternals tools. They think the Sysinternals guys are smart, knowledgeable about their system, and could add value to their company. So, they hire them.

    All this conspiracy about "silencing a website" is crap. They wouldn't recommend the use of Sysinternals tools if they were embarrassed by them.

    If Redhat could convince, say, Larry Wall to work for them, doing the projects they want developed, would that be a conspiracy? Larry Wall is a kickass contributor to Linux (via Perl), and he would add value to any Linux-oriented company that could retain him. The Sysinternals guys hold a similar relationship and relevance to Microsoft.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Monster_Juice ( 939126 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @03:27PM (#15738908)
    Actually, all we need to know is the ratio of counterfeit to genuine systems
    You are correct. This is the part we don't know so the rest of your post is irrelevant. What we do know is that one in five of the machines that shows as counterfeit, is not.
  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:07PM (#15739613)
    Would your wife and children prefer that you be miserable and making more money? I hope to god not. Your misery will rain on them every day when you come home all pissed off or distracted.

    People can live on less money you know. Lots of people with wives and kids manage to live on salaries you would consider insulting.
  • Re:WGA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moexu ( 555075 ) <moexu13&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:16PM (#15739666)
    We had a corporate version of Windows get flagged as being pirated by WGA even though it was a legitimate copy.
  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aeoo ( 568706 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:44PM (#15739817) Journal
    I disagree. You'd be a fool to take Microsoft's offer if you run a successful independent company. I bet Mark and others made enough money as is. Past a certain point, getting a pay raise in exchange for sacrificing your ethics is not really worth it. I say "really", but arguably it's never worth it.

    This is hypothetical, but imagine you make 100k a year (after taxes) as an independent software company owner (this also means you can live in lush and cheap areas, keeping most of that money in your pocket). You are your own boss. There is little or no bureaucracy. You have clear conscience. You can afford pretty much anything you want (within reason, because if you want to purchase the entire earth, you can't afford it, so of course there will always be things you cannot afford, but they are meaningless in day to day life). It's not a life of lack by any means. It's a life of freedom and abundance.

    Now, why would you accept a deal to get even 500k a year, but giving up your sanity to bureaucracy and giving up your conscience to the ethical nightmare that is Microsoft? Yes, you can buy a jet or a yacht, perhaps. But who cares? You can time share with less money and get the same experience. You can hire 10 chefs, but you only have 1 mouth to eat. You could donate more money, but the point of that is spiritual, and not measured in raw $$$ donated. In fact, from that point of view, a life of non-accumulation is the highest charity. Giving away accumulations is merely atoning for accumulating so much in the first place. So what exactly is the benefit? There is none.

    It takes a only a little wisdom and long term vision to say NO to Microsoft's offer.
  • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @07:05PM (#15740250)
    There's a big difference though. Guido is allowed - nay, encouraged - to spend half of his work time at Google improving Python, an language from which anyone can benefit thanks to its license. Microsoft on the other hand have a long track record of buying up threats. Off the top of my head I remember a company called Coopers and Peters who had developed an Office clone in Java in 1997, a pretty incredible piece of work. Microsoft bought them and that was the last we heard of that.

    Maybe it's just me being cynical.
  • need a new icon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @07:25PM (#15740321) Journal
    Bill Gates is no longer with Microsoft. Besides, Ballmer looks more like Locutus already.
  • by SavvyPlayer ( 774432 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @08:00PM (#15740480)
    You are confusing requirements definition with application design. To rephrase the GP's analogy, requirements definition :: black-belt, while application design (sword manufacture) :: black-smith. Quality products are thus a result of quality analysis (translation of requirements to design), which is fundamentally nothing more than the partnership between the domain expert and the engineer.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TeraCo ( 410407 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @08:09PM (#15740527) Homepage
    You should be calling Toshiba and raising hell then, because they're screwing you.
  • Re:Amen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soliptic ( 665417 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @09:43PM (#15740868) Journal
    eh? Do you think $100 million was a BAD deal for a freeware mp3 player?
  • Re:Someone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @08:20AM (#15742417) Homepage
    Command line only. Looks like the red-headed stepchild.

    What's wrong with .ZIP? Especially on a 4 MB archive, ferchrissakes? How much does it save, a few K? Why bother with something totally nonstandard to save a few K?

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.