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Microsoft

Microsoft "thinking about" Open Source 141

Everyone, their mother, Uncle Henry and Aunt Maude wrote in about Microsoft considering using Open Source. While they've talked about it before, Steve Balmer, MS President, said in remarks that Microsoft is thinking about - Note:thinking about the Open Source model. But, hey, lotsa people think about lotsa things. I'm not holding my breath
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Microsoft "thinking about" Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone really keen on fixing Microsoft's bugs for them? I think it's a pretty hollow move, MS lets us tinker with some of thier coveted source-code, while keeping all the really useful code closed off.

    No thanks. I already have several "open source solutions"...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're confusing practical Open Source advocacy with over-zealous Open Source advocacy. I don't think any thoughtful reader will seriously consider Open Source as 'the true way, the ONLY way' for any future software development. Proprietary commercial development isn't going to curl up and die anytime soon; nor should it.

    Also, I don't think ANYBODY said that they didn't want it (M$ source release) to happen -- just that it wouldn't be terribly useful. It could, however, be an apt punishment for Microsoft (should they be forced to release a reasonable amount of code) since they would have a hard time using underhanded tricks such as the one they used on Caldera if the source were available.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    M$ is *thinking* about open source. I'm 30, and I'm *thinking* about retiring. So, you know, what.ever.
  • What makes you think that this happens? Simply because you've been told by others that it does?

    It's true that Andrew Schulman discovered a number of undocumented Windows calls that Microsoft apps made back in the Win 3.1 days, but he also pointed out that most of these calls did not gain them anythings since there we equivelant documented calls. (of course, this begs the question of why they were used. Most likely because whoever wrote the code was familiar with the call).

    There have been a lot of people looking for these undocumented calls in todays apps, but so far nobody has found any that I can tell. It's pretty easy to track API calls and there are lots of tools out there to help you.

    So why does this rumor persist?
  • The line in the sand has been drawn.

    And I see you're all suited up in your Masters of the Universe pajamas and are ready to take on the Microsoft Monster. Just try to keep all the sand in the sandbox, kids. Dad's pretty mad about last time....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What if this is just part of another scam? What if they publish some code under a somewhat restrictive license, and then wait until Linux does something similar in their code, and then sue Linux for copyright infrigement, license violation, or something else? Even if the case is without any merit, you will get news stories of Linux hippies stealing code from M$, and it will drive the poor hacker bankrupt (NO ONE can outspend M$) and cast something of a pall over all Open Source development...

    And its just the type of thing I would expect from M$.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's get this straight. MS wishes to release code in the databasing area, which implies that they want the GNU Generation to develop it. Basically what they want is free of charge coders with code wich is owned by them. They release the database code, (Say SQL Server) because they feel that they can imporve it so much, that it will exceed all other databases.

    ------------------------------------------------ -
    A call to the GNU Generation!
    ------------------------------------------------ -

    DON`T DO IT! M$ IS OWNED BY CAPITALISTS AND RUN BY THE VERY SAME. EVERYTHING THEY DO IS PROFIT ORIENTED, AND THIS WILL NOT CHANGE. THEY WILL ONLY DO SOMETHING IF IT BENEFITS FOR THEM!
    TRUST NOTHING THAT MICROSOFT HAS PROPOSED! THEY HAVE CHEATED YOU ENOUGH, DON`T LET THEM CONTINUE!

    Thank you for your Attention

    NETPace

    -- Live free or Die! LINUX! --

    EOF
    .
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why do we (the open source community) even both discussing this issue?
    Microsoft has a long history of pushing its own proprietary solutions
    while ignoring or subverting cross-platform, open standards. Not-to-
    mention their documented efforts to eliminate any conceivable competition
    via methods that could be described, at best, as unsavory. Does anybody
    seriously believe that they're about to change their ways *this* late in
    the game?

    Maybe once the playing-field has been leveled (if indeed ever it is) or
    Microsoft establishes the same history of supporting truly open standards
    as it has so far only its proprietary, lock-in solutions, there will be
    some point to this kind of discussion. Until then, hints like this from
    Microsoft can be regarded seriously only as so much PR spin.

  • ...the company's president, Steve Ballmer, said Thursday. "We have something we must learn from Linux, and we must respond to this area of -- excuse the words -- open source,"....

    That's right! Not only must they learn how to write cleanly optomized code, they should learn the art of GUI design (e.g. -- human factor engineering).



    "What [Linux] caused us to do was really focus and ask what is it about the Linux model that really rivets people," Ballmer said. "Initially, some people thought it was the price, but I frankly don't think that's the case. In almost every application that we talk to people about, people want a good price, but the most important thing is to get a platform that does the job and is reliable."

    "New at Microsoft today: People simply want a platform that does the job and is reliable!"
    When you think about money all the time, you lose track of the bigger picture: programming for enjoyment. There's nothing like pouring over a couple of routines for weeks, thinking every possibility through....until one day, the "eureka! factor" hits you. You solve the problem -- and those feelings can only be expressed if you have ever experienced such a problem.



    "[Open source] means different things to different people, but certainly the notion that there are parts of our source code that if published would help you be more effective in your job," Ballmer said.

    Open Source (
    n):



    "I don't think everybody really wants to dig through the code that puts out menus, but there are parts of the system where if you have the source code, I think people would feel that to be more effective," Ballmer said.

    I'm sorry -- but no one wants to dig through any Microsoft code, other than to laugh at some of the awful programming techniques.

    This guy has no more clue about coding than any other typical president at a typical software company...it's really beginning to show now, though.



    Ballmer hinted that one area would concern portions of the code that related to database connectivity, which many developers find "complicated and difficult to understand."

    Oh wonderful!! I'll be able to view how ODBC works under-the-hood.

    How much do you want to bet that those same "developers" find Unix or GNU programming tools "complicated and difficult to understand" -- well, that's because they haven't taken the time to fully understand the code (maybe a "kernal hacking for dummies" needs to be released!).



    RANT SUMMARY: Don't let the sleezy hype of MSFT get to you -- do you really want to lower yourself to their level?!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This really reminds me of Microsoft's old trick of promising similar features to stop people from moving over to competition.

    Typical Manager:
    • Why switch to a new OS if MS will be releasing the "important" parts of their code soon anyway?

      The tech's will be satisfied, and there's no risk.

      Besides, NT has already been proven to be faster than Linux, and to scale better.


    Just because Balmer says they're interested, doesn't mean they are.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's an interesting article, but the following two quotes struck me as the most illuminating:

    "What [Linux] caused us to do was really focus and ask what is it about the Linux model that really rivets people,"

    and

    "On the other hand, we're trying to understand what it is that really brings the benefit."

    In my (very) humble opinion, Microsoft is still trying to get their corporate mindset around the idea of open source. This piece seems to indicate to me that they don't understand why Open Source is successful, what motivates people to produce Open Source software, or why it's better than Microsoft products. I'm guessing that Microsoft's current view of the Open Source movement is a lot like the blind men's view of an elephant: they see a tree, a snake, and a rope (or at least Linux, Samba, and Apache) but don't understand how it fits together or why it hurts so much when it steps on them. Open Source is a concept that even fairly forward-thinking corporate managers have had a difficult time grasping. It's only been recently (and due in good part to the successes of the Open Source Foundation) that there has been some success.


    Microsoft, on the other hand, has always had difficulty understanding the idea of sharing programs. This attitude goes back a long way into their corporate history - does anyone other than me remember Bill Gates' open letter on software piracy, back in the Altair days? I'd say it's safe to say that Bill Gates and Microsoft haven't ever "gotten it" about free software or open source - even back when personal computers were mostly a hobby and not big business.


    All of the prior serious competitors that Microsoft has had to deal with have been profitmaking corporations. Microsoft management at least knows the mindset, understands their competitor's goals, and this enables them to formulate a strategy for winning. Not so with Open Source - Microsoft is still trying to understand it. It's awfully hard to formulate a strategy when you don't understand the opponent's motivations or goals.
  • Sure, it's a fine idea to rewrite everything, and throw away all legacy code. Then there would be as few productivity apps for Microsoft platforms as there are for Linux.

    There really does seem to be a critical mass of "I use Linux because I hate Microsoft" sentiment in the Linux userbase. That critical mass seems to grow every day. It's a real problem for Linux, too, because once there are enough carpers and whiners on board NOTHING will get done.

    Personally, I use Win98, Win95, Linux, NT (3.51 and 4.0), and NetBSD on the various machines on my home network, (none of them dual-boot) and may be reinstalling BeOS again soon on one of my machines. The name of the game is interoperability in a mutli-platform world. All of them have their relative merits, and only fools dig their heels in and claim that the OS they happen to be using is the ONE TRUE THING. If you're gonna cop that attitude, spare us. Join a monestary somewhere.
  • by hadron ( 139 )
    That wouldn't be a problem if the apps were open-source.
  • Isn't that Microsoft, too? Because breaking others' applications is a standard practice for Microsoft.

    Says a lot about "having a roadmap".

  • Hah hah! Yeah, actually, I love to code in my pajamas. Its great, you can fart and not worry about anything.

  • Sure, attack Open Source on the merits that you can't profit from it. That definitely maintains the status quo, and it makes it easier to view the OSS movement as a fantasy world occupied by naive semi-socialist college students ... certainly a great way to *NOT* contribute to the movement.

    But as with any 'movement' its really only a matter of time until someone smart comes along and works out the economy of how to profit from it from a pure market-economy/capitalist perspective.

    Look, better people than you and I have fought the "OSS for Profit" argument and both sides have lost. So lets just not go there.

    But allow me to make the point that your "stasis field" economic view is a *potentially* primitive one, which you will at some point have to adjust in order to survive in future economies.

    Exchange of goods/services takes many shapes and sizes, you know... and there are quite a few people making a very acceptable and comfortable living within the OSS movement... perhaps we should be highlighting these individuals/organizations instead of bullshitting amongst ourselves?

  • Microsoft has *always* kindled and fostered their number 1 asset in the OS wars, which is simply Developer Mindshare. If you own the developer, you dictate what OS people use...

    Anyone that's been to one of Microsofts numerous "Developer Days" knows that it's a cushy love-fest between Microsoft and a bunch of developers soaking up the glory to be had from carting around Free Shit from Microsoft. It's an excellent study in modern propaganda techniques.

    Now, what Open Source represents to Microsoft is a threat to their efforts at cultivating this key asset in their strategies, which is, again, Developer Mindshare.

    You see, most of the really and truly bright and smart developers out there are often very interested in looking at other peoples code, in the hopes that they can gleen some nugget or pearl of programming wisdom, or in some cases maybe rip a function or two for use in their own work.

    This is a big part of a professional software developers technique - any true pro knows that he never stops learning, and in his quiet times will gladly check out someone elses code.

    This is the true threat to Microsoft and it's coveted cache of "Developer Mindshare", a threat from the heart and sould of the OSS community, and it is this threat that they will be responding to with any of their own OSS-type campaigns in the future.

    They'll be working on:

    a) Keeping their Developer Mindshare interested in Microsoft products, and only Microsoft products. Which means if we do get source code released from them, it'll be specific to Win32-based platforms, and will leave just enough out to make porting not worthwhile. Or it'll be really crappy parts of their Win32 universe, as others have pointed out.

    b) Cultivating new developers by giving them more Free Shit from Microsoft, which will more than likely take form of a CD bundled with source code from Microsoft for new programmers to seek wisdom from, or steal stuff from for their own products (which will only run on Microsoft OS'es).

    And watch for a sacrificial lamb gesture: they'll probably make a "Lite" version of their developer tools freely available for download off the 'net. Maybe Win2k will come with a "Lite" version of Visual Basic or something, or their C compiler will be released, with all of it's Microsoft-isms carefully designed to make code a pain in the ass to port to other OS's...


    What the OSS community needs to watch for is the "Free Shit from Microsoft" factor. Anything we can do to make the "Free Shit from Microsoft" less valuable to a newbie developer is worth the effort...

    Its the *NEW* developer that we need to be attracting to the OSS camp, and away from the greedy clutches from Microsoft, and I believe that Microsoft know this all too well...

    The line in the sand has been drawn.
  • Is that why they're being sued and the judge has issued numerous injunctions against them?
  • They are not contradictory. Linux was opensource from day 1. MS was not. Taking a pre-existing large closed bohemoth of code and opening it at a later date is not very useful. Especially when the plan is to only open some small parts of it (read the article), and leave the rest closed. With the way everything in Windows is interdependant, opening up only part of the code is not very useful: "Oh, look, here they call the foobar function - Is that very efficient? I don't know, I can't see the foobar function..."

    So you oppose the Mozilla project, since it was not Open Source from day 1?
  • Caldera were suing Microsoft for allegedly trying to kill off DR-DOS. Windows 3.x ran perfectly fine over DR-DOS, as well as over MS-DOS, and this apparently annoyed Microsoft, so Windows 95 has some incompatibilities allegedly deliberately introduced to keep DR-DOS from working (no, despite what Microsoft says, win95 is not a completely independent OS, it's still built on top of DOS).

    Links:
    old news.com story [news.com].
    Caldera's take on it (more recent) [calderathin.com]
    A microsoft witness says the company destroyed documents relating to this case [redherring.com].

    BTW, all these links are from old slashdot articles (some from September 1998, a few from 1999). Search for "caldera suit" on /. and you'll find some more.
  • Posted by Lothario:

    MS believes that most business owners when undrstanding the various drawbacks and risks associated with their OSes will make an informed decision to go with their product in the face of paying to maintain a more premeir environement. They quote stupid stats like 99.97% uptime and business owners figure that sounds pretty damn good. So the blow the bucks on the MS solution and get some certified dudes on the payroll to find out that the .03% is really a pain in the ass. But they've spent the money and hired staff.

    MS couldn't care less if the informed user/developer chooses their environment. The informed user/developer doesn't control the purse strings.
  • You are operating under the premise that the following two statements are contradictory:
    1. "Linux is better because it's open source."
    2. "MS Open Source is useless."
    They are not contradictory. Linux was opensource from day 1. MS was not. Taking a pre-existing large closed bohemoth of code and opening it at a later date is not very useful. Especially when the plan is to only open some small parts of it (read the article), and leave the rest closed. With the way everything in Windows is interdependant, opening up only part of the code is not very useful: "Oh, look, here they call the foobar function - Is that very efficient? I don't know, I can't see the foobar function..."
  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @05:47AM (#1888371) Journal
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is what effect this might have on *other* companies. Yeah, none of us want to become unpaid Microsoft coders. But there are plenty of other bits of code we'd love to have access to, graphics card drivers for one. Microsoft revealing their source code (clearly it's not open source, it's making the source to proprietary apps available but still restrictively licensed) might have a significant influence on other companies that currently protect even the most irrelevant IP like it was the Crown Jewels. The "If Microsoft did it, maybe we should" meme could be quite powerful and useful.
  • One can't deny that with a little support, Windows would, without a doubt, be an incredible OS.

    Windows will never be an incredible OS.

    The Win32 API is an abomination. It violates every accepted rule of good, sane programming practice. If the interface is that bad, imagine what the implementation must be like.

    TedC

  • It's the "play the promises" game again. Microsoft makes some vague statement, and people get all excited. It's things like benchmarks, FUD, and vapor ware which really hurt the Linux community.

    Hopefully promising "eventually to consider" open source will stall people from going to Linux, right? Why even mention it if they obviously aren't serious, right?
  • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Wednesday May 19, 1999 @01:53AM (#1888374)
    i've read many of these postings, and it seems that microsoft are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

    MS have been so demonised by fanatical linux zealots that, let's face it, whatever they say or do from now until the end of time, there will be people on /. either randomly flaming them, spreading FUD about them or just ranting.

    My advice? grow up and get a life.
  • by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @04:01AM (#1888375)
    I'd guess that Microsoft wouldn't use the GPL, BSD, or artistic licenses. I'm certain that they would control all rights to distributing binaries of their source (you won't see Joe's Word 98).

    Microsoft is just doing it to be on the latest bandwagon, they're doing it because they feel it will ultimately make them money. They don't want to miss the boat like they missed the Internet. I think most businesses which are truly in the Open Source market (Cygnus, for example) are there because they believe in it. Microsoft will only muddy the waters with proprietary licenses.

    The only products of theirs that are worth open sourcing are the operating systems. It'd be nice to have the source so Windows programmers could more easily diagnose system crashes and strange behavior. Open sourcing Microsoft Word would never work---you think Mozilla had a long ramp up time, imagine Microsoft Word!

    Just remember, if Microsoft open sources anything it won't be for your good, it'll be for theirs. You won't be able to distribute changes or binaries. It won't be Open Source (tm), it'll be Microsoft Semi-Open Source with an End User License Agreement that would make RMS puke.
  • Ballmer has always played the role of "Bill's muscle".

    Bill is the emporor Palpatine,
    and Steve is Darth Vader.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • One true way? Sorry your church of Microsoft is in Redmond.

    Providing source code solves problems. If you release just a piece of the whole you may not get any problems solved. But Microsoft is not releasing the code to solve problems. They are just doing it because it's trendy, like smoking cigars or having a lesbian fling.

    Microsoft will have to open up a big chunk of code (because everything is the OS ) to make it worth someones time.
  • If M$ even does this, which I highly doubt they will, I'll bet that the license they use will make a combination of the worst elements of the original revisions of the NPL, APSL, and QPL look like the GPL (actually, probably more like the BSD license) by comparison.

    I should also reiterate an argument which has been stated before: several-million-plus-line projects don't seem to do well when they start proprietary and then go Open-Source later. It seems as though the mig stuff almost has to be Open-Source from the very beginning to be successful. This is understandable, since that means you get a team of developers who've worked on this project as an Open-Source project right from day one, to help the new programmers out.

    In short, even if M$ does do this, it'll fail miserably. And then they'll likely use that to spout some more FUD.
  • Uh huh.
    I'm sure the guys over at WineHQ couldn't find a single peice of code that they could need.

    You'd have to admit, open sourced Windows would be a great step in getting win32 applications working CORRECTLY on Linux. While they're doing a great job with Wine, there's still a lot to do that would be a lot easier with the origional source (GPLed of course)
  • The MS fudmeisters are just about in full swing now.
    Why?
    They are absolutely terrified, otherwise why all the FUD? Linux has made MS completely redundant. With KDE and Gnome, you simply don't need a Windows desktop, with Samba and Apache you don't need an NT server, with sendmail and IMAP, you don't need Exchange. With apps like KDE Office, Gnumeric etc even MS Office will be completely excess to requirements.
    On top of the above you have the promiscuous GPL licensing terms.
    My god, I'm not surprised they are afraid.
  • by goon ( 2774 )
    RANT
    i was going to quote the same line...m$ is just a roving preditor, cashed up and looking to get in on the latest fad to increase market share.

    SERIOUS QUESTION
    would anyone in their right mind want to hack for instance a GNU-NT? (i'm thinking something fast and with a lot of hard drive space.) would anyone hazard a guess as to what type of machine setup one would need to do this?

    does anyone know what compiler m$ uses to compile NT code? surely not Visual C++? does anyone know the answer to this. imop, any such effort by m$ to open their code would meet the same response wrt the open source community as with aol/netscape mozilla escapade. i couldn't see a useable development cycle using this model.


  • You wrote:
    "'m sorry -- but no one wants to dig through any Microsoft code, other than to laugh at some of the awful programming technices. This guy has no more clue about coding than any other typical president at a typical software company...it's really beginning to show now, though. "


    Well.actually, just out of curiosity, I'd like to
    see it. Check if we're doing *very* different
    things and all. I *suspect* we are but still...

    It *would* be interesting.
  • by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @06:04AM (#1888383)
    If Microsoft released anything worth releasing under a proper Open Source (by definition) licence (preferably GNU so the source can be used in other GNU projects - if there's anything worth having) Microsoft would be in the situation where there would be many companies (and individuals) package Windows up and offer their own distributions of Windows. They could start to offer better support packages than MS would offer and MS would lose out severely.

    Netscape elearsed their source as an effort to save their declining market share. Microsoft is still going from strength to strength and although their product quality would surely improve if they open sourcsd it they would lose millions of dollars (and what do you think MS is concerned with quality or making money).

    So if they're going to make anything open source it is going to be under their terms and certainly not under an existing open source licence. There would be no freedom (in the sense of free speech, and probably not even free beer!), MS may even charge a fee to access the source and even if not they'll limit the freedom to redistribute binaries / modifications.

    Perhaps they'll only open source components of the OS that Microsoft developers are having difficulty with in the hope that the OSS community will solve all their problems. Well that will be unlikely unless they can then incorporate the code into their own projects.

    Basically no reasonbto get excited over.
    --
  • no, M$ will not be far more popular (at least for me) if they completely open-source their products. why? because same big bill will be still at the CEO (or whatever) position!

    yes, linux is succesfull because of open-source model but it's not the only think which makes linux "the best" for us.

    and i agree with Omar Djabji that being "anti-M$" (or not content with M$ or being annoyed by M$) is not enought to switch to alternative solution. at leat for masses.
    ask users of M$ software whether they are content with it. especialy ask people which's work HIGHLY DEPENDS on mentioned products (i.e. people which are making theire bisinesses on such products, etc.)

  • so we should rather makes bypass, than bypass over thst bypass, then bypass previous bypass, then bypass previous bypass, bypass previous bypass, bypass previous bypass, bypass previous bypass, ..., .., ...???

    i do have some programing experiences and i'm sure breaking some app with some fix is the best solution.

    ISV should push M$ to fix the bugs so they do not have to fix 3rd party apps to bypass bugs in OS thus risking that after OS upgrade (i.e. VEEEEEERY late bug fix) theire apps wont run.

  • i did not see there any comment which claims Linux is the only one which is good. but lets concentrate on the topic of the post you answered:
    • bug as a result of ignoring API: when you write something in the wey "yes, it is here - shit, it is undocumented/not public - i use it 'cause i'm lazy" then it's your fault when your app broke after library upgrade
    • if library is broken and you write your code correctly, then library fix fixes your app; if you found bug in library, the best think you can do is report the author and if you have source (and courage and knowledge), fix the library for yourself and post just patch
    • if big API change is planed there is still a lot of time either to change your app or just to keep it and still use old library; nobody is forcing you to upgrade for features (at least in linux); and do not forget that changing API is alway done with great care (again i'm talking about important linux parts)
  • Netscape scrolling repaint is plain trash too.
    And ImageMagic repaint is all but optimized... Try moving a window in "OpaqueMove" mode over it... :(
    Or is it an X problem ? Off topic anyway.
  • Well, good. Personally, I'm glad to see M$ start thinking about SOMETHING useful. If they went Open Source, we might be able to replace the $ with a S. If windows had a global community behind it like Linux does, imagine where Windows would take off to. One can't deny that with a little support, Windows would, without a doubt, be an incredible OS. (Can you say memory management?)

    --
    :wq
  • after all those benchmarks showing that NT crushes linux, why would MS have anything to fear from not going open source? I'm not trying to say that the benchmarks are valid or that linux doesn't have other advantages such as stability. But it seems to me that MS is on the attack right now and none of this "oh we're scared of linux Mr. DoJ. It's a competitive threat"
  • Actually, I'd quite like to take a look at their menu / widget drawing code. Especially the channel bar in IE4. The number of unnecessary redraws really pisses me off.

    But then we'd all know just how low-quality MS's developement efforts really are.

  • Ballmer says,

    We do have a team out thinking through what kind of strategy is appropriate to make our source code, or parts of it, more available to customers so they can be more effective in what they do.

    I predict that Microsoft will decide that revealing the actual source code is unnecessary, and that the best way to keep outside developers working on MS/Windows apps is business as usual. Host workshops, promote books for programmers on Windows "tricks", sell pointy-clicky GUI tools, but certainly don't let anyone outside see the code itself.

    If this conjecture is correct, then the only other thinking that Micros~1 will do about "open source" is how to discredit and crush it. Notice how, early in the article, Ballmer is embarrassed to even use the term.

  • Oh come off it! 30+ million lines of code and nothing we want to borrow. Give me a break, I'm pretty sure we could find a line or two that's usefull in that crap.

    Besides, think of the fun we could have with that little paper clip.

    /me evil grin

    wait, that's office ... okay, maybe your right.

  • I hate to break it to you, but as someone with 12+ years of experience, Ritalin *is* a stimulant.
    just a thought
    --Dave
  • Well open-sourcing database connectivity wouldn't really make a difference anyway. You can currently connect to MS-SQL with the FreeTDS libraries (http://www.metalab.unc.edu/freetds), and Sybase has been discussing releasing all their libraries as open-source (MS-SQL is a derivative of Sybase 4.2). Plus, there are open-source ODBC driver managers such as iODBC. So is really an empty gesture.
  • Yeah, but it's too late to prevent people
    from installing linux -- we already did that.

    They are scrambling to stop something that has
    already happened.
  • Spending the million dollars the bank will give me as part of it's open source policy.
    ...NOT gonna happen.
  • >This may sound like blasphemy to some of you, but Ballmer looks like a decent guy. While pondering about Open
    >Source, so far I haven't seen him spout any FUD so far - that's makes him seem like a saint compared to those
    >other guys (Muth, Gates for example).

    IIRC, Ballmer was the guy who claimed that there was a ``Chinese Wall" between the OS development team & the application development teams. And this was proof that Word, Excel & Powerpoint all happened upon those undocumented features in Windows 3.1 entirely by hard work.

    Ballmer always struck me as being to PHBs as Bill Gates is to the common garden-variety hacker: a ersatz knock-off of the real thing.

    Then again, Gates has a clue that Micro$oft is on a direct course with an iceburg: he has recently sold off some 260 million shares, & is spending his time on a speaker's tour of the world. Ballmer has been left to deal with the numerous challenges to Microsoft: BSD & Linux on the server side, 3Com's Palm Pilot on the handheld side, several competitors for tv-top controllers -- & the tv-top market may not be the next Killer Application. Ballmer may find himself tied to the mast as M$ starts its downward spiral.



    Geoff

  • Well, since most of Windows 9x is written in Ada it wouldn't matter much. And NT is mostly C, but has hundreds of millions lines of code (250 million I believe maybe it was 350).

    Dude, you need to switch brands of crack. It's not THAT big. And where do you get the idea that Win95 is written in Ada? It's compiled with VC++. This should give you a miniscule clue what it's written in.
  • 'Ballmer hinted that one area would concern portions of the code that related to database connectivity, which many developers find "complicated and difficult to understand." '

    Open source is exactly the wrong way to go about solving this problem. If the interface is complicated and messy, what's the code like?

    Unless they're encouraging people to work on said code, and folding any changes back into the code, they're wasting their time. And I for one would not work for free for the world's richest corporation. (Not that they'd want my meagre skills, but there you go.)

    K.
    -




    --
    To the extent that I wear skirts and cheap nylon slips, I've gone native.
  • Actually, it's often easier to write code to implement a complicated interface, since it puts more
    responsibility on the user to manage things. I don't know what the situation is here, of course :-)


    The problem is, once you expose the implementation, people write to the implementation rather than the interface. Say you change the implementation but keep the interface. Code that depends on, say, the internal structure of an opaque context previously accessible only through API calls, can be broken.

    Of course in a perfect world, developers wouldn't do this, but we don't live in a perfect world.

    K.
    -

    --
    To the extent that I wear skirts and cheap nylon slips, I've gone native.
  • Well, if Microsoft made their code open source some of their drivers might come out of that... one possibly useful thing. I do agree that most of the GUI/OS code would be worse than useless though!
  • As Cuba Goodings might say, "Show me the source code!" 'Til then, its just talk.
  • Windows will never be an incredible OS

    Oh i dunno. I have difficulty believing it sometimes.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @10:10AM (#1888404) Journal

    Are you saying that there is no 'legacy' (i.e. old and buggy) interfaces in Linux?

    --
  • Right from the "excuse the words -- (GASP!) OPEN SOURCE!".

    Looks to me that MS is going to open up tiny bits of their code, so that the public percieves them as going open source, and then the rest of us that know they're actually not will sit around and bicker with them about it, making us look like nitpickers and bad guys. Or some such. They have to have something nefarious in mind - Ballmer went through the entire article trying to discredit open-source as they were talking about actually using the model.

    Point is, this is all PR. There's (almost) nothing good that can come from MS open-source. It will be so heavily restricted no one could do anything but maybe fix bugs for them, but we're not about to do that for them...

    -lx
  • Someone else brought up the point a month or so ago Even if Windows or something like it is released open source (yeah right) there is no way people can try to wade through 30 million+ lines of code that would take 7 hours to compile on a top-end machine.

    Why do we want to have millions of lines of probably badly commented code for an even worse operating system? The idea of open source is so you can borrow portions of code, and I think we can all agree there's nothing in Windows we want to borrow.
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @03:56AM (#1888407) Homepage
    "I don't call that a full embrace of the open source model," he added. "On the other hand, we're trying to understand what it is that really brings the benefit."

    No, it's not a 'full embrace', a 'full embrace' is a choke-hold, and open source is a slippery little bugger.

    Let's not forget, while we pat each other on the backs to celebrate the victory of open source over the tyranical Microsoft, that M$ did a lot of thinking about Digital Research, Lotus, Netscape...
  • IIRC, there are already two existing ways to get the NT source code. The first way is to be an educational or research institution and promise to give MS the right to use anything you develop. The second is to pay MS $millions for a source code license, like AT&T did. Anyone, feel free to correct me on this.
  • "...there are a great number of bugs that WE can't fix, because it'd break existing apps."

    Where have I heard this before? Oh, yes! Macintosh System 7.0 had to preserve a number of the less desirable artifacts from System 6 to avoid breaking Word and Excel in places where they ignored Apple's programming rules. FEEEL how much pity I have for MS now.
  • by Weasel Boy ( 13855 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @04:03AM (#1888410) Journal
    I read this action thusly: 1. How can we ride the coattails of the "open source fad?" 2. How can we get the benefits of "open source" without opening our source? 3. How can we change the rules or definition of "open source" to our best advantage?

    Our response as a community should be: 1. We will not debug commercial software _just_ because it's open source. Open-sourcing a commercial product is not an excuse to short-change quality control or publish buggy software. 2. We will not accept anything less than full source disclosure. 3. We will use the courts to prevent anyone from misusing the "Open Source" trademark. Oh, and a last point just for MS: 4. We refuse to pay real money for the "privilege" of beta-testing future products.
  • One Micros~1 tactic which has worked well (especially vs. DR-DOS) is to announce plans for something just to keep the public from seriously considering competing products. By the time the Micros~1 version rolls out (often much later) the enthusiasm for the competitor's product is diminished considerably. I wonder if they are thinking about this strategy again - make some teaser announcements about moving towards "open source", so that the public won't put any faith in open source that is already available: "After all, we'd be better off to wait for the Microsoft version, right?"

    This sort of strategy wouldn't really dissuade the developers of open source software, because they already know what it's about and in many cases they're writing it for their own purposes anyway. But it might slow down adoption by the public of open source. If all you know are the buzzwords, then open source is good but Microsoft Windows with New Open-Source Technology(tm) is even better, right?

    Some people think that Ballmer's just making crazy off-the-cuff comments when he mentions open source like this, but I think there might be a deeper motivation. If Bill Gates wanted to keep the lid on this sort of thing, he could have told Ballmer to shut up about it weeks ago. Since Ballmer keeps talking about it, Micros~1 must see some benefit in keeping open source associated with them in the press. It remains to be seen whether their approach to open source is really a shift or just more of the usual tactics from Redmond.

  • I guess there could be lots of answers to this question. The first one that pops into my mind is that maybe it really isn't the fact that Linux is open-sourced that is creating its success, but instead the fact that Linux just isn't a MS product.

    It depends (shades of the Gates testimony here) on how you define "success". If success is the fact that Linux has been known and continues to be known as a powerful, stable OS with an exciting development model, then Linux is a success with many people who aren't anti-MS but are just pro-"whatever works best". On the other hand, if success means that there is viable competitor to Microsoft that distracts Microsoft from embracing and extending your software company and its products, then the anti-MS motivation is certainly more clear. Linux probably owes something to both groups, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • If you're sick of bloated OS's and interfaces, why are you using Windows? Perhaps you should switch to PC-DOS 7.0 and find something like Lynx to use. That combo would suit your mindset a little better I think.
    Digital Wokan, Tribal mage of the electronics age
  • >Knock it off. Stop trying to hurt the credibility of Open Source.

    Oh, nice comeback. Treat Open Source like some holy writ which can't be questioned, and then treat anyone who does like a saboteur. This sort of attitude does more damage to open source than the previous poster's does.

    Yes, it does take more creativity. How much money did YOU make writing Open source last year?

    Not everyone regards Open Source vs Microsoft as The Ultimate Moral Choice. The previous poster has made his choice, as he's entitled.
  • This may sound like blasphemy to some of you, but Ballmer looks like a decent guy. While pondering about Open Source, so far I haven't seen him spout any FUD so far - that's makes him seem like a saint compared to those other guys (Muth, Gates for example).

    While Billy boy, who hasn't quite managed to grow up and give up his adolescent world domination fantasies, gets excited about mind-staggering new technologies like electronic mail in 1996 and, like your average Bad Guy, spends his days (and nights) contemplating various ways of crushing his oh-so-inconvenient opponents, Ballmer gives credit where it's due and admits that the Open Source development model is actually working - no buts. And don't forget the briefing with Microsoft executives where he stressed that the quality of Microsoft software must be improved.

    He might even be serious. If he is, I'd say he's the guy who can stop USS Microsoft from sinking into the sea of free, quality software. On the other hand, he might the proverbial last straw..

    Houston, we have a problem.

  • Linux is a big annoyance to M$, and I don't mean just the server *playground*. The people there are not stupid, they are just confused because it's their move now and they begin to realize that they cannot win.

    I suppose you don't follow the 'lousy boxed distributions' very close. Otherwise you'd be amazed by the speed with which they improve. The GUI is already here (in whatever flavour you prefer it). Next will come the office suit. And what will remain as a reason to install Windows (DTPs and some games for example) won't be something that is made by M$.

    "...the more people who will soon be back recognizing what a good thing they have in Windows, where they don't have to poke around under the hood like a Harley rider to get the machine running (again)."

    Working under Linux gets easier and easier every day. For the average guy solving a problem once in a while, boosts the self confidence, yet more of them would prefer to ride the bike than to poke under the hood day in, day out.

    Perhaps Linux will never be as easy to work with as Windows or Mac but there's a reason for that. Linus would never say: 'Hey guys, I decided that from now on we'll swap to a file cause Joe Redmond finds partitioning too hard". In any case I believe it will soon be easy enough even for the average PC user to jump across the platforms.

  • "My mostly computer-illiterate mom can use Linux just fine."

    Please, let's not get carried away. Your mom wouldn't be able to use it if you weren't around to help her and administer the machine. As much as I'd like to be able to recommend Linux to near illiterates, it still isn't there yet.

    "...Linux has always been able to use a file for swap... I first saw it in Unix in the mid '80s."

    I am aware that Linux can swap to a file as well but it isn't recommended. It would be easier to set but not as robust. Actually your words prove my point. When there is a design choice Linux would choose stability, and Windows is more likely to choose 'easyness'. So there.

  • I'd be happy to admit that you could be right and I - wrong. I'm a big fan of KDE, I find it great and more beautiful, more powerful, and not less intuitive than Windows. I just meant that it is not completely finished yet and neither is GNOME. From what I've seen KDE 2.0 promisses to wipe away all other GUIs.

    OTOH I cannot agree that you can separate installation from usage. To be easy to use means also to be easy to install because if you know that an installation is a no brain then you won't be afraid to tweak your system and add/remove packages.

    Not that it's hard to install. With Red Hat it's a fairly simple job. The hardware recognition could be improved though. When I read the advice that one should get all settings from the Device Manager in Windows I'm always reminded that the 'world domination' will have to wait a little more.

    And I also like to 'point and drool'. Heck, I like to drool without even pointing. :-)
  • In almost every application that we talk to people about, people want a good price, but the most important thing is to get a platform that does the job and is reliable."

    WE ALL KNOW WINDOWS DOESN'T DO THE JOB!!!

    For that reason, he said the Linux open source development model is"interesting" but of limited value.

    HUH?


    Microsoft is now trying to determine which portions of its source code to release and whether the code should be licensed or available to everyone via the Internet, he said.

    PLEASE DON'T CONSIDER RELEASING WINDOWS 3.1 TO THE PUBLIC!!!
  • Perhaps Linux will never be as easy to work with as Windows or Mac but there's a reason for that.

    This is not true. My mostly computer-illiterate mom can use Linux just fine. A point and drool interface is only a matter of configuration.

    Linus would never say: 'Hey guys, I decided that from now on we'll swap to a file cause Joe Redmond finds partitioning too hard".

    As far as I know, Linux has always been able to use a file for swap instead of/in addition to a partition. The feature of swapping to a file instead of a partition predates Microsoft Windows. VMS did it. I first saw it in Unix in the mid '80s.
  • Please, let's not get carried away. Your mom wouldn't be able to use it if you weren't around to help her and administer the machine.

    Actually, I'm on the other side of the world ... but she can't deal with system administration tasks on a Microsoft Windows system either. I'm not sure that proves anything. As I understand it, the recommended approach to fixing things in Microsoft Windows is to reinstall the system at the first sign of trouble. It really shouldn't be that difficult for a Linux distribution to be able to deal with problems that way.
    I am aware that Linux can swap to a file as well but it isn't recommended. It would be easier to set but not as robust.

    I ran a Linux-based Internet server for several years that used swap files because I didn't give it enough space when I first set up the machine. It's slower, but I certainly wouldn't call it less robust. That machine had several uptimes into triple digits.


    I don't equate ease of use with ease of installation. Installation is something you do once, and then mostly forget about. Day to day use is more important (to me) and I am very tired of hearing people claim that Microsoft Windows is categorically easier to use than Linux on the desktop. It isn't.

  • Boy, you seem to know a lot about MS source code...If we've never seen it, how do we know it's badly commnented or that there may not be a few nuggets of gold in that hill? Just because YOU wouldn't want to go through it doesn't mean there isn't a lot of people out there that would. Maybe the open sourced version can be improved! That's supposed to be one of the strengths of OSS, isn't it?
    You sound like a child - if I can't see it, it must be bad so I don't want to see it anyway...EVER...WAHHHH!
    What is it we call spreading things you can't possibly know as facts instead of speculation, based only on a strong dislike (dare I say hatred) of that thing? Oh yes...FUD!
    If it's bad for MS to give the OSS community FUD, its just as bad for us to give it to MS.
    MS source code may well be terrible, but doesn't that sound like a CHALLENGE? Unless your afraid to try, that is...

  • by SONET ( 20808 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @08:38AM (#1888423) Homepage
    If MS suddenly went banannas and open-sourced every single app/OS they offered, would that suddenly change what everyone thought of them?

    Would that make them more popular in the open source community? If it didn't, wouldn't that make the proponents of open source hypocrits?

    Think about it, would you think differently about MS? After thinking about it myself, as an advocate of the 'open source movement', I came to the conclusion that I would still have the same dislike for MS, and I still wouldn't support them in any way - be it financially or otherwise. Am I the only one that comes to this conclusion?

    If I'm not the only one, then this raises the question: if it really is the open-source model that is driving the success of Linux, then why wouldn't people feel differently about supporting MS if it was open-sourced?

    I guess there could be lots of answers to this question. The first one that pops into my mind is that maybe it really isn't the fact that Linux is open-sourced that is creating its success, but instead the fact that Linux just isn't a MS product.

    So, by following this thought process (which is fully based on my assumptions!), you can come to the conclusion that MS will not be any more successful by 'copying Linux' (and all other successful open-sourced software) and open-sourcing it's products. The only way MS can be successful is by not being MS.

    Just another crazy thought that came out of yet another sleepless night.

    --SONET
  • > Were those comments on Java in your mind or the mind you are getting into? Whoever it is, I would The technological advances of Java can also be found in the newer versions of C++, Python, and Inferno. But to say J++ wasn't an affront to humanity is doing more than just disagreeing with the Java architecture. Java was made to keep the OS irrelavant, like it clearly should be. Especially for us coders. C++ and C do an okay job of this, as well, but J++ was made to bring back the old (and clearly wrong) thought that the OS does matter, and therefore for some mysterious reason you must pay good money to get it, just to run someone's J++ code. This is wrong, people. As linux advocates (or BSD or nerds in general), surely you see my point! Ballmer helped create the J++/Visual Basic/Sucky C++ compilers we have today. He did this not because he is a coder, but in order to force coders to chose to use Microsoft or Unix exclusively. Linux Zealots here chose Unix, and have voted with their feet by giving away code for free... just to counter Microsoft's powerful FUD machine. NOT ONE OF YOU WOULD WRITE CODE TO GET NO MONEY FOR IF YOU HAD A CHOICE IN THE MATTER. But, because microsoft is so powerful, the sad truth is there isn't much money in Linux! There's not too much money in coding for Windows, though, because most of the good programs are in turn stolen by Microsoft, so don't feel bad about your choice. But I stick with my choice: The OS is irrelavant; and someday all programs that run on only one OS will be irrelavant. -Ben (who codes C++ and Java. Corba too, sometimes.)
  • > Were those comments on Java in your mind or the mind you are getting into? Whoever it is, I would

    The technological advances of Java can also be found in the newer versions of C++, Python, and Inferno. But to say J++ wasn't an affront to humanity is doing more than just disagreeing with the Java architecture.

    Java was made to keep the OS irrelavant, like it clearly should be. Especially for us coders. C++ and C do an okay job of this, as well, but J++ was made to bring back the old (and clearly wrong) thought that the OS does matter, and therefore for some mysterious reason you must pay good money to get it, just to run someone's J++ code.

    This is wrong, people. As linux advocates (or BSD or nerds in general), surely you see my point! Ballmer helped create the J++/Visual Basic/Sucky C++ compilers we have today. He did this not because he is a coder, but in order to force coders to chose to use Microsoft or Unix exclusively. Linux Zealots here chose Unix, and have voted with their feet by giving away code for free... just to counter Microsoft's powerful FUD machine.

    NOT ONE OF YOU WOULD WRITE CODE TO GET NO MONEY FOR IF YOU HAD A CHOICE IN THE MATTER. But, because microsoft is so powerful, the sad truth is there isn't much money in Linux! There's not too much money in coding for Windows, though, because most of the good programs are in turn stolen by Microsoft, so don't feel bad about your choice. But I stick with my choice: The OS is irrelavant; and someday all programs that run on only one OS will be irrelavant.

    -Ben
    (who codes C++ and Java. Corba too, sometimes.)
  • by Benjamin Shniper ( 24107 ) on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @07:37AM (#1888426) Homepage
    Folks, I'd like to remind you this is Steve Balmer we are talking about. He's not a coder, not even like Bill Gates is. Gates has been silent on the issue, because he doesn't want to be involved. Balmer doesn't know code, he doesn't know software, he only knows two things: marketting and money.


    Let's get inside his head, people. He "knows" that:

    1) Open Source is a buzzword. Like JAVA (come on, here people, this is a trend), it is open and yet strangely helps another company more than them, and other big companies like IBM are embracing it. Just like java. Hmmm...

    2) Linux is a rival operating system, it runs on Intel hardware. It's just like OS/2. Pay it lip service about what it doesn't do yet, while they are light years ahead. Don't give it any more apps.

    3) GNU is a bunch of kooks who think software should be free. Cast them as ranting lunatics who have an idea (Open Source) that is now theirs (yoink). Then spread FUD about 'em. (Do you want these hippies making YOUR software? Or someone you know has your best interests in mind because you've given us all your money??)

    4) Call your broker and congradulate your stock owners. Enjoy a short vacation somewhere tropical and come back in time to destroy BeOS while praising it. "This would have been a great operating system, but as you can clearly see they do nothing useful, while our system does everything and for less money. We recomend you keep giving us your money and ignore these guys."

    -Ben
  • If/when MS decides to do *something* like opening up source code I would guess they will provide something like an enhanced SDK.

    Steve Ballmer made references to helping end-users to understand database integration better so this would make sense. Maybe mix in some chunks of code with some api calls and blitz the press with statements about how forward thinking MS is.


    I would love to be a bug in the Redmond campus when they are trying to figure out what to do with this open source *thing.* I think they will almost have to appear to embrace it somehow, or else they come off looking bad. Looking bad is bad for business and for MS image is everything.

    Ah well...back to work...

  • i have worked on alot of code from big shops, and it is always chopped up crap. they insist that each and every bit of code written is done in "modules" so that it can be used elsewhere. what results is a program consisting of call after call after call with an occasional line of original code thrown in. no matter that the functions are huge. no matter that only 2% of the function is being used. they use it anyway. it is the norm for big shops. to expect ms code to be any different is foolish. to expect their code to be anything but hard to read is also foolish. just look at the object code generated from it... the miles of extra dll calls for a nothing function. clean code does not generate trash like that. I personally would not relish the thought of a single day immersed in ms windows code. shoot me now please.
  • "Technically, a partial Open Source strategy for Microsoft will work about as well as those of Apple and Al Gore. They will
    not get any assistance from the hacker community at large. "

    Just one thing; apple's open source is just as good as Netscape's.
    My personal view is that they are better than BSD but way inferior GPL...

    Microsoft will probably choose this half-good kind of lisence to, but only with more of the BAD stuff added to it :-|
  • I agree; No matter what Microsoft does, there will be people on /. either randomly flaming them, spreading FUD about them, or just ranting. Microsoft cannot stop that. That is simply because there are enough people on this board that everybody gets flamed, FUDded, or ranted against. Star Wars gets it. Various Linux distros get it. Politicians get it. Jon Katz gets it ;^>. No matter what, everybody gets some level of flame here.

    Microsoft, of course, is in the top five of favorite /. flame targets. IMHO, they have earned it. No situation is hopeless, and it is never too late to reform. If Microsoft wanted to, they could make themselves into the sort of company that would be respected and even praised here. It would be a long journey.

    Nothing that they say can impress your average Slashdotter, simply because we are so used to the lies that they spout. Lie enough times, and you lose credibility. These are the masters of vaporware; these are the people who told us that Windows 95 no longer runs on a DOS; these are the ones stating that the open source of Linux makes it a security risk (quite the opposite; ask people in the crypto or security biz); these are the ones telling us that, with Linux, "users must manually synchronize user accounts across servers". Has anybody heard of NIS?

    I don't remember who said it first, but what they do speaks so loudly that we cannot hear what they say. This holds as truly for Microsoft as for anyone. So what do they do? They ship bloatware. They ship technically incompetent software. They ship "Operating Systems" (in quotes because people don't always agree on the definition of that term) that logs its uptime in days rather than months. They put BSOD in the vernacular. And that's just their software.

    Their business practices are arguably worse. They destroy the markets for their competitors (Netscape--Web Browser market). They misappropriate the licenses they purchase from other vendors to sabotage their products (Sun Microsystems--Java technology). They steal technology outright and ship it as their own (Stac--Disk compression technology, back in the DOS 6.x days). They ignore or pervert court orders (Netscape again--the "no bundling" agreement). Whether Microsoft is a monopoly depends on the defintion of that term--and the jury is literally still out on that one. However, they are undeniably a rogue corporation that operates above the law.

    The sheer power of Microsoft, plus the willingness to ignore ethical or legal restrictions, and their current focus on Linux, tends to unsettle your average Linux enthusiast. When one looks at the past history of Microsoft, one must be out of one's gourd to trust them at all.

    Microsoft can change all this. I think that the Linux zeal would be greatly lessened if Microsoft actually released a quality OS; one that is stable under fire, doesn't attempt to take up $1,000 of hardware by itself, and allows you to easily do the things that you bought the computer to do. I think that they couldn't enhance Windows to do that, but would have to start from scratch again. However, it could be done.

    Microsoft can gain Slashdot kudos simply by not lying. Almost everybody twists the truth a little bit, revealing the stuff in their favor and covering up the stuff that isn't. This is a far cry from making provably false statements in order to fool the chumps.

    Microsoft can impress us by doing the right thing. It would take a bit of doing so to show that they have truly changed their stripes, but it would be welcome here. Microsoft has long passed the point where they could impress us by talking about doing the right thing.

    We're skeptical--I list some of the reasons why above. Some of us are still hopeful--stranger things have happened--but we are still skeptical. Hope doesn't mean stupidity, after all.

  • Microsoft is watching. Who cares?

    Speak the truth. It's a novel approach in this biz, but it's the Open Source approach. When you get your favorite Linux distro, the source CD says "Here's how we did it!" There is no back-room stuff about how this stuff is put together. You get the stuff with the blueprints.

    The truth is that half-hearted OSS doesn't work. OSS contributors won't contribute if they feel that they are being used, and those contributors tend to know if they are or not. Does OSS work as a post-proprietary conversion? The experiments in Netscape and Apple are still taking place. We'll tell people the truth when we figure out what it is.

    Our advantage over Microsoft is that we cherish the truth, and we share it promiscuously. Never let them take that advantage away from us. The truth shall set your code free.

  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@bigfoot. c o m> on Tuesday May 18, 1999 @05:36AM (#1888433) Homepage
    I see three possibilities here.

    1: Microsoft does nothing remotely like Open Source. Business as usual.

    2: Microsoft fully embraces Open Source and copylefts the entirety of Windows. By embracing I mean getting the mindset, and believing in it. Nothing less than Netscape's own buy-in would really count. This would take nothing less than a certifyable miracle (or heavy drugs). If this happens, a beautiful thing will happen. A fully Open Source Windows would turn into something worth running in a few years.

    3: Microsoft pays lip service to Open Source and tries to fit it into their current business model. They try to embrace and extend OSS, for development gain and/or mindshare gain.

    If they choose option 3, they play to their own weakness and will lose in both development cycles and mindshare.

    Technically, a partial Open Source strategy for Microsoft will work about as well as those of Apple and Al Gore. They will not get any assistance from the hacker community at large.

    Regarding mindshare, they will gain kudos only with those who think that Open Source is a Good Thing, but don't have a clue about what it is. I am not cynical enough to believe that there is a significant population of PHBs who meet those criteria.

    We hold the advantage precisely because Open Source is so antiintuitive. If one knows a little about Open Source, one concludes that the OSS buzz is coming from certified lunatics. One has to fully grok OSS to think that it's useful. even most PHBs think that Open Source is some form of madness. Those who think that OSS is a Good Thing are, by and large, those who understand it. And they will see the problems with a half-hearted approach.

    There are some that belive in the Gospel According to Bill; the term Open Source will turn from evil to wonderful the instant Microsoft "embraces" it. However, Microsoft can gain mindshare out of mindless MS zealots by releasing the Bill Gates Cardio Kickboxing workout DVD-ROM.

  • Well, if Microsoft made their code open source some of their drivers might come out of that... one possibly useful thing. I do agree that most of the GUI/OS code would be worse than useless though!

    So in other words, there's no point in MS making any of their software open source, right?

    So you're saying you don't want it to happen.

    I thought Open Source was the "one true way of doing things" these days?
  • Is that why they're being sued and the judge has issued numerous injunctions against them?

    When were these? Links, please.

    Also, anyone can sue anyone else in this country. You can sue if you spill your coffee over yourself. Being sued is no rubber-stamp of guilt.

  • Especially for us coders. C++ and C do an okay job of this, as well, but J++ was made to bring back the old (and clearly wrong) thought that the OS does matter, and therefore for some mysterious reason you must pay good money to get it, just to run someone's J++ code. This is wrong, people.

    Yes, but not in the way you think it's wrong.

    It's WRONG because you're talking BULLSHIT.

    To run someone else's J++ code, install one of the latest versions of IE, or the Microsoft JVM. That's all you have to do. End of story.

    You don't have to pay anyone any money to run J++ code; you just install and go.

    Buying J++ to write the code is another matter; but if you really wanted to, you could just get the MS Java SDK and write it all by hand.
  • -------------------------------------------------
    A call to the GNU Generation!
    ------------------------------------------------ -

    DON`T DO IT! M$ IS OWNED BY CAPITALISTS AND RUN BY THE VERY SAME.


    Hellloooo... if you really ARE a Linux/GNU advocate of any sort, you're perpetuating the "GNU == Communism" myth that people blame Microsoft for spreading. So get a clue, and learn the difference.
  • Anyone really keen on fixing Microsoft's bugs for them? I think it's a pretty hollow move, MS lets us tinker with some of thier coveted source-code, while keeping all the really useful code closed off.

    No thanks. I already have several "open source solutions"...


    Thing is, it's all well and good for you to plan on fixing the bugs - but there are a great number of bugs that WE can't fix, because it'd break existing apps.

    That, unfortunately, is the Catch 22 we find ourselves stuck with.
  • does anyone know what compiler m$ uses to compile NT code? surely not Visual C++?

    Yup, it's VC++ - in fact there's a site on the net somewhere that specifies which compiler options to use. Search for optimization and Cutler and NT, and you might find it.
  • Gates has been silent on the issue, because he doesn't want to be involved

    And Ballmer is simply incapable of keeping silent on any topic...

    Anyone seen an interview with this guy?

    He could be the poster child for Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Steve, buddy - some free advice... cut down on the stimulants.. remember, Ritalin is your friend.
  • Let's start with the premise that Microsoft rarely does any thinking.

    It sounds like flame bait, but it isn't. What happens is that they first "talk" about a new project. What they're really doing is throwing the topic into the air to collect comments. So, when Microsoft talks, they are actually listening. They listen to what everyone says. Then they go and make a very bad version 1.0 of it. People tell them what's wrong with it, and now they've got a version 1.1 of it.

    (One could go on to say that people then start requesting things they want added, and version 2.0 appears. Then people tell them what's wrong with it again, and version 2.1 is born. And so on. You get the picture... you're a Slashdotter, right?)

    So, Balmer announces to the media that "We're thinking about Open Source!" He gives a little tidbit or two of a thought. Now the real Microsoft army goes to work... The Media... and as much as I hate to say it... Slashdot too! People discuss the ramifications, hammer out the issues, raise the important points. Microsoft harvests the results of the collective IQ they focused on the issue. And if they don't get quite enough, they announce it again! And when they harvest enough, either the project is aborted, or Version 1.0 Open Source License is born.

    Microsoft is watching. Express your view! Discuss the treasures and traps of Open Source licensing. Tell them how they can embrace, extend, and corrupt the Open Source system. Aren't they evil? You got to love Microsoft like you love Darth Vader. I'm just waiting for Bill to take the mask off.

  • Thing is, it's all well and good for you to plan on fixing the bugs - but there are a great number of bugs that WE can't fix, because it'd break existing apps.

    in this case you did "The Wrong Thing [TM]" and the only "Right Thing[TM]" to do is start over...

    yea it sucks, and will hurt you in the checkbook but this will fix the bugs and make better software etc. example linux moved from glib5 to 6 this broke alot of programs but it was the right thing to do, it fixed bugs and made the software better, (in the end).

    M$'s main problem isnt just all the bugs it's how they write software. ie "you are a USER and we are the PROGRAMMERS. and the PROGRAMMER knows what is best for the USER. USERS are dumb us PROGRAMMERS will fix the bugs when we feel like it, or the USER pays extra for it."
    ( i dont know if M$ really trys to make users of their software feel this way, just my feeling after using there software for years and years, then trying linux and liking the relationship i can have with a develper of an app. )

    nmarshall
    #include "standard_disclaimer.h"
    R.U. SIRIUS: THE ONLY POSSIBLE RESPONSE
  • The first one that pops into my mind is that maybe it really isn't the fact that Linux is open-sourced that is creating its success, but instead the fact that Linux just isn't a MS product.

    I do not use Linux because it is not MS, or because it is open source. I use it because it is a better product. A unix-like operating system that is free and stable. I bet that 90% of the people who use Linux do not hack the code. I have not, and I am a programmer (but I do like the idea that I can). As Linux grows more popular in the main stream, this percentage will rise.

    Most people I talk to don't like mircrosoft. But that is not enough of a reason for them to switch to another product. In order for them to switch, the product must be better.

    The Linux comunity needs to focus on building the best product possible. When we do that, users will come (If you build it, they will come). I am sure that those who are actually doing the coding already have this mindset.
  • they insist that each and every bit of code written is done in "modules" so that it can be used elsewhere

    Erm... it's called "code reuse" and/or "modular fan-in" (choose your poison), and it's one of the primary goals of software design...

    clean code does not generate trash like that

    You mean statically linked code, right? That's actually a step _backwards_ from dynamically linked code...

    Cheers
    Alastair
  • I'm sorry -- but no one wants to dig through any Microsoft code, other than to laugh at some of the awful programming techniques.

    I'm not sure it's safe to jump to that conclusion... some of the tricks in Microsoft's OSes and applications are quite funky, and the code behind 'em might actually teach us a thing or two...

    Cheers
    Alastair
  • It would seem to be a purely commerical incentive... if they go OSS they basically lose a healthy portion of their revenue stream...

    I would be interested to see if they consider realising the source to some of their older products (e.g. DOS, Windows 3.1). If they released these products as is into the community it could spark some interest in OSS in general, and at the same time Microsoft wouldn't really be giving away too many secrets.

    Cheers
    Alastair
  • Well, since most of Windows 9x is written in Ada it wouldn't matter much.

    Why would the fact that 95 is written in Ada (it isn't, but let's not let the facts blind us here) reduce its worth in the eyes of the OSS community?

    And NT is mostly C, but has hundreds of millions lines of code (250 million I believe maybe it was 350).

    NT 4 is about 5, maybe 6 million lines of code. W2K is slated to top 30 million.

    Cheers
    Alastair

  • Windows 2000 has *how* many billion lines of code?

    NT 4 has about 5, maybe 6 million lines. W2K is slated to to 30 million.

    My guess is that they have reached a point where MS VC++ simply looks at the code, and says "no way, man"

    Erm, I don't think it's likely to all be in one file, you know.

    IMHO, Open Source is the only way for MS-Windows to survive in the long run.

    Why?

    Surely any product can survive as long as it's better than the competition? For most users, the (sad?) truth is that Windows is a better bet than Linux because it's more accessible and offers a wider range of applications... it's those two points that the OSS community need to address in order to make Linux more palatable on the desktop...

    (As always, my _very_ humble opinion ;)

    Cheers
    Alastair
  • Right from the "excuse the words -- (GASP!) OPEN SOURCE!".

    If Ballmer was at a trade show or some other Microsoft-centric event, then it's possible his use of the phrase "excuse the words" was actually a gentle piss-take on Microsoft's non-OSS-centric development mindset ;)

    We weren't there, we don't know the exact context of his comments, so we probably shouldn't try to read _too_ far between the lines...

    Cheers
    Alastair

"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was." -- Walt West

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