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Microsoft Businesses Open Source Technology Linux

Microsoft Claims 'We Love Open Source' 464

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jbrodkin writes "Everyone in the Linux world remembers Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's famous comment in 2001 that Linux is a 'cancer' that threatened Microsoft's intellectual property. While Microsoft hasn't formally rescinded its declaration that Linux violates its patents, at least one Microsoft executive admits that the company's earlier battle stance was a mistake. Microsoft wants the world to understand, whatever its issues with Linux, it no longer has any gripe toward open source."
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Microsoft Claims 'We Love Open Source'

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  • Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:17PM (#33347278) Homepage Journal

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -- Gandhi

    We've already gone through the first 3 stages over the past 15 years. And just so you're not confused, winning != world domination.

    • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:24PM (#33347402)

      winning != world domination.

      I for one... oh wait, what? really... damnit!

    • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Informative)

      by HermMunster (972336) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:38PM (#33347610)

      Embrace, extend, extinguish.

      Never forget. Microsoft has never helped open source. They have only contributed to their own version of it, which is very much unlike open source as it was defined 10+ years ago.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suso (153703) *

        Never forget. Microsoft has never helped open source.

        Um, maybe you didn't think of it this way, but Microsoft is the reason why the open source community is so strongly driven. Open Source users don't have the reputation of hating Microsoft for nothing. So in a large way, Microsoft helped Open Source in a huge way. Its all part of the balance.

        • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:06PM (#33347958)

          The assumption is that Open Source would never have been created, that there'd be no advancement, that the world needed a Microsoft to foster a competitive environment.

          I followed the industry from the very beginnings of Microsoft and have been part of that industry for nearly 3 decades. What I can say is that had it not been for Microsoft the industry would be much bigger, more competition would have been fostered, greater improvements in the computer and interface would have been made, there'd be more markets and more competitors in each market, which easily would have dwarfed what Microsoft "might" have done in the off-hand way you describe. I give them no credit.

          • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ciggieposeur (715798) on Monday August 23, 2010 @11:57PM (#33350688)

            If you've been here 30 years then you'll know that the various Eternal Septembers were unavoidable. GUI was going to come to wipe out the more efficient text interfaces; personal computers would have to climb the long slog to mainframe-like architecture one baby step at a time; the network effect was destined to come along and wipe out whole sectors of competition in word processors, spreadsheets, operating systems, and network protocols.

            Essentially everything not made by Microsoft was better in a technical sense, but for every user willing to spend ten minutes to learn how their software worked there were a hundred users who just wanted to click on the first thing they saw and then complain to the help desk when they had no clue what was going on.

            Microsoft raked in the cash, but it was the users in the end who were to blame.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by realmolo (574068)

            There would also be almost NO interoperability.

            Say what you will about Microsoft, and Windows, but it's a STANDARD. Before "PC compatibles" dominated, the world of microcomputers was chaotic as hell. Every manufacturer used their own proprietary hardware and OS. Yes, that meant that advancements could be made more quickly. IN THEORY. The reality was, all the various manufacturers tried to lock you into their HARDWARE, and the price never dropped, because their were no clones. And OS improvements? Why would

            • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:02AM (#33351078) Homepage

              There would also be almost NO interoperability.

              Oh wow!

              Microsoft is the only company that can't release its standards BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER DOCUMENTED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
              At worst days of Unix fragmentation, there was more interoperability between all Unices and Unix-like systems (yes, including HP-UX) than there was between Microsoft and Borland toolchains on Windows. For the above mentioned reason. And that was before Microsoft started to actively fight Unix.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by mcgrew (92797) *

              There would also be almost NO interoperability.

              Nonsense; that was IBM's doing, not Microsoft's. Had IBM gone with their first choice of OS, you'ld all now be running CP/M instead of DOS.

              It was IBM's BIOS' cloning that standardized PCs. It wouldn't have mattered what OS IBM used. In those days, the mantra was "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

            • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:4, Interesting)

              by HermMunster (972336) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:50AM (#33354354)

              This is wrong on so many levels. In fact, it is almost insanely wrong. Standards would have emerged. In the DOS world there were emerging interface standards. There were menus, there were consistent menu choices, programs were being written with common functionality (such as save, print, etc.). Programmers were learning when and when not to write directly to hardware. There were other companies writing GUIs. Other companies were developing things such as fonts, page layout, etc. Microsoft wasn't inventing them, they were copying them. True type font didn't come into this world without a fight.

              Standard ways of doing things were dictated by other industries, such as paper size, keyboard layouts, hardware designs. It was inevitable that we would have ended up with a consistency similar to what we have today, even without Microsoft and likely without any abusive monopoly.

              Standards bodies existed before Microsoft. It was inevitable that they were to be created by the software industry.

              Damn, I keep reading your post and I can't help but think about how misleading that is. Just look at computer hardware. There's no "Microsoft" of hardware yet we get parts that are interchangable. The ISO was created as a body to approve standards.

              You weren't paying attention back then or you weren't involved. Microsoft actually hindered standards by obfuscating them to the point that the industry would be force to adopt theirs. There were file system standards for word processing that had issues because of Microsoft's interference. There was the W3 which was responsible for standardizing HTML back then which Microsoft tried to manipulate. Even within recent years they have tried to contravene the standard's process to favor themselves.

              Microsoft was a monopoly that abused it's power to gain the position it is in. While building that position (and monopoly) they broke the law, and that injured everyone. The only problem is that the punishment for their crimes wasn't harsh enough to open the software market back up. The damage had been done.

              The world would have been better off without the abusive monopoly created by Microsoft. Monopolies are not better than the competition that is fostered without them.

        • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Informative)

          by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:44PM (#33348430) Homepage Journal

          Your argument is as useful as "War helps camaraderie".

          Please get a lil dose of actual impact [linuxologist.com] of Microsoft on computing experience instead.

        • by yyxx (1812612)

          Microsoft wasn't the original evil that drove open source; Symbolics, IBM, AT&T, and a whole bunch of other companies were. Microsoft essentially just took over from IBM.

      • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Informative)

        by massysett (910130) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:05PM (#33348642) Homepage

        Microsoft Research pays [microsoft.com] people [microsoft.com] to work on Haskell and the leading Haskell compiler, GHC. GHC is licensed [wikipedia.org] under the BSD license, which is "free" and "open source" by any definition.

        To say this company has "never" helped open source is a bit extreme. Like any profit-making entity, it helps open source when doing so is in Microsoft's interest.

      • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jrumney (197329) on Monday August 23, 2010 @09:21PM (#33349702) Homepage

        Never forget. Microsoft has never helped open source.

        They have helped open source in the past, when it suited them. The original port of GNU Emacs to Windows NT was done by interns at Microsoft to show that real Unix software could be easily ported to their new OS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by William Stein (259724)

        Microsoft has given significant funding to support the development of Sage [sagemath.org] and R. In the case of Sage the funding has always been "no strings attached". (I am director of the Sage project, and Sage is licenced under the GPL.)

    • by drewhk (1744562) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:46PM (#33347728)

      1. First they ignore you
      2. then they laugh at you,
      3. then they fight you,
      4. then you quote Gandhi
      5. ???
      6. Profit

    • Re:Meet the 4 stages (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:26PM (#33348232) Homepage

      I thought the Four Stages of Microsoft were:

      1) Ignore
      1a) while quietly fighting in the dark
      2) Embrace
      3) Extend
      4) Extinguish

      We're well into #2 right now. All the efforts to "embrace" have done nothing in the long run but help Microsoft further, while curtailing competition: Mono is still nowhere near viable, and neither is Samba 4. Novell is stumbling. So-called open projects Microsoft has released or contributed have only gone to fuel their closed technologies, contributing nothing substantial to the IT environment as a whole. Their "embrace" has solely been a token gesture.

      Side thought: Wouldn't it be funny if Microsoft released a Linux-based phone?

  • Not too surprising? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:19PM (#33347306)

    This shouldn't surprise anyone too much. Ten years ago some people really thought that Linux was going to replace Windows on everyone's desktop, open source projects were going to kill Office, etc.

    Which never happened.

    The reality is that there's room for both open and closed source software in the world.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:27PM (#33347432) Journal

      One should explain that to Microsoft, who still continues to make not-so-veiled patent threats against Linux.

      Microsoft is the enemy of open source, pure and simple.

      • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:32PM (#33347526)

        Your problem is that you seem to view each of Microsoft and open source as monolithic united entities with a single mind and vision.

        Sure, I'd fully expect MS to try to slap the shit out of, say, OpenOffice if it's infringing on one of their Office patents. Note that I'm not arguing for whether that would be right or wrong, only that you should expect it.

        But there's open source software that does a million other things that Microsoft isn't directly trying to sell a product for. And why wouldn't they, especially internally, be a fan of and use the hell out of any of that?

        • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:41PM (#33347662)

          There's a group of companies that contribute some of their patent portfolio to protect Linux. Attempts at squishing Linux with Microsoft's patent portfolio will only result in a nuclear meltdown in a patent war. Just don't live with the false impression that Linux can't defend itself. And remember, Microsoft is on the loosing end of most patent lawsuits.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bert64 (520050)

            Despite constantly losing patent lawsuits, microsoft are still pro software patents... As much as MS lose out from patent lawsuits, linux is worse off... While MS can afford to license patents like those on h.264, linux as a whole cannot, and individual distributions would need to sacrifice many of the cost benefits of linux in order to fund the patent licenses.

        • by plover (150551) * on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:52PM (#33347820) Homepage Journal

          But there's open source software that does a million other things that Microsoft isn't directly trying to sell a product for. And why wouldn't they, especially internally, be a fan of and use the hell out of any of that?

          Because they make their living off of providing proprietary software, and to be more precise, they are living off of incremental improvements to existing proprietary software. And the open source model is gradually showing people that they don't have to pay $$$ for good quality software.

          What I think has happened is Microsoft sees the pace of the open source threat is making it less of a risk than they once thought. People still buy machines pre-loaded with Windows, and they pick up a copy of Office Home & Student edition for their kids to use in school. The price is low enough that most of them can afford it. And business licensing still rakes in truckloads of cash.

          Speaking of business, most are still loading up on Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server, IIS, Active Directory, etc., and the pace of change is not heading to Linux at an appreciable rate.

          On the other pan of the scale, it costs Microsoft a lot in terms of money and goodwill to do battle with people who just want to give away free software to poor kids in Africa. P.R.-wise that's an unwinnable battle. It's best to smile and nod, and pat the little ESR-wannabees on the head and say "that's a good boy, go out and play with your GNU friends, the grown-ups want to sell Mommy and Daddy some real software."

          If Ballmer is now B.F.F. with Open Source, you can bet that they've done the math and this works out better for them on the bottom line.

          • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:16PM (#33348116)

            People still buy machines pre-loaded with Windows

            In their defense, it's extremely difficult to buy many machines, especially laptops, without Windows. This is one thing that would be really nice to change.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:38PM (#33348376)

            Speaking of business, most are still loading up on Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server, IIS, Active Directory, etc., and the pace of change is not heading to Linux at an appreciable rate.

            Server 2008 is for MS only shops, SQL Server is an also-ran to Oracle, Postgres and MySQL, IIS is just a joke. Unless it is an MS product it does not go on IIS. We have far more linux boxes than MS ones, and most of those MS ones are VMs. Letting MS software touch metal is crazy.

            • by Eskarel (565631) on Monday August 23, 2010 @10:11PM (#33350050)

              SQL Server is gaining ground on Oracle at a rather dramatic rate, it's cheaper, works just as well in most cases, and Microsoft is a hell of a lot less evil than Oracle. MySQL sucks and always has, it's not remotely viable for anything even remotely resembling a large data set and pretty much no vendor anywhere supports it. Postgres is quite good, but has almost no market penetration.

              IIS isn't as good as Apache, but IIS plus .NET is far better and easier to work with than any JEE container I've ever used. As static web pages become less and less of the volume of the web, Apache's superiority is greatly diminshed.

              As for the rest of it, if you're going to be working in a VM environment, then letting anything touch the bare metal that doesn't have to is pretty much crazy. Microsoft supports all their products on VMs so why wouldn't you virtualize them?

      • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:40PM (#33347648) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft is the enemy of open source, pure and simple.

        I think that used to be the case, but Microsoft seems to have a more nuanced view now. They recognize that Linux is a strategic threat, but that doesn't mean that any and all open source projects are similarly dangerous to their core interests. They have far more than Linux to contend with these days, and they're finding allies in unlikely places.

        That said, Microsoft has flip-flopped so many times on open source it remains to be seen whether they truly understand that they've lost the ideological war over open source (and more importantly, free software).

      • Given that most corporate stances toward(or against) OSS tend to be about the old adage "commodify your complements", I would assume that MS is largely similar. Linux is a more or less unmitigated evil; because it provides a relatively easy migration path onto cheap x86 or A64 boxes for legacy unix guys, and the cheapest commodity web-serving platform, as well as doing pretty well cutting into WinCE's marketshare. On the other hand, if people want to run Drupal or something on IIS and Windows server, why wo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Your right, but it sure is getting them at the top and bottom. Lots of servers and many phones, tablets and other devices where windows CE once played.

      • Lots of servers and many phones, tablets and other devices where windows CE once played.

        It's very possible that I just don't know enough about the mobile space, but was Windows CE ever, at any point, a commercial success? If so, I blinked and missed it, but I do freely admit I don't know a lot of the history there.

        • was Windows CE ever, at any point, a commercial success? If so, I blinked and missed it, but I do freely admit I don't know a lot of the history there.

          I have a presumably Chinese made $99 GPS in my wife's car. They must be selling millions of the things. It runs Windows CE.

        • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:36AM (#33351280) Homepage

          Windows CE single-handedly wiped out first generation of PDA and mini-laptops, leaving only Palm (then still without celphone functionality) alive. People were buying devices to run "Word", "Excel" and "Internet Explorer" instead of more capable devices based on Symbian or even Linux (Windows CE-based iPAQ was originally developed as Linux-based Itsy), then got disappointed by complete mismatch of those devices' capabilities with their expectations. All those devices ended up as massive failures, iPAQ stuck longer than others but was hardly a success considering the amount of engineering that went in it.

          Later Microsoft had some success pushing Windows CE on smartphones by marketing those devices to cellular carriers who didn't care about users' experience as long it was possible to advertise "Windows" and easily gain customers locked into multi-year contracts before seeing the device.

          iPhone pretty much wiped this market -- or what left of it after Blackberry eaten a huge chunk. So now Microsoft's new generation of Windows Mobile, marketed in the same way but facing competition and disillusioned users, is hopefully doomed.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:35PM (#33347562) Journal

      Ten years ago some people really thought that Linux was going to replace Windows on everyone's desktop, open source projects were going to kill Office, etc.

      Which never happened.

      I've been noticing more companies are dropping the Bundled Office for a discounted price and using OpenOffice instead. Don't get me wrong, I agree with windows being unlikely to disappear. But I could see Office becoming a free product included with Windows in order to stay competitive with the Open Source Alternatives.

      And if by some magical cosmic occurence that everyone switches to Ubuntu overnight, I could even see Windows becoming free (as in beer) to stay afloat, while they pull something out of their hat to make enough money to sustain themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I've been noticing more companies are dropping the Bundled Office for a discounted price and using OpenOffice instead.

        It's very probable that my experience does not represent the whole, but I have literally never seen OpenOffice in use in any of the many businesses I have worked for. Even when I've worked with IBM employees they were still using Outlook instead of Lotus, much less OO.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by msobkow (48369)

          Our boss is happy to see people using Open Office because it saves him a license fee, but if you want Microsoft office instead, it gets approved. It's about a 50-50 split in our office between people who find OO "good enough" vs. people who want the extra bells and whistles of a full MS Office installation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HermMunster (972336)

        Microsoft sustains itself on billions of dollars every quarter. I doubt a free Windows and Office would lead to other services and products that could sustain them.

        It is inevitable that Windows and Office will fall by the way-side. That's one of the major complaints about Microsoft. When those products go what else do they have? A patent war?

        • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:51PM (#33347792)

          It is inevitable that Windows and Office will fall by the way-side.

          Based on what, exactly?


          That's one of the major complaints about Microsoft. When those products go what else do they have? A patent war?

          When people stop using databases, what does Oracle really have?

          When people stop searching for things on the internet, what does Google have?

          At this point there's still no credible threat to Windows on the desktop or Office on the horizon, and anyone who says otherwise is either trying to sell you something or has adopted Open Source as a religion rather than a merely very good idea.

    • by morcego (260031)

      More than having room for both ...

      Having both gives an opportunity to better use the right tool for the right job.

  • My question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:19PM (#33347324)

    This is what I want to know: Is Microsoft's new stance a sort of "this is the way the world is going, we'd better at least pretend to get with the program," or is it more like "we need to do a better job with PR of covering up our continuing efforts to break and absorb every platform that isn't ours?"

    • Re:My question (Score:4, Informative)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:24PM (#33347412) Journal

      Microsoft has been doing this once or twice a year since somewhere around 2003. Just wait, the latest turncoat from the open source community to get hired up for whatever craptastic OSS lab Microsoft is setting up this week as part of its never-ending propaganda campaign will come on here and want us all to submit questions, to which he will give misleading non-answers, just so the vile pigs at Redmond can go "We're trying to engage the community!"

      • by spun (1352)

        Microsoft has been doing this once or twice a year since somewhere around 2003. Just wait, the latest turncoat from the open source community to get hired up for whatever craptastic OSS lab Microsoft is setting up this week as part of its never-ending propaganda campaign will come on here and want us all to submit questions, to which he will give misleading non-answers, just so the vile pigs at Redmond can go "We're trying to engage the community!"

        As in, "Redmond expects that every developer will do his duty" and "Engage the community more closely."

    • This is what I want to know: Is Microsoft's new stance a sort of "this is the way the world is going, we'd better at least pretend to get with the program," or is it more like "we need to do a better job with PR of covering up our continuing efforts to break and absorb every platform that isn't ours?"

      Yes.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      This is what I want to know: Is Microsoft's new stance a sort of "this is the way the world is going, we'd better at least pretend to get with the program," or is it more like "we need to do a better job with PR of covering up our continuing efforts to break and absorb every platform that isn't ours?"

      The exec was mis-quoted. He actually said, 'We embrace Open Source.'

      ... And we all know that Microsoft's embrace is like an anaconda's.

  • It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:20PM (#33347326)

    I see what you did there.

  • Riiight. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:21PM (#33347346) Homepage

    I don't see how would this favor MS. For IBM, it made sense as IBM is a services company and works in their favor.

    For Microsoft, their business is in selling software, and everybody else is a competitor. In the case of Open Source, a very annoying competitor they can't get rid of easily.

    They can start by ending all the funny business with software patents. That would be a first step, but I doubt very much it'll happen. Much more likely that there's some kind of trap here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      For Microsoft, their business is in selling software, and everybody else is a competitor. In the case of Open Source, a very annoying competitor they can't get rid of easily.

      However, open source hasn't been a serious (as in market share) competitor in the areas where Microsoft traditionally makes most of its money. I mean, sure, they'd make a huge pile of money and love it if everyone with Linux servers dumped them for Windows servers, but that's never going to happen.

      Also note that Microsoft isn't likely

      • Re:Riiight. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:34PM (#33347542) Homepage Journal

        As long as it runs on Windows they don't care.
        Google Docs is seen are more of a threat than OpenOffice ever was.
        PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby... They run on Windows so they are all good with that.
        Firefox? Better than Chrome and it runs on Windows. Plus they don't sell IE and Microsoft knows that it has lost the "standards" war when it comes to browsers.

    • Re:Riiight. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:26PM (#33347430)
      That would require them to get an entirely new business model, and at this point the one they've got still works plenty well. They bring in large amounts of cash every year and their market share is still large enough to represent a formidable opponent to any that might try and compete with them. Sure it won't go on like this forever, but at this point there's very little incentive for them to do anything too radical. The only change I'd think they should be making is dumping Ballmer for a geek or nerd, or at least somebody that gets the technical aspects of their business. Which I'm not personally convinced he gets. Steve Jobs over at Apple for better or for worse over all gets it or at least for the most part is smart enough to let people who do know that stuff get things accomplished.
    • For Microsoft, their business is in selling software

      Sometimes you can sell more X by giving some Y (that depends in some way on X) for free. Case in point: IronPython is OSS, but depends on .NET which is free but not OSS, which depends on Windows which is not free (Mono is technically also supported, but most people who pick .NET also go with Windows in practice). Presumably, also, any server-side software written in IronPython would run on Windows Server (very much not free), and quite possibly use MSSQL for database (pricey!). So there's your cash flow.

      In

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        ...most people who pick .NET also go with Windows in practice...

        Only because the phrase "Miguel de Icaza gave us free Mono" is sooooo open to misinterpretation... seriously, couldn't they have thought of a better name for that project, e.g. ".NOT"?
  • Uh huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:22PM (#33347368) Journal

    Oh look, Microsoft out there putting a hand out to the open source community, except for the largest, most important OSS project; Linux.

    Why does anybody even bother reporting this crapola? Microsoft is not open source's friend, save within the very limited capacity of what it figures it can control. Microsoft has been and remains one of the great enemies of open source.

  • by johnhp (1807490) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:23PM (#33347378)
    I remember "embrace" and "extend", but I can't seem to remember the third phase...
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088)

    In related news, they also claim they are against flying chairs.

    • In other news, the original After Dark crew is getting back together to make a flying chairs screensaver...
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:28PM (#33347448)
    The just have a different definition of what "open source" means than you and I. "Open Source" to Microsoft means that they are free to incorporate other people's work into their software with any reciprocation or release of the modified code. Unfortunately many companies feel this way open source code.
    • "Open Source" to Microsoft means that they are free to incorporate other people's work into their software with any reciprocation or release of the modified code.

      Actually, if anything, MS is rather FOSS-phobic when it comes to using source code written by external parties. Any use of outside code requires legal review (as it should be), but particularly strong attention is paid to anything with open source licenses, and you'd better have a really good reason as to why you need it before the whole approval process will even get started. Consequently, there are very few cases of MS using open source code in its products (relative to overall code size) compared to indu

    • by OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:53PM (#33347822)
      That isn't my experience. Several years ago I worked at a software house that was acquired by Microsoft. The first thing they did was audit our source code to identify all the modules derived from open source. Before the sale could go through we had to rewrite those modules from scratch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman (862676)

        The first thing they did was audit our source code to identify all the modules derived from open source. Before the sale could go through we had to rewrite those modules from scratch.

        Ummm, that just proves exactly what the post you were replying to was claiming. Microsoft rewrote those modules, because it doesn't want to reciprocate or release modified code to the community. They want to incorporate others' work without having to abide by open source licenses.

  • Reading this and thinking back, I can't help but think of the Kuebler-Ross model [wikipedia.org]. Back in 2001 MS were in denial. We've been through anger, bargaining and (arguably) depression. Is this now acceptance?

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:30PM (#33347476)
    ... it tastes like kittens.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Netcraft confirms it: BSD tastes more like a cross between Spotted Owl and California Condor!
  • Open source to Microsoft
          prove your love,
    sign your patents over to some open source license agreement.

    Love is all about the commitment.

  • Fannee Doolee hates open source, but she loves free software.
  • Embrace, Extend, Extinguish... If Microsoft doesn't make Windows or most of its core products libre/open-source, then they are talking out of their ass and just want people to stop hating them so much for their obvious anti-free stance.

  • as opposed to rev.eng. ones? Then I'd believe. Too many NTFS removable drives floating around, and FAT barfs on 4G files.

    • as opposed to rev.eng. ones? Then I'd believe. Too many NTFS removable drives floating around, and FAT barfs on 4G files.

      FAT also is a good way to end up at the wrong end of a patent lawsuit. It would be nice to see some sort of patent agreement from MS.

  • And release Direct X under the GPL. Until then I don't believe they care much about open source at all. :)
  • Since killing Netscape, have they succeeded at anything they've said they'd do, or that it was implied they'd do? Their list of failures is long, and each one has a multi-billion dollar price tag on it. Even after all these years, the only inarguably profitable lines are still Windows itself and Office.

    About the only thing I can think of is X-box, which has become successful in its own right, though far from dominant. SQL Server is successful within its segment, though I don't know if its profitable. Vi

  • How about OOXML? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VGR (467274) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:00PM (#33347902)

    How nice of them. They apologized for calling Linux a cancer.

    Still waiting for an apology for the OOXML atrocity. In fact, it's going to take a lot more than a few contributions and nice words to make me put OOXML and its enormously dirty dealings in the past.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:10PM (#33348024) Homepage Journal
    "F*** you" is about sex, not love
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:16PM (#33348760) Homepage Journal

    MS Loves Open Source, which knows its place.

    MS Hates that uppity Free Software.

  • by yelvington (8169) on Monday August 23, 2010 @08:04PM (#33349192) Homepage

    I know I'm supposed to hate Microsoft, and generally I do, but at the moment I'm feeling sort of charitable toward the doddering old fool. Microsoft has become ineffective, marginalized. Yeah, I know it still controls the non-Apple OS marketplace, but it's become a joke in the areas that represent the future: mobile and tablets. Microsoft tries awfully hard to be C. Montgomery Burns, but lately it's looking a lot more like Abe Simpson.

    Over the years Microsoft has benefited quite a bit from open-source software, and by positioning DOS and Windows as an open platforms (anybody could develop for it, without asking permission), it won the first war between open and closed views of the world. If you're under 50 you're probably not old enough to remember how some of the early players in personal computing wanted total platform control to a degree that would make the current Steve Jobs blush.

    Today, the real threat isn't Microsoft -- at least not if you discount the 18 bazillion virus-infected botnet computers that attack the average website every hour. The real threat is the total-control view of computing represented by Steve Jobs and the telecom companies that have persuaded Google to sell its soul. Jobs and Verizon are on opposite sides only in that they disagree about who should be in charge. Either way, it's not you.

  • by SickLittleMonkey (135315) on Monday August 23, 2010 @08:23PM (#33349336)
    ... has really been to "embrace" it. (As usual!)

    Think about it like this:
    - Ms-PL (and 4 or so other licenses)
    - CodePlex
    - Free versions of Visual Studio

    Now developers can write open source for Windows & .NET with MS versions of everything the traditional open source world used to provide.
    Instead of developing with Java or gcc for other VMs or Linux!
  • beware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yyxx (1812612) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @04:08AM (#33352138)

    Microsoft "loves" open source in the same way that Oracle, Sun, and Apple "love" open source: as something to exploit, score PR points with, and sue people into oblivion over. Oh, and as a source of ideas for new bogus patents, too.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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