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Round Table On Approaches To Source Code

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the deep-thoughts-thought-deeply dept.

Announcements 157

Gandalf61 writes: "On siliconvalley.com, they've opened up a roundtable discussion concerning MS's Craig Mundie's recent attacks on the GPL. It's titled 'Code War,' and a panel of other-than-MS luminaries is on-board, and attacks on Mundie's the over-the-edge 3 May speech have begun. Mundie started the discussion, and one reply is now posted by a panel member, shredding the MS view of reality ... This looks to be fun." Since this submission rolled in, a number of posts have appeared in this moderated discussion set to continue for the next few days; RMS withdrew from the panel shortly before it began, though, and the result is a discussion which is engaging but perhaps not as fiery as it would be with Stallman in the ring. It's downright civil so far, in fact; hopefully it's a good environment for FUD-busting.

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What about the rest of us? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#127915)

The roundtable only includes discussion by "luminaries". What about the rest of us? Those of us who actually do coding are apparently not invited. This is precisely the MS model where tight control by "experts" lock out anyone else from contributing. What exactly will a /. reader get from this? We know Mundie's full of crap and MS's attacks on the GPL simply exposes their fear. Frankly I like hearing them attack the GPL, it means we're on the right track! Better still, their attacks give the open source movement the type of publicity none of us can buy. The roundtable seems more like an exercise in intellectual onanism then anything else.

Re:Wow - actual discussion (2)

Stormie (708) | more than 13 years ago | (#127916)

Granted, we'd have to teach Katz how to post to Slashdot first (as opposed to emailing copy to another editor and never browsing the thread)

That's not true, Katz has certainly been known to post replies to comments on his stories. However you may have missed these replies because many moderators (correctly) believe that it is extremely amusing to mod anything by Katz down as "Troll" or "Offtopic".

Re:Does MS hate the Scheme license too? (2)

diaphanous (1806) | more than 13 years ago | (#127918)

Just to clarify, I think he/she is thinking of the license [gnu.org] for Guile [gnu.org] , the GNU extension interpreter/library based on the Scheme [mit.edu] language. The FSF added an exception to the GPL in this case, hoping that it would promote the use and development of guile by allowing proprietary software developers to link guile into their apps without requiring the software to be put under a GPL-compatible license. Guile may one day replace Emacs Lisp as the standard extensibility language for GNU Emacs.

Re:I think I get it (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 13 years ago | (#127920)

"In their view, government and universities (funded by taxes and philanthropy) should do fundamental research, which should then be placed in the public domain where commercial interests are free to exploit it. "

Except that's not what's been going on in the last 20 years. I will leave private universities out of it, as they can do what they desire. But the trend has been for government agencies (can you say National Weather Service) and public universities to spend taxpayer dollars doing research and collecting information, then turn around and license the results of that research to private entities such that taxpayers have to pay the licensee to use the information.

Pretty neat trick: charge the taxpayer twice for the same stuff. This is the model that Microsoft wants to keep alive, and which the GPL threatens.

sPh

Re:what about games? (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 13 years ago | (#127924)

What about console games? Just speaking anecdotally for myself, I haven't found a genuinely fun PC game made within the last year.

what about games? (1)

arielb (5604) | more than 13 years ago | (#127926)

free software has advanced in some areas but I have yet to see a GPL game (or any open source licensed game) that rivals even commercial games from 5 years ago let alone today's games. So unless you're satisfied with pingus, you're going to have to reboot to Windows for games for a very long time.

Re:Will this help? (2)

arielb (5604) | more than 13 years ago | (#127927)

you're assuming that open sourcing is some magical process that instantly turns crap to gold. That's not true because there's a lot of open source crap out there and there's a lot of good stuff that is very proprietary.

Re:Shared != Selective, Read Only, NDA covered. (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#127928)

Do you think that there's a chance that perhaps you're looking at the article with completely pre-formed opinions and you want nothing more than to find reasons to attack Craig? Sorry but this whole discussion just seems ridiculous, and so far I've seen several messages like yours that attack that Mr. Mundie isn't directly addressing every single comment every single person might make, and that is absolutely absurd. Of course he focuses on things that he thinks are the crux of the issue, and if he skips point 7.2.7.12b perhaps it's because they're not writing a contract, but rather they're discussing philosophies and development contexts. Mr. Mundie is giving his belief and he is not INDEBTED to any of you to answer each and every point put forth

Do you have any idea how many MS development newsgroups/webboards/user groups there are? It's amazing how the Linux community with throw rocks at Microsoft for "FUD" when you're all just as guilty of it yourself.

Re:Shared != Selective, Read Only, NDA covered. (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#127929)

As for FUD, I'm just picking up on fact here. Why do you think Mundie didn't respond? You obviously haven't looked at the discussions since you mention the concept of "7.2.7.12b" - the responses I was talking about where the most prominant points raised after Mundie's opening comments - surely that deserves some discussion?

My point # was being facetious, however my comment was more in regards to a number of posts regarding Mr. Mundie's failure to respond to each and every point made by any OSS advocate either inside of or outside of the roundtable.

Re:Indefensible (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#127932)

As for the suggestion that the existence of free software is dangerous to business, this also is clearly refuted. Sleepy Cat and Reiser which are both referenced offer commercial liscenses. And other (BSD, MIT) liscenses can be used if the author just wants his or her software to be as widely used as possible. The other thing is why I like Perl for example, or any of the other tools in GNU/Linux. They work. I can get the job done, and get into a wide development community of leading edge technologists with minimum investment. I also don't have to pay MS money every time I need to do something, just remembering someone I know who had to pay $2000 for VB to get a little component that would let him download a web page. I know a bunch of ways to that with Perl/GNU/Linux. So I respect the desire of a company to make a profit but not if the only company allowed to be successful is Microsoft.

That component was most certainly a third-party company (not MS. I am unaware of any extra "components" that you can buy from MS for any of the MS tools, yet there exists a huge swath of healthy development companies making components and employing thousands of programmers) that is in the business of writing little components to help VB programmers, and obviously that little component saved your friend over $2000 worth of development, etc. because he paid for it. At the same time there are COUNTLESS freeware components for Visual Basic, Delphi, etc., however because they're free you get no guarantees, minimal support, and almost always a lesser grade product. Your example is pretty bad anyways though as the MSXML (free) kit allows you to grab webpages through SSL, with authentication, and in an asynchronous manner. Of course it's free from MS.

Re:hardly (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#127933)

With the headway made by GNU/FSF, I find it hard to believe that in ten years, the average computer user will still be the same old ignorant follower. I don't blame people for using what's easy, Windows IS easy. But with the curve of advancement of free software, I don't think the closed-source model will be effective at creating top-tier software.

BULLSHIT. You know you open source fanatics spout far more FUD than MS ever does. 3 years ago pundits from far and wide were proclaiming that MS was dead and open source was going to ride the wave to the top and take over the world. 2 years ago pundits were saying the same thing. 1 year ago the same thing. This year the same thing. Yet while Linux marketshare actually is dropping in several areas, Microsoft continues to sell more and more software each year. Remember Mr. Stallman and friends have been at this for a long, long time (this is not a new initiative): This whole crazy FSF/open source thing has been going on for at least two DECADES now. Of course most open source fanatics just don't realize that this isn't a great new ideology they've joined, but rather it's some old ideas by a lot of educational welfare recipients who have no grasp of the real world (as many of those living under the umbrella of academia are prone to believing. Most of the most hilariously unworkable and unreasonable ideologies come from ivory towers). At the same time open source fanatics like to geometrically map progression of software into the future to dream of the great world of amazing software, yet in reality most open source software starts with a bang and then either dies, or settles into an extremely slow update cycle. Linux is currently at that point.

In addition the comment about Windows being "easy" just makes me laugh: It's the classic UNIX elitism that tries to correlate inefficient with skillful. For most users Windows does exactly what they want in a very efficient manner, and as not everyone is a "computer professional" the computer is a tool not a hobby. For Tom the CEO he wants something that will let him send emails and pull up a spreadsheet. Perhaps you might say that with certain installs Linux offers this functionality and ease, yet that makes the whole elitism "Widnows IS easy" bullshit. Guess what: You're not special. It took me about 30 minutes to have an advanced install of Apache going with PHP & P5 webpages, yet it's amazing how often something as trivial as this as held as some great accomplishment of the supposed super IQ masses of Linux fanatics (I would love to see a study done at a Linux expo to clarify this. Of course if it points to the opposite of what you all want to hear it's "FUD").

Seeing as Microsoft is at an inherent disadvantage, I don't expect their software to rise to the level of OSS. It's just not feasible for them; They don't have the manpower.

Another hilarious piece of FUD based upon that bogus belief that there are millions of selfless programmers out there working like busy beavers making open source perfect. In reality most open source projects are ~4 primary developers (if not a single one that is responsible for the overwhelming majority of it: This is the case with most well known projects) and a couple of random people who look at the source for a day or two until they get bored and move onto something more exciting. Microsoft doesn't have an awful lot to fear except in the realm of trivial services like HTTP.

Re:Brett Glass is not pro-GPL! (2)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#127934)

Actually, Brett IS savage. Check out that crazy crazy hair! [siliconvalley.com]

Re:Play fair please (1)

Vip (11172) | more than 13 years ago | (#127938)

However, I also can't see what actual purpose Craig Mundie's recent speech and Microsoft's recently inflamatory (IMHO) license agreements serve. To me, they are both not just FUD, but blatant flamebait.

Perhaps that's what it is supposed to be? Giving the flamebait and then waiting for the rabid Open Source supporters to show up ranting and raving would be much better for MS than any ad campaign would buy.

If there's one thing to learn from the anything vs Windows wars was that "anything and everything you say will be used against you."

The above is just bait.

Vip

Underestimating stupidity (2)

samael (12612) | more than 13 years ago | (#127939)

With the headway made by GNU/FSF, I find it hard to believe that in ten years, the average computer user will still be the same old ignorant follower.
I think you undersetimate the stupidity of the majority of the population. The average slashdotter has an IQ over 120, the average person has an IQ of 100, and (obviously) half of them are dumber than that.
They have neither the interest in or the capability to understand computers on anything more than a very surface level.
_____

Re:One true way (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#127940)

Microsoft's business is making money selling bits of software. Freely available software is probably bad for this narrowly-defined business.

But most companies don't sell software, they sell hardware or services that use software. If those companies can make use of low cost freely available software in their products, it will increase their profits rather than decreasing them.

There will always be a place for proprietary software in areas where there isn't enough interest to develop a suitable free alternative. But I think we're about to see the end of a market where proprietary software is all that people will consider for their business needs.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:One true way (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#127941)

Just out of curiosity, why? Hasn't Emacs always been open source? Or were you paying to get a compiler license to build Emacs?

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:what about games? (1)

stx23 (14942) | more than 13 years ago | (#127942)

You might want to avoid Black and White, unless your idea of fun is equivalent to most people's ideas of crushing tedium. All the worst parts of Populous combined with a Tamagotchi. Whoo-fuckin-hoo. I hear Deus Ex is good though.

keep your eye on Mundie's audience (2)

sethg (15187) | more than 13 years ago | (#127943)

I think I understand Mundie's/Microsoft's argument re: GPL software. It basically comes down to their view of what they call the "ecosystem" of software. In their view, government and universities (funded by taxes and philanthropy) should do fundamental research, which should then be placed in the public domain where commercial interests are free to exploit it. In this view, the GPL (at least if used by these groups) is indeed a threat, for it prevents the commercialization (at least in the Microsoft way) or this research.
First, remember that Mundie is not speaking to geeks, and he's not speaking to political policy-makers, either. His audience is composed of people who are authorized to spend tens of thousands of dollars at a pop on Microsoft software ... or on a Red Hat support contract.

Mundie doesn't really care about government-sponsored GPL work. He doesn't want to say it directly, but he wants his audience to think that the GPLed software that threatens Microsoft's growth (i.e., Linux) was primarily developed with government funds, and therefore (a) there's something unfair about that software being under GPL; (b) if Linux is better than Windows at some things, that can be chalked up to the government's investment in it.

More importantly: He has to put some kind of wrapper around the "GPL is bad" idea so that his audience will pay attention long enough to swallow the FUD. After all, if he tried to argue that it's unfair for private intellectual property owners to place the software that they wrote under the GPL, people would just scratch their heads and say "huh?"
--

what about them? (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 13 years ago | (#127948)

What about Tux Racer? :)

Very true. And I can understand the frustration of Open Source game developers. Open Source has yet to see an abstraction layer as quick and easy as DirectX.
Yes, I don't really like DirectX at all, but it's true that it is a really quick and semi-portable method of designing some really kick-ass games.

Yes, that's what Linux needs.

Re:Will this help? (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 13 years ago | (#127949)

No, not instantly. It took many years for Open Source software to get where it is. But all it takes is enough developer interest to make something better. True, there's a ton of OSS crap out there. But there's even more Closed-Source crap out there.

Every methodolgy has it's good and bad cases. Some more than others.

Re:Will this help? (2)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 13 years ago | (#127951)

You have to think, what will come of Open-Sourcing windows? Good things. First and foremost, many current OSS developers might change over to windows. Second, with the influx of new work, it will become more featurefilled than it already is, and hopefully an order of magnitude more stable.

What else would happen? I think the casual user would find Linux less attractive. It's strongest points are reliability and multitasking. If Windows had it all, I doubt Linux would have made it this far on the Desktop front.

Microsoft doesn't just make money off of Windows. They make money off of their corporate customers. They sell Office, BackOffice, SQL server, IIS, and a plethora of other development and commercial software. Without the revenue generated by Windows, I think they would still be a veritable software company.

Windows on every computer merely provided them a VERY broad platform to deliver their other goods.

hardly (4)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 13 years ago | (#127952)

With the headway made by GNU/FSF, I find it hard to believe that in ten years, the average computer user will still be the same old ignorant follower. I don't blame people for using what's easy, Windows IS easy. But with the curve of advancement of free software, I don't think the closed-source model will be effective at creating top-tier software.

With the recent move [slashdot.org] by Red Hat [redhat.com] I'd guess that "Enterprise" solutions will include Red Hat Linux far more often in the future. As GUI's improve, the useability of Linux(or BSD) will reach the grasp of people who really know little or nothing about computers. At this point, Microsoft will be at a head: Either change their business model or improve their software.
Seeing as Microsoft is at an inherent disadvantage, I don't expect their software to rise to the level of OSS. It's just not feasible for them; They don't have the manpower.
You're right, they're not going away. But I'm hoping for some positive changes with their policy(lack thereof, really) on Open Source software.
digitalunity

Re:I must compliment Craig Mundie... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#127954)

> Ancient Chinese soldiers worn a big Chinese word 'BRAVE' on their chest. Their emperor hoped that they'd charge(to death) regardless of all the difficulities.

And when you turn your back to run the enemy can't see the tatoo anymore, so the world still makes ordinary sense.

A Zen general would have tattooed 'BRAVE' on his soldier's backs.

--

Re:Will this help? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#127955)

> Open Source fanatics will never come to terms with the corporate software environment and the corporat software people will never come to terms with giving away there "property" for free.

Any particular reason for the choice of "fanatics" for one group and "people" for the other? I.e., could we swap them around without changing the meaning of your post?

> There "bread and butter" is closed source software.

We need to make a distinction here between software producers and software consumers. Not all companies are software producers. Most are not. For them, the "bread and butter" lies in using the software, and sometimes in getting the darn stuff to work. For them, the "bread and butter" may ultimately lie in open source software.

--

Re:round? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#127956)

> Too bad only Mundie is there to defend the closed-source model

The thing is... the closed-source model doesn't need defending. Lots of people think open-source is "better" for one reason or another, but I'm not aware of anyone saying that "closed source is evil; no one should be allowed to keep closed-source software".

The issue is, why can't CM take a similar live-and-let-live attitude toward open-source software?

And we don't need a forum to answer that question.

--

Re:Laws don't keep up (3)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#127957)

> There are companies like Trolltech (http://www.trolltech.com/) for example who are developing a proprietary product, and have made the following statement: if our company ever goes belly up - the whole software will be released open source.

Think of it as an insurance policy. The kings of Roman "client kingdoms" used to will their kingdoms to Rome in the event of untimely death, in order to prevent usurpers from offing them. (The usurper would be disappointed in his aspirations when a couple of legions showed up on his doorstep to collect the imperial inheritance.)

Maybe Trolltech has something similar in mind? "Cut off my air supply and your problem gets even worse."

--

Re:I think I get it (2)

flimflam (21332) | more than 13 years ago | (#127958)

Well, I guess I should have put more of an emphasis on the "commercial interests [being] free to exploit it" part. At any rate, the attitude has basically been that the ultimate purpose of research is to enrich some company, and if it doesn't in some way serve a corporate interest it probably isn't worth much and isn't worth funding.

I think I get it (3)

flimflam (21332) | more than 13 years ago | (#127959)

I think I understand Mundie's/Microsoft's argument re: GPL software. It basically comes down to their view of what they call the "ecosystem" of software. In their view, government and universities (funded by taxes and philanthropy) should do fundamental research, which should then be placed in the public domain where commercial interests are free to exploit it. In this view, the GPL (at least if used by these groups) is indeed a threat, for it prevents the commercialization (at least in the Microsoft way) or this research. It is certainly consistent with a certain world-view, and makes a certain amount of sense, however I think it is really an outdated view. Traditionally this made sense because one of the roles of government has been to promote the economic prosperity of its country's industries. One way of doing this was to fund research that would give a competitive advantage to companies within its borders. Now, however, most large companies are transnational, with less loyalty to their home countries than they once had. From a public policy point of view, the question is does funding the research of these corporations still provide the maximum social benefit (for our country)? I would have to say that increasingly the answer is no. I would say that the benefit of having freely available (as in GPL) research now outweighs the benefit of whatever economic benefit a company such as Microsoft would receive from the ability to commercialize such software. This benefit is both in the increased intellectual freedom that free software provides, and in the economic benefit to thousands of businesses that can improve their bottom lines by using free software.

P.S. I hope this made sense, because I slept late and now I'm late for work and writing this way to fast when I should really be eating breakfast and getting dressed (though not at the same time).

Re:Stallman dropping out (2)

Phill Hugo (22705) | more than 13 years ago | (#127960)

While I can't speak on his behalf, my guess is it was one of the following...

a) Time constraints

b) Enough people present quite capable of a decent arguement against Mundie.

c) The chances of Mundie even trying to be open minded enough to entertain the arguments Stallman would present are too small to bother.

You'll notice Mundie didn't even respond to Bruce's almost perfect response to the opening message. Why is that Craig? I think Stallman probably predicted the level of over protective "media trained" drones checking over what Mundie writes and deciding which points are 'strategically viable' to answer.

From Microsoft's view, none of the interesting issues are viable. They'd lose every time and so won't bother. Look at the postings. See?

I can't say I blame RMS.

Re:Wow - actual discussion (2)

WNight (23683) | more than 13 years ago | (#127961)

How could he be off-topic? He only replies to threads about his articles. He's, by definition, on-topic. His posts aren't really trolls either, that's the article.

He's long-winded, and rambles a bit, but he does answer questions and responds to comments about his articles.

I tend not to read his articles, but I wish all the editors who posted articles would actually read the discussion afterwords.

Re:I think I get it (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 13 years ago | (#127964)

That's all fine and well, but it is not an accurate portrayl of Microsoft's position. They are not limiting their criticism of freeopengpl software to university or government developed software; they limit it to ALL software developed under a freeopengpl license, be it from RH, RMS, me, or universities and governments. Otherwise interesting.

The other problem with this viewpoint is that I don't see Microsoft arguing that Merck, et al. should give AIDS drugs (I cringe to use this example, but it is SO appropriate) away for free. Or argue against the private holding of the human genome mappings.

It would be nice (and perhaps even rational) to argue that government/university funded research should be public domain. It probably should. But Microsoft is only interested in this limitation as it pertains to software and algorithms, and would like to extend it to you, me, and IBM.

(Yes, I know the Bill and Melinda Foundation gave a bunch of money to give AIDS drugs to various African countries. But wouldn't that money have been better spent lobbying Congress to change laws such that government funded research is in the public domain? Or to throw a swanky yacht party for the heads of Merck, Pfizer, etc. and convince them to cut their margins to 0?)

Re:Play fair please (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 13 years ago | (#127965)

I don't have the linkage, but I think Cringely or someone like that mentioned that it was/is probably a feint or slight of hand to get people to avoid the real issues. I'm not sure that this ISN'T a real issue, but if it is lesser than some other issue that Microsoft is interested in, than their tactic to draw our attention elsewhere has worked marvelously.

Proprietary Characters (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#127967)

It's worse than just the font choice. I've been reading it, amused that all those who defend Microsoft are using Microsoft proprietary characters [rainmaker.iki.fi] . All of their comments have distracting garbled characters, reminding me about Microsoft's treatment of standards and lack of concern for user's data.

Not too much news (2)

harmonica (29841) | more than 13 years ago | (#127968)

Craig Mundie doesn't reply too often; also, he doesn't answer the things that I'd like to hear about, namely Bruce's statements on how MS uses their power to prevent free standards (Office file formats etc.) instread of supporting or creating them. So while the discussion gives MS a forum, it's relatively hard to get real news. Craig says MS doesn't have anything against open source. Well, great, then what's the big deal?

The problem with any discussion on the topic is, IMHO, that the really smart people at MS - and I don't doubt they have quite a few - know about their own dirty tactics and they know about free software being something that everybody can more or less directly profit from (at least, nobody gets hurt), with the possible exception of MS itself.

So while it's nice to tell an MS representative in his face (or as close as an email roundtable comes to that ;-)) what is to be thought about their view of the software world, nothing is gained from the experience.

Re:Play fair please (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 13 years ago | (#127970)

I'd say Microsofts strategy here is quite simply to try to scare companies into not using free software, in addition to now making it illegal (via Microsofts new licencing terms) for them do do so.

Note that Microsoft have at least been successful in getting a lot of press for their POV and starting discussions about educating people about the "problem" of free software!

Of course it's intersesting to note that the only free software licence NOT on Microsoft's banned list is BSD since their own TCP/IP stack is based on the free BSD licenced one.

Re:One true way (1)

mefus (34481) | more than 13 years ago | (#127972)

Hasn't Emacs always been open source?

Nope. It started off as a bunch of terminal macros, which (I think) were grabbed up by a private company and squirreled away as a pay-per-seat program. Wasn't that Gosling EMACS?

RMS was so ticked off he founded the GNU project and the FSF.

mefus
--
um, er... eh -- *click*

Re:One true way (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 13 years ago | (#127973)

But most companies don't sell software, they sell hardware or services that use software. If those companies can make use of low cost freely available software in their products, it will increase their profits rather than decreasing them.

There is another part to the "free" in free software. Users are free to alter it to suit their environment. Rather than having to bend the way they work to the way some company (which may be thousands of miles away and not even speak the same language) thinks things should work.

Brett Glass is not pro-GPL! (1)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#127976)

Also, I don't think it's fair it's just Craig Mundie against the rest of the world. If this is really a debate about the benefits of Open Source vs Corporate software, why is everything biased towards attacking Microsoft?

Bear in mind that they've got Brett Glass in on the discussion, who is possibly one of the most savage critics of the GPL in existence. (The criticism is savage, not Brett :-) He can often be found to praise Microsoft's license policies (if only in comparison to the GPL). So I don't think it's a one-sided, pro-GPL, anti-MS panel.

FUD busting??? (1)

dirtydog (51697) | more than 13 years ago | (#127978)

Meesa thinka not! There is no way this discussion can serve the purpose of FUD busting, no matter how worthwhile the discussion is for destroying Mudnie's "logic." Mickeysoft is not targeting their PR at people who will read the discussion, or even those who might read a tech rag article about the discussion. Mickeysoft PR is designed for those clueless folk who hold them in high esteem - mainly top execs who look to Gates as an example, and the desktop users who don't know any better than to believe everything that M$ spews out. If M$ thought that this roundtable would hamper their FUD campaign - MUNDIE WOULD NOT BE INVOLVED IN IT!

Appearances and such (1)

manaway (53637) | more than 13 years ago | (#127980)

And just who or what is behind the choice of fonts for this roundtable, hmmmm? A quick view of the HTML gives:

font face="trebuchet ms, arial, helvetica" size=2

Surely an oversight, or perhaps just foreshadowing; or it could be my over-active imagination.

Will this help? (4)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 13 years ago | (#127981)

I am not sure if this will actualy help anything. Open Source fanatics will never come to terms with the corporate software environment and the corporat software people will never come to terms with giving away there "property" for free. I know companies like Sun and IBM have come around but I dont see companies like Microsoft turning around because they dont sell PC's or Servers or Workstations. There "bread and butter" is closed source software. Some companies that can afford to open up some software to gain a new market for there hardware will come around and see the light of open source software but I dont see companies like Microsoft ever coming around. It is very good to discuss the differences but I dont think much will come out of it.

make way for XBox, and then some (2)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#127982)

Some companies that can afford to open up some software to gain a new market for there hardware will come around and see the light of open source software

Amazing how MS is trying to make room for XBox isn't it. Moving towards a hardware development arena wouldn't be so hard for MS, but they'd stand to dish out a heck of a lot of money to do so, so it might be easier to buy someone... Say SGI?

What would the computing world think if MS did go out and do something similar, surely they could capture the attention of everyone, and SGI (although not at its height anymore) has some kick ass servers, Origin, Onyx.

I don't think MS is against open sourced software because they're afraid of losing revenue to the software/hardware companies like IBM, and Sun, personally I think they're afraid someone will gain insight to where they're going with their OS and create something more stabler, robust, faster, and cheaper.

Forgive me father for I have made profits (3)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#127983)


If Microsoft's main intention seemed to be to create good software, I think that most people would be less opposed to closed source. But Microsoft's intentions seem to me to be extremely hostile
  • (ii) Recipient shall not distribute the Device Adapter Code, or any portion thereof, on a stand-alone basis or otherwise permit further distribution of the Device Adapter Code and/or derivatives thereof by third parties.

If this is Microsoft's desire (and it has the right to require this; it owns the code!), it is clear already -- without going farther -- that the code cannot legally be incorporated into software for which source is made available to everyone, since it would violate these requirements. There are sensible reasons for such requirements. If Microsoft intends to support developers who use the code, releasing it to anyone could potentially increase its developer support costs without bound. (And developer support can't be done with minimum-wage employees; those who support developers usually have to be skilled programmers themselves.)

[source [siliconvalley.com] ]

We're hearing the same arguments over and over about how evil MS is for being anti GPL. To each their own, but in MS' case, their bread and butter comes via the way of the developers, whom they pay top dollar to develop.

In opposition to this you have the GPL horde (and I don't mean it in a negative sense) that are mainly doing this on their own free time, with little to no support being offered. They are not as concerned with showing revenues gained to those who invested money in their stocks to make products to get the jobs done.

Sure MS may have issues via way of security, and bugs, but don't kid yourself cause many open source programs have those same bugs hence all those advisories on Bugtraq.

Why is everyone against someone else making money with their business model? No one tells the GPL developers what to do with their code, in fact some make money off of writing Unix based apps, albeit miniscule in comparison with MS. IBM, Sun, HPUX, all have variants which is pay for play *Nix, and Sun is similar to MS, so what's all the rage about.

Heheh. (1)

Nevrar (65761) | more than 13 years ago | (#127984)

Our source, Mundie explained, "is a balanced approach that allowed the us to use the code for the original BASIC that was in the public domain, while maintaining the intellectual property needed to support a strong software business."

nb. see Accidental Empires, Robert X. Cringely for more info

Indefensible (2)

mattr (78516) | more than 13 years ago | (#127988)

I almost felt bad for Mundie when it seemed he was getting pushed into doublespeak to defend Microsoft's right to run a business.

But of course that quickly evaporated as he completely ignored most accusations of rapacious business practices. This is obviously more of the same, too bad he (Microsoft) cannot screw up the courage to just tell the truth, that they can make up any liscense they want and print it as long as they can get away with it.

But it was really a neat trick, to say the GPL sets up a wall when Microsoft, through this liscense as well as through its entire business history, has done exactly that. They have intentionally made a liscense which is incompatible with the GPL and immobilizes users of both. But it really takes guts to be so blatant as to attempt the "cleansing" of free software from the development environment including tools which are just there to get the job done. If they want a holy war they can get one (spoken as a Perl Monk [perlmonks.org] :).

Supposedly someone who purchased software with this liscense would be agreeing with their MS operating system and MS applications spying on them for the presence of gcc or Mozilla on network drives.

As for the suggestion that the existence of free software is dangerous to business, this also is clearly refuted. Sleepy Cat and Reiser which are both referenced offer commercial liscenses. And other (BSD, MIT) liscenses can be used if the author just wants his or her software to be as widely used as possible. The other thing is why I like Perl for example, or any of the other tools in GNU/Linux. They work. I can get the job done, and get into a wide development community of leading edge technologists with minimum investment. I also don't have to pay MS money every time I need to do something, just remembering someone I know who had to pay $2000 for VB to get a little component that would let him download a web page. I know a bunch of ways to that with Perl/GNU/Linux. So I respect the desire of a company to make a profit but not if the only company allowed to be successful is Microsoft.

If Microsoft spins the liscense they are analyzing into more of its software I and lots of other people will transform into vengeful consultants who will do everything possible to remove Microsoft's products (now viral due to their new liscense) from our places of work and those of our clients. I was about to spend time getting an open source system of mine to work well on an NT box. Well, can I even do so? If someone installs this Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit on their system, it sounds like they no longer can install a Windows port of Mysql, Perl, or any other piece of open source software including my own. I can only imagine this will be ignored by users but will remain as a gotcha which MS could use at whim. Microsoft doesn't just sound like the monopoly run by the richest man in the world, it's beginning to sound like an enemy. They'd better backpedal fast.. There are still more of us than them.

Neither closed or open source is going away (2)

flatrock (79357) | more than 13 years ago | (#127990)

Both open source and comercial software have been around a long time. Neither has extinguished the other, because each has it's advantages. Many of the features of today's software have their roots in BSD licensed software. The GCC compiler has been ported to a tremendous number of hardware platforms and OSs. It has been a vital tool in a tremendous number of innovative projects. But all those years of open source development weren't very successful at making an OS for the masses. Of the OSs that I've used over the years, the easiest for me to learn at (at least at the time they were released) were Windows, Amiga (I don't know the name of the OS), and Apple's OS. There is a large number of people who are happy being barely computer literate. They aren't programmers, and have no interest in becomming programmers. They use a computer to accomplish a task, or simply for their own amusement. They may use open source software, but they'll never write any themselves. They may pay for a open source distribution software, but only until they learn how to get it for free. A good example of where the comercial software model works is in computer games. Today's computer games take a tremendous amount of development effort to produce. In order to get state of the art games released before new technology (new graphics cards, faster processors) makes them outdated you need a group of developers working full time, they can't be coding in their spare time around their jobs which pay the bills. You can't throw a ton of open source developers all working on it a little bit, because it's not an efficient way of getting a project done in a hurry.
The game deveolpers deserve to make a living, and relying on donations from gamers isn't going to pay the bills. Not every game is extremely successful, if you want to attract good game deveolpers a game company has to have the resources to pay developers and assume the risks. This requires a lot of the overhead of managers, accountants, and such that Bruce Perns calls waste in one of his posts. Sure there are some companies that always release profitable games. Blizzard comes to mind as an example. But even they have cancelled projects that didn't seem to be working. They still had to pay their developers. Open source doesn't address this market.

I've heard people say that the internet has changed everything, and is making closed source obsolete. It has definatly energized the open source movement, and allowed open source projects to become viable alternatives where close source products were the only real choice. The internet comming of the internet has also poured billions of dollars in to comercial software companies, and has stimulated closed source products to improve. The internet may have shifted the balance between closed and open source, but neither is going away.

To summerise this rambling post. Both open source and closed source have their respective places in the world, neither is going anywhere.

It doesn't need to help (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#127991)

Open Source fanatics will never come to terms with the corporate software environment and the corporate software people will never come to terms with giving away there "property" for free.

Microsoft or any other company can call me and I'll be quite happy to license them my GPLed code for a sufficiently exhorbitant amount of money. Of course, I cleverly maintain user submitted changes as a set of patches in the directory tree. If Microsoft wants those changes, they'll have to contact those users. If someone doesn't want to play, Microsoft will have to implement those fixes themselves or do without them. I'm sure it'd cost them a lot less to do that than to hire a comparable programming team.

Sun and IBM seem to be corporations to me and they don't seem to be having any problem giving away at least some of their "property" for free.

It seems that Microsoft is losing its stranglehold in some areas. People are much more likely now to request that documents be sent in open formats. On the other hand, they're making a play to get a stranglehold in various media type formats. One thing is sure: They're irrelevant to me. I have only Linux on my system at home and though NT is installed on my work machine, I've only booted to it once in the past month, to view some HTML that was written for a system where the filesystem wasn't case sensitive. 99.9 percent of the time I'm in Linux.

Re:Appearances and such (1)

Hwatzu (89518) | more than 13 years ago | (#127992)

According to dict:

Trebuchet \Treb"u*chet\ [...]

A kind of chair formerly used for punishing scolds, and also

dishonest tradesmen, by fastening them in it, usually in

front of their doors, to be pelted and hooted at by the mob,

but sometimes to be taken to the water and ducked.

"Dishonest tradesmen," huh? I don't think I need to make the joke here; it's obvious enough... :)

Stallman dropping out (3)

kdgarris (91435) | more than 13 years ago | (#127993)

Anyone know why Stallman quit the discussion before it got started?

-Karl

Microsoft on private property (2)

browser_war_pow (100778) | more than 13 years ago | (#127996)

One of Microsoft's major complaints about government-funded software being released under the GPL is that it would not be availible to businesses to make a profit off of. Now I'm certainly not an objectivist, but I am a capitalist (more so than the average joe) so here's a little bit of summarized Rand for Gates and Co.

There is no such thing as "public property." That which we call public property is the private property of the government. Being the private property of the government, the government gets to decide how it will be used or given away. That means that the government gets to decide what license its source code is released under because it is the property of the government.

Now for my two cents. Microsoft needs to do two things if it wants to continue its position of dominance, and it will do neither of these. These things are: reduce prices on all of its products to make them more competitive with open source offerings and give basic rights to software owners. That means none of the usual: if you don't do what we say, you cannot use it! routine. Microsoft needs to say that essentially if it doesn't violate copyright law, it is kosher with them.

Does MS hate the Scheme license too? (5)

steveha (103154) | more than 13 years ago | (#127999)

Craig Mundie says MS just wants to be very clear that its code may never be given away. Brett Glass says MS is being reasonable, and he prefers the BSD license to the GPL.

What about the Scheme license? That is GPL, with the exception that you can link Scheme in (and include the header files) without any need for your other stuff to be under a free license. In other words, if you make a change to Scheme, you have to release it under the GPL, but you can freely use Scheme even in proprietary stuff.

This would seem to fix Microsoft's worries. But it also makes it impossible to release a slightly incompatible Scheme (if MS really does "embrace and extend" they might be expected to try this). So I'd be interested to know whether MS considers the Scheme license to be a Pac-Man cancer or whatever. I'd even be interested to know what Brett Glass thinks of it.

steveha

Re:One true way (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 13 years ago | (#128000)

Microsoft will claim that free software is bad for business, we'll point out that it's actually not bad for anything but their profits, and the cycle will continue.
If your business IS making profit then it is bad for your business
=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\ =\

Re:Want to be a dog on a leash? Sausage software? (2)

bockman (104837) | more than 13 years ago | (#128002)

People say bad things about Microsoft on Slashdot, but the full truth is much worse. Microsoft is so abusive that I have never known or heard about anyone who understood the complete scope of Microsoft abusiveness.

I'm not sure M$oft is more evil than other big business, say IBM or SUN. It's only more powerful.
Therefore, what in the others is 'standard business practice', becomes 'intolerable abusiveness' when it's M$oft to do it ( but maybe this is just fair ).

Wow - actual discussion (1)

Dr_Cheeks (110261) | more than 13 years ago | (#128003)

Ooooh. Mundie is actually contributing to this as well as various other luminaries. Maybe we'll actually get some real discussion instead of press-conference bitching and back-biting. Play nice now kids : )

Could this set a trend? Perhaps Bill G could become a regular contributor to Slashdot (that is, if he isn't already one of the CmdrTaco-luvs-dildos-trolls). In fact, I'd really love to see a Bill Vs Katz topic - how's about it? Granted, we'd have to teach Katz how to post to Slashdot first (as opposed to emailing copy to another editor and never browsing the thread), and persuade Bill that the trolls won't bite (much), but I think it would very entertaining.

Re:Wow - actual discussion (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#128007)

"believe that it is extremely amusing to mod anything by Katz down as "Troll" or "Offtopic". "

I believe you may have typed `amusing` where you meant to say `accurate`.

Interesting change..... (1)

ssimpson (133662) | more than 13 years ago | (#128010)

It's always been Linux / GNU / OSS advocates frothing at the mouth complaining about Microsoft licensing etc.

Now it's MS exec's frothing at the mouth about the GPL.

Re:Will this help? (2)

ssimpson (133662) | more than 13 years ago | (#128011)

"...I know companies like Sun and IBM have come around..."

They have? IBM say the right things (e.g. we're spending a billion on Linux, stenciling little Tux's everywhere etc), but are they really embracing the "open" mentality?

Have a look at the latest Kernel Traffic, item number 7 IBM Lumbering near open source [zork.net] .

Does that sound like a company that has come around to you?

Re:Want to be a dog on a leash? Sausage software? (4)

clary (141424) | more than 13 years ago | (#128013)

If you follow the effect of their actions carefully, the company's main purpose seems to be to abuse its users. A case might be logically made that, for Microsoft, making a profit is secondary.
I can bash Microsoft with the best of them, but this just doesn't make sense. For a purpose that is secondary, Microsoft has done an unbelievably good job of making a profit.

No, in a publically held corporation, profit is the main purpose. Microsoft's profit-making methods might be offensive or maybe even illegal, but their purpose is indeed to make money for their shareholders (including first and foremost, BillG).

Limped discussion (4)

Woefdram (143784) | more than 13 years ago | (#128015)

I like the idea of an open discussion, but I don't think this will be an interesting one. The idea of this is MS-bashing. Which is fun, BTW, but with only one man defending a policy against a whole bunch of others is a little short-sighted. Too bad RMS quit, BTW.

Wouldn't it be much more interesting if some guys from Unisys joined, to defend their way of handling the GIF format? Or someone from AOL, I think it would be nice to see MS and AOL defend one point of view together. Maybe a discussion about standards in instant-messaging systems *grin*.

Re:Wow - actual discussion (1)

beable (170564) | more than 13 years ago | (#128017)

Hey, Slashdot had that interview with the magic magnet dude, Alex Chiu [alexchiu.com] . And didn't it say in that story, "Tell us who you want an interview with"? Well I want to see a Slashdot interview with Bill Gates [billgates.com] . Who's with me???!!?!

Re:I must compliment Craig Mundie... (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 13 years ago | (#128018)

for his bravery. He's badly outnumbered, but he's still gladly participating. I know many people would think Craig is *cough* retarded, but he's surely brave.

Don't forget. He got First Post.

Re:The un-GPL? (2)

nagora (177841) | more than 13 years ago | (#128019)

That's fine and plenty of people do it.

The GPL does not force people that use your source to publish their changes, only those who distribute their changed versions of your code in binary form.

The motivation behind the GPL is "I'll help you by giving you my work for free but only if you promise to help others". One way of looking at it is "I'm not doing this work for your profits", which is the attitude many have to MS using their code.

Where the clash really is is when someone like MS not only uses free code (such as the BSD stuff they use) but they also turn around and shit on coders by stealing their work outright (eg doublestack) and start calling other people's code "viral" as they've started to with any code they can't use to increase their profits, and finally to take away the user's rights to own their own software and data (.NET).

It's about that point that many people start asking "why should I let these people use my code? They're just bastards!" and stop releasing totally free code.

In a perfect world there would be no need for the GPL or any other licences and Bill Gates has spent most of his life trying to stop that perfect world ever coming to pass. Funny how it's always the people with extra privileges (Gates got his start from a trust fund of over a million 1955 dollars from pa and granpa) who most want to take privileges of others, isn't it?

TWW

I'm a little confused (1)

automatic_jack (181074) | more than 13 years ago | (#128021)

Lately I've been reading a lot of these sorts of news pieces which discuss the Open Source movement, and one thing I don't understand is their typical explanation of what the GPL is.

"...a cornerstone of the Free Software model that requires companies that incorporate GPL software in their own programs to, in turn, make those programs freely available to others..."

I find the term "freely available to others" rather misleading. As far as I know, there's nothing in the GPL that says anything about not charging money for open source software. I guess this is just the free as in beer vs. free as in speech debate, but I do think that for people unfamiliar with open source, "freely available" carries monetary connotations.

Any thoughts?

Re:Underestimating stupidity (3)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#128023)

An average (mean) does not imply anything about half the people (whether IQ is actually distributed in a bell curve where the median and the average are close together is probably more of a function of test design and scoring technique than actual intelligence). Now if the WAIS IQ had been designed so that 100 indicated the median IQ, your statement would be correct.

And yes, computers are extremely complex and most people do not understand them even a little. Frankly I don't see that this is any different between Windows and Linux, both are pretty hard to use when you can't find the "any" key or you plug the power strip into itself. One thing our culture lacks, however, is a large, mature base of people who have been using something like our current systems since they were quite young. When that happens (and unless there are major strides in computer technology in the next ten years it will happen in about ten years) you will see that our cultural literacy regarding computers will go way up. Or at least, it's my opinion that it will.

One true way (3)

OverCode@work (196386) | more than 13 years ago | (#128024)

There's one true way to figure out who's right.

Wait for about 10 years. Compare the state of free software to the state of "shared source" or whatever they call it this week.

I'm willing to bet that gcc will still be in wide use, Emacs will still be a choice editor (along with vim, of course), Perl 7.0 or later will have an absurd marketshare, and Apache will still be serving up data (not sure about http, but the Apache team is a forward thinking bunch, and I'm sure they'll adapt).

I'm also willing to bet that Microsoft will still be alive and strong, copyright law will be even further adulterated, and the USPTO will still be granting dumb patents.

I also suspect that in 10 years we'll still be arguing over free software. Microsoft will claim that free software is bad for business, we'll point out that it's actually not bad for anything but their profits, and the cycle will continue.

-John

Re:what about games? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 13 years ago | (#128025)

I recommend Black & White or Baldur's Gate 2

Jaysyn

Re:what about them? (1)

EllF (205050) | more than 13 years ago | (#128027)

have you considered SDL [libsdl.org] ? I've used it for some development, and I've found that it is both powerful and flexible enough to support development on both Win32 and Linux environments.

It's equally interesting to note that it supports OpenGL - I happened across the old NeHe tutorials that I learned on at the OpenGL webpage [opengl.org] , re-written to include information on SDL. Good stuff.

The technology is there; the trick is to convince developers that learning the new API is worth it, and that by doing so they will make their code more portable - and that this is a good thing.

Re:One true way (1)

akc (207721) | more than 13 years ago | (#128028)

Wait for about 10 years. Compare the state of free software to the state of "shared source" or whatever they call it this week.

A lot can happen in "about" 10 years. It was a bit longer than that, but in 1985 IBM (who now embrace Linux) not Microsoft was the dominant party and I had to pay to buy an Emacs licence to run on my Unix operating system (having just switched over to System V from my Microsoft Xenix operating system).

Turn and turn about

Re:Play fair please (1)

GroovBird (209391) | more than 13 years ago | (#128030)

Didya forget to log in, or are you just 'fraid of the microsoft bashers?

Play fair please (2)

GroovBird (209391) | more than 13 years ago | (#128031)

I don't think this is a fair discussion. Craig has to defend his company's position, and that's to make money, while all the other panel members have something to benefit from the growth of Linux and other free OSes.

Also, I don't think it's fair it's just Craig Mundie against the rest of the world. If this is really a debate about the benefits of Open Source vs Corporate software, why is everything biased towards attacking Microsoft? There's more than operating systems, you know.

I don't see anyone objecting to Oracle for not opening the source to their RDBMS and tools. And I don't see anyone attacking their license policies either.

Call me a troll, but I call this lots of blah blah about nothing but a peculiar detail in the GPL that is being dragged out so much that the world is thinking Microsoft is in trouble again.

Re:Underestimating stupidity (1)

mami (209922) | more than 13 years ago | (#128032)

Yup.

How insightful to have above comment rated as insightful. How high must your IQ be to rate something so outright flat dumb so downright high ?

Re:Play fair please (1)

AndyMouse GoHard (210170) | more than 13 years ago | (#128033)

Yes, but Craig agreed to be in on this. Whether it's fair or not kind of becomes moot at that point.

Re:Forgive me father for I have made profits (2)

King of the World (212739) | more than 13 years ago | (#128034)

Oh please, no one is asking MS to change their ways. They are discussing the issue however and Mundie's recent article about open source has many plot holes (as to be expected from a short article - it needs explaining).

Mundie is doing a poor job at explaining Microsoft's stance (and I hate to say it but Bruce Perens is doing rather well) and so he should. There doesn't seem to be any way of backing up his odd opinions.

Re:Does MS hate the Scheme license too? (1)

myster0n (216276) | more than 13 years ago | (#128035)

If the GPL is Pac-Man, Microsoft is Dragon's Lair [slashdot.org] : Looks good but no gameplay. Every mistake makes you start all over, costing you a lot of money.

Investors know this (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 13 years ago | (#128036)

It surprises me to see that courts seems to be believe that company is not bound anymore by its privavcy and other policies once it goes broke.

Laws don't keep up (2)

Kultamarja (226210) | more than 13 years ago | (#128037)

The trouble with open source software is that laws don't keep up to the pace. This all results in awful mess where we have companies making money, and enjoying some IP etc protection, and then an open system without much rules offering them "unfair" competition etc. Microsoft lawyers must be quite terrified of what open source could do to their business.

You have to remember that business is based on demand. Misery and suffering creates a need to get out of it - thus selling food for the hungry or medicine for the sick is a business. Microsoft is in the business of making a piece of stupid hardware to actually do something useful. And now they see someone offering better solutions and better relief to that same problem for free. How are they going to keep up? how should the legistlation react to this?.. there is no easy answer.

Open source also generates a new set of legal problems. There are companies like Trolltech (http://www.trolltech.com/) for example who are developing a proprietary product, and have made the following statement: if our company ever goes belly up - the whole software will be released open source..

What many don't immediately think of is this: doing this actually violates the rights of creditors. How would you feel if you own a share in some software company, the company goes bust, and the only thing worth money is released in open source - thus effectively destroying all the changes of you ever seeing your money again...

Open source software is such a huge headache for lawyers and law makers. I am laughing out loud, it will be very interesting to see where we end up after 10 years or so.. I'm guessing that at somet point somebody has to draw a line and make major descisions.. which will undoubtly change the software business alltogether.

.km

Want to be a dog on a leash? Sausage software? (5)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 13 years ago | (#128041)


There are two issues here. First, a lot of people in the world community want to stop a major abuser. Who wants to be a dog on a leash, and change direction every time Microsoft yanks his chain?

Second, many people feel that open source software is just better. Who wants to use sausage software? If you knew what was in it, you probably wouldn't want it.

For me, the most important issue is not between open and proprietary software, it is between living peacefully in the world and abusiveness.

People say bad things about Microsoft on Slashdot, but the full truth is much worse. Microsoft is so abusive that I have never known or heard about anyone who understood the complete scope of Microsoft abusiveness.

Everyone who is knowledgeable about this seems to have a different set of Microsoft abuses to mention. Bruce Perens says in the SV.com Roundtable [siliconvalley.com] , "... you [Microsoft] have used your dominant position in the marketplace to force out competition through the ... use of incompatibility. For example, you changed the file and printer sharing protocol, and then you patented the changes so that anyone who makes a system that is compatible with yours becomes a patent infringer."

If Microsoft's main intention seemed to be to create good software, I think that most people would be less opposed to closed source. But Microsoft's intentions seem to me to be extremely hostile. If you follow the effect of their actions carefully, the company's main purpose seems to be to abuse its users. A case might be logically made that, for Microsoft, making a profit is secondary.

Re:Play fair please (2)

Twylite (234238) | more than 13 years ago | (#128042)

I think the concept of unfairness stems from a distinction between "receiving money" and "receiving benefits". Millions of people stand to benefit from the growth of OpenSource and the availability of free software. Millions of people stand to benefit from Microsoft making more profits, not the least of whom are shareholders and end-users who should be getting new technologies in return for their cash.

In amongst the flames, legalese and politicking, there is a very basic concept underlying both arguments: payment. MS demands payment in cash, GPL demands payment in kind. MS demands payment for all forms of use, GPL demands payment only when the software is modified.

MS is in the business of selling software to end users as well as developers, so the GPL has a direct financial effect on their business. Hence their attack on the GPL, hence a response targetted at MS in particular.

While advocates of free software (and I mean free speech as well as free beer, as advocated by the FSF) may like to see no-one making money from commercial software, most people appreciate the fact that the software industry is economically important, and can produce many things that free software won't (not necessarily can't).

Oracle have never attempted to redden the GPL (think communism if you're missing the implication), or ban the use of OpenSource tools in conjunction with their software. And after a certain now-infamous backdoor was discovered in another leading product after its source was opened, there were several calls to all te major RDBMS vendors to provide access to their source code.

Craig Mundie has, before the world's media, expressed Microsoft's official view on free software. Now he is being asked to substantiate that view with hard facts, instead of making frivilous claims. I hardly think that's unfair.

Coders of the round table (5)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 13 years ago | (#128044)

We're coders of the round table
We dance when e'er we're able
We do subroutines
And demo scenes
With perl code impecc-Able.
We dine well here in Camelot
We eat pizza's and coffee and read spam a lot

Re:I must compliment Craig Mundie... (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#128046)

A Zen general would have tattooed 'BRAVE' on his soldier's backs.

Oh I didn't mean the tattoo. The 'BRAVE' was put on their clothes, during Qing Era of China.

I think they've something else on their back, but I don't recall.
&nbsp_
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Re:Limped discussion (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#128047)

only one man defending a policy against a whole bunch of others is a little short-sighted.

Craig is not the only one on MS' side, look at Brett Glass' [siliconvalley.com] posts [siliconvalley.com] .(i'm surprise, though)

But I don't see why you said the others are short-sighted...can you explain?

Too bad RMS quit, BTW

He's busy dating! [slashdot.org] :D
&nbsp_
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

I must compliment Craig Mundie... (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#128048)

for his bravery. He's badly outnumbered, but he's still gladly participating. I know many people would think Craig is *cough* retarded, but he's surely brave.

Ancient Chinese soldiers worn a big Chinese word 'BRAVE' on their chest. Their emperor hoped that they'd charge(to death) regardless of all the difficulities.

Now I can see someone has put a big 'BRAVE' on his chest....poor Craig...

P.S. The era I spoke of is the last tyranny of China.
&nbsp_
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Re:Will this help? (3)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#128049)

We don't expect panelists to change their believes in the discussion. Rather we learn from them. e.g.(extracted from the discussion):

JVDeLong :...I don't think Bruce is quite on target. The MS license says only that a developer cannot incorporate code from these tools into a program. This strikes me as a necessary provision. The tools can still be used, though.

Bruce_Perens : I think you did not read that license carefully enough. Please take another look at this line in the MS license:

(ii) not using Potentially Viral Software (e.g. tools) to develop Recipient software which includes the Software, in whole or in part.

....this reads pretty clearly as a restriction on the use of tools. Not on the creation of derived works containing those tools as you assert. Perhaps you missed that line in the license?


David_McGowan :... I read this language as Bruce does. "The Software" is a defined term that refers to MS's software. DM

That's very interesting, I had doubt after reading /. comments [slashdot.org] on the same issue now I learn a bit more on legalese..okay it doesn't make me a lawyer but at least I learn not to confuse Potentially Viral Software with Software. :)


&nbsp_
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Typical M$ news Strategy (4)

budgenator (254554) | more than 13 years ago | (#128050)

  1. Make outrageous provocative Statement, EULA ect., but do it quietly like your realy trying to sneek something by or to a limited audience
  2. Wait for vigorous public outcry to build
  3. Explain in soothing terms, Legal got carried away, what we meant is...(insert less provocative statement)
  4. reinterate 2, 3, until it'll squeek by
  5. reinterate all above
  6. In short set a goal, take 4 steps forawrd, then 3 steps back; eventualy you'll get there and desensitize people along the way. Forcast: the tools clause will be dropped in the final release, but will be standard in all beta licienses for a while. Eventualy they'll say "nobody is useing the open-tools and ban them in future productions licienses.

Re:Play fair please (4)

doug363 (256267) | more than 13 years ago | (#128051)

I don't think this is a fair discussion. Craig has to defend his company's position, and that's to make money, while all the other panel members have something to benefit from the growth of Linux and other free OSes.

I personally can't see why on earth Craig Mundie would agree to join this panel, unless he has some personal reason to. However, I also can't see what actual purpose Craig Mundie's recent speech and Microsoft's recently inflamatory (IMHO) license agreements serve. To me, they are both not just FUD, but blatant flamebait. The only people who (as far as I am aware) know of either know about alternatives to Microsoft software anyway.

The reason why no one objects to Oracle is because they're not attacking open source/free software for no real reason. Their software works with a lot of other software, both open source and not. "Other" software companies seem to have more a live an let live opinion of open source. (Something to the effect of: we're selling/licensing our software in the way that we think gives the best profit, and if other people want to do it differently, then that's their choice.)

Big Lies still smell like Sh*t (1)

bryanbrunton (262081) | more than 13 years ago | (#128052)


Is the Microsoft Shared Source campaign really accomplishing nothing at this point or what?

It took all of the blind arrogance that Microsoft could muster to send the poor sap Mundie into this Forum. I almost have pity for the shill for the pummeling that he is enduring. Will Mundie's managers now throw in the towel at this point?

Microsoft should wise up and realize that their man Mundie is now stinking up more than a small conference room in NYC.

Re:Underestimating stupidity (1)

KenRH (265139) | more than 13 years ago | (#128053)

the average person has an IQ of 100, and (obviously) half of them are dumber than that.

Not nessesarily, if for example 75% have an IQ off 117 and 25% an IQ of 50 the average woud still be 100, but 75% woud be smarter than the average. But I guess the silent assumption about a nice distribution of the values probably holds :-)

Heh. Hot Dog flashbacks (2)

freeweed (309734) | more than 13 years ago | (#128057)

For those that don't remember, Sausage software made one of the earlier WYSIWYG html editors (maybe they still do, I'm all about Notepad these days). It was pretty nice at the time, especially for those of us just learning html. However, their trial version, like so much shareware at the time, disabled itself after 30 days. What brings this into context, is that Hot Dog is the first product that I remember not being able to defeat the time-limit on the demo. Uninstalling didn't work, changing the date didn't work, hacking the hell out of the registry didn't work (admittedly, in early 1996 I wasn't *quite* the expert at this :).

Funny to think of Hot Dog, which was to me the first piece of software to blatantly install pretty much un-removable code from my system, in the midst of a round of MS-bashing :)

Re:I think I get it (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#128058)

In this view, the GPL (at least if used by these groups) is indeed a threat, for it prevents the commercialization (at least in the Microsoft way) or this research.

Except that Microsoft has commercialized the GPL. As I (and many others) have pointed out before, Microsoft is more than happy to sell you Interix for $99.95 that includes GPL'ed code and the GPL licence.

The truth is that they only hate the GPL when they can't make money on it.

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:Wow - actual discussion (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#128059)

Unfortunately, I see that Mundie hasn't been a very heavy contributor yet. Let's see: he's started a thread by apologizing for the fact that GPL advocates focused on the anti-GPL message. And he's taken discussion about the Mobile Internet Toolkit license and used it to continue referring to the GPL as a viral license.

He hasn't responded to any of the perfectly valid points and rebuttals contributed by other members of the "panel." Why not? Because he doesn't have a valid argument. He has no real data to back up what he says. Instead, he'll use every opportunity he gets to translate the discussion into marketing opportunities for M$.

GreyPoopon
--

Re:Appearances and such (1)

Professor J Frink (412307) | more than 13 years ago | (#128060)

Never mind the fonts. Just the front page alone generates reams of validation errors.

I find it hard to take seriously people who espouse open computing and standards when they can't even take the effort to do so themselves.

Re:Brett Glass is not pro-/. either :) (1)

KilljoyAZ (412438) | more than 13 years ago | (#128061)

From the discussion:
Monroe: All good points. It is clear that the Microsoft license is not well-written and has a lot of loose ends and ambiguities. And it may preclude things that Microsoft didn't intend to preclude. But I'm inclined to agree with Dave Winer: By focusing on this one license, we are losing sight of the licensing forest and focusing only upon one tree. Let's not succumb to the hype (as seen on Slashdot) which says, "This is Microsoft's new EULA! Panic, everyone!" It's just one poorly written license for a beta release of a product.

Re:Will this help? (1)

The Original Atrox (449206) | more than 13 years ago | (#128062)

AHH, BUT, embeded HARDWARE is what is in the future for the computer industry. From your throne, to the refrigerator, they will all have embeded systems. And they will need software to run. Software that is open source. With the hardware being the "bread and butter" as you put it... The result will be that the end user who is making his house a smart house can choose from a large selection of software. All with different capabilities to suit his needs. Not to mention what us geeks houses will look like. I invision ST like LCARS interface for you rifrig, shower, alarm clock, heck even light switches... Well thats my 2cents, I expect change...

The Original Atrox
-"We are the music makers, We are the dreamers of dreams" -Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Re:Will this help? (2)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#128063)

Open Source fanatics will never come to terms with the corporate software environment and the corporat software people will never come to terms with giving away there "property" for free.

There are more corporations out there than just Microsoft. The goal of open software is not to kill Microsoft. The corporation I work for uses open source software almost exclusively. Not because we have anything against closed source, or unwilling to pay for licenses, but because the open software we are using is good enough for what we're doing. There's so much good stuff out there. More than once have we had the benefit of tweaking the source to do exactly what we want. More than once have we run into bugs, and immediately found a patch.

Microsoft can do business any way they want (and so far they're getting away with it too), but they are in no position to tell other corporations how to run their business. Not everybody's business model can depend on conning QDOS from some guy for $50K and go off and make a trillion on it. Some companies expect to have to make an effort to make their buck.

round? (1)

Ubi_UK (451829) | more than 13 years ago | (#128064)

Too bad only Mundie is there to defend the closed-source model. It would have been nice to get opinions from other companies as well. Can't Adobe or Corel send someone to join the discussion? This way it's just MS bashing.

The un-GPL? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 13 years ago | (#128065)

A bit offtopic, but I was always wondering, what happens if you release sourcecode into the wild without any license at all? I mean, just posting it on your website (without a GPL/insert your favorite license).

I've posted one thing with a GPL, a very simple encryption program, but I always wondered since I'm simply giving the source away, why I can't just leave the code completely open. Let's face it: a majority of people who use GPL'd code are going to treat it like it was code found on a website tutorial. And a majority of those people are never going to publish their changed code. I personally don't mind. (And if a major company decided to use my GPL'd code [I doubt it] would it really make a difference to me if they mentioned my name somewhere in the docs?)

Personally, since this is a hobby for most of us (barring the people from RedHat -- hi guys!) I don't see why we need to worry about licenses and such. If Microsoft uses my code I really don't care (although my 16-bit encryption program may be a little lame in the next version of Windows. ;) ) To me, free code is just that: free. Without any extra licensing tags.

Bruce Perens is my HERO! (1)

eFlashDash (456962) | more than 13 years ago | (#128066)

Man, Bruce Perens can take a very tough argument, and boil it down to the very principles it is built upon and prove that the GPL (or BSD license, etc, as appropriate) is correct and the right solution.

This is the classic David and Goliath, and in this instance, my morals and principles dictate that I side with David. Goliath has only their interests at heart, and not the consumers, as they so deviantly state...

Small / Start up Dilemma (1)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 13 years ago | (#128067)

One question on the Open vs Closed debate I rarely see addressed is how small companies without massive VC backing can make it through years 1 and 2 without being able to protect their work and sell it.
Sun can afford to give stuff away because the majority of its business is still profitable and closed. The same is true for almost all of the big corporates openning stuff up.
Oddly, it's exactly this fact that will make the bigger corps STRONGER over time as Open Source grows, as they have the market penetration already and the cash buffers to lose on individual products for YEARS.
In the debates on /. it often boils down to open=good, closed=bad. Which puts many corps in the good ring, and most smaller companies that are doing more innovative, exciting work in the bad set. That's wrong... Or am I missing the point here? Can startups go Open without massive risk?

Miscrosoft CLOSE-source (1)

DeXtroMe (462440) | more than 13 years ago | (#128069)

All this bitching about MS being against open sourcing...hell, I'm glad Microsoft is against it, if they weren't there'd be a chance of some 14 year old in Kansas actually helping Microsoft come out with some good software. Ph33r...

Code or Service (3)

Saggi (462624) | more than 13 years ago | (#128070)

The "ownership" of source code is not really a danger to companies who work with more consultancy related business. We often see large websites or applications build on free software. But for these companies it all comes down to providing a fair service to the clients. Including customisation, design etc... Those companies working in this market only have to worry if they provide poor service. All programmes I know (including myself) have used "others code" as a foundation for their work. Usually coping 80% from previous work. This original material comes from examples, Internet and other programmers, so in reality most code is shared at some level anyway. We would never get anything done if we didn't start by coping a bunch of code into our project. (Just check your own include files - how much is your original work?) How often do you create a piece of code that is so special that you would call it your "personal intellectual property"? Bottom line is to focus on the service - the project - rather than some piece of code underling it...

Saggi
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