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What is Bill Gates Learning From Open Source?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the how-to-love-the-bomb dept.

Microsoft 194

christian.einfeldt writes "In the world of Free Open Source Software communities, Microsoft is often viewed as the very epitome of the Cathedral-style model of software production. But is Bill Gates learning from the software development phenomenon that he once compared loosely to communism? In commenting on the results of a Microsoft-commissioned survey of approximately 500 board-level executives about the importance of interpersonal skills versus raw IT coding skills, Gates starts to sound a bit more like a member of the Apache Foundation than the take-no-prisoners king of cut-throat competition: 'Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.'."

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right (5, Funny)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708020)

are microsoft good or bad this week?

Re:right (0)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708078)

Bad. Nothing changed.

Don't believe a word Bill, Steve or wannabes like Darl say. You can get better results listening to random smattering of words, which (if grammatically correct, non-contradicting and such) will be correct 50% of the time -- while Bill will be right only if he makes a mistake.

Their strategy is:
1. ignore 'em
2. mock 'em
3. fight 'em

Ours should go 3/2/1. We have already been at 2 (Vista and co), so it's a good time to hit 1.

Re:right (5, Interesting)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708838)

Actually, rather than "fight em", just replace 'em.

No need to fight 'em, that just gives them a reason to struggle harder and live on.

Good approach on 3/2/1 but I'd suggest trying 2/1 :) Fighting didn't work. Mocking M$ just made geeks feel better. But ignoring them is what drove them up the wall (it also lets those doing any code work or support work focus on the code work and support work, as opposed to wasting away and stressing out fighting the mighty giant.)

One can compare Microsoft under Bill and Steve to IBM under Prescott Bush, good for propping up various dictatorships and their future attrocities (and laundering money to them before and during World War II) but evil to the core. Microsoft is like that IBM, and despite anyone's wishes, it will not die, not anytime soon, and in 20 years, they'll be the "good guys" (most likely against Google's rather insidious ways) the same way as IBM today is the "good guys" against Microsoft's insidious ways. Do not forget that at one point, in the 70's and 80's, it was Microsoft that was seen as "good guys" to IBM's being "purveyors of fine FUD". None of this has changed, they're all bad guys, its just the temporary alliances that have changed. IBM needed a way to sink Microsoft and improve their public image, helping the Linux community at large was a cheap way for them to do this while gaining more than they lost.

I predict that eventually, Microsoft will lose enough ground to Google to become deeply worried. Google will ally with various dictatorships and tyrannies (including the various fledgling police states of the Western world) and turn their impressive reach into people's lives into a device for spying and creating evidence of malfeasance where there truly was none. They'll become the basic paid snitch looking to entrap innocents in the 21st century, and only the people they hurt and those close to each case will hate them for it but that will not stop their deeds nor redeem the various forces employing their services.

At that point someone else will pop up as an alternative to keep the system going and keep people plugged into this struggle. But ignore them and focus on what needs to be done, mock them if it makes you enjoy life, and then move on, get done what you have done. Mock them and ignore them but walk away from their products. I used to "fight them" too, and then at one point I gave up the struggle and became polite about it. Even my mocking of M$ has been relatively humorous in nature when facing people upset over their products. Over time, I've replaced quite a few Windows installs with Linuxes, all except the truly hard core gaming computers (no need to work with gamers who aren't willing to tweak, and the new generation is nothing like the overclocker and system builder generation of old), but frankly, those who spend too much time gaming, have other issues in their lives they need to fix, emotional needs, physical needs, etc. I'd say stick to mocking Microsoft cleverly and appropriately, lose the anger, and replace just about everything you can replace when the client is willing. If they want Microsoft and insist, let them have it. More cash for you. Later on, if they bitch, remind them that you offered a better (though slightly more involved at the onset) solution.

Re:right (1)

Anzhr (1132621) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709368)

DaedalusHKX (660194), I agree completely and would mod you up if I only could.

That's easy ... (5, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708048)

Microsoft is always bad, and always will be ... that they occasionally (and largely by accident) do something good doesn't make the organization any less bad.

That said, you have to understand that Gates is far from stupid. His public comments about open source have, historically, been just what you'd expect the CEO of Microsoft to make. That doesn't mean that he doesn't privately understand the issues perfectly, and now that his role at Microsoft has changed, now that he's an ex-CEO, he may feel free to speak more honestly.

Re:That's easy ... (2, Interesting)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708250)

Microsoft is always bad, and always will be ... that they occasionally (and largely by accident) do something good doesn't make the organization any less bad.

What about Google then? I don't see Google open-sourcing their search engine, GMail interface, or any of their other major tools and yet they're held as the epitome of a "good" company. All of their stuff is proprietary and kept very closed-source.

Re:That's easy ... (5, Insightful)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708290)

The code may be closed, but the standards are open. Google uses properly formed HTML and CSS. Google uses IMAP. Google uses XMPP. Google releases their applications for multiple platforms. Google does not use broken or undocumented formats to force you to use their products.

Re:That's easy ... (1, Insightful)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708356)

Google uses properly formed HTML?

Have you actually ever validated their pages? Here's the english version of the Google/Firefox start page:

http://www.google.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official [google.com]

Run that through the W3C markup validation service. I did and it fails to validate due to 54 errors. Don't give Google credit when they don't earn it.

Re:That's easy ... (2, Funny)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708442)

"Google releases their applications for multiple platforms."

Really? I may be wrong, but I don't think I can run Google News on Yahoo.

Re:That's easy ... (2, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708874)

However, Yahoo News does, in fact, run on Google.

Re:That's easy ... (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708344)

'yet they're held as the epitome of a "good" company.'

Say what? By whom? Self-rating hardly counts, and most of the time outsiders mentioning "dont be evil" seems to be mostly in sarcastic references to the failure to live up to the proclaimed motto.

That's simple (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709210)

They promote OSS at every turn. All of their APIs are open and documented. They use open formats and open protocols whenever they can. They release application frameworks for others to use to build applications that play nice with OSS. They release applications across all platforms, actually supporting versions of their software that work on OSS platforms and with OSS software. But to retain the attention of users, they choose to keep some of their solutions as proprietary, but they are ones they maintain themselves. You want them to open source their search engine, but the only reason their search engine is successful is because of their constant tweaking and additions in their specific way, and users still use their search engine without problems. OSS can interface with their search engine if they want to leverage its benefits.

How could OSS really benefit from Google open sourcing their search engine? By publicizing the inner workings of their main asset, it would divert attention away from google. Google supporting OSS in the ways that they do wouldn't matter so much anymore if nobody was paying attention to them. If everyone had what made Google unique, then others could get the attention Google deserved but put it to a use that may not be leaning towards OSS so much, and then OSS wouldn't be as much of a benefit anymore. It serves Linux well because an OS is something every computer needs, but a search engine doesn't need to be run by anyone, and Google seem to be doing a good job. It's not like there aren't any OSS search solutions. But OSS seems to be benefiting as much from Google as the other way around.

Don't you think Google is giving something back to the OSS community just by standing as a viable example of people using OSS in a commercial environment? Don't you think that buys OSS credibility? They run on Linux, they are putting a lot of force behind Firefox, and all the other stuff I mentioned above.

What exactly do you want Google to do, and how do you think it would actually benefit OSS in reality more than what they are doing now? You're really unhappy about the current scenario?

NIH happens everywhere (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708334)

I've yet to work for a company that didn't dismiss or downplay the products and actions of competitors. One thing that, occasionally, happens at Microsoft is they have a management decree for everyone to pull their head out of the sand and deal with a threat.. but it doesn't happen often enough, at Microsoft or anywhere.

Re:That's easy ... (2, Interesting)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708722)

Microsoft is always bad, and always will be ... that they occasionally (and largely by accident) do something good doesn't make the organization any less bad.
Microsoft is no more evil than the average person. The people that run MS occasionally do bad things like all people, but (without knowing them personally) are probably decent people.

The people that run MS are doing with the company what all people do...trying to grow. The only difference is we usually root for the little guy until they become the big guy and then we hate them, while rooting for their competitors (Linux for example).

To prove this do a google search for "apple evil," "linux evil," or whatever popular little guy you want. We're rooting for them, but they are crossing the threshold into big and the evil rumors are rumbling.

What have M$ learned from OSS? (2, Funny)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708068)

From what I see in Vista...
Very little. (And yes, I have used Vista enough (unfortunately) to say that. Arch Linux/Ubuntu user primarily)

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708160)

What is so wrong about Vista?

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708228)

The day that a linux fanboi actually uses vista and gives it a chance they will realize there is nothing wrong with it. All they do is make fun at the problems from when it was released. Wah wah wah It asks me to aprove or deny, im a linux fanboi too dumb to know how to turn it off wah. It makes my p2 computer run slow wah wah i have 512 ram wah.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1, Informative)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708976)

I'm going to go ahead and feed to troll here. Mainly because I am bored.
I said that I have used Vista enough to talk about it, and also, I never said Vista was bad, I just said it hadn't learned much from OSS. You, sir, are clearly an idiot.
There are things wrong with Vista. Compared to my Linux distros it is slow and bloated, I have to pay for it and software for it, there is no package manager, there is no Compiz Fusion, It is less secure, etc...
I am by no means a fanboy. A fanboy is someone who makes an argument without backing it up, (generally exaggerating and using bad English), and bashing everything else. Also, you can not spell fanboy.
Please come back when you can make a structured argument and understand basic things.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

Cheesy Fool (530943) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709912)

Umm, most of the wahs seem to be coming from Windows users.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (2, Insightful)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708384)

Plenty, although that wasn't what I said. I said they had not learned much from OSS. If Vista was faster, had a package manager, and was free, then they would be getting somewhere.
As to what is wrong with Vista, the fact that Portal plays more reliably under WINE than Vista does say something (the Vista nVidia drivers crash every 10 seconds with any Source-based game, it seems.)
But yeah, it's not particularly that Vista is terrible (although it is pretty bad, I'd say XP is the best thing M$ put out), more that Linux distros offer so much more, and are free, so why the hell would I pay to use something worse (and then pay for all of the software I need too!)?

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708616)

If your source games are "crashing every 10 seconds" then you need to re-evaluate the hardware you put into your PC.

I've used Vista since 2005 and have played multiples of source games over and over. I've played Portal all the way through multiple times and unlocked a bunch of achievements.

Oh, did I mention I'm also using x64?

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708910)

I was exaggerating to make a point. Don't take my words in a way they, obviously, were not intended. I'm just saying, I get crashes with source games under Windows that I did not get playing under Wine.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

KURAAKU Deibiddo (740939) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709758)

Please explain how you were using an OS 2 years before it was available for retail purchase. Did the Doctor deliver your Windows Vista T.A.R.D.I.S. edition personally?

If you meant that you were using development copies of Longhorn, I'm very skeptical that your Source gaming on it was as problem-free as you seem to claim that it was. Of course, I'm sure if you weren't trolling, you wouldn't be posting anonymously. @.~

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708870)

The fact that your hardware is faulty isn't the fault of Vista.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708896)

How is my hardware faulty? It works fine when I'm running Linux.

Re:What have M$ learned from OSS? (4, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709022)

How is my hardware faulty? It works fine when I'm running Linux.

It's classic Microsoftie newspeak. If Microsoft release a product that doesn't work properly on otherwise perfectly useable hardware, it's the fault of the hardware itself.

For instance, downstairs I have a new duel core box (AMD) with 1Gb of ram and a gforce 7300 on a 10 Mb network running Vista. It's slower then my main machine, which is four years old and has a two year old AMD 400+ 64 bit chip, 1gb ram and a gforce 6200. Network performance from the Vista machine is a joke when compared to all the other machines on that network, well not a joke, because that would mean it was funny. Do you think it's the hardwares fault?

That particular machine isn't mine, hence why it still has Vista on it, but I booted it into the Ubuntu livecd for a test. The difference? well lets just say 'fuck me', and leave it there.

I'd say XP is the best thing M$ put out (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709982)

I'd say NT 4.0 was the best thing MS put out, that I have used. NT4 was the only Windows OS I did not have crash while I was using it. XP on the other hand froze the very first tyme I booted up a computer using XP. And it wasn't a noname PC, it was on a brand new Dell, a Dimension I think though I'm not sure.


What is so wrong about Vista? (2, Interesting)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709940)

Activation, bloatware, and spyware. If I buy software whether an application or an operating system as long as I enter a valid key I shouldn't have to Activate it. Nor should my software spy on me, stamp documents with a guid [wikipedia.org] , or need to be Activated again if I change hardware. All the provider of the software has any use for is whether there is a valid key, for proprietary software.


Yea right, m$ == money driven monopoly (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708074)

The day Microsoft actually listens to what their consumers want is the day Linux dies. m$ will NEVER give a hoot about their consumers! To them, all the FOSS people are is cheap people who would rather code their own programs insted of buy them for Windows, because m$ does not understand the significances of free and open source software. Look at Windows Vista and Halo 3. Bolth disasters from the start. Those 2 m$ products are broken, but m$ refuses to fix them, because they don't think its "cost effective". Get a life, m$!!!

Microsoft LOST its vision,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708296)

If it had one in the first place...

- Vista sucks, horrible UI, look very beautiful, that's all
    (Win+Tab, Flip programs, looks nice, totaly useless...)

- SQL Server 2005 sucks, almost no extra features in comparison with SQL Server 2000, only horrible UI, and dog slow..

- Visual Studio 2005, a lot of features, but horrible UI, in comparison with Visual Studio 2003, and a lot slower

- IE7 horrible UI, some bug fixes, a lot of things still don't work without special DOCTYPE's, for every browser an other (which sucker puts the refresh button on the right side of the window? Opening a new tab, takes a long time, just like opening a new browser window?)

- Office 2007, looks nice, but no extra features, need to learn everything again.

- Office 2008, looks terrible not windows like not OSX like.

Don't know what they invented the last few years, that didn't suck...

I liked XP, I liked IE6 (when it was new, in comparison with Netscape 4.x). Can't say I like anything they made after 2003.

Heh.. nothing new here.. (3, Insightful)

rainhill (86347) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708080)

People misunderstood him, the BigBill always was for sharing, except that he always liked to be on the receiving end.

Re:Heh.. nothing new here.. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708094)

Yeah, he'll share you windows, if you share lots of money with him. Except less share and more give on the money part.

Re:Heh.. nothing new here.. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708804)

No, he won't share Windows. He'll share the right to use Windows under MS's terms.

Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (5, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708082)

It's Ballmer who sounds off about the competition. Ballmer is probably a very good executive and businessman, but he's not visionary and he also doesn't hold back when giving his opinion. His opinion is very tabloid like.

Bill seems to be careful to base his opinions on fact and not overstate things.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708130)

Gates is hardly visionary himself. The first edition of The Road Ahead [amazon.com] , his view of the future, infamously lacked mention of the Internet. Once the Internet exploded in the mid-1990s, Gates and his ghostwriter had to hastily put out a second edition. Around the same time he foolishly let his wife convince Microsoft to put out Microsoft Bob.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708350)

Actually, she wasn't his wife when she was responsible for Microsoft Bob.

I think marrying him was the penalty for it. Me, I would have chosen death.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708980)

Gates is hardly visionary himself. The first edition of The Road Ahead , his view of the future, infamously lacked mention of the Internet. Once the Internet exploded in the mid-1990s, Gates and his ghostwriter had to hastily put out a second edition.

I remember seeing stacks of this book. There was actually a sticker on the front that read: "Now revised to include the Internet". I recall thinking that this was a probably inadvertent admission that the author could not really see the road ahead.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (4, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708430)

Yes, When Bill Gates was the head of MS, things were O.K. (just forget about ME for a second) there was little about DRM, and for most of the time, they actually somewhat innovated (or at least stole from Mac which innovated) things and and brought the world of the GUI to the cheap IBM PC. There was no competition because until 1991, and even then, Linux wasn't ready for the real world, in around 2003 with the 2.6 kernel, Linux posed a huge threat to MS. However from 2000-present, MS has been rapidly shooting itself in the foot with missed opportunities, disasters such as Vista, and falling to DRM. Steve Ballmer seems to be much more for DRM then Gates ever was, all Gates wanted to do was make some cash and make the computer easy to use, the same vision as Apple. However Ballmer wanted to make money at all costs and that meant taking out all competition and throwing us into this DRMed world which we hate.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (4, Insightful)

Ugmo (36922) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709586)

However from 2000-present, MS has been rapidly shooting itself in the foot with missed opportunities, disasters such as Vista, and falling to DRM. Steve Ballmer seems to be much more for DRM then Gates ever was, all Gates wanted to do was make some cash and make the computer easy to use, the same vision as Apple.

I think it was the book Innovator's Dilemma or it might have been some other management or business book, that said that a company listens to its customers, becomes successful and grows. Then there comes a point when the company keeps listening to its customers but the customers are giving it bad advice, along the lines of, "more of the same, but bigger or faster and throw in this". The product outgrows certain niches or is customized too much for a subset of large customers. At this point smaller companies with a different way of ding things can squeeze into the cracks answering the needs of the customers left behind. Using this as a base, the new companies grow and kill off the old company.

This applies to Microsoft if you understand who their customers are: other businesses, not consumers. All their decisions make sense if you understand that fact. Each new OS requires (not takes advantage of, but requires) larger hard drives, more memory and faster processors. Like Vista , all the previous OS versions required an upgrade to use, by design. This keeps Dell, Gateway etc happy as people throw out their old PC and buy a brand new one. If the consumer was Microsoft's customer they would be finding ways to write more efficient code that runs faster on existing hardware. As hardware advances, that code would become even faster instead of the situation we have now, where each new version of an application on faster and faster hardware delivers roughly the same word processing performance.

DRM is the same. The customer is not the consumer who would like to watch movies or listen to music with his computer. The customer is Hollywood and the RIAA. Microsoft listens to them. They say: "Find us a way to charge the consumer every time he listens to a song and we will give you a cut of the income." The consumer says: "Find me a way to make it easy to organize and listen to the large collection of CD's and albums I have collected and paid for over the years". Microsoft says, "Where's my cut?" to the consumer and then listens to the RIAA instead.

The third major customer is businesses or governments. In this case Microsoft is not trying to keep the business or government as a whole happy, they are cutting deals with the decision makers to preserve their monopoly. The citizens of a country will be better off if their government uses open file standards but this will threaten Microsoft Office's monopoly. Government employees get kickbacks, sweetheart deals and job offers from Microsoft in order to get them to choose Microsoft's products over what is in the ultimate customer, the citizen's, best interest.

The same thing happens in businesses where Microsoft cuts deals with other companies in return for stock, investment or the promise of future acquisition. It would really be in the companies interest to use a free OS like Linux or an alternative file format for music or movies but Microsoft cuts deals with individuals in management that screw over the business in the long term. The managers who sign the deals don't give a crap. They are getting their pay off down the road. See all the companies that signed up for Fair Play, or whoever was behind SCO or the hundreds of other instances that show up daily on Slashdot.

Remember that fact: You are not Microsoft's customer.They do not care about you.. Remember that and all their decisions make sense. Their customers are the memory, disk drive and PC manufacturers, the content providers and any other business they can cut a deal with and sell you down the river for. This is not a Ballmer thing. This has been going on since day one. Bill Gates bought the original DOS off one guy and turned around and sold it to IBM. If he was an angel, he could have just told IBM that the original guy was the one to talk to, not him.

Getting back to my original point, the path Microsoft is on is a bad one. They have listened too well to their customers' demands for DRM and more bloat to bog standard hardware down. The end users, who Microsoft doesn't listen to are not following along. At this point the other niche players, like Linux and Mac OS have a chance to actually respond to the demands of the neglected end users and outgrow Microsoft. We can only live in hope.

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (1)

GTMoogle (968547) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709610)

So you wear rose colored glasses only when looking to the past, eh? I don't see how anything has changed, just that they're embracing and extending evil things (drm) just like everything else. They've never been any better for the software industry as a whole.

The best argument FOR their tactics, (and I think this is a more favorable analysis than they deserve,) is that they tend to buy up the front-runner in any competition when the software is 75% good enough and shut out competition by putting their OS behind it, which moves the industry overall forward without wasting time perfecting things. Any good company has to balance fixing the non-stopper bugs with new development, and MS has been a driving force for that in the industry as a whole. Now, I think in reality their methodology has been focused on maintaining their hold by pushing competition out instead of driving it forward. Anything other than being king and owning the industry was accidental.

The real shame is that they could have really been the father figure of software that I suspect Bill thinks himself to be. Open standards and giving back to the community would have made people appreciate MS's presence and would have expanded the market significantly, which would likely also have given MS a larger field to develop upon, instead of prey upon. But that's certainly more far-sighted than most people are I suppose, and Bill above all has been a guru of nasty business tactics rather than a visionary.

(geez, I meant to type a sentance... I need to learn how not to rant on the internet)

Re:Bill is okay, Steve Ballmer is the problem (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#21710110)

Steve Ballmer seems to be much more for DRM then Gates ever was, all Gates wanted to do was make some cash and make the computer easy to use, the same vision as Apple.

Actually Bill Gates was always about making money. Back in the 70s when Gates hacked a Basic interpretor for the Apple he got very upset that microprocessor hackers or Homebrewers [wikipedia.org] and hobbyists shared Basic with friends without paying him. It's ironic that sharing hardware plans and software is what got the personal computer revolution started yet he wanted to stop any and all sharing.


Learning a new recipe (3, Funny)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708088)

Maybe he is learning how to properly cook and eat crow?

Re:Learning a new recipe (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708752)

Damn that recipe is hard to get. Good thing crow meat has a high drop rate.

What MS has learnt (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708098)

The only thing MS learns about others is how to usurp, take them over, absorb them, or extinguish them to extend their own avarice. What companies has MS helped to bring to the top of their field without trying to take over that part of the market?

Re:What MS has learnt (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709520)

Companies don't help other companies unless one of them owns the other. Microsoft is not particularly unique in this respect. I'm sorry that you don't like the fact that Microsoft is a corporation, but, you can't go arguing that their intents are somehow more evil than other corporations. Every one of them is out for its own gain, and its own expansion of its profits.

Re:What MS has learnt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21710024)

this what you said is true -- but one company Gates helped in the past -- Apple. Bill lent money to Steve Jobs when the second one was in troubles. It's too bad I don't remember the it happened...

cheers tj.

/. linux fanbois (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708100)

gotta love all the linux fanbois who know nothing about anything.

Re:/. microsoft fanbois (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708110)

gotta love all the microsoft fanbois who know nothing about anything.

Contradiction? (4, Interesting)

Xafier (1122155) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708102)

'Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.'

Its funny that, because the needs of nearly all your customers is that your operating system is reliable and user friendly and runs fast, and every OS that's released from Microsoft is worse is most of those categories compared with the previous version.

I write software that's used in medical analysis of blood, urine, tissue and other samples... we follow extremely strict design, coding and testing rules to ensure that there as few bugs in our program when it reaches the end user as humanly possible...

of course, then its run on Windows... which in my POV just negates all our work, especially seen as its now going to be run on Vista, which has brought us no end of troubles with discrepancies between XP and Vista!

Re:Contradiction? (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708242)

Not to be difficult, but Windows NT4, and its successors Windows 2000 and Windows XP, were vast improvements over Windows 9x. It's only now, almost ten years later, that Microsoft has taken a huge step backwards with Vista. That fact is disturbing, because I look at it as being indicative of major problems in Microsoft's design, development and QC processes: this mess should not have happened. They seem to have lost sight of the fact that complex software development is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Incremental, well-thought-out improvements made over time result in better products than huge quantities of completely new code (Vista is claimed to be what, a 70% rewrite?) If you try to change too much too quickly, you will have a disaster on your hands.

Like you, I develop Windows software for a living (in some fairly mission critical environments as well), none of which would have been possible had the NT kernel not become part of Microsoft's mainstream operating systems. Matter of fact, in those days we shipped Unix boxes because there was no way in Hell you could use Windows 9x for real-time data acquisition and process control. But NT4 was pretty solid, and the GUI improvements in Windows 2000 helped a lot too. I initially found XP to be less stable than Windows 2000, but XP did improve substantially over time, and nowadays is halfway decent.

But I agree about Vista. From my perspective going to Vista right now would be very risky. Maybe in a year or two when Microsoft has had a chance to fix some of the worst issues it'll be worth another look. Maybe ... but for right now we're sticking with XP as long as we can.

re-work (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708466)

sounds to me like Vista need to go in for re-work and come back out later, ready to use

Re:Contradiction? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#21710150)

Win XP first came out, Win2K was the most reliable software wise. However, XP provided suppioror hardware support and stability. It's been my experience that I've seen more BSOD crashes with 2K over XP that are a direct cause of buggy driver support.

With XP SP2, we now have the combined security advantages of 2K, and the hardware support/stability of XP. No doubt, we are all waiting for XP SP3 with bated breath.

As for Vista, it's already a public failure and for good reason. I'm sure it can be refined for the home/entertainment market, but Microsoft seriously needs to relaunch another OS built on the XP codebase for the corporate sector.

Re:Contradiction? (0, Offtopic)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708366)

Its funny that, because the needs of nearly all your customers is that your operating system is reliable and user friendly and runs fast, and every OS that's released from Microsoft is worse is most of those categories compared with the previous version.

To me the best example is Office 2007. While they apparently spoke with focus groups who were new to the system and decided what would be the best thing for them to use in Office, they apparently did not do quite as much with previous users of the software. While I have spouted off before about how I dislike Office 2007's UI I was shredded because of people who claimed I did not use it long enough to learn to appreciate the ease of use, etc.

Well, today I sit here using Office 2007 (even at home) after having been forced into using it at work several months ago. While I'm trying my absolute hardest to learn to appreciate it, the only thing I can do is learn to hate it more and more with every day.

My productivity is down, my stress level is up, and I sit there cursing 50% of these new designs because it's nothing like what it used to be. Yes, there are ways to go back to the old but I'm stubborn and I will learn to use the new one but I seriously fear that another new UI design will appear from Microsoft before that happens.

My biggest complaint? Access doesn't seem to have a program setting that enables the left pane to show all groups, sort by name ASC, and keep it that way for every database. If I've overlooked something, and I hope I have in my scramble to get all my old databases setup again, please do let me know so I can have at least one less thing to stress over every time I open a file I haven't used in 6 months.

As for Bill learning something about Open Source? When he starts releasing future versions of Windows with the full source and an open license, then I will agree that he's learned something. Until then, not so much.

Re:Contradiction? (1)

Xafier (1122155) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708426)

Office 2007 is a royal pain in the ass. I had to install it at work and simple things take you 10 minutes to find sometimes... like in Word it took me ages to find how to do a Word Count... you know, that thing that's quite common and should be easy to do?

Although, one of our new products at work uses the Office 2007 style UI and I must admit that its looking rather smart and user friendly, but I still have gripes with some things being hard to find!

Re:Contradiction? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708534)

RE:["I write software that's used in medical analysis of blood, urine, tissue and etc..."]

maybe its time to port that software to Linux...

Re:Contradiction? (1)

Xafier (1122155) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708670)

We write the software to the spec of the company that makes and sells the machines and software, most people PC's run Windows, so they want it to run on Windows... that's how things go in the real world, you do what your paid to do, and you do whatever will make you the most money! :)

Our new overlords (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708106)

In the survey of approximately 500 board-level executives, 61 percent said interpersonal and teamworking skills were more important than IT skills.

Perhaps for board-level managing, but certainly not for doing IT jobs. That's a big problem in corporations when you get "professional" managers. In the old days top-level managers were usually people who had risen from factory jobs. They understood what made the business tick.

Enter the business schools. Managers start believing they can command any corporation without understanding how the production works. They start doing things like transplanting a CEO from Pepsi to Apple. Dismal results.

I, for one, do *NOT* welcome our new board-level executive overlords!

Re:Our new overlords (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708218)

Enter the business schools. Managers start believing they can command any corporation without understanding how the production works. They start doing things like transplanting a CEO from Pepsi to Apple. Dismal results.

Oddly enough the other day I read an article from an ex Microsoft guy making the same point -

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html [joelonsoftware.com]

Re:Our new overlords (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708240)

Every business has that one coworker that nobody likes, and that nobody wants to work with. You know... the one who's so abrasive that the productivity of those around him/her goes down drastically just by virtue of them being around?

If you haven't noticed who it is.... *coughs*

Even at the bottom level, productivity and profitability goes *way* up when everybody likes each other works well together.

Re:Our new overlords (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708320)

True ... on the other hand, you still have to know what you're doing which is the real problem the GP was addressing. What you're talking about is effective cooperation between workers. And yes, that is important, and good management knows how to make that happen. However, when the people above start giving irrational orders because they're nothing but clueless PHBs, it doesn't matter how well-liked anyone is. The organization is in serious trouble. Matter of fact, bad management is frequently the source of friction between workers.

Re:Our new overlords (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708474)

How about the hotel chain manager that ended up owning the short lived Worldcom empire...

Quantity over Quality I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708122)

Micrsoft software needed to parse logfiles:

1. two AD Domain controllers
2. one server 2003 for storing logfile
3. a SQL server cluster for processing logfile
4. A copy of MS-Excel to convert logfile so it can be imported into SQL
5. a Sharepoint cluster to display logfile
6. a couple of .Net servers to support the sharepoint server
7. MS Exchange server for email notifications
8. lets see did I miss any MS technology here???

Re:Quantity over Quality I say (1)

Dan Schulz (1144089) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708842)

8. lets see did I miss any MS technology here???
Yeah, Internet Explorer 8. Oh wait, so did Microsoft.

Reading too much into what he said (1)

mezron (132274) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708164)

I don't see anything in what he said that has anything to do with open source. Interpersonal skills and teamwork are just as important to the proprietary world. Someone's reading too much into what he said.

Treat MS like your politicians (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708172)

Ignore what they say, observe what they do.

Bell labs, BSD and GNU got there first (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708276)

There was a fluff piece authored by Gates published on the BBC news website. I didn't read it fully but he was stressing the importance of IT skills. In my experience, the more people know, the less inclined they are to choose the Microsoft solution. What I think Gates is suggesting here is that Windows point and click is akin to genuine computing knowledge.

Eben Moglen once said something about GNU being one of the greatest learning libraries mankind ever created. I think there's some truth to that and Gates is probably attempting to hijack the argument; applying it to Microsoft software in a way that's fundamentally and intellectually dishonest.

No, I didn't RTFA.

the lesson is easy: clean up your act or (0, Offtopic)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708284)

what is Gates/Ms learning from OpenSource?

the lesson is easy: clean up your act or we will do it for you

there was a presentation on CyberCrime on NPR this morning: full 30 minutes.

the presentation focused mostly on the note that hacking software is for sale to kids these days and CyberCrime is a growing problem

what the report DID NOT focus on properly was that while CyberCrime is perceived as a minor nuisance and "just a cost of doing business" by the commercial industry ( loss rates about 15 or 20 cents per $100 ) -- a serious attack to an individual can ruin your life for a while

and so now we must consider how we will respond

Bruce Schneier is very insightful in his comments noting that those who have the ability to respond must be made liable for the consequences of not responding before any meaningful change will occur

Merchants, banks, ISPs, and software developers represents "those who have the capacity to respond"

but do they have the interest?

without liability for damages: no

but a customer who goes into BestBuy and picks out a new 500 dollar computer has every right to expect a computer that lets her surf the net and read eMail and put the knitting club labels out using Excel. She has every right to expect that computer to perform as advertised for a reasonable life span ( not topic today )

so when her new computer is plugged up with so much ad ware that it won't run anymore that is a product failure and the mfr is responsible

same thing if she logs onto her credit union and some Russian hackers steal her money. she had a right to expect where the computer advertised a secure connection that that connection was in fact secure and not served up as a RAT feast

this is a change in thinking for IT people who for too long have got away with transferring all responsibility for use to the end user

it's time for the industry to grow up and take responsibility for product quality.

I don't think that IT will willingly swallow this particular medicine. And so it will have to come in the form of an FTC rule

the report on NPR, where it trace the "how" of various attacks -- noted that "virus codes were injected" into victim computers

this is the first aspect that has to end. no running of un-authorized programs

this means all executables will have to be signed with a PGP signature authorized by a Certificate Authority.

it may mean we will have to acquire special devices for keeping our PGP secret keys. it certainly doesn't help to have your secret key on a workstation infected with RATS of various types. protecting those secret keys is mandatory if PGP is to be used to put a stop to un-authorized programming.

I think we will need a separate device for this, at least initially.

Re:the lesson is easy: clean up your act or (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708760)

the report on NPR, where it trace the "how" of various attacks -- noted that "virus codes were injected" into victim computers. this is the first aspect that has to end. no running of un-authorized programs. this means all executables will have to be signed with a PGP signature authorized by a Certificate Authority.

Requiring authenticate signature before a program is allowed to run would only take care of the users who promiscuously open things they download from the web. In this case, a browser that simply refuses to save things downloaded from the web is just as good. It could work like a popup blocker showing messages like "Firefox is preventing this site from saving a file to your local hard drive, which may be harmful to your computer" and give user the ability to override it.

Remember who we're talking about (2, Insightful)

gznork26 (1195943) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708286)

Microsoft is all about increasing revenues. If they've saturated the market to their satisfaction, or have begun to lose traction with one class of product, such as Office apps, they move on to another. I'd translate Chairman Bill's comments to mean that he smells money in collaboration software. SharePoint is just one way to dredge that channel. Watch for others.

* * *

The latest story in my series about a company imprisoned for theft addresses the sham called a financial system. Read "Bank Shot" here:

http://klurgsheld.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/short-story-bank-shot/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Remember who we're talking about (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709724)

Parent post makes some good points, and brought this discussion into focus for me.

Corporate investments in Outlook and Exchange Server are now coming to the fore as the best reasons for big customers to stay with Microsoft products. That is not due to a change in Microsoft strategy. It is because the MS Office team has shot itself in the foot with the OOXML debacle. And the Vista team has struck out with its dismal failure to address business needs. The Outlook/Exchange Server is Microsoft's last remaining heavy hitter in this game. Since the only current reason for the big customers to stay in the Microsoft cattle chutes are its clear and obvious lead in collaborative software like Exchange Server and Outlook, then that needs to be marketed right now, despite the risks.

And there are risks. Google has started offering a collaborative suite at the low, low price of $50 per seat per year. Coupled with the other obvious advantages of not having to pay your own IT staff double time to come in on Sunday to bring the Exchange Server back on line after its umpteenth crash of the year, and not having to worry about whether the backup tapes are riding around town in some intern's stationwagon, Google's offer has a certain allure. Meanwhile, FOSS efforts at developing collaborative tools are continuing to get closer to target. And of course IBM has a product that has been working well enough for some businesses for years, and would definitely survive a migration to Linux if Kubuntu turns out to be the way to upgrade all the WinXP boxes...

Microsoft and Gates are in a tricky place. In trying to divert attention from office suites and operating systems to collaborative software, Bill is playing to one of the few remaining Microsoft strengths. But even that strength is under credible assaults. If corporations follow his lead here, and turn their attention toward Outlook, Exchange, and so on, they just might look a little beyond Bill's spotlight and see things they like from Google, IBM, or maybe some nascent FOSS project.

Missing the boat (1)

nullhero (2983) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708316)

That is because he missed the boat with Open Source. Just like he did when he didn't take the Internet into account. He's business man who wants to make money, great he's the richest guy around, but like all business men he doesn't really understand anything outside of the business. Collaboration was considered the first sin of business because no one, IE business (wo)men. couldn't figure out how to make money at it. Then Wikipedia (yuck!), YouTube, Linux Software Vendors, Apache, etc. come along, and they are making money. Now, collaboration becomes their mantra.

Of course you know something is up when the richest man in this country goes from it's communist, to it's important for business' to collaborate.

are the billionerrors ice castles melting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708332)

in the end, the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the of gaining yOUR release from the hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in.

some 'races' we'll wish we lost;

for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it?

we're intending for the nazis to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continues on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

whilst (yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

still making his views known worldwide, whilst many of US keep yOUR heads firmly lodged up yOUR infactdead.asp(s) hoping (against overwhelming information to the contrary) that the party LIEn scriptdead pr ?firm? fairytail hypenosys scenario will never end.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Spoiler: (1)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708338)

Spoiler: He will be nice to them for now and then when the new Windows comes out and everyone realizes that Microsoft stole their code he can say "But I was nice to them" in court.

Wait, what? (4, Interesting)

The Dark (159909) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708378)

Did I miss something or did christian.einfeldt just claim that Open Source invented collaboration and talking to customers?

Actions speak louder than words! (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708434)

Rather than going by Gates' utterings; we must examine what he has DONE after Open source succeeded despite Microsoft's best efforts at side-tracking it.

1. His departure from the Chairman post indicates very troubled times ahed for his company; and he is reluctant to be associated with a declining company that even customers speak poorly about. This is largely due to the influx of open source and more recently, open standards.

2. The features removed; the h/w requirements; broken s/w compatibility etc. in Vista shows that ignoring the merits of Open Source will only hurt his company even more. The fact that he has not learnt the lessons and abandoned Vista; and continues to brazen it out indicates he does not want to hear the truth... only self-sponsored eulogies from 'independent studies'.

3a. One of the biggest reasons for the success of the Windows platform has been that developers have been attracted to the commodity stuff so that everyone could win. Despite Gates' best efforts, Java and PHP have built up a commendable market-share; while after being bitten badly by the abandonment of VB, Foxpro etc.; developers are extremely cagey of adopting to .Net. Career-wise, it makes more sense for developers to stick to Java, PHP or even RubyonRails because they need not refresh their skills every 2 years or face extinction / pink slips.

3b. The loss of the developer community will pave the way for eventual collapse of the flawed Upgrade-And-We-Will-Solve-Your-Problems approach which has been Microsoft's business model for well over 2 decades.

4. For home users, the only hassle is getting broadband on Linux. Like Google, Linux has spread like wildfire by word-of-mouth; and even longtime friends of MS such as Dell, HP etc. have had to listen to customers and offer Linux bundles. The arrival of small form factor PCs like the OLPC, the XO laptop, the Asus EEE PC on Linux is further accelerating the success of Open source and the downfall of Windows. Microsoft is seeking to delay this by offering XP on these systems; but since long term avblty of XP is a question mark, OEMs, costomers or shareholders aren't very enthused.

All in all, Mr. William Gates has learnt his lessons well in advance; and as Eben Moglen remarked while launching GPL3; this is the beginning of the end for proprietary code.

Wrong (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709728)

1. No, Microsoft stock is doing just fine, despite the Vista failure/disaster you keep harping on about as a sinking ship. Take a look at how bad MSFT stock has tanked in the last 12 months - http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MSFT&t=1y [yahoo.com]

2. I can run 12 year old software in Vista without modification. Can you run a 12 year old binary in Linux and have it still work? Unlikely. Most binary drivers break with a simple kernel upgrade.

3a. Link? In my experience people choose php because frankly its piss easy, Java because its cross platform, and .Net if it can run on Windows. There's some cross-over, but not much. Additionally, Java probably is more popular, but only because it had a 10 year head-start. .Net is a superb platform (for Win systems at least), I challenge you to try and spin that one.

3b. Developer popularity around .Net tech is healthy thanks. A quick look on monster.com shows more or less the same results for .net and java positions.

4. Spread like wildfire for home users? I don't call 0.6% of desktops spreading like wildfire. Apple have the most to take from Microsoft in this area. What games runs on Linux? Not many. Linux is great if it does all you want already, but in the home the software needs to run anything and everything, which Linux doesn't.

Proprietary code is here to stay. So is OOS. Learn to deal with it.

Bill still don't get it (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708458)

The only reason Microsoft became so big wasn't that DOS, Windows, Office or any other MS product were any better than the competitors' stuff, but that all the other companies were so stupidly run. But after that phase was over, something new happened. Open source came along and scooped up what ever advantage MS once had. Apple made a miraculous recovery in a few years from their all time low in 1996, and is now a serious player again. Time is against Microsoft, and favors competing, superior products. I think MS will have to reinvent itself if it is to survive in the long run. As an enemy of Microsoft, I will never give them any free advice.

Bill_G ain't no visionary (1, Insightful)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708652)

Gates ain't no visionary, tee hee ya got that right

he bought DOS from Tim Patterson and sold it to IBM

he stole the X-window graphic interface design from XEROX/PaloAlto Research Park (if I remember right) and sold it as "Windows"

and now I find out he hadda have his internet planning added to his visions book retroactively. did he have Al Gore ghost write it for him ( tee hee )

and his most famous quote "64k ought to be enough for anybody"

No, Gates is definitely NOT a visionary.

what Gates IS ...is a marketing guy.

and marketing guys operate by manipulating your perceptions. selling the king new clothes

what really have we got from Windows?

+ a 1 GB RAM computer with 1 GHZ processor still can't do what an IBM/AT could do using 1 MB ram and 12 MHZ processor remember: Lotus-1-2-3 and WordPerfect were just as effective for must use as Excel and Word running on MS/Vista. And a copy of Procomm+ gave you all the commo you needed.

+ a 1 MB/sec network connection cannot bring you communications as well as an old USR 9600 dual standard modem. the reason being: too much marketing fluff is sent with the info

+ CompuServe was a very good information exchange, the WWW has degraded into an advertising and market research forum

the one thing that Gates & Ms have truly excelled at however is: obsoleting your existing computer assuring a continued ( if forced ) demand for upgraded processors and software.

but Gates learned that at GM

Calling FOSS Communistic is like calling... (1)

Armozel (1203632) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708490)

Then sharing a form of collectivism! (dang short subject lines...)

Anyways, I find this amusing because this stance that FOSS == Communism is wrong for a number of reasons.

1) Use *and* development of FOSS licensed software is *consensual*

That's right, you don't have to use it or make it yourself, if you don't want. Although, it's fun to see how your initial ideas, even if they're crappy, can take off, you find that others have been mulling over the same problem with a similar take on it. FOSS, in this context, brings like minds together to work on problems in software without using the stick all the time (or even providing a carrot).

2) FOSS licenses *promote* private property, not impede it.

If you write program X, and license it under a FOSS based license, it's your damn right! Yes, if we acknowledge that the fruit of our labor is our property, even our source code, it's yours to distribute how you like, but like point one not everyone may take it (some software is just junk...). And this is a great thing, it means some folks will take and keep their code private, we don't have to worry about them except when we use their software. But when we use FOSS licensed software, we can enjoy more rights on our own property, reshaping the code to our needs and constraints, making more use of property rights in our ventures.

3) FOSS licenses *promote* competition.

Yep, this one is pretty obvious when you take a list of all the different kinds of FOSS'd DB backends, office suites, 3d rendering engines, game engines, encryption schemes, *programming languages*, compilers, IDEs, *games*, and so on. They're all competing, may not for immediate dollar investment or purchase, but for users. And that competition is more clear when one piece of software becomes adopted more so over another, when its feature set is lean (in a good way), its overhead not too high, and its results useful. If a piece of software that started out good becomes trash, more users stop using it, and go for another replacement, or fork off where the program was good for use and continue on from there. This level of competition isn't often seen in the world, and we've all seen better pieces of code written this way, not worse code.

In closing, maybe I'm just a libertard, but I'd like to state that I don't see why people get all uppity over FOSS, other than they never read the licenses related to FOSS. Maybe it's because people think guys with beards want to be Lenin clones, who knows.

and the eath is flat, if it has to! (1)

surfi (1196953) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708504)

now that people/companies/governments are seeing alternatives and sign xxm$ contracts with competitors, it's normal to see them "interested" in "understanding needs". at least until they know how to lock-them-in again.. cheap propaganda

Examine his name! (1)

A New Normalcy (1190543) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709704)

Bill, as in revenue stream. Gates, as in barriers. It seems pretty clear to me. My develpment firm is headed by Gill Bates. Breathe underwater, intimidate the competition.

Just a thought: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21708536)

Is Windows Vista just Windows ME 2.0?

Seems like it, really...

Enough with consumer abuses (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708538)

get information from consumers, claim rights to it and sell it back to them....seems to be what this article is promoting while using MS as a media to say it.

What happens when programming is done right and consumers can use an easier to use interface to create programs with, for themselves?

General automation is not difficult but wide scope capable [abstractionphysics.net]

Software innovation? (2, Insightful)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708554)

Bill Gates talking about software innovation is like George Bush talking about good government.

Customer satisfaction indec ... (2, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708624)

Mr. Gates: 'Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.'

Big news, given that the concept of 'customer satisfaction' has been embraced since decades, even by not exceptionally innovative companies (e.g. GM). Microsoft fails both in IT and 'customer satisfaction' [theacsi.org] (a related comment: Microsoft falls below the average in customer satisfaction survey [arstechnica.com] ).


Slow down there... (4, Interesting)

Jay L (74152) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708634)

Is the OP claiming that *developers* on open source projects, in general, have a better record of teamwork, interpersonal skills, and understanding end-user needs than *developers* on Microsoft projects? Man, I hate to be the one to stick up for Microsoft on Slashdot, but...

Much as Microsoft churns out a lot of junk, whenever I read their developer blogs, I'm always impressed by the amount of thought that goes into their design. Now, a lot of times their product teams go in the wrong direction, focus on the wrong things, get told not to fix something, or simply get hamstrung by their own legacy code. But to the extent that that reflects on the developers at all, it reflects on their design skills, not personal skills. And, frankly, most of the problem at Microsoft seems to be a management issue in the first place.

Meanwhile, a surprising number of open-source projects are led by one brilliant-but-eccentric guy who everyone tolerates because he invented the thing and he writes a lot of good code. Then, someday, another brilliant-but-eccentric guy joins the project, and a year later it forks, and they spend eternity sniping at each other on USENET, which nobody else reads anymore, while each claims to have plonked the other.

I'm having trouble remembering the last time I saw a lead Microsoft developer:

* Give a presentation featuring a "Fuck You" slide,
* Get indicted for killing his wife,
* Call his rivals idiots,
* Boot someone off a mailing list or forum,
etc. etc.

Let's face it - with a few notable exceptions, FOSS tends to attract zealous, dogmatic, fiercely independent people whose idea of good interpersonal communication usually involves a die with more than six sides and some Monty Python quotes.

Re:Slow down there... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709094)

Let's face it - with a few notable exceptions, FOSS tends to attract zealous, dogmatic, fiercely independent people whose idea of good interpersonal communication usually involves a die with more than six sides and some Monty Python quotes.
Sooo......Linux is the Ron Paul of the OS world?

Re:Slow down there... (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709386)

Sooo......Linux is the Ron Paul of the OS world?

Well, more of a Jonathon Sharkey [jonathonth...ent2008.us] ...

Re:Slow down there... (3, Insightful)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709818)

I'm having trouble remembering the last time I saw a lead Microsoft developer:

* Give a presentation featuring a "Fuck You" slide,
* Get indicted for killing his wife,
* Call his rivals idiots,
  • At Microsoft, it is the CEO who says "fuck you".
  • At Microsoft, it is the CEO who threatens to murder people. Possibly his claim that he has done so before is true... there was an odd death by ingestion of antifreeze which has not been satisfactorily investigated.
  • At Microsoft, only the CEO and his designated marketdroids are allowed to use such language in public.

So. Yeah. At the lead developer level, Microsoft might be reasonably civilized. That behavior does not extend up the ladder. So Microsoft might possibly be cured of its problems without affecting its software expertise with a simple headectomy.

He understands customers' needs? (1)

GenSec (870252) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708748)

Really? Then I'm sure Vista will get scrapped and we'll see Windows XP back on sale. Not that it was perfect, but at least it worked acceptably. For me personally, more so than the Mac I'm posting from. And I'll shut up now because I'm just venting my frustrations.

What is Bill Gates learning from open source? (1)

twasserman (878174) | more than 7 years ago | (#21708958)

In community open source projects, testing is left to the community after the developers do the best job they can to find and fix problems. Microsoft has apparently adopted this model, releasing early versions of their products so that users can find and report problems. They have extended that model to paid versions of the official releases, too, resulting in frequent Patch Tuesdays and massive Service Packs. Why pay for internal testers when you can get your customers to do it for you?

He's learned to attack it. Full stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21709102)

Bill Gates' paranoid and relentless attack of the open source community has been and will continue to be the most outrageous and unjustified persecution in history of an innocent group outside of the political sphere. He is to open source what Jack Thompson is to video games, what Senator Santorum is to homosexuals, what Joseph McCarthy was to innocent people he didn't like but could accuse of Communism.

Bill Gates, how about a big steaming cup of Leave Us The Fuck Alone to wash down your plate of Shut The Fuck Up?

The open source community doesn't want your shitty customer base, could care less about stealing your market share, is pursuing a completely different goal that is across the universe from yours. There is no competition and we do not want one. All we care about is freedom - the same freedom under which you conduct your monopoly in the shade of Democracy and Free Enterprise. The more you try to crush open source and technology freedom, the more we will fight back. Leave us alone and we'll mind our own business.

None of us would have any problem with you, if you didn't have such a huge, life-encompassing problem with us. At this point in the game, there is nothing left for us to do but pray for your early death, if you will not voluntarily end your reign of terror on electronic liberty.

Business Model versus Engineering (2, Insightful)

wan-fu (746576) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709110)

I think for Bill Gates, there are multiple ways to view open source. I'm pretty he doesn't find the idea of open source repulsive and I'm sure he understands there are many things to be learned from how OSS is developed, how communities are built around the software, etc. These are things he doesn't view as a threat to Microsoft but are things that he probably feels the company can learn from. After all, all engineers like learning new methods and understanding processes.

So what is it about OSS that Bill Gates dislikes so much? The business model. OSS threatens Microsoft via its business model and this is what he actively attempts to show as inferior to the closed-source way of doing things.

I think once this distinction between business model and engineering are taken into account, his views are relatively easy to understand.

Actions, not words (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709248)

Why is information like this even considered newsworthy? M$ is legendary for being full of hot air and then continuing on with business as usual. Now, if they were suddenly to start acting according to such words in a significant way, that would be different. Don't hold your breath, though.

talk the talk but not walk the walk (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709338)

He has learned the marketing spiele but nothing more. Their 'embrace, extend, extinguish' mentallity is still in full swing as open source products are threatening their family of products. Products such as Open Office, Firefox, Linux, MySQL, Apache, etc all are directly threatening the adoption and use of Microsoft products.

Aside from that, open standards are now being tauted and as such they more than anything threaten Microsoft who does not want standards to be open but want them to be closed and only available to Microsoft and owned by the Microsoft corporation.

So even though he may be saying things that sound like he gets it, he still has yet to show that he does; he fought the EU tooth and nail not to open up Windows API's. If he was so into being open, this would have been a no brainer.

wtf.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21709364)

'Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.'."
um. yea. i called BS on that

The Cathedral building metaphore is wrong (1)

imr (106517) | more than 7 years ago | (#21709374)

During the Cathedral building era, there were Cathedral builders who were heavily connected and shared openly their knowledge and there were some who kept them to themselves (mostly out of greed and power hunger). So you can use this metaphore for both proprietary and Free software.

As for the way to develop software, some free softwares are built in house with little connexions to the outside until it has reached some level of completion and some proprietary software are built with the same methods described as "bazaar" (for example, most game mods in the gaming communities).

It's all about the license and the rights you have or lose. The rest is mythos.

Bill's a Scrooge and won't share with anybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21709402)

Here's proof:
http://www.scroogeyourself.com/?id=1427196678 [scroogeyourself.com]

mod 30wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21709608)

Current corE were BUWLA, or BSD
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