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MS To Become Open Source Friendly Post Gates

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the certainly-possible dept.

Microsoft 424

ruphus13 writes "Now that Gates has 'retired' from Microsoft, ZDNet is speculating that Microsoft will become much more Open Source friendly. From the article, 'We already see quite a different approach to dealing with OSS and OSS companies from Sam Ramji's group [which is] doing a great job in establishing dialog,' said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange and a former marketing exec at SUSE Linux. 'With Gates' departure, the only mammoth remaining is Ballmer. With him away in a near future, Microsoft will definitely open up. They have to.'" Microsoft could become the world's largest open source company; they've certainly made some concessions to it lately.

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April Fools? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986603)

It's a little soon (or late depending) but Where are my ponies?

Re:April Fools? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986685)

Oh right, after rigging the ISO process with OOXML and their triumph over open standards [robweir.com] they're going to go open source? Balmer is still in charge and despite "retiring" Gates is still the executive chairman at Microsoft. There's no evidence of change -- this article is ridiculous.

So what would be evidence of change? Well, they'd need to move to an OSS compatible business model for starters but right now they're still mostly about selling boxes of software. They don't have a services-side in the same way that IBM do. They have some hardware -- the mouse/keyboard/peripherals sell well. The Xbox is about selling hardware below cost but they make it back in SDKs and licensing -- so they couldn't open that.

So there's actually very little of the company whose business model is compatible with open source licensing. That's where you'll see change, if it happens -- not in Bill Gates leaving Microsoft.

Re:April Fools? (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986737)

Oh right, after rigging the ISO process with OOXML and their triumph over open standards [robweir.com] they're going to go open source?

Well, despite all the effort they put into getting OOXML approved, they will (theoretically) implement ODF in the next version of Office.

Imaginary Support (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987045)

In theory, M$ Office has support for Word Perfect. In reality, M$ Office does not support M$ Office and this is why OOXML is such a mess. The kind of support they are talking about is just another weapon to them. The sum of their anti-competitive efforts against others is something that does not work for their own customers.

IBM, Sun and others have made real moves to free software. M$ does not have the technical expertise or confidence to do the same. As Steve Ballmer said back in 1995 [time.com] :

"It doesn't matter if we bang our heads and fail," says Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's executive V.P. for sales and service. "We keep right on banging and banging and banging and banging and banging."

You can translate that as they don't care if something does not work for you and you don't want it, they are going to shove it on you anyway. There's nothing new here [slashdot.org] and no change should be expected.

Re:Imaginary Support (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987175)

Calling Microsoft "M$", or microshaft, or microshit pretty much destroys any credibility your argument has.

Re:April Fools? (1)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987119)

[quote]"implement ODF" [/quote] oh yes but 1.1 the buggy version and NOT the current 1.2

Re:April Fools? (3, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986937)

In addition, and I'm just paraphrasing a video I saw of "Maddog" Hall talking, their business model and the ecology of companies(i.e. the VAR channels) are incompatible with them selling services. In they did start selling services, they'd have one hell of an advantage and would be pissing off all the people who help to sell, install and maintain their software. So they're pretty darn invested in just selling those boxes. Piss off the VARs and there's a world of free software for those VARs to switch to.

Business model and revenue (5, Insightful)

Herby Sagues (925683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987177)

They will certainly have to adopt the open source business model and make money by selling low margin services without any moat or competitive advantage, instead of selling highly demanded software programs on which they have a monopoly with obscene operatring margins. If they do it right, one day they will make as much money as Red Hat! http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=RHT&annual [yahoo.com] Hey, wait, they ARE making as much money in one day as red hat makes (in a year)!

Mod parent up! (2, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986959)

From the article: "... the only mammoth remaining is Ballmer."

You can certainly tell the mindset of the article author, Paula Rooney, and the person who was quoted, Rafael Laguna. Their idea is that it is entirely acceptable and useful to call Ballmer a "mammoth". As in "woolly mammoth" who will go extinct soon, I suppose.

It makes a far better contribution toward showing why Microsoft's management policies should be disrespected if there is some logical substance to what is said.

In my opinion, both Gates and Ballmer make money by being aggressive. That's what they know. That's how Microsoft has made most of its money, by taking advantage of the fact that most of the customers 13 years ago had little understanding of the computer systems they used. They established closed file formats. The managed using the policy of "embrace, extend, extinguish".

Their business management emphasis is away from making money by contributing something positive. For example, Windows Vista is little more than another version of Windows XP that has been modified to require more CPU power so that Microsoft's principal customers, the manufacturers, will be able to sell more powerful computers.

Quote from the parent: "Oh right, after rigging the ISO process with OOXML and their triumph over open standards [robweir.com] they're going to go open source?"

MOD PARENT UP!

Re:April Fools? (5, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986977)

I suspect they will follow the customers and the money.

So there's actually very little of the company whose business model is compatible with open source licensing.

As they watch their pie slice shrink and then shrink rapidly as open source get a solid foothold, they will have little choice.

I prefer legal software. In comparing licenses, the one that permits legal installation on all the machines in my home vs a one license one machine restriction, a slightly differing interface becomes easy to trade to reject BSA threats.

MS will have to effectively compete, sue like crazy, or shrink.

They are attempting to compete and lock-in, but are failing while OSS expands. It's not just the Unix servers in the target zone anymore. The battle for the desktop is beginning.

Re:April Fools? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987157)

Um.. Open Source friendly doesn't mean changing to an OSS business model. They are competing in with open source software, why should MS play nice? If you don't think EVERY DAMN BUSINESS is about making money and driving out competition, then you're clearly delusional.

Every company cannot give away software and make money off support. Even redhat doesnt give away their enterprise branded linux for free. (i dont mean fedora, and not every person cares about the source code)

Even if MS did give away all of their products for free and charged like hell for support, everyone here will be up in arms about how they purposely make their software defective so people will need support. (nice bait placed here to make fun about how their software is already defective.. LOLZZZ) .. ok last part was a rant but other things are true.

Re:April Fools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987207)

Um.. Open Source friendly doesn't mean changing to an OSS business model. They are competing in with open source software, why should MS play nice? If you don't think EVERY DAMN BUSINESS is about making money and driving out competition, then you're clearly delusional.

You're contradicting yourself ... for your idea to be correct you'd need to be open source friendly and not have a business model that benefits from it. Of course they want to benefit from it monetarily, as you say, but you think that they will be OSS friendly without having a business model to benefit from it? Ridiculous, like your inconsistent and delusional post.

It's like this every year. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986695)

They are always becoming friendlier but somehow never quit the full frontal assault. Their arsenal includes a full spectrum of technical sabotage, PR, legal threats on top of ordinary competition. If this is a joke, I'm tired of hearing it.

Re:It's like this every year. (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986753)

...legal threats...

I am still waiting for that list of 235 patents.

Re:It's like this every year. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987133)

Ask Bruce Perens, that's who Ballmer got the number from.

Re:It's like this every year. (3, Funny)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987139)

it has been so long that i forgot about those 235 patents

In related news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986605)

Nazis to become Pro-Jew post Hitler.

Christians to become Pro-Reason post Apocalypse.

KKK to become Pro-Black post Hanging.

Re:In related news... (-1, Redundant)

Erbo (384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986897)

And Hell freezes over. Don't believe it? Ask those flying pigs over there...

Re:In related news... (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987061)

Nazis to become Pro-Jew post Hitler.

That's not as stupid as it sounds.

Re:In related news... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987091)

Christians to become Pro-Reason post Apocalypse.

I know that this post was sarcastic and that the collective slashdot crowd is generally anti-Christian, but the sweeping generalizations are getting old.

Repeat after me:

Just because some Christians (albeit a very vocal group) seem to fear science/reason, doesn't mean that all Christians do (see biased sample [nizkor.org] , Composition [nizkor.org] , hasty generalization [nizkor.org] , and Straw Man [nizkor.org] fallacies).

Re:In related news... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987111)

Too bad there isn't a +1, Redundant...

Re:In related news... (0, Troll)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987213)

I have the same reaction when an adult say he's a Christian and when an adult says he believes in Santa. After that their opinion on science or anything else is quite moot to say the least.

System complexity driving OSS? (4, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986611)

I have to wonder if the complexity of modern software is part of the big reason driving OSS, it would seem to me as our systems get faster, we can increase the complexity of our programs ad infintum, and at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986665)

...at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

So, you're saying that in the future, all programmes will be written in perl?

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987127)

That is like casting perl before the sWINE.

Seriously, though. I wonder how these people get their CEO-ships considering that they like to pull stuff out of their ass and preach it like it's the most thoughtful and insightful wisdom. I seriously hope they don't make analysis for their business like this one. What is the evidence that Gates is the only roadblock to open source? If anything, I think Steve "MonkeyBoy" Ballmer is worse than Gates.

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987137)

...one line of PERL!

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986723)

It seems to me that the only people making things large and unwieldy are large closed source software companies (like MS, but others exist), that believe they have to be the be-all-and-end-all, the "one software company to bind them all", that they end up creating giant monstrosities like Vista. Open source, or at least, the Linux way, is to keep things simple. Do one thing and do it well. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Realize that it's OK if somebody wants to use some other competing software product. Just because our computers are fast, and they do lots of stuff, it doesn't mean that we have to make it complicated.

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (5, Insightful)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987221)

Very insightful. I think this can be boiled down to:

Businesses write closed-source software that becomes monolithic and unmanageable because they need to add features to remain competitive in a market.

Open-source software stays small and relatively manageable (I'm sure the Linux kernel is still a bitch to sift through, as nice as it is compared to the Windows kernel) because developers know that if their code becomes unmanageable, they aren't going to be paid to manage it.

Plus, I think it's got something to do with being available to the public. I mean, if there was a giant billboard over your head that counted how many days it's been since you last brushed your teeth, would you skip it as often as you do?

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986777)

I have to wonder if the complexity of modern software is part of the big reason driving OSS, it would seem to me as our systems get faster, we can increase the complexity of our programs ad infintum, and at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

Personally I thought that with increased complexity you'd want more coordination and centralized control, not less. With the OSS philosophy and bazaar model a lot influenced by "do one task well", cross-integration is usually poor. Like say building a great e-mail application and a great calendar application but neglecting how these work together to function well. I guess it depends on what you're looking at but at least in the software I see making that kind of modular approach with lasting interfaces and replacable modules would be a huge undertaking, compared to just saying that in version X.1 we change this interface slightly on both sides.

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (2, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986929)

I guess it depends on what you're looking at but at least in the software I see making that kind of modular approach with lasting interfaces and replacable modules would be a huge undertaking,

Have you ever looked at DBUS [freedesktop.org] ?

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986981)

also it is worth looking into what the kde team is doing, they are going a long way to tie all of their apps together. one example is that all of the keyboard shortcuts can be customized from one menu. just my 2c

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987095)

Personally I thought that with increased complexity you'd want more coordination and centralized control, not less.

So did the former Soviet Union. Why do you believe that coordination requires centralizedcontrol?

Re:System complexity driving OSS? (4, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987209)

As software modules get larger, eventually they split into separate modules. As hardware evolves much of the functionality of the driver moved into firmware eg. hard disk drives and graphics cards.

The problem is that proprietary OS vendors don't have the resources to write drivers for every piece of consumer hardware. Microsoft relies on the hardware vendors to do this themselves, while the OSS community can do this providing the hardware specifications are freely available.

Anyone else really loses out, because they don't have the financial resources to pay for entire teams of programmers to do this, and the hardware vendors can't afford development kits for every different piece of hardware.

The only alternative solution is for there to be a standard device driver file format - NDISwrapper is one way of achieving this.

Speculation means nothing (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986615)

I'll believe it when I see it and not a moment before. With Microsoft's record anything short of unequivocal action should be treated with absolute scepticism.

Re:Speculation means nothing (2, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986779)

I find it questionable to believe that Microsoft would have any reason to support open source. According to Microsoft sales people (not very reliable, but only figures I care to research), Vista has sold millions of copies, providing Microsoft with massive amounts of revenue. Most of Vista sales are in the form OEM agreements, where microsoft continues to utilize its effective monopoly over the market in order to push a product that most people do not want, need, or are even ready to accommodate.

Could it be that microsoft has spent most of its monopolistic capital pushing vista that they now need to seriously consider alternative routes? This is a serious question because I am in no position to where microsoft really stands in the market post vista melt down.

Re:Speculation means nothing (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987107)

Probably not. It will be clearer in ~12 months, but even if there is a significant drop in revenue for this year (they increased "client" revenues in 2007, client is how they report the majority of OS sales), it will be muddled by the current overall economic issues.

Re:Speculation means nothing (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987053)

Microsoft will definitely open up.

Or close down. I know which I'd prefer.

Ha ha ha ha (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986625)

Ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha
(catches breath)
Ha ha ha
...

Re:Ha ha ha ha (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987191)

You must not be new here ;)

And I have this bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986629)

If you believe this, I have a great price on a bridge for you. Anyone working on Open Source should watch carefully for the knife aimed at your back, as the "friendly" MS squirms up to you waving an olive branch of peace.

Re:And I have this bridge for sale (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986957)

I was actually looking for swampland. Might you have some nice swampland for sale? Something with a great view?

Re:And I have this bridge for sale (1)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987143)

Yeah, and it has a castle on it, built four times over! Move-in ready!

The only way for MS to be open source friendly... (2, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986643)

is if Ballmer and the Gates people are no longer at the top. And that ain't gonna happen.

MSFT free of Gates/Ballmer sooner than you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986769)

Gates is out; they are half way there. The other half will take care of itself.

Ballmer will be toast unless he gets Yahoo at a fire sale price. As it stands today, he probably won't get it at all. The solution will be to force the deal by overpaying. Not that I have any sympathy for the guy, but he is being set up to fail.

 

Re:MSFT free of Gates/Ballmer sooner than you thin (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986895)

My point was that Ballmer obviously set up people he trusted below him. And you know how this goes.

Re:MSFT free of Gates/Ballmer sooner than you thin (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986997)

I'm just not seeing Ballmer as being actually qualified for the job. When he was put in place, I really thought it was a temporary measure to try to strong-arm internal departments through bullying. them, but he's been in place so long that I'm either completely underestimating him, or someone has plans for him that are yet to come to fruition.

Just means a quicker death... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986653)

This just means captured FOSS advocates won't be tortured before being executed.

remember the OLD IBM? (4, Insightful)

phrostie (121428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986671)

the term, FUD originated with IBM, not Microsoft.
so i won't say it can't happen, but i'm not holding my breath either

Developers developers developers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986699)

Developers developers developers developers developers

Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.

Balmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986711)

Is Balmer still there? Then I say BS.

Re:Balmer? (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986721)

WARNING! Incoming chairs detected!

Re:Balmer? (2, Funny)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987147)

Just when are we going to have a Steve Ballmer/Bob Knight chair throwing contest?

it won't be a bad thing to have an Open Windows (4, Funny)

Icy_Infinity (1313035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986725)

i would just love the day when i can just go to an MS website click a link download windows and be installing it when in minutes with out spending a dime.

it could happen and very like will here's how:

Microsoft has its fingers is A-LOT of things (X box, Zune, Internet Services) just cut one of them off:
Windows, windows should be open source just the OS that way with proper guidance from the whole things like security bug ans flaws in the code will be ironed out in no time.

its other applications could be rolled into its internet services (see google docs). and then Windows would be separate from MS and, MS could go about making money and forget about the OS market which is too unstable and Unwieldy. they like to say that they'll support there software LOL yea right if your pay extra and that ISN'T support
support wouldn't be needed if there wouldn't be problems with your software and there wouldn't be problems if every one could just look at it and fix it.

Also if JUST windows the OS and only the OS was made open source they could say goodbye to the Department of Justice for good and there anti-trust lawsuit woes would be over. Its kinda hard to have a monopoly when your not REALLY making money from it. (donations wouldn't count, but heck they probably wouldn't get one for awhile as many peeps as they have pissed off heh)
Also pirates would become a non-issue when your just giving away your stuff for free they won't be pirates any more.

I have one requests of Sam Ramji PLEASE make this world a better place and make your life much easier by spinning off the Windows OS into an open source organization, please.

P.S. There is a reason why Firefox stomps IE and That's because WE made it good - Windows can be good too if you let us (the end users) make it that way

Re:it won't be a bad thing to have an Open Windows (3, Funny)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987017)

Dude, if Microsoft open sources anything, it will probably be "Bob".

I suppose... (5, Funny)

taupin (1047372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986763)

... Microsoft _could_ become the world's largest open-source company...
... Apple _could_ become the world's largest producer of low-cost laptops...
... China _could_ become the world's largest anarchy (by population) ...
... Jupiter _could_ turn out to be the solar system's second Sun...
... Hell _could_ freeze over...

Yeah right (4, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986767)

Ballmer has a severe case of verbal diarrhea, so we know how he feels about open source software. "Open source is a cancer...", "Linux infringes on over 200 Microsoft patents" (as-yet undisclosed patents, I might add). I can only see Microsoft going Open Source when they finally glue Ballmer's hand to a chair. Then he'll follow it out the window when he throws it.

OpenSource friendly? (1, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986789)

I will believe it when I see it, with microsoft's track record during its entire existence I wont hold my breath, respect and trust is something that must be earned and not given out like halloween candy, lets see them actually change = not with lip service and press-release/FUD, I want to see real change...

Skepticism aside... (2, Interesting)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986795)

How many would actually embrace an open source Windows, extend the code, and extinguish the bugs?

Re:Skepticism aside... (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986871)

lots of people would drop linux like a hot potato if windows had the same level of openess. face it, windows is the standard and has all the vendor support and all the market share. if it was open, linux wouldn't have much of a reason to live.

Re:Skepticism aside... (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986969)

lots of people would drop linux like a hot potato if windows had the same level of openess.

Yeah, because somehow, if it suddenly were open source, it would stop being retarted (read: inconsistent and unsafe for general use) ? I somehow doubt that.

Re:Skepticism aside... (5, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987135)

Lots of people would spend the better part of a year reading and rewriting code. By the end of that year, wine would be nearly complete, Windows and Linux would support each other's binaries (probably with a patch to the linux kernel, as I'm sure Linus wouldn't include it with that little testing). and the more broken part of Windows would be fixed. It's hard to tell whether XOrg would include Windows code, or whether they'd fork off another project to support the API. The windows code would fragment into dozens of distros, almost immediately. Of these, maybe a couple would last longer than a half year. There would be lots of interpretations of how to fix or change the windows code to bring it more inline with the linux philosophy. Eventually, I think most people would come to accept Windows as a separate end-product, but that wouldn't stop some people from working on combining them.

It would be a couple of years before the first solid Linux distros started shipping which included support for Windows programs (and actually worked)

Re:Skepticism aside... (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987189)

I agree this would wipe out Linux, provided it is "open" in such a way that popular changes can be added to the "main distribution". What will then happen is full Unix compatibility, by default, will be added to the kernel, probably so fast it will make Ballmer's head spin, such as within weeks.

Unix compatibility, not "freedom" and/or "stick it to Microsoft", is the real reason Linux is popular. This change will delete Linux's advantage. After that I think Linux is doomed, except it is possible that the easiest way to fix Windows would be to replace the kernel with Linux. Still the user space stuff (KDE/Gnome/X) is going to be abandoned. Some Linux ideas will probably be saved (/proc, fuse, some of the file systems). One Unix thing that is sure to disappear is mounting as an application, the drivers will be able to cause their device to appear in the filename space themselves.

Re:Skepticism aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986911)

I assume that if MS decided to "open" the Windows and/or Visual Studio code bases, they'd start by using the Shared Source license, except perhaps for stuff that they deemed legacy or non-critical. They wouldn't want to have to deal with competition on their own source code base from outside vendors and volunteer projects.

Even this step would make Windows much friendlier to outside developers, which would be win-win. So I wouldn't be totally surprised to see MS move in this direction. A couple things may make them hold back: 1) various legal concerns, including deals they may have made to get parts of the code in the first place, and sorting out what to do about all the patents MS has covering this stuff; and 2) the likelihood that any really good ideas they have in there could be studied and replicated by competing projects and OS's, including Linux.

Re:Skepticism aside... (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987051)

Thats interesting and I have an hypothetical question for you:

Being the case that Microsoft applies a new business model and gives away Windows for free/"free" JUST if you buy the Office suite.. I mean, buy Office 2011 and get Windows 7 for free, Would you buy it and use it?

If Windows turns Open Source, can Linux use parts of the Windows kernel to patch hardware issues? Is this possible?

Re:Skepticism aside... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987185)

I mean, buy Office 2011 and get Windows 7 for free, Would you buy it and use it?

No. Do you know how much Office costs? I could buy a laptop for that much.

Windows 7 is going to have to be a radical transformation (you know, like Vista only in the direction of "better") for me to even consider using it. By then (then being 2012 or whenever it will actually ship), I doubt there will be anything that you could do with Windows that couldn't be done as well or better on Linux. Heck, right now that list only includes games and very little else.

Besides if Microsoft totally turns it around and produces a lean, mean, sleek OS... and it could happen... Windows 7 will still be shackled with tremendous amounts of rights-infringing, temper-shortening, interoperability-breaking, freedom-restricting functionality.

I mean, if Vista worked perfectly today, i.e., no bugs, including being as fast or faster than XP in all it does, I still wouldn't have a reason use it. Would you?

Re:Skepticism aside... (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987153)

Oh please. Windows wouldn't work if you removed the bugs!

Why would they open up? (3, Insightful)

shadylookin (1209874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986809)

why would MS open source their software? If they open source it that means it can be ported and people will be more likely to leaving windows if they can use their windows apps on another operating system. Open source code does nothing to benefit MS especially when 99.99% of their customers don't even know what source code is. Sure it would be nice, but I just don't think it stands a snowballs chance in hell.

Re:Why would they open up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986917)

why not? They cunningly figured out that they can still control the market with patents, so they can be as open as they feel like.

Re:Why would they open up? (2, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987109)

If they open source it that means it can be ported and people will be more likely to leaving windows if they can use their windows apps on another operating system.

Good point -- it would one hell of a Wine release when they can add a full layer of Windows functionality on demand. When you can run every single Windows app on a stable, secure FREE OS, suddenly Windows doesn't seem like such a necessary evil anymore. Of course, access to the Windows source would also mean that eventually Windows drivers could be natively supported on any other OS.

Open source could hurt Microsoft long term. (3, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986817)

Microsoft embracing open source would allow it to hurt them in the short term too. Remember how tolerable XP was? Well open source hacker A has made XP no longer need online registration. XP is free now! So is every Microsoft product. Maybe if the first hack everyone did wasn't to make the software free, companies may think about open sourcing their software to get a superior product in the long term. And you know what the second hack would be: Halo 3 cheats. With the whole code open to look through, cheating video games gets easy.

*CRASH* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986835)

That was the sound of millions of chairs crying out... and being suddenly silenced.

Yeah... (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986849)

Because with their CEO, Steve Ballmer, calling OSS cancer, I can really see Gates's departure as allowing the company to become more involved in OSS. Involved in trying to derail it, perhaps.

Is it April already? (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986873)

I hear Ballmer is really into poniez.

"Not Invented Here" (4, Insightful)

NotInfinitumLabs (1150639) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986875)

Microsoft would first have to get over its "Not Invented Here" syndrome. One of the things that has driven Microsoft to try and achieve domination over all things software is the belief that everything they shit out is GOLD, they can do it better than everyone else, and the other guys's stuff is crap and deserves to fail. They pretty much believe that they're the center of the computing universe. Opening up and embracing FOSS would mean that other people are LOOKING AT and TOUCHING their code, submitting PATCHES, who do these people THINK they ARE?! This is high-quality Microsoft code, mister! Keep your grubby hands off of it! Oh god, I feel so unclean, the stink won't come off!!

Bitch, bitch, bitch (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23986877)

Microsoft could give each open source developer a wheel barrow filled with gold and they would bitch about having to push it to the car. Why does anyone post any MS related article on /.? I just love it when MS is compared to the Nazi party and Bill Gates is called Hitler. It is as clear an indication as any just how out of touch the Open Source community is. Hitler murdered over 6 million people and Bill Gates ran a software company...? I am not seeing the comparison.

Re:Bitch, bitch, bitch (-1, Troll)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987003)

Shut up, Melinda.

Say it with me, everyone... (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986879)

It's [youtube.com] a [itsatrap.net] trap! [youtube.com]

I see a trend here (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986891)

Let's see - at this point we've got 20 comments that basically say "we don't believe anything Microsoft says" and one guy that's still sucking his thumb. I think maybe the majority have a valid point here...

Shareholders (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986903)

Bill Gates has left the campus but he still owns a large number of shares. About 857,499,336, says Yahoo Finance.

Microsaur stock is still a good value with over 80% of the market using its products. The shareholders are not interested in ideals that don't create stock value.

El Presidente Generalisimo Lanzero de SillÃnes Ballmero (408,252,990 shares) represents these people. He's the kind of leader that the shareholders want... They just wish he wasn't such an embarrassment. (As erratic and blustery as Khrushchev, but dances like a monkey instead of banging his shoe on the table.)

If the company can cut costs by having individual software enthusiasts give away bug fixes to Microsaur on the company's terms, of course they will do that... and call it "open source".

Not if Ballmer is still at the helm (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986951)

If he's gone, we can see what happens. Until then, no, its not going to happen as they are still at war with everyone else on the software planet. Especially OSS.

Re:Not if Ballmer is still at the helm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987035)

It sounds like a bad film.

"Chair-Throwing Monkeyboy vs. the Free World."

here's the justification in the article... (2, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986963)

'There is no doubt that Microsoft has no choice but to acknowledge that the closed development model for building software doesn't work any more.'

Their reasoning is circular. It will happen because it will happen and they have no choice but to acknowledge it.

An incredibly flimsy argument at best.

Well... (1)

T3Tech (1306739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986975)

I for one welcome our new evil Open Source friendly Microsoft overlords.

I think they'll do it... well sortof (2, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986987)

I think Microsoft will end up announcing that Vista will be free for non-commercial use.

They wont release the source code but Windows will end up being free. They spread enough FUD that it wouldn't be hard to to convince a lot of people that free=open source. But better than open source because you don't have to set-up complex compilers and development environments you just need the binaries (yes i know but its FUD remember). Better because it stops someone inserting malicious code into the source.. the usual FUD.

They sell Windows to schools so cheap just to stop Linux getting much of a foothold anyway that giving it away wont make that much difference. They'll still charge for Vista Ultimate/Pro/Uber-bloat or whatever its called but tie it in with online services.. for a small monthly fee. Vista for free and get Office/their gaming gaming thing/online media services for $15 per month.

Microsoft competes for Brainpower (5, Insightful)

et764 (837202) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986989)

I feel like Microsoft has taken some important steps towards playing nice with Open Source, and encouraging interoperability. Some examples include projects like IronPython, the WIX Installer tools, the fact that Silverlight actually supports at least one non-Windows platform, and the extremely detailed communications protocol documents recently released on MSDN. Sure, part of this has been for legal compliance reasons, and it turns out customers value things like interoperability.

I think there's a subtler reason that will become more apparent in the coming years. Microsoft needs to hire new employees if it wants to stay relevant, and it competes with the likes of Google and others for these new hires. It also happens that probably the very best college candidates are the ones that have contributed to open source projects. These are the students that went beyond what their curriculum required of them, and showed the drive to understand and contribute to a real-world project on their spare time. This kind of experience is valuable in a new hire, but many of them would be turned off by an anti open source attitude and look for more open source-friendly employers. In other words, to attract the best young minds (which is crucial to Microsoft's long term success), Microsoft is going to have to become much more friendly to open source projects.

Do You Really Want MS Programmers... (2, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23986993)

Working on Linux?

Re:Do You Really Want MS Programmers... (3, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987149)

I would love to see MS programmers working on Linux, they would be freed of the crippling bureaucratic management that has done nothing but reduce their efforts to a thick, oily, billowing cloud of pure FAIL rolling across the fields of technology.

I worked with an ex-Microsoftie who'd been part of the NT kernel and SQL Server teams and he was incredibly knowledgeable and really sharp. I'm sure Microsoft has its share of loser programmers, but they are far outweighed by its loser management which is drenched with the stink of FAIL all the way to its chair-throwing. triple-Y chromosomed, chrome-domed top.

Ever been to MS Research? They are on to some really cool stuff. Too bad all the neat stuff they make never makes it into a shipping product, because it doesn't further upper management's goals of tyranny and world domination. Remember, the user experience is irrelevant to management, it's all about lock-in and unfair competition. If it was about making a better product, Vista would still be in development.

They only embrace to kill (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987039)

They will only become involved with open source insofar as it suits their ends (At minimum) and dilutes or destroys open source software as a category of human endeavour.

They are not to be trusted. Proof? Bob.

RS

Re:They only embrace to kill (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987043)

not that bob was open source, but that it was a POS beyond human imagining, but it was a boondogle tht served them. Until it didn't.

has done more?! (-1, Troll)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987067)

"Bill Gates has done more to create the thriving computer industry than anybody else"?!

The computer industry was thriving just fine. In fact, the Windows monopoly and the PC-clone industry has, most probably, prevented a lot of technological advances from seeing the light of day.

Do we all use the same x86 instruction set because it's superior to anything else? No. We use it _because_ just about every computer is built to run Windows. And it happens to run on x86s.

Prior to the ecological disaster that the PC-clone market was, there was a thriving industry producing a vast variety of different computers. While then we had Crays and Connection Machines, now we build our supercomputers out of PC parts because anything else has to be custom built.

So... That's what a thriving industry looks like.

We already won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987081)

"If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won." â" Linus Torvalds

Which of course is bullshit (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987089)

MS has to get away from code as product altogether. No one cares what's open and what's not in the business market world. Look to MS to buy Amazon or eBay.

Yeah, not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987101)

To sum all up of the above sarcasm, cynicism, ranting, etc: Wishful thinking.

looking towards the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987117)

Slightly off topic, but with the expectation that MS will become more open source friendly, who will be the next boogeyman here on /.?

Here is my take... (1)

Osrin (599427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987131)

... it really has nothing to do with Gates moving on, MS learning how to understand OSS and work with it has been happening for a while.

http://osrin.net/2008/06/im-a-believer/ [osrin.net]

Green envy and spam (4, Funny)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987141)

First posted in 2002 : What's the Business Case for Microsoft and Open Source? [slashdot.org]
Green envy and spam [slashdot.org]

With apologies to Dr "Suse", to the tune of "Green Eggs and Ham".

Linux can. Linux can. Use Linux.

That Linux can! That Linux can! I do not like that Linux can!

Do you like open sourcing plan?

I do not like that Linux can. I do not like the open sourcing plan.

Would you like to free source share?

I would not like to free source share. I would not like it anywhere. I do not like open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

Would you like it very stable? Would you like it to enable?

I do not like it very stable. I do not like it to enable. I do not like to free source share. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like the open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

Would you use it in a X-Box? Would you use it if it ROCKS?

Not on X-box. Not if it rocks. Not if very stable. Not to enable. I would not let them free source share. I would not let them anywhere. I would not allow open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

Would you? Could you? In your biz? Use it! Use it! Here it is.

I would not, could not, in our biz.

You may like it. You will see. You may like it if it's free!

I would not, could not if its free. Not in our biz! It should never be!

I do not like it on the X-box. I do not like it that it rocks. I do not like it amongst our biz. I do not like it that it is. I do not like they free source share. I do not like that anywhere. I do not like that Linux can. I do not like you Linux man!

service! service! service! service! Could you, would you, as a service?

Not as a service! Not if it's free! Not in my biz! Man! Let not it be! I would not, could not, on a X-box. I could not, would not, if it rocks. I will not use it if its stable. I will not use it even to enable. I will not let them free source share. I will not let them anywhere. I do not like open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

Say! if in copyleft? always free copyleft! Would you, could you, copyleft?

I would not, could not, in copyleft.

Would you, could you, why so nervous?

I would not, could not, I'm NOT nervous. Not as copyleft. Not as a service. Not in my biz. Not if it's free. I do not like that it can, you see. Not if it's stable. Not on X-box. Not to enable. Not if it rocks. I will not let them free source share. I do not like it anywhere!

You do not like open sourcing plan?

I do not like that Linux can.

Could you, would you use what we wrote?

I would not, could not, use what you wrote!

Would you, could you, to avoid your bloat?

I could not, would not, avoid bloat. I will not, will not, use what you wrote. I will not compete with them as a service. I will not because it makes us nervous. Not in our biz! Not if it's free! Not if it is! You let me be! I do not like it on the X-Box. I do not like it that it Rocks. I will not use it if it's stable. I do not like that it does enable. I do not like they free source share. I do not like it ANYWHERE I do not like open sourcing plan!I do not like that, Linux can.

You do not like it. So you say. Try it! Try it! And you may. Try it and you may, I say.

Man! If you will let me be, I will try it. You will see.

Say! I like open sourcing plan! I do! I like that, Linux can! And I would use it because it's stable. And I could use it to enable...

And I could charge for providing a service. And I could copyleft without being nervous. And in my biz. And still source free. For you can still charge for a service fee!

So I will use it on the networked X-box. And I will promote it because it ROCKS. And I will use it because it's stable. And I will use it to enable.

And I will use it here and there. Say! I can use it ANYWHERE!

I do so like open sourcing plan! Thank you! Thank you, Linux man!

By The Cat with the Red Hat

Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23987197)

This has to be the most idiotic response I've ever read.

More open-source friendly? Let me know when I can buy an open-source xbox360 with custom firmware so I can run linux on it.

Thanks!

Of course (2, Funny)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987203)

Cuz we all know that Bill Gates was at the forefront, standing fast on the thin red line between Microsoft and the open source hordes. Now that he's out of the way, I'm sure there'll be no other obstacles.

Saturday night humor (1)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987215)

Wanna see something funny?
hardware specs page [myopenrouter.com] .....

rriiiiiiggghhhhtttt clearly open source. we'll know exactly how to use this.

"They have to" (4, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23987217)

That's Internet Bubble talk.

There's still no definitive evidence that there's a viable business model in an open source, software only company.

Most profitable "open source" companies are in the closed hardware business and just use Linux inside.

It's still an open question whether traditional companies who buy open source companies like MySQL will ever see their investment pay off. What is the balance sheet for Sun with respect to Star/Open Office?

If you had inside information that MS was going to make all their products open source, that would be a great time to sell the stock short.

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