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Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the could-be-the-largest-free-software-vendor dept.

Microsoft 425

Penguinisto writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand their Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to 'Shared Source') interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community." (We mentioned the announced support for the Apache Foundation earlier today, as well.)

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425 comments

The Devil must be pissed off (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342355)

He doesn't like cold.

Re:The Devil must be pissed off (1)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342751)

Yeah, the think they are realising it is not the time to be isolationist.

Does a leopard every change its spots?

So, in a great repeat of history, how long before we see the "embrace and extend" policy make a quick return?

Did hell freeze over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342359)

Either that or I am dead.

The Mayans were wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342375)

The end of the world happens in 2008, not 2112.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (5, Funny)

Faylone (880739) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342479)

Hey, Duke Nukem Forever still isn't out. It's not the end of the world YET.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342655)

Mark my words. Duke Nukem Forever will ship within the next calendar year. Prey went from vaporware to shipping. People have recently seen and played Duke Nukem Forever. 3D Realms is actually going to ship it.

However, we can always mock the Phantom Console, which will never ship.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (5, Funny)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342557)

The Mayans never claimed the world would end. They only claimed their funky calendar would run out of days.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342671)

I thought the interpretation was that 2012 was just the end of era, not necessarily some Armageddon.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (3, Informative)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342711)

yes, but they had no era defined for what happened next. similar to the y2k or y2038 problem, their particular system ran out of room for the digits necessary to describe what happened next.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342841)

The Mayans never claimed the world would end. They only claimed their funky calendar would run out of days.

Actually, they didn't do that, either. A rollover of a particular long cycle in the Long Count calendar occurs then, and its one that has correspondence to an end of a previous creation recorded in their myth (the last 5 numbers of the date are the same, and only those last 5 numbers are recorded, which was apparently fairly common practice), from which various New Age folks invented the idea that Maya Calendar prediced the end of the world on December 21, 2012. There are, in fact, specific predictions made in some Maya writings of predicted future events clearly within this creation on dates in the Long Count that would post-date December 21, 2012, so its pretty clear that if such a belief in the end of the creation on 12.19.19.17.19 existed (for which there is, AFAIK, not one bit of evidence), it certainly wasn't universal.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342649)

The end of the world happens in 2008

More probably, 2007 was The Year of the Linux Desktop. The Asus eeePC showed that the Linux desktop is a perfectly viable business proposition, at the same time that Windows Vista flopped in the market.

Microsoft isn't defeated yet, but they are certainly doing a strategic retreat. You can be quite sure they will do their best effort to regroup and counterattack, but at this moment no one can deny that free software is advancing.

Re:The Mayans were wrong (4, Interesting)

darkfire5252 (760516) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342855)

Here's a repost from the last time Microsoft did something OSS friendly, I'd love to get feedback from the idea:

Microsoft is often accused of pissing off their user base and risking corporate and government conversions to competitors due to them continually trying to create vendor lock-in. Here's an idea that sounds like the absolute worst thing (from MS's point of view), but I'm starting to think it is the most profitable thing that MS could do, and would guarantee MS's future prosperity in a way that nothing else could:

Make MS products open source. MS faces the most competition in the markets dominated by elite users such as computer science majors and the like, so why not join the competition? If that were to happen, MS would instantly gain thousands of pro-bono security reviewers, feature implementers, etc.; they'd have all the benefits that open source projects have. I would bet anything that a team (it would be wise for MS to start it) would form to port MS operating systems onto the Linux kernel. ODF would be written into all Office apps, and the best part is that MS would stand to lose nothing. The open source environment has a way of coalescing around the most mature applications. How many OpenOffice developers would love nothing more than to work all the features they love about OO into Office? If MS truly GPL'd their software, they would gain unstoppable momentum. Developers, developers, developers!

I know, I know, here's the obvious reason this would never work: MS doesn't want to give away their software. The kicker is, people would buy the packaged and supported official OS, even if they could roll their own for free. Look at the Red Hat business model; corporations and other large entities want support, and they want a large company holding their hand and telling them that it will be OK. My parents aren't going to download tarballs and compile Vista because the majority of people will happily pay for convenience. OK, so other people can roll their own MS based packages and try to sell them, you say? MS has the most brand-awareness that has ever existed. Ubuntu's Ubunista (now with Office 2007 and Exchange!) will not out sell Microsoft's CollabOS, because people will buy what they know best. The media hype around the decision will leave the average user with the thought that MS has done something to make their product even greater, not with the thought that they can now go to someone they've never heard about and buy MS Office.

It seems to me that MS would retain the majority of their customers, be given the labor that would transform their products into the best software that exists for free, gain market share in the tech crowd as their products mature, and steal developers from their OSS competitors. All at the same time. What am I missing here?

Keep off the cynicism... (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342399)

Maybe they finally got tired of being wrong. This is surprisingly clueful behaviour, and should be encouraged.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342469)

Even if they finally turned around and will finally work with everyone else with no dark agenda for the future, old-timers like me (i.e. more than 25-30 years old) will not trust them until they have really proven themselves.

Their most recent move was the OOXML fiasco, so you can understand my skepticism.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (4, Funny)

ya really (1257084) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342597)

old-timers like me (i.e. more than 25-30 years old) will not trust them until they have really proven themselves.

Since when is 25 old? I just turned 25 and have yet to tell kids to "Get off my lawn", "Turn down that music" or say "Back in my day..."

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (2, Informative)

aembleton (324527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342669)

He didn't say 25 is old. He said "old-timers like me (i.e. more than 25-30 years old)"; implying that an old-timer is anyone over 30 years old.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342689)

I said "more than", which means you're still young. And we're talking about the computing field here, where a decade is extremely long and a lot can happen.

If you didn't start using computers before MS-DOS, you're still very young.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342719)

Ah, you young whippersnappers, back in my day 25 was plenty old! We sang the hacker song, enjoyed the writings of ESR and we all coded in vi...uphill...both ways. Now turn down that music and get off my lawn!

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342885)

I'm 26, and back in my day young'uns like you would get off my lawn and turn down your music without needing to be told. *waves cane*

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342963)

in terms of the computer industry, 25-30 IS old. What were computers like 25-30 years ago w.r.t. now?

Positively prehistoric....

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342681)

Yet even in the wake of tampering with ISO, one Microsoft employee from the Office group recently had a quote saying that Microsoft knew they have lost the document standard war, and that was why they were adding support for ODF in SP2.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342761)

They may have lost the fight, but ISO's leadership shows every sign that it will dismiss the four national protests and publish the standard. That's really all Microsoft needs. Regardless of whether their future software will read ODF, it's going to write OOXML unless you go through significant pain to stop it from doing so. So, it's somewhat likely that Microsoft will still pull a victory out of this one.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342971)

Microsoft making their protocols available isn't the same as "work with everyone else". Microsoft's protocols and file formats all:

a) tend to be very complex and/or virtually impossible to fully implement. See OOXML.
b) change with every version of Windows, and then sometimes in between. Somehow, documentation lags implementation by quite some time. Years sometimes. See Europe's attempt at extracting up-to-date documentation from them.

While releasing documentation closes the gap somewhat, it still leaves the game as "Works best when you only use Windows machines". Which is exactly what is best for Microsoft.

While this can be viewed as a positive step, it very much is a "you can play with my ball, but under my conditions, and whenever I get a new one, you can't play with it until I feel like it", and not "let's all play together with all the toys so everyone can have more fun".

Last I checked, MS still claims Linux 'IP' (4, Interesting)

Burz (138833) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342607)

More likely this is a move to build OSS and interoperability cred they'll need in court if/when they feel the need to pull a SCO against Linux.

Re:Last I checked, MS still claims Linux 'IP' (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342635)

What do you mean? Microsoft already did pull an SCO against Linux. That's what SCO was!

Re:Last I checked, MS still claims Linux 'IP' (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342703)

It's a big company. Takes a long time for everyone to start going in the same direction, especially given Microsoft's entrenched culture and weak leadership.

The way this works is some guy deep in the bowels of some special project says to his boss "look, I know what our policy is but I really need to contribute this patch so that it gets incorporated into future versions. See, this benefits us. Can we make an exception". By some miracle it gets approved, and thus an internal movement is born. It may take years for all the upper management asshats to get their head around it, but this is how it starts. I agree with the GP, surprisingly nothing stinks about this particular movement, albeit deep in the bowels of the company.

Re:Last I checked, MS still claims Linux 'IP' (4, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342953)

nothing stinks about this particular movement, albeit deep in the bowels of the company

Are you saying Microsoft's shit don't stink?

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342659)

Maybe they finally got tired of being wrong. This is surprisingly clueful behaviour, and should be encouraged.

Sure. But actions are where it's at. Let's see what Microsoft does with this. They've got a long history (up to recent events) of doing Bad Things.

Maybe this is a turning point. I hope it is. But the cynic in me believes Micrsoft is holding something behind their back.

My guess is this is simply another shot at figuring out Linux's air supply. The old standby of sales didn't work. Copyrights and patents haven't really provided any handholds. Businesses have been resistant - and really, it's just a different angle on sales. So the new tact is to go after the LAMP stack (or the general idea that LAMP represents).

Sure - "developers, developers, developers" still holds true. But now it extends to "applications, applications, applications."

dont think so (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342777)

they have pulled infiltration stunts before. infiltrated organizations, boards to cripple their functionality.

Re:Keep off the cynicism... (2, Interesting)

Tesen (858022) | more than 5 years ago | (#24343029)

Maybe they intend to see what the community does with the code and adopt some of the "unique" features or methods in to their closed source products.

Circling the drain.... (1, Funny)

aaronfaby (741318) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342429)

I think M$ has seen the writing on the wall. With the utter failure of Vista, and Apple's skyrocketing market share, it's only a matter of time.

Re:Circling the drain.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342511)

oh please...Apple makes a completely closed loop set of systems...MS is bigger and more successful because they actually trust developers (like me) to create products their customers want and need...and they don't take 30% off the top

Re:Circling the drain.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342663)

oh please...Apple makes a completely closed loop set of systems...MS is bigger and more successful because they actually trust developers (like me) to create products their customers want and need...and they don't take 30% off the top.

You clearly know nothing about OS X development except what you've read recently about the iPhone. But I guess it made for a nice troll.

Re:Circling the drain.... (5, Insightful)

aaronfaby (741318) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342773)

Apple doesn't take 30% off the top. I believe they do with iPhone apps, but certainly not with Mac OS X apps. Secondly, you completely misinterpreted my comment. I said Apple was gaining market share (which they are). I made no comment on their being more or less open than MS. The point I'm making is that no one stays on top forever. MS knows this, and they know they need to start getting their shit together, or they are going to lose their asses in the long run.

Re:Circling the drain.... (3, Interesting)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342547)

You know, it's funny, but despite the success of open source, embracing it is something companies have been known to do when they're on the rocks. Novell did it, Palm is trying to do it - heck, Netscape is the shining example, with the Mozilla project announcement - and I think there are others that have crashed and nearly burned, only at the last minute to say "And we'll be opening the source of the next version!" or "And we're going to run the next device on Linux!"

I wonder what sparked this at Microsoft. Granted, they have no real prospects besides the usual Windows/Office cash cows, but they're not exactly bleeding money.

Re:Circling the drain.... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24343033)

I wonder what sparked this at Microsoft. Granted, they have no real prospects besides the usual Windows/Office cash cows, but they're not exactly bleeding money.

Once again... being the cynic [slashdot.org]...

This isn't about Linux. It's about Windows. Or more specifically, making applications that were strengths for Linux become strengths for Windows.

Which, of course, means it really IS about Linux too. Linux (and BSD) offers some frightening parallels to Microsoft's history. Microsoft profited greatly by being a major part of the comoditization of computer hardware. What do they do if Linux is the start of commoditizing the OS (even software in general)? Is Microsoft the next IBM?

Re:Circling the drain.... (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342627)

If by failure you mean "still dominates the desktop market at about 90%" and by skyrocketing you mean "OS X has budged a few points, more at the expense of Linux desktops than Microsoft" then you might be right.

That being said, I don't trust this at all. I smell evil afoot.

Re:Circling the drain.... (1)

aaronfaby (741318) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342853)

I said Vista was a failure. Secondly, Apple is budging more than just a few points. They are now 3rd in market share.

Re:Circling the drain.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342903)

and dead last in the corporate space, which is where the real money is made.

Re:Circling the drain.... (4, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342631)

You should do some research. Microsoft has $23 billion dollars in cash. They have no debt at all. Every quarter is profitable. Check out real numbers here [google.com] and let those inform your rantings.

Re:Circling the drain.... (2, Informative)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342863)

yes, but for the last 2 quarters, their profits have fallen below expectations
resulting in an 11% (march 08) and a 6% (july 08) fall in share value

anyway...

Re:Circling the drain.... (1)

uzytkownik (1104181) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342981)

You should do some research. Microsoft has $23 billion dollars in cash. They have no debt at all. Every quarter is profitable. Check out real numbers here [google.com] and let those inform your rantings.

The problem is not in absolute numbers but in relative. For example Vista sells did not come up to expectations.

I'm not saying thet you are not right - I'm stating that research needs to be more deep.

Linus is right (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342445)

I am with Linus on this one

Re:Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342639)

Linus didn't say anything about it, dipshit!

Re:Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342801)

If he didn't say anything then he cant be wrong no?

Yeah, right (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342447)

They "embraced" Java at one point too. Embrace, extend, pollute, destroy.

Admiral Ackbar said it best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342483)

it's a trap!

Unrelated News (5, Funny)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342489)

In unrelated news, evolution picks up pace as pigs gain wings.

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342579)

Mr. Burns: Smithers I'm thinking about donating some money to the orphanage... when pigs fly!
(Smithers and Burns both laughing)
(Homer's BBQ pig flies past the window)
Smithers: Will you be making that donation now, sir?
Mr. Burns: Eh, I'd rather not.

Re:Unrelated News (0, Redundant)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342693)

That is probably the funniest take on an old joke I've ever seen. Maybe I'm just tired, but well done good sir. Well done indeed.

Late.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342503)

Did April Fool's Day come 3 months and 25 days late this year or what?

Insanity! (5, Funny)

ActionDesignStudios (877390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342505)

I love seeing things get open sourced just as much as the next guy, but who in their right mind would WANT the source code for Vista?

Re:Insanity! (1)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342575)

I love seeing things get open sourced just as much as the next guy, but who in their right mind would WANT the source code for Vista?

Especially since it will only fit on Blu-Ray - I don't know about you, but I don't have a freaking Blu-Ray drive.

Re:Insanity! (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342621)

Not me. Embarassingly, I don't think I even have enough room on my hard drive to compile the thing. (Well, maybe Home Basic Edition.)

Re:Insanity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342817)

You're telling me you have no interest in seeing how many GOTO statements they put in the vista.bas file?

Hey, who do you think inspired gorilla.bas, after all? That's right -- Developers, Developers, Developers!!!

Ballmer's Google complex? (5, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342509)

There's some 'embrace, extend, obsolete' in here somewhere, but I'm beginning to think that this behavior from MS has a lot more to do with Ballmer's seemingly obsessive desire to overtake Google.

In other words, in order to defeat their enemy, they're going to try to BECOME their enemy first. MS is trying to emulate everything Google does, including supporting open source projects.

FrIst stop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342513)

or MiSlead the

Is this stage 4? (0, Offtopic)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342527)

1) they ignore you

2) they laugh at you

3) they fight you

4) you win

Re:Is this stage 4? (3, Insightful)

tyler.willard (944724) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342653)

That strategy only worked for Gandhi because the British were basically civilized. It wouldn't work so well against, say, the Khmer Rouge.

It's hard to say what the case is here.

Embrace.... (4, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342529)

Extend...
Extinguish.

Sorry Microsoft, but given their past behavior and downright malicious attacks, they're going to have to do far more to gain trust.

What is interesting/scary is that for a relatively small amount ( As seen from the Microsoft Universe ), they could buy off virtually every project, of note, out there. How many projects could be supported on Microsoft's toilet paper budget alone?

Re:Embrace.... (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342661)

If it's LGPL, they can "extend" as much as they want and people can fork whenever they think MS has gone too far.

There's much reason for caution. (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342531)

There is much reason for caution. Historically, Microsoft helped to fund SCO's attack on Linux - we have court testimony under oath on that. They briefed HP on their plans to sue the the developers of Sendmail, Linux and other programs - we have the HP memo, which HP admitted was real. Their agreement with Novell was calculated to break the spirit of the GPL without violating the letter, so they've shown they are happy to cheat the developer community when it's to their advantage. More recently, they have cheated every way they could in getting Office Open XML through ISO, even having one of their executives pose as officer of a national standards organization.

The Apache and LGPL licenses aren't much of a threat to them. GPL is, because GPL prevents "embrace and enhance", Microsoft's commonly-exercised strategy to take over a market. Microsoft has signed over work to FSF in the past when it was necessary to get changes into GCC for one of their (past) divisions that was making a Unix compatibility layer. I don't think this is the first time they've had to deal with GPL, by far.

So, the big question is, have they turned over a new leaf? I think they're still a super-size multinational for-profit corporation, and the reality is that every one of those will be self-serving first, whether they are Microsoft or someone more usually identified as a "friend" to Open Source. But Microsoft has managed to set themselves ahead of other corporations as a frequent user of dirty-fighting tactics to get its way. I don't expect that corporate culture to go away.

I think we still have some big problems with Microsoft, primarily around software patents. They are still in a position to attack Linux with them, although they would probably do that using a proxy, as they did with SCO. Their increased involvement in Open Source organizations means that they will be taken as a member of the Open Source community when they speak with national legislators. This is terrible for us, because it means they'll be able to short-circuit our work to protect Open Source from software patents by speaking to government as an insider in our communities. They've been lobbying for a software patent treaty between Europe and the U.S. (part of the "anti-piracy treaty" currently under discussion but not available to the public) which could make criminal prosecution a new tool against suspected patent infringers on both sides of the Atlantic. And because this is a treaty rather than legislation, it effectively takes the question out of public debate and just leaves it to congress to approve or reject the entire treaty. Want to guess how many people in congress want to be seen as "for piracy"? Any non-trivial software program infringes patents, Open Source or not. We're still in rather deep trouble regarding this, if anyone wants to push the issue. And their general counsel made clear, in a recent speech at OSBC, that they're still not willing to put down the patent "gun".

So, I can't say I think this is a good thing.

Bruce

Go Away, No One Gives A Damn About You (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342651)

No one gives a shit about you or your nutty opinions.

Maybe it has something to do with this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342791)

They don't have any software patents ;)

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/24/1458215

Re:Maybe it has something to do with this ... (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342825)

Dear AC,

The story you are referring to is written by a software patent proponent who would like to reverse the USPTO's new position on software patents. He is choosing google as his example in order to inflame other corporate attorneys into working on the problem in favor of software patenting.

I would be overjoyed if the Bilski case and other recent cases solved the software patent problem for us. But I think the reality is that congress is ready to repair the situation and restore whatever software patenting the courts and USPTO administrators take away.

Tactics aside... (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342967)

I can't say I think this is a good thing.

All the points you mention may be valid, but I think that's not the most important issue here. It doesn't matter what are Microsoft's future plans, the important thing is that they have seen the need for a major change in tactics. This means they are starting to see the possibility of defeat.

In other news... (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342581)

In other news-

- Hell froze over
- The moon turned blue
- George Bush renounced violence as the pathway to peace
- Oh, and Microsoft "embraced" open-source software

In the press release, Bill Gates was quoted as saying, "This is going to hurt you a lot more than it will me."

This oughta be more fun than a barrel fulla monkeys. It ain't over till the fat lady sings ... just wait until other shoe drops... yadda yadda.

Never (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342615)

Apple will never use Intel processors.
Dell will never ship AMD processors.
Dell will never ship Linux.

These things happen. People can change their minds. Microsoft is still doing evil and illegal things on a regular basis (like last year, offering illegal bribes to get Nigeria to drop Mandriva) but not every single employee at Microsoft is evil. Not every department is necessarily evil.

Microsoft has been doing a number of reasonably good things for a while now, and everyone keeps suggesting they are part of some scheme and conspiracy. People shouldn't be completely shocked by this act.

I think it is just a continuation of a new trend towards being slightly less evil. Every time Microsoft opens more protocols, releases more code, and tries to work with the OSS community, instead of acting like children and calling names, I think the community should encourage Microsoft to continue the trend of migrating to a more open company.

Re:Never (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342695)

People shouldn't be completely shocked by this act.

Nobody is shocked, but everybody is rightfully suspicious.

Serving up MS content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342679)

So they're making it easier to serve content that is developed on MS platforms and works best/only on MS platforms above standard content?

Wut (1, Interesting)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342697)

I was bullshitting with my friends and said that I think Microsoft has two years left before it's no longer the leader of the operating system market. I said it with no real insight or evidence, I just claimed it and I bet 10 dollars against it.

218 days left... maybe I'll get to go on Oprah or something and show off my framed ten dollar bill. This slashdot entry is officially almost kind of like proof that I said what I did a little bit.

As big as this news is, assuming it's credible and lasting, I'm completely unsurprised.

Re:Wut (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342867)

Desktop OS, or overall OS?

I think Microsoft will own the Desktop OS for at least another 5-10 years at the minimum. There are too many Windows apps. Apple might grow to Firefox-type market share in a few years (20%) but that is still a bit a stretch.

Microsoft is also very diversified. And as bad as ME was, Microsoft followed it up with 2000 and XP. They can bounce back from Vista.

I'm glad to see competition, but Microsoft isn't going away.

are you thinking what I'm thinking? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342743)

They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year)

They just bought out ISO. I wonder if this is getting a start on ASF?

It's market share stupid (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342745)

No Microsoft havent become "Mr Nice Guy [TM]" overnight, they have just realised their old marketing methods don't work anymore and they need a new gig. With Apple (I dont like Apple personally but I can respect them) gaining market share I can just imagine the Microsoft marketing dept looking at the ever growing FOSS code base and fanboys and wondering, how do we get a bit of that action, easy become a paying member.

Whaaa? (2, Funny)

erko (806441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342765)

April Foo..hmm, no

I don't get it.

All my explanations about how microsoft doesn't care about anything except taking money aren't going to make sense anymore...

Oh wait, somebody mentioned "it's a trap"...

Ah... (my head is clearing now ... microsoft = evil) ... the world makes sense again.

(Man, they're getting good at this)

Here's an idea (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342769)

They can release the source code to Windows 98se.

Wait...they can't do that..it would tank Vista sales.

This is a move against Linux... (5, Interesting)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342787)

The real reason they are doing this is to make the option of running Apache on Windows more appealing. This way Windows has an easier time gaining ground on Linux in the server market.

Like others have said, embrace and extend typically leads to something getting extinguished. They are not to be trusted. Sorry.

Re:This is a move against Linux... (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24343013)

I'm fine with that. Saying, "okay, we're fine with you using Apache and PHP instead of IIS and ASP, but try them on Windows!" is a win-win.

The end users have choice. Linux shouldn't be the only choice, in the same way that Windows shouldn't be the only choice.

Competition is good. Interoperability is good. Choice is good.

Microsoft once believed they had to force and bully people into locked solutions. To an extent, portions of Microsoft still operate that way. But other portions of Microsoft realize they have market share, loads of wealth, and a huge staff. Why not just try to put out a good product and compete? Let the market decide.

It's time to reveal a big secret... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342821)

Steve Ballmer is actually a robot. I know, you're thinking that seems pretty unlikely, but there's more.

He's a robot built by RMS, and he was designed to infiltrate Microsoft and covert it to Open Source from within. It seems to have worked completely, with Bill Gates handing over control of the company, and is perhaps RMS' biggest success ever.

Reportely, RMS developed this plan after watching several Borg related episodes of Star Trek while on some kind of psychedelic mushroom.

irrelevant (4, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342829)

Have they renounced their "200 patents" claim? Have they stopped bundling, tying, and bullying vendors?

No.

All this other stuff is largely irrelevant. OSP is legally meaningless, the LGPL doesn't require Microsoft's blessing, and joining the Apache foundation could be as sinister as their ISO efforts.

Microsoft seems to have been moving a little in the right direction, but they are still far away from being trustworthy or respectable.

I'm scared... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342843)

Hold me.

GPL'ed Vista Discovered (0, Offtopic)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342845)

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <windowsxp.h>
#include <bloat.h>
#include <shiny.h>

#ifdef MEDIA_INDUSTRY_PAYS_US
      #include <drm.h>
#endif
#ifdef BALLMER_NEEDS_NEW_CHAIR
      #include <bsod.h>
#endif // Forgive us, we're lowly captive coders. We // like penguins. Everyone likes penguins. They're // cute and cuddly. When my shackles chafe, I like // to imagine that I had a penguin to hug. ....

New Topic Icon (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24342865)

Slashdot really needs an Admiral Akbar icon because this story just screams "IT'S A TRAP!"

Its very probably a ploy /trap but it wont fly (4, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342897)

no dice. LAMP has grown so big that nothing can topple it anymore. many of you are probably not aware, because you are working in old school corporate positions, or even locked into ms shops, however there are bazillions of web sites, estores, portals, communities being hosted on throngs of LAMP servers throughout countless shared hosts both small and big in size throughout the net.

it has grown to such an extent that the scripts have become expertise fields in themselves. they are asking for "joomla experts" in elance, "oscommerce module programmers", "somephpscript api coders". not even plain straight 'php programmer'. you are already expected to have a good grip of php, mysql. these sub expertise fields can really vary in hourly rates that are accepted throughout the markets. as a php coder you may able to get $15 an hour if you're decent (even with the $3/ hour indians get), yet an "oscommerce expert" can fetch you over $20/hour, and other niche stuff can even fetch higher. and thats all telecommuting, not even talking about on-site positions.

im telling these to let you know that even the 'people's community' facet of LAMP has grown to be a market in itself, specializing into subfields. not only that, but as many medium businesses start to adopt lamp, we are increasingly being asked larger scale projects every day.

you cant match the will of the people. it has gone WAY larger than anyone can have a hack at.

but thats microsoft. they may not be able to hack at it, but they may definitely try to dent it. thats their philosophy.

Trapdoor spider (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342943)

They let you see their code, and then claim that your subsequent code is an infringement. Don't look at anything that isn't properly labeled.

The Register is not credible (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 5 years ago | (#24342965)

Sorry guys, but The Register is not a credible source of information. It's basically like The Inquirer.

There are absolutely no links on the article to any sort of announcement, internal blog post, PHP mailing list, bug system, anything.

So my response is: wait for an announcement elsewhere.

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