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Microsoft and Apache - What's the Angle?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the answer-in-radians-please dept.

Linux Business 433

A week ago, we discussed Microsoft's contribution to the Apache Foundation. Now, Bruce Perens has written an analysis "exploring the new relationship of Microsoft and the Apache project, how it works as an anti-Linux move on Microsoft's part, and what some of the Open Sourcers are going to do about having Microsoft as a rather untrustworthy partner." In particular, he notes: "...Microsoft can still influence how things go from here on. If they have to live with open source, the Apache project is Microsoft's preferred direction. Apache doesn't use the dreaded GPL and its enforced sharing of source-code. Instead, the Apache license is practically a no-strings gift, with a weak provision against patent lawsuits as its most relevant term. Microsoft can take Apache software and embrace and enhance, providing their own versions of the project's software with engineered incompatibility and no available source, just as they forced incompatibility into the Web by installing IE with every Windows upgrade."

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Angle of teh dangle (5, Insightful)

ipX (197591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442275)

Apache.NET?

Re:Angle of teh dangle (4, Insightful)

ponraul (1233704) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443177)

Exactly.

The fact that you're developing .NET matters; the fact that you're using it on IIS doesn't.

With Apache interoperability, you'd be able to run .NET internet applications and web services internet wide.

Re:Angle of teh dangle (4, Interesting)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443317)

The strange part of this is: The Apache Foundation has a MASSIVE portfolio of Java Technology.

Hell, I bet almost every Java vendor out there uses at least one of the several Java projects hosted by the Apache Foundation. Sun itself does!

Maybe Microsoft is hoping to grab some attention from the Apache developers to .NET and away from Java?

Re:Angle of teh dangle (2, Insightful)

skaet (841938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443337)

Putting the obvious Microsoft fears aside, can we not give credit where credit is due?

Microsoft have taken a huge step into open source here and they deserve to be nurtured and supported by a willing community so that we can all make the most of it.

Apache/.NET interoperability would be a good thing but one can only assume this is one of their goals - nothing has even been confirmed yet! For all we know Microsoft could be genuinely turning over a new leaf Post-Gates and we should be so lucky to have such a major player join the ranks.

They at least deserve the benefit of the doubt right now, and if Microsoft's intentions are legitimate we should be welcoming them to make this agreement work out for all parties involved; don't you dare suggest "their past track record speaks otherwise." Are you from Microsoft? Are you in a position to know what they are trying to acheive? If not, you have one of two choices: Offer helpful contributions to the project in hopes that something goes the way you would like. Or STFU and enjoy the ride.

Bruce Perens link (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442287)

Does that Bruce Perens link really need to be a mailto: link? His Slashdot user page might be more appropriate: http://slashdot.org/~Bruce+Perens/ [slashdot.org]

Re:Bruce Perens link (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442871)

He posts his phone number to the internet. Clearly, he is prepared to deal with incoming whatever.

I suppose extremely dense readers would be helped by something that made it clear that bruce@perens.com probably had a website associated with it.

Of course, if you check the link that you provided, you might find out who the submitter of the article was.

Re:Bruce Perens link (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442957)

How about a phone number: 510-984-1055. It turns away calls when we'd be asleep.

Re:Bruce Perens link (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24443205)

Do you get a lot of trollcalls by doing this?

Kind of thinking of the midnight phone boys things the entire Lockwood family was caught up in.

Re:Bruce Perens link (5, Funny)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443251)

No. A phone call is a closer contact than most trolls can handle emotionally. Most of them can't even sign their name in a textual communication.

Relief (4, Insightful)

erikina (1112587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442291)

So a week later, and the best sinister motive they can come up with is Microsoft doing something they could've done without contributing to the project..

*breathe a sigh of relief*

Re:Relief (1, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442513)

you've seen the code Microsoft develops by themselves havn't you? Its not pretty.

All the good stuff that MS has ever done, has been bought - either from buying the company, or the individual who developed it.

I suppose IIS8 might have a new configuration file and a picture of a feather in its logo.....

Re:Relief (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443359)

Exactly. Additionally, as soon as they get their hands on Apache (since it's not GPL) they'll screw it up and make it awful, just like with Hotmail.

Relief? (3, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442713)

They're trying to take the oxygen from Linux and you're breathing a sigh of relief. But suddenly you gasp. No oxygen! The room is spinning. It's getting dark...

Re:Relief? (5, Funny)

rebelcan (918087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442873)

The room you are in is dark.

You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

However, as you are already dead from lack of oxygen, you don't really mind all that much.

Honestly? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442293)

You had to look for a reason to get mad at microsoft? I don't know why I bother with /. anymore... the editors are as childish as my 4 year old nephew.

Re:Honestly? (5, Funny)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442399)

Fan boy.

Re:Honestly? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442497)

Fanboy of what exactly? Common sense?

Re:Honestly? (1)

odiroot (1331479) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442793)

Of trolling.

This is why I love Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442295)

You can make up the most harebrained conspiracy theory about what they are going to do and people will believe it.

Why?

Because they have done it before!

It is almost like they enjoy playing the villain for our entertainment!

Re:This is why I love Microsoft (5, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442801)

Life is like a boxset of Movies, We have the good guys, and the bad guys, and the recurring villain, Microsoft.

extend (2, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442299)

and extinguish

Psst! (2, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442419)

Pst! Dude Judging by your user id, you've been around here for a while. Slamming MS isn't instant Karama anymore. Also, the mod's satire meter is completely broken - they take everything literally and seriouly.

I know, I know, you don't need the karma, but you never know if you run too low. It's happened to me.

Re:Psst! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442889)

Aye Karama!

Perens not helpful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442311)

Perens is not helpful to the Open Source movement. He should accept victory gracefully, as Eric Raymond has done, and retire. Stallman, too.

Re:Perens not helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442357)

Eric Raymond was forced by the community to "retire" when he revealed himself to be an unapolegetic racist.

Re:Perens not helpful (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442527)

I've always recognized raymond as a douchebag hanger-on (I don't know why anyone listened to him), but how is it racist to acknowledge that the average black IQ is 85 (vs 100 for whites, and slightly higher for some other groups)?

Re:Perens not helpful (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24443155)

It is racist because the idiot fails to see the underlying social mechanism

Re:Perens not helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24443293)

Speaks the truth about IQ distributions across ethnicities: check
Atheist: check
Overtly anti-Islam: check
Pro-privacy: check

He might be a crappy developer (sorry, "hacker"), and a pretentious writer, but his core values are certainly good.

Not victory yet (1)

Stephen Ma (163056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443343)

It's not victory yet until Microsoft's power shrinks below the government-corrupting size.

"GNUserve" - when? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442319)

So, will we soon see FSF-blessed project?

So... (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442327)

...there's kind of a BSDevil inside the Apache-teepee, and now Gates and Windows as well.

WCF and CXF (2, Informative)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442369)

I'm currently trying to get C# to talk to Java through SOAP. In C#, I'm using WCF (A Microsoft Framework), and in Java I'm using CXF (An Apache Framework.) It's very difficult.

Re:WCF and CXF (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442525)

soon, if MS has its way all those problems will be resolved.

You'll be writing C# through SOAP using WCF to talk to .... C# :-)

Re:WCF and CXF (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442587)

WCF can easily make basic profile compliant services, and I've successfully integrated them in basically every imaginable environments that support it (and some that don't, via web service RPC), including Axis, also an apache project.

So maybe the problem is CXF? Unless you're trying to do something very particular, it literally works out of the box with basically everything else.

Re:WCF and CXF (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442629)

I guess for cross-compatible reasons, why not pick one (java) over the other? Why not use IIS if you need to use WCF? Respectfully, I'm just curious on the reason why you are in need to connect the two.

Re:WCF and CXF (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443131)

I guess for cross-compatible reasons, why not pick one (java) over the other? Why not use IIS if you need to use WCF? Respectfully, I'm just curious on the reason why you are in need to connect the two.

In this case, we need to use Windows and C# APIs in certain areas of the product, yet the core part of the product needs to be cross-platform. I'm still evaluating technologies and approaches, and I'm trying to find a workflow where the development team can easily modify the API without a steep learning curve.

I'm kinda ticked that my first post was modified as off topic, because in this case, interop between Microsoft and Apache technologies has a steep learning curve.

What's the angle? (1, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442371)

What's the angle? How about an aging relic of the 90s trying to appear relevant?

Re:What's the angle? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442409)

I'm not sure if you're referring to Bruce, Microsoft, Apache, or Slashdot.

Re:What's the angle? (4, Insightful)

Tanman (90298) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442449)

Trying to appear relevant?

I got news for you, but Microsoft is extremely relevant. Their relevance is what gives them the power to single-handedly break standards and have it supported by, not some, but the majority of web sites.

Re:What's the angle? (2, Insightful)

john_lewmanny (576761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442681)

Tip: He was referring to Bruce.

Re:What's the angle? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442777)

Last I checked ActiveX and IE-only-pages didn't form the majority of the Web.

Angle? (0)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442435)

Largest OS vendor interested in improving compatibility with the largest(?) web server software. How dare they!

I fail to see how this is some evil plot to crush Apache/FSF/GPL/LGPL/Linux/whatever. At most its a MSJAVA like thing, but thats pushing it do to apache being way more popular on Linux/BSD then windows

Re:Angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442523)

At most its a MSJAVA like thing, but that's pushing it due to WinApache being way more popular on Linux/BSD then windows

Fixed that for you.

Bill G.

Re:Angle? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442539)

Okay. Please sign your name to that. So if Microsoft done as they've done routinely for the past few years. You'll step up and at least apologize for your misjudgment. I'll certainly do so if this proves to not be anti-competitive. However, this seem more like battered spouse syndrome, with Microsoft as the abusive party.

Anti-Linux? (4, Insightful)

avanderveen (899407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442445)

"...how it works as an anti-Linux move on Microsoft's part, and what some of the Open Sourcers are going to do about having Microsoft as a rather untrustworthy partner."

I'm not sure why this would be said to be an anti-Linux move. I realize that this might be what people sense with regards to the contribution, but like the article said the "Apache license is practically a no-strings gift". With Microsoft's new talk of becoming pro open source, this might become like Apple's contributions to BSD. You don't here anything bad about Apple with their use of BSD, but at every chance possible commenters are willing to frame MS in a bit light.

I just wanted to point out that this type of news should be addressed as unbiased as possible, as Slashdot isn't exactly respected as a home of unbiased views or anything.

Re:Anti-Linux? (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442775)

I'm not sure why this would be said to be an anti-Linux move. I realize that this might be what people sense with regards to the contribution, but like the article said the "Apache license is practically a no-strings gift".

That's exactly it. GPL has strings, so promoting something with no strings is clearly anti-GPL, which puts you on the "them" side of the "with us or against us" stance promoted by the FSF, which means you are clearly against anything on the "us" side, which includes Linux, which means you are anti-Linux.

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Re:Anti-Linux? (4, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442901)

it goes like this, MS doesn't give anything to Windows-based open source [reddevnews.com] projetcs, just primarily Linux-based ones.

So what are they likely to do with Apache? Integrate .NET in with it of course, whch won't work on non-Windows boxen. I think they hope that they'll get open-source developers to develop for Apache(.NET) and thus be locked-in to Windows.

I think that's what people are worried about, MS are trying to gently persuade people to stop development for all platforms in favour of Windows only.

Re:Anti-Linux? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442915)

They're trying to move in on Linux servers running Apache Foundation software, replacing them with Windows. Yes, that's an anti-Linux play :-) Why should an Open Source developer help them replace an Open Source platform with a proprietary platform in the market? Beats me, but some people seem to want to do so.

Re:Anti-Linux? (2)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442967)

Why should an Open Source developer help them replace an Open Source platform with a proprietary platform in the market?

Because the people paying them for this want to use the proprietary platform instead? Believe it or not, there are features other than "user-modifiable" that some people actually care about.

Re:Anti-Linux? (2, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443057)

Because the people paying [the Apache Foundation developers] for this want to use the proprietary platform instead?

I don't object to people who are being paid for this making a living. If you aren't being paid, it might be a good idea to think about what you're doing and what its eventual effect might be.

Re:Anti-Linux? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443247)

With Microsoft's new talk of becoming pro open source, this might become like Apple's contributions to BSD. You don't here anything bad about Apple with their use of BSD, but at every chance possible commenters are willing to frame MS in a bit light.

Oh, yes like I really want to trust a company who has a leader that Wikipedia says

Ballmer is also known as a vocal critic of competing companies and their products. He has referred to the free Linux operating system as a "[...] cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." Ballmer was trying to articulate his concern that the GNU General Public License (GPL) license employed by such software requires that all derivative software be under the GPL or a compatible free license.

or the leader that says "Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I'm going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking kill Google,".

And it isn't just Ballmer, Gates made it clear back in the early days of MS that they hated OSS in the open letter to hobbyists.

Jobs hasn't said comparable things, neither has he said that he was going to kill a competitor, nor that he hated OSS.

Apache in Windows Server 2010? (5, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442507)

This might sound completely insane but did anyone consider that Microsoft might try and cut costs by using Apache for the backend in Windows Server 2010?

Apple has done it with Apple OS X Server. It would allow Microsoft to keep up to date with web standards without having to spend vast amounts to do it. All they would really need to do is develop propitiatory modules that they could hook in.

Microsoft really have very little vested interest in keeping IIS up-to-date. It isn't a big cash cow and I think most people would agree that it isn't a great web server (although does have some nice tie-ins with the OS).

While I am posting I really dislike the article attacking the Apache licence. The Apache and BSD licenses are the purest form of what OSS stands for. It is freedom in the true sense and not freedom in the American sense (e.g. Freedom at the barrel of a gun).

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (0, Redundant)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442597)

but Apple uses.. um Apache as the http server. Not "Apple (tm) iWeb Server." They don't modify the code at all, and they use a nice frontend for setting it up. The source code is free. MS using Apache would probably end up being IIS8, which is really just a closed source modified copy of Apache with a nice mmc frontend. You won't even see a difference. I am making assumptions here on what MS would do with it, but if they actually start installing "Apache HTTP Server" on Windows server (iow compilable from source) then I will take this in from a different viewpoint.

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (1)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443055)

But Apple also doesn't use it's web server as part of it's overall platform of business application tools. Apple and Microsoft are two completely different types of business.

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442839)

This is only good if they follow through and release the source. If they fork the project after to create their own web server it's really just a case of taking the enemy's water to fuel your guns.

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (5, Insightful)

aster_ken (516808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442849)

This will definitely not happen, and here is why.

1. Microsoft has invested far too much time and far too many dollars into making Internet Information Services (IIS) what it is today.
2. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have invested far too much time and far too many dollars into making modules for IIS. Several ISVs have built their entire business around providing these modules for cost.
3. Many of Microsoft's own products, such as Exchange Server 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007, Office Project Server 2007, and more, have been built around the IIS architecture. Changing to a different back-end server architecture would cost Microsoft financially.
4. Usage of IIS has been increasing dramatically since March 2006. Usage of the Apache HTTP Server has declined significantly beginning in that same month. Netcraft provides these statistics here: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2008/06/22/june_2008_web_server_survey.html [netcraft.com]

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (1, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443019)

A version of Apache supported by Microsoft could conceivably have an Apache module that would run IIS modules (which, of course, would need Windows). Alternatively, they could grab some Apache code and write a compatibility layer that let IIs run Apache modules.

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24443221)

So....I suppose the fact that Greg Stein used to work for MS in Redmond has nothing at all to do with the concept, eh?

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (3, Informative)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443295)

Usage of IIS has been increasing dramatically since March 2006. Usage of the Apache HTTP Server has declined significantly beginning in that same month

Nice try, troll.
According to the page you linked, Apaches usage has actually increased, as has IIS. Admittedly, Apaches market share has gone down, but that's not what you said. There are still 8.5 million more Apache servers (serving 24 million more sites according to Netcraft) than IIS.
Totals for Active Servers Across All Domains [netcraft.com]
June 2000 - June 2008

Not to mention that as the largest single OS vendor, Microsofts market share is bound to grow, as their users start discovering the internet. Apache users are largely self selecting in this respect.

Re:Apache in Windows Server 2010? (2, Insightful)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442913)

Not only is IIS not a cash cow, its not a revenue generator at all. Any attempt to use IIS to break standards would be seen for what it was, so any strategic value of IIS is mute.

That leaves Microsoft gulping down development costs on something that earns them zero revenue. Not smart. If they are smart they will incorporate Apache into Windows Server. That isn't evil, its exactly what Apache wants according to its license.

The big question is whether Microsoft will fork Apache. I don't believe they will. The reason is simple; if they fork they will lose the primary benefit - a community of developers doing their own work for them. No doubt they will add some cute GUI front end applications to make it look like IIS, and allow .Net to work seamlessly as it does on IIS, but what they won't do is fork core Apache.

Of course, they may not do much work on core Apache either, leaving that to the Apache team. But that isn't evil either.

Bottom line here is that I've always known Microsoft will have to come to terms with Open Source. Its painful for them, and there is no doubt huge argument about how to deal with it.

Fighting Open Source may work in the short term to slow adoption, but long term it is only delaying the inevitable. A more constructive strategy would be accepting a reduction in market share and finding a place in the market that is stable in the long term.

For example, Microsoft has no real interest in operating system kernels. Any money they spend on new kernels is a waste when there are free alternatives. The value they deliver to the market is a well known API. Applications written for Windows will run on Windows, and users need not consider what Windowing system they use, or what packages are installed.

What might be easier is using Firefox rather than IE. IE earns no cash, and Firefox is getting a better reputation. Why bother to continue development of a browser that competes with free?

Of course, that doesn't mean they will do the same with Office - as this earns them substantial revenue. But even here OpenOffice will no doubt erode their market share in the long term. I don't expect you will see MS supporting OpenOffice!

In summary, don't expect MS to be nice when it comes to their core earners, but they might cooperate when it comes to cost centers.

So, if MS forks Apache... (2, Interesting)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442565)

So, if MS forks Apache, will they still be able to call it Apache, or will they have to make up a new name for trademark reasons? If so, it'll just be another fork, won't it?

Re:So, if MS forks Apache... (1)

prozaker (1261190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442723)

I think they will call it "James Town" Server.

Re:So, if MS forks Apache... (1)

prozaker (1261190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442785)

or Dudley :D

what? (5, Insightful)

SirShmoopie (1333857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442573)

So let me see if I have this right.

1: If they activelly avoid compatibility with open source, they're being evil.
2: If they just ignore it, they're being evil.
3: If they try to co-operate with any open source project, they're being evil.

What, to be blunt, the fuck is going on?

Ok, I'm not claiming closed source vendors are great or anything, but to my mind, this smacks of closed minded zealotry, and as we know, courtesy of the worlds religions, that generally doesn't work out well in the long term.

Is the open source movements plan to vilify any and all attempts of the 'establishment' to work with us? Is that the plan?

I freely acknowledge that Microsoft don't really have much in the way of compatible philosophy, but if all we do is bitch, all we'll get is negative publicity and bad feeling from people who, shock, horror, are actually entitled to think that open source isn't the source of all that is good in the world.

I'm an open source developer myself, but obviously not a 'proper' one, because all I care about is sharing my code.

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442637)

People around here will only be happy if Microsoft donates Windows' source and all of its assets to Stallman, while bitching about how Windows sucks anyway and that GNU should drop it and let it die. Then they'll gloat about it for the next 20 years.

Re:what? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443321)

While not exactly happy, people around here might achieve neutrality if simple standards were followed, without corruption thereof.

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442683)

Microsoft will stop being labeled evil when they stop doing evil things.

Since the great majority of what they do is either evil, anti-competitive, illegal, or stifles innovation (or any combination thereof) - the only way I see them not being evil anymore is if they cash in and dissolve.

Fat chance.

It's pretty simple (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442763)

They're trying to take the oxygen from Linux by becoming the dominant server for Open Source applications. But if you're an Open Source developer, helping them displace an Open Source platform isn't such a great idea, is it?

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

droopycom (470921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442935)

Another way to look at it:

They are Evil, you are Good

1) First they ignore you
2) Then the laugh at you
3) Then they fight you
4) Then they try to join you

We are at this stage now. Whatever they do is a step toward the same goal. It is not a change of heart. So they still are Evil....

Re:what? (2, Interesting)

quux4 (932150) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443003)

OK, Bruce. You have outlined the ways MS could be evil in this Apache interaction (or any other, I guess). We get it. There's Bad Stuff they could do.

But I am wondering - could you outline the ways they could be GOOD? Just to show us that the possibility exists in your mind, and that there is some possible way for MS to be anything but evil?

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443345)

is some possible way for MS to be anything but evil?

Put down the gun. That means the software patent gun in this case. Completely, and without being forced by anti-trust regulators.

Bruce

So Confused... (1, Offtopic)

elnico (1290430) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442599)

The Usual Pattern:

1. OSS story pops up on Slashdot.
2. Someone posts: "Developing OSS is antithetical to making money!!"
3. Deluge of responses: "You're crazy. There're all kinds of ways to make money off OSS. It's the way of the future!"

And Now:

1. Slashdot posts a story about Microsoft showing sympathy towards OSS.
2. Deluge of posts: "This can't be! They must have evil secret motives."

I don't know what to think anymore.

Re:So Confused... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442825)

The Usual Pattern:

1. OSS story pops up on Slashdot. 2. Someone posts: "Developing OSS is antithetical to making money!!" 3. Deluge of responses: "You're crazy. There're all kinds of ways to make money off OSS. It's the way of the future!"

And Now:

1. Slashdot posts a story about Microsoft showing sympathy towards OSS. 2. Deluge of posts: "This can't be! They must have evil secret motives."

I don't know what to think anymore.

Actually, in case it's:

  1. Slashdot posts a story that Microsoft's apparent sympathy is hiding evil secret motives.
  2. Posts saying "WTF?"

The time has come... (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442609)

For the Apache foundation to revise its licensing terms. Microsoft's plan is as evil as it comes; if we can't scare `em with patent litigation risk -and no-one wants to enter into an indemnification agreement- then we'll get in their code and fuck-it-up for them.
If you didn't see this coming way back when, you'll be part of the landscape by the time they pull their next move.

Re:The time has come... (4, Interesting)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442741)

How are they going to fuck it up exactly? They can submit patches to the maintainers, but they probably won't have commit rights. Even if they did, the changes can be caught and removed in pre-release testing. Worst case they get backed out in the next release. Given a pattern of bad behavior, I'm sure their commit rights would be revoked.

They're making a donation, not buying carte blanche to do whatever they want to the main code base. If they want to fork it and fuck up their own version, well, so be it. Just don't call it "Apache".

Really, people need to back off these guys a bit. I don't mean stop being suspicious and guarded, but sometimes it seems like this reaches levels of the paranoid delusional.

Re:The time has come... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442919)

My favorite raving lunatic, Larry Kudlow, says it well:

"Trust but verify."

(I realize he isn't the first and certainly not the only, but it's where I hear it...)

Can somebody explain TFA to me? (2, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442615)

What is it that Bruce is actually worried about happening here? All I see in that article is a lot of standard (for slashdotters) ideas mixed together, but no actual coherent argument end to end. Is the worry that if Microsoft joins OS, they'll cause ... what? Fragmentation? Destruction? Mayhem? What is the danger?

Re:Can somebody explain TFA to me? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442813)

1. They want to talk to regulators as "insiders" in the Open Source community, asking for increases in software patenting that will actually block Open Source.
2. Trying to become the dominant server for Apache Foundtion software is an anti-Linux play.
3. There is a potential for embrace and enhance of Apache Foundation software.
4. If they really want to be sincere community members, let's see them play by GPL rules, not by Apache's "anything goes" rules. What they're doing now is trying to seem members of Open Source without any of the obligation.

Re:Can somebody explain TFA to me? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442951)

Isn't it sort of strange to ask for someone to play by "GPL rules" when the context is Apache, a "community" that has explicitly chosen not to play by those rules?

Re:Can somebody explain TFA to me? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443219)

A lot of outsiders won't understand the difference between no rules and rules in this case, and will think that Microsoft is doing more than they really are.

Re:Can somebody explain TFA to me? (5, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443053)

1. They want to talk to regulators as "insiders" in the Open Source community, asking for increases in software patenting that will actually block Open Source.

Is there any reason to think that this would actually work? Why can't a "real" insider just coherently explain that that position does not make sense?

2. Trying to become the dominant server for Apache Foundtion software is an anti-Linux play.

As long as they do this by improving their product, this is a good thing. Linux is not the sole bringer of good into the world; high-quality software is high-quality software regardless of its origins.

3. There is a potential for embrace and enhance of Apache Foundation software.

Better software is actually a good thing, there's only a problem if they start doing undocumented things to the protocols. And it sounds like they've gotten much better about that lately, even if not by choice.

4. If they really want to be sincere community members, let's see them play by GPL rules, not by Apache's "anything goes" rules. What they're doing now is trying to seem members of Open Source without any of the obligation.

Because all the community is GPL, and everyone else needs to be educated and brought into the fold.

Re:Can somebody explain TFA to me? (3, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443143)

They want to talk to regulators as "insiders" in the Open Source community, asking for increases in software patenting that will actually block Open Source.

Is there any reason to think that this would actually work? Why can't a "real" insider just coherently explain that that position does not make sense?

Well, last time I saw this happening they are using Novell to do just what you said.

high-quality software is high-quality software regardless of its origins.

You should be considering what the software is supposed to do to you besides what it's doing for you. For example, there's some high-quality software out there that has been designed to lock you in, such that you will find it difficult to port your applications to something else, and you'll never do so because of the expense.

3. There is a potential for embrace and enhance of Apache Foundation software.

there's only a problem if they start doing undocumented things to the protocols. And it sounds like they've gotten much better about that lately, even if not by choice.

Undocumented things in the protocols is the modus opperandi of Embrace and Enhance. I agree that they've had to let go of a lot, mostly because of anti-trust prosecution. I don't trust them to give up the habit once the prosecutors are looking elsewhere. I see the Open Source involvement as a tool to get the prosecutors to look elsewhere.

Because all the community is GPL, and everyone else needs to be educated and brought into the fold.

Microsoft playing with strict rules would mean something. Microsoft playing with no rules means nothing.

someone should really tag this post... (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442673)

embraceextendextinguish

Everything Microsoft does is evil... (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442685)

...if something they do appears to not be evil, that's only because we're not looking at it the right way.

Microsoft has lots of money to hire key Apache developers, if they actually plan to use the code and want good service from its developers on a 24/7 basis. So, this $100,000 contribution and the partial patent grant aren't about interoperability.

Who says Microsoft wants to use this code? From the earlier article, it sounded like they wanted to improve the code that other people use, to make it easier to use on Windows. And this way they don't have difficulties with convincing people to become @microsoft.com, or with convincing people to trust and work with people @microsoft.com.

Last year, GPL went through a major revision, with the participation of dozens of attorneys from the world's largest companies, along with academics and individuals. That caught it up with the elaboration of copyright and patent law over the past quarter century. A second version, the AGPL, has evolved to deal with the business model of Google, software as a service instead of on the user's PC. That's fortunate, as GPL is going to be even more important now.

Because writing and using good, unique software is something that has to be "dealt with". Re-implementing parts that could be useful isn't enough, non-shared software is Evil and must never be allowed to be written.

Both kinds of developers may choose the GPL: the commercial ones because they want to keep their competitors from running away with the program without sharing their own work, and the individuals because they'd rather function as equal partners in enforced sharing than as unpaid employees who give all they create as a gift to the big company.

So if you make something available for everyone, you become the "unpaid employee" of anyone who improves it? Regardless of the fact that any further improvements you make will actually create more work for them to do (unless they send their changes back upstream)?

This also has philosophical issues, manufacturers of physical products don't get to forbid aftermarket modifications (and can't even void warranties just because of aftermarket work), why should this be considered a legitimate right for manufactures of knowledge (I know it's a legal right, but that doesn't make it reasonable)?

And most important, GPL is what developers will use if they welcome Microsoft's participation in their projects, but only on the same terms as everybody else.

Because BSD/MIT/X11 have wacky rules that apply differently to different kinds of contributors.

Re:Everything Microsoft does is evil... (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442877)

So if you make something available for everyone, you become the "unpaid employee" of anyone who improves it?

Let's take an extreme example. The Java Model Railroad Interface developer used the Artistic license. A toy train throttle manufacturer called KAM used his software in their product, and sent him a bill for about twice his annual income because KAM claims a broad patent on any two computers communicating to control a toy train. The JMRI developer got pretty cruelly used in this case.

It's not anyone who improves it who is a problem. But some folks, like KAM in this example, are really unsavory exploiters of the Open Source developer. Strong licensing (which doesn't mean the Artistic license, as the JMRI guy found out) is a good way to fight them.

Re:Everything Microsoft does is evil... (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442917)

So if you make something available for everyone, you become the "unpaid employee" of anyone who improves it?

Let's take an extreme example. The Java Model Railroad Interface developer used the Artistic license. A toy train throttle manufacturer called KAM used his software in their product, and sent him a bill for about twice his annual income because KAM claims a broad patent on any two computers communicating to control a toy train. The JMRI developer got pretty cruelly used in this case.

It's not anyone who improves it who is a problem. But some folks, like KAM in this example, are really unsavory exploiters of the Open Source developer. Strong licensing (which doesn't mean the Artistic license, as the JMRI guy found out) is a good way to fight them.

It sounds to me like the real issue there has nothing to do with the license or with doing other people's work for them, and everything to do with stupidly bad patents.

Re:Everything Microsoft does is evil... (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443015)

Yes, it would be a lot easier to live with Microsoft without the software patent situation, but also you have to acknowledge that Microsoft chose to use that ammunition and is still doing so.

Stupidly bad software patents are there in the U.S. because of our friend IBM, who brought the lawsuit against the government forcing them to allow software to be patented in the 80's.

Subsequent legislation to increase this trend worldwide has been pushed by Microsoft. I've been there to see this first-hand in discussions with European regulators.

Even without the patent problem, there would be significant problems associated with their monopolistic behavior. Much of their rise was achieved without use of software patent aggression.

Bruce

Re:Everything Microsoft does is evil... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443249)

Microsoft has lots of money to hire key Apache developers, if they actually plan to use the code and want good service from its developers on a 24/7 basis. So, this $100,000 contribution and the partial patent grant aren't about interoperability.

Who says Microsoft wants to use this code? From the earlier article, it sounded like they wanted to improve the code that other people use, to make it easier to use on Windows. And this way they don't have difficulties with convincing people to become @microsoft.com, or with convincing people to trust and work with people @microsoft.com.
So, this would be in the same fashion as using Sybase Server to create 1 sql server? Or would it be in the same fashion that MS did MSIE with spyglass in which they agreed to pay a percentage of every MSIE sold (in spite of the historical rewriting in wiki)?

Nothing good will come of this. Name me 3 projects that MS participates in, where the project actually benefits?

It's Cool (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442707)

Microsoft can take Apache software and embrace and enhance, providing their own versions of the project's software with engineered incompatibility and no available source, just as they forced incompatibility into the Web by installing IE with every Windows upgrade.

Right on, that's cool. That's the purpose of the ASL. It is written such that commercial entities can extend it in unanticipated directions. That's what makes it different from GPL-like licenses, and it is totally OK. Some people (like myself) prefer to release under GPL-style licenses because we want to prevent commercial proprietary extension, and that's OK too.

Also, Bruce's commentary is fine. He's using an active case-in-point to demonstrate a behavior that some may view as a downside associated with using a liberal license, and which will help new joiners to the Open Source community to make their personal choice.

Or, in short, there's no need for yet another GPL versus BSD flamewar. We can all do what we like with our code, and that's good.

It's strategery.. (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442749)

Divide and Conjure baby! Divide and Conjure!

Microsoft + Apache = Big Business? (4, Interesting)

jchawk (127686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442847)

I work for a fortune 100 company and we have a ton of middleware running on Apache Tomcat. Currently we have Tomcat running on old Sun Servers, HP Servers and newly procured Linux servers.

One surprising thing to me is the number of Windows 2003 Servers that we have running Apache Tomcat as well.

Maybe Microsoft realizes that there is some big business potential playing nicely with Apache?

I like the GPL, but... (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442905)

It does have its limitations. It's more of a share and share alike license than a path to public domain software.

If I, as an open source author, want to give my code back to the community, with no strings attached, public domain is the only way to go. That way, anyone can use the code for any purpose they see fit. It is truly a gift.

But GPL'ed code is not a gift, it is a license. It seeks to enforce - through copyright law - the notion of free software. That is, you can't take my free program and add in proprietary changes, and add restrictions to the use of the code.

It's a good license. It does bring balance to the big picture.

But it doesn't address one of the fundamental problems of open source: it's difficult to make a living writing open source code. Sure, you can make a living supporting open source code, but it is very difficult for the average programmer to make a living on what open source pays (usually nothing).

Without the proprietary model, I would have to make a living doing something other than writing code. Which would mean, that because I would truly be an amateur programmer, my code would not be as good as it would otherwise. I'm able to make a meaningful contribution to open source code in part because I write code for a living.

The consequence of being employed to write code is that I can't contribute code which would interfere with my employer's business interests. So while I'm able to use my general programming skills to benefit open source, I cannot produce open-source software in my area of expertise. Which, to me, is a real problem. But the GPL doesn't solve the ethical dilemna of an employee undermining his employer's business model. A large portion of us rely on the revenues generated by the pay-per-license proprietary model; without it, our customers would have to pay inordinately large sums of money up front for software, and we couldn't introduce new and innovative features because the budget wouldn't support it.

I am a good programmer, and I do produce something of value when I write code. I have no problem with people sharing the code that I write, but we as a society need to understand that programmers need to be paid for their work. That is, if we are to have any reasonable expectation of software quality. Without the experience that comes from writing code professionally, the quality of software would be absolutely abysmal.

And open source does have the proprietary model to thank for its quality - typically, the code written for open source projects is written the way a programmer knows it should be written, rather than taking shortcuts because of scheduling and marketing issues.

I like open source, but I realize that I, and other programmers, need to be able to make a living writing code if we're going to contribute meaningful software to the world. Unfortunately, the GPL doesn't address this problem in an economically viable way. Even Stallman admits that in a free software world, programmers wouldn't make nothing, they'd simply make less. Problem is, I have a family to feed, and don't have the option of making any less money; if the whole world went open source, I'd have to go into management just to feed my family. I don't think it's very ethical to ask my children to starve so you can have your software free of charge.

The GPL is good, and needed, but there needs to be a balance. I can contribute to free software because my employer's proprietary model allows me to make a living writing code.

Re:I like the GPL, but... (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443189)

GPL actually makes it easier to make Open Source software and be paid. It's called dual-licensing. Note that MySQL used it and just sold their 9-year-old company for $1.1 Billion. There are some things you have to be careful about to make this work, and it's a per-project decision rather than a per-contributor decision.

It's the DRM Stupid! (2, Interesting)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442961)

From TFA:

Vista's customer-hostile emphasis on digital rights management ... caused its downfall. IT managers won't stand for that ...

Thank you Bruce. I've been saying this since a year before Vista even shipped. Folks complain about a lot of different things in Vista (some of it fairly, I think) but I see most of those "features" as mere pains-in-the-ass that I could begrudgingly live with. What really gets me and why I won't be installing Vista on any servers or desktops at work is the DRM. To me it's reminiscent of the campaign slogan from a few years ago - "It's the DRM Stupid!"

As far as the Apache/MS thing is concerned I thought IIS was mostly used on parked domains, so it's like who cares what they do? But what if Microsoft extended this idea to the desktop O/S? Start with the distro of their liking and build their own UI on top of it. Isn't that what so many of us have been hoping for?

Apache is very Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443049)

Apache, in a way, is Microsoft's kind of software. It has lots of cruft, features that have been added over time and don't interact well. So it's hard to clone or replace. Lots of things plug into it using its API, so it has slave projects. That's the kind of lock-in Microsoft likes.

(Technically, all an Apache-type web server really needs to do is support serving of plain pages, and FCGI. With that, you can do anything, because there's an efficient way to pass off work to other programs. Interprocess communication is a good thing. But that's not the way Apache grew.)

Okay, Let's Assume the Apache License was GPL (3, Insightful)

SEE (7681) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443101)

In that case, what, exactly, would change with this scenario?

The contribution to the Apache Foundation would have the same PR effect, so that wouldn't have been affected at all.

The ability to embrace-and-extend would be slightly differentiated, but not all that much. Microsoft would integrate some new System Libraries into Windows Server, and any Microsoft-only extensions of Apache would be made dependent on them. The calls to the Windows System Libraries would be GPL, but the code in the libraries would remain closed, and adding their features to the GPL version of Apache would require a WINE- or Mono-like project.

And, um. What else is there? Well, Microsoft would logically be contradicting its GPL statements, but Interix/Services for Windows/SUA/whatever it is this week already did so.

commercial-OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24443151)

Is there a place where I can see all the commercially owned OSS projects? If I recall, Apple owns CUPS, Oracle owns Innobase, Sun owns MySQL etc.

Microsoft is not the first... (3, Interesting)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443261)

Why is it that free software advocates can't stop whining when someone plays by their own rules?

It seems that Apache license allows you to modify and re-distribute without giving back the source. I bet the Apache foundation people gave a bit of thought about something like that happening before they chose the license and obviously they decided it wasn't that important.

Do people really think Microsoft will suddenly manage to destroy the Apache foundation because they said they wanted to contribute? I would suspect their sponsorship is going to strengthen Apache Foundation's capacity to penetrate more corporate entities. In some places the open source argument does mean anything to the decision makers but vendor support and an IBM/Microsoft backing certainly does.
Others like IBM have been doing just that and no one seemed to care. (http://www-306.ibm.com/software/webservers/httpservers/).

There are two versions of IBM HTTP Server, based in turn on 1.3 and 2.0 versions of open source Apache, but with small alterations to allow IBM to attach extra features. The code bases are maintained inside IBM, where IBM keeps them up to date by selectively picking up and applying bug fixes from the open source Apache CVS repository.

Go get your IBM httpd trial and see if you get any source with it. (I didn't check because I don't really care).

I'm also pretty sure that amongst all the project of the Apache Foundation, the Apache httpd server is probably not the most interesting for them.

IronApache (1)

deanston (1252868) | more than 6 years ago | (#24443303)

All you need is Windows.NET Server 2012 to host and run all your free and open source software and applications in the world. Isn't that nice?
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