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Ballmer "Interested" In Open Source Browser Engine

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the ted-bundy-was-interested-in-women dept.

Microsoft 410

Da Massive writes "'Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?,' asked a young developer to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Sydney yesterday. 'That's cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky,' Ballmer said. Then came the startling revelation that Microsoft may also adopt an open source browser engine. 'Open source is interesting,' he said. 'Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8.'"

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410 comments

MEMO TO RACIST AC: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25669745)

Where is your bigoted speech now, asshole? Now, if you talk smack about black people, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO YOUR COUNTRY! Suck it, racist! Ha!

Re:MEMO TO RACIST AC: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670395)

Great first post for once!

Re:MEMO TO RACIST AC: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670705)

Where is your bigoted speech now, asshole?

Their mother told them to turn off the 'computer' and go to bed and if she catches them on 4chan again, she's going to ground them for a 'month of Sundays'.

Oh No! (4, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669773)

Microsoft is going to be infected with the GPL virus!

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/craig/05-03sharedsource.mspx [microsoft.com]

Sig correction (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670231)

"The ultimate expression of business without government control is the Mafia. (sig stolen from Marxist Hacker 42)"

No, the Mafia is the ultimate expression of business with excessive government control. They do best when the government supressess legitimate competition, thereby leaving the market to the most vicious and violent.
Only a minimum of regulation is needed - like preventing theft and fraud - just enough to make it more profitable to please the customer than to not please him. But when too much regulation is imposed, so much so that the mere operation of the business is illegal, then it becomes more profitable to go for a monopoly by violent elimination of the competition.

PS: You didn't 'steal' it from Marxist Hacker 42. You can't. He is a marxist - you liberated it.

Re:Sig correction (5, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670479)

Your argument has two glaring problems. Firstly, government regulation does not equal less competition. In many cases it results in more competition, especially in the case of monopolies and collusion between companies. Secondly, the mafia cannot legally exist because of laws limiting them, in other words, government regulation. Without the most basic regulation, then any business could (and probably would) become like the mafia. Competition would be limited to companies competing to be the most intimidating, and whoever could intimidate enough people into paying them. In a world with excessive government regulation, even the kind that produces less competition, at least the government would be regulating against such behaviour.

In other words, your argument makes no sense.

Uh-oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670765)

Please tell me that M$ is not a stakeholder in Nokia.

Maybe it's time to dust Harmony?

At least he's honest. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669803)

"We will continue to build extensions". That definitely deserves a whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag.

Re:At least he's honest. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670505)

What would be much more interesting would be if Microsoft adopted an Open Source renderer--not by adopting an existing FOSS renderer--but by opening up Trident [wikipedia.org] .

This would:

  • Undermine Firefox and Co. by taking some of the Open Source wind out of their sails
  • Still support Microsoft's original goal of tying people to Windows--Trident is such a b!7$# to port to different operating systems that Microsoft wrote a whole new rendering engine [wikipedia.org] for the Mac port of IE

Microsoft already makes it trivial for third parties to incorporate Tasman into their applications, so I don't see MS having anything to lose through this.

I would support this if it makes it possible for third parties to push in security fixes and compatibility fixes (let's make CSS actually work right!).

Microsoft will never (4, Insightful)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670761)

Microsoft will never open-source Trident. It'd be like letting the entire world look at your dirty laundry.

Re:At least he's honest. (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670781)

When their beta product is getting 21/100 on the Acid3 test while nobody else's are below 80, I have a hard time believing anybody would be interested.

Some possible problems, here? (5, Interesting)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669815)

Hasn't IE been a fully integrated part of Windows since, what, all the way back to Windows 98? If they start using some open-source code for their browser, will the architecture of the OS still have IE as such an integral part, or will it become a separate application again? Also, is it really such a good thing to have Micro$oft active in the open-source community? Forgive me, but talk like this makes me a little nervous.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (3, Insightful)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669869)

It was never really part of the OS. That was merely MS' poor attempt at an excuse to circumvent the antitrust allegations.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669981)

What is worse is they are wanting WebKit. I think if they manage to use it we will end up with 3-4 versions of WebKit in various forms of stability, freedom and standards compatability:

We will have KDE's WebKit which will be somewhat stable to very stable depending on the release.

We will have MS's Strange proprietary(ish) WebKit which will lag behind all other versions in compatibility and compliance while at the same time having all kinds of hacks to make Active X and other crap work.

We will have Apple's Quite Stable WebKit which will be about in the middle and very stable.

And we will also have Google's Bleeding-edge Beta WebKit which is the least stable out of all of them.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (4, Informative)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670825)

Er. More like...

KDE's Webkit which trails behind Apple's, but is "stable" in that it's not a moving target, it's simply not as up to date.

Apple's Webkit which trails its internal builds by anywhere from months to years.

Google's Webkit which could be anywhere from two months newer to two months older than Apple's, and demonstrates that no such proprietary hacking is necessary to get ActiveX to work.

MS's Webkit which would probably be a direct copy of Google's, with a hack to require all sorts of extraneous metadata to turn it on. MS won't do any other hacking because they believe it is not possible to do [ajaxian.com] .

ActiveX can't be done by another plugin - the browser has to parse it and host the AX objects. Doing that kind of scale changes to Webkit would fork the code, and I'm not convinced the web would benefit. - Chris Wilson, Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft (and ex-Group Program Manager)

Re:Some possible problems, here? (5, Funny)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670003)

I just got thinking. So let's say Microsoft doesn't include the new IE in it's next Operating System -- how do you get it?

"Sorry, you do not have Internet Explorer installed. To download, please visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] "

Sure, most of us probably have a FF install on a USB key somewhere, but what about the people who just bought their computer from the store? This'll drive them insane just like the "Keyboard error. Press any key to continue" error.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670075)

Windows Update has been decoupled entirely from Internet Explorer since Vista, and ever since one of the later Windows 2000 service packs, there's been the option to use the "Automatic Updates" utility as a part of Windows. Microsoft's also moving to include as may third party device drivers on Windows Update as possible with Windows 7, further reducing the need for IE to get a system up and running.

And there's going to be "Internet Explorer" included with Windows ao long as the DOJ and EU let them - it just may not always use Trident for its rendering engine. Software development is expensive when you have to pay for it.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

canistel (1103079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670259)

There is a very easy way to fix this... the first time a user requests a web page, or maybe they click an icon on their desktop called "web browser" a little window pops up: "Would you like to download - Mozilla Firefox - Internet Explorer - Safari ... etc" problem solved.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670639)

There is a very easy way to fix this... the first time a user requests a web page, or maybe they click an icon on their desktop called "web browser" a little window pops up: "Would you like to download - Mozilla Firefox - Internet Explorer - Safari ... etc" problem solved.

"Hello there! It looks like you're trying to browse a webpage! Would you like to..."

Re:Some possible problems, here? (4, Interesting)

denttford (579202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670343)

FTP. No, not a solution for the average user, but on a fresh install of XP, I'll often just ftp Firefox (and then install noscript, abp, flashblock, etc. and restart) in order to download the other stuff I need to keep the computer in a relatively useful state.

Yes, I could use IE and go straight to mozilla.org, but off the bat, it loads msn.com and I have no desire to expose IE7 or worse, IE6, to the mercies of the scripts and ad providers on the page.

P.S. releases.mozilla.org is where you want to go.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670833)

OEMs could include a small app that would download the browser for you.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670839)

Right Click on the IE icon and select Internet Properties, then set the homepage to blank. Download away. Pretty simple.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670367)

Sure, most of us probably have a FF install on a USB key somewhere, but what about the people who just bought their computer from the store? This'll drive them insane just like the "Keyboard error. Press any key to continue" error.

If they got it from a store, don't you think whoever put it together, installed an operating system, and bundled a load of software with it might have put a browser on the PC for them?

Re:Some possible problems, here? (2, Interesting)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670407)

before everything was online, people actually went to stores and got cds - make a IE coaster or a FF coaster and you can install a browser without having a browser.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670523)

It would come preinstalled, it's just that the requirements by the anti-trust ruling were to stop the forced integration of IE on the code level... As in IE needs to be removable.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (2, Interesting)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670671)

I just got thinking. So let's say Microsoft doesn't include the new IE in it's next Operating System -- how do you get it? "Sorry, you do not have Internet Explorer installed. To download, please visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] "

You don't need a web browser to transfer files from the internet, even via http.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

inzy (1095415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670329)

fork

Re:Some possible problems, here? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670335)

If they start using some open-source code for their browser, will the architecture of the OS still have IE as such an integral part, or will it become a separate application again?

You misunderstand. Ballmer said that they would look into a new rendering engine. Which means that IE will still be IE, just with a new codebase under the hood. After all, 95% of their customer base won't understand the difference. All they'll know is that IE is still part of Windows yet works better than ever.

...

Which Microsoft will then go on to say is an inexorable part of the Operating System. (insert eye roll here)

Re:Some possible problems, here? (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670539)

But what he meant was how far gpl/lgpl will spread into the OS depending on which license is used and how integrated it is.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670659)

Webkit is LGPL. As long as they have the engine separated into the same sort of controls they have today, it should meet the LGPL license just fine. Perhaps with a bit of wrapper code released as LGPL.

Re:Some possible problems, here? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670783)

If they put a GPL engine into IE, they would have to GPL IE, and that isn't happening.

Microsoft might look into their own OSS-based browser for a dedicated market (smartphones anyone?) to compete with Safari on the iPhone and the webkit browser on Android.

IE won't go away, nor will IE go OSS. Microsoft will be in both pools at once.

The third "E". The other browser. (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669823)

'Open source is interesting,' he said. 'Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8.'" [emphasis added]

Embrace, Extend... wait, there's a third "E" and a third browser technology, isn't there, Steve, and it's probably got something to do with what you'd like to do with Gecko/Firefox.

Wonder what it might be.

Re:The third "E". The other browser. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670195)

Esteem?

Re:The third "E". The other browser. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670245)

The problem is how.

Open source makes this much more difficult.

Re:The third "E". The other browser. (5, Interesting)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670379)

Ballmer pretty much confirmed (was there yesterday) that was the strategy later on in his answer - to beat the standards bodies to new features. The entire strategy they presented was building a new Microsoft-only Web stack built on .Net, and then trying to lock people in with IE8+.

3 E's (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25669825)

Embrace
Extend
Enjoy

Re:3 E's (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670537)

I wonder how long before this ends up in my spambox?...

You got it all wrong, (2, Funny)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670637)

Extend, Embed, Enjoy

Open Source? (0, Offtopic)

Skiron (735617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669851)

MS still do not under open source code at all...

Why the fuck can't they just try to do what they do, and not try to deliberately fuck up/poison what everybody else is doing?

HEAR ME (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25669881)

I USE TEH LINUX AND I R ANGRY

Re:Open Source? (4, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669885)

Deliberately fucking up/poisoning what everybody else is doing is the only thing they do well!

Re:Open Source? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670495)

Well yeah, but you have to admit they do it with a certain panache.

Reality check? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669859)

Yes, I suppose Microsoft might embrace open source. Of course, our politicians might lower taxes too. But Microsoft, like politicians, have a long history of saying one thing and doing another. That, and I'm pretty sure Balmer knows that if he mentions open source he'll get a free plug on Slashdot and on other media sites where highly technical people frequent. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to hint at open source as much as possible. From a legal and business standpoint, it's more likely he'll dance around on the stage in a Gir suit while singing the doom song.

Re:Reality check? (2, Funny)

lyml (1200795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669929)

Yes because I'm sure Ballmer just can't think of anything more than ways to get slashdots attention.

Remind me again, does one spell delusional with one or two l:s?

Re:Reality check? (2, Funny)

canistel (1103079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670285)

... as a matter of fact, he does seem to be rather interested in developers, and keeping them on his platform; slashdot is full of developers (I think) just a thought.

Re:Reality check? (1)

VisualD (1144679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669939)

So fairly likely then.

Re:Reality check? (2, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669957)

So you mean, pretty likely [google.com] .

How? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669921)

How can MS really adopt anything open source at this point? IE isn't just a part of Windows, IE practically *IS* Windows and having it being open source would make a valuable part of Windows open source which Ballmer hates with a passion. Take away IE and Active X and half the reason to use Windows goes away. And really, why use WebKit? Sure, its a decent rendering engine but no better than Gecko or the other OSS rendering engines. I really fear for WebKit if MS manages to use it, because rather than having WebKit we will have MS WebKit which is a highly modified version of an older release, Google's Bleeding Edge WebKit and Apple's Stable WebKit. And honestly, this is taking us back to Netscape Vs IE....

Re:How? (4, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670059)

Honestly, leaving IE and ActiveX in is half the reason NOT to use Windows. Replacing them with a more secure, stable, standards-compliant browser core? Sounds great. Updating the old junk and pretending it's not five years past its prime on release date? Fail.

Re:How? (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670133)

I know, but some of the people who are determined to hate Linux or OS X say that their bank, work, school, grandma won't work without Active X or that their bank, work, school, grandma won't render correctly with Firefox/Safari/Chrome.

Re:How? (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670689)

It DOESN'T matter if you hate linux or not, there REALLY are some websites out there, in particular one of the website's my mom does banking on, that will not work unless you use internet explore, even if you tell firefox to alias itself as windows explorer. I don't know about Safari or Chrome, but that CAN be a problem, and CAN lock people to Windows. Hate or no hate. (For the record: I like Linux, but hate OS X ... well actually I just hate Apple)

Re:How? (0, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670105)

M$ will have to adopt the open source, service and support, web portal business model whether it wants to or not. Ballmer statement is much more about his own personal survival as the M$ CEO rather the given any indication of the future direction of M$. Ballmer has managed to produce the least successful version of M$ windows and M$ Office, xbox has been limping along and MSN is a disaster.

So the statement about using open source in the browser is just to big note himself, a means by which to gain business publicity, to preserve his identity as the CEO of M$. M$ is stuck, IS is way too tightly embedded with the OS, making it impossible to realisticly combine Firefox with windows or open the source code of M$ IE. Of course M$ are currently stuck with their investment in sliverfish, the flash replacement that nobody wants, so perhaps this is just another song and dance to accompany the relaunch of version 2 advertising for that product.

I M$ seriously want a long term future, they have to focus on MSN and, for that Ballmer has not been the solution, he has been the failure.

Re:How? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670703)

Can you please use a few more dollar signs when you post? Right now you're at the point where I simply dismiss whatever you're saying. But verily, if you use a few dozen more, I'll start to think you're just disabled and take your opinion seriously in the name of equality and progress.

Re:How? (1)

Sephr (1356341) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670141)

Google's Bleeding Edge WebKit? It's not like they would be stupid enough to use the nightly webkit builds in their major or minor releases, only in their nightly builds does such a thing happen.

Re:How? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670151)

What I meant wasn't like nightly builds or anything, but you can expect Google's Chrome to have a more recent version of WebKit than Safari or MS's browser.

Re:How? (5, Insightful)

Toone_Town (612696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670235)

And really, why use WebKit? Sure, its a decent rendering engine but no better than Gecko or the other OSS rendering engines.

One reason for using WebKit over Gecko would be the licensing...I know that for lots of corporations, BSD-licensing is much favored over anything related to GPL...(Gecko is MPL)

Re:How? (4, Informative)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670525)

One reason for using WebKit over Gecko would be the licensing...I know that for lots of corporations, BSD-licensing is much favored over anything related to GPL...(Gecko is MPL)

Parts of WebKit are under the LGPL and parts are under a BSD-style license (I don't know which parts and I can't be bothered picking through the source code to find out), Gecko is all MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-licensed. You're going to have to adhere to the conditions of the LGPL if you actually want to use all of WebKit, so what's the difference? Gecko could be said to be better as you get to choose between a library-level or file-level copyleft, since you only have to adhere to one of the licenses.

Choosing WebKit over Gecko would probably be more about speed (WebKit is definitely faster), code-cleanliness (I hear Apple chose KHTML over Gecko to base WebKit on because of this), and simple bad feelings. A lot of people at Mozilla still don't like Microsoft, and the feeling may well be mutual among the browser developers on both sides. Apple probably just seem a more palatable choice to be working with for Microsoft.

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670767)

>One reason for using WebKit over Gecko would be the licensing...I know that for lots of corporations, BSD-licensing is much favored over anything related to GPL...(Gecko is MPL)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_layout_engines#General_information [wikipedia.org]

According to Wikipedia, Gecko is tri-licensed (MPL/GNU GPL/GNU LGPL tri-license) whereas Webkit is GNU LGPL only.

If it were a licensing issue where corporations were allegedly wary of GPL ... then there is no discernable reason to choose Webkit over Gecko.

BTW ... since the open source "copyleft" provisions of the GPL (whereby that code which is released under the GPL must remain as open source whenever re-distributed) apply only to re-distribution, why on earth should any corporation which is not in the business of modifying source code have any concern at all about the GPL? Just re-release the code (which was already open anyway) as you used it and you are compliant with the license ... for no development cost to you whatsoever.

Re:How? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670275)

Most likely, if they were to do such a thing, it would be a recognition of the fact that it is no longer possible/practical to attempt lockin by mucking with HTML/javascript rendering stuff. I would expect to see a browser that is very heavy on the Silverlight, with webkit used to render HTML and Javascript at the lowest practical cost.

ActiveX is an abortion, and has (mostly) died its well deserved death; but MS now has Silverlight, which is a much more competent stab at the web-stuff-plus-secret-windows-sauce concept than ActiveX ever was. I do strongly suspect that they cannot, and know they cannot, continue to make IE exclusive HTML/javascript a selling point. Keeping IE current is a chore, keeping it ahead has proven impossible, and there are now enough mac users out there, particularly among desireable demographics, that making websites IE only is no longer practical for anybody who wants a broad audience. That said, though, they seem to be moving forward with Silverlight, which isn't an IE exclusive; but might well be exactly the sort of "proprietary innovation" that Ballmer is referring to. Unfortunately, Silverlight is more competent than ActiveX ever was, so just waiting for it to collapse of its own weight probably won't work.

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670675)

ActiveX is an abortion, and has (mostly) died

tell that to the koreans

(Captcha was reinvent)

Re:How? (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670297)

Take away IE and Active X and half the reason to use Windows goes away.

Legacy apps. DirectX. DRM'd-but-still-interesting things, like NetFlix.

And the absurdly huge vicious cycle of user base -> developer base -> application base -> user base.

If IE and ActiveX were the only reasons to use Linux, well, they work under Wine, and they usually aren't demanding enough for a virtual machine to be a problem either.

Re:How? (2, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670307)

...GAH!

If IE and ActiveX were the only reasons to use Windows...

I don't know what to make of this (5, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669927)

Either Ballmer is throwing out a red herring, or future versions of IE (presumably after 8) will finally be decoupled from Windows.

But, what open source browser engines are there other than Gecko and Webkit? Both are developed by MS' sworn mortal enemies. Browsers are complex, time consuming beasts to develop.

timothy == JonKatz (-1, Offtopic)

eisenwulf (160056) | more than 5 years ago | (#25669951)

Gotta say it: that department tagline has convinced me to block Mr. Lord's posts.

Geekiness? Fine! Don't like MS? That's your opinion! Lame attempt at humor by submitter/timothy in the vein of serial killers and violence against women? Now we have a problem.

I realize that an overwhelming majority of Slashdot readers are Republican "stop being so PC"/Libertarian "South Park did it, so it's okay" apologists. Come on, though. This site doesn't need to skew so heavily to the misogynistic hurfdurfer angle as that.

Seems reasonable to me. (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670007)

Microsoft won the Browser Wars but failed to achieve its objectives in victory. The war against Netscape was to insure that all apps either network based or not needed Microsoft Windows with IE to run the apps. With such failures such as Active X which never really made it past the Intranet and Extranet application. What happened was web developers for the most part designed as much using open standards (or at least plugins that were more universally compatible) and then were able to make apps that run well on Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD or whatever just as long as you have a fairly modern browser. What was probably really surpassing to Microsoft most of this. Even decided to give the apps a step back in functionality (just recently for the last couple of year the AJAX method with DHTML became fully functional, or at least 85% there) just to keep compatibility.
What killed Microsoft objective more then anything was the insecurity of Active X and the general habit for people when asked a question is to answer yes and get it done. So now Microsoft is spending millions of dollars in IE development without really getting any major competitive advantage out of the deal. Sure you may have 90% of the market but only 5% of that market actually doing IE Only things you are just wasting your money.
Going to an open source rendering system just seems a way to keep up with the time. By joining the Jones you don't need to keep up with them. Just like with Safari or Chrome all the company needs to do is maintain the browser in features and UI (stuff that closed source companies have seem to shown they have an advantage over open source) and use someone else's Open Source rendering engine (Following specs and making things like rendering engines are what Open Source Developers are good at) So what Microsoft accomplish is a new objective. People will want to stick with Windows because they Like IE over the others.

Re:Seems reasonable to me. (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670611)

In reference to your sig, I was saying "Cloud Computing" was a trap long before RMS (publicly) said it. Actually, I was fearing the return of the thin-client long before this "Cloud Computing" came out of the mouths of marketing, because I knew it would lead to everyone having a computer that can't stand on it's own, and requires a Microsoft's (or some other vendor's) online services to function.

I'll go back to my crazy doomsday prophet rantings now... More people would probably listen to me if I had a beard...

Re:Seems reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670687)

Don't feed the troll.

Re:Seems reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670733)

How did you figure Microsoft won the browser wars? In 2002 IE5 and IE6 had around 85% of the browser market. In 2008, IE7 and IE6 have under 50%.

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

That for a browser that comes bundled with the OS.

Tags (5, Funny)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670053)

itsatrapwhatcouldpossiblygowrongembraceextendextinguishrunrunforthehills

open source for what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670103)

now that we have a black man as president all this open source and closed source infighting is just junk. come on, we need to unite and do whatever the black man says or be labeled racist and hung out to dry.

Battles. (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670109)

In this second great browser wars there are 4 major battles:

Features
Standards compliance
Speed
Security

MS can get features and even standards compliance through proprietary means, on the other hand, security and speed depend on lots of people looking through the code. So in essence, without an open source rendering engine MS can't hope to win. On the other hand, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome have made great leaps because they have all of the above.

Re:Battles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670715)

Please stop posting. Everything you write is uniformly idiotic.

Microsoft can't win evidentially... (1, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670121)

Funny how when Microsoft rejects Open Source they get people crawling down their backs. When they suggest they might move in that general direction they get people accusing them of trying to poison Open Source and calling them liars.

Seems whatever happens people just want to hate Microsoft whatever moves the company makes...

Re:Microsoft can't win evidentially... (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670191)

If your abusive spouse buys you flowers, you don't stop planning the escape.

Re:Microsoft can't win evidentially... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670341)

> Seems whatever happens people just want to hate Microsoft whatever moves the company makes...

Yes.

Re:Microsoft can't win evidentially... (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670353)

Seems whatever happens people just want to hate Microsoft whatever moves the company makes...

Apparently you were born recently. The reason Microsoft is hated no matter what they do is because they have a history of doing reprehensible things at every single turn. IBM. Apple. Lotus. Stac. Netscape. Tons of names in between.

Never have they competed fairly, honestly, or been good business partners. Always there is backstabbing, monopoly abuse, and underhanded tactics to increase their market position. Where there was a new feature or a new application, it was to crush the competition. There is nothing wrong with a good, strong business profiting from a great product. But Microsoft is an evil, twisted company that thrives on crushing everyone else with inferiority.

Fortunately the market has shifted in the past decade to a position where Microsoft has a much harder time competing. No longer can billions of dollars buy their way into a market; when your competition is free and open, you have a harder time competing by product dumping. When everyone is using a cross-platform web, you have a harder time locking people in. When you're old and all you can do is market your way out of a situation, you have a hard time beating the other guy who's way better and doesn't need marketing.

Re:Microsoft can't win evidentially... (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670403)

I understand Stac and Netscape. What the heck did Microsoft ever do to IBM or Apple? Are you upset Apple was given competition? Well, I guess IBM was sort of screwed over by the OEM deals MS did that locked OS2 out. So what did Microsoft do to Apple that was that terrible?

What Microsoft did to Apple (4, Informative)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670785)

So what did Microsoft do to Apple that was that terrible?

Got two words for you there: "look" and "feel."

MS was an early developer for Macs and had some of the first prototype machines. While assuring Apple that they weren't, they were using their knowledge of the thing that made a Mac a Mac, the Toolbox, to build a GUI on top of DOS. This GUI was released later as Windows, and although apologists try to play it off as based on Xerox's interface (whose designers were at Apple by then anyway), there is much evidence that they ripped Apple off. Apple put a ton of R&D into the interface, it was not much like Xerox's at all -- it was very much an "invented here" mindset as opposed MS's "NIH."

Thus was born the Look and Feel suit; Apple sued Microsoft for ripping off their interface, but in the meantime, Apple's then-CEO, John Sculley, had given Gates a badly-worded agreement that was construed by the judge to be a license to produce Windows using Apple's "intellectual property." Then again, part of the settlement was that MS couldn't use overlapping windows; that's why they were tiled until version 3.

All this actually didn't matter much; Apple made the bulk of its revenues on the Apple II line until 1987 or so, and Microsoft could likely have parlayed Apple's BASIC license into permission to use Apple's interface R&D anyway ("applesoft" BASIC was developed by MS, Woz did the superior "integer" BASIC but never upgraded it to handle floating-point math).

Here's what I consider the main point: Apple saw the Xerox work, and took some of the key people who created it, but they totally improved it. Quickdraw did real regions, roundrects, and other stuff the Smalltalk interface didn't. Microsoft may have seen the Xerox work, definitely saw the Apple stuff, and then put together a half-assed, hackneyed piece of shit.

This is what Microsoft has done ever since. Apple runs Microsoft's interface R&D, in a way. I think that's the real reason MS bailed them out in 1997. Bill Gates famously said, "I want Mac on a PC! I want Mac on a PC!" They always get pretty close, but somehow stay so far.

Linux seems to be much closer, using technology (X) that really was developed independently on a parallel track; thus they have their own thing that isn't some wanna be copy and stands on its own.

Microsoft has used up it's credibility (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670431)

Funny how when Microsoft rejects Open Source they get people crawling down their backs. When they suggest they might move in that general direction they get people accusing them of trying to poison Open Source and calling them liars.

Seems whatever happens people just want to hate Microsoft whatever moves the company makes...


I guess that means that Microsoft has used up it's credibility as a corporate citizen.

Is it colder in here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670147)

... I thought they kept hell nice and toasty. It's down right cold down here.

By interesting... (1)

mrcharliebrown (1129851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670153)

Ballmer means non-profitable.

Ballmer is so visionless. (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670189)

I mean, seriously... Microsoft is just not the same without Wild Bill at the helm.

chair (5, Funny)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670199)

"Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?"

"That's cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky," Ballmer said.

What the story doesn't mention is that the developer who asked that question was found dead later that day with a folding chair wrapped around his neck.

Re:chair (4, Funny)

2Bits (167227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670799)

Good thing the chairs in Sydney's Exhibition Centre are all bolted down.

Is any body giggling when you read this sentence from the article? I was imagining Ballmer looking around for a chair, and the expression on his face would be priceless when he found that all chairs are bolted down :)

Correction. Apple didn't embrace WebKit..... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670201)

they embraced KHTML. WebKit was created by Apple from Konqueror's HTML library.

jerky

Yeah, he's interested (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670211)

He's interested in Open Source in the same way ticks are interested in dogs.

They're going to have to switch anyway (2, Informative)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670221)

Why? There isn't a closed source rendering engine that processes JavaScript anywhere near as fast as Gecko or Webkit. Eventually, this is going to make it very difficult for IE to maintain its market share when common web developers start writing applications that require this kind of performance. There will eventually be web based applications that match Windows or OS X in responsiveness and functionality using only JavaScript HTML and CSS. When ordinary web developers begin to develop software that requires the performance advantage of open source rendering engines, Microsoft will be faced with the decision of switching or becoming obsolete on the web.

Re:They're going to have to switch anyway (1)

spikeb (966663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670261)

Opera's rendering engine probably can.

Re:They're going to have to switch anyway (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670457)

Opera's rendering engine probably can.

Presto is pretty quick, but Opera seem to be losing their competitive advantage as of late. WebKit is an absolute screamer, Gecko seems to get faster every day, and Microsoft have even managed to get some speed out of Trident (though IE8b2 is still stone dead last). Presto has gone quiet though. It'll probably burst back into life once Opera 10 is out, but that seems to have dropped off the radar now. Does anyone even have a ballpark estimate of when to expect Opera 10?

Re:They're going to have to switch anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670501)

Opera is closed-source and runs Javascript as fast as Gecko or Webkit. Opera was historically the fastest of the three until Webkit overtook Opera earlier this year. They're close together and are all continually improving in performance due to all the work going into them. IE doesn't have as much work going into it, and is therefore slow. Making one's own source code available has nothing to do with it.

Wasn't Microsoft going to kill Open Source? (2, Insightful)

The_One_Ring (599329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670263)

Oh well, as the old saying goes,

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

He's all over the place (0)

zmjjmz (1264856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670347)

Didn't he accuse the GPL of being some sort of cancer or a virus? Didn't he (just recently) decry Android for not making money? Does he even realize what he's saying?

Won't happen (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670385)

Microsoft's launch of Azure as their cloud computing OS and the Geneva identity backbone clearly defines the direction they're going. Why would they want to change out a portion of IE, which will be the defacto client for apps running on the Microsoft cloud? They have full control over it now and they have market share, I doubt they will just switch out the rendering engine when they have a big unknown on how well their cloud applications will run on it.

Google came in from the complete opposite direction, jumping in the browser fray because they needed to build a browser that would work best with their intended cloud applications.

I think it will Re:Won't happen (2)

rubies (962985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670571)

If you look at the latest versions of .NET, silverlight, integration of Ajax and the overwhelming popularity of the Ajax model in delivering web content, they will have little choice. I suspect they know the architecture of IE just isn't suited to the technology they are trying to deliver their next generation of applications on.

In other words, they want to own the server, not the client, when the applications will be delivered from there. Even their own developers use Firefox/firebug for debugging work (who doesn't?)

Simple question, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670469)

This is why I don't use IE: it doesn't do anything, it's at the bottom(behind Opera, FF, Saffari), it's not open source, it's slow. it's facked!!

When Ballmer says open source he means some random project in the corner. "Hey look we're open source."

So many people use IE8, which sucks balls, there's so many better browsers out there.

With Apologies... (1, Interesting)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670623)

to H. G. Wells...
The browser war between Open and Closed, which is now in its three hundredth and twenty-sixth year has at last come to an end. There are no standards compliant websites left to view and few standards compliant browsers left to view with. The Internet has become so polluted with deadly viruses and proprietary code that it can no longer be viewed. There is no place on the Internet that is immune. The last surviving programmers for the manufacture of standards compliant code have been destroyed. Codebase improvements are rapidly diminishing and when they are gone, we must die...

learn from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25670683)

Can you imagine if MS OSSed every app where the secrecy of its code wasn't something of importance to their business? The browser engine is one such thing. There are at least two F/OSS browser engines out there that are at least as capable (and more standards compliant) so browser engines is not some mysterious technology that only MS can figure out. Therefore their business will not suffer and may even enjoy huge benefits from going OSS. If you're concerned about GPL "infection" then make an F/OSS compliant DLL out of Gecko that any window can incorporate. Suddenly the browser, the help system, and anything else that must display web content uses that totally free DLL. If a financial app needs a web-like display, that's fine. The engine will be adopted and improved per the F/OSS requirements but stuff that's irrelevant to web browsing (like a financial app) do not become "infected." Take the ingenious example from Apple. Mac OS X really is UNIX (except that X sucks ass since the switch to X.org in 10.5) and every tool you know and love from Linux or *BSD is a compile away, plus it is compatible with just about any new desktop thing out there. An enormous part of this system is F/OSS! Only the stuff of significance to Apple's business is secret and that's plenty fine. Technically it's the absolute best OS for laptop use. MS could learn from that.

Foresight (1)

Rasta_the_far_Ian (872140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670755)

Looks like someone at the venue had a some good foresight - or, perhaps, is part of the Slashdot community!

From TFA:

Good thing the chairs in Sydney's Exhibition Centre are all bolted down.

Smoke and mirrors (4, Insightful)

Hillview (1113491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670791)

They're just tired of trying to compete with Mozilla.. if you can't beat 'em.. join 'em. ;)

Chinese copycat is one step faster (0, Offtopic)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670819)

They are selling a mobile phone + palm size projector

Review:
http://www.cheaa.com/Product/DH/HangQing/2008/11/37964152257.html [cheaa.com]
http://chinese.engadget.com/2008/08/26/epoq-egp-pp01-kirf-projector-phone-now-shipping/ [engadget.com]

just for 2000RMB (~285USD).

It claims to have 34-64 inches projected screen at 1-2 meter @ 640*480 resolution, does not mention the lumen though.

Better yet, looks like the speaker is much larger :P And after all it's a cell phone too.

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