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Microsoft Makes Second GPLv2 Release

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the baby-steps dept.

GNU is Not Unix 218

angry tapir writes "Microsoft has made its second release under the General Public License in two days with software for Moodle, an 'open-source course management system that teachers use to create online learning Web sites for their classes[, which] has about 30 million users in 207 countries.' It comes on the heels of Redmond contributing drivers to the Linux community. No reports as yet on dropping temperatures in hell."

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Inspect thoroughly (5, Funny)

Andrew Cooper (1539649) | about 5 years ago | (#28781257)

Someone should really check out the source, just to be sure it doesn't contain hidden subliminal "You Love Microsoft" messages. A good way to brainwash people is to interfere with their education...

Re:Inspect thoroughly (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#28781379)

Not really necessary. Microsoft's contribution [educationlabs.com] is explicitly designed for "Live Services integration" for signing in to moodle instances using Windows Live IDs(from MS, naturally) and using the various Windows Live web services(bing and friends).

Nothing subtle about it.

Microsoft altruistic? No... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28782381)

There have been times in my life when I would not have thought that someone who calls himself "fuzzy fuzzy fungus" could educate me.

But you did it this time.

Re:Inspect thoroughly (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#28782081)

Someone should really check out the source

Spot on, I always read the source, not only of the FOSS apps I love but also of the accompanying license. In fact my days have 63 hours in them! Also if I skip reading the license I wrote a license parser in Python which repeats any subliminal messages backwards on a timed loop. But only when I'm listening to Madonna.

So that's their plan.... (5, Funny)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 5 years ago | (#28781263)

1) Release code under GPL
2) Pigs fly and spread pig flue
3) ?????
4) Plague!
5) Robo-ballmer rules the world

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

coolsteve (1582557) | about 5 years ago | (#28781357)

Shouldn't that be:
1.) Release code under GPL
2.) ???
3.) Profit!

Re:So that's their plan.... (5, Funny)

catxk (1086945) | about 5 years ago | (#28781677)

Haha, get real.

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

PetriBORG (518266) | about 5 years ago | (#28781685)

Since its GPLv2, its clear that step two is "Require patent licensing" and hidden step four is "Sue any forked projects in ground for infringement".

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782087)

So your claim is that they are releasing this code in order to get people to use it but at the same time they are going to sue anyone who actually uses it thus leading no one to using it? Huh?

Re:So that's their plan.... (2, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | about 5 years ago | (#28782393)

Microsoft would be glad to spend a hundred million dollars to make GPL'ed software a "NO-NO" in big business. If they can give away their source for free... not sue any of their users... but sue anyone who uses their open sourced software for patent violations (and actually win the case) then that will make anyone in the business world pretty much immediately remove any and all GPL software from their systems.

Re:So that's their plan.... (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782479)

Microsoft would be glad to spend a hundred million dollars to make GPL'ed software a "NO-NO" in big business.

But the only GPL'ed software that would become a "NO NO" in this case would be their own. Moodle wouldn't be effected in the least bit by Microsoft disallowing anyone to use their Live plugin.

If they can give away their source for free... not sue any of their users... but sue anyone who uses their open sourced software for patent violations (and actually win the case) then that will make anyone in the business world pretty much immediately remove any and all GPL software from their systems.

I'm pretty sure that such a tactic wouldn't hold up in any court. Secondly, if what you claim was true any and all GPLed software would have already been removed from the business world after the successful TomTom suit over the FAT support in the Linux kernel, but amazingly it hasn't been.

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | about 5 years ago | (#28782587)

Yes, because it's still 1998 and "big business" is scared to death of Linux.

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 5 years ago | (#28782435)

So your claim is that they are releasing this code in order to get people to use it but at the same time they are going to sue anyone who actually uses it thus leading no one to using it? Huh?

  1. 1. Release code for free to get people to use it.
  2. 2. Wait for [bignumber] people to start using it
  3. 3. ???
  4. 4. Sue
  5. 5. Profit

Duh.

Re:So that's their plan.... (4, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782503)

Sue for what? They can't sue you for anything if they themselves release it under a license that says you can freely use, modify and distribute the source code. This imagined case would be thrown out of court.

Re:So that's their plan.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781973)

No one who posts on slashdot these days is old enough to remember that meme.

Re:So that's their plan.... (4, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 5 years ago | (#28781707)

I don't like your sig. Please change it.

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 5 years ago | (#28781729)

1) Release some code under GPL
2) Say GPL is good in certain cases
3) Tell CEOs that MS supports GPL, but realizes it is not good for operating systems or office suites
4) Keep the profitible part of the business in tact
5) Profit!

Re:So that's their plan.... (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#28782125)

err so your step 2 of the three step is really 'Profit':

1) Stuff
2) Profit
3) Profit!

Genius

Re:So that's their plan.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28782489)

1) Embrace
2) Extend
3) Extinguish
4) Profit!

Winter Coat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781271)

I wonder if, with all that Microsoft is doing for the open source community. Will they be nice, and buy a winter coat for Satan?

Bravo (2, Insightful)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | about 5 years ago | (#28781293)

Coming from an era when even education versions of Microsoft's software would cost a bit of scratch, I can only applaud this move. Course/Project Management software needs to be flexible and accessible. I believe this meets both criteria.

Re:Bravo (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#28781403)

Moodle is a preexisting OSS project, this is just a plugin for making Windows Live web services work with it. This does suggest that MS doesn't think that they can kill moodle; but it isn't their offering.

Re:Bravo (4, Insightful)

bloodninja (1291306) | about 5 years ago | (#28782641)

Moodle is a preexisting OSS project, this is just a plugin for making Windows Live web services work with it. This does suggest that MS doesn't think that they can kill moodle; but it isn't their offering.

Actually, it might lead to courses that use Moodle (my university does) to require Windows Live Messenger for each student. That means that Linux users, who otherwise could use the Moodle coursework, will now not be able to interoperate fully with the rest of their coursemates. This seems to me to be adding an option for a _dependency_ on Windows to Moodle. I am afraid that many courses will exercise that option.

Re:Bravo (2, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 5 years ago | (#28782813)

The bits of WLM you would need can be used for Linux, can't they? Kopete and what's-it's-name-now Gaim lets you use that service just fine.

Re:Bravo (0, Troll)

nkcaump (1016816) | about 5 years ago | (#28782295)

There is a significant number of folks using Moodle out in the educational world. I also think it's a good move. It is curious that M$ has gotten all GPL-crazy in recent days, but maybe someone over there is starting to get it?? Nah. That can't be it...

Not contribution; use (5, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#28781299)

This is an moodle plugin for microsoft's own groupware. Like their previous driver offering, it's not a wholehearted contribution to making an open source project better, but instead just a thing to make microsoft's own services work better when people need to use open source.

It's good to see a willingness to do even this much, but hardly a staggering change of heart. They've a long way to go yet.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781353)

For a company so anti-open source, this is a staggering change of heart.

Re:Not contribution; use (0)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#28781505)

If it was a big change, they'd go GPLv3. This is just them making their own services work better. As is, this isn't even worth much on slashdot. This amounts to a butterfly fart off the coast of Antarctica in terms of the world of open source.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781583)

So let me get this right, if you're not contributing in GPLv3 you're self serving and anti-FOSS?

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781635)

Mod parent up! And realize that Linux kernel is and will stay GPL2. Moron.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782049)

Well duh. The only true OSS license is clearly the GPLv3. All those people releasing code under the Apache, MIT/X11, PHP, GPLv3, BSD, etc are clearly enemies of FOSS and we must burn them at the stake!

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782173)

Oops, that second GPLv3 was meant to be GPLv2

Re:Not contribution; use (4, Informative)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28781701)

If it was a big change, they'd go GPLv3.

Why? That would make it be under an incompatible license with what the original software is written under and as such no third party would be able to distribute it legally because of this incompatibility. Or did you not even bother to take the 2 seconds to realize this fundamental problem with your argument?

Re:Not contribution; use (1, Insightful)

rawr_one (1474675) | about 5 years ago | (#28781541)

No, it isn't. They're just utilising their Embrace, Extend, Extinguish methodology once more. They're reaching out to the open-source world by Embracing open standards, they'll Extend the abilities of certain products and services but in a way that those benefits can only be reaped by people using their hardware/software to use them, and then they'll Extinguish their competitors because Microsoft is in control of the extensions to those services that people depend upon.

It's the same old plan, they've just placed their Trojan Horse in front of some open-source projects this time.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28781915)

They're reaching out to the open-source world by Embracing open standards, they'll Extend the abilities of certain products and services but in a way that those benefits can only be reaped by people using their hardware/software to use them, and then they'll Extinguish their competitors because Microsoft is in control of the extensions to those services that people depend upon.

How does one "control" the extensions if they are also required to be licensed under the GPL as well? Aren't FOSS people always talking about how no one can have control over GPLed code since anyone and everyone can always grab the source and fork it?

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

rawr_one (1474675) | about 5 years ago | (#28782199)

It's simple, really.

First, they introduce nice features that are confusing enough to use but simple enough that nobody feels like taking the time to improve upon them.

Then, they release proprietary, closed-source "extensions" for their own tools to access the services and utilise those features with incredibly useful, simplified methodologies. Their tools then become the tools du jour and they make like bandits.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782323)

First, they introduce nice features that are confusing enough to use but simple enough that nobody feels like taking the time to improve upon them.

Have you even looked at their code to make such a statement? Doubtful.

Then, they release proprietary, closed-source "extensions" for their own tools to access the services and utilise those features with incredibly useful, simplified methodologies. Their tools then become the tools du jour and they make like bandits.

Which then begs the question of why even release anything under the GPL? They could have just gone straight to what you claim their ultimate goal is without having to release anything open source code. You're really grasping at straws here.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

rawr_one (1474675) | about 5 years ago | (#28782399)

No, I have not looked at their code to make that statement. I'm basing my entire reasoning here on their previous actions, and I fully admit to that.

That being said, my gut tells me that the reason they are releasing code under the GPL is either:

  • To make themselves look better
  • For the projects they've currently done this with, they have to

I'm not going to pretend to know which reason it is, or even whether or not either is right. But I do know that Microsoft is not a bunch of idiots and that they are entirely capable of doing good things, but it is usually only when it is in their own interests to do so. They are a business after all, and it's hard to survive as a business if you help your competitors. Especially when most of your competitors hate your guts.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | about 5 years ago | (#28781371)

I agree; Microsoft is just interested in making cash; When GPL becomes a good way to make $$$, we'll see more of this.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#28781531)

I'd say that public stigma has had a whole lot more to do with anything than "can linux make money". There's never been a question that having more programmers at your fingertips (if it's an interesting project, etc) than you can afford to hire is extremely valuable.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | about 5 years ago | (#28782127)

I agree; Microsoft is just interested in making cash; When GPL becomes...

The same exact thing can be said about IBM, the former Sun, and a myriad of other publicly traded companies who traditionally have "embraced" open source. They are all just trying to make money the best they know how, and the fact that they have had anything at all to do with open source is just an expression of them trying to corner a niche or make software available to increase their own marketability. Yay for the invisible hand.

I laugh every time I read someone saying that publicly traded company X is good and publicly traded company Y is "evil." Repeat after me: Companies which are no longer tightly controlled by a leader, who may or may not himself had praiseworthy motives when he started the firm, are not altruistic. Google's founders probably had good motives when they pledged to "do no evil," but that motto will become less and less meaningful as others begin to control Google (and it was necessarily much less meaningful on the day Google became publicly traded). Microsoft has had no reason to have anything to do with open source (as long as they could avoid it) because of their market position. As Microsoft's market share drops, they will inevitably have more and more to do with open source, not because they will suddenly be concerned about the "community," but because their viability depends on it.

Personally, I don't think any of this is a bad thing. The markets generally run well, and the work of the invisible hand is significant (yep, I'm a capitalist pig). Just don't be tricked into thinking that there is any public company that is really altruistic.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | about 5 years ago | (#28782557)

I'm not sure if that's entirely true; Companies seem to have an atmosphere within them, that employees and leadership are affected by. If you've ever moved between jobs, you'll probably notice how certain stores just don't give a damn, and some have a more caring attitude.

People tend to mimic those around them; If a good atmosphere begins to propagate, it could very well affect everyone within the company (including the leadership.) This could lead to "nice" companies (or more accurately, a general mood that's a little less vicious.) Of course, with such large companies, it probably varies between working location to working location.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

DadLeopard (1290796) | about 5 years ago | (#28781377)

Microsoft is not note for being a Kind, Giving organisation!! Expect anything from them to be totally in their own self interest! Also everything come with a Hook!!

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28781553)

Unlike Red Hat, Sun, Novel, IBM, etc which are just contributing to Linux and other open source through pure altruism!

Re:Not contribution; use (5, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | about 5 years ago | (#28782147)

Microsoft is a victim of their reputation, a reputation honestly earned by their past actions. When everyone who ever gets in bed with you turns up dead or with a story of barely escaping alive the next day, sometimes it's appropriate for others to label you a black widow and liken you to a praying mantis.

No one claims that anyone in the group you listed are contributing to open source purely because they are altruistic and without any self interest. But that's the point, everyone on your list 'plays nice' with open source because they have an interest in seeing it succeed. Microsoft, however, has never acted as if open source was anything but a despicable wretch deserving a slow painful death. Their own self interest, therefore, leads people to suspect that perhaps the apples they are offering are poisoned.

It's also important to note that in both of the cases where they've done this, the contribution wasn't a general "here's some improvements" code, it was "here is some code which would allow you to work better with our proprietary services, so more people would be willing to use those." Anyone who thinks that Microsoft would continue to maintain such interoperability code should it prove a disadvantage to MS should avoid real estate brokers with deals concerning bridges.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28782269)

It's also important to note that in both of the cases where they've done this, the contribution wasn't a general "here's some improvements" code, it was "here is some code which would allow you to work better with our proprietary services, so more people would be willing to use those."

You mean like this [ibm.com] where IBM ported a bunch of Linux development tools to AIX so that more people would develop apps for their proprietary system?

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 5 years ago | (#28782313)

Unlike Red Hat, Sun, Novel, IBM, etc which are just contributing to Linux and other open source through pure altruism!

True, but these companies generally collaborate with each other (these days) in a reasonably friendly way, whereas collaborating with MS has usually given a good chance of finding a knife sticking our of your back.

Re:Not contribution; use (4, Insightful)

dword (735428) | about 5 years ago | (#28781549)

This is the change some of us wanted and I believe it to be a very good one! Why would anyone have the right to force Microsoft to contribute to open-source? What we really needed was compatibility. Nobody cares about the way Microsoft manages its code and nobody should have the right to bother them about it.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#28782223)

Why would anyone have the right to force Microsoft to contribute to open-source?

No one wants to force them, any more than they want to force their kids to be good upstanding citizens. On the contrary, we kind of hope that, at some point, they'll become mature enough within themselves, and develop some decency, to be able to show respect and concern for others.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 5 years ago | (#28782433)

Too bad open source has nothing to do with any of that.

Re:Not contribution; use (3, Interesting)

intx13 (808988) | about 5 years ago | (#28781689)

Like their previous driver offering, it's not a wholehearted contribution to making an open source project better, but instead just a thing to make microsoft's own services work better when people need to use open source.

Microsoft is a corporation, after all, and I would be very surprised to see them expending resources working on open source projects that they do not actually use. This could be a gateway, a toe in the water, to starting open source projects, which then of course they would contribute to. But unlike IBM, (former) Sun, etc, Microsoft has no ties to existing open source software, so not contributing to the same isn't too surprising.

It's good to see a willingness to do even this much, but hardly a staggering change of heart. They've a long way to go yet.

I suppose you could say that. I think the point here is not that Microsoft is releasing something under an open source license, but that Microsoft sees open source as a viable approach to softare development and a real business force. Typically we expect the company to brush off open source as "anti-American" and offer pricey, Windows-only alternatives to whatever the demand might be. But now they are admitting, in a business sense, that the open source market exists and is worth working with. Sure, they're doing this to increase interoperability with their existing, closed-source projects... but that's more than just a token move.

Re:Not contribution; use (2, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28781743)

Like their previous driver offering, it's not a wholehearted contribution to making an open source project better, but instead just a thing to make microsoft's own services work better when people need to use open source.

But when IBM contributes code to Linux and other open source projects it's not because they just want their services to work better with open source and thus make more money for themselves?

Re:Not contribution; use (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 years ago | (#28781803)

Why the hell should they contribute to any project in a way that doesnt firmly, 100% front and center benefit themselves? There is no requirement for contributions to be altruistic in any way, shape or form.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

houghi (78078) | about 5 years ago | (#28781975)

If they could do the same for Outlook, it would mean a lot more to me.

Re:Not contribution; use (3, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | about 5 years ago | (#28782341)

This is not about a willingness to do anything. Microsoft's goal, like that of all corporations is to make profit for its shareholders. It's not about good or bad intentions, so please stop trying to interpret it in that context. The general public should be pretty pissed if corporations like Microsoft decided to have a "change of heart" and focused on making things open instead of making money, because each member of the general public could very well be partial owners of those corporations.

The thing we actually should want to see is a situation where it makes more sense for Microsoft to promote open source. An example of such a situation is if the rate and state of development for Linux demonstrate how well open source models can work. It would be unreasonable and unrealistic to expect to see Microsoft promote open source out of a sense of nobility.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

nkcaump (1016816) | about 5 years ago | (#28782359)

However, Moodle is a pseudo competitor to Sharepoint, so it's noteworthy that they would even spend two spits worrying about something that Sharepoint competes with.

Re:Not contribution; use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28782617)

They've a long way to go yet.

No, they don't.

Microsoft is a company, whose goal it is to make a profit. Their goal is not to contribute to open source projects.
Now we might like it if they did, but unless there is an incentive (as you point out in this case), why would they spend time on giving away stuff?
Just because it works for others?

Well, their approach has worked for them sufficiently well so far.

Re:Not contribution; use (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#28782663)

Like their previous driver offering, it's not a wholehearted contribution to making an open source project better, but instead just a thing to make microsoft's own services work better when people need to use open source.

WTF? Isn't that the major motivation of pretty much all corporate contributions: making a project work better with their offerings? IBM didn't release NUMA code because it made them feel all happy and rainbowish; they released it so Linux would be more attractive on their hardware. Yeah, MS gave out code that benefits them, just like everyone else. Provide a counterexample or quit harping on this.

I don't even like MS, but don't invent reasons to dislike them!

Not the first contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781313)

These really aren't the first contributions that MS has made to the GPLv2. They might be the first projects owned by Microsoft to fall under the license, but Microsoft has always offered the source code for the GNU tools released under Interix on their FTP site.

uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (4, Interesting)

toby (759) | about 5 years ago | (#28781325)

Not everyone was fooled. Apenwarr [alumnit.ca] wrote about it, for one.

This is still Microsoft, folks. It's always a trap.

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 5 years ago | (#28781597)

I honestly believe that Microsoft and Microsoft people (which represent a lot of people and even a lot of sub-community considering the number of "labs" they own) are finally "getting it". I think these attempts are honest and that they are jealous of the community other OSS-friendly companies managed to build.

I also believe that tit-for-that is one of the most winning strategy in the prisonner's dilemma game. They'll have to do a lot more effort before I consider them worthy of trust.

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (3, Insightful)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 5 years ago | (#28781857)

Of course they get it. They get that with virtualization you don't need to update the drivers for windows xp, you could run it forever on a linux box, and only worry about updating the drivers in linux to match your hardware. thus people could have the latest hardware and run xp virtualized.

of course, the host operating system has to stay current, and with Micro$oft already pressuring vendors to stop making XP drivers, its the host operating system that becomes important.

Read toby's comment and follow the link:

Not everyone was fooled. Apenwarr [alumnit.ca] wrote about it, for one.

This is still Microsoft, folks. It's always a trap.

--------------
Yeah, so don't buy anything off the the icecream truck that Microsoft is driving past us. Every treat has a razor blade and every snack is poisoned.

Woe, I sound really bitter, and I consider myself fairly apathetic where Windows is concerned.

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (2, Funny)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#28781993)

of course, the host operating system has to stay current, and with Micro$oft already pressuring vendors to stop making XP drivers, its the host operating system that becomes important.

Important for what exactly?

Imagine a world in which Windows becomes little more than a BIOS for Linux. Do you really think Microsoft will be able to charge a lot of money for that?

Microsoft has been able to monopolize the market because they controlled everything. But their fortress is crumbling. The fact that they are releasing GPL drivers for Linux, even for this limited purpose, shows this, and it shows that they know it.

IBM also used to be an evil monopoly, but they have grown up. There's no reason Microsoft can't do that as well. And as more and more of the Microsoft blowhards retire from the company on their monopoly-derived billions, Microsoft will become increasingly realistic and cooperative, because the next generation at Microsoft has to realize that it's either cooperation or bankruptcy for Microsoft.

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781859)

A large part of his argument seems to be resting on the fact that 'almost everyone' in the western world 'owns' a copy of windows they can 'just virtualise' on whatever platform they desire.
Thus making linux + virtualised XP a valid choice.

This is far from accurate as I'd wager that 90% or more of people who 'own' XP actually have an OEM lisence, which does not give you a legal right to install it on other hardware or virtualised hardware.
Even if such people wanted to break the law and install their OEM copy of XP on a VM, most of them couldn't as they don't tend to get a real install disk. (more likely an automated setup locked to their specific hardware or worse an image)

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781913)

which one is the host, and which one is the guest?

Translation: "who's a top and who's a bottom" :-/

Re:uh, the driver release is an ANTI-Linux move (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 5 years ago | (#28782649)

Hm.

This is still Apple, folks. It's always a trap.

This is still Novell, folks. It's always a trap.

This is still [a company meant gain profit], folks. It's always a trap.

Somehow, I'm fairly certain that no company that wants to profit from software sales is going to pass up an opportunity to allow popular software to be used and NOT be compatible with their own software? Oh. It's a trap. It can't be simple profit-driven motives...

it's evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781337)

Hi, I will not even look at it, it's evil. CU 9000h

Let's thank Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781341)

and give them something back. What about a binary driver for their FAT filesystem?

But... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781347)

Bill Gates rapes children, Ballmer eats fluffy bunny rabits and Microsoft are the worst company in the world and their software is so utterly crap no one uses it, and if they do it's just because Ballmer forces them to with the threat of anal rape.

What? That's the usual Slashdot response to a story where Microsoft are doing some good isn't it???

I know it's hard for the FOSS zealots and Microsoft haters but really, it is possible that Microsoft might be changing, personally I think it's been happening for a few years. The company culture seems much less predatory and hostile nowadays for the most part - there are still some shitty things and people for sure but it takes a long time to change a company of that size.

They should be commended for trying, rather than insulting for simply existing. Encourage companies when they do what's good rather than hate them no matter what and they might be encouraged to follow the good path rather than simply change their mind for getting flack no matter what they do.

Re:But... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#28781587)

Ballmer eats fluffy bunny rabits

AFAIK he doesn't, I do. I love rabbit, especially fried. Frodo and Samwise eat fluffy bunny rabbits, too.

Ballmer shoots puppies. [nocookie.net]

Re:But... (3, Insightful)

lordandmaker (960504) | about 5 years ago | (#28781711)

I know it's hard for the FOSS zealots and Microsoft haters but really, it is possible that Microsoft might be changing, personally I think it's been happening for a few years. The company culture seems much less predatory and hostile nowadays for the most part - there are still some shitty things and people for sure but it takes a long time to change a company of that size.

And, if they are changing, it takes a long time to reverse a reputation as bad as the one they have.

They should be commended for trying, rather than insulting for simply existing. Encourage companies when they do what's good rather than hate them no matter what and they might be encouraged to follow the good path rather than simply change their mind for getting flack no matter what they do.

MS have a long and distinguished history of fucking people over. It will take a long time of them specifically not fucking people over for people to stop expecting anything MS announce to have ulterior motives. In much the same way as those people suspicious of MS cannot expect a turnaround in the attitude of the company overnight, you cannot realistically expect an overnight turnaround in the way Microsoft is perceived. I'm no MS hater. I know they've done a pretty big bunch of good things, and, as a Linux user I'm relishing (and, admittedly slightly worried by) the substantial increase in quality from them recently. IE and Office are two bits of MS software that have come on leaps and bounds in the past few years. But I still viewed everything they release with some suspicion because for so many years that has been the most appropriate thing to do. And for several years into the future, the MS I know is going to be the one that one should be suspicious of. Maybe they are changing, but they'll have to change dramatically and far to realistically win people over into thinking they're working for the good of anyone but themselves.

Re:But... (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | about 5 years ago | (#28781841)

...

In much the same way as those people suspicious of MS cannot expect a turnaround in the attitude of the company overnight, you cannot realistically expect an overnight turnaround in the way Microsoft is perceived...

But it's been TWO nights!

Re:But... (1)

dvice_null (981029) | about 5 years ago | (#28782065)

> it is possible that Microsoft might be changing

I like to give people (or companies) a chance to change. But I do require that they first undo their previous crimes. Microsoft can start by identifying the 235 patents they talked about few years ago:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/14/0018242 [slashdot.org]

v2? why not v3? (0, Redundant)

FreeUser (11483) | about 5 years ago | (#28781349)

Hmm, this is interesting. The more cynical part of me wonders why, and can't help but recall the protections against patent litigation built into GPLv3, and notably missing from GPLv2... Makes me wonder if that old adage "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" isn't somewhat apropos the 21st century (with some modified verbiage): "Beware patent bearing monopolists offering non-GPLv3-ed code..."

Re:v2? why not v3? (2, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | about 5 years ago | (#28781525)

Moodle is GPLv2, so the plugin must be GPLv2 also or it won't be compatible with the existing software.

Re:v2? why not v3? (4, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | about 5 years ago | (#28781665)

Hmm, this is interesting. The more cynical part of me wonders why, and can't help but recall the protections against patent litigation built into GPLv3, and notably missing from GPLv2...

What's interesting about it? The Linux kernel is GPLv2 so a GPLv3 driver is unlikely to make it in. Moodle is also GPLv2 so it's perfectly logical that they'd release their plugin that works with it under the same license. Did you forget that whole big thing about GPLv3 being incompatible with GPLv2? In fact, it would be stupid on their part to release source code to work with programs under incompatible license terms which would disallow anyone from legitimately being able to distribute it.

Re:v2? why not v3? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#28781749)

They are not completely missing from GPLv2

from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html [gnu.org] , clause 7

"For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program."

No reports as yet on dropping temperatures in hell (4, Informative)

ChoboMog (917656) | about 5 years ago | (#28781351)

I don't know... It looks like its going to drop a few degrees overnight. http://www.weathercity.com/us/mi/hell/ [weathercity.com]

Is this the source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781415)

for global warming?

Re:Is this the source... (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | about 5 years ago | (#28781611)

Whoa did you see that? It looked like a hog that had taken flight!
Maybe it was just Homer Simpson's pig roast gone awry again.

Something Special (1)

Dark Lord Unicorn (1603445) | about 5 years ago | (#28781409)

If they were to do something like.... release DirectX 12 and have it open platform, for Linux users and Mac users, then.... maybe..... the community might cut them some slack.

Re:Something Special (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 5 years ago | (#28782529)

That's just fucking retarded. Where's the business case for spending an insane amount of manpower to replicate an entire software stack on two operating systems with none of the components that that software stack relies upon, where both have a combined market share under fifteen percent? Where's the monetary return? Why would they do it for any realistic reason? Because it makes idiots like you feel better? Get real and get the stupid out of your head. Microsoft is out to make money. If being a good little open source citizen helps them in some areas, awesome, they do it. If it would be a boondoggle, as your incredibly fucking retarded idea out of your incredibly fucking retarded mouth is, they'll laugh and can it.

We were thinking of using Moodle (4, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | about 5 years ago | (#28781485)

AS far as I'm aware, the only thing they have for Moodle is a Windows Live Plugin, that lets you do Windows Live Searches and have some sort of MSN Messnger functionality.

This isn't Microsoft caring about GPL or whatever, it's about a small project that gives them more hooks into more websites. It gives people learning to use the web in a formal environment MORE Microsoft.

Re:We were thinking of using Moodle (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#28782717)

This isn't Microsoft caring about GPL or whatever, it's about a small project that gives them more hooks into more websites.

Sure, but it's a start. They used to proclaim that the GPL was somewhere between the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

And they have released genuinely useful software, too, like IronPython.

Again, this one is mostly to benefit MS (1)

joaobranco (55662) | about 5 years ago | (#28781559)

AFAIK, it looks like a moodle plugin to allow the use of the "live" services in Moodle, including to allow single sign in.

Obviously this is to help locking the users since early on to MS services. Not evil in itself (and I suppose that either google has the same thing or is thinking in doing the same). But it mostly benefits MS, not Moodle.

this is just a PR stunt on obscure software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781799)

Ya, some tool to help teachers make web pages is open source. Ha!

I'd like to see some actual serious product they have go open source. Ya right. This is all just a PR stunt to say "see? we really are open source"

Does this M$ feat. already exist elsewhere? (1)

titaniumtux (1601949) | about 5 years ago | (#28781801)

Has M$ already made a similar plugin for Blackboard or other competing software? I bet most college students who use Moodle don't even know that it's open source (and even then, most students use open source software on windeuce or OS X), so this is a great strategy for M$ to gain webmail/search engine market share while being partly user-transparent. The only real surprise (sort of) would be that M$ would encourage the use of open source software, but even then they'll surely use this as an exploit in order to abuse consumers (just like the .NET Firefox extension).

Re:Does this M$ feat. already exist elsewhere? (1)

ericrost (1049312) | about 5 years ago | (#28782215)

Funny thing bout that, Microsoft partially OWNS Blackboard...

Re:Does this M$ feat. already exist elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28782757)

Those poor abused consumers with 10 extra characters in their user agent string. How will they survive?

The final batle is yet to come (1)

ammorais (1585589) | about 5 years ago | (#28781807)

Microsoft release of 2 GPL software denotes a completely change of strategy. They started with the Anti-American, and Communist comparison campaign, and now they are changing the curse of their actions. Open-source advocates have many reasons to be suspicions about Microsoft actions since a radical change of position about such a deeply touchy issue, is something that probably has some other hidden interests and secret strategy.
While we could take from this 2 specific examples many obvious elations like serving their own interests in making their software more friendly to multiplatform users(in the case of the drivers), or some other obvious conclusion about how much money Microsoft will make with Moodle open-sourced, I think there's "more, to it than meets the eye."

Let us not forget that the GPL was not yet truly tested in any court of any country, and that the final battle is yet to come.

not surprising at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28781831)

The GPL is a very friendly license for the original developers releasing the code, since they control full rights to re-release a (possibly enhanced) version under a proprietary license and charge money for that. They can also add clauses (a la MySQL) to make it difficult for outside developers to incorporate the software into a packaged solution without negotiating additional licensing fees. So the source code might be free as in beer, but only for academic and private use.

OTOH it's hard for to make money selling someone else's GPL'd code, since your source modifications have to released as well, unless you can afford to staff a customer support operation like Red Hat... and better make sure its reputation is as good or better than the competition's.

Richard Stallman supposedly actually suggested the dual-licensing scheme, to TrollTech or some company like that.

It's a trap (1)

markov_chain (202465) | about 5 years ago | (#28781877)

If you modify their code and try to distribute it you will be forced to release the source--and they will take it back! :D

So the GPL isn't a viral license after all?! (1)

MadJo (674225) | about 5 years ago | (#28781905)

What a shocker, Microsoft releases something using that dangerous viral license GPL. Well at least, dangerous and viral according to Microsoft.

Maybe Part of A Larger Strategy ("The Cloud") (2, Insightful)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about 5 years ago | (#28781925)

I think this is part of a larger strategy to point people to thier Azure "Cloud" platform.

Microsoft will probably "open source" more of thier software if it serves the purpose of exposing Microsoft to more people.

If you expect them to one day open source any of thier major technologies (e.g. DirectX, Windows or SQL Server) you will be waiting a loooonnnng time before this will happen.

They will probably open source enough of the "connectivity" type of software to provide a "path of least resistance" to interoperate *into* the Azure platform.

Of course the Azure platform is *not* open source which means you will be *locked-into* thier technology. So sure, you may have open source client code at your disposal but it eventually will lead into a locked platform.

As a company they want to grow beyond "PC on every desk, Windows on every PC, on every phone, console, toaster, gerbil" - that's too limiting now, they want to be the central hub of the Internet and fully exploit "the cloud".

As a bonus everyone moves to a rental model (like the mainframes of years ago) - you don't own anything, you are bound by *thier* "terms and conditions" and you perpetually keep paying for stuff.

This is a corporation's wet dream.

In this case "It's a Trap" may be justified.

Or I am just paranoid and drink waaaayyy too much coffee.

Re:Maybe Part of A Larger Strategy ("The Cloud") (2, Interesting)

spitzak (4019) | about 5 years ago | (#28782751)

However an open-source client to their software means they cannot hide how to interoperate, and they cannot prevent other software from using this code. I suspect it does not cover a lot of the interoperation, but the code is probably also a big help for reverse engineering.

Microsoft could compete without shenanigans if they would document how to interoperate and license that information for everybody to use. Releasing this information as open source licensed code is a good way to do it, as the documentation in the code is likely much more accurate than any manual, and it probably is easier to make that code than to try to write the documentation.

If Linux could run DirectX programs legally and with the api fully documented, it would still have a hard time if it ran them 10 times slower, due to some clever piece of internal code that some engineer at Microsoft invented, for instance much faster antialiasing. This is fair competition. I think some engineers at Microsoft are interested in this as well, I would be, it is insulting that any actual talent is invisible because it is totally impossible for anybody to make a competing implementation.

Releasing anything under the GPL is a huge change for Microsoft. If you believed what they said a few years ago, they would have to publish every piece of source code they have right now, because the GPL is "viral".

You're not buying this, right? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | about 5 years ago | (#28782317)

Lately a lot of people have been taking up ridiculous mental conflicts. Chief among them is that spending our way to out of debt works. (It doesn't, never has in history, and can't, mathematically: the intent is a coup).

I don't see how anyone trusts Microsoft, a company promising since about 1995 to "get things done faster" and "Make the internet simpler" and "this version is more reliable" but the people running it barely turn it on before buying SOMEONE ELSE'S CODE to keep it from crashing from viruses. And they overlook the circling crowd of 2,000,000 viruses waiting to pounce, should the AV program fail.

This is the company that for about 25 years has shown the market that making a 'killer app' means killing the new company with the new ideas. Sybase, Blue Mountain, Netscape, and so on.

So this corporate bully, this devourer of good ideas, who hasn't told us the truth since DISCO is going to offer GPL code and you would actually try it?

Do you like candy? Won't you get into my van- I have candy!

Cheers to Microsoft... (2, Insightful)

Brian Feldman (350) | about 5 years ago | (#28782505)

for doing it right and not using GPLv3 just because it's newer! It is useless to have open source software available for your use if its license is fundamentally incompatible with your business. Of course, it would be even nicer if they released software under an even freer license i.e. BSD or similar, but I think the only thing preventing that is those licenses not having the buzzwordiness of GPL.

Trend (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 5 years ago | (#28782629)

Given the trend towards open source software, Microsoft really has to come on board to remain competitive. Unfortunately, M$ is slowly losing its own Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt campaign and must ultimately concede that free/open source software is not "un-American." Actually, free/open source software is very much American as it is open and returns control back to the individual. If America was founded on individualism, then free/open source software should epitomise "Americanness" I also don't doubt that it is part of much larger strategy on Microsoft's part but Microsoft has lost a good bit of its dictatorial powers. I still don't see cloud computing as really catching on in the mainstream just yet. Cloud computing is just really a fancy term for a complete 180 degree turn to an era when computing was centralized and people interfaced with the computer via a terminal. Signs of this are already happening for consumers but the business world would be relatively unwilling to give control over its most important and precious applications.

Re: Microsoft Makes Second GPLv2 Release (1)

mythz (857024) | about 5 years ago | (#28782789)

Somebody stop them!

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