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Microsoft's CoApp To Help OSS Development, Deployment

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the meet-the-world's-biggest-foss-vendor dept.

Open Source 293

badpazzword writes "Microsoft employee Garrett Serack announces he has received the green light to work full time on CoApp, an .msi-based package management system aiming to bring a wholly native toolchain for OSS development and deployment. This will hopefully bring more open source software on Windows, which will bring OSS to more users, testers and developers. Serack is following the comments at Ars Technica, so he might also follow them here. The launchpad project is already up."

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293 comments

um... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31783776)

Serack is following the comments at Ars Technica, so he might also follow them here

Yes, I'm sure he's following all 0 of them...

BEWARE !! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784720)

This is the pusherman !! Run like you have never run before !! RUN !! RUN !! RUN !! Run Far, Far away from this pusherman !!

I'll follow them here too. :D (5, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31783782)

Ask me about CoApp, I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

Garrett Serack
CoApp Project Owner

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (5, Funny)

Meshach (578918) | about 4 years ago | (#31783824)

In the same vein feel free to ask me about Linux.

Linus Torvalds
Linux Kernel Founder

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#31783892)

Ask us about nuclear disarmament.
We'll tell you everything WE want you to know. [slushdot.com]

Barack Obama
Dmitry Medvedev

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 years ago | (#31784216)

I'm Santa.

Ask me about anything to do with snow, the north pole, midgets, flying reindeer and flying midgets.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784654)

I'm Santa.

There you are, you fat bastard. Where's My PONY?!?

Merry Christmas,
Virginia

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#31784704)

I'm Darl McBride, and I'm dyslexic.
So, Satan, I sold you my soul, and what the (*^*%^&^%$S did I get in return???
I'll see you in HELL!
You can have my soul when you pry it from my cold dead body!

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31783860)

When will MS be pulling the rug out from under the community?

How much of a fight will we seen when someone tries to packup an app that competes with an MS product?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (4, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31783904)

Well, considering that I spent several months hacking thru red tape to get VP approval, and the enthusiasm that I've been getting, I'm pretty damn confident that we're clear sailing.

And given the first three targets that on my radar are PHP, Apache and Python (and the 40 or so shared library dependencies), and that's what I took to the VP, I'm fairly confident that's not going to be an issue.

And, on top of that, MS doesn't own the project, I do. "Shutting it down" is not an option for them.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31783954)

You do know that the work agreement that you signed during orientation stated that Microsoft owns any software that you produce on your own time, as long as Microsoft may compete against said software at some point in the future?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 years ago | (#31784070)

You do know that the work agreement that you signed during orientation stated that Microsoft owns any software that you produce on your own time, as long as Microsoft may compete against said software at some point in the future?

Perhaps that was some of the red tape that needed to be cut. Guess what, you can run things past management, and get legal to sign off on something that amounts to an agreement between the employee and employer that a given project belongs soley to the the employee. I don't know about microsoft specifically, but lots of companies are amenable to this sort of thing.

Sometimes there are legitimate concerns that have to be resolved... often its just a matter of jumping through the required hoops.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (5, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784410)

That is precisely the red tape that I had cut.

Microsoft has given me a signed contract that says that whatever I produce for the CoApp project isn't owned by them. They do get a license to everything I make (fair deal), but they don't own it in the end.

That, and I've also chosen the BSD license for it's do-what-the-f*-you-want spirit.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

theskipper (461997) | about 4 years ago | (#31784158)

But won't all this lead to competition for Sharepoint/IIS/Office for Windows users? Why would Microsoft want to sanction any alternatives to their proprietary offerings? In other words, what's the angle?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784258)

Curiously, given microsoft's recent wrist slappings by the EU, fostering the development of "Competing" products could help microsoft, rather than harm it;

Take for instance, the recent "Browser choice" screen. If Microsoft had been fostering a package downloader at that point in time, then they would have not needed to do anything to comply with the EU. Their OS would already have IE by default, and "Offer" a nice little package handler for those "Other Browsers".

If the EU were to press, and try to stick MS with the stigma of not actually wanting any other browsers to run on their OS, by making users use a round-about way of getting their browsers of choice, MS could point the finger right back at how much capitol they invested into the alternative software ecosystem, and how they leveraged their power to help bring FOSS and the package manager to their OS.

In short, creating a package manager like this is a good way for MS to be more two-faced than ever.

Not that I am gonna complain; ALL corporations are two-faced, and a well supported package manager, and better acceptance of the win32 platform (Not just windows, there are attempts at FOSS Win32 platforms.) by the FOSS community is a good thing all around.

I just dont think MS is overly concerned that it will compete with their software ecosystem at this point, and is more convinced that government regulators are the bigger threat.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 4 years ago | (#31784788)

I just dont think MS is overly concerned that it will compete with their software ecosystem at this point, and is more convinced that government regulators are the bigger threat.

Yep, exactly. As it pertains to Sharepoint, the more something sucks, the more it seems to get broad adoption early on.

Quite smart of Microsoft to make Sharepoint a "killer app" at that - all-encompassing and utterly impossible to replace in whole.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Interesting)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784536)

If it does, so be it.

I've spent the last couple of years at Microsoft working to make PHP better on Windows, and validating PHP apps including CMS systems like Drupal on Windows. Seems to me they want some competition.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1, Troll)

stuckinphp (1598797) | about 4 years ago | (#31784716)

Honestly, I'm just waiting for the MS fan boy kids they are cranking out of schools these days to start spilling details of this great new thing MS just invented called a package manager too all their friends.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#31784298)

And, on top of that, MS doesn't own the project, I do. "Shutting it down" is not an option for them.

Microsoft CEO: "Buy him out, boys!"
His name cannot be s (16831): "Hey, what the hell's going on?"
"Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks. Muhahaahahahaa!"

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784404)

How are you handling dependencies?
Will this be the standard windows every app carts around all its own libs, wasted space and outdated/insecure funland?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (5, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784436)

No.

My intent is to completely do away with the practice of everybody shipping every damn shared library. It's one of the things that piss me off the most. I've got a very workable solution that uses WinSxS to cleanly handle this.

It is extremely important that there is a unified method for sharing libraries between apps.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784468)

If you only succeed in getting windows folks to learn this lesson you should be made a saint.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | about 4 years ago | (#31784848)

What about libraries built with different compilers and compiler versions?

Problems include:
    1/ dealing with memory heaps from different C/C++ runtimes
    2/ changes in C++ standard library type representations
    3/ changes in exception handling logic; throwing an exception from a gcc C++ shared library to an msvc one
    4/ changes in behaviour and binary compatibility of debug/release versions, and components built with different flags/compiler settings (e.g. building without wchar_t and with wchar_t as a native type results in different ABIs when using std::wstring types (basic_string vs basic_string) for msvc compilers)
    5/ building with _DEBUG vs NDEBUG

These reasons and more are why binaries from different build settings, compilers and compiler versions are not mixed and one of the reasons why you wnd up with duplicates of the same shared library (especially on Windows).

Are you aware that:
    1/ Microsoft are stopping using WinSxS assemblies for managing the C/C++ runtimes as it is complex to manage and get right;
    2/ With XP, Microsoft were selling WinSxS as being able to deploy different versions of the binaries, but for Vista/Win7 they are now saying that WinSxS is for archival purposes (see the Engineering 7 blog)
    3/ It does not really work as intended in practice -- e.g. comctl32 version 6 is different in Vista/Win7 than in XP, yet the applications that reference the XP version use the Vista/7 version

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31784740)

I'm pretty damn confident that we're clear sailing.

I'm fairly confident that's not going to be an issue.

And, on top of that, MS doesn't own the project, I do. "Shutting it down" is not an option for them.

Um, then what are you doing wasting your time here on /.? Shouldn't you be locked in a caffeine fueled coding frenzy, programming until your fingers are bleeding? Open source software won't write itself, you know ;-)

His name cannot be s (16831)

Is that a hint? Does that mean it could be one of the other 25 letters? Or maybe one of the 20 remaining consonants?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784836)

Um, then what are you doing wasting your time here on /.? Shouldn't you be locked in a caffeine fueled coding frenzy, programming until your fingers are bleeding? Open source software won't write itself, you know ;-)

I know!!!!

"His name cannot be s (16831)"

Is that a hint? Does that mean it could be one of the other 25 letters? Or maybe one of the 20 remaining consonants?

Well, ya see... with a five-digit slashdot-id I originally had "His name cannot be Spoken" as my name... then they did some database truncation about 12 or so years ago, and I lost some letters.

And ya can't change your name on Slashdot, and I didn't wanna give up my 5 digit ID. :D

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 4 years ago | (#31784232)

It all feels too much like a dirty beat up van in a shopping mall parking lot with "free candy" painted on the side...

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#31784048)

Ask me about CoApp, I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

How do I know that MS won't file a software patent related to this work?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#31784150)

Ask me about CoApp, I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

Garrett Serack CoApp Project Owner

I'll bite. Given Microsoft's track record, particularly its embrace-and-extend tactics, its questionable business practices, its status as a convicted monopolist, its use of vendor lock-in, its related use of proprietary file formats, and the Halloween e-mails from top management clearly defining Open Source as an enemy, I have just one question: why should we trust them?

Most (nearly all) of the upper management people who arranged everything I just listed are still working at Microsoft.

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 4 years ago | (#31784192)

Hey Garrett, I'm cautiously optimistic.

But I really have to comment on one of the items from your announcement post, regarding the aims of the project:

Also be Windows admin friendly. Even if it's open source, you shouldn't have to be a developer to put Open Source applications on Windows.

Is this some kind of back-handed comment based on the general view at Microsoft about Open-source software, or the general view that MS would like to push out to userland? That people should use MS OSS because you need to be a developer to use it on other platforms?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

jtdennis (77869) | about 4 years ago | (#31784292)

I'm a Windows admin that's also comfortable in the Linux world, and work with someone that doesn't have Linux experience. I can tell you from experience that I am much more comfortable diving into config files trying to get something to work than he is.
Many people with primarily a Windows background expect config to be done via the UI and not via text files as many OSS projects are. I believe that this is what he was implying.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784380)

At least you can diff a config file. Try that with a gui.

Text based config, with an option gui/wizard really should be the only way this sort of thing gets done.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (4, Funny)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#31784738)

At least you can diff a config file. Try that with a gui.

I do that that all the time, screenshot + OCR only takes me 30 secs to pop the data into excel.

office/windows is a pretty stable work platform, Linux I'm always spending 15 minutes getting a screenshot app working.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784842)

Please tell me that is a joke.
How do you get a screenshot of all the submenus at once? Think IIS manager for an example. How does the OCR app know what is a titlebar and what is an option?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (4, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784480)

Is this some kind of back-handed comment based on the general view at Microsoft about Open-source software, or the general view that MS would like to push out to userland? That people should use MS OSS because you need to be a developer to use it on other platforms?

No-no.. exactly the opposite

Have you tried to roll out some OSS apps on Windows?

On Linux it's two clicks, and BAM! Done.

On Windows, it's almost never that easy to setup OSS apps.

The problem I see is that it doesn't take a Developer on Linux to get Apache installed and configured. Why should it on Windows?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784528)

Because windows lacks proper package management?

Windows has some nice user stuff, but the package management situation is a total joke. Something like aptitude or apt-get or even yum would be huge.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

VoltageX (845249) | about 4 years ago | (#31784646)

Please, please, please, please make it easy to roll a python app into an MSI.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784852)

Please, please, please, please make it easy to roll a python app into an MSI.

One of the first people on board with the project is Trent Nelson; he's all about Python.

I think we're gonna cover that.

Why only open source? (2, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | about 4 years ago | (#31784194)

This sounds like a package management system for Windows, along the same veins of dpkg/apt and rpm/yum. Windows has been lagging in this area for years, and one of the reasons that it is so insecure and slow is because every program either runs in the background at startup, or doesn't get updated on a regular schedule. That wasn't my question, just how I view the situation.

Why limit this to open source? It would be great if the users could update every program easily and painlessly, at least the ones that use this new system.

I am assuming that this system will allow easy and painless upgrading like on most Linux systems. Is that true? Will it have automatic dependency handling and command line installation?

Re:Why only open source? (1)

acsinc (741167) | about 4 years ago | (#31784492)

I second the question about limiting to open source. A good package management system that can could make using SxS painless would be awesome in an enterprise environment.

Since this is open source and .msi based I assume you will be leveraging WiX somehow?

I hope this isn't going to be a big collection merge modules with duplicated component guids...

Re:Why only open source? (4, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784558)

I second the question about limiting to open source. A good package management system that can could make using SxS painless would be awesome in an enterprise environment.

I agree. it ain't really limited to Open Source

Since this is open source and .msi based I assume you will be leveraging WiX somehow?

Yes indeed. The author of WiX is on the mailing list, and a personal friend. He's very excited about all this too.

I hope this isn't going to be a big collection merge modules with duplicated component guids..

Nope. I don't believe in merge modules. I believe in a system that works.

Re:Why only open source? (1)

Animaether (411575) | about 4 years ago | (#31784752)

Will the underlying mechanisms only be available to Windows Installer-based delivery systems, and not to alternative installation systems such as InnoSetup, NSIS, and the remainder of the usual suspects?

Re:Why only open source? (4, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784514)

Why limit this to open source? It would be great if the users could update every program easily and painlessly, at least the ones that use this new system.

I'm Busted. It isn't really restricted to Open Source... but that's my mission. Commercial apps will be able to play just fine in this ecosystem.

I am assuming that this system will allow easy and painless upgrading like on most Linux systems. Is that true? Will it have automatic dependency handling and command line installation?

Yes. Painless and automatic dependency handling, and yes command line tools. You are singing the chorus to my theme song!

Re:Why only open source? (1)

Anpheus (908711) | about 4 years ago | (#31784642)

Powershell support with proper verb-noun command structure and piping support?

I'm disappointed that I even have to add the last bit, but Powershell stuff from Microsoft differs greatly on supporting the implicit standards. There are some modules and snapins that are really good, there are some that are... not so much.

Re:Why only open source? (1)

Jenming (37265) | about 4 years ago | (#31784588)

Linux does not have painless upgrading. It has painless updating to whatever has been put in apt-get/whatever. This is often (always?) not the most recent version of the software. I guess its something but on Windows if you let the programs update themselves whenever you use them they are more up to date, though it is a pain in the ass.

Re:Why only open source? (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784806)

And you get to have 1000 updaters all running on startup, each dragging along who knows what shared libs that instead of being properly shared are whatever version the app maintainer used.

Some distros do package up the latest and greatest. Normally though they use the latest update to the version of the app they shipped with, which makes sense from a support point of view.

Re:Why only open source? (2, Informative)

Lingerance (1117761) | about 4 years ago | (#31784840)

> It has painless updating to whatever has been put in apt-get/whatever.
Depends on the distro. Most mainstream distros have horribly out-of-date software (by choice). There are distros that do keep near-bleeding edge software in their repos, Arch Linux is one such distro, I've seen packages appear for new releases within a few days, at worst I've seen a package only a few revisions behind.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | about 4 years ago | (#31784264)

Ask me about CoApp, I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

Garrett Serack CoApp Project Owner

Okay, serious questions:

Assuming that you've looked at APT and similar packaging tools, and given that you're still convinced that there's a 'Windows Way' (your term) to handle deployment that differs from Linux best practices, how do you plan to address:

  • Package Repositories - This is one of the main strengths of Debian and related distros. Do you think it's even possible to replicate this level of community control in Windows? I know you've mentioned decentralisation, but have you considered the implications of such an approach? What is the cost of failure to affect consistent, formalised management of package builds?
  • Dependancy Management - This issue is largely done and dusted on Linux, but remains a dog's breakfast on Windows (albeit not as frustrating today as it was in the mid-90s). In the absence of centralised repositories and the Unix toolchain philosophy, how do you propose to cope better with dependancies?
  • File locations - How do you propose to manage the proper placement of libraries etc. when the conventions concerning where to put such files are not nearly as well defined on Windows? I'm suggesting here that you need cultural leverage rather than technical answers. You need to change perceptions, not toolkits.
  • Security - Do you think it's even possible to replicate one of the main strengths of Linux package repositories: the ability to curtail security risks such as malware and flawed code?
  • Scripting Interfaces - Say what you like about make and other command-line utilities, but as a busy sysadmin, I consider GUI package management a waste of my valuable time. If I'm going to deploy regular security updates, for example, I want to know that I can script every aspect of the operation. Even the tab-completion features in aptitude make it many times more efficient than a point-and-click interface. What is the potential for scripted deployment/management of packages under your system? Why?

I guess it's clear by now that I'm suggesting that what Windows needs is not another new way to do things. Package management in Debian, for example, is vastly more advanced and sophisticated than anything on Windows, and yet you feel the need to do things the 'Windows Way'. Don't you think you'd be better off learning from others who have been dealing successfully with package management for over a decade now?

These are all serious questions and I expect to be challenged by your replies. I applaud your courage in taking on this huge task. I also think that you're going to need to learn a lot more humility than you've demonstrated so far if you want to achieve something better than a new brand of anarchy in packaging.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (3, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784664)

Assuming that you've looked at APT and similar packaging tools, and given that you're still convinced that there's a 'Windows Way' (your term) to handle deployment that differs from Linux best practices, how do you plan to address:

Yes, I've worked with APT and RPM for a very very long time now. The reason I'm convinced there is a 'Windows way' is because it's a different system that Linux; yes, I've learned a lot about PMS from Linux, and I know how to apply that knowledge to Windows.

Package Repositories - This is one of the main strengths of Debian and related distros. Do you think it's even possible to replicate this level of community control in Windows? I know you've mentioned decentralisation, but have you considered the implications of such an approach? What is the cost of failure to affect consistent, formalised management of package builds?

I have a plan for allowing any publisher to publish packages in the CoApp ecosystem, provided they meet two qualifications:
- They must be able to host their repository meta-data on an SSL protected connection.
- All packages must be digitally signed with a certificate that chains back to to a commonly-accepted CA.

Dependancy Management - This issue is largely done and dusted on Linux, but remains a dog's breakfast on Windows (albeit not as frustrating today as it was in the mid-90s). In the absence of centralised repositories and the Unix toolchain philosophy, how do you propose to cope better with dependancies?

I'm working with the developer of WiX to ensure that we can trivially build chained MSI packages that have the necessary smarts to properly manage this. Kind-of mixing in something like ldconfig with the Windows SxS library management.

File locations - How do you propose to manage the proper placement of libraries etc. when the conventions concerning where to put such files are not nearly as well defined on Windows? I'm suggesting here that you need cultural leverage rather than technical answers. You need to change perceptions, not toolkits.

Yes. The change starts with PHP, Apache, and Python, and the 40+ packages needed to build them (community members from each are already on board) Half of the project is setting some intelligent standards, and then bootstrapping the ecosystem with packages to enable other software to follow.

Security - Do you think it's even possible to replicate one of the main strengths of Linux package repositories: the ability to curtail security risks such as malware and flawed code?

Yes. By requiring code-signing (and I've got a plan for opening that up without cost for smaller projects) we can replicate the benefits of MD5 and PGP signatures found in the Linux world.

Scripting Interfaces - Say what you like about make and other command-line utilities, but as a busy sysadmin, I consider GUI package management a waste of my valuable time. If I'm going to deploy regular security updates, for example, I want to know that I can script every aspect of the operation. Even the tab-completion features in aptitude make it many times more efficient than a point-and-click interface. What is the potential for scripted deployment/management of packages under your system? Why?

I agree 100%. Scripting interfaces are an absolute requirement, and will likely come well before the GUI.

Think of it as a clean adaptation of the same concepts to the model that will be attractive to Windows developers.

I also think that you're going to need to learn a lot more humility than you've demonstrated so far if you want to achieve something better than a new brand of anarchy in packaging.

I apologize if I'm coming off arrogant. Frankly it's taken an extremely long time to convince the powers-that-be at Microsoft that Linux's package management is stellar compared to Windows. It's also not near as hard or large as it sounds, I'm walking on the shoulders of giants here, both in the Linux and Windows worlds.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784382)

What color is it?

The question we all really want to ask (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784400)

Does this service run on dead babies, or are they still alive and crying as you shovel them into the gaping maw of endless darkness that powers it?

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | about 4 years ago | (#31784460)

Can it run Crysis?
Just kidding. Really, I'm curious how you're planning on exposing the dependency management to the developers. Would there be a GUI tool where you drag+n+drop dependencies to create a configure-script-ish data blob that the installer would use to figure out if you have everything you need? Would I be able to go ahead with compilation even if some dependencies aren't met, just with those features disabled? Imagine for instance that I'm building a media player and some codec libs aren't present. I'd want to be able to still build the player, just without the code to activate those codecs (let's assume for the sake of the example that I don't want to putz around making it check for codec DLLs at runtime and load them, for whatever reason).

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784516)

I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

This is nice and all for OSS projects, but when is Microsoft going to fix the Microsoft Download Center? Seems kinda odd that they would put effort into OSS dependency management when depreciated packages in the download center don't have links to the most updated version.

Re:I'll follow them here too. :D (2, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 4 years ago | (#31784792)

Having read your blogpost, I can see what you're trying to do, but as a Linux/Unix developer, I have zero interest in running through Windows like hoops. *But* I do go to great lengths to follow POSIX standards, and make sure that my autoconf tarballs are clean, and I don't expect this to change any time soon (or even not so soon).

If your target audience is like me, then you're best off creating an automated conversion tool that can take a standard tarball and create an MSI package (or whatever) to your specifications with minimal human intervention. Ideally, this ought to extend seamlessly to the "make check" incantation, which is an important sanity check for cross platform development, since merely compiling the source successfully is no guarantee of correctness.

Note that doesn't mean that you have to accept *nixish directory names etc, it just means that when such a tool sees a standard tarball construct, it knows how to convert it to something sensible for the Windows platform.

As you pointed out yourself in the post, standard tarballs just work (mostly). You can gain a lot by reusing this property as a foundation for your project, rather than expecting people to adapt to your own design.

How Long Before ... (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31783804)

... MS pulls the plug on this and leaves OSS developers hanging high and dry? Or worse, pulls some slight of hand with licensing, copyrights or patents and forces OSS dev's to stop in their tracks waiting for MS's next move?

Re:How Long Before ... (4, Insightful)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | about 4 years ago | (#31783912)

Maybe they recognize that there's a ton of open source software that people really want to use, and that easy installs of OSS on Windows adds value to Windows.

Like how they contributed some Linux stuff a while back to make it easier to run Linux in a VM... with Windows as the host machine (I'm not clear on the details, so I'm probably getting the terminology wrong).

Re:How Long Before ... (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 years ago | (#31784218)

Not only that, but they have two giant companies to compete with. Namely Apple and Google. This industry is cut-throat, and the loss of momentum is extremely dangerous.

Embracing OSS while at the same time keeping control over the direction of your platform is the name of the game.

Re:How Long Before ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784166)

How can the? Its an OpenSource project to use readily available to all tools. They may pull their guy off of it but they cannot shut it down because they don't own anything in it. . . Its generic MSI projects with FOSS software in it.

Re:How Long Before ... (5, Insightful)

aBaldrich (1692238) | about 4 years ago | (#31784378)

Do you know what was the first thing I thought when reading the article and the project's launchpad? Halloween Document II. Why does Microsoft need to support Free Software? I mean, they claim to have everything they need, their new shiny should 7 have it all.
This article's summary should be something along the lines of: Microsoft embraces OSS. How long before they extend their dirty tactics to OS? I don't trust them.
The jewels of OSS were built because we, developers, needed them. We needed an OS and made Gnu, and Linux. We needed a web server and made Apache. We needed a GUI and made GNOME, KDE and Compiz. We needed a web browser and made Firefox.
Now Microsoft needs package managing software, and they really believe we are going to build it for them. Laughable.

Microsoft has been surprising me lately (0, Troll)

calibre-not-output (1736770) | about 4 years ago | (#31783854)

They seem like less of an evil empire now that they're doing some good stuff once in a while and Google is being more blatantly monopolistic.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (0, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31783872)

Do you get paid to spout this?
This is a method to get OSS apps on windows, to make sure you don't dare use another OS.
Interoperability would be making their apps run on an OSS OS.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 4 years ago | (#31784190)

I like Windows so please harass me too!

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784288)

I like Windows so please harass me too!

You like WHAT?!
  Don't you know that every time you boot into Windows, an angel gets set on fire? Do you like doing that, you malevolent bastard?

  Stop your evil ways, or when you die you'll go to GNU/Hell! Where your PC speaker beeps all day long, every day! Where all HTML must start with an unclosed blink tag! Where EDLIN is the good editor you'll get if you kiss the sysadmin's ass enough! Where all your printer drivers require you to sign away a testicle! Where you must work 19 hours a day bugfixing Visual Basic code written by retarded monkeys, only to have them make printouts of your corrections and defecate on them at the subsequent five hour meetings!
  Repent! Repent!

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (2, Funny)

nextekcarl (1402899) | about 4 years ago | (#31784682)

I like Windows so please harass me too!

I'm pretty sure you get all the suffering you need already.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784060)

I got REALLY angry at Microsoft what I found out about the requirement for signed kernel mode drivers.

(occasionally, but not often, I need to write a kernel mode driver to get my job done)

Then, I got Win 7...It works well, not that incompatible,pretty too, much of the stoopid stuff from previous releases is reduced...

Hey, maybe Microsoft isn't all bad.

Now Apple...closed iPhone, closed iPad...maybe THEY are the new EVIL EMPIRE?

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#31784086)

If you look close enough what they are doing is quietly pushing people towards windows only platforms. So really, they aren't acting radically different, just being a bit more subversive about it.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (2, Insightful)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | about 4 years ago | (#31784340)

What's your reaction if MS port visual studio to Linux?

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784438)

Awesome, more software is great for the platform. I won't use it, only because the tools I already like and use are fine for me. I have friends that would love to have Visual Studio on Linux as it would remove their last need for windows.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#31784782)

I can't help but think you are incredibly naive. Have you been paying attention to how Microsoft is suing third party controller makers? [slashdot.org] Or how they are subverting their own standards [slashdot.org] ? Or if you are in Europe, how they are heavily lobbying your representatives to hurt open standards [slashdot.org] ? If you live in the US, don't worry, they are working to influence your representatives too [opensecrets.org] . Not to mention they stand firmly committed [pcmag.com] to helping out a truly evil empire (yeah, saying 'evil' is a bit much but a government that censors political speech and has secret trials for people they don't like isn't exactly nice).

I mean, this is just in 2010. You shouldn't have particular love for any company, but claiming that Microsoft has changed can only be done by ignoring the facts and reality. Don't do that.

Re:Microsoft has been surprising me lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784834)

I see what you did there.

nothing MS does is good for anyone but Microsoft (0, Troll)

kawabago (551139) | about 4 years ago | (#31783880)

This is no different.

Re:nothing MS does is good for anyone but Microsof (1)

arndawg (1468629) | about 4 years ago | (#31784522)

But that doesn't mean they have to HARM someone else. Some good can come out of it as well. Every company is looking after its own interests so I don't see your point here.

Re:nothing MS does is good for anyone but Microsof (1)

teknopurge (199509) | about 4 years ago | (#31784550)

yet on the other hand, everything google does is good for everyone.


spare me.

Does it come with configure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31783922)

I am not interested otherwise.

Finally, some sort of package management! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31783984)

The #1 thing I wish windows had would be some kind of package management like apt-get: a place where I can go to update everything at once (of course, being able to install from it is a natural progression)

Maybe you could spin it to management as an "App Store" competitor?

Anyway, this sounds like a great idea. Looking forward to how it turns out!

Just like the other vendors (-1, Offtopic)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 4 years ago | (#31784034)

Gee everyone else figured out a long time ago: give away the compiler.

Charging developers for dev tools is no way to win hearts.

Many developers are cross-platform and we would not be, if we had to pay for the tools for each platform.

Maybe this will be a boost for gcc when everyone can see first hand how bad the Microsoft C++ compiler is.

Maybe the Microsoft C++ developers will be shamed into improving their compiler when the comparisons come out.

Maybe they will even embrace cygwin. It fits with their goal, because the rest of the community has.

Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Re:Just like the other vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784398)

Cygwin!? NOOOO!!

Cygwin BAAAD!

MinGW all the way.

I dont fucking CARE how browken FORK is! I like my systems to NOT run compatibility wrappers just to display text to the CLI, DAMNIT!

Oh, you want to use "$*random *nix based library" to do what you want to do in your program? Here's an idea-- create a native toolchain, with native dependencies. What? That would require you to make binary compatibility a REAL issue on linux? )(sarcasm)Oh no-- not that, anything but that. (/sarcasm)

Don't take this the wrong way-- But how would you feel if windows was the OS de-jour of the FOSS community, and all the foss developers insisted that you lug around WINE in order to use their free software? In fact, you know what-- I seem to recall hearing this exact complaint about Linux-Native games. Linux users want linux native, that doesn't run inside a compatibility shell, like WINE, while the game developers say that would increase development time without financial benefit. (Sound familiar?)

Is it so hard to understand that the feeling about native software could be, you know-- mutual? If you are going to develop on win32, and do so seriously, and not as an afterthought, then perhaps you should, you know-- use native libraries?

Just a thought.

So, again:
MinGW, NOT fucking Cygwin!

PLEASE!

Re:Just like the other vendors (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784500)

Cygwin at least gives you a usable CLI environment on windows. Who installs this type of server software and does not install Cygwin?
A server without proper gnutools is painful to administer.

Re:Just like the other vendors (2, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 4 years ago | (#31784674)

Gee everyone else figured out a long time ago: give away the compiler.

How is this relevant to this discussion? You are (at least) 8 years too late to be pushing this line - Microsoft has been giving away compilers for a while now.

Maybe this will be a boost for gcc when everyone can see first hand how bad the Microsoft C++ compiler is.

And how bad is the Microsoft C++ compiler? Do you have any specific claims?

Re:Just like the other vendors (2, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#31784722)

Gee everyone else figured out a long time ago: give away the compiler.

Microsoft Visual C++ compiler has been free since 2003. It comes as a part of Platform SDK these days.

Of course, this is just a command-line compiler. You can also get Visual C++ Express for free if you want the IDE. This doesn't have MFC & ATL, but you can combine it with PSDK to get a full-featured native development environment; and, of course, you can use it with any third-party framework, such as Qt or wxWidgets.

Maybe this will be a boost for gcc when everyone can see first hand how bad the Microsoft C++ compiler is.

What exactly is bad about VC++ compiler? Can you be more specific? Are you unhappy about it not supporting C++ exception specifications (which no-one uses anyway)? Do you have a problem with optimization quality (in my experience, VC++ inlines things better and deeper than g++)?

Re:Just like the other vendors (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 4 years ago | (#31784794)

Microsoft has given away its C++ compiler for years now. They started giving it away as part of the Windows SDK and as part of the Visual C++ Command Line Toolkit. These days they give it away as part of the Express Edition of Visual C++. The compiler in that version is identical to the version included in the paid version of Visual C++, as are the C and C++ run-times. You dont get all the fancy stuff like MFC in the free version though.

The info on this specifically says its DIFFERENT to Cygwin (which is a translation layer to allow Unix-esque apps to be compiled on Windows), Mingw (which is a way to use GCC to build Windows apps) and Microsoft Systems For Unix (which is a posix compatible subsystem for Windows that allows specially written apps to run)

As some have said, the biggest obstacle these guys are going to face is the body of OSS software that wont compile in anything other than GCC (FFMPEG is one fairly big example)

wholly native toolchain (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#31784078)

Native to what OS? Let me guess, windows.

Re:wholly native toolchain (3, Insightful)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | about 4 years ago | (#31784364)

Is there something wrong with that?

From TFA:
  • Place binaries, libraries and header files in a logical and consistent location
  • Facilitate sharing of components and allow multiple projects to easily both participate and consume them
  • Allow for upgrades and patching of both libraries and applications
  • Be Windows developer friendly. No forcing of building using ‘make’, but rather taking advantage of the nifty IDEs we already have

Clearly these are horrible goals and this should by no means be done, simply because he is planning to do it in Windows.

Re:wholly native toolchain (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#31784510)

All but the last one are fine. I have some windows boxes I have to deal with and I sure as hell do not want to be stuck using some GUI IDE just to build the latest $foobar.

Re:wholly native toolchain (3, Informative)

His name cannot be s (16831) | about 4 years ago | (#31784696)

All but the last one are fine. I have some windows boxes I have to deal with and I sure as hell do not want to be stuck using some GUI IDE just to build the latest $foobar.

Use of the GUI ain't mandatory... it's just that in order to get Windows devs on board, it'll have to have one.

The core bits will all be able to be command-line driven.

msi sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784098)

MSI installers suck. Why would we want that kind of crap coming with FOSS?
You can't run two msi install processes at the same time. So why would we even want that on Linux.
We already have rpm, deb, slack packages, nix and zeroinstall. WTF would we want another install method to juggle and one paid for using dirty Microsoft money. FAIL.

"bring OSS more users" (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#31784100)

And more *windows* users, more windows license, more vendor lockin, and fewer alternative OS's.. Ya, real nice of them to 'help' us out. No thanks.

Remember that cute little phrase the DOJ found? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784138)

*cough cough*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

*cough cough*

History is not on your side. I hope, for all of us, that your intentions are noble. If they are, I hope those who back you and/or succeed you hold to that ideal. Thankfully, even if they're not these programs will live on in their desired format on other software platforms.

Best of luck.

When will Miguel be porting it to Mono? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31784452)

... because such actions are perfectly inline with his every other "contribution" to Linux and Open Source.

It won't.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#31784590)

which will conversely bring OSS more users, testers and developers

Not really. most people who test/develop OSS software already do it, or will do when they have free time. As for users, there are about 4 types of users for any Windows program.

A) The person who uses whatever something that is forced on them. Such people will blindly use IE, Firefox, Opera, whatever as long as a boss says they must use it or it comes pre-installed.

B) The person who thinks that they get what they pay for. These are the weird people who we see -buying- boxed software, thinking that for some odd reason if they spend $30 on an obscure paint program they will get a better experience than The GIMP (note that a lot of these people wouldn't, say, buy Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, but rather buy things like Lotus Notes and Correl Paint)

C) The specialist. Generally these are people with high skills who -need- a certain program and know it. These people may have tried OSS alternatives and found them lacking or need obscure programs that OSS doesn't offer.

and finally, very, very, very few people fall into the last category which is people who use the "best" programs and are average users.

This is not going to convert the other 3 types of users which are the majority. Until Dell, Gateway, HP, etc. all start making OSS be default, people in group A aren't going to use OSS. Person B isn't going to think the program is any good if they don't spend money which defeats the purpose of OSS. And people in group C aren't going to use OSS because there is some things that are so obscure that no OSS developer would develop or use.

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