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Windows 2000 Source Code Gets (A Few) More Eyes

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the ahhh-did-not-release-that-code dept.

Microsoft 164

hansley writes: "Microsoft has extended its source code licensing program. Is it for distributed debugging purposes ? hmm ..." As the article points out, this limited and NDA-ridden disclosure is an expansion, rather than a wholly new idea. And remember, it has "nothing to do" with Linux or other Open Source software.

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Re:GPLed code (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#369983)

Consider the possibility that this is not a two-way road. Although OS is well known for stealing all of Microsoft's concepts on interfaces and 'look and feel', the idea is that Microsoft doesn't have to steal GPL code because they are able to engineer superior solutions through closed-source development, for a profit. It is far more likely that some rogue developer at one of these MS source distribution licensees will steal some code for an open source project and end up fucking the entire open source community over, in the eyes of the mass market.

And before you mention it, yes, NT/2k uses a lot of BSD code. And they are fully compliant with the BSD license. Nothing unethical about that.

Re:MSDN (2)

anichan (205614) | more than 13 years ago | (#369985)

I wonder how long it will be before you will be able to get CDs with the complete source to MS Office, Visual Studio, Win2k, and so on via MSDN. Like how you get binary CDs now.

A very long time, if ever. It's really a ploy by M$ to be able to say to the DoJ that "3rd party individuals" are looking at the code. It also allows them to say, "Look at how confident we are in our code." I could also see them attempting to say something like, "It's open source for the 'big boys'. None of our secrets are out like those "other OSes", but we've got great new minds looking at the code." Meanwhile, those minds think the same way M$ does.

I figured (1)

Graham_Thomas (255229) | more than 13 years ago | (#369986)

I figured they'd be too embarrassed to release the source code, heh. 65,000+ bugs. I guess they needed some way of getting all those bugs fixed and this is the perfect excuse - let more people see the code, point out bugs, and perhaps they can reduce that 65,000+ figure to the point where it's half as stable as Solaris or any other *nix.

Re:IIRC (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 13 years ago | (#369991)

So W2k has two orders of magnitude more code, at least one order of magnitude

Linux is just the kernel. If you want to make a fair comparison, you need to count the rest of a Linux distribution too, for example XFree86, since Windows is tightly integrated with it's GUI. Is PWS counted as part of Win32? Better add the source for Apache and WU-FTPD as well. Does Notepad count as part of the windows source? Add the count for lines of jove. And so forth... as far as I am aware, the lines-of-code quoted for Windows is for the whole thing, the entire CD distribution.

magnitude (if not two or even three) fewer eyeballs

Many eyes make bugs shallow if they're all qualified and more importantly, if they're all looking. On that metric, a far higher percentage of the people who have the code (MS staff and third parties) are useful "lookers".

Stupid Quote (1)

UnifiedTechs (100743) | more than 13 years ago | (#369993)

From Article: "What interests me most is why they have chosen to do this with their Windows 2000 server and client offerings," said the consultant, who asked not to be identified. "Why not with Windows 98 or 95? Perhaps because the code was so convoluted, cluttered and full of bugs like the 'blue screen of death.' They were probably too embarrassed to have others look at it." Or maybe it was because 95/98 was a home user OS, I don't know about you but no-one I know has 1,500 liscensed copies of 95/98 in there house, which was the point at which a company could gain access to the Win2k code. Not saying I agree with microsoft on not showing the 95/98 code to anyone, but I hate it when articles quote obviously stupid people.

IT'S A TRAP! (1)

tea-leaves (32415) | more than 13 years ago | (#369995)

Everyone listen!!!

Run. Run like hell. This is an obvious attempt to pollute the world with intellectual property that they can then turn around and sue the living daylights out of the rest of us.

Think about this: You write a piece of functionality for a GNU piece of software after you've seen something that is somewhat similar to the Winders source code? Then the M$ cops come down for a visit because you signed your life away on the NDA?

Save yourself now -- just say no.

#30 TLS

The mess (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 13 years ago | (#369997)

You are big, fat and rosy. You sign every paper they put, pay a $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ figure and get the source. After some time you get into a piece of code that doesn't get with you program. "Hey you have a bug here." M$ answers "It's not a bug, it's just a feature." Cool you produce a workaround. And launch your prog. However workarounds sometimes tend to mess with what they are supposed to work around. So M$ comes up and claims "You violated our license as you tried to overcome our own code." And here we go on juridical battles, Big Mony guys making faces to each other and DoJ trying another unsuccessful case...

This would be useful (1)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 13 years ago | (#369998)

I worked on a project that was using DCOM until we found out that the serialization was caving under high loads, we contacted Microsoft and they promised to address it in their next service pack (It took them a couple of months). Instead of waiting for the fix, we had to implement our own serialization and integrate it with DCOM. If we had the source code I'm sure Microsoft would have fixed the issue faster as we would have pointed out where the bug was.

INTSCS - (It's not the source code stupid) (2)

Pengo (28814) | more than 13 years ago | (#369999)

MS Thinks that opening up a read-only source code view to 'elite' developers is going to solve anything?

This is not a smart move on their part as it's showing weakness in their propretary ways. They are validating the need and necesity of free-speech, not free beer.

Every little move like this is a victory for free-software (speech).

Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

Gee what an original idea.. (2)

SlashGeek (192010) | more than 13 years ago | (#370001)

"These customers found the access to the source code useful and were very positive about the scheme."...

No shit?

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

I wonder... (1)

fantom_winter (194762) | more than 13 years ago | (#370002)

I wonder if MS is planning on that source code leaking out, which it probably will. Come on, there's gonna be one person in that large amount of people that will be willing to leak to source code to the general public.

It might lead to some creative patches for the UI. Maybe replacing the paperclip with a penguin? And it would probably really help with the windows emulators that people are writing (WINE). Hrm.

Re:And your smoking what? (1)

dragon12 (174487) | more than 13 years ago | (#370005)

By the last comment it looks like you have never run any of the Linux distros. I myself have run about 7 differnt brands of Linux, mostly on old equipment, and have found that it works pretty well on new AND old computers. Let's see Win2k do that!

Re:What does Microsoft really want? (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 13 years ago | (#370006)

How long before this code roams the Net?

Through this program? I don't see it. For one, this is just a broading of the existing program; you go to a MS-run secure site, look at the source on MS's machines, and then leave...taking nothing with you but what you learned. The NDA covers what you learned, so even that's not available to be shared.

Re:But Will Developers help Microsoft? (1)

pen (7191) | more than 13 years ago | (#370008)

IANAL, but it is my understanding that unless you've signed the NDA, they really can't do much about it, unless they can prove that you took active effort to illegally acquire the code. In other words, you can't "ruin" an OSS developer by shoving a printout of Windows code in his face. Anyone who is in the know, feel free to confirm or disprove.


This will partially help. (2)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 13 years ago | (#370009)

More eyes are better for Source than fewer eyes. Even if they don't have all of the eyes to read the code like Open Source stuff does!

Re:They just can't get enough (1)

kurioszyn (212894) | more than 13 years ago | (#370011)

"I love Linux, and I would love to see it replace Windoze, it just doesn't seem likely. "

Of source it is not.
For the average office users using Linux would mean going back about 10 years ...
Yeah, it is where Linux is compared to Windows as far as desktop market is concerned.

On the server it is siply just another Unix , not the most powerfull or robust, but good enough to run ussual set of Unix services ( or deamons.)
Great for people who don't want to spend lot of money and have enough knowledge. In another words, it is a niche market.
Nothing wrong with that.

"NDA-ridden disclosure" (2)

ghoti (60903) | more than 13 years ago | (#370012)

"NDA-ridden disclosure" ... I love legal speak ... ;-)

And as far as I know, Microsoft does not allow anyone to modify the source, let alone distribute patches. So much for the debugging ...

Re:What does Microsoft really want? (1)

maddest_hatter (308341) | more than 13 years ago | (#370014)

beware all! it smells like the sequel to an antitrust-esque movie. all 1337 kernel hax0rs with boyishly good looks should watch out for bill gates. he is watching you!!!!



MSDN (3)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 13 years ago | (#370015)

I wonder how long it will be before you will be able to get CDs with the complete source to MS Office, Visual Studio, Win2k, and so on via MSDN. Like how you get binary CDs now.

Five years? Ten years? Never?

Re:Just thought I'd point out... (1)

hammock (247755) | more than 13 years ago | (#370016)

Microsoft did cherry pick Samba, which is GPL'd.

How do you think they finally got that WINS crap to work so well in Windows 2000 (despite the fact they are trying to kill it with MS-DNS)?

Samba is the only fully documented source for the SMB implementation on Windows, not even Microsoft has documentation that thorough.

Considering the nasty PGP ADK bug ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#370017)

Considering the nasty PGP ADK bug I wonder how much good this will do for windows buggyness. How big was the pgp windows source ? under 50k lines if I remember. And windows is over 1M. What corporate bug fixer is going to find anything but the most blatant bugs in the early versions of windows ?

Just thought I'd point out... (2)

Maddog_Delphi97 (173780) | more than 13 years ago | (#370018)

the whole "more eyes are better" concept falls apart when the average intellengence of these eyes are just that... average. I'd rather have a fewer set of eyes where the IQ is higher.. the source code tends to have a better architechure this way.

I guess I'm thinking of the difference between Linux and BSD.

Re:Cool (1)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 13 years ago | (#370019)

I wouldn't touch the Windows 95/95 OSR2/98/ME code.

I think you missed at least a couple incarnations: Win95 OSR 2.1, Win98SE, ... not to mention various OS+Office or OS+MSIE combinations that affect core files ... when exactly is one really looking at the source to 'Windows'? How many permutations of the actual core OS exist?

My favorite quote (4)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 13 years ago | (#370020)

"We estimate this to be about 1,000 firms in the U.S., and not all of them will want the code," ...In fact some people would prefer it was just incinerated.

Windows 95 as freeware? (1)

MDCore (324972) | more than 13 years ago | (#370021)

I was wondering the other day what things would be like if MS did something totally out of character like releasing an older product as freeware. Windows 95 seemed to fit the bill because it's not something you can go buy in the shops right now (afaik) , it's quite a few years old and it would run quite speedily on older machines. I'm not talking open source here at all, just asking: what would be the impact if they did that?

One for you alternate history buffs!

Re:Source Code (1)

Leon Trotski (259231) | more than 13 years ago | (#370022)

Speaking of which, I spent some time at the usual places (IRC, warez newsgroups, etc.) watching curiously if something would show up, but didn't spot anything...

To anyones knowledge, has a more or less complete archive of the source code actually been put on the internet somewhere? (not that I'm interested in the stuff per se, I haven't done any programming lately so it wouldn't be very interesting to me)

... just curious, really.

Do not look (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#370023)

Do NOT look at this code. Any open source developers would have to be carefull not to go antwhere near this stuff. Next thing you know MS is shutting down open source/free software projects accusing them of "borrowing" from their copyrighted/licenced/patented/NDAed/trade secret and generally loathsome code. BEWARE this is poison!

The Process.. (1)

Rocky (56404) | more than 13 years ago | (#370024)

Lemme see, open "ntoskrnl.c" into Emacs...

Search for "int main(int argv, char **argc) {"

And here we go..!

AAAAAAAAGHH! AAUUUGGH! Mine Eyes! I Cannot See! I Cannot See!

NDA (2)

headwick (247433) | more than 13 years ago | (#370025)

I. Disclosure of ";"

You or any party remotely affiliated, or even not affiliated with you may not disclose even 1 character of our code. Should you or said party reveal that we use ;'s in our code we will take the following action.
1. The first born child of every member of your company must be enslaved to M$oft for use as we see fit.

2. Your company must publish a public retraction of this treason by stating that it could have been a : or perhaps even an = symbol

3. The eyes and voicebox of every employee that has had access or is affiliated with anyone who has access to said code, will be removed.

II. Disclosure of "#include"

You or ...

Re:IIRC (1)

Billygoat Gruff (321042) | more than 13 years ago | (#370028)

Hello Fellow Billygoater!

I see you, too, are helping clear the bridges of those pesky trolls.

let's hang out in the pub tonite and drink some Troll Sweat brew.

Re:NDA = Crack (1)

modemboy (233342) | more than 13 years ago | (#370030)

How does an NDA like that work? Does everyone in the company have to sign? Or does it just affect employees without their knowledge?

Re:NDA = Crack (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#370033)

"How often do we discuss employment contracts and non-competes? The lack of talk on this issue here seems to show that NDAs aren't taken very seriously."

Man, we've had like 3 articles in the last week or so just on NDA, and employee's IP, etc.

Re:But Will Developers help Microsoft? (2)

(void*) (113680) | more than 13 years ago | (#370036)

Not true. The Samba developers had better be careful, for instance.

no title (1)

zealousness (258105) | more than 13 years ago | (#370037)

If Microsoft goes to Open Source, it will be a big mess.

Good Idea Bad Idea (1)

deran9ed (300694) | more than 13 years ago | (#370038)

Microsoft's move brought some good ideas, and bad ideas to mind.

Good Ideas
Developers can assist with bugs, assist with security issues, shows initiative from MS and their willingness to open up on their inventions (code), gives small companies opportunity to place themselves on the map (giving MS assistance).

Bad Ideas
Developers will be scared by NDA & lawsuits, MS can turn around and attempt a buyout or slander the company for making a slightly bad NDA breach, can code really be patented and or copywritten? (even if someone distorts it to an insane method and capitalizes?), competitors may gain an insight to future MS products and capitalize on it.

MS has done good on its own for many years (yes they have done good after all check their market cap), and opening up even with an NDA sounds good but NDA's out here in the US may not mean anything in a foreign market, will MS's move hurt them or will it help them? To be honest I don't think it would do much at this point, right now MS isn't even working with the Windows2000 source code any more other than fixing bugs, maybe its good for benchmarking the next release, as for W2000 in its current state, guess bug patches will have to do.

Big Breach []

Re:new windows 3.1 and dos 6 (1)

MDCore (324972) | more than 13 years ago | (#370039)

who installs win3.1 and dos 6 these days? who BUYS those products these days? where would you get them new? I'm not saying that you're talking rubbish AC, i just can't think of where that would happen. please enlighten :)

Re:But Will Developers help Microsoft? (2)

Corrado (64013) | more than 13 years ago | (#370040)

MS code (and license) has the Gorgon effect with reguards to GPL code; after you look at it you can't contribute to free code. MS will claim that you stole ideas from them. I think this is some sort of poison pill for GPL code.

So, I think that this is bad for us free coders and good for MS, which makes it even worse for us :).


But do you notice something? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#370041)

Remember back in the day when so many "new" things seemed to be happening with computers? There seemed to be limitless possibilities. The Pentium had just been introduced, graphics were becoming better and better, multimedia capabilities were making their debut, and there were new technologies, programs, program suites and products being produced everywhere. Java, DirectX (or WinG), faster modems, more memory, gotta have DX instead of SX. Everybody didn't *have* to upgrade, they *wanted* to.

This was before widespread easy Internet access (remember the ancient Compuserve dialer program?), so browsers weren't particularly important yet, but a thousand companies each seemed to have their "must-buy" technology.

That was about five to seven years ago. Now, outside of Linux, what truly *new* PC technology has emerged or been constructed since? Its just more of the same, and more after that. Pentium IV, Office 11, Windows 95,98,2000, MS Studio 7, and so on. Granted, .Net might be something, but I would guess its DDE version 37 rather than something truly new.

But its still a Microsoft product. Can *no other company* produce new technology anymore? Why is Microsoft the only company that seems to be able to produce even new versions of old binaries? Programmers have a staggering amount of information and knowledge and processing/storage power available. Again, besides Linux, where is the PC going?

Now, MS releasing source is probably a good idea, especially for an operating system, but everyone else seems to be just coasting along, still trying to get a couple more dollars out of the old "upgrade-reinstall-upgrade" cycle, and I think Microsoft is doing the same thing. I'm also not sure that releasing the source to their operating system will help the non-activity in PC development either, because of all the agreements everyone has to sign to use it.

I think it would be a lot better for the PC and technology in general if there were something new happening with computers again, or if, perhaps, Linux were to get more generally popular.

Re:GPLed code (1)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 13 years ago | (#370042)

I hear Microsoft uses void main() while open source coders prefer int main(int argc, char* argv[]), so no problem there :-P

Re:My favorite quote (2)

twitter (104583) | more than 13 years ago | (#370044)

Yeah, I feel that way about the code I write most of the time, but what kind of code does a troll like you write? The paper clip from hell?

Re:Micro$oft Linux...? (3)

Dman33 (110217) | more than 13 years ago | (#370053)

They'd have to target it at some poor suckers who don't know what the open source community/movement is all about.

That would be about 98% of corporate america. Most companies do not use Linux because they are afraid of going the non-M$ route. They ask, "Who else has done this and how effective was it for them?!" and they want to hear only big names... and a lot of them.

If M$ came out with a distro, most companies would go with it before they considered Redhat, Mandrake, Caldera, *BSD, or any other distro...

Re:IIRC (1)

jfinke (68409) | more than 13 years ago | (#370054)

Yeah, but you are just looking at the linux kernel. There is a whole lot more to a usable distribution than the kernel. Not that I am defending M$. It just seems to me that you are comparing apples and bananas..

Re:Just thought I'd point out... (1)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 13 years ago | (#370055)

Could someone mod this troll down?

my god...

Re:IIRC (1)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 13 years ago | (#370056)

You forgot .S files, and you should also include Makefiles.

So maybe add 50 thousand more lines?

How it works (1)

kruczkowski (160872) | more than 13 years ago | (#370057)

They bring in all the selected developers into a theater with armed guards. A big sign says "NO PHOTOGRAPHY" in the center of the screen. Then the lights dim, the coders put on the 3D glasses and millions of lines of code frash before their eys. 15 minutes later the little kids from the local kindergarden walk around collecting "donations" When everyone is done they go home happy. Unrelizing that they spend thousands of dollars to see flashing letters in front of there faces, and were forced to donate money to kids.

MS knows people *want* the source... (2)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | more than 13 years ago | (#370058)

A couple years ago when MS was first looking at Open Source, Steve Ballmer mentioned that Microsoft had done a study suggesting that something like 1-3% of Windows developers wanted source code access. (Back then you had to pretty much be an OEM, Wall St firm, or Fortune 50 client IIRC to get it.) I was intrigued by this at the time, since A) Microsoft had attempted to get hard data on the demand for this and B) that's a lot of developers. Obviously MS is finally responding to that demand, albeit in a go-slow manner.


The Price is right... (2)

lythander (21981) | more than 13 years ago | (#370059)

1500 copies of Windows 2000 Pro at the going price of US$258 (at CDW this morning) =


Minus the enterprise licensing discount (prob. about 10%).

I guess MS is hard up for cash (2)

drfalken (43743) | more than 13 years ago | (#370060)

If they aren't willing to pay programmers to debug and audit their source, they must not be able to afford it.

I can't believe they would consider asking for people to do this work for free, or ostensibly in exchange for getting an insider's look at the source code. I think this smacks of arrogance and is completely contrary to any kind of community fostering spirit.

I have an idea for what to do with the source they are revealing. I think it should be uploaded to file swapping services, web sites, newsgroups, chat rooms and anywhere else people can think to put it. Conisidering the 'saftey in numbers' lesson of Napster, we can expect that MS will be unable to go after anyone for this illegal distribution of their IP. That might make them think twice about such a self serving program in the future.

Re:But do you notice something? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#370061)

Can *no other company* produce new technology anymore?

The ones that tried were FUDed or vapourised a long time ago. Notice that every other x86 OS is available for no cost under various terms and conditions. No payware OS has ever succeeded in shifting Microsoft because buyers have to pay for a second OS, whereas they may be inclined to try something they get for nothing. This is why the anti-trust trial is so important - any area where Microsoft is threatened is immediately co-opted or crushed and until this roadblock to real innovation is removed OS and productivity software will stay as just rehashes + bloat of previous versions (and producing a stable OS after only 21 years of trying doesn't count as innovation - all the other OSes managed that years ago).

I had the chance.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#370062)

I had the chance early on in this program to be a part of it but my employer looked at it as an opportunity to try to change our intellectual property rights agreement so it became a no go. The MSFT NDA for participation is extremely restrictive (no contribution to any related projects). A few of the lambs here counldn't sign the papers fast enough though.

Re:But do you notice something? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 13 years ago | (#370063)

I think it would be a lot better for the PC and technology in general if there were something new happening with computers again, or if, perhaps, Linux were to get more generally popular.

The latter, I think.

Much of what M$ has done looks like reinventing the wheel. Admittedly, they had a lot to do with getting the computer to everyone's home, which was a Good Thing(TM) for today's hackers. However, as we're shifting back from the PC to a networked ideology, the Unices suddenly seem so much better. And they've been around a lot longer, why did we ignore them in favour of PC in the first place? OK, maybe an average person couldn't afford a Unix-capable box in their home in the 1980s, and didn't want all the hassle. But my point is, rather than desperately going for something new for its own sake, people should learn Unix (probably in the form of Linux) and see what is has to offer, they would be surprised. There's huge potential in Unix which was previously unseen because it only ran on mainframes and the like. But now people can finally run decent Unix workstations/servers on their home computers, it's exciting to see what this renaissance will bring about.


Re:Just thought I'd point out... (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#370064)

Another difference between Linux and BSD is that Microsoft cannot cherrypick the best bits of Linux extend them and close them up. Probably the reason why IBM are investing $1.3BN dollars in Linux and not BSD.

Maybe my Bimbo's 2000 will work now! (1)

Lede Singer (253091) | more than 13 years ago | (#370065)

All of the stations where I work have Bimbo's 2000, and, well, lets just say new isn't always better, just like the boss isn't always right! I'm glad there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (1)

java_sucks (197921) | more than 13 years ago | (#370078)

Hmmmm... perhaps. I have a hard time thinking that anyone would really want to spend an enourmous amount of time sifting through a mountain of Win2k source code to debug their program. It would probably be easier to take a step back and rethink your original solution. I see this more as a political PR spin move. Then again it would be beneficial to someone who is building a product which competes with IE or MS Office for the Windows platform, but I doubt MS is driving over to AOL or Corel to give them the code.

I've always held the opinion that not too many people would really care if MS opened up the source code. I think we learned a lesson from Netscape. When they opened up the code they had very few people who contributed or even really cared, the reason being there was a pretty steep learning curve before you get up to speed, I mean really, who has that much time on their hands. It's not like Linux, which has been open for years and has had a lot of time to build momentum. Although I think it was a briliant move by Netscape to open up the code before AOL bought them, basically they made sure that AOL couldn't destroy the one thing they loved.

Re:MSDN (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 13 years ago | (#370079)

How long before a disgruntled employee/closet linux zealot posts the code to the internet and what will happen then?

Re:MSDN (1)

vulgrin (70725) | more than 13 years ago | (#370080)

I give it 2 weeks once this program is launched before you see the cds up on

Tag lines are for wienies.

Do you think.... (1)

spyrral (162842) | more than 13 years ago | (#370081)

we'll be able to set the "bugs =" statement to 0 and have a stable copy of win2k?

Re:Micro$oft Linux...? (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 13 years ago | (#370082)

Microsoft to release at 11.

NDA = Crack (5)

Spoing (152917) | more than 13 years ago | (#370083)

I'm surprised more 'paranoid conspiracy theory' posts haven't appeared yet. Be that as it may, the obvious danger here is that the NDA probably has a non-compete clause that would make it hard/impossible to work on other operating systems for a certian number of years.

While the number of developers lost to both comercial and free/open operating systems should be low, we might never know the real loss.

If the NDA covers a whole company -- as the last one I had with MS for Win95 did ^ -- simply being an employee might stifle ... well ... inovation.

If so, this is a real 'win-win' for Microsoft in the long run.

How often do we discuss employment contracts and non-competes? The lack of talk on this issue here seems to show that NDAs aren't taken very seriously.

^. Not source.

Re:MSDN (2)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 13 years ago | (#370084)

To combat copying by competitors, cartographers often put deliberate mistakes in their maps. A 'phantom village' which doens't really exist, for example. Then it's easy to see if someone has copied your map.

I wonder whether Microsoft will be using the same tactic to help find the source of any source-code leaks. Will they put deliberate bugs in their code?

Can anyone imagine what M$Linux would be like? (2)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 13 years ago | (#370085)

On each boot up, you have to agree to the NDA and licensing agreement which expires every seven days.

It would include an obscene number of proprietary protocols and apis, making it completely incompatible with the rest of the Linux world.

But through shrewd deal-making and corporate IT fear, Microsoft embeds itself into the Linux landscape, causing an irreperable fork in kernel development.

Of course, all they would have to do is put an ugy UI on NT and call it Linux. Most folks would play along.

Be affraid. Be very affraid. []

Re:IIRC (1)

itarget (168249) | more than 13 years ago | (#370086)

Also keep in mind that much of that source code isn't used, like code for different architectures.

Re:Allchin setup (1)

Niggle (68950) | more than 13 years ago | (#370087)

Microsoft aren't releasing this under the GPL, which is what (the post spin-doctoring) Allchin was talking about. It'll still be protected by all sorts of NDAs.

It's all a ploy to get more potential open source developers to see their source under an NDA of course. Then they won't be able to work on OS projects without fear of being accused of breaking the NDA.

Heh, now's your chance, steal M$'s IP (1)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 13 years ago | (#370088)

Take their open source, pull apart pieces you need... say to be compatible, creatively plagurize it, and its yours. M$ does it all the time, finally a chance to get back :)

Re: tell me about it. (2)

Pfhreakaz0id (82141) | more than 13 years ago | (#370089)

I'm sorry. I've never posted a "I'm bitter because they didn't post it when I submitted it", because I don't really care if they use mine. I do think it's a little ridiculous when I submit it and they post it FIVE DAYS LATER! I remember thinking when I saw it on zdnet, "I'm surprised I haven't seen this on /." 2001-03-08 21:31:22 Microsoft expands open-Window policy (articles,microsoft) (rejected)

so.. (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 13 years ago | (#370090)

i guess it's just a matter of time before windows source code starts floating around gnutella.. and that they claim teh purpose is not for their cleints to be running their own custom made versions of windows and that it's just supposed to give them a better understanding of the windows platform is total bullshit.. looks like M$ is finally realizing that millions of programmers constantly working to improve code isn't something they can afford even with their R&D cash...

Micro$oft Linux...? (1)

NewbieSpaz (172080) | more than 13 years ago | (#370091)

(disclaimer) Slightly Off-topic (/disclaimer)
So if they open up source (or partial source) on this, how long until there's a M$ distro? And who would buy it? They'd have to target it at some poor suckers who don't know what the open source community/movement is all about. After all, anybody who knows what's up is already running Linux, BSD or something else non-M$...

Source Code (1)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 13 years ago | (#370092)

We don't need no stinking NDA for Microsoft's source code. []

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (3)

Stormie (708) | more than 13 years ago | (#370093)

And as far as I know, Microsoft does not allow anyone to modify the source, let alone distribute patches. So much for the debugging ...

The point of this isn't to get Windows debugged, it's to make life easier for people debugging their own (Windows) software. Enough weird shit happens when you're trying to develop under Windows, and although probably 99% of the time it's a bug in your code, at least the companies that get a hold of the Windows source will be able to check.

So yeah, the motivation here for Microsoft is to make Windows developers happy. This is something they've always been big on - they know full well that the platform that the developers support is the one that will win in the market. So they've seen one of the things that makes developing under an open source OS attractive, and tried to match it.

Allchin setup (3)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 13 years ago | (#370097)

Hmm... Does this seem suspicious to anyone else, having just heard the total pile of poo that spewed forth from the mouth of one Jim Allchin? Just an observation.

GPLed code (4)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 13 years ago | (#370099)

This will be a great opportunity for someone to examine their code looking for GPL'ed code.

Wouldn't it be great to find some GPL'ed code in there.... What a can of worms that would be for MS.

Mmmmmmm.... (5)

HiQ (159108) | more than 13 years ago | (#370102)

Would that be the source of all evil then?

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (1)

Qu4ntum (96620) | more than 13 years ago | (#370105)

is it complete enough to compile a kernel from it ?

now THAT would be useful


Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (1)

ghoti (60903) | more than 13 years ago | (#370106)

The point of this isn't to get Windows debugged, it's to make life easier for people debugging their own (Windows) software.

Yes, I understand that. I only wanted to point this out, because there was something about "distributed debugging" in the writeup of this article.

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (2)

slaytanic killer (264559) | more than 13 years ago | (#370112)

You underestimate greatly. Though your name is java_sucks, I fairly often go through the sourcecode of Swing, the main Java GUI system. That is the main way to tell if the problem is in your code or their's. And you're not exactly sifting through sourcecode, you've got tools to do that for you. You may not even understand the general context of the code, but the code you read may make sense.

When you "get sourcecode," you don't just get a text dump. You also get some documentation, and the code itself has comments.

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (2)

PenguiN42 (86863) | more than 13 years ago | (#370113)

I have a hard time thinking that anyone would really want to spend an enourmous amount of time sifting through a mountain of Win2k source code to debug their program

Have you ever been debugging a program in windows, and something is going horribly wrong, and you've narrowed it down to somewhere in the big black box of "KERNEL32.DLL" which comes up as a bunch of asm gobbledeegook in your IDE? Source Code could definately be useful there.

Ever tried low-level kernel mode programming in windows? Do you realize how useful code would be to kernel-mode debugging?

Have you ever been hacking around with something in linux and found the included source code to be incredibly helpful?

Any way you slice it, having the OS source is a good thing for developers.

When [Netscape] opened up the code they had very few people who contributed or even really cared,

That's odd... where'd netscape 6 come from again? Besides, web browser source code vs OS source code is apples and oranges, from the perspective of developers

The following sentence is true.

Re:I wonder... (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#370114)

Only until Microsoft shut them down for stealing their 'intellectual' property. This argument came up when the Russian hackers had access to Microsoft's servers for a while and didn't do anything (yeah right). No-one from WINE or Samba would touch this code as it would immediately kill their project.

Re:MSDN (1)

richie123 (180501) | more than 13 years ago | (#370115)

When MS get bought out by Redhat! :)
But, seriously this is a babystep in the right direction for MS. You can bash'em for not being open enough, but I can't say this is a bad thing.

Re:But Will Developers help Microsoft? (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#370116)

Simple solution: f you are a free coder, don't go anywhere near MS code or NDAs. On the other hand, if you are already immersed in a MS-only world, and are working on MS-only applications, and systems, perhaps this is a good thing for you. I think there is a sufficient differientiation between MS-immersed people and free software coders...there probably isn't all that much overlap there.

This Help (1)

jjr (6873) | more than 13 years ago | (#370117)

The companies who can afford the code. Microsoft is going to be very carefull who they let see the code. Each company has to be very carefull which employee has access to the code. Microsoft will kill them if let the source out.

Re:GPLed code (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 13 years ago | (#370118)

I wouldn't be surprised if they get and set bits either. Check out ppet&id=100055 [] .

Frankly, the whole idea of GPL'd snippets is just ridiculous. Perhaps people are thinking that they can "contaminate" code with these snippets, but I doubt that would hold up in court.

Far be it from me to tell others what to do, but if the license is longer than the code, the code should probably just be public domain.

Re:"NDA-ridden disclosure" (1)

java_sucks (197921) | more than 13 years ago | (#370119)

Actually Netscape 6 came mainly from employees of Netscape/AOL. Unless I am mistaken it's my understanding that there are only a handfull of contributers from the community.

And actually I've been writing code for Linux for a couple of years and I have never even taken a peak at the kernel code. I have looked at the code of other linux programs to see how they handled a certain problem, but no, I've never cared to look at the guts of the kernel. And quite frankly if I need to do that then there is something quite wrong, either with my code or linux. I trust that the c libraries that I'm using are quite bug free at this point, and when I do make a systems call I tend to stick with the tried and true API calls.

I suppose if you are doing some low level systems programming then it might be beneficial to have a look at the code, but this would be very rare, IMHO. Now then, I guess a true geek would like it jsut to be able to muck about in it, but I really don't have the time.

Cool (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#370120)

At least it's a step in the right direction. Windows 2000 is the only code I think is worth looking at (didn't they rewrite a majority of the code base for this release?)

I wouldn't touch the Windows 95/95 OSR2/98/ME code. That thing is probably a mess. Old DOS might be fun (back when all a Microsoft OS was a shell). But Windows 2000? Cool.

They just can't get enough (1)

woody_jay (149371) | more than 13 years ago | (#370122)

My take on this whole thing - I think they are just trying their ass off to get ahold on the last little bit of the market. I mean - I am a realist, M$ is really kicking ass in the OS market, Linux would seem to not really be a major player. Depends on your take.

Don't get me wrong, I love Linux, and I would love to see it replace Windoze, it just doesn't seem likely.

Anyway, to the point. M$ has the "large business" market, hell let's face it, they have pretty much all the business market as well as the home market. So what's left? The Open Source users. So now the pretend that they can get a hold on us if they just send us a little bait and make it seem as if they want to play along. Well Bill, I for one am not taking the bait. Linux rocks, and everything M$ sucks.

of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

What does Microsoft really want? (3)

Tyndareos (206375) | more than 13 years ago | (#370124)

How long before this code roams the Net? IM: Microsoft surely is aware that opening their source to large groups of people over whom they have no control, is going to result sooner or later in leakage to the rest of the world.[1] So why do they do it? They must have some kind of devious plan behind this ...

[1] - Surely this is open to discussion, but at this time I'm fairly sure about this.


The Ultimate Irony (2)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 13 years ago | (#370125)

If MS was any other company doing this, people wouldn't take notice.

However, as famous and infamous as they are, as disliked as they are by some people in the computing community, they can be sure that plenty of people want to get their eyes on their code. If they allowed more people to see the code they'd have plenty of volunteers.

Thus, by their bad reputation, they ensure heightened curiosity.

IIRC (2)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | more than 13 years ago | (#370126)

I remember a lot of talk from a couple years ago about how they were adding 20 million lines to NT to get W2k, bringing the total up to something like 150 million lines.

find /usr/src/linux/ -type f -name *.[ch] -exec wc -l {} \; | awk '{sum+=$1;} END {print sum}'


(I'm not going to claim that was the easiest or fastest way to do that....)

So W2k has two orders of magnitude more code, at least one order of magnitude (if not two or even three) fewer eyeballs and no way to FIX found bugs other than the same old "we'll put it on our list". Yeah, that's productive.

Re:MSDN (1)

Cirvam (216911) | more than 13 years ago | (#370127)

> I wonder how long it will be before you will be
> able to get CDs with the complete source to MS
> Office, Visual Studio, Win2k, and so on via
> MSDN. Like how you get binary CDs now.
> Five years? Ten years? Never?

When there are insightful first posts and Cmdr Taco has correct spelling and grammar.

Beware (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 13 years ago | (#370128)

They're trying to dupe the simple into giving them free services - just like they've screwed over 'hobbyists' many times in the past - "here, try this alpha out, report the bugs to us, now bugger off". Remember, anything anyone contributs to the Msft effort is the property of Msft, all your rights belong to them. Suckers....

/. is really sucking lately (1)

tekker430 (261358) | more than 13 years ago | (#370129)

This was posted almost a week ago (6 days) and its 'News for Nerds'? I thought us nerds wanted to know the info AS it was coming out, not a week, month, or year later as we have seen happen with some topics here on /.

Re:MSDN (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#370132)

I'd say, in bits and pieces, less than 5 years.

In 10 years, at least one of these pieces of software will have itself completely "source" (you can look but don't touch). My bets are on Office, considering the direction they are heading with it as an application "service" and the internet. More .NET = less proprietary garbage. And, 10 years is an eternity in computing time.

By the way, have you seen Hotmail lately? IE is now incorporating a toolbar very similar to Office when you write a message. It's kind of cool to see that we've gone this far with this kind of stuff. A simple word processor that loads over the internet, for free, in a few seconds.

Re:Just thought I'd point out... (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#370134)

So does that mean average intelligence = more commercial success?

Embrace and extend? (1)

edyavno (190451) | more than 13 years ago | (#370135)

I wonder if it's a first step in "embrace-and-extend". Yeah, right, it "had nothing to do with the success of the open-source movement and the Linux ...". I think they're just testing the waters, and if open source software catches up with more and more enterprises, it'll just give them a chance to proclaim that they support open source. This may be enough for many IT managers who have heard the buzz word, but have very little idea what it actually is.

Re:I guess MS is hard up for cash (1)

bruthasj (175228) | more than 13 years ago | (#370137)

I wouldn't do that. Their teams of lawyers have basically slowed/nearly stopped the DOJ, gov't, et al. from touching their company. Don't underestimate a virtually unlimited resource of ca$h.
Who knows, they might want just 1 line of code to end up in another OS. Then sue the crap out of them.

Just paranoid. If I were in any of those participating companies I would do the following:

1) Reject to participate
2) If the NDA still affects me, quit.

As a fellow developer, I would recommend to boycott the code, however good/bad it may be.

Re:My favorite quote (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#370139)

Ha. I should say the same about Linux PCMCIA wireless code.

HAHAHA!!!! (1)

Lispy (136512) | more than 13 years ago | (#370140)

You bet! "Nothing to do with open source..." LMAO...

The real reason. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#370141)

As usual, MS has a very nasty surprise hidden in this program. Buried in the NDA for this is a clause that says "all persons that may potentially view and examine the 'code base' are prevented from participating or contributing in any manner to any product or service that may be considered competitive with current or future product or service of Microsoft or it's affiliates." In other words, about 90% of any future carrer of developers covered by this is foreclosed. Further more, it attempts to cover not just those that actually DO study the code, but all that may POTENTIALLY see it. And just to be sure, the names and positions of all those 'potential' developers must be provided to MS up front. Isn't that just wonderful.

BSOD (1)

iCeKeWL (193362) | more than 13 years ago | (#370143)

Have you ever wondered how the Blue Screen of Death in windows 2000 works ? If yes, get the source.

But Will Developers help Microsoft? (5)

stomv (80392) | more than 13 years ago | (#370145)

  • Will developers that see bugs in the syntax report them to Microsoft?
  • How can those developers be sure that what they see as programming bugs really are, since they aren't allowed to modify the code (and hence, check)?
  • Will Microsoft take an active roll in using any "suggestions" from programers regarding bugs in future SPs or versions?
  • Will the Windows OS improve as a result of this move, or just applications that run on the OS
  • Will this lead to some increases in bugs? If an application writer uses undocumented side effects of Windows (that she finds in the source code) and the code changes (SP, new version, etc.), will we see new bugs?

I'm just full of questions. Anyone care to try and answer?

The most important question (IMHO) is:
  • Is this move by Microsoft good for computer users in the aggregate in the short term? Long term?
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