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Microsoft Eases "Shared Source" Restrictions

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the wincing-at-embedded-systems dept.

Microsoft 252

An anonymous reader writes "In an effort to help device makers differentiate their products and compete more vigorously with Linux, Microsoft is eliminating major restrictions on the use of its "shared source" license for the Windows CE operating system. The change, which accompanies the impending full release of Windows CE 5.0, will counter competition from Linux and is likely to expand Microsoft's slice of the roughly $1B embedded OS market pie. Specifically, the new version of the Win CE Shared Source license will, for the first time, enable developers anywhere in the world to include modified Windows CE code within commercial products without having to sublicense the modifications back to Microsoft. Interestingly, the revised Shared Source terms are reminiscent of the BSD open source license, which permits the development of proprietary derivatives that need not be shared with the community, in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public."

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first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551050)

bloop bloop bloop bloop
plop plop plop
don't fail it!!!!!

Re:first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551350)

Mr Gates,

please stop doing this on this board.

You have your own homepage [kernel.org] .

Thank you.

Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551051)

Furthermore, the software development process itself is accomplished with an inexpensive, $995 integrated toolkit which can even be downloaded on a 120-day free-trial basis as part of the Windows CE 5.0 "evaluation edition" before purchasing a license.

While I have never used Linux on a PDA (and probably won't) I can't imagine having the claim that $995 for development fees (after the trial period) is "inexpensive" especially when this is an obvious attempt to compete with Linux in the PDA market.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (2, Insightful)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551092)

How expensive is a commercial QTopia License ?

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551116)

I don't see your point. In order to develop for CE you have to use their development tools and libraries. When you develop for a Linux based PDA you aren't *TIED* to any specific toolkit.

Sure, you could use QT and pay if they charge (I don't know) but you could also roll your own and end up distributing it for free if you wished.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (2, Insightful)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551122)

OK so what do you use to develop for a Zaurus?
Yeah sure you can make an ncurses app, but what if you want it to integrate nicely?

So yeah you have some choice but for a commercial app I'd still go with commercial QTopia as would anyone with a bit of common sense..

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (3, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551314)

"you could also roll your own and end up distributing it for free if you wished."

You complain about the $995 fee and say, well, on Linux you could just roll your own toolkit?

It would take monts or years and a "mobhord" of developers to correctly do that, but at least you save the $995 fee for the kit.

Call it a hunch, but I am willing to wager that you don't design and build PDA's for a living?

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551352)

Call it a hunch, but I am willing to wager that you don't design and build PDA's for a living?
And the people that would want to use Linux and save the $995 on the toolkit wouldn't be doing it for a living either.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551448)

This way of thinking is very strange. If you're a company, then yes, but if you're an individual it makes no sense at all to count the hypothetical cost of everything you do. For some people like me, $995 is a very significant of money that I'd prefer to spend on a laptop, while a say, month of programming during the summer is not a cost, and maybe a benefit in terms of practice and satisfaction, apart from giving me something to do.

Also, not everybody who can write code has the ability of doing so in an commercial environment. People can perfectly have a completely different way of earning money, and may not wish to do programming professionally to avoid killing their hobby.

And anyway, this is free software we're talking about. I wouldn't write my own toolkit, I'd look at existing ones and choose the one that'd be easier to port to the required architecture.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Insightful)

fatmonkeyboy (257833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551110)

To an individual developer $995 might be a lot of money, but for a software company that's not really all that much.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551121)

I can't tell if you are talking about Linux or WIndows CE, but the Windows CE Embedded Visual tools are free... both in obtaining and in licensing.
Check it out http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?Fa milyId=F663BF48-31EE-4CBE-AAC5-0AFFD5FB27DD&displa ylang=en [microsoft.com]

Embedded Visual C++ and Embedded Visual Basic are included the last time I checked.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551323)

eMbedded Visual Tools 3.0 - 2002 Edition ...and now includes the Software Development Kits (SDKs) for Pocket PC 2002 and Smartphone 2002.

PocketPC 2002 is outdated. They are giving away free development kits for an OS that was released in 2001.

Software written on this platform doesn't always run on the newer one and it certainly doesn't run well or include all the hooks into the advances that were made in the more recent releases.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Informative)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551403)

The original poster linked you to a download for the old version, for some reason. Make no mistake, the latest dev tools are also freely available:

eVC++ 4.0 [microsoft.com]

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551429)

> PocketPC 2002 is outdated. They are giving away free development kits for an OS that was released in 2001.

eVC4 [microsoft.com] and the PocketPC 2003 SDK [microsoft.com] are also freely available.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (2, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551124)

It might be expensive if the end users were required to have it to install software. It is a one time fee for the developer. For most companies that can afford to design and ship a PDA this is a drop in the bucket.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Insightful)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551134)

The problem you and many others make is you look at these software prices through the eyes of an average programmer, coding stuff in his spare time. You have to realize that software like this is not targeted at such a person, but to companies that intend on developing products which are sold for profit. From that perspective, $995 is a drop in the bucket. It's less than the cost of paying a small group programmers for a day's worth of work.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551258)

I don't know about you but I haven't used too much WinCE software that was coded by software companies. Most of the stuff I used was coded by people doing so in their spare time.

Either you haven't used CE that much or we use different software.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (1)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551359)

IBM, for instance, has a piece of PDA client software used in conjuction with WebSphere portal server. That's at least one company doing it. Let's not forget game makers like PopCap, etc. They're real companies too.

If someone wants to write some free software, fine. There's free tools for that. If someone wants to sell their software, hopefully they're expecting to sell the 50 copies at $20 needed to recoup the inital investment.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551416)

maybe it's not targeted at individual developers, but it's an artificial barrier to entry. it's like raising the rent of the building you own so minorities (statistically they make less per capita) can't rent an apartment from you.

Or like a hardware store raising the price of hammers so you would think twice about "doing it yourself" in favor of hiring a handyman.

analogies are fraud. take this with a grain of salt.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (-1, Redundant)

Doodhwala (13342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551199)

Honestly. $1000 is chicken feed for any large (or even not-so-large) software firm. While its not something I would pay to play with something, even most individual developers will fork the cash out if they are doing serious work.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (5, Insightful)

mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551214)

I can't imagine having the claim that $995 for development fees

You don't think that fully supported development kit for 995$ is cheap? It cost less than red hat ES 3. Development tool kits target production environments and 995$ is not a lot of money when it comes down to it. Especially since Windows CE is the thing on PDAs (Linux support is growing but slowly).

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (3, Insightful)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551222)

If you pay a developer $50,000 a year for a multimillion dollar software project, $995 is cheap. Cheap by commercial standards is a different beast than cheap by hobbist standards.

This is a very nice business move by msft and seems to make life for other much easier.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551239)

Haha! Looks like your dumbass just got owned by all these guys garcia, sucks to be you! Now you look cheap, classless, and stupid! All three at once, the hat trick! HAHA, LEWSER!

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551438)

wow, looks like you are the one that got owned.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551338)

Trying to compete with Linux in the PDA market???
I hate to tell you this but Linux is trying to compete with CE in the PDA market and not doing all that well.
Where Linux is doing well is in the Embeded market for things like Wi-Fi routers and such. The PDA market is on that Linux is not doing well in at all.
Would I like a Linux based PDA? Yep but I have not seen one yet that will work as well as my old Palm does. I can even sync it under Linux.

BTW $995 is not bad for a development system. Take a look at what Troll Tech wants for QT under Windows!

You're thinking consumer rather than business apps (2, Interesting)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551383)


I can't imagine having the claim that $995 for development fees (after the trial period) is "inexpensive" especially when this is an obvious attempt to compete with Linux in the PDA market.

The world of embedded devices is only now starting to emerge. The consumer end of things, which might be called "PDAs" [or "Cell Phones" or whatnot], is just the tip of the iceberg.

The potential for business use of embedded OSes is just staggering, however, and Microsoft [as opposed to Sony, or Ericsson] has tradtionally made their money in business [not consumer] sales.

Re:Inexpensive and competing with Linux? Nah. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551447)

I've personally used development tools costing in excess of $15,000. $1000 is nothing - my daily rate to our clients is more than that. Hell, my monitor cost more than that.

It's All Sun's Fault (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551055)

The slashbots were right all along. Sun was a very early proponent of BSD and now look what's happening: Microsoft (late to the party as usual) is "innovating" a new BSD-style license. I blame Sun. If they hadn't backed BSD in the first place, none of this sorry mess would have happened.

Re:It's All Sun's Fault (2, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551072)

This new license only has an outcome (closed source derivative) common with BSD. It is nothing like BSD or GPL licensed code (which starts free and in case of BSD might end up non-free)

Jeroen

Re:It's All Sun's Fault (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551101)

Ah but you see, Microsoft always steals other peoples' ideas, bastardises them and announces them as great new revolutionary breakthroughs to the World. The ignorant Microsoft fans will see this as True Innovation. Don't you see it? Now that Microsoft and Sun a friends, Microsoft can do what they did 20 years ago, and give it all to SCO who will rule the world in a bloody reign of terror for a thousand years. You will all have 666 imprinted upon your foreheads. The plan is nearly complete. Muhahahahahahahahahahah.

No its brainwashing! (2, Interesting)

essreenim (647659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551094)

..which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public."
Thats not a restriction -its a statutory obligation to remove restrictionns, ffs, sounds like MS mind control signals to me ..

Re:It's All Sun's Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551363)

I blame IBM. After all, if they hadn't funded MS-DOS, we wouldn't have had Windows 3.1, Windows, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows NT, Windows 2000, etc...

Imagine what would have happened if they had funded their own in-house development for a PC OS.

I heard that Mary-Kate Olsen died today, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551057)

anyone have any confirmation?

nothing says BSD is dying like... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551061)

nothing says BSD is dying like MS moving in on your turf.

Just because its source is available (5, Insightful)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551063)

Doesn't mean anything. To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.

Re:Just because its source is available (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551097)

Just because its source is available doesn't mean anything. To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.

Ahh, but see, that's coming from someone immersed in the world of OSS. When you are immersed in a Windows world and used to paying high development and licensing fees this would seem like a Godsend.

People see the benefits of Linux as it being free. They don't always see the "more eyes/better code" side.

Greed is a much more powerful tool.

Greed is a much more powerful tool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551397)

Greed is a much more powerful tool.

And a blinding one at that.

Just wait until those fools that look at Microsoft's source write something similar a couple of years later....

Re:Just because its source is available (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551240)

It offers developers access to the code so they can build a better product and change the code to meet their needs in some situations. Some people argue this is the reason Sun needs to do the same. You are telling me that this won't matter because they are not distributing the source code to the end users with a new PDA?

I could honestly give a fsck about the source code, unless the package management is so broken I need the source code to compile the binary myself.

Re:Just because its source is available (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551289)

To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.

Even in cases where a previously proprietary product has been "open sourced" it can take quite a bit of time before the result is truely OSS. Various coding styles and methodologies which may work fine in the proprietary environment are not much good in an open environment.

Re:Just because its source is available (2, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551342)

you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it

you mean, you have to submit all changes to Bill Gates who decides what goes into the CE kernel or not?

"More like..." (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551064)

Competition simply means Microsoft becomes more like the competition. ...more Unixey. ...more open source. ...etc.

However don't forget to read the fine print.

Microsoft shares, who'da thunk it... (4, Funny)

Theovon (109752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551077)

It's an irony. Microsoft counters the GPL with an even less restrictive license.

Free Software will rule the world, and Microsoft will play multiple parts in making that happen. :)

Re:Microsoft shares, who'da thunk it... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551107)


Dream on, commie.

Re:Microsoft shares, who'da thunk it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551184)

I doubt the license is less restrictive than the GPL. The restrictions are probably different, but I'd be really surprised if you don't find some hidden, or not so hidden gotchas in there.

um, yeah, except that's not true (5, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551195)

It's an irony. Microsoft counters the GPL with an even less restrictive license.

Despite the /. summary, the new license isn't really BSD-like. It's certainly a lot more relaxed, but it doesn't let you take the original code and do whatever you want with it. This is all about letting companies ship modified *binary* versions -- there's no way, for example, to make a complete fork.

Were this truly a BSD-style license, it'd be possible to take the code base and dump it wholesale into Wine, or a Wine-CE -- enabling perfect WinCE compatibility on the Zaurus, or even on Linux desktop systems. How much you want to bet that's not possible?

Plus, aren't there still per-copy license fees? Or has Microsoft already done the IE thing and dropped that to compete?

Smart move, actually (3, Insightful)

cipher chort (721069) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551243)

Most big software companies are very opposed to the "communist" nature of the GPL. Software companies want the freedom to innovate and profit from their innovation without giving away the "secret sauce".

Microsoft is definitely listening to their customers here. The customers want access to source so they can make modifications, but without being forced to release their improvements to others.

Now the interesting thing will be to watch Sun's response. If Microsoft yet again beats Sun, will it force Sun's hand to tip their cards more? Pass me the popcorn, this should be interesting.

Re:Smart move, actually (0, Redundant)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551375)

Those who describe GPL as a "communist" license have neither understood communism nor GPL.

A viable way to make money with Free Software is not so much by GPLing your own software but by using other people's published Free Software to build new software on top of it (e.g. customization) and to make money with this service. The modifications of the source then only need to be given to the client who contracted the developer (or the development company), so it's fully compliant to GPL and nobody really needs to publish the modifications to "everyone".

So ? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551084)

They're still Microsoft.

Just a little bit (5, Insightful)

PD (9577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551088)

If you look at Microsoft's Shared Source license page, there's a bunch of different programs for different pieces of shared source. link here [microsoft.com] . These shared sources don't seem to create an open community, because first it's not open, and it's not a community. Open implies free, and it's clear that these sources aren't complete. You're still stuck on Microsoft's teat for the remainder of the OS. And community implies a group of equal collaborative partners. As far as I can tell, the partners are not equal. Microsoft could decide to completely change the APIs one day and leave everybody in the dirt. By missing an open community, they miss the best feature of open source.

do it yourself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551366)

Need something they have, but modified slightly? Do it yourself.

Want it on Linux?
Do it yourself - port it.

Not screaming for the Windows side of things here - posting this from a SuSE 9.1 box. Still have my SuSE 6.0 cd's...and 7.0 and 8...

License terms not published yet (5, Insightful)

bollow (a) NoLockIn (785367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551102)

The new version of the Shared Source License, called a "EULA" (End User License Agreement), will be available later this week on Microsoft's embedded website. [microsoft.com]

Why don't we wait with discussing this until the actual license text is available, so that we can see what the article is talking about?

Maybe, as the "the revised Shared Source terms are reminiscent of the BSD open source license" remark in the article seems to indicate, this is actually a free software / open source license. Maybe there are still some unacceptable strings attached. How are we supposed to think something good or bad about the new license just based on this article which is obviously written by someone who is not very familar with software licenses. (The article says about the GPL that it "obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public." That is incorrect. If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code. You are however not required to make modifications available to the public. In practice, modifications are very often made available to the public, but this is an important distinction to keep in mind, especially when thinking about privacy issues, and also when thinking about commercial GPL licensing of software packages for the expected number of customers is small [freestrategy.info] ).

Re:License terms not published yet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551220)

If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code. You are however not required to make modifications available to the public. In practice, modifications are very often made available to the public, but this is an important distinction to keep in mind, especially when thinking about privacy issues, and also when thinking about commercial GPL licensing of software packages for the expected number of customers is small).

This is correct, however, you also cannot restrict what the recipient can do with that source code. If they wish to redistribute it, fine.

This is also an important distinction to keep in mind, in that you really do not have control of where your source goes after it leaves your hands. This is why most GPL'd code is made available to the public, really. It's because you might as well, since anybody who gets your program's source can release it to anybody they like anyway, and you cannot place any actual restrictions on them not to do so.

Re:License terms not published yet (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551437)

(The article says about the GPL that it "obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public." That is incorrect. If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code.

The most important word here is if. You are under no obligation to distribute any GPL program at all. Also you are under no obligation to make the source available to to anyone other than a party you have supplied the binary to. The specific point is that binary only distribution is forbidden.

You are however not required to make modifications available to the public. In practice, modifications are very often made available to the public,

The reason for this is that there advantages in doing so. In that making the software widely available increases the chance of bug fixes and other improvements.

especially when thinking about privacy issues,

The only possible privacy issues would be the identity of the programmers. GPL code does not "taint" data, which is not always the case with proprietary software.

M$ adopting Linux features (5, Funny)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551106)

Two can play that game. I call on the Linux community to:

  • Create bloat in disk and RAM usage
  • Access NULL pointers to decrease stability
  • Program major security holes into common apps like xterm
Let's level the playing field!

Re:M$ adopting Linux features (3, Insightful)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551271)

Create bloat in disk and RAM usage

GNOME and KDE. Check.

Access NULL pointers to decrease stability

I hope you're not implying that dereferncing NULL pointers is something that happens exclusively at Microsoft. But either way, this happens frequently enough with free software. Check.

Program major security holes into common apps like xterm

Is ssh good enough for you? Check.

Not just Linux move (3, Insightful)

LilJC (680315) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551113)

With CE, they also stand to perhaps gain a foothold over some PalmOS lovers.

PalmOS has been another stable hand-held system that amateurs can actually write software for as well.

Though, I must sheepishly admit I had problems with a free PalmOS compiler I downloaded a year or two ago.

Re:Not just Linux move (2, Informative)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551321)

PalmOS has been another stable hand-held system that amateurs can actually write software for as well.

Are you implying that amateurs can't write for WinCE devices? I'll remind you that the development tools are free and widely available.

"Interestingly"? (5, Interesting)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551114)

Try "predictably", or "obviously". Of course MS is going to go with a more BSD-like license, as opposed to a more GPL-like license. MS has always made it quite clear (through actions as well as statements) that they like the BSD-type open-source licenses, as it allows them to embrace and extend without breaching the license. (Thus far, they haven't really "embraced and extended" BSD code-- but they do use BSD's command-line FTP client code, and I believe BSD's TCP/IP stack? Or was the latter only in the past?) Anyone who thought that they would go for a more GPL-like paradigm was only fooling themselves.

Frankly, I think it's surprising that Microsoft is releasing any source code at all. I actually think it's a bit premature for MS to be doing such things. Here in the "trenches", dealing with tons of end users, all I see is Windows users to the left of me, Windows users to the right of me. I don't see Linux encroaching on Windows turf on the desktop-- and, in fact, I see Windows encroaching on Linux/Unix turf on the server side of things. (This frightens me deeply.) It is surprising that MS is scared enough of Linux and the open-source/free software movement to be releasing some of their source code while their market share is still so ridiculously high.

Re:"Interestingly"? (4, Insightful)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551253)

I didn't RTFA so this probably has squat to do with anything relevant...

"It is surprising that MS is scared enough of Linux and the open-source/free software movement to be releasing some of their source code while their market share is still so ridiculously high."

Perhaps because they are losing mindshare amongst developers? This affects the long term but in a very dramatic way.

Not That Obvious (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551334)

``Of course MS is going to go with a more BSD-like license, as opposed to a more GPL-like license.''

Well, it's not that obvious. The GPL is definitely the more controlling of the two, and I don't think it is a matter of course that Microsoft would give up their control.

Re:"Interestingly"? (2, Informative)

rutledjw (447990) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551381)

On your point of Windows displacing *NIX...

We have deployed literally HUNDREDS of Intel servers over the past 3 years. We started with Windows and now are almost completely Linux. Windows WAS replacing some *NIX systems, but now it's Linux on IBM blades or 44x series machines.

To be frank, the only reason we have any Windows at all is the ease of development and a slew of undertalented developers who can't write proper Java or C/C++ code. Aside from that we're excusively Linux (with AIX for some of the apps that only scale vertically). We actually looking to convert a .NET business unit to Java within the next 6-9 months (start conversion).

Further, I become mildly enraged over the whole MS/TCO argument. My team is responsible for ~120 servers (Windows/Linux/AIX) which support dev/QA/Performance/New Tech Evaluations, production is another group, of which the vast majority (~90) are Linux. We spend a grossly disproportionate amount of time supporting Windows and AIX although Windows is the worse of the 2.

Anyway, we have a few small Windows projects (which have very mixed results as we have a 24x7 high-transaction shop). A big one coming up, I've voiced my concerns and my plan is to sit back and watch the fireworks when it goes south. My attitude is simply this: It's technology, my only crteria is how efficiently we can manage systems in support of business requirements. If technology 'X' can meet requirements I'm fine with it - rah-rah-rah I'll support it. If it can't then I take issue. AIX is a sporatic PITA whereas Windows has been a constant source of pain. Linux has only been an issue with new kernels on new hardware (duh) and with respect to RedHat VM "improvements".

The short of that rant is that if you evaluate technology solely on the basis of capability and cost, Linux will prove a highly desireable solution. Technical issues and cost (clustered SQLServer and Biztalk are NOT cheap) will start to show up on the MS side of things... AIX, is, well, AIX and is from the same company that brought you OS/2 (which started strong and underwent a truly painful death).

Still not as open (5, Interesting)

bobaferret (513897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551123)

I still can't use any of that windows CE code in my own program/xserver now can I? Whereas with the BSD licience I could borrow theor code as long as I kept the copyright notice.

this is FANTASTIC! (3, Funny)

MEGAMAID (791988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551133)

Spread windows far and wide. Now when the next MSvirus hits it can take out all the other appliances too!

"ffs! How many time do we have to tell you, you need to run windows update on your microwave at least once a week"

Update your microwave (3, Funny)

LemonYellow (244336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551252)

Ah, imagine the fun someone could have with a network-attached WinCE microwave: // virus.c
while(true) {
if(microwave.containsPet()) {
door.close();
microwave.start(Power::High, 30);
} else sleep(5);
}

Nice to see MS squirm (2, Interesting)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551136)


Perhaps it's a childish pleasure, but pleasurable nonetheless: Watching MS squirm ever increasingly in response to the rise of open source. And with this latest ISS/IE debacle it seems to be rouding a wide (if somewhat slow) corner. I've had several people switch to Firefox (including a co-worker) based on that alone.

Watching MS progress along the classic path of "ignore OSS; laugh at OSS; fight OSS; lose uber-dominance" is a patient game, but well worth it.

Then again, this last gasp of uber-dominance of theirs is somewhat scary - when MS described OSS/GPL as "viral", I'm wondering if they were describing their own vision of an apportunity to virally insert themselves into other bodies of code....

"It's a trick, get an axe." - Army of Darkness

The chain to Remond is still there (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551140)

You can get a running start now before you hit the end.

Boooooo (0, Redundant)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551141)

MSFT believes in Free as in "no strings attached" and not Free as in "whatever RMS' philosophy is".

BURN THEM

Re:Boooooo (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551453)

Microsoft could give the windows source code out with a compiler so people could create their own custom windows and people would still bitch at them. Face it, microsoft is starting to do what everyone has been bashing them for not doing for years and people still find something to complain about. As far as F/OSS zealots on /. go, microsoft should just give up as they'll never please them.

lines of code (4, Funny)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551143)

more than 2.5 million lines of code...

Just what I always wanted in my embedded OS!

Re:lines of code (3, Funny)

Rassleholic (591097) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551419)

more than 2.5 million lines of code...

Just 500k more lines of code and you got a nice looking pony.........as long as the code is BASIC........and the holoshed doesn't malfunction.

In Soviet Russia... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551145)

The source opens you!

compete? (5, Insightful)

elfstones (177191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551146)

"In an effort to help device makers differentiate their products and compete more vigorously with Linux"

Why do device makers need to compete with Linux? Device makers need to be able to develop software that works on both for the biggest market share.

OMG, Forking! (5, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551154)

Make no mistake, this leaves the Windows operating system open to a wide array of potentially fatal problems. Thousands of developers worldwide, who YOU DON"T EVEN KNOW, are going to write the code that YOU USE. You will have no assurance that the code is to the quality specifications of MS. The OS you are running may even have easter eggs added by TERRORISTS. And you will have no way of knowing.

This license also induces MASSIVE FORKING. You will have no way of knowing that the version of Windows you use will work the way you expect. Millions of version of Windows CE will be created, each slightly incompatible.

Re:OMG, Forking! (2, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551207)

You will have no assurance that the code is to the quality specifications of MS.

...and that's a BAD thing?

Re:OMG, Forking! (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551209)

You will have no way of knowing that the version of Windows you use will work the way you expect.

And this differs from Windows today... how?

Re:OMG, Forking! (1)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551325)


Ballmer: Windows CE is like Pac-Man! It's a cancer!

Put your anti-MS rantings down for a bit (0)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551156)

Just listen.

If Microsoft is willing to open up its technologies and allow others to use them, then I see no problem with that. It isn't automatically part of a massive War on Linux.

Avoid the knee-jerk reactions, this could be a very good thing.

Re:Put your anti-MS rantings down for a bit (1)

eamacnaghten (695001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551449)

If Microsoft is willing to open up its technologies and allow others to use them, then I see no problem with that. It isn't automatically part of a massive War on Linux.

You honestly think Microsoft would be doing this if Linux was NOT taking a significant share of the market? I don't think so.

OK - It may not be a knee-jerk reaction to Linux in trying to get market share back and to keep Linux out - but I share as anything would not want to put money on that...

nothing like BSD (3, Informative)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551194)

the biggest example of how MS's shared source license differs: no matter what, you can't ship your source code under any license.

Microsoft and GPL (3, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551198)

A lot of people are making a stink about this not being GPL, and even poking fun at the fact that this style license is, in fact, less restrictive then the GPL... but make no mistake, MS knows what they are doing. If they were to make it GPL, then make changes... guess what... they have to release them. With this license, they release a code base, and everyone can pick at it as they want, even them... and they don't have to give the changes to anyone. So while everyone is making base systems with "Windows CE version X, with some tweaks", Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.

Re:Microsoft and GPL (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551267)

Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.

OSS proponents tell me this is one of the best features of OSS though, the ability to build on existing software rather than reinvent the wheel. If OSS developers are as good as they claim then they should be able to outdo anything MS can build on the shared base.

Re:Microsoft and GPL (4, Insightful)

luiss (217284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551333)

So while everyone is making base systems with "Windows CE version X, with some tweaks", Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.

As the owner of the copywrite of their code, they could do this even if they released it under the GPL.

What they would not be able to do if they GPLed a version of thier code is to fold contributions back into thier non-GPL versions.

Re:Microsoft and GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551337)

With GPL, the original autor can relicense his works with other licenses and/or not distribute the modifications.
But he can't impose these restrictions back on already-published works, these will remain to be availiable under the GPL.

Re:Microsoft and GPL (1)

dearg (601589) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551389)

If they were to make it GPL, then make changes... guess what... they have to release them.

Are you sure about that? Surely the restrictions of the GPL only apply to the licensee. Microsoft still owns the copyright on the code, and is free to make modifications and release them or not as it sees fit.

article has the GPL part all wrong (5, Informative)

phoxix (161744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551200)

Quote:

... in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public.

Erm, no. This has been said a billion times, and I suppose it will be said again. The GPL does not require you to give back your changes to the public. It does, however, require you to give the source code to whoever you in turn gave the program too.

Example: If I sell a modified version of the kernel to the Pentagon, I must provide the source to the Pentagon, but no one else. Not even the NSA, or some state gov't, etc etc. It is a very simple concept. (Ingenious when you think about it.)

Sunny Dubey

Re:article has the GPL part all wrong (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551263)

Example: If I sell a modified version of the kernel to the Pentagon, I must provide the source to the Pentagon, but no one else. Not even the NSA, or some state gov't, etc etc. It is a very simple concept. (Ingenious when you think about it.)

Of course you can't make them not give the source to whomever they please. You can ask them nicely not to do it, but they have the right to if they want, under the GPL.

Re:article has the GPL part all wrong (1)

archen (447353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551434)

Another nice side effect that many people miss is that you can take GPL code and do pretty much anything you want with it if you do not distribute the program - that is, use it in house. Many people seem to think if you take the time to modify GPL software that you MUST give it out to everybody. If your company has a special project that stays in the company then it's acceptable to make the program work for you and never give out the changes.

I bet this new restriction-free SS... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551204)

...will sweep Poland.

And possibly be big in Belgium.

mmmmm... pie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551208)

Mmmmmmm.. embedded OS market pie...

Security concerns (2, Insightful)

mackman (19286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551221)

Their shared source has two problems:

First, by making the source available to a limited audience for cost, dedicated crackers can get thier hands on it (illegally) but legitimate developers can't without paying big bucks. It's good to know only law-breaking coders will be looking for secrity vulnerabilities.

Second, by allowing third parties to modify the source without requiring peer review (either by MS or by the community), they are likely to introduce new bugs. At least with the Linux kernel, there's a hell of a lot of review before changes are integrated into the mainline. Forks also frequently get merged back into the mainline. Now there will be hundreds of modified WinCE varients, none of which getting peer reviewed or integrated into the trunk, and who knows how MS will handle distribution of security updastes to modified WinCE variants.

As someone who has developed using CE (5, Interesting)

feloneous cat (564318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551231)

Not 5.0, but 4.2, I can say that a lame kernel is still a lame kernel, source or no.

I've SEEN Microsoft's source code (not kernel code, but their "example" code) and it is hideous. The most well known (to CE developers) was the infamous "audio hang" where if you spec'ed in an audio driver and you DIDN'T have a Codec on the board, the entire system would hang. And it didn't get any better (even after pointing this out to MS).

People say the learning curve is steep. They are correct. But not for the reasons you might think. It is steep because MS uses the SAME text in multiple different passes to build the OS. When you chat with them about problems they tell you to use the console (I don't think they did the GUI but as an after-thought).

Worse, try to explain to your application developers that "yeah, it looks like Windows, smells like Windows, has an API, but it ain't Windows". Then they get frustrated when things don't work the same or they discover (surprise!) that the API is limited (hey, I only got 32 Megs of RAM here, dude!).

What a hunk of junk.

Wouldn't GPL have been better? (3, Interesting)

unoengborg (209251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551233)

One of the reason for choosing GPL would be to control competition, as it eliminates the risk that some of your competitors adds new features that you have no access to.

I have always regarded BSD like licences suicidal if you issue and only beneficial to the licencee. While GPL gives more equal terms at least on paper. In reality the parti that have written the major part of the code will probably come out on top as he will have better understanding on how it works and will probably be able to provide better services.

So given Microsoft normally highly competitive behavior, one wonders if their hate towards GPL have clouded their minds.

I Bet (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551277)

They take it all away again once they've crished the competition (Linux and PalmOS.) They pulled a similar stunt with OS/2 back in the day, first by creating the "API of the week club" to release new and incompatable libraries for things like Win32s and ultimately by releasing Windows 95, which IBM didn't hold a source license to (They had contracts to incorporate Windows 3.x stuff into OS/2.)

So what's to say 3 years from now they don't just come out with a new "Windows Lite" which is completely incompatable with WinCE and start pressuring hardware manufacturers to switch over?

So Microsoft is taking their embedded OS... (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551280)

...and allowing you to... embed it in things?

Okay, that makes a lot of sense from their perspective, but are we supposed to be impressed by this or something?

The rest of the license terms still way expensive (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551281)

In a M$ license every word adds cost to the lincesee.

M$ lawyers don't add words to a license for no reason. Every word of a M$ license has a reason and a cost.

It's Linux that dunnit... (3, Insightful)

eamacnaghten (695001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551309)

This, and the recent news of the Thailand XP Startup Edition [slashdot.org] seems to be a direct response to a rise of Linux.

It is significant that Microsoft seems to be losing the lead on where things are going now. They are recting to Linux rather than leading the IT market.

I know they are doing this to keep Linux out and to try and get people hooked on XP - but it does not work like that any more. I have just replaced a customer's Outlook Express with Mozilla's Thunderbird - the transission went smoothly - and although the (non technical) person has never used Thunderbird before the training took about two minutes!

I think these strategic decisions of Microsoft are a turning point. Microsoft cannot kill Linux. If they want to keep their current markets they are learning that they need to do it on Linux's terms - ie - give the customer reliable cheap working software that does not involve paying a big "Microsoft Tax".

I think we have seen the value of Microsoft's software, and it's revenue, take a downward turn. I am expecting the trend to continue.

Re-Read the GPL! (4, Informative)

schabi (54775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551328)

in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public

Thats just plainly wrong, please re-read the GPL! The GPL just obligates to make the source avaliable to every receipient of the binary, and enforces that you cannot change the license.

Thus, if you develop complex modifications for a GPL software, and your customer pays you lots of money for it, nobody is forced to give those modifications to the public.

GPL enpowers the customer, not the public. The customer gets the freedom to modify (or pay someone else to do it) the software, independently from the original vendor.

Free crack! Get your free crack here!!! (0, Troll)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551374)

If you think this is a permanent change in MS behaviour, I have a swamp to sell you. As soon as they get any significant advantage in that market, they'll change back to screwing their customers. MS WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOUR.

BC

RTFGPL (3, Insightful)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 10 years ago | (#9551431)

in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public.

Sigh. No it doesn't. It requires that source code for the binaries be distributed with the binaries. There's no obligation to release anything to the general public.

Like going to Dr. Kevorkian for a cold.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9551432)

You might not get what you want out of that visit.

Just like we're not going to get anything good out of using Microsoft's code.

Paranoid? Look at it this way: would you put some sort of rights to your companies code in the hands of Microsoft? Do you trust them that much?

Me neither.

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