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Microsoft Expands Access to Windows Source Code

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the source-code-i-don't-wanna-see dept.

Windows 282

Brain Stew writes "According to eWeek, MVPs living within thecountries that have signed up with Microsoft's Windows Source code program can now see it for free (limited source code of course). 'Microsoft Corp. has expanded the Source Licensing Program under which its Most Valued Professionals get access to the source code for the Windows operating system. The Redmond, Wash., company said on Monday that all the MVPs within the Microsoft platforms community and living within the 27 eligible countries worldwide will now be able to access Windows source code at no cost. '"

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282 comments

Shared source will not work for MS (5, Insightful)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9749993)

It's pretty clear in my mind that by handing select portions of the source code to "most valuble professionals" that microsoft merely wants to go through the motions of open source, while not being open at all.

And, certainly, this is their right, since it is their source code. However, I don't see many people outside of their "MVP" community (which is who? people stuck working on windows device drivers?) really being interested in doing their busy work for them. And for this reason, because of being unwilling to fully relinquish control, they are going to find themselves unable to fully benefit from openness.

In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about, and manages to deal with the concept in an intelligent manner, instead of trying to make compromises and deal with half measures.

If open source manages to become a signifigant methodology in tomorrow's IT world, IBM seems better equipped to benefit from it, whereas Microsoft is unwilling to do what it takes to prevent sliding off into irrelevence.

Personally? (0, Flamebait)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750044)

I don't trust Microsoft as far as I can kick them. People get all hot and bothered about looking at Java or Solaris code. They claim that Sun will turn around and prosecute them for "stealing" Sun trade secrets. Yet to my knowledge, Sun has NEVER prosecuted a customer. Microsoft OTOH, keeps the BSA guard dog around, and sicks them on anyone who *might* be guilty of not paying Microsoft their protection money^W^W taxes.

I know who's source code I'd rather be looking at.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (1, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750052)

Totally agree. Its just MS paying lip-service to open-source so that they have some more FUD rather than a definate NO when people ask about source availablility.

There's no way MS source-code is available to the lowly small-company developer who (real-world example) is trying to figure out why his DLL can't add things to the STL container he passed in without crashing.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750106)

Totally agree. Its just MS paying lip-service to open-source so that they have some more FUD rather than a definate NO when people ask about source availablility.


That's not the only benefit. They also have something to point to as an "alternative" to that evil, 'viral' GNU license. An example of how to do it 'right' (sic).

Re:I've got one thing to say (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750063)

FUCK Microsoft

Mod me up because you know you enjoyed reading that.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (1)

hoferbr (707935) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750076)

MVPs, who are chosen for having a "unique set of expertise and passion" around Microsoft technologies...
So, as you said, the open source won't be really open for a broader community.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (5, Insightful)

t1m0r4n (310230) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750160)

In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about, and manages to deal with the concept in an intelligent manner, instead of trying to make compromises and deal with half measures.

I agree with the idea that MSFT allowing those deemed "MVP" worthy to view the source code is meaningless. But I doubt IBM understands open source. They are selling open source stuff because they make money doing so. If it conflicts with their other software, they will push closed source. And they will push it hard to the detriment of open source. Anybody have the link handy for the statements from HP? HP is trying to sell linux servers to existing IBM AIX customers, and IBM is alleged to bad mouth linux something fierce. While I can't back the claims of HP, I see no reason to believe that IBM is a saint of open source. When IBM goes 100% GPL, then I will trust them. The partial backing of IBM is a GoodThing, but I don't think the people of importance at IBM really "understand" open source.

Insert some random badmouthing of MSFT backed by personal experience.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (3, Insightful)

Ari_Haviv (796424) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750232)

part of understanding open source means using it when it makes sense and not using it when it doesn't make sense.

IBM understands quite a bit (2, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750339)

IBM has made it clear, in my mind at least, that where they embrace free source software, they do so because they don't have to maintain it, that it levels the playing field and makes their fancy service the important part, that customers are not locked into them and they are not locked into proprietary software maintenance.

That pretty much sums up why I like free source software. I can hack it if I want, or pay someone else to hack it, I get updates free from everybody else working on it, and I don't get locked into proprietary schemes which may or may not go out of business or change their update policies. My data will always be accessible to me, because the programs that access it are free source, and I can look at them and change them any way I want, any time I want, now and forever.

Re:IBM understands quite a bit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750576)

> that customers are not locked into them and they are not locked into proprietary software maintenance.

This shows how little you fanboys get it. The goal of IBM's Linux campaign is to get you locked into IBM proprietary middleware software. (Because people were getting wise to their OS lockin.)

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750177)

"Which is who? people stuck working on windows device drivers?"

Google is your friend [google.com]

Microsoft MVPs are acknowledged by peers and also by Microsoft for their active participation in Microsoft technical communities around the globe.

So, they're people out in the community volunteering their time by helping people out on forums and through blogs. From my knowledge they have to get nominated and then voted on to acheive their MVP status.

Or... (0, Redundant)

phorm (591458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750240)

How about, if an OS project is similar enough to an MS one, then Microsoft can claim that the OS project stole it's IP. Further on, they could then go on to claim that Open Source tempts infringement blah blah blah.

I mean, come on, MS is going through motions of opening source code because of demand, but actively mounting a huge FUD campaign against OS in general.

Re:Or... (1, Insightful)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750340)

Yup, they're just putting out bait, hoping that some of the code will be used by someone in the OSS community and then they can pound them for "hybrid source" in the media and in court.

I haven't seen the terms under which people are allowed to view the code, but I'm sure it's not really Open Source(TM). It's probably more like, "Here, take a look at our code. Share it with your friends. Pass it around. But remember it's still closed proprietary code that no one can copy."

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (1)

JacobKreutzfeld (614589) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750411)

If you look at their "shared" source, and later write open source code, you may find their lawyers at your door. "intellectual property theft" and all that. Stay away. Besides, all you're gonna learn is how to write bloated, slow, vulnerable code anyway. :-)

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (3, Interesting)

PingXao (153057) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750566)

I agree to a point. IBM does not fully embrace open source, however. They sell plenty of products that do not include access to the source code. If you run one of their mainframe OSes like VM or MVS or zOS (or whatever they're calling them these days) you pay dearly for the privilege of having access to the source code. About 10 years ago - granted, a long time - the company I was working for was paying upwards of $50,000 per year just to get access to the source code. This was above and beyond the normal charges just to license and run the things.

More recently - well, same time frame actually - OS/2 had a killer desktop: the Workplace Shell. It was totally object-oriented. AFAICT Windows 2000, NT, XP, Longhorn, etc. use completely object-oriented desktop models. People have been pleading with IBM for years to Open Source the WPS. 10 years later it would still be an improvement over the Windows offerings. IBM refuses.

Re:Shared source will not work for MS (0, Redundant)

PingXao (153057) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750632)

Argh! And I previewed this twice before posting it!

"AFAICT Windows 2000, NT, XP, Longhorn, etc. use completely object-oriented desktop models."

Should read:

"AFAICT Windows 2000, NT, XP, Longhorn, etc. do not use completely object-oriented desktop models."

Just to add something else here, desktop "shortcuts" are not object-oriented constructs.

IBM, like Apple, understand open source ... (4, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750611)

In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about ...

IBM, like Apple, understands open source. It is a vehicle to sell their hardware. In contrast, Microsoft is a software company.

This is somewhat good (2, Insightful)

thephotoman (791574) | more than 9 years ago | (#9749996)

However, the problem remains that they really need many more eyes to fix Windows, if that's possible.

Re:This is somewhat good (4, Interesting)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750057)

From what I've seen of OSS, the solution is not many, many eyes, but a core handful of experienced eyes that have experience and training.

Point needs to be made, however, that these guys who get free access are not here to "fix Windows" as much as they are there to write applications that require close cooperation with the OS (think antivirus or DRM applications). So the chances of them finding a bug and fixing it are slim, because they won't be looking for them.

Actually, no (2, Insightful)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750481)

From what I've seen of OSS, the solution is not many, many eyes, but a core handful of experienced eyes that have experience and training.

Actually, no. I don't think the solution is to have a handful of experienced eyes - I am sure there are Windows programmers who are pretty top-notch. What is essential is having the power and ability to FIX problems. I am sure that MS is like most places, where the project ships with bugs. After that, someone else maintains the code and the original person moves on to more exciting things. Or there is no time to fix all that "security" stuff. Or their hands are tied because in order to fix that "security stuff" they would have to break some kind of whiz-bang lock-in interoperability. Or any of a thousand other reasons.

In OSS code, if it doesn't get fixed it is because the owner is lazy, or because the fix isn't deemed good enough, or it isn't seen as a high-priority. Or any of a thousand other reasons.

The more eyes you have on the product, the more likely you are to find problems. Experts will find the "expert" problems in architecture and whatnot, and the "user" eyes will find all kinds of things that the experts might not care about.

Re:This is somewhat good (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750643)

There may simply be an evolutionary force in action. Those who see there are plenty of people managing any given project will see little result for their efforts spent trying to understand the nuiances of the project.

Re:This is somewhat good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750318)

Anybody who looks at the code should be considered tainted. Shared source is Microsofts poison pill!

gnaaa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750006)

gnaaaaaaaaa 1st pr0st

Gentoo Windows here I come! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750011)

I'm going to recompile Windows optimized for my hardware! It'll blow every other Windows away.

Re:Gentoo Windows here I come! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750343)

Too late: windows already blows.

Re:Gentoo Windows here I come! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750508)

ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~BlueScreen" emerge windows

Hmmm... I think I'll stick gentoo-sources, thanks!

Source Code I dont want to see (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750023)

Yeah, because Slashdot is the pinnacle of software design

Count down to shared source leakage... (5, Funny)

Pillager (6026) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750024)

10....
9...
8..

Re:Count down to shared source leakage... (4, Funny)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750269)

3...
2..
1.

10 PRINT "Linux"
20 PRINT "Sucks!!1"
30 GOTO 10

I'm pretty sure that's in the source somewhere.

Re:Count down to shared source leakage... (2, Funny)

Zx-man (759966) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750622)

No, you are wrong - the lines 10 to 20 are totally obsolete and were removed due to the code optimization; the real source code should contain only the last line: 10 GOTO 10

At no cost? (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750030)

will now be able to access Windows source code at no cost
Sorry, my soul is NOT for sale.

Seriously, do you want to be contaminated by having seen Microsofts' source? Always wondering when you'll end up being named in a lawsuit because you may have incorporated some of their worthless IP in a project you're working on?

It could make you unemployable in the future.

Re:At no cost? (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750298)

There have been instances of former Microsoft employees securing another gainful engagement. One prominant one have even sent a private ship to space recently, without any complaint that he infringed on an XP desktop theme.

Microsoft was accused of stealing Altavista code lately. They are still hiring people with existing industry experience.

Re:At no cost? (0, Offtopic)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750373)

This isn't an insightful post, it's just a rant.

Re:At no cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750525)

you sir are correcrt - your post isnt insightfull yet I dont see any part being a rant so not points for you gopher boy.

new idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750042)

um...maybe they are trying to get the "community" to clean up their code now.

This is bad... (1, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750047)

Let's see if I recall things right from earlier discussions:

This is bad because

a) It's about Microsoft
b) The license handed out is way too restrictive

I need a good laugh.... (1)

rel4x (783238) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750054)

...which means I'm hoping for a leak. Oh, how the buggy code will entertain me...

meh? (0, Offtopic)

xOleanderx (794187) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750062)

Yeah i still have the source code released a while ago in a nice little zip in my emule shared folder.

Re:meh? (4, Insightful)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750133)

Yeah i still have the source code released a while ago in a nice little zip in my emule shared folder.

In that case, you might want to unshare it ASAP. You do realize that your IP can be trivially discovered when you have emule on?

It should be emphasized that having the windows source is much more damaging than beneficial. People are contaminated merely by seeing the source. If you want to learn stuff, there is enough OSS operating systems around that won't make you unemployable if you really catch the kernel bug, or MSFT just finds a good reason to ruin your future.

Just stick to pr0n, music and other binaries.

Why... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750092)

Why do they want to show people the source? Source code is of absolutely no use when you are entered into a non-diclosure agreement with The Beast, they aren't interested in changes or improvements. The code cannot be used in any other project...

Re:Why... (1)

steveb964 (727054) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750163)

The code cannot be used in any other project...

Yes, but if it is what will happen. IP suits all over everywhere. Just because it can't be used, there is bound to be someone that reads the code, then subconsciously (or otherwise) implements something after benefitting(?) from reviewing it.

Re:Why... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750250)

You both miss the point. IP lawsuits will be everywhere REGARDLESS of whether any code is used in another project without permission.

My prediction: when things start to get really dire--like when more city, regional, and even national governments start adopting OSS on a large scale, Microsoft will put their source code RIGHT ON THEIR WEBSITE FOR EVERYONE TO SEE (with a little "Terms of Use" disclaimer at the bottom stating that by viewing this page, you agree to these terms, etc). They might even start putting the source code into pop-ups so they show up on non-MS-owned websites. They can put the source in e-mail footers of Hotmail accounts.

The point is that once you see the code you are contaminated and any code you write can be considered suspect.

Consider this line of questioning: "Mr. Torvalds, you claim to have never seen the source code to Windows. Yet you also claim to use the Internet. Have you never received mail from a Hotmail user? Have you never visited a website operated by Microsoft or a Microsoft partner? Have you never seen a source code pop-up? Excuse my incredulity, Mr. Torvalds, but I've seen the Windows source code thirty-eight separate times THIS MORNING and I don't even know how to program! Surely you've seen the code, and surely you know what it means, so surely some of your coding choices have borrowed from this new knowledge. Your honor, I rest my case."

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750521)

Are you being sarcastic, or do you really think any judge would favour Microsoft if they did that? They would be laughed out of court.

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750568)

This is exactly what they are trying to do with patents and people seem deliberately blind to it,
"patents don't work like that son, they'll never be allowed to get away with that"
Except they did get away with it, twice on different continents, or do monopolies not work like that? Reject MS licenses, retain your rights to sue them for patent infringement.

Re:Why... (1)

boots@work (17305) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750627)

The point is that once you see the code you are contaminated and any code you write can be considered suspect.

Perhaps you'll be contaminated in the sense of feeling sick in your guts at how awful it is. But I don't think you'll be legally contaminated.

Let's return to the basics: the classes of intellectual property.

1- Patents. Doesn't matter whether you saw the code or not, because independent creation is no defense.

2- Copyright. Only matters if you copy the literal code. Reading the code does not pollute you as long as you don't rewrite the same thing from memory.

3- Trade secrets. Here, there is a possibility of mental contamination. However, trade secrets are only valid if the owner made a reasonable attempt to keep the thing secret in the first place. If they put it up on their web site with only a fine-print footer, it's unlikely (ianal) to be a trade secret.

Maybe MS will try a SCO-style attack on Linux, but intentionally leaking trade secrets is unlikely to be the tactic.

A similar confusion is one reason why SCO are scheduled to be torn limb from limb in a couple of months.

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750375)

Yes, but if it is what will happen. IP suits all over everywhere.

It is much, much worse than that!

The fact that you saw their source code will make you liable for infringement whether their source actually is the basis of what you developed or not. Hell, I would wager to say that it makes you liable whether or not the source you saw even has anything to do with what you develop!

Why? Because when it comes to a court case, the truth just doesn't matter anymore and Microsoft knows that. As long as they can exhaust whatever monetary resources you have, they win! Even if they lose, they win. You spend more time fighting court cases than "innovating" which, after all, will become Microsoft's exclusive role. Nobody else will be able to develop anything new for fear of being prosecuted to death by Microsoft.

This is a poison pill. Unless you never intend to develop code for anything but Windows and you are willing to lose whatever you develop for Windows to Microsft, do NOT view their source code.

I wonder about their comments... (0)

MacFury (659201) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750121)

I wonder what the code comments look like.

It would be funny if you managed to find the comments from OS projects or Apple. :-)

Re:I wonder about their comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750492)

Have you ever looked at /usr/bin/clear on a Solaris box (might be on others too)? The comments in this file state:
  1. #ident "@(#)clear.sh 1.8 96/10/14 SMI" /* SVr4.0 1.3 */
    # Copyright (c) 1987, 1988 Microsoft Corporation
    # All Rights Reserved

    # This Module contains Proprietary Information of Microsoft
    # Corporation and should be treated as Confidential.


I wouldn't be surprised to see some non-MS original code in the MS baseline, but they certainly wouldn't be the only people to "creatively duplicate" code from other sources.

Re:I wonder about their comments... (1)

devexial (797290) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750520)

The Win2k code comments had all kinds of usage of the word "hack" and "fix" and "f'er"

Compile It? (5, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750145)

Do they get to compile it and run it, or do they have to take Microsoft's word that the binaries that they are running were built from the source that they are seeing?

Texas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750146)

"living within the 27 eligible countries worldwide"

Is Texas one of those countries?

http://slashdot.org/pollBooth.pl?qid=1145&aid= -1

actual source? (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750171)

If developers want to be sure that the "source" code they're looking at is the actual code their own app calls, can they compile it and link it to the still-secret Microsoft code, then run the whole thing in a debugger?

It's an open secret that Microsoft's own apps, notably SQL-Server, call a "secret Windows API" that isn't documented. That API is said to be faster to code for (time to market) and execute at runtime (performance), giving Microsoft apps advantages in competing with their rivals. Is there a way to use this new code access to discover whether Microsoft apps are calling a "shadow" API, rather than the code made public?

Re:actual source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750399)

It's an open secret that Microsoft's own apps, notably SQL-Server, call a "secret Windows API" that isn't documented.

No, this is actually a lie spread UFO Conspiracy Kooks, and by Lying Liars, FUD-Mongers, and those types.

If it wasn't, it woudl be trivial to identify these APIs (even without sourcecode), but since nobody's seen your little green APIs, they're all in your head. Seek help.

Re:actual source? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750625)

Anonymous self-mockery Coward, you are so confused that you almost don't exist. Closed source makes it difficult (and impossible for most people) to identify undocumented APIs. Thank you for the opportunity to explicitly point that out, FUD-packer.

Re:actual source? (2, Interesting)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750437)


It's an open secret that Microsoft's own apps, notably SQL-Server, call a "secret Windows API" that isn't documented. That API is said to be faster to code for (time to market) and execute at runtime (performance), giving Microsoft apps advantages in competing with their rivals.

Oh really? Do you have some citation for us? How was this "secret" API call discovered since people don't have the source code to SQL Server. And what exactly does this secret API perform? It must be some sort of duplication of some existing API in order for it to be "faster to code for" and execute faster at runtime, right? Where is this "secret" API located? Which library is it linked in to?

This talk about secret API's in Windows to make MS programs work better is such FUD. Has it been done in the past? Perhaps. But I'd like to see some sort of proof that current MS applications, like Office and SQL Server use some sort of mythical secret API.

Re:actual source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750533)

Has it been done in the past? Perhaps.

Its people like you asked and said the same thing back then when MS was pulling this stunt, that it was FUD and there was no proof whatso ever. So now you're asking for proof again.

Re:actual source? (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750562)

Being able to compile and link it with Microsoft tools isn't enough, of course... and it's doubtful that Windows will compile with a non-microsoft compiler anymore than linux will compile with a non-gnu one.

Obligatory movie quote (3, Funny)

JasonMaggini (190142) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750179)

"It's a trick. Get an axe."

Re:Obligatory movie quote (1)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750404)

Or more to the point... "It's a trap!!"

What is the odds this is a ploy by Microsoft to "dirty" more programmers by introducing their code to a wider base. Then, when the next killer app for linux shows up, Microsoft shows up with a lawsuit claiming infringing code ala SCO.

Then again, how many MVPs write open source software to begin with...

Will it do any good... (3, Interesting)

Beast in Black (781819) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750187)

While at first glance this may seem like a good thing (at least for MS), i'm left wondering whether it will actually do any good...the MVPs who gain this access seem to be part of a rather closed community, being voted to their status by a bunch of people from other peer microsoft communities/groups.

Take a look at the MVP FAQ: http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid =fh;EN-US;mvpfaqs [microsoft.com]

Although some might say that sharing the code out, even among a closed community, might conceivably lead to improvements, from MS's track record with their multifarious products (some of which had oodles of people involved), there is no palpable confidence (at least in my mind) that it will get any better.

And in any case, even though microsoft shares the code out to the MVPs, there is nothing in the article that states that the MVPs will be allowed to modify the code...rather, the article explicitly states that they will "help" the developers. So even if some sagacious MVP does somehow manage to make a tiny improvement (unlikely, i know, but let's just suppose it for the sake of argument), wanna bet that he'd probably have to move heaven and earth to get someone who counts at MS to recognize this?

Also, as someon posted earlier, there is a good chance of the code getting leaked, even if MS uses the strongarm tactics that it is capable of to get the leaks plugged as fast as possible. What would happen then would be anyone's guess...

Anyway, here a link to the Windows 2000 source code http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/source.php [albinoblacksheep.com]. (if it's been already posted elsewhere on this site, beg pardon, i did indeed search, so my search skills are lacking...)

Wow, just as i hit SUBMIT earlier slashdot went down...is the big M already guuning for /.?

forget open source (4, Insightful)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750196)

how about Microsoft try open standards first.

Re:forget open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750338)

Pity that will modded troll by MS army of paid astroturfers.

They want the source out as far as possible (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750206)

As someone who works for MS in their Mac business unit (that's why I'm anon). I'd like to point out that they're gradually increasing the exposure to selected parts of the Windows source code to people in other departments - us in the Mac unit have had access to the source code for 4 months now, but there's not enough code to compile a working system so it is only of use if you're interested in how certain sections of the OS work (if they happen to be released). So, even as an MS employee we can't get our hands on the whole thing.

Because the source code is not complete and Windows is implemented a lot differently to Linux and MacOS X then some of us in the Mac business unit believe that they'd not care if the source was leaked - in fact a couple of us (me not included) think they actually want this to happen. In a way it makes sense - I mean if a wine developer seen some of the Windows source code (or even *suspected* of seeing it) then MS, in theory, could tie them up for ages with legal action. Personally, I think they'd have to be a lot more desperate to do that as it'd generate a lot of bad publicity for them. So I don't think they'd sue just develop a lot of negative spin around the fact open source people steal other peoples code and ideas.

So, to be safe, anyone who doesn't work at MS should resist the temptation to look at the code even if you're doing so legally. Of course, it's easy for them to point their fingers at open source contributors, but it's harder to track down stolen code in closed source software. I can't say if any GPL code theft goes on at MS (officially we're all warned against it and us Mac developers pride ourselves on writing good quality original code), but it'd be so easy for a lazy programmer to steal some code from Mozilla or Apache and of course we're all free to persue the open code to get ideas from.

Speaking of web browsers we used to have the best web browser for MacOS at one time, until management killed the project (officially the rendering engine is in maintenence mode to support MSN for MacOSX - but there's been little improvments). Personally I use Camino but most in my unit use Safari. Of the people outside my unit most use Firefox under Windows, there's not that many people keen on IE so Firefox has taken a hold here, there's still many people who still use IE here because of loyalty to their employer but we're not officially banned from using alternative browsers so many of us do.

I've actually met a few of the WinIE developers, don't blame them for the stagnant product, until Firefox hit the radar then most of the team were placed on alternative projects. Personally I think they've got their work cut out, IE needs a total rewrite, its last major rewrite was for version 4 - with some of the code dating back even further (check the about box if you run windows).

Re:They want the source out as far as possible (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750391)

s/who works/did work/

Re:They want the source out as far as possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750479)

So I don't think they'd sue just develop a lot of negative spin around the fact open source people steal other peoples code and ideas.

How can you steal something that doesn't belong to anybody? (ideas)

This is the thinking of immature 4-year olds who dictate to the environments all their flimsy egotistical whims. Many people are stuck in that age-group, well, those who cries the loudest at least.. Most other people are too apathetic and dull to do something about it.

Time to wake up and ACT.

be careful what you sign (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750246)

if you want the freedom to do whatever you want don't sign anything that allows you to see source code for free. It will stop you from being able to do anything you want with GPLed software.

Microsoft will use this to hurt the OSS community as they are seeing that SCO and others aren't as effective as they would like.

Slashdot is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750272)

503 Service Unavailable

The service is not available. Please try again later.

--

ENOUGH SAID.

Re:Slashdot is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750322)

Got this too. What's Up?

mod u4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750292)

FreeBSD h4d long

Source Code Excerpt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750305)

for(;;) {
char *pszMyTempBufferToStoreSomeStuff;
do.Something.Really.Long.And.Stupid (with.some.long.data);

pszMyTmpBufferToStoreSomeStuff= new char[1000000]; // never, never, delete this buffer....
do.Something.Else.Stupid(pszMyTmpBufferToStoreSome Stuff);
some.long.flag = should.we.crash()+some.random.value();
if (some.long.flag == (TRUE|FALSE|MAYBE)
Windows.Sys.SomeAPI.SomeOtherApi.ApiJunk.Invoke->B lueScreen("color=blue",REBOOT);
}

Sourcecode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750310)

And how long will it be before we see these few hundred lines of sourcecode show up on Kazaa or whatever. Not that it matters. The sourcecode is probably nothing more than some general GUI stuff.

In unrelated news... (2, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750314)

Authorities are puzzled when software developers in 27 different nations are found stark raving mad, having clawed their eyeballs out.

Is it just me... (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750323)

Or am I the only one who read the headline as:

Microsoft Expands Access with Windows Source Code...

I was thinking, "OK, as if Access wasn't already bloated enough, they're going to build their OS into it?"

Good way to get sued/put out of bussiness (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750382)

Now microsoft can claim that your code is contaminated with theirs. No way would I take that risk with Microsoft.

"at no cost" (1)

AsimovBesterClarke (701529) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750388)

And what does the MVP [1] cost [2]? I mean in dollars/euro/whatever, I am aware of the mortal soul thing.

[1] Is this really one of their TLA-named programs? Ya' gotta' be kidding me. Moronic shit like this really, really, *really*, makes me glad I don't have to deal with their tripe.

[2] Not to even bring up the whole issue of 'value'.

This was (1)

tcoady (22541) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750396)

predicted this morning here [newsforge.com]
My suspicion is that we could see this start very soon, or hold off for up to three years while MS establishes its commercial licensing program. If they wait to get about 10,000 licensees in their commercial program, they will be able to show in court that they license the patents "reasonably" and that will make them more difficult to fight.

Release the 9X Source.. (1)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750398)

They aren't developing this kernel anymore, rigt? So release it to the world and let OSS developers have fun with it. Who knows? Perhaps we'll be able to improve things beyond what Microsoft did and perhaps we'd even release an OS built around it. I, personally, would love to play with it..

Thanks ... (1)

turnin (698827) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750401)

Now MVPs *start* to enjoy the access to source code,but where they will *end* in their quest for source code?

FUD (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750407)

In addition to all the other great points people are making, it's clear that Microsoft is doing this as part of a FUD campaign. People will mistake this for open source. Clearly, it's not, since free software and open source licenses are generally about making sure that anyone has access to the source code and use of the software, not just a select few under terms that makes sure it stays that way.

Am I too paranoid? (2, Interesting)

bahamat (187909) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750438)

I sort of get the feeling that Microsoft is releasing source code to some so that they could eventually attempt to do what SCO is doing. UNIX may have no trade secrets left, but Windows certainly does.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750449)

1. Share Source to people who won't help you for free.
2. ?????
3. Profit!

What counts as a country? (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750469)

"within the 27 eligible countries worldwide "

That is 28 if you count eDonkey as a country.

MVPs (2, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750503)

For those wondering, "MVP" is a title bestowed by Microsoft basically to people who help out others in the microsoft.* newsgroups and such. You can find a webpage of a couple of these peope at http://www.mvps.org/ [mvps.org].

These aren't Microsoft partner companies or licensee developers by definition, an MVP can well be just some pimply 13 year old that happens to now a whole lot about IIS and shares it with others. As you'd expect there's a lot of emphasis on getting Microsoft applications to work, arcane Internet Explorer settings, scripting, that sort of thing.

These people, for the most part, aren't kernel hackers. If they were, they'd be busy hacking away at *BSD or linux, not figuring out VBA stuff in Excel.

It's hard to see how this will benefit Microsoft directly, in the way of open-ish source. It's not like an elite squad of kernel hackers will be pouring over the source code to find race conditions in inter process communications or something like that. Though perhaps it will help MVPs to explain to others what suitably vague-enough error messages actually mean by looking at the source code that produced it.

(I'm no kernel hacker myself by a long shot, and given the source code to windows I'd.. well.. shrug, I suppose).

MVPs? Odd choice. (1)

optimus2861 (760680) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750507)

To be an MVP, from what I could see on Usenet, you don't have to do much else than lick Microsoft's boots in every single on-line comment you ever make (try to find an MVP who thinks product activation is a bad idea, for instance, or who disputes the Microsoft interpretation of an EULA), and demonstrate that you have competent skill (and even that I'm not so sure about, from when I still read the microsoft.public.* groups).

Why wouldn't this be proferred to those with MCSE credentials or MSDN subscriptions -- y'know, those guys who pay to know all this stuff?

Very bad move for Microsoft... (3, Informative)

drdreff (715277) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750528)

One of the wonders of closed and proprietary code is that you have the freedom to change certain things with impunity. All of the code that they release will be essentially frozed with all of the bugs in place. One of the very things that has kept MS afloat all this time is the painful process of maintinaing (mostly) adequate backwards compatibility. This has lead to much of the bloat and kruft that is within windows today. It takes much longer to make a breaking change to code that others may be depending on. When you make that code visible, you can almost guarantee that there will be dependencies created.

Linux developers must certify they haven't seen it (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#9750534)

This needs major legal review. It may be necessary that contributors to GPLd code sign a statement that "I have not now nor have I ever been a licensee of proprietary Microsoft source code."

Tiny steps (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750613)

I get really really fucked off with Microsoft's position on it's source code. It has no logic really.

Why not let people look at it? If you are prepared to let 'some' people look then the cat is already out of the bag (what cat?).

I've been working with Windows for 10 years odd now and there has been many occasions where access to the code would have saved me time and effort. But because I'm not in one of the select group of people deemed worthy I get no access.

What do I do? I go to the wine source and see what they do. It's pathetic when your customers have to go to your competitor to use your product.

Of course, I now have the Win2K source, which is very helpful. And has the world ended because of it?

Wake up Steve, remember 'Developers, Developers, Developers!'

Who know's what ya got there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9750624)

I'll bet a coffee (it's all I can afford) this 'release' is customized to reflect whatever MS wants to communicate to the world.

Chances that this is what actually gets compiled into the product are nil.

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