Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Windows CE going Open Source?

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the interesting-idea dept.

Microsoft 145

Pseudo Nim wrote to us with an interesting editorial from IT Director. Citing internal sources inside of Microsoft, the column claims that due to fear of competing with Linux in the embedded space, the WinCE folks are considering open sourcing Windows CE. I don't know how much stock I place in the rumours, but it's a very interesting proposition.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


they should go for it (2)

konstant (63560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601829)

MS has a strong opportunity here to squash the growth of Linux into the mindspace of PHB's and daytraders. People who know very little about technology, and wouldn't know a FAT from a hole in the ground, only have the somewhat ephemerally defined concept of "open source" to explain the ravishing success of Linux they keep hearing about in PCWeek, Salon, what have you. They don't know why Windoze Suxx or why Linux Rulez, but they do have a feeling that open source has something to do with it. What has kept MS from open-sourcing macro-Windows? Primarily their fear of two things. Firstly, they want people eating out of their hands for upgrades, and secondly they want strict control over the tree so that they can push out system-level support for the latest version of BackOffice and their productivity apps, which combine to almost all of their revenue. But CE sucks, even from Microsoft's perspective. None of the really cool products that Microsoft makes can run in a CE environment. CE simply is not a money maker. Rather, it is a blockade against the PalmOS people, Linux, and any other vendor of embedded OSs that might someday trump Microsoft if average people ever get tired of desktop PCs. IOW, Microsoft doesn't care right now about controlling CE. It doesn't do them very much good. Open source CE! Of course! It will 1) supplant Linux in the minds of PHBs - "Why use open source Linux (a hacker's toy) when you can use open source Windows!" 2) improve the quality of CE while the desktop market still dominates. When/if palmtops and embedded systems ever really become the jazz, all MS has to do it snatch up the now lean-and-nimble CE, put stronger central controls in place, and ride that puppy down the road to riches. If MS wants to kill Linux's entry into the palm space, and probably it does, this seems like an excellent way to do it when combined with proper marketing.

Linux on handhelds (1)

BigPink (16156) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601830)

If WinCE source was opened, even under a SCSL type license, it could be a real boon to efforts to port linux to WinCE handhelds.

Microsoft and version 3 (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601831)

Well, I've always heard that Microsoft never gets any product right until version 3. Maybe for Windows CE 3.0, making it Open Source is part of getting it right.

Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601841)

If they do that, what do you think people will pick if WindRiver then provides full source for VxWorks, eh?

Take a look at LinuxCE (2)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601842)

Take a look at the LinuxCE [linuxce.org] site; this site is exploring the notion of supporting Linux on WinCE palmtop computers.

Love it or hate it, the fairly hefty memory requirements of WinCE over PalmOS have the merit that the machines are more powerful than the PalmComputing brethren. This makes it vastly more likely that WinCE computers might be able to run Linux and actually have storage space left to hold utilities.

Supporting X, or even NanoGUI, [linuxhacker.org] would be rather challenging; it would be more feasible to try to provide the basic "Text Mode Console."

It wouldn't be something to run ApplixWare on, but it could be a nice way of Coding On The Road...

Re:I think YOU"RE confused about real-time OS (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601843)

Real time doesn't necessarily mean real fast. It just needs to be fast enough for the application. You would want a RTOS in a STB if, for instance, you want to change channels when you click the remote, not several seconds later. This would be on the order of tens of milliseconds. You would also like it to be able to show the video as it comes in, etc.

Re:Even if it happens (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601844)

Yes, it won't be Open Source (TM), that we all know and love.

However, I would imagine that CE source code is already available to the hardware developers, and maybe some of the software developers as well. It could be that Microsoft will try a MS-CSL to see if it broadens the developer base.

And remember, the "Community" in "Community Source Licence" isn't necessary the GPL/Linux free software crowd. I'm sure commercial developers would happily sign on to the 'community', even with a more restrictive licence than you folk may like, if it helps them deliver a product faster.

surprised it hasn't happened already with Win98/NT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601845)

It's surprising, frankly, that along with the million disks you get with a MSDN subscription there ISN'T source on them with a restrictive (you can read it, you can fix it, but you can't redistribute source) license of some kind. Once MSDN subscriptions start coming on DVD-ROM, I bet MS starts distributing source and trying to call it something like "open source".

Why would MS do *that*? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601846)

Okay, let's look at it logically. Linux is going to be the big thing for embedded systems. Linux is competition for Windows CE. The reason Linux is going to be used in so many embedded devices is because the source code makes it easy to port between devices.

This does not imply, however, that Microsoft will open up the source code to any that wish to see it.

Microsoft makes its money by selling software, not services. Software, not hardware. This is why Microsoft *inherently* cannot put products under the GPL-- they don't make the bulk of their money from support, hardware, or banner ads.

If Microsoft were to put Windows CE under an Open-Source license (be it the BSD license [never!] or the GPL [when hell freezes over and Satan sells hot chocolate]), people would simply embed it in their products and never pay Microsoft a dime. So nix anything that falls under "Free Software" or "Open Source" definitions.

However, what if Microsoft put it under a license similar to Sun's "Community Source" license? They still get money for the commercial applications?

Doesn't work. Companies wouldn't want to hassle with the entirely weird licensing ("Said program may be distributed under the SCSL unless at least three customers of company using said program are large slugs that breathe dryer lint, as defined in Section 2, subsection a, paragraph iv"). The only benefit is portability, and Linux has a *huge* headstart on that.

Microsoft isn't open-sourcing anything any time soon. It's not possible under their business model-- maybe it's outdated, but it's worked for them so far.

Interesting tidbit... (2)

kaphka (50736) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601847)

WinCE is already much more open than Win98 or WinNT. You can buy a source license for WinCE at a price that real people can pay... I believe it's something like $899, give or take a digit. Similar access to the WinNT source costs a few orders of magnitude more, and usually involves someone's immortal soul.

Don't flame me, I'm not trying to equate this with Linux, it's not "free" in any sense of the word. I only mention it because it shows that Microsoft is comfortable letting outsiders see their WinCE code, unlike most of their other products. So maybe this rumor is more plausible than it initially sounds.

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (1)

Bwah (3970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601848)

No I'm not that person. I always post as me. sorry. :-)

I'm also not confused, i do do this for a living. I really shouldn't respond to this cause i don't want to start a thread on the "definition" of real time, but I will anyway.

Real time is a term that is very very hard to make a fixed definition for. Generally a real time OS is deterministic. predictable. For things like set top boxes (a very vague term in itself) this is important. In a plam top,you are correct, you probably don't need a rtos (unless of course you are doing something cool like running a software modem in the back geound or something, then it could be nice).

a nice side effect of being predictable is usually being small and fast. Linux is fairly bloated for embedded apps. so is CE.

If you want put this back into the context of the original post, I was only refering to rtos stuff cause this is the class of product that CE claims to compete in. if you want to look at free NON rt micro kernels and executives, then CE is really toast in the free software arena and I stand by my original argument. if i ever had one.


Never Gonna Happen... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601849)

WinCE is a nice platform and I, for one, would enjoy working on an open source version. But open-sourcing CE cannot happen for one simple reason: The minute you open up this code, the TWIN and WINE projects almost instantly become 99.9% compatible with Windows.

WinCE is a subset of the Win32 API, but in the key areas of controls and the GDI (the key to the Windows look & feel), it's almost all there. What isn't there can be easily extrapolated from the core.

People inside MS might advocate this strategy to assure their slowly dying project doesn't dissapear into the myst, but the layers of corporate structure will never take the *major* risk this strategy entails.

WindowsCE is the Mac of the PDA world (1)

Chemical (49694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601850)

I would have to say that WindowsCE is like the Mac of the palmtop world. They have great hardware, an OS that does a lot more stuff, but by being so propietory, they have screwed themselves because now they have no software developers.

Open source would be very helpful in getting more applications developed for WindowsCE, as right now there is basically nothing available for WindowsCE. Some of those WinCE machines are very nice little computers. They have PCMCIA, 256 colors, the whole nine yards. But because of Microsoft being such a proprietary, greedy company, no one will (or can) develop software for CE.

PalmOS, being as open as it is, has 100s of applications with all kinds of bizzare functionality. It's like the Linux of the palmtop world. 3Com did a great job

Microsoft needs to adopt the open mentality if they want to have any future in the world of palmtop computing. Like that will ever happen.

I wish they would open source others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601853)

...like the newton OS or the Palm OS my 0010 cents

WinCE is not all bad (2)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601854)

hmmm... if these rumours turn out to be true that could be a good thing. As someone who has tried both PalmOS and WinCE for a long period of time, WinCE is actually the better of the two (even though it IS made by Microsoft). But how likely is it? Microsoft is built on the foundation of proprietary source code, despite the recent rumors (Ballmer's comments, etc). I won't look for Microsoft Open Source ANYTHING anytime soon! --- "Progress is the God of the Machine"

Or like the PalmOS (1)

tesla (2784) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601855)

... which really caught on when there was a GNU compiler, open API, and test code.

If true... (1)

methuseleh (29812) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601856)

If the rumor is true, then you can bet on two things:
  1. The license will be a modified open-source license, not even close to the GPL.
  2. MS will offer some monetary incentive to lure developers. Since they know they have no credibility in the OS community, they'll have to appeal to the greed factor.


viewable source != open source (2)

RelliK (4466) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601857)

First of all, MS releasing source is very unlikely to happen. Second of all, even if they do release it, it will most likely be under some kind of restrictive license (a la SCSL), which does not qualify as open source. The bad thing is that *they* will call it open source and media (i.e. ZD Net) will not have a clue to figure out the difference.

And therin lies the answer. (1)

gnarphlager (62988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601858)

And thus we see the real deal here. There's nothing in, say, the GPL saying that open source tools have to be used on an open sourced OS. I haven't developed for WinCE, but I've heard stories . . . if they could get thier hands on some quality Open tools, they'd have the advantage of not having to worry too much about developing tools (let everyone else do that). So we, the open source community, spend our time and effort developing tools and MS packs them up and sells them.

This brings up an intersting idealistic connundrum. For the most part, people develop Open Source because they love to do it, and they share because they want to help those like minded people out. I think it's safe to say that none of us COMPLETELY agree with Microsoft's tactics/philosophy. There are purists pointing fingers at RED HAT for crying out loud. They've contributed to the community. I can't imagine that Microsoft will.

It's almost sad, and a little scary. It seems like this could be the first attempt at MS-Assimilation(tm) of the Open Source community. I suppose we should just hold to our resolve of doing what we do for ourselves. World Domination? Maybe it'll happen, but I'd trade it in a moment to continue good software, and a helpful intelligent community behind it.

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (4)

jfunk (33224) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601859)

I'd have to agree.

For some reason, people see "embedded RTOS" and assume it's great for all embedded systems.

Now I've never done embedded systems such as PDAs, set tops, etc but I have done machines and instrumentation. That's where it's *really* useful.

ABS system in a car: real-time, unless you're an idiot.

Robotic factory machines (which I've done): real-time. You don't want that gripper to grip a little too early/late or you'll risk damage. You have to make sure that the analysis you're doing from sensor input (load cell, etc) doesn't screw up your timing. Priorities are your friend.

PDA/set-top box: Traditional OS. Real-time will give you no advantage.

Well, unless someone can give me a good reason. Remember that I've never done a set-top or PDA before. I may be missing something.

Re:Open source? Well, maybe "free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601860)

Eh, "free" when mentioning "Microsoft" in the same sentence, translates to "expensive." In other words, Microsoft Free Software means: "sell your soul and valuable time and you'll get to lease our software for free."

I'd rather not waste my time to get something I cannot distribute freely and incorporate with my toys.

Re:It could be like Aladdin Ghostscript (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601861)

why not? why should companies spend millions on creating os's and then give them away for red-hat wannabe's to sell??? the source is open and developers can see it - therefore software gets better right?

Re:Not quite (1)

cdipierr (4045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601862)

This makes sense to me. As a Palm OS developer, at one point someone from MS contacted me asking if I'd do WinCE ports. I told them "Probably not until the development environment is cheap/free". They basically said "ok" and then never talked to me again.

But frankly, this is really what's hampering WinCE . In order to develop apps you have to buy expensive MS tools, whereas on Palm OS, gcc is free.

I know I'll get accused of mixing free beer vs. free speech, but to MS there's no distinction really, so open sourcing the development tools is merely a way to provide them free and try to pick up WinCE ports of popular Palm OS apps to make them more competitive.

Closed source is NOT Windows CE's problem (2)

|DaBuzz| (33869) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601864)

Windows CE's problem is the fact that it's not optimized for the average user to utilize efficiently on a day to day basis.

Take the example of the PalmOS ... it's fast, efficient, and easy to use ... then take Windows CE, it's slow but powerful in some respects but it wants to be a mini-desktop.

I honestly think that as long as Windows CE contains "windows", it will never do much against PalmOS, EPOC, or any of the other truly embedded OS.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good things about CE ... but not enough to have me use it everyday, or even once a week. I only use my CE device for very specialized tasks such as remote .doc file editing or dialing in to get email when I MUST get email. (I have a Casio A-20 w/ PCMCIA modem etc.)

When it comes to true PDA functions like schedule, phone lists, etc., my Palm Pro wins every time ... soon to be replaced by my Palm IIIx wish I should get from UPS today!

Re:If WinCe isn't so bad ... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601865)

Didn't Microsoft actually take an ownership interest in AT+T? I'm sure that it had more to do with just CE deployment. Think about it:

+ WebTV/MSN access on AT+T cable systems, not AOL.
+ MSN DSL and wireless services, where AT+T provides them.
+ Everybody gets MS-NBC.
+ AT+T Internet service is less competitive with MSN.
+ Microsoft can push content standards ('Windows Media' instead of Real, and so on.)

Scary? Yes, but hardly unique in the conglomorated marketplace of cable tv. At least the cable companies are smart enough to ensure that there are many viable vendors of set top operating systems (unlike the computer industry).

Re:How like other Windowses is CE? (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601866)

My understanding is that Wince is based on a cut down version of the NT kernel. It's certainly not based on DOS.

WinCE !!!!==== Win 3.1! (1)

Pac (9516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601867)

You may well think whatever you want but what you think and the facts may also well diverge.

WinCE has absolutely nothing to do with Win3.1. CE is a modern OS, pretty modular (you can take out almost anything) and more akin to NT or 98 from an API point of view.

It was made to be run in a variety of environments, from palm-sized consumer devices to specialized machines. It also run in more than one precessor.

That said, I hardly believe MS will open-source any of it. And I really prefer my Palm.

A touch of reality... (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601868)

I've been looking at potentially buying a PDA myself. The main reason is to help organize my workload.

But the secondary reason is to have something to play with.

The Palm is cheap and it works.

The WinCE devices are more expensive, more powerful, and much cooler to play with.

Thus personally I think it would be cool to have a WinCE device. Somehow the appeal of being able to play Doom and MP3's on a PDA does something for me.

But in the real world, we go back to my initial desire to simply have something to keep track of my workload. And for that the Palm is simply much better suited. The display can be read outdoors, the applications are much simpler and easier to use.

And it costs about half what a CE device would run, along with being smaller.

And that is why the Palm computers sell, and the WinCE ones do not.

The PDA market is a fickle one. It's been around for over 10 years already, and the only successful entry in that time has been the Palm.

I just don't think having the source code to the OS is the issue. Sure then maybe WinCE might appeal to a small niche of developers. But the device still won't have the mass appeal that the Palm has.

Clarification (1)

kaphka (50736) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601869)

I've done some more research, and it seems that it's not easy, or maybe even possible, to get the WinCE source. The product that I was referring to is the "Platform Builder" for Windows CE... I had read a few articles that said that it included the WinCE source, but other sources (including Microsoft) say that it doesn't. Perhaps the source was available for an earlier version, but it doesn't look like it is now.

GPL Violation (1)

TheSlack (41111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601870)

This has the smell of a GPL violation. One thing I have always wondered is if and, if so, how much does MS violate the GPL? After all, their source is closed so how do you tell?

Secondly, these MS and Open Source rumors have been floating around for some time. This probably means that the idea has gone through (and left) Bill's mind. Can't we safely say that any such rumor is a hoax?

Not Open source (2)

Mr T (21709) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601871)

Windows and Wince will never be opensourced. MS might open up the source code to more people but they will never opensource the source code. Just like solaris and java.

It goes against everything that MS culture is based on. It simply doesn't make sense for them, they have lousy support, they are moving towards a leasing scheme for software licensing (pay-per-use is more likely than opensource) and they are too paranoid and they think they have something worth stealing.

A Linux version of Office comes out before an opensource version of windows does.

How this could help Linux (1)

blogan (84463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601872)

The reason I don't use Linux as my main OS: I won't sync with my Nino. (Don't reply saying I should've boughten a Palm, I bought the Nino before I got the urge to use Linux as my main OS). But now I don't want to switch to Linux full-time because it would render my PDA somewhat useless. If the source for CE was released, I could sync with my Linux box. If anyone knows a way to do this, please let me know. I don't know why anyone hasn't started something like this yet.

WinCE is a bugtrap. (3)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601873)

Take it from a developer who supports all Win32 platforms from NT Server down to various WinCE devices.

We have encountered all kinds of issues over the past two years:

- UDP sockets set to non-blocking block anyway on recv()
- connects to *non-existent* local TCP ports succeeding!
- WaitForMultipleObjects hangs forever even with specified timeout.
- Waiting for process to terminate by waiting on its handle doesn't work

These are just specific issues I recall off the top of my head.

Believe me, we have tons of #ifdef _WIN32_WCE occurences.

The overall user experience is that hangs are frequent.

Re:If true... (2)

jtn (6204) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601874)

So? The GPL is not, nor should it be, the baseline for open source licensing.

So what if it happened ? (1)

Oestergaard (3005) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601875)

The thing that makes me wonder about these ``open sourcing windows/ce/nt/...'' is, that people seem to think that it would be a great thing.

Well, even if they GPL'ed or BSD'ed (or whatever) one or more of the windows variants, what would we have ? We would have a pretty crappy kernel, a GUI API that's mixed 16/32 bit and not going to 64. We would have one hell of a hard work in front of us, if we'd want to redesign windows to be a capable and stable OS.

It's much easier (and already happening) to simply stick with the OSS systems of today, and fix the one thing that's lacking there, namely larger applications (for business, CAD, etc.).

We already have a much better development environment, and games are coming too. We have the kernels, we have the development environments, and they're both far superior to anything windows can offer.

We're missing the _easy_ parts, the userspace stuff. If we where to fix an open-sourced windows, we would have a problem on our hands larger than we can possibly imagine. Fixing (redesigning) a broken kernel will break the one thing windows has as an advantage, the larger applications. We would have to convince the vendors to rewrite their apps too.

It's just so much easier for us, and for the ISVs to just write software on a well designed platform once and for all.

MS can open-source whatever they please. I doubt it would really help.

Free Software, not Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601876)

If Microsoft release the code, even if they sell this for a price, then they have made it free software. Open source isn't the be all and end all, it sets out to achieve free software without the ethics (as advocated by Richard Stallman).

If Microsoft do this, then it will be to the benefit of the community, and one step away from proprietary solutions. This could pave the way for other such developments, or prove and provide an alternative business model for those in suits.

Re:winCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601877)

I think the point has been missed. uSoft may not open source WinCE. WinCE _will_, however, be offered for 'free' in those situations where the license fee is an issue. Particulary when it goes against other OS's of interest (ie: Linux).

It's fair to notice how frightened uSoft is of Linux in the embedded space. Hence the type of rumor that has uSoft 'open sourcing' WinCE. But has anyone bothered to ask why the NT-Server group is running scared? It'll be very interesting to see the #'s of servers sold vs the OS they shipped with for all of 1999 :) :) :) ...

... which leaves the 'desktop', right? May we live in 'interesting' times...

Windows NT Embedded (1)

spiral (42436) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601878)

I think that an important point has been overlooked here. With the recent release of Windows NT Embedded 4.0, MS already has a "new" OS to deploy on this kind of platform. Who wants WinCE when you can have NT?

If they intend to continue the CE line after EmbeddedNT is fully under way, they're going to need a hook to get (and keep) people interested. Free (gratis) worked for IE, free (libre) might help CE.

No GPL violation (2)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601879)

There is no violation.

Microsoft can "secretly" (or publicly for that matter) port the hell out of GPL'ed tools, mangle them, and use them throughout Microsoft in binary-only form and they wouldn't be doing anything wrong.

The reason they are in the clear is they are not DISTRIBUTING these modified versions of the GPL'ed software. They are using them internally for proprietary projects, which is perfectly fine, legal, and even desirable.

Re:GPL Violation (1)

Laural (35688) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601880)

>One thing I have always wondered is if and, if >so, how much does MS violate the GPL? After all, >their source is closed so how do you tell?

Well from friends who work there, they say they are "not allowed" to look at any Open Source software/Mozilla source/etc, because there is then no way of proving they didn't copy the code into MS code. HTH.

One word. (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601881)

One word. WOW.

I guess it just goes to show you that the characterization of Billy-boy as not one who cares about money above all, but about winning above all, might just be true. Doing something like this almost certainly wouldn't earn them much-- if anything. Seems like they just want to win. Read the recent /. post on the analysis of that BBC interview with Gates... it links to some interesting material on him. Apparently, the guy doesn't care so much about money or putting competitors out of business as merely "winning"...

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601882)

(I'm not the original poster nor do I normally write about RTOS, but I have done embedded RT programming for a living.)

That palmtop or set-top box might need an RTOS if it wants to interpret data that arrives in realtime, like from a modem or cable data stream. It might need an RTOS to handle controlling an IR port. It might need an RTOS to produce audio or videa without clicks, gaps, or pauses. It might need an RTOS to deal well with timers and events.

Want your TV remote control to work NOW, not two seconds later, and still guarantee that your VCR records glitch-less audio and video? How are you going to guarantee stuff like that without an RTOS?

Re:How like other Windowses is CE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601883)

Quite a bit, actually. I documented WinCE development tools for a brief time last year, and opening WinCE code would provide a VERY BIG portal to 9X and NT code. Sorry to be anon. I might work there again someday.

Re:And therin lies the answer. (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601884)

Suppose that Microsoft takes an open source tool that is covered by the GPL, repackages it and sells it in violation of the GPL. Who's going to sue them? With what bank account?

I fear that the amount of money that M$ has coule make them pretty much immune from lawsuits unless governments get involved.


This could decide the world's future (3)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601885)

This may be a more important decision than most people would guess.

Embedded systems are more then just a market segment. If information technology continues to advance itself and permeate our lives as it has so far, embedded systems will become the only market.

Consider the popular sci-fi future, where computers and IT are ubiquitous. Comptuers are everywhere. In your phone. In your car. In your fridge, your desk, your chair, your wallet, maybe even your body. Can it get any more embedded then that? Is IT likely to stop before it reaches this point, or one like it?

I don't think so. I think the logical progression is for IT to become omnipresent, like the written word is today. Computers will be everywhere -- embedded in our lives.

The software that drives those embedded systems could well determine the future of our civilization as we know it.

It has been demonstrated many times that Open Source Software does well on projects of this scale and impact, and that the benifits in terms of freedom, security, and trust are often overwhelming. While corporate might is not something to be ignored, OSS has both practical and political advantages that only a fool would ignore. It may be that the almighty buck cannot fight OSS well enough to win.

If that is the case, then it follows that if WinCE is closed source, it will fail. If it is open, it stands a chance (a chance -- no more, no less) of being a core part of the future of the information age.

If all systems are embedded, and MS is not a part of that, then MS will quickly die, very like so many big mainframe vendors did when micros took over.

This decision could be more then simple politics. It could be bigger then the industry. It could well impact the universal communication medium of the forseeable future.

Is this an extreme case, a maximzation of possible influence? Yes, it is. I am taking this to extremes to demonstrate a point. This may be no more then a small pop in a sea of noise. However, it has the potential to be a shot heard 'round the world.

Something to think about.

It is interesting, living in these times.

Re:No Way ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601886)

The clueless Linux drone speaks.

A wise man keeps his mouth shut lest people think him a fool. A fool opens his and removes all doubt.

Re:It could be like Aladdin Ghostscript (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601887)

"Free for non-commercial use" is way old, but doesn't provide the kind of freedom open source gives you, since you are still dependend on a single company for commercial support.

Alladin Ghostscript is a lot more free than that, though. You are free to make money using Alladin Ghostscript, and even distribute it commercially under some circumstances. The _real_ win with the Alladin Ghostscript license is the time-out clause. After some time it reverts to a true open source license, which mean your dependency on Alladin isn't forever.

Re:I think YOU"RE confused about real-time OS (1)

VirtualAdept (43699) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601888)

You *do* realize that by your definition nearly every OS is real-time, and particularly linux? After all, if you press a key you don't want to wait forever for it to appear on the screen.

Re:A touch of reality... (1)

treke (62626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601889)

This is the opposite reason I bought my CE machine. It was cheaper than the palms with equivalent features. Maybe when the Visors come out I'll switch.

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601890)

if it's that vague and technical, I think we can all count on Microsoft to begin abusing that term any day now.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."

You are all wrong, MS is up against Epoc! (3)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601891)

MS aren't up against Palm OS. They know very well that the system they are up against is "Epoc" and not Palm OS do you want to know why?

All the mobile phones from all the major manufacturers will run Epoc as their operating system in the future.

MS know that palmtops and phones will merge into personal communication devices and it's Epoc that's driving this... Wince just doesn't stack up against Epoc and MS know it.


Re:And therin lies the answer. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601898)

> So we, the open source community, spend our time and effort developing tools and MS packs them up and sells them

Of course Micorsoft may not get the results they're hoping for (they rarely do with anything they try anymore). After all, when a Windows administrator realizes that s/he's using Linux compatible tools to do his/her work under Windows, s/he may well ask what the money spent on Windows is actually providing.

And of course, it also lowers the retraining cost of converting over to Linux.

It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

Microsoft has lost, and knows it. (3)

killbill (10058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601899)

With the Handspring Visor shipping yesterday, the new TRG palm compatible unit shipping in December, and 3com lowering prices across the board, the deathnell for wince has sounded.

You can now get a very nice entry level Palm for around $156, and a very nice high end unit for anywhere from $220 (palm IIIx) to $249 (visor deluxe).

These amazing little things just dissapear into your life as an indespensible tool. The darn things are so usefull, reliable, and unobtrusive you forget they are even computers. The three pilots I have owned (I keep upgrading and selling to friends) have been MORE reliable then the paper franklin planner they replaced (as the pilot almost always survives a drop, and the planner would often pop it's ring clips and spread my pages all over the street).

Wince devices, on the other hand, retail for 2 to 3 times the price of a palm unit, have a (well deserved) reputation for being poorly designed and nearly useless in the real world, and have little to no third party software support (relative to the Palm devices, anyway).

Microsoft has blown it too many times... they cannot seem to comprehend that a PDA is not and should not be some sort of ultra small laptop. They only stayed in the game as long as they have because of the massive amounts of $$capitol$$ being hemmoraged by Microsoft, and because 3com was trying to offset terrible losses in other divisions by gouging on the price of the very successfull Pilot.

That was then, and Palm was winning hands down. Now:

1) The palm OS is available and affordable to third party hardware makers. Already, prices on Palm hardware are half what they were, and very usable units are quickly approaching the $100 level.

2) Companies and developers, such as Philips, are sick of pouring money down a rathole, and are abandoning the platform.

3) The potential customer base has seen three versions of wince, none of which have been particulary usefull for a pda platform. All have had SERIOUS problems with desktop synchronization, resource consumption, backwards compatibility, and usability.

"Game over man". If this story is true, it is Microsoft trying a last minute punt to transition away from PDA's and into real time operating systems (where developers are smart enough to demand exclusively open software).

Bill Kilgallon

It's a lie (Re:I'll believe it...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601900)

That ecgs does better, smaller code than the MS VC cross compilers is nonsense -- it's not true. You can create a very useful, small app in 12 KB of EXE (building for CE 2.01 or later). The code is top-notch (MIPS, SHx, x86, ARM). Whoever fed this rumour to /. is doing just that, feeding you a rumour and nothing else.

Re:There is a reason CE is not taking off (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601901)

> They picked a super competitive market, no wonder they are worried.

Weren't they making noises last week about starting to push WinCE as a server OS, as a way of finding a niche for it since it doesn't have legs in the embedded OS market?

It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

Re:Maybe Bill wants free improvements (2)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601902)

Put it in the hands of 1000's of people, it's bound to come back much better. Cuts his costs and maybe keeps CE in the game.

Of *course* that's what he wants. But is that what he'll get? I doubt it. First of all, if it's even open source, it will not be *free*. You'll be able to patch it for Microsoft, but not use/redistribute it yourself.

Who's going to just give their code away for free, with no retribution? Not me, I want something in return for my work. I want total redistribution rights, to begin with.

So MS will open source CE, and it'll be a dismal failure. Berst will then write an article pointing out that all the hype about Open Source was wrong. *sigh*


You are half right and half dead wrong :) (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601904)

You are perfectly right that if nobody wishes to take these ports/manglings public, they're free and clear.
You're totally wrong about internal use- there is no concept of internal or external in the GPL, nor is there any concept of boss or subordinate. It concerns itself entirely with legal entities, as in people, and _pointedly_ avoids any further distinctions.
As such, if everybody at Microsoft wants to pass binaries and source around among each other (or binaries and make source available if requested), they're golden, they can do that forever, entirely compliant with the GPL.
ANY INDIVIDUAL who has the binary or source has full rights to distribute it anywhere he or she likes, warez groups, the front page of Slashdot, sky's the limit! EVERY single person working with or using such tools has the full unrestricted privileges under the GPL, explicitly spelled out as equivalent to anybody else. Their employment is irrelevant and does not enter into the contract at all- the license agreement specifically authorises EVERY ONE of them as a legitimate redistributor free to redistribute any way they see fit compliant only to the constraints of the GPL.
Any restrictions that curtail these rights are not compatible with the GPL and are not tolerated- if you can't work with the GPL as written it's not allowed to work with it at all. If you are not being allowed to share your source with the outside world if _YOU_ so desire, then you're not allowed to work with the source at all...
So, there are two possibilities. Either ANY of the people working on such a project are entitled to share it with us outside world people anytime they feel like it (and if they don't _want_ to that's OK too, but no coercion!), or they are violating the part of the contract stating that the GPL is incompatible with other outside restrictions being put on. There's no two ways about it.
So, then... Microsofties, which is it? Do you feel like filling us in on what's happening to any GPLed source you might be working with? It's your privilege to decline, but if you feel like sharing, not only will you be doing a nice thing for us, you'll be proving to the world that Microsoft is not violating the GPL by illegally and against the requirements of the license agreement restricting you from exercising the rights granted you under the GPL >:)
So how about it? Are you being allowed to obey the requirements of the legally binding license agreement, or are you being forced to break the law by threats of punitive action? >:)

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (1)

kijiki (16916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601907)

Two things:
1) Microsoft is claiming WINCE, in addition to running batteries down on palm computers, is a realtime OS (its not). They envision blood monitors and such running WINCE (ACK!!!).
2) Real time at the interrupt level on Linux? Perhaps you have a different definition of realtime than I do. Having the SCSI layer turn off interrupts for 10ms at a time kills any deterministic response more than that. And god forbit you're running an IDE hard drive with UDMA! Unless you were speaking of RT/Linux, but that's an entirely different (and spartan) beast.

Re:And therin lies the answer. (1)

Mr Bill (21249) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601908)

So we, the open source community, spend our time and effort developing tools and MS packs them up and sells them.
And how is this a bad thing? What this would result in is:

Microsoft accepts that Open Source software is a viable alternative to Microsoft's in-house products

Microsoft is required (by the license) to release the source code with their distribution.

Microsoft is required (by the license) to release all changes they have made to the source code So now, your average Microsofty will see Open Source in a better light. They may also ask, if I can see the source to this software, why won't they give me the source to that software.

Once one Sheep is over the dam...

Re:I think you're confused about real-time OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601911)

Having a realtime OS can reduce your hardware costs, since you can move more of the brains into the software.

Maybe Bill wants free improvements (1)

Jimhotep (29230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601918)

Put it in the hands of 1000's of people, it's
bound to come back much better. Cuts his costs
and maybe keeps CE in the game.

It could be like Aladdin Ghostscript (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601919)

It could be like Aladdin Ghostscript, where it's free as long as it's free, but if you use it to make money, you have to license it.

Not quite (5)

EngrBohn (5364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601920)

According to the article, the rumors are
  • MS WinCE team has concluded that open source development tools are superior to MS' WinCE development tools
  • MS is secretly funding ports of these tools to CE
The author then asks whether MS will take the next step and open-source WinCE, and answers his own question as "unlikely".
Christopher A. Bohn

Even if it happens (2)

Yarn (75) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601921)

It wont be open source like we know and love.

I'd be amazed if there werent terms like Sun's community liscence, to prevent it working well with other OS's, and to prevent bits being borrowed from WinCE by Linux and the BSD's.

Yes, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt as to whether there'd be anything worth taking :)

Epoc forever!

Nothing to do with Linux (4)

rde (17364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601922)

last week some time, there was one of those instant poll thingies so beloved of us all on CNN. The question was which PDA OS do you use. The answer, overwhelmingly (at the time) was Palm.
Microsoft do not dominate the PDA market. Anything they do, therefore, is solely to beat Palm. And I'm sure lots of geeks know about palm beating.

Re:winCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601923)

Why is it lame?

If WinCe isn't so bad ... (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601924)

why did M$FT have to pay AT&T $5 billion to agree to use it in set-top boxes? And it's not even an exclusive deal.

How like other Windowses is CE? (1)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601925)

...and how much independent source code? i.e. how much of the windows 9x and NT code will be seen if windows CE is open-sourced? Surely Bill would never allow any part of a product to be opensourced if it gave away too much about other products. It might reveal stuff about the API and -shock-horror- might allow other people to write other programs that might even (even bigger shock-horror) use an open document type that could actually allow things to be transfered from CE 'boxen' to other computers....

There is a reason CE is not taking off (3)

Bwah (3970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601926)

and it's really quite simple. Ignoring Linux completely, there are a LOT of really really good RTOS and non real time embedded OSes out there. For free. And they are already mature.

Take OAR's [oarcorp.com] RTEMS for example. It's small. It's quick. It has an IP stack. It runs on everything. It supports Ada. It supports multiple procs of different types. It's been around a long time.

CE has only 1 "feature" to make it stand out from the pack (IMHO) and that's the fact that the API tracks another non-RT os. Big deal. I don't think this has been enough to really launch it into it's target market yet.

I mean, good grief, look at the number of COMMERCIAL real time OSes out on the market right now that have been around for longer than CE. They picked a super competitive market, no wonder they are worried.

speaking of embedded ... back to work. argh.

Linux Mail Server (1)

mudnux (97604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601927)

If they do they would be advised to be running Linux mail servers to handle the incomming email concerning hacks and comments on the code base (not to mention all the "Why M$ sux" spam).

I won't hold my breath, however.

Re:It could be like Aladdin Ghostscript (2)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601928)

Yeah but it makes lots of sense....

...To Microsoft. They really don't care about "Open Source", they just want to cash in. So they'll figure out some way that they can be able to say that it is Open Source, without the actually disadvantages of open source. (Which means letting others freely use the code) Then when they fail to take over the market *still*, they'll just cry that Open Source really doesn't work.

If I know Microsoft, they'll want to keep their Monopoly, even if they open the source code. This isn't going to be like Linux, where all distributors have an equal field. Even if MS allows redistribution, they'll be very convincing that you'd better use their version, or it *may* be incompatible.

Yes, the same argument about whether it's a good idea to split Windows up into mulitple closed source companies. No difference with Microsoft.


Re:No GPL violation (2)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601929)

The reason they are in the clear is they are not DISTRIBUTING these modified versions of the GPL'ed software. They are using them internally for proprietary projects, which is perfectly fine, legal, and even desirable.

Are you sure about that? My understanding of the word "distributing" doesn't say anything about whether it's internal or external. Much like the word "copying".

How else can you derail OSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601931)

"Try" it. Have it fail and publicize it as a failed method. Among other things this could be one of their weapons.

Re:GPL Violation (3)

NovaX (37364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601932)

You have to be kidding. Why would this be a violation if MS is secretly, publicly, or not at all porting GPL code from a UNIX platform to the Windows CE platform? That doesn't mean they take the code and incorperate it in their work, it means they get more, and supposedly better development tools on one of their platforms. MS would do this secretly because they've accepted the role as anti-open source (which I think was forced on them, btw). If they 'embraced' open source in publicly by doing the porting publicly, wouldn't every slashdot zealot automaticly claim this proves open source (and likely I'd guess they'd mean GPL open source) is superior?

They're likely not doing the porting just for internal use, because they want others to develope for CE so its superior on embedded applications. MS already has development tools, but 3rd party groups may not want to pay for them, etc. Microsoft is merely using the tools at hand, and one of them is open source. The more choice for developers, and the more freedom, the faster and more successful a platform evolves. Thus, automaticly creating FUD (the propiganda that MS might be intentially breaking the GPL, though without any hint of proof, or an argument for it) is just useless.

Anyways, I assume MS will silently get the open source development tools ported and public, and do their best to make it look like it comes from a 3rd party. That, or they neglect the idea entirely.

If WinCE were open sourced... (1)

Pyrrus (97830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601933)

it would be so ugly that all Linux programers would turn to stone. And you tought that Medusa was a myth...

Did you mean 'hacker' or 'cracker'?
Do you know the diffrence? I don't think you do.

You suckers believe anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601935)

This has got to be the most patently, ridiculous bogus article I've ever read and I double-checked the URL half-expecting it to be theonion.

Do you people believe anything? The fact that this bogus piece of tripe has been advertised on here strikes me as very bizarre.

BTW: Keep on demonstrating your fanaticism and ignorance Linuxites. It's great reading all of the hacked up opinions of CE that have absolutely no basis in fact.

This will not happen .. (0)

ja (14684) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601937)

An open sourced version of Wince will never happen because wince has recently proven itself to be "bluescreening" upon public demonstration.

Embedded applications do not have paranoid sysadmins monitoring memory or cpu useage.

Engineers in the embedded society are paranoid by birth and avoid risc at almost any cost.

There is no reason to prolong the lifeline of wince, since the competition is available for free, and is stable.

get over it.

mvh // Jens M Andreasen

Re:So what if it happened ? (1)

ElecCham (78742) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601939)

There's one REALLY notable exception to this.

One of the things that has been holding Linux back (to its detractors) is the lack of perceived compatibility and interoperability. If you've got Windoze source code, suddenly... Wine is at least as compatible with Windoze as the various versions of Windoze are with each other, Samba for Linux suddenly works flawlessly, Linux supports ActiveX, DCOM, DirectX, etc., etc.

Now, you may be able to argue that "xyz technology sucks, why the heck would we want a Linux version" but first, do you think it will still suck after being re-written by the Open Source community, and second, news flash, most of the world doesn't care. Joe Q. Executive doesn't give a wet slap whether CORBA is technically superior to DCOM, and Bob Gamehead just wants his DirectX games to run. If suddenly Linux talks to all the big app packages, well... it's not too hard to see world domination in sight. :)

Basically, if you're Micro$oft, Windows+Linux = Windows; but if you're the Open Source community, Windows+Linux = Linux with more features.

Re:One word. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601941)

Of course Billy-boy cares about winning more than money. To him this is all a game -- money is just the way to keep score. A friend once told me that if you play a Windows NT CD backwards, you get satanic messages. I told him, "That's nothing - if you play it forward, it INSTALLS NT!"

WineCE anyone? (0)

albalbo (33890) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601948)

Surely one good aspect of viewable, if not necessarily open-source code, would be that a WineCE project would be very quickly done: I suspect white-rooming a WinCE compatibility layer for Palm et al would be pretty easy given the source. This fact alone might make MS not do this - WinCE apps would then be portable to other platforms (Palm), but not vice-versa. Which plaform would you choose? I think making the source even viewable would completely kill of WinCE within about two months. . .

infoworld column (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601949)

Just finished reading a Nicholas Petreley column in infoworld waxing poetic about the good ol' days of burning eproms. (I remember doing that for some old Apple II+ and IIe machines.) Some interesting comments about embedded Linux and the Lunux community's lack of interest. Perhaps competing with Microsoft will spark interest? http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayNew.pl?/pe trel/991011np.htm

M$ and Open Source?!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601950)

M$ Open source ANYTHING??????? HAHAHAHA Har ho ha *SNORT* Oh God, I needed a good laugh today!

Open sourcing makes the most sense economically (1)

barlowg (5396) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601952)

Microsoft's goal has to be to increase WinCE's market share. Handheld computing profits are not in the OS, but in the hardware and the applications. The more widespread WinCE is, the more M$ can make on CE Office products. The only way CE is going to beat PalmOS and Linux in the embedded market is to open source and offer additional benefits (i.e. multi-platform support, increased hardware support, more extendable OS, etc.) Linux is not ready for the palm computing world, probably will not be for awhile. If Microsoft can enhance WinCE now by allowing more people to develop for the platform, they can compete with PalmOS. Will this happen? I don't know.
Gregory J. Barlow
fight bloat. use blackbox [themes.org].

This is good for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601953)

I'd love to get a look at the code for WinCe so I can reverse engineer some of the cheap old Wince1 things like the velo1 and port linux to it.

After all, it is a MIPS R4000 at almost 40 Mhz.

Open source? Well, maybe "free" (2)

JohnZed (20191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601954)

I can certainly see them making it "free" like IE to capture the market, with fairly generous source code licensing to manufacturing partners (it's not that hard to get the WinCE compared to, say, the Win2000 source code). This could help convince some manufacturers, but I think that opening the source would be a little dangerous. It would be too easy to clone the APIs and the interesting parts of the system. Of course, it would force Palm to, basically, do the same thing, just as they hit Netscape.
They'd also run into possible "dumping" laws in the antitrust world, since it would be SUCH a transparent attempt to cut off the PalmOS's lifeline.

I think you're confused about real-time OS (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601955)

Are you the same person who writes about Real Time operating systems as an AC? Why, oh why, would we need a real-time OS in a palmtop, or a set-top box? Why in any consumer appliance? What little real-time services these devices need, they can get at interrupt level as they do in Linux.


Evolution and the changes it could bring. (2)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601967)

I think that if we look at what could happen with this we'd find it would have some major effects through the open source community
Microsoft will have to lure the typically open source developer to even spend the bandwidth to download it, much less develop it.
This is well within their means -- in fact probably would be cheaper for them to bring out a few hunder OSS developers than paying for in house development
The major problem is not from that - but from the media hype that would ensue.
The major argument against 'open source' is that it's not commercially backed -- if Microsoft releases something that they are calling open source, regardless of it's actual license (I'd die of a heart attack if I saw wince under the GPL)
As the media says, "Microsoft is doing Open Source, you should too" the open source craze could get magnified by a thousand times, and Microsoft could shoot themselves in the foot with this. That would rock. :)
Of course it could just be another method to show that Microsoft is better than *nix/open source software/et al. because they have their own open source.
Either way if this actually happens some serious changes will occur in the community -- I'm hoping Microsoft shoots themselves :)

-= Making the world a better place =-

Re:WinCE is not all bad (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601968)

As someone else who has tried both, I can say that Palm OS is my preferred hand-held platform.

Palm OS has been succesful because it didn't try to be like a desktop. A "start" menu on a hand held device? Please.

When writing programs for a desktop, an occasional "please wait while I load" is acceptable. We're already sitting on our butts and we have screen space, memory, and time to do other things while we wait. That's not true when I'm in out-and-about and I need a phone # or appointment. I need it NOW and I won't be doing anything else until it's here.

Palm OS has, from the start, understood the fundamental difference between sitting at your desk and walking down the street. WinCE has simply tried to bring to desktop on the road (that's what laptops are for).

Odd... (2)

DanaL (66515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601969)

I would be curious to know what aspect of OSS they are trying to benefit from. Are they interested in seeing WinCE ported to lots of different architectures? Do they just want users to fix their bugs for them? Or do they just open source hype?

I agree with the other commentators that we would most likely see a SCSL-type deal.

Possibly they want to use the hype to steal mindshare from PalmOS? "We're open source, PalmOS isn't!"?


No Way ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601970)

Open source winCE ?


That's the funniest thing I've heard in ages !

Could M$ be on the verge of admitting that they can't just can't do "Windows Everywehere" ?
That would be mind-boggling !!

If people think Mozilla was a tough undertaking (monolithic code base, tough design issues, etc.) wait until they see winCE ! OSS can do incredible things, but it would take a damn miracle to make winCE into a halfway decent embedded platform.

Not only that, but how to recruit OSS developers to donate their time and efforts in the service of the Borg !

Where do I sign up ?

HAH !!!

Re:How like other Windowses is CE? (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601971)

Here's what I think. WinCe is circa late Win3.1 or early Win95. Win98 is mostly bloated Win95. NT has always been a different source tree, and I think Win2k is based on that (even more bloat, 30-40 million lines of code). I don't think M$FT has rewritten WinCe, so they would be giving away mostly obsolete stuff.

Come ON people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1601972)

All they're doing is stealing some development tools. Not even their Linux Distro [50megs.com] is going to be open source! why would they release their actual OS????? They're goint to kill Open Source development by making it possible to run windows code on Linux, and people will begin to wonder why they would bother running Linux if their software runs faster on Win2K. Soon Linux will go the way of OS/2. The countdown has begun. Just be sure to decompile the next MS Visual C++ adn look for GNU code. They stole code from stacker for DOS 6.0, why wouldn't they steal code from the Open Source movement????

Even if (3)

SheldonYoung (25077) | more than 14 years ago | (#1601973)

Lets assume Microsoft does open source Windows CE. What do we gain? We'll be able to ead the source and see what it really does, and maybe us programmers can fix the occasional bug in our own personal copies.

Will we be able to create our own distributions of Windows CE? Almost definitely not. Will we be able to fix the the underlying architecture problems? Very unlikely. Open source doesn't mean we can do what we want with it, just that it's also available in a alternative format to binary.

So what we would gain with an open source Windows CE is the ability to see what the OS is really doing, which is very useful for application developers.

I've got a Casio E-100 and love the hardware to pieces. Unfortunately, Windows CE drags its otherwise speedy 131 MhZ processor to almost a standstill. It's so bad it can't be anything but an architecture problem.

Check out the Linux port to Palm-sized and handheld PCs. It shows great promise of being able to replace Windows CE on handhelds soon.
LinuxCE [linuxce.org].

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account