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Microsoft Cracking Open the Door To OSS

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the competition-and-coexistence dept.

Microsoft 222

AlexGr sends us to a long piece in Redmond Magazine on Microsoft's changing relationship to open source. The article centers around a profile of Bill Hilf, Microsoft's internal and external evangelist for OSS. It's an even-handed piece that fully reflects the continuing deep skepticism in the community of Microsoft's motives and actions.

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Oh? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337261)

It's an even-handed piece...
Oh really? What dimension did it come from?

I've certainly never seen anything in this time/space reality that has been even-handed about the relationship of Microsoft & OSS.

I vent my crack in your general direction (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337545)

"Smells like Linux"

Re:I vent my crack in your general direction (2, Funny)

adam.dorsey (957024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338877)

Son, seems like you've got a crack problem there. You should get some caulk and stick it up in that crack, seal it up nice and tight. You seem like you know your way around caulk, so I'll leave you to whatever kind you prefer.

(note: for the joke to be properly enjoyed, mispronounce 'caulk')

Re:I vent my crack in your general direction (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338915)

* "Smells like teen Linux"

So BSD, but not GPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338301)

What do you want to bet that their idea of good OSS will be BSD and they'll want to get rid of the GPL for being "too political" and "anti-business" and "a divisive force in the OSS community"?

Anyhow, what do they think an evangelist will even be able to do in the community? Contribute code? Say "Please don't hate Microsoft! We only used dirty tricks on our competitors!" Encourage us to "respect" copyrights the way Microsoft does [groklaw.net] ? Especially things like Seattle Computer Products v. Microsoft and Sendo v. Microsoft...

One wonders just what they're thinking here, or if it's meant to be a fluffy bit of PR that evaporates into nothing.

Re:Oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338365)

you'd like OSS if you erroneously felt like you owned it, too.

Re:Oh? (1, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338867)

Sure you have. Everything bashing MS is even handed. ;-)

It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337317)

Run awaaaaaaay! Seriously, it's a trap.

History (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337439)

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Given the countelss times MS and dressed up evil in cool clothing, why should we believe them this time?

Insert Ghandi quote here (1)

cxreg (44671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337333)

They're a business. If they see a dollar sign, they'll chase it.

Actions do speak louder than words... (1)

Tokimasa (1011677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337339)

Maybe Microsoft should show that they are "cracking open the door to OSS". I don't care what they say, I won't believe it until I see it.

They are opening the door (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337645)

It is an invite to the lawyers that they wish to sic on Linux's IP

Changing attitudes or NEW PLOTS? (-1, Troll)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337341)

It's M$ for heaven's sake. Very much the Satan of the software world.

Accomplishments? (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337347)

What has Mr. Bill Hilf actually accomplished? This isn't the first time I've seen his name championed as Microsoft's OSS evangelist, which in and of it self is all well and good. However, I haven't actually heard/read of him doing anything that actually benefits OSS (not necessarily Linux). I'm hoping someone can enlighten me.

Re:Accomplishments? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337471)

From http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/tnradio /bio/billhilf.mspx [microsoft.com] :

"Prior to joining Microsoft, Bill led IBM's Linux/Open Source Software technical strategy at a world-wide level for the Emerging and Competitive markets organization, in addition to his direct customer interaction as a senior enterprise architect. Bill has been involved with Open Source Software (OSS) for over twelve years, and is an IEEE Distinguished Visitor on the subject of OSS."

What have YOU done for OSS? You OSS zealots (particularly twitter) are doing more harm than good.

Re:Accomplishments? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337925)

What have YOU done for OSS? You OSS zealots (particularly twitter) are doing more harm than good.

What have I done? Well, I can tell you that I have released countless poorly coded, undocumented, utterly crappy programs to sourceforge. So THERE!

And did I mention the god awful GUI interfaces. Geez. Show some respect!

Re:Accomplishments? (2, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338143)

well , that's the beauty of open source . you may have a good idea but suck at coding /graphical design , and then some one takes a look at your project and improves the code . then someone else improves the graphical design ,etc ..

With closed source people will just say it sucks and that will be the end of it .

OSS Accomplishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337941)

Me personally?

"rm -f *" comes to mind

Bullshit (2, Insightful)

bonefry (979930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337979)

That's marketing talk.

Yeah ... if Bill Hilf worked for IBM, then he must have HUGE contributions to OSS, right ?
Oh please ... point to at least one major contribution to OSS that he has done.

You OSS zealots (particularly twitter) are doing more harm than good.

Ironically, anti-OSS zealots are a lot more widespread and a lot more poisonous.

M$ Accomplishments? Another nice thing ruined. (5, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338253)

What have YOU done for OSS? You OSS zealots (particularly twitter) are doing more harm than good.

Advocating freedom never hurts anyone in a free society, but thanks for thinking of me. I love you guys, and all this new M$ tone that spews forth here.

What you say about Mr. Hilf may be true, but I'd like to know what he's done since joining M$. The article is a collection of confusing propaganda, more inflammatory than informative, and I hope it does not really reflect Mr. Hilf's beliefs:

When Bill Hilf came from IBM Corp. to join Microsoft three years ago, the company's stance on open source vacillated wildly. It would swing from outright indifference to overt nastiness. Today, something else is unfolding: Microsoft is striking a surprising balance. It has stopped dismissing open source licensing and community development as dangerous folly or evil foe, and is looking for a way to both compete and co-exist.

...

Before we start singing Kumbaya, let's state clearly it's inconceivable that Microsoft's efforts around open source have yet been widely greeted as sincere, altruistic or even legitimate by a large faction of the open source community.

Nice flame but not much content. Mr. Hilf's "dirty little secret" comment about most people being forced to run M$ first, without mention of the Federally proved monopoly, is more of the same. Oh wow, this is rich:

"I ask those folks, 'How often has Microsoft sued over IP?' The answer is two [times]," he says. "We are not a patent troll company. We protect our IP and our licenses, but we do not want to litigate."

The company responsible for the fiaSCO that's threatening everyone that they own patents on everything is not a troll? OK, that's enough fantasy reading for me today. Mr. Hilf is not the first nice thing that M$ has bought and ruined.

If these things don't reflect Mr. Hilf's opinion, let it be a lesson for those who consider working for "the enemy". they will use you and hang whatever opinion around your neck they please before they dismiss you.

Re:M$ Accomplishments? Another nice thing ruined. (0, Flamebait)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339047)

I love you guys, and all this new M$ tone that spews forth here.

Has it occurred to you just for a second that people actually naming you around here might be a sign that you're doing something wrong? Or are you still chalking that up to Microsoft's expensive and concerted effort to stalk you personally on Slashdot?

more inflammatory than informative

I'm sorry twitter, but what exactly do you find "inflammatory" here? I'll tell you: You don't. There's nothing there to be taken as a personal insult (which is how you seem to take it), but it works wonders with the mods, doesn't it? Every single one of your posts is an exercise in weird cuasi-intellectual prose with lots of weasel words thrown in that for some reason always reward you with your beloved mod points. More often than not you never actually say anything, but your posts look good and have some "M$ WIndoze" goodness, so everything is honky dory.

let it be a lesson for those who consider working

Between this and your sockpuppet account you've posted more than seven thousand times. Have you ever considered doing something actually useful for free software instead? All that time, trying to influence (I guess?) the group of people most likely to agree with you in the first place. If that's not a perfect example of your beloved "intentional waste" punchline, I don't know what is.

A whole lot. (2, Funny)

eeek77 (1041634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338407)

"What have YOU done for OSS? You OSS zealots (particularly twitter) are doing more harm than good." I'll have you know that I have PERSONALLY downloaded over five, ahem, FIVE different Linux distributions and tested them on my old laptop at home. SO THERE. Ha.

Re:Accomplishments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337893)

He killed Gentoo by giving Daniel Robbins and offer he couldn't refuse.

Re:Accomplishments? (5, Interesting)

consumer (9588) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338247)

I can vouch for Bill's work on open source. We worked together at a web startup before he went to IBM. We mostly worked on a LAMP platform based around mod_perl, and he put a lot of effort into making sure that our patches to the open source code we used (and there were quite a few) were contributed back. We presented a paper together at an OSS conference about the work we did there. He's the real deal.

Job prospect (3, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337353)

How does one become the Open Source Software evangelist at a practically 100% proprietary company?...That's like being a Christian Evangelist at a Mosque.

Re:Job prospect (0, Redundant)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337465)

Good question.

Not entirely true (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337683)

MS has "borrowed" heavily from the OSS world. Mostly from BSD, but they are not above patenting a number of ideas that have prior art in GPL and BSD.

Re:Not entirely true (2, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338847)

MS has obeyed the GPL for quite a long time now. The Unix for Windows services thingy contains GPLed code, and MS has always had the source available.

Shill or double agent? (2, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338293)


I'm not sure if your comment was meant as a jab at Bill Hilf, or if your just literally meant that it seems incongruous to find Bill Hilf and Bill Gates in the same roof. I'll assume the latter - I agree it seems odd.

The cynical side of me thinks that this is purely a political gesture, and that Microsoft is giving him a "window seat" with little influence inside of microsoft.

However, Microsoft attempted the same thing with Robert Scoble [scobleizer.com] . Most people wrote him off as a shill, but he (IMHO) brought about real, substantive change in how Microsoft communicated with the outside world, and that they are now a more "transparent" company, especially with the development community.

Maybe he's a "double agent". I'm hoping that, even if Microsoft is being disingenuous, that Bill Hilf is able to undermine this attitude from within the inside?

That's easy. (4, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338303)

How does one become the Open Source Software evangelist at a practically 100% proprietary company?

Sell out.

Re:Job prospect (2, Informative)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338707)

Hilf's background gives him a view of the business market related to OSS and how businesses approach it, touch and feel it etc. His job at Microsoft is not to help Microsoft become an OSS company or a supporter of OSS. His job is to inform them of how OSS is competing with them, how companies are 'feeling' about it, how well it is working in the field. All this information is most likely going to the MS Marketing Army, the MS Business Associate/Partnership Army, and to the MS Product Development Army and the task is to protect the MS Windows hold on the market.

Hilf crossed over the line. You just don't work for Microsoft and be any friend to OSS anymore. It's called being mutually exclusive.

LoB

Motives? (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337359)

They have one motive - to make money for their shareholders. Perhaps you mean `strategy`? They might ponce about with OSS if they can make money from it (not directly, but by selling apps/services which support OSS), but they make their money in the main from the desktop (which they show no signs of losing control over, despite/because of the number of Linux distros out there) and supplying Office (and exchange server, if you want to consider them as separate) to businesses. There's still no serious rival to them there.

Re:Motives? (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337699)

I don't use outlook and exchange much, but are they really that complicated that open source can't provide an alternative that works just as well? We have Linux which is a better OS. We have PostgreSQL which is a good DB. So why can't we provide a mail/groupware server and client application. It doesn't seem all that hard compared to all the other stuff that open source produces, why is this field so hard?

Re:Motives? (1)

handsome b (834703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337779)

Chandler [osafoundation.org] seems like it will be a very good C/S groupware application.

Re:Motives? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337823)

Looks like it's still very early in development. Do you know of anything that's actually useful in a production environment?

Re:Motives? (2, Insightful)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338039)

It's not that hard, it's just that

  • It's not as fun
  • You will not become famous. (you've heard of Bill Gates, Dennis Ritchie and Larry Wall, but who created Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange?)
  • It's a huge effort. (it needs to be feature complete before people will even consider to take it halfway seriously)
  • It doesn't scratch an itch I have (I want fifteen new compilers to play with much more than I want a boring groupware app, it's other users who want that, perhaps not even running linux)

Re:Motives? (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338121)

I can see where you're coming from. A lot of what open source produces seems to be stuff that the developers need to use themselves. Operating systems, databases, web servers, compilers, source control, desktop environments. If you look at the projects that seem to have the biggest problems, word processors, spreadsheets, email, groupware, calendars, etc., it seems like open source programmers just ignore stuff that isn't fun to program, while ignoring that there is an actual need for this type of software.

Re:Motives? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338161)

It doesn't seem all that hard compared to all the other stuff that open source produces, why is this field so hard?

The open source world has a lot of catching up to do to produce an Exchange killer. The latest version offers more or less seemless integration with a Windows Mobile smartphone. It offers web access to email that if you use with IE is almost as full featured as Outlook. It has full email, calendaring, contacts, tasks, blah blah blah blah. Of course given enough time the OSS world could recreate and/or even surpass Exchange. The "problem" (if you're an OSS developer wanting to replace Exchange) is the huge head start that Microsoft has. You'll be hard pressed to come up with a new feature that the market wants that Exchange doesn't already offer. The only place you'd come out ahead of Exchange is on cost, and you'd have a hard time being successful with that given the extreme cost you'd incur during the creation of your Exchange killer. And even IF you were able to come out with a better product and sell it for less and establish enough of a market share to threaten Microsoft, they'd just undercut you on price.

Re:It has to be MS Compatible (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338673)

If you wish to produce an OSS Exchange Server equivalent to offer the public an alternative, it faces several major obstacles:
* Its gotta be feature complete, offering everything Exchange does
* Its gotta be Exchange Compatible because like it or not, most businesses that rely on Exchange are thoroughly tied into it, and it will have to work as well as Exchange with other Exchange servers etc.
* You have to convince the CEOs that its worth switching. Within my (admittedly limited) experience of Exchange in a business environment, its the CEOs who want to schedule meetings who push for Exchange deployment, not the average person, who just wants their email.

I'd be curious to see that (2, Insightful)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337749)

I'd really be curious to see Microsoft dive in the OSS and try to come up with a business plan.

My take on it is that MS realizes that OSS is here to stay and that its gaining due in part but not totally to their crappy vista.

So they said "if people are gonna move to OSS, we'll follow them" - as they say "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"

but that's highly hypothetical and way too optimistic, with MS, there's always a snake somewhere trying to bite you in the arse.

That said, lets assume they do jump in the boat, i'd be curious what they would do to keep making money with OSS.

Re:I'd be curious to see that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338129)

Support and Licensing - that's where M$ makes the cash anyway... they can take the few hundred dollar hit for the server license and charge you to death for client access and support, they're doing it even as I type this. Office per user ain't cheap and with the added "Linux" features M$ can charge even more... Microsoft licensing is where all their cash is now... the software is nothing, it's those little codes you get that cost so much.

Re:I'd be curious to see that (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338199)

My take on the article isn't that they are trying to make money with OSS. They are making sure that OSS remains interoperable with Windows.

It's a trap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337377)

...they couldn't kill OSS with their FUD, now they try to kill it thru cooperation... as they did with many other products.
MS prime goal is to eliminate all competition... so when one strategy fails they try something else...

Can't and won't trust them. (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337397)

"I ask those folks, 'How often has Microsoft sued over IP?' The answer is two [times]," he says. "We are not a patent troll company. We protect our IP and our licenses, but we do not want to litigate." - I assume this does not include the fiaSCO from Utah, I guess it is not direct enough to count it into these two times.

In any case, one thing I know I don't want to deal with in this life is MS stuff.

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (2, Interesting)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337509)

This cycle seems to repeat itself every couple of weeks for the past year or so. One week some magazine or website claims that Microsoft is embracing or willing to work with FOSS, then the next week Balmer is launching threats about Linux violating their "IP". Microsoft's past actions tell me that they will not change until they are on the verge of defeat (going out of business).

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337527)

It does not help that Balmer has a few times implied that Linux is in violation of Microsoft's IP. That does not make me want to trust them. (If we are, work with us to make linux "clean".)

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337597)

It easily glides over the Cease and Desist letter factory they are running in Redmond.

Few, if anything ever makes it into the courts. If it does, it's because someone has DEEP pockets or is a fool for thinking they can out-lawyer Microsoft or even more foolishly believe the law is on their side.

I just hope that that mis-information doesn't get attributed as fact by the lazy media.

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337705)

If they have a Cease and Desist letter factory, perhaps you could list a couple of projects that have received C&D letters from Microsoft? How about ten?

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337937)

As a former employee of a Microsoft C&D'd target I promise you it's happening. Microsoft isn't alone that's for sure. I was at another company that was C&D'd by HP. The whole point of the exercise is to exhaust their smaller competitors.

Two semi-public pissing matches were Mike Rowe Soft and Lindows.

Please don't defend the 'truthiness' of a statement you appear to have no first-hand experience with.

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338757)

Please don't defend the 'truthiness' of a statement you appear to have no first-hand experience with.

Which one is that? "We are not a patent troll company. We protect our IP and our licenses, but we do not want to litigate" or "...the Cease and Desist letter factory they are running in Redmond"?

Also, your examples there are both trademark conflicts and not patent lawsuits, which is what I was under the impression that the whole thread was about.

Re:Can't and won't trust them. (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338777)

Well, you've mentioned two trademark disputes (which aren't related even remotely to patents) and said "trust me" about everything else. Why do I suspect you're bullshitting here?

Short and sweet (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337407)

It's an even-handed piece that fully reflects the continuing deep skepticism in the community of Microsoft's motives and actions.

Does it reflect our continuing deep skepticism more than the tag of "itsatrap" which is soon to adorn this /. article?

Tag: itsnotafuckingtrap (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337767)

Come on, just for a change.

Or at least RTFA before deciding whether to tag: itsatrap...

Re:Tag: itsnotafuckingtrap (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338201)

Hey, I didn't do it, I was just predicting. And trying to be funny, though not very successfully I guess.

Re:Tag: itsnotafuckingtrap (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338447)

I wasn't replying to you specifically; I was just trying to keep all the "itsatrap" tag talk in one thread -- Apologies if I was misleading. Happy very belated real pi day!

oss (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337419)

Ya the support open source software so much I heard they are going to help with WINE.

I don't want an open-source Microsoft. (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337429)

There was a lot of progress made in the world when we had Soviet Russia to rally against during the cold war. Get rid of Microsoft and much of software and the open-source movement will stagnate. Not necessarily because of any direct improvements, contributions or achievements by Microsoft, but because they are the central evil empire around which all opposing viewpoints, practices and communities can clearly see as the colossal against which they're flinging the rocks of their own progress and movements.

Re:I don't want an open-source Microsoft. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337759)

Ahh, So microsoft inovates by being evil and therfore making other want to outperform the evil company.

And you are right to a degree. Even if my attempt at humor and spelling fails miserably.

Re:I don't want an open-source Microsoft. (2, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337935)

because they are the central evil empire around which all opposing viewpoints, practices and communities can clearly see as the colossal against which they're flinging the rocks of their own progress and movements.
No, then the KDE vs GNOME flamewar will go to a whole new level. Linux is all about competition.

Re:I don't want an open-source Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338749)

There was a lot of progress made in the world when we had Soviet Russia to rally against during the cold war.
More than, oh -- say, before and after it? What ever happened to the innovations and inventions and discoveries before the cold war? Do they pale against the ones found in the cold war?

Jeez...

Re:I don't want an open-source Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338909)

Shut up, commie.

Good! Maybe we can stop hearing about OOO? (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337441)

If this gets people to stop saying how good Open Office is, then I welcome Microsoft with open arms.

Well....as long as they are willing, and actually manage to follow through on an open source, freely distributed item.

Open Fucking Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338017)

Talk about bloated, poorly written software.

If that's the best OSS answer to an office software suite (arguably the most fundamental personal/business software in the world), open source on the desktop is fucked for a while. 90% of the world seems to agree on this, why can't the community up their game?

You probably need another 15 years of free time.

Carrot and Stick (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337455)

Microsoft has been wielding the stick. Maybe this time, the carrot is the best bet.
This, from TFA, in reference to Microsoft's previous dealings with OSS organizations. The easiest way to visualize this is to remember that Simpsons episode where Billy says "Buy 'im out boys" and his hired goons trash Homer's office. In other words, they act like they own the entire market space, and can afford to treat small startups and competing projects with such disdain.

I'm not averse to being offered the carrot and stick. True, it's a hard sell, but at least there's a carrot. Microsoft is a big business that succeeded by playing hardball, and any acquiescence on their part that didn't involve playing more hardball would just seem weird. Sun Microsystems moved Java from a Community Source License to the GPL after a long period of time. Perhaps we'll see Microsoft do the same with their Community Licensing, preferably for the .NET Framework SDK and DirectX to fuel development of Mono Project and Cedega, respectively. That way .NET would be a multi-platform development environment in practice instead of in theory, and Linux could expect better support for gaming.

The difference (1, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337457)

I'm pretty sure what the comments on this story will be like. But I think that Microsoft recognize the problem they have with FLOSS and are trying (or pretending at least) to co-exist. The FLOSS party line seems to be the eventual "destruction" of Microsoft. When the chips are down people will look at this and say "well, at least Microsoft did X and Y, but the vociferous mass of FLOSS evangelists spend their time howling for blood in creative spelling"

I see that every day around here and elsewhere. The different degrees of "M$ WINDOZE IS TEH SUX AND I HATE U LINUX ROXX LOL!!!1!" are getting to be completely ridiculous and will eventually hurt more than they help. People (you know, out there, not "here") by and large don't have a negative view of Microsoft, and ultimately that's what matters.

Re:The difference (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337727)

But I think that Microsoft recognize the problem they have with FLOSS and are trying (or pretending at least) to co-exist. The FLOSS party line seems to be the eventual "destruction" of Microsoft.

This is 100% not true. The party line of FLOSS fans is the promotion of free and open source software and advancement of the computer industry in general. If MS actually started developing and contributing open source software without any hidden lock in technologies, FLOSS advocates would embrace them. Personally, I don't dislike MS because they develop closed software. Lots of companies do that, like Apple and Sun and Adobe and I don't have any problem with them and I don't think most FLOSS fans do either. The problem I have with MS is they abuse their market position to hinder the adoption of FLOSS and in the process stifle innovation and slow down progress in the software industry in general. All the commercial companies out there are trying to make money, but MS is the one huge influential company that is lying and breaking the law and refusing to play by the rules everyone else does. They are criminals profiting by hurting the computer industry. That is why they are not trusted or liked by computer people in general.

People (you know, out there, not "here") by and large don't have a negative view of Microsoft, and ultimately that's what matters.

A lot of people do have a negative view of MS, not because they understand anything about their business practices, but because their computer does not work and is a stupid piece of crap that keeps slowing down and messing up. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to inform people that it doesn't need to be that way and there are better options and if the laws were just upheld the whole industry would get better. Ranting incoherently about MS obviously will not give you any credibility, but your strawman argument about what FLOSS people are saying is just that. You're the only one that wrote leetspeak crap about sucking, so stop trying to pass it off as "the community."

Re:The difference (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338439)

The party line of FLOSS fans is the promotion of free and open source software and advancement of the computer industry in general.

According to Richard Stallman, because I write "closed-source propietary" software, I am immoral and should find another line of work. How does that tie in to the usual "oh, but we're all nice" party line? I will not generalize to the point of claiming every single person associated with open source has the same views, just that there are enough of them to be a problem.

They are criminals profiting by hurting the computer industry.

"Criminals" is another one of those weasel words, eh? Please show me where Microsoft was convicted in a criminal court of a crime. I'd love to see that.

That aside, I think the industry is doing just fine, with the exception of the patent issue, which amusingly has hurt Microsoft more than most. More often than not the FLOSS claim that Microsoft "hinders" them is centered around disappointment over unrealistic expectations of fame and fortune, not to mention conveniently forgetting that Microsoft is hardly the only commercial software in the world.

it doesn't need to be that way

No, it doesn't. And the solution to that problem does not necessarily involve not using their software, much as you'd like to present it as fact.

You're the only one that wrote leetspeak crap about sucking, so stop trying to pass it off as "the community."

Please don't insult my intelligence with disingenuous flowery prose that plays to the mods, and I'll avoid that as well. Fair?

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339109)

According to Richard Stallman, because I write "closed-source propietary" software, I am immoral and should find another line of work.

Morals are personal beliefs. He's free to express his, but why would you care?

How does that tie in to the usual "oh, but we're all nice" party line? I will not generalize to the point of claiming every single person associated with open source has the same views, just that there are enough of them to be a problem.

I've spent my entire life working at companies that create open source software. I've contributed to numerous projects. Almost all those companies also produced closed source software. There are probably close to a hundred Linux and OSS contributors in my office. All of them are paid and some work on other OSS projects as hobbies. I've not heard any of them objecting to keeping some of our software closed source when it benefits the company more.

Richard Stallman is to FLOSS as Billy Graham is to christianity. He is an extremist who advocates a hard-line approach and adherence to doctrine in the hopes of motivating change. You should not judge the FLOSS community by Mr Stallman and more than you should judge the christian community by Mr. Graham.

"Criminals" is another one of those weasel words, eh? Please show me where Microsoft was convicted in a criminal court of a crime. I'd love to see that.

Umm, the US DoJ v. Microsoft. Antitrust abuse is a criminal code of law in the US, although prosecution of it is often precipitated by civil suits. I believe that applies as well to the EU antitrust suit MS lost, although I'm much less versed in EU law.

That aside, I think the industry is doing just fine...

Are you joking? Web standards are frozen using subsets of 7-8 year old versions of the standards because while every browser development group on the planet has managed to implement almost all of much more recent versions, MS has intentionally declined to do so to prevent the Web from becoming a viable platform for rich applications that might threaten their lock-in and desktop monopoly. Most people who have ripped music CDs over the last 10 years ripped their music to a format that added DRM and is incompatible with the most popular portable player forcing them to do the whole thing over again. Most users still don't have a spellchecker that works in all their applications. Holy crap its only been decades since users started asking for that one. By default most users cannot just run random binaries from the internet without substantial risk that it will completely take over their machine and start sending spam, despite the fact that most users want to perform that exact task. Where's my ubiquitous real time translation between languages, written and spoken? Why is it that I still can't send an IM message to anyone I want on any network, but only within proprietary networks? Why is it that binaries are still not all cross-platform? Voice recognition is still at the same state it was 8 years ago.

From my perspective the industry has been dragging along and when I look at most of the reasons I keep coming back to MS. They buy up innovative companies and mothball the technology. They slow things down so they can charge feature by feature and they halt anything that looks like it has the potential to revolutionize things because revolutions are dangerous to an incumbent.

More often than not the FLOSS claim that Microsoft "hinders" them is centered around disappointment over unrealistic expectations of fame and fortune, not to mention conveniently forgetting that Microsoft is hardly the only commercial software in the world.

What do you know about the economics of monopolies? Traditionally a monopoly is considered dangerous because they can remove the incentive for innovation in markets by introducing artificial problems and barriers that mean the best product will not necessarily make money and win in that market. MS has entered a lot of markets this way. Investors don't invest money in those markets because the monopoly makes the risk a lot higher while decreasing the potential reward. If not for MS's monopoly abuse operating systems, media players and formats, office suites, Web applications and many other areas of computing would probably have had a significant amount more funding for research and greater resulting advancement.

And the solution to that problem does not necessarily involve not using their software, much as you'd like to present it as fact.

I never said not to use their software or that people shouldn't. I use MS software regularly. The answer needs to come at a much higher level. The government needs to enforce the laws and break MS up into multiple competing companies. When two companies have the rights to Windows and are competing against one another you'll see innovation return to the market and you'll see honest competition that I'm confident will see FLOSS move to the top because it is the most efficient development process. If I'm wrong, that's fine too, just as long as there is real, healthy competition so that developers have direct, financial incentive to create the best product.

Please don't insult my intelligence with disingenuous flowery prose that plays to the mods, and I'll avoid that as well. Fair?

I don't care how flowery your writing is. Just stop presenting logical fallacies and I'll stop calling you on them. We're educated adults here. I don't think it is too much to ask that we adhere at least loosely to the rhetorical method and present logical, supported arguments instead of empty attacks designed to confuse people who don't know as much about logic.

Re:The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338421)

People (you know, out there, not "here") by and large don't have a negative view of Microsoft, and ultimately that's what matters.

They don't have a positive view of MS neither: they simply have no view, because they think PC = MS.

Yet when you show them, with facts, what MS is about, they're usually disgusted. MS has abused its monopoly position to keep and expand its monopoly. That alone is a very worrying fact, even for people with a very pro capitalist mindset.

The thing is: a fact stays a fact, no matter how childishly it is stated. And more and more people are coming to the sad realization. This is what matters, ultimately.

What matters, ultimately, is that administrations in Europe are standardizing on OSS and mandating open document formats. This is what matter for consumers and taxpayers.

Every time people ask me my advice for a computer (how do I 'clean' it [sic]? should I buy a new one? should I reinstall everything?), I explain them the truth about MS, about the illegaly maintained monopoly, about the insecure piece of crap that Windows is (and as their machine are usually full of crap, it's not hard to get my point). I end with "get a Mac, all the people who are asking my help previously and who know have a Mac do not ask my advice anymore. You won't ask me advices anymore neither.". And you know what? People do switch. And once they've switched, believe me their opinion of MS is quite different. And you hardly see any switchers the other way round (it's not Unix --> Windows, but Windows --> Unix).

Me, for that matter, I'm using Linux. And I can't wait for the day when mediocrity will have disappeared from the computing landscape.

As long as ... (3, Insightful)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337475)

Hilf's work around interoperability may be best exhibited within the Open Source Software lab at Microsoft that tests its products in every conceivable environment. The lab is currently running 30 to 40 different Linux distributions. Hilf also heads up Shared Source Licensing, which represents Microsoft's approximation (that's a generous assessment) of a GPL-type license model by providing IT administrators and developers access to source code to test and review. This helps organizations make internal application fixes, do security evaluations and ensure interoperability with their own environments.


Interoperability -- Why don't they support Open formats then. Why don't they come up with proper documents so open source vendors can interop. They will be friendly as long as it do not hit there cash cow products i.e Windows OS and MS Office.
MS's Mantra is you can open source any product as long as it runs on windows and we are not yet developing that product.

Re:As long as ... (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337605)

MS's Mantra is you can open source any product as long as it runs on windows and we are not yet developing that product.

Sounds like Henry Ford. "You can have it in any color so long as it's black."

Re:As long as ... (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337999)

Didn't Stephen Jobs say that too?

You can use any hardware as long as it's ours.
You can use any software as long as it's ours.
You can buy songs from us and play them on any MP3 player you want as long as it's ours.

Re:As long as ... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337961)

I'm not so sure any attempt at interacting with opensource by microsoft is sincere. I'm convinced the entire deal with balmer making comment about Novell SuSe linux and their IP was planned from the verry day novell asked they could work together in helping their customers.

Microsoft Knew that all it's "it cost more to go with linux" TCO studies would mean sifting to Vista was about the same tradoff for linux now. They knew the extra hardware requirments would cause people to not want to upgrade and they knew that by forcing them to with threats of closing support to XP and other tactics they use to "encourage people to upgrade" would probably cause them to leave. So they took this deal just to make it look frightning to companies thinking of going elswhere while looking like they weren't just trolling.

MS doesn't do something unless there is something in it for them. The question might be, what would be in it for them if they opened some stuff up? More fud? PR? the ability to get us dependent on something that belongs to MS just so they can yank it from us? The ability to spoil developers who have looked at how something are done and now tainte any project they work on that might compete with something microsoft does? the ability to makes any of these claims just to cause FUD and keep it's customers?

I don't want to be the one jumping around pulling my hair out yelling I told you so. But i have no problem doing it.

Hilf! (1)

barkingcorndog (629651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337523)

Hilf! Hilf! Wir verstehen nicht Linux! Hilf!

You keep using that word. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337541)

FTA, emphasis mine:

"Some people think that we're doing these deals to appear more 'friendly' and that's not it at all," says Hilf, with refreshing candor, as anyone who has spent time getting information out of Microsoft will tell you. "It's all about growing our business. And the dirty little secret here is that most customers of open source run it on Windows first."

I do not think it means what you think it means:

Candor [princeton.edu] : the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech.

Honest? Maybe. But I'm not taking this reporter's word for it -- there are truths, and there are truthinesses.

Straightforward? That, I highly doubt. That last sentence -- perhaps it has something to do with Windows market saturation? It's a misleading fact, and thus is hardly straightforward. Never mind the fact that 'customers' is a term he doesn't define.

What's the famous quote? (3, Funny)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337567)

Ohh yea.....

"You made one mistake, you trusted us."

This is just Microsoft's fud piggy bank. They put some pennies in now and they will take some more latter.

Re:What's the famous quote? (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338609)

I hadn't heard that quote before, so I've just tried to track it down: it's apparently something that Robert X Cringely claimed (without evidence) that 3Com's founder claimed (without evidence) an unnamed Microsoft employee once said to him. I'll stay sceptical for now, thank you, especially considering Cringely's famed love for the sensationalistic -- and that quote is nothing if not sensationalistic.

Microsoft learning it's lesson? (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337569)

Anyone remember when IBM was the Microsoft of it's day? Ultimately Microsoft will learn the lesson that it needs to transition from a company that create standards to one that contributes to them.

Re:Microsoft learning it's lesson? (3, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337811)

Microsoft has been the company that poisons standards. For example, they sat on the OpenGL standards body for years while actively engaged in a disinformation campaign against OpenGL. To this day Windows doesn't support it very well out of the box - they support it just well enough to try to convince people that it sucks which is worse than if they just dropped all support.

Microsoft has been lying for many many years. They will have to start acting with honor and telling the truth for at least a while before people start trusting them.

It is like Apple in 1996. Back then people thought that Apple was incompetent to execute anything or bring interesting and relevant products to market. Then Jobs came back and things changed, but it took years before people starting trusting them again.

Microsoft would have to do the same thing - and hiring one guy isn't much of a start.

Why do they even bother.. (1)

bruno.fatia (989391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337575)

on posting an article that talks about Microsoft (&& Open Source) on slashdot? I see pretty much the same replies from previous articles..

Microsoft Cracking Open the Door To OSS (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337619)

Microsoft smashing in the door to OSS, in the middle of the night, mask on, weapons in hands.

Re:Microsoft Cracking Open the Door To OSS (1)

kirun (658684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338035)

You forgot the XKCD [xkcd.com] link.

Re:Microsoft Cracking Open the Door To OSS (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338761)

You forgot the XKCD link.
Ah, that's spot on! Why didn't I think of that strip? I had seen it before.

Re:Microsoft Cracking Open the Door To OSS (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338163)

What weapons? Nunchucks?

Skepticism in the community.... (2, Insightful)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337633)

in the community of Microsoft's motives and actions?

They have a community?

Re:Skepticism in the community.... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337839)

Yes but by invitation only.

Your invitation card is actually a incredibly capable laptop with Vista installed. ;)

Halloween Documents off OSI (3, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337635)

Yes, it's in recognition of Microsoft's increasing acceptance of Open Source that we moved the Halloween Documents off our website onto Eric Raymond's website. We only have a link from http://opensource.org/halloween/ [opensource.org] to Eric's site. Perhaps if Microsoft makes some more concrete step towards being a member of the Open Source community (e.g. by sumitting their licenses for OSI approval, hint, hint), we might remove even the link.

Clean room implementations impossible (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337723)

MS will spew so much mostly-useless but slightly-proprietary info around, that nobody can implement a 'clean room' version of anything, thus, MS will use its IP Hammer on any threatening projects. Are you listening Novell?

dark cyberpunk linux futurism (3, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337733)

Is this a sign of a coming linux apocalypse? Interesting question. If linux ever becomes the primary desktop system, we'll see products hitting the market like "Microsoft Office for Linux" or "Visual Studio Linux Edition" or "Linux.NET" or "DirectX for Linux"... I'm pretty sure the future is more gray than people might expect. There's no way in hell there'll be the magical open source free software unicorn land that GNU and FSF might anticipate- but a hybrid market? Quite possible.

I'm not a fan of Linux or its many cacophonous ideas of a desktop system, but I won't care by that point because I'll be driving a flying car.

Re:dark cyberpunk linux futurism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337905)

I hope there's no "Visual Studio for Linux". I'm having my first experience with that particular product, simply modifying somebody else's code, and I'm running into mysterious error messages that sometimes go away for a while when I do the thing that's supposed to fix them. I'd much rather use vi or emacs with gcc and gdb. It isn't perfect, and it's clumsier in the easy cases, but in quite a bit of experience I haven't had the mysterious things going wrong behind the scenes.

There is no altruism, only agendas & interests (2, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337751)

Redmond, sensibly, will do what is best for Redmond, however they conceive of that. Whether they take a strategic view and work with OSS in the context of what is good for both Redmond and OSS is good for Redmond, or not, is up for discussion later on. In either case, right now, right here OSS is a tactical approach for Redmond. Tomorrow might be a different tactic - who knows. But one should always remember that for better or worse, whether they are actually good at it or not, Redmond should and will do what is best for their own interests and agendas.

What plausible benefit is there to working with OSS? Well what benefit was there to working with Novell or IBM or anyone else? It's to co-opt them and share technology to the point where it can help a little and hurt a little less. Working with OSS can keep the OSS communities from straying too far and there may be some actual technical upside to code sharing. But beyond that if you're looking for some goodwill, community action or just plain old being nice, i'm afraid you are badly mistaken.

Old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18337781)

Microsoft has offered the source code for some of their products under a Microsoft licence for a while including some games.

Licence details: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/de fault.mspx [microsoft.com]

Sugested tag: trapdoor (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337821)

A trapdoor [wikipedia.org] is the only door Microsoft will ever open to any (I say *any*) competitor, ever.

*puff* (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337919)

Is that you Nick Naylor? =D

so... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18337929)

Its clear from the article that Microsoft's approach to opensource is a double-standard of 'encouraging' other companies with windows-based products to put their source code on Microsoft's website.

Its also clear Microsoft aren't ever going to put their own products source code there.

The more they try to become different, the more they stay the same.

Device Driver Limitations (2, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338091)

They're not supportive of OSS in the realm of device drivers for Windows, that's for sure. Vista 64-bit version does not permit unsigned device drivers to be loaded. Period. That is going to shut out a lot of OSS projects aimed at controlling all the nifty hardware you can hook up to your machine. Microsoft's official reason for this is they want to make it harder for malware to infect a machine. The real reason probably has something to do with DRM.

Re:Device Driver Limitations (1)

cyborg_zx (893396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338619)

Are device drivers a big source of malware? Doesn't seem like it to me.

this should not even be discussed - it's MS vs OSS (3, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338531)

come on, the MS Linux/OSS lab is nothing more than a place for Microsoft to keep an eye on what the OSS projects are doing and how they'll work within a Microsoft based environment. All this is to help them target their marketing and tweak their products so that they win and OSS loses. And I doubt if there is a single instance where befriending Microsoft will help OSS. We are talking about the "One Microsoft Way", "Linux is communism", etc Microsoft, are we not?

THERE'S 20 YEARS OF HISTORY HERE FOLKS. They are doing this to protect the MS Windows monopoly and their profits from this, noting more. So there is NOTHING in it to help you, the customer or you the developer. The game is about market protection and has been since the late 80's. IMO

LoB

Wouldn't it make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338765)

For them to move office to a select few distros of linux? Then, many vendors of linux would move towards something compatable with office creating standardization within the linux community allowing more growth since most everything that worked on the previous version would work on the new version. Also, expanding linux at home and giving more incentive for Windows to compete by releasing good compatable products.

From TFA... (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338861)

Microsoft has been wielding the stick. Maybe this time, the carrot is the best bet.

One has to wonder if that's a super-giant mutant carrot that you're going to be beaten over the head with.

--Rob

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