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Microsoft Discloses 14,000 Pages of Coding Secrets

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the super-seekrit-secrets dept.

Microsoft 217

OrochimaruVoldemort writes "In an unexpected move, Microsoft has disclosed 14,000 pages of coding secrets. According to The Register: 'This is Microsoft's latest effort to satisfy anti-trust concerns of the European Union, which is possibly a tougher adversary for the company than Google.' The article mentioned that this will be done in three phases. 'Between now and June it will garner feedback from the developer community. Then, at the end of June, Microsoft will publish the final versions of technical documentation — along with definitive patent licensing terms.' Lets just hope those terms are pro open source."

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217 comments

Oh come on now ... (5, Funny)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018620)

Who stole the Heart of Gold !?

Re:Oh come on now ... (5, Insightful)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019388)

Please,

Improbibility is not required....

Think business. What better source to find your bugs than the many thousands of angry coders who are not M$ fanbois. Let your hatred consume you Luke, find the flaws in the code..... or rather "Your hatred, a tool, it is. Fix that which is broken, and glory you will find" /yoda voice

And you suckers ^h^h^h^h guys will do it for FREE!!

Re:Oh come on now ... (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019498)

yeah, I know, RTFA, this is not what they are offering.

but I'd be willing to bet high dollar amounts that they will look very carefuly at all criticism and comments on this release to get ideas/material for windows7.

stupid summary (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018630)

Lets just hope those terms are pro open source
Come on, guys. There's no chance in hell that the licensing terms will be pro open source and we all know it. Can we please stop propagating false hope?

Re:stupid summary (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018652)

Come on, guys. There's no chance in hell that the licensing terms will be pro open source and we all know it. Can we please stop propagating false hope?

And here I was thinking that was sarcasm

Re:stupid summary (5, Funny)

Tpl2000 (1174767) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018760)

Well, on the other hand, we never expected MS to disclose 14k pages of anything but contracts.

Re:stupid summary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019050)

If you take the 6th, 66th and 666th characters on every page, it IS a contract.

Re:stupid summary (0, Redundant)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019322)

Well, on the other hand, we never expected MS to disclose 14k pages of anything but contracts.

Or EULAS!
--
Insert meaningless quote here.

Why is parent flamebait? (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018770)

MS has NEVER done anything yet that is pro open source. They have gone to great lengths to make sure that something has the appearance of such, but that it would not help. The only question should be, how far ahead is MS thinking? They have always been a pretty good chess player.

Re:Why is parent flamebait? (1, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019038)

I have to wonder, is the flamebait mod for damning Microsoft with faint praise, or not damning them enough?

Re:Why is parent flamebait? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019246)

MS has NEVER done anything yet that is pro open source.

What about the 700 CSS testcases [msdn.com] they recently contributed to the W3C under the BSD license? Or any of their other releases under OSI-approved licenses, for example WIX? Are you seriously going to argue that releasing things under open-source licenses is not pro-open-source?

Re:Why is parent flamebait? (-1, Redundant)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019656)

And yet they still fail Acid3 miserably.

Re:Why is parent flamebait? (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020040)

This is the company that bullied OEMs into starving all other x86-compatible OS companies off that market in the late 90s.

This is the company that used its OS monopoly to force a rival commercial Web browser to compete with a price point of zero.

This is the company that convinced enough of its business partners to ram through an "alternative" office format through ISO, in a brouhaha that raised eyebrows and hackles.

700 CSS test cases and WIX may be nothing more than a nice gesture from Microsoft-- notice that they use the business-friendly BSD license rather than the GPL. GP's point is, a company with a reputation of a bully and sociopath will be suspected of ulterior motives for a long time.

Re:Why is parent flamebait? (5, Funny)

Overkill Nbuta (1035654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019832)

They have always been a pretty good chess player.
Actually I got bored one day and had Ubuntu chess play against Vista, both on max settings. The Ubuntu Firmly beat vista no matter who started first. So they really cant code good chess players that well.

Well of course not (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019142)

Since "Pro open source" seems to mean "Can't cost anything, and can't put any restrictions on it other than requiring the code to be open." That is pretty much going to kill almost anything from being pro open source.

I imagine it'll be similar to MPEG-4 and such as it'll be an open standard with RAND licensing. What that means is anyone can get a copy of the standard and licensing to use it, and the price of that license will be reasonable and standard. However, that does mean you have to pay if you want to use it. I can't see them just wanting to give it away for free.

So if you are willing to adjust your definition of open source to accommodate things that are open standards, where it is open to all, but you do have to pay a license, then I imagine you'll be happy. However if you take the stance that it cannot cost any money, well then you are probably SOL.

Re:Well of course not (2, Interesting)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019762)

I've seen software offered under a dual license: either the release or a slightly outdated release is GPL or whatever, and either the dev version or the latest release is proprietary, eventually becoming GPL as new ones come out. See www.virtualbox.org

Re:Well of course not (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020220)

How often does something that puts restrictions on another thing actually help it?

Re:Well of course not (4, Informative)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020246)

Since "Pro open source" seems to mean "Can't cost anything, and can't put any restrictions on it other than requiring the code to be open." That is pretty much going to kill almost anything from being pro open source.


No, it just means that the code when you get it has to be open or you can ask for it. Think of Red Hat, RHEL is open source yet they still make money off of it. Open source != freeware, you can make money off of open source as Red Hat and other companies have shown. Had MS not been a monopoly they would have to be much more open then they are now.

Re:Well of course not (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020314)

I don't think that being Pro Open Source is necessarily about being against having to pay per se, but it's certainly against having to pay *per user*.

How many people use TheGIMP for example? I'll tell you straight away that it's a *lot* more than the number of downloads from ftp.gimp.org, so how could they even know how much to pay for per-user licensing schemes, if they wanted to do so?

And of course, most if not all those "RAND" licenses include per-user payments ("RAND" in quotes because whether they're reasonable is highly debatable).

Unexpected? (5, Informative)

Plug (14127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018636)

Damn right! (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018682)

Unexpected, as in they told us very loudly that they were going to do it?

Yep!

They've told us a LOT of nice stuff they're "going to do" that they turned around and either didn't do or poisoned.

Embrace, extend, extinguish.

I'll believe it when/if it's finally done. (And even then I'll wonder what "gotchas" are included.)

You stole our code! (4, Interesting)

Auraiken (862386) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019574)

I'm starting to think that this looks a whole lot like the 'we know there is source code from windows in your apps' thing. It might look good for MS to the EU, but it also looks extremely well for MS if they put in some legal clauses into the documents and twist their tongue around making it look friendly.

Could open up a whole new can of worms where they start taking out open source projects based on the fact that those people have SEEN the code.

Re:You stole our code! (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020138)

Bah. Just saying someone has seen some code has nothing to do with proving they've seen it. I'd LOVE to hear how you can prove that someone has read a two line snippet of code out of 17,000 pages of mostly useless documents. Modern coding conventions being what they are, even if your variable names match exactly with theirs you could still call it co-incidence and say you were following M$'s own naming recommendations. Unless, of course, their code is as horrifically ugly as I have always heard it was.

Re:Unexpected? (4, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018726)

Well until now, we assumed it was just an idle treat.

Re:Unexpected? (3, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019334)

Well until now, we assumed it was just an idle treat.
I assume you meant an "idle threat", but what we got IS a treat. Now whenever someone claims that open source is not viable for business applications we can claim that even Microsoft supports open source.

Re:Unexpected? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018778)

Unexpected as they actually delivered. They had promised several times in the last several years that they would release the documentation but never did. The EU Commission said as much when MS announced the last time they were going to release the documentation:

The European Commission takes note of today's announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past. The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability. Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability.

Re:Unexpected? (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018886)

RE:["They had promised several times in the last several years that they would release the documentation but never did."]

That is why i never believe anything microsoft says and only watch for what they actually do, the same goes for politicians too...

Re:Unexpected? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020370)

Well, scanning the article, it still seems to be a promise rather than an actual delivery. AFAICT they haven't even announced the license that they're going to use for the final release. (I'll make a wild guess that it's that abortion that MS recently got the OSI to approve.)

Re:Unexpected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018960)


From parent's link:
"Microsoft today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice. These changes are codified into four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions: 1) ensuring open connections; 2) promoting data portability; 3) enhancing support for industry standards; and 4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities."

Re:Unexpected? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019034)

And we're all covered for sure under the patent covenant, right? Great...

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018664)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
goatse discloses colon secrets [goatse.ch]

bring on the virii (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018670)

Unlike existing open source projects, these protocols/code/APIs have never been scrutinized by independent security experts. I'll bet this reveals hundreds of new attack vectors.

Re:bring on the virii (3, Insightful)

Starrk (1268600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018740)

Perhaps. Or perhaps it brings on suggestions from security experts that will prevent virii.

Re:bring on the virii (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018786)

Considering the speed at which Microsoft has responded to security ecperts in the past, I expect the former; they most likely will not wish to acknowledge the holes until a major breach occurs at which point they will scramble at the last second to put out a patch that doesn't quite do the trick and is exploited two days later to which they will again have to put out another patch that is again exploited and the eventual remark will be 'this will be fixed in the next service pack update'

Re:bring on the virii (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018884)

Unlike existing open source projects, these protocols/code/APIs have never been scrutinized by independent security experts. I'll bet this reveals hundreds of new attack vectors.
Not a problem. Now anyone who writes a virus or publishes an attack vector can be sued to smithereens under copyright law.

Re:bring on the virii (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019090)

The plural of virus is viruses.

Re:bring on the virii (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019934)

Well, the plural of box is boxes, but some people still prefer boxen, as it does make sense.

Ummmm, no (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019106)

People said this same thing when the Windows 2000 source code leaked. Nothing happened. Multiple problems with that theory but one of the biggest is simply that it is wrong. Lots of people have the Windows source code. MS has a license where universities can get a copy for research. One university I know that does is ASU in Tempe, Arizona. So this idea that only MS has ever seen the code is false, thus the argument is invalid, never mind the other problems with it even if it weren't.

Re:Ummmm, no (4, Interesting)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019470)

Wasn't the JPEG vulnerability [microsoft.com] discovered after the source code leak?

Re:Ummmm, no (2, Interesting)

Victor Antolini (725710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019512)

People said this same thing when the Windows 2000 source code leaked. Nothing happened.
Well, I wouldn't say that nothing happened:

http://www.securitytracker.com/alerts/2004/Feb/1009067.html [securitytracker.com]
It is reported that a remote user can create a specially crafted bitmap file that, when loaded by IE, will trigger an integer overflow and execute arbitrary code.
The author states that this flaw was found by reviewing the recently leaked Microsoft Windows source code. The flaw reportedly resides in 'win2k/private/inet/mshtml/src/site/download/imgbmp.cxx'.

Ok, I know it's not much but sure is something!

Re:Ummmm, no (5, Informative)

stavros-59 (1102263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019626)

People said this same thing when the Windows 2000 source code leaked. Nothing happened. Multiple problems with that theory but one of the biggest is simply that it is wrong. Lots of people have the Windows source code. MS has a license where universities can get a copy for research. One university I know that does is ASU in Tempe, Arizona. So this idea that only MS has ever seen the code is false, thus the argument is invalid, never mind the other problems with it even if it weren't.

I'm not sure that's correct. If you are only talking self-replicating viruses that spread to continue replication, you may be correct. However,the appearance of rootkit anchored malware "in the wild" closely followed that release which made the information widely available outside limited academic and security research circles. The first rootkit was published as far back as 1999 by Greg Hoglund, founder of rootkit.com. There was a lot of academic interest and discussion in rootkit development specifically on Windows NT based systems before that time but almost none had been detected "in the wild". But rootkit anchored, serious malware infections have ballooned are now "professionally" developed for criminal purposes and used as the base for most, if not all, of the botnets. The release of the Windows 2000 source code certainly removed the need for extensive reverse engineering.
The Windows 2000 source code leak dates back to 2004 http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39146176,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

Hackerdefender was also coincidently released early in 2004 by holy father

One of the most frequently encountered is Hacker Defender, created by an Eastern European who calls himself Holy Father. The latest free version was published early in 2004 and, more recently, premium and customized versions of this malware became available for a fee.
http://searchwindowssecurity.techtarget.com/news/column/0,294698,sid45_gci1112754,00.html [techtarget.com]

Re:Ummmm, no (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019796)

I'm not sure that's correct. If you are only talking self-replicating viruses that spread to continue replication, you may be correct. However,the appearance of rootkit anchored malware "in the wild" closely followed that release which made the information widely available outside limited academic and security research circles.

I'd say this is a dangerous line of thought, considering it plays to the popularity "argument" most people around here dislike.

The release of the Windows 2000 source code certainly removed the need for extensive reverse engineering.

The source leaked was almost entirely user space stuff. Rootkits use little-known (but documented) aspects of things like NTFS that were not leaked.

Re:Ummmm, no (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020418)

From what I remember from an article (decades ago!), the code released in such a manner isn't the complete code, and isn't enough to compile. As such, you can use it as example cases, or to find bugs or fixes, but you can't test that it's the actual code used by any particular MS release.

Implied by this is that you couldn't use said code to create an alternative to MS OS. Not "you couldn't legally do it" but "you can't do it for any reason".

What? (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018672)

along with definitive patent licensing terms.' Lets just hope those terms are pro open source.
Anyone care to explain how Microsoft might put these two things together?

Re:What? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018686)

They go together like CmdrTaco and vagina.

Re:What? (5, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018768)

along with definitive patent licensing terms.' Lets just hope those terms are pro open source.
Anyone care to explain how Microsoft might put these two things together?

String.

Or a stapler maybe.

NO WAIT!!! - a hot glue gun! It's gotta be better for geeks - it plugs in.

Although if it's on paper, they could rub their feet on nylon carpet then hold them together and static will do it's magic, baby...




Ok, ok. You might think my answers are silly, but then - so is the question. Like it would ever happen.

Re:What? (3, Funny)

kingcool1432 (993113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019134)

Or a stapler maybe. NO WAIT!!! - a hot glue gun! It's gotta be better for geeks - it plugs in. Although if it's on paper, they could rub their feet on nylon carpet then hold them together and static will do it's magic, baby...
Clippy to the rescue!!!

Re:What? (5, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019480)

Clippy to the rescue!!!
I see you are trying to draft a patent trap. Would you like some assistance with that?

Re:What? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020360)

What about a soldering iron?

That's easy. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019044)

If the terms are a megalomaniac lawyer's dream that would cut the throat of all competitors so gratuitously that the EU is forced to declare Microsoft in contempt of reality and seize all of their money and property, then, yes, the terms would indeed end up being pro open source.

Hopefully (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018724)

they wiki it for easy access.

Re:Hopefully (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019160)

Right. Go to MSDN and try browsing. Microsoft is obsessed with an expanding tree design for MSDN. It's awful. Imagine if they just used Doxygen.

Re:Hopefully (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020152)

A tree design that also happens to be one of the few sites in existence that intentionally break Firefox's middle click button (middle click to scroll).

On MSDN already (5, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018772)

The prelimnary docs are here [microsoft.com] .

I have to admit I'm tempted to be interested in the Exchange stuff. The
company I work for uses it. As with most MS products it's not, um, horrible,
when it's working but it's a PITA to troubleshoot problems. The MAPI Tool for
looking at the "innards" is horrible. Maybe this documentation will at least
spawn some better third party management tools that I can convince my employer
to buy.

For now most pages (all?) are prefaced with:

[This topic is preliminary documentation and is subject to change in future documentation releases.]
I haven't had a chance to search out legalese to answer the summary's question on open source friendlyness.

I figure a "hope-for-the-best-expect-the-worst" attitude is the best way to approach this one...

Re:On MSDN already (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018870)

This topic is preliminary documentation and is subject to change in future documentation releases. Sincerely, The Ministry of Truth
There, fixed that for them.

Re:On MSDN already (1)

Natrone (174754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019372)

If your company uses Exchange, I recommend Moonrug [moonrug.com] . They write Exchange/MAPI from Java and their stuff is very inexpensive (and fully supported).

Re:On MSDN already (0, Offtopic)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019606)

Yeah, I checked it out. They don't tell you much on the site...

Although I'm sure their implementation is a good thing for some bigger companies
my IT department is just looking for third party tools to get the job done. We
don't get the oppurtunity to do much programming on windows.

On the other hand we have had a lot of success replacing windows in the server
room with Debian boxes. Pretty much everything but mail runs on them now and we
do get the oppurtunity to write some code on these. Mostly scripts, a smattering
of c just because I can't resist some times. We don't use java much.

Our employees are hooked on Outlook, journals especially (I loathe them, space
eating buggers) so we keep exchange chugging along and a couple of domain
controllers. Everyone except IT uses windows, IT uses linux and virtual machines
for supporting windows in the workplace and all OS's that our products are used
with (which is pretty much windows2k+/macOSX+/linux kernal 2.4+).

Re:On MSDN already (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019898)

Our employees are hooked on Outlook, journals especially (I loathe them, space eating buggers) so we keep exchange chugging along and a couple of domain controllers.
You should check out Citadel [citadel.org] . Open source, does most of the things Exchange does (plus a few things Exchange doesn't do), plus there's an Outlook connector available.

Re:On MSDN already (1)

RomeReactor (1091245) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019532)

The Register's article begins with:

Microsoft today lifted the lid on 14,000 pages of sketchy versions of tech documentation for core software code.
And as you pointed out, even the Office Documents Protocols section [microsoft.com] in the msdn site you link to opens with:

The documentation provided on this website is preliminary documentation and is subject to change in future documentation releases.
Documentation being sketchy and subject to change tells me that microsoft has no intention of letting the code anyone else besides microsoft comes up with be implementable.

WINE (3, Interesting)

Bitter and Cynical (868116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018796)

Can anyone (intelligently) comment on the implications for projects like WINE? It seems that having so much information released would benefit these efforts in some manner, yes?

Re:WINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018950)

No.

Re:WINE (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019030)

Not really. With the exception of a few bits of Microsoft-written software, most Windows software is written against published APIs with the occasional work-around for bugs in the APIs. WINE 'just' needs to implement the already-public APIs (including replicating bugs) and code will work. The WINE team only need access to secret APIs if code has been written using them.

Re:WINE (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020336)

> The WINE team only need access to secret APIs if code has been written using them.

And LOTS of such code has been written. Examples include Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, etc. Why do you think Microsoft hides the source-code of these applications? It's not because of ANY of the many popular reasons. It's ONLY because these applications interact with the OS in many undocumented ways, i.e., in ways that can't be used by non-Microsoft applications (I avoid using the word "API" because it is the most misused word in MS related discussions). The result? No matter how competent Firefox developers are, IE works faster than Firefox or consumes lesser resources. Beginning to smell Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior? Imagine the huge penalties that Microsoft would have to pay if the sources are disclosed. In fact, ANY application that's linked with the libraries that ship with Microsoft's proprietary development tools is going to have SOME of these undocumented interactions too. That's the reason why DevC++ or GCC/Win can't create applications that are faster or feature-rich than the ones created using Microsoft's commercial tools. The Result? "Developers", as some these MS fanboys call themselves, choose Visual Studio and thus creating yet another source of revenue for MS.

In summary,

The functionalities of various windows applications are as follows:
Microsoft's In-House Applications (is superset of) Applications developed using Microsoft's commercial tools (is superset of) Other windows applications.

The speed (or performance) varies as follows:
Microsoft's In-House Applications > Applications developed using Microsoft's commercial tools > Other windows applications.

The difficulties for wine in running the application:
Microsoft's In-House Applications > Applications developed using Microsoft's commercial tools > Other windows applications.

Please please stop wasting resources fighting for Open Source. It's either far ahead of time or very stupid. Instead, fight for Open Standards, Open Specifications, Open Formats, Open Protocols, Open Interfaces. These are the immediate needs.

Re:WINE (0, Flamebait)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019080)

(intelligently)
So, you're obviously new here. Welcome to Slashdot.

Re:WINE (4, Funny)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019196)

Your UID suggests you signed up within the last day or so. You don't get to make those jokes yet.

Re:WINE (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019300)

Shh! You'll bring the greybeards out. Nothing brings them from their deep pits faster than a UID thread.

Re:WINE (2, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019968)

Yup!

No, I'm New Here (4, Funny)

New Here (701369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020154)

No, I'm New Here

Re:WINE (5, Insightful)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019124)

I believe Wine, ReactOS, and MingW are using MSDN and "clean room reverse engineering" to develop (meaning a group writes documentation, another group implements). And they are well making sure that no code in the trees are taken from the leak of the Windows 2000 code a few years ago, and no code is written via direct reverse engineering Windows. This information MIGHT be helpful, but Microsoft is unpredictable when it comes to enforcing its patents and loves them. If I were on any of these teams, I would advise to stay away from this documentation until it is cleared with FSF that the licence is compatible with GPL (which I highly doubt it will be).

Press release in docx? What a joke! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23018864)

The article links to:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/interoperability/default.mspx [microsoft.com]
where several documents in non-standard formats are describing how well ms are complies with standards.
Not to mention you have to buy a licence of M$ Office too read it.

M$ laughs EU in the face with this one.

Re:Press release in docx? What a joke! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018924)

Missed funny button, unmodding.

Is it a bug in the new system that I couldn't say y"yes I want to unmod"?

Re:Press release in docx? What a joke! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019212)

The M$ Word viewer can be downloaded for free, which might actually be useful if you happen to be a Windows user.

Re:Press release in docx? What a joke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019456)

Word format is actually an improvement. I've had to download API documentation they've provided in a self-extracting archive before. Yes, they have really used EXE for documentation in the past.

Hypocricy takes several forms (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019744)

What, didn't you hear? Docx is an open standard now! ISO said so! :P

Too late! (0, Offtopic)

aim2future (773846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018900)

No more comments.

Admitting They're Lying is Reassuring? (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018910)

So Microsoft finally releases a huge tome of secrets Microsoft uses to compete with other vendors on its closed system. After years of denying that, after years of keeping them secret from even the thousands of paying customers buying what they thought was equal access to the MS platform.

And somehow that admission that MS has been lying about something so central to protecting its anticompetitive abuses of its monopoly is supposed to reassure antitrust investigators?

Re:Admitting They're Lying is Reassuring? (5, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019202)

That's not what they're releasing.

On show for the first time in public are underlying protocols for Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.
This isn't a list of 'secret APIs' for Windows. This is the stuff that glues their Office system together and they were going to keep a hold of as long as possible. It's completely seperate to the anti-trust concerns you're referencing, but they do seem to be using it as a bargaining chip against the EU investigations. It remains to be seen whether that will work or not.

Re:Admitting They're Lying is Reassuring? (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019942)

As far as I can tell, those protocols weren't documented for consuption by anyone outside Microsoft. Yet programmers inside Microsoft were able to use them to write software.

That does indeed make them as useful as "secret APIs" to programmers writing for Office/Exchange 2007.

Patent licensing fees (0)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018920)

Determine how much revenue your application generated in the last year. Send a check in that amount to Microsoft. See? Wasn't that simple.

Patents and open source... (1)

comm2k (961394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018928)

The third phase, which will occur by the end of June, will be the posting of the final versions of the documentation along with final patent licensing terms.
But how valid will those (patents) be in the EU?

As a result of today's posting, all types of developers -- including independent software vendors, open source developers and developers in customer IT departments -- will have consistent, open access to this protocol documentation (...)

In addition, Microsoft will publish a list of the protocols that are covered by patents and will make available a list of the specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol. However, open source developers, whether commercial or noncommercial, will not need a patent license for the development of implementations of these protocols or for the noncommercial distribution of these implementations
In other words if you're going to make any money off it you'll need to pay the MS tax.

All available as PDF (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018948)

The browser interface is broken on Iceweasel for me. I thought at first that all
the pages had for now was a bunch of disclaimers. Turns out this is just the
first page of each document. I, for the life of me, could not see a way to go to
the next page. The side table of contents doesn't work either.

But every doc is available as a PDF and you can grab whole sections in zip files.
I found it interesting that they chose a cross platform format like PDF and
didn't try to shove Word Docs at the world or their MDI(?) format, their supposed
PDF killer.

Anyway the legalese is vague and scary for now...

Intellectual Property Rights Notice for Protocol Documentation

      Copyrights. This protocol documentation is covered by Microsoft copyrights.
      Regardless of any other terms that are contained in the terms of use for the
      Microsoft website that hosts this documentation, you may make copies of it in
      order to develop implementations of the protocols, and may distribute portions
      of it in your implementations of the protocols or your documentation as
      necessary to properly document the implementation. This permission also
      applies to any documents that are referenced in the protocol documentation.

      No Trade Secrets. Microsoft does not claim any trade secret rights in this
      documentation.

      * Patents. Microsoft has patents that may cover your implementations of the
      protocols. Neither this notice nor Microsoft's delivery of the documentation
      grants any licenses under those or any other Microsoft patents. However, the
      protocols may be covered by Microsoftâ(TM)s Open Specification Promise (available
      here: http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp [microsoft.com] ). If you would prefer a written
      license, or if the protocols are not covered by the OSP, patent licenses are
      available by contacting protocol@microsoft.com.


      Trademarks. The names of companies and products contained in this
      documentation may be covered by trademarks or similar intellectual property
      rights. This notice does not grant any licenses under those rights.

      Reservation of Rights. All other rights are reserved, and this notice does not
      grant any rights other than specifically described above, whether by
      implication, estoppel, or otherwise.
* emphaisis mine

Re:All available as PDF (1)

aaron.axvig (1238422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019872)

XPS is their PDF killer.

And a Pony! (4, Funny)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018956)

Lets just hope those [patent licensing] terms are pro open source.

I'm going to hope for a pony too! A flying one!

Re:And a Pony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019926)

Patents only apply to commercial software.

Yes you read that right. Open source is not commercialized, since you don't have to pay for using it, and therefore you are free to use it.

That's the very same reason why you can't patent an algorithm.

Documentation (1, Offtopic)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018974)

I've always wondered how much internal documentation Microsoft has generated for their products. Things like formal specifications, as opposed to "look at the source code".

Re:Documentation (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019384)

Judging from the usual comments and borrowing from the article submission editorial line, apparently a lot more than "open source" proponents would like.

Re:Documentation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020278)

As one of the several thousand people at Microsoft who write specs--I assure you, EVERYTHING has a spec before it becomes code. (Posted anonymously since we Slashdotters aren't supposed to work at Microsoft. :) )

in case you didn't know... (4, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23018994)

It's a cook book!!!

...apologies to Rod Serling.

Re:in case you didn't know... (1)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019698)

Nitpick: shouldn't that be "apologies to Damon Knight"?

Download link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019002)

Article was missing the download link - here:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc203350.aspx [microsoft.com]

(captcha was "Empire" - ha!)

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019162)

Now the Innovative Open Source(tm) community will have something to copy!!!@!!

unknowns (3, Funny)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019210)

As we know, there are public standards. We also know there are some standards that are secrets. That is to say, they are used very publicly but the details are kept secret. And there are also public secrets. These are the secrets that were kept secret for shame and are made public.

But there are also secret secrets. The ones we don't know that are secret and should be kept that way.

(with apologies to Donald)

I wouldn't hold my breath here (1, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019312)

Most important part of this article:

In addition, Microsoft will release some 30,000 pages of documentation surrounding Windows client and server protocols.

Note: WILL not "HAS" and/or not "Will sometime soon". They could be delaying this just long enough to figure out how to break all the protocols on the new OS/on the next service pack.

14000 pages of what? (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019352)

If it's anything like the 6000 pages of OOXML (final version yet to be released, despite being ratified - go figure), I'll pass.

treasure trove of Microsoft coding secrets? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019438)

- customizing AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS for Windows Vista Ultimate?

- Hungarian Notation 2008 from Cosmonaut Charles Simonyi?

- A vastly more powerful set of MFC macros that will now make it possible to maintain different versions of an enterprise project code base from a single source file?

- 3D OLE Automation DCOM interfaces from the Visual Basic team?

- the difference between "Unrecoverable Application Error" (Windows 3.0) and "General Protection Fault" (Windows 3.1)?

- a detailed explanation of what each alternative does in the "Abort, Retry, Fail, Ignore" dialog?

The mind boggles at the possibilities.

It's actually... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019460)

... 13,999 pages of EULA and 1 page of secrets, well secret: "Have a well crafted EULA (see above)."

14,000 pages of code?! (1)

codemoose (1002724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020232)

Wait...they released the source for minesweeper?

Windows secrets..... 3.11 that is... (3, Funny)

rwsilva (217578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020238)

Everything you wanted to know about Windows 3.11 in 13,999 pages..... WFWG next!

13.999 of the pages say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020254)

Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020282)

...you still have to pay the $1.5 billion :)
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