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MS To Become Open Source Friendly Post Gates 424

Posted by timothy
from the certainly-possible dept.
ruphus13 writes "Now that Gates has 'retired' from Microsoft, ZDNet is speculating that Microsoft will become much more Open Source friendly. From the article, 'We already see quite a different approach to dealing with OSS and OSS companies from Sam Ramji's group [which is] doing a great job in establishing dialog,' said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange and a former marketing exec at SUSE Linux. 'With Gates' departure, the only mammoth remaining is Ballmer. With him away in a near future, Microsoft will definitely open up. They have to.'" Microsoft could become the world's largest open source company; they've certainly made some concessions to it lately.
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MS To Become Open Source Friendly Post Gates

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:33PM (#23986603)
    It's a little soon (or late depending) but Where are my ponies?
    • Re:April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:45PM (#23986685)
      Oh right, after rigging the ISO process with OOXML and their triumph over open standards [robweir.com] they're going to go open source? Balmer is still in charge and despite "retiring" Gates is still the executive chairman at Microsoft. There's no evidence of change -- this article is ridiculous.

      So what would be evidence of change? Well, they'd need to move to an OSS compatible business model for starters but right now they're still mostly about selling boxes of software. They don't have a services-side in the same way that IBM do. They have some hardware -- the mouse/keyboard/peripherals sell well. The Xbox is about selling hardware below cost but they make it back in SDKs and licensing -- so they couldn't open that.

      So there's actually very little of the company whose business model is compatible with open source licensing. That's where you'll see change, if it happens -- not in Bill Gates leaving Microsoft.

      • Re:April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:52PM (#23986737) Journal

        Oh right, after rigging the ISO process with OOXML and their triumph over open standards [robweir.com] they're going to go open source?

        Well, despite all the effort they put into getting OOXML approved, they will (theoretically) implement ODF in the next version of Office.

      • Re:April Fools? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:28PM (#23986937) Homepage
        In addition, and I'm just paraphrasing a video I saw of "Maddog" Hall talking, their business model and the ecology of companies(i.e. the VAR channels) are incompatible with them selling services. In they did start selling services, they'd have one hell of an advantage and would be pissing off all the people who help to sell, install and maintain their software. So they're pretty darn invested in just selling those boxes. Piss off the VARs and there's a world of free software for those VARs to switch to.
      • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Interesting)

        From the article: "... the only mammoth remaining is Ballmer."

        You can certainly tell the mindset of the article author, Paula Rooney, and the person who was quoted, Rafael Laguna. Their idea is that it is entirely acceptable and useful to call Ballmer a "mammoth". As in "woolly mammoth" who will go extinct soon, I suppose.

        It makes a far better contribution toward showing why Microsoft's management policies should be disrespected if there is some logical substance to what is said.

        In my opinion, both
      • Re:April Fools? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Technician (215283) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:33PM (#23986977)

        I suspect they will follow the customers and the money.

        So there's actually very little of the company whose business model is compatible with open source licensing.

        As they watch their pie slice shrink and then shrink rapidly as open source get a solid foothold, they will have little choice.

        I prefer legal software. In comparing licenses, the one that permits legal installation on all the machines in my home vs a one license one machine restriction, a slightly differing interface becomes easy to trade to reject BSA threats.

        MS will have to effectively compete, sue like crazy, or shrink.

        They are attempting to compete and lock-in, but are failing while OSS expands. It's not just the Unix servers in the target zone anymore. The battle for the desktop is beginning.

      • Re:April Fools? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:06PM (#23987157)

        Um.. Open Source friendly doesn't mean changing to an OSS business model. They are competing in with open source software, why should MS play nice? If you don't think EVERY DAMN BUSINESS is about making money and driving out competition, then you're clearly delusional.

        Every company cannot give away software and make money off support. Even redhat doesnt give away their enterprise branded linux for free. (i dont mean fedora, and not every person cares about the source code)

        Even if MS did give away all of their products for free and charged like hell for support, everyone here will be up in arms about how they purposely make their software defective so people will need support. (nice bait placed here to make fun about how their software is already defective.. LOLZZZ) .. ok last part was a rant but other things are true.

      • Not true. (Score:5, Funny)

        by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:54PM (#23987373)

        So there's actually very little of the company whose business model is compatible with open source licensing. That's where you'll see change, if it happens -- not in Bill Gates leaving Microsoft.

        Actually, Microsoft is quite compatible with open source. There is a lot of open source built right into the OS. The integration of data with internet programs has allowed for the open sourcing of your address books, and vulnerabilities in the mail and web clients have led to the open sourcing of plenty of personal data.

      • Re:April Fools? (Score:4, Informative)

        by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:55PM (#23987379) Journal

        Mod parent up to stratosphere!!!! Microsoft is the synonym of "Death of Open Standards". There's nothing Microsoft as a corporation hates more than Open Standards and as an extension, Open Source. And I don't mean the "Microsoft of the past", I mean the Microsoft right here and now, the behemoth with billions of dollars and tens of thousands of developers under its belly, the Microsoft that COULD change the world of computing, if it wanted to, due to it's enormous installed base.

        But no, THIS Microsoft is a company that has learned how to leverage that installed base, and closed or poisoned standards is what it thrives on.

        Sorry but the article is crazy talk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:33PM (#23986605)

    Nazis to become Pro-Jew post Hitler.

    Christians to become Pro-Reason post Apocalypse.

    KKK to become Pro-Black post Hanging.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:21AM (#23987493) Homepage Journal

      Har har. Fact is that one generation's Victory or Death struggle is often the next's What's the Big Deal. I work at Sun, and ten years ago, there really were people here who compared Microsoft to the Nazi party. Now we have OEM and Interoperability agreements, and there's no question in my mind that our partnership with the Dark Side^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Microsoft is a Good Thing.

      And you know, in the past, many people at Sun have not been friendly to Open Source either. And I don't mean the distant past either. When the decision was made to open up our Java implementations, there were some fairly important people who quit rather than participate. I think it's a safe bet that the culture at Microsoft is undergoing a similar upheaval. They haven't been anti-open source because of Bill Palpatine's mind control, but because a lot of people thought it was a bad idea. I've seen exactly the same struggle at every company that ends up going Open Source.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:34PM (#23986611)

    I have to wonder if the complexity of modern software is part of the big reason driving OSS, it would seem to me as our systems get faster, we can increase the complexity of our programs ad infintum, and at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

    • by bsDaemon (87307) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:43PM (#23986665)

      ...at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

      So, you're saying that in the future, all programmes will be written in perl?

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:49PM (#23986723) Homepage
      It seems to me that the only people making things large and unwieldy are large closed source software companies (like MS, but others exist), that believe they have to be the be-all-and-end-all, the "one software company to bind them all", that they end up creating giant monstrosities like Vista. Open source, or at least, the Linux way, is to keep things simple. Do one thing and do it well. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Realize that it's OK if somebody wants to use some other competing software product. Just because our computers are fast, and they do lots of stuff, it doesn't mean that we have to make it complicated.
      • by Drakonik (1193977) <drakonik@gmail.com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:20PM (#23987221) Homepage

        Very insightful. I think this can be boiled down to:

        Businesses write closed-source software that becomes monolithic and unmanageable because they need to add features to remain competitive in a market.

        Open-source software stays small and relatively manageable (I'm sure the Linux kernel is still a bitch to sift through, as nice as it is compared to the Windows kernel) because developers know that if their code becomes unmanageable, they aren't going to be paid to manage it.

        Plus, I think it's got something to do with being available to the public. I mean, if there was a giant billboard over your head that counted how many days it's been since you last brushed your teeth, would you skip it as often as you do?

        • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:06AM (#23987429) Homepage
          Feature bloat, of the pointless variety, has very little to do with competitiveness and much more to do with marketing. It is the means by which, costly and productivity destroying upgrades are made more sellable but, of course everything comes to an end. So office 2007 and Vista have proven to be 'a bridge to far' that nobody wants to cross and a pointless waste of M$'s share holders money.

          Rather unfair to blame that failure on Bill as it was largely ballmer's fuck up, a trial run to see how the company would function under ballmer's sole control, as it pans out, not very well. As a result ballmer's position is under real threat and he feels it, which is why the defensive public announcement that he will not retire for 10 years, quite clearly he will not voluntarily leave the position regardless of the blunders he continues to make.

          M$ as it currently stands can not succeed in OSS as the most important part of generating a income out of OSS is customers service and support, of being able to establish and maintain a quality relationship with customers. Treating them like the enemy with bogus EULA's, licence audits, B$ marketing and some very public deceitful practices makes it virtually impossible to achieve success it what will be a very competitive market, proof of that is M$ continuing failure with MSN.

          M$ has no real public, no customer desire, a prime example of that is the complete failure of Zune, even the name shows the level of M$'s customer disconnect. M$ needs to undergo a complete personality transplant and lose the arrogance, ego and bullshit and that will only happen once current management has crippled it's value and made 1/10th of the company it is today, after a shareholder revolt.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @02:07AM (#23987945) Homepage

        Vista is a sample size of one. Can you think of any counter-examples? OS X, per chance (the fact that it's "based" on Mach and BSD does not qualify, as the overall user-experience is proprietary)? IIS isn't all that small or simple, and it comes out as at least a workable product. AIX seems to be doing just fine. World of Warcraft (and the software/hardware behind it server-side) is easily as complex as Windows, and that seems to work.

        On the other hand...

        And how about large and unwieldy open source software? Surely you can think of at least one such example. Xorg and/or XFree86, per chance? I wonder how GNU/HURD is doing? How about OpenOffice.org (which is getting significantly better) but still will often crash during document recovery, and has a number of other problems with regard to corrupting documents and saving massive files (not just OOorg format, but DOC and PDF are all >100kb for a 1 page document, it seems!). Or how about KDE, which with version 4 is only slightly less bloated, sluggish, and so forth than Vista (and just as unusable as Vista on a 1.5GHz/1G system)? Or the wonderful mess that the Enlightenment project is - 10 years out from the last point release and 8 years from the last time anyone gave a damn, largely unusable and forgotten, but still in active development? And should I even mention what a stupid, stupid idea Avahi is, or the nightmare that having it an integral part of the major desktops/distros is? Or synergy, which is an awesome project with a lot of potential - but appears to have been abandoned and has some piss-poor security considerations?

        And I could keep going. I love open source, but let's not candy coat a turd or shit-coat candy. The point is, the fact that it's closed source has nothing to do with it.

        Vista is just Vista. Yes, they introduced some interesting concepts, but tried to stretch everything else too far, cut a lot of features, and left a lot of stuff half-done while ripping out most of those features. So it's a buggy, bloated, steaming pile of feces which won't work to an acceptable level for at least 3 years until after it was released - just like every other major MS product. That's just the way MS works; it's nothing inherent to large closed-source software projects.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:01PM (#23986777) Homepage

      I have to wonder if the complexity of modern software is part of the big reason driving OSS, it would seem to me as our systems get faster, we can increase the complexity of our programs ad infintum, and at some point it 'breaks the camels back' and no business can hope to maintain something so large and unwieldy.

      Personally I thought that with increased complexity you'd want more coordination and centralized control, not less. With the OSS philosophy and bazaar model a lot influenced by "do one task well", cross-integration is usually poor. Like say building a great e-mail application and a great calendar application but neglecting how these work together to function well. I guess it depends on what you're looking at but at least in the software I see making that kind of modular approach with lasting interfaces and replacable modules would be a huge undertaking, compared to just saying that in version X.1 we change this interface slightly on both sides.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by erlehmann (1045500)

        I guess it depends on what you're looking at but at least in the software I see making that kind of modular approach with lasting interfaces and replacable modules would be a huge undertaking,

        Have you ever looked at DBUS [freedesktop.org] ?

      • Personally I thought that with increased complexity you'd want more coordination and centralized control, not less.

        So did the former Soviet Union. Why do you believe that coordination requires centralizedcontrol?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kdart (574)

        As long as you have well defined, open and published interfaces that increase modularity you can scale to larger systems and still be stable. One of my biggest complaints about MS is that they don't do this.

        The open source community will ultimately prevail because they do good engineering (doing it the Right Way), whereas commercial software is often rushed out the door a big steaming pile with a nice coat of paint in order get market share from people that don't know any better.

    • by mikael (484) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:18PM (#23987209)

      As software modules get larger, eventually they split into separate modules. As hardware evolves much of the functionality of the driver moved into firmware eg. hard disk drives and graphics cards.

      The problem is that proprietary OS vendors don't have the resources to write drivers for every piece of consumer hardware. Microsoft relies on the hardware vendors to do this themselves, while the OSS community can do this providing the hardware specifications are freely available.

      Anyone else really loses out, because they don't have the financial resources to pay for entire teams of programmers to do this, and the hardware vendors can't afford development kits for every different piece of hardware.

      The only alternative solution is for there to be a standard device driver file format - NDISwrapper is one way of achieving this.

  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:34PM (#23986615) Homepage

    I'll believe it when I see it and not a moment before. With Microsoft's record anything short of unequivocal action should be treated with absolute scepticism.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by antirelic (1030688)

      I find it questionable to believe that Microsoft would have any reason to support open source. According to Microsoft sales people (not very reliable, but only figures I care to research), Vista has sold millions of copies, providing Microsoft with massive amounts of revenue. Most of Vista sales are in the form OEM agreements, where microsoft continues to utilize its effective monopoly over the market in order to push a product that most people do not want, need, or are even ready to accommodate.

      Could it be

      • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:34AM (#23987559)

        Vista financial success... Fortune has an article on Bill Gates and his next move, plus one on Microsoft. In the years that Gates has been transitioning out (about 10 years now, in 98 Ballmer named President, in 2000, named CEO, and the last 8 years Gates has brought people in for his other senior roles), MS revenues have increased 5-fold and the company has diversified.

        Microsoft's problem is that the stock is in the doldrums because they aren't seen as a growth plan, so their P/E ratio has dropped about as fast as they've increased earning. Their other problem is that their brand is tarnished... Original Xbox was a disaster, Xbox 360 had a good run but is being beaten by the Wii. The Apple commercials, while silly, are trashing Microsoft as old and lame. They are seen as part of the boring business infrastructure. They make plenty of money, but they don't have a good consumer brand right now. This isn't inherently a problem, plenty of companies have a lousy brand but sell industrial services... combined with monopoly rents, MSFT can remain a Fortune 500 company that way... however, that's a 10% growth, PE 12 story, not 25% growth, PE 50 story.

        Further, growth will get harder, Linux keeps getting closer to being good enough for more and more stuff. Apple is carving out an increasing niche... all of these slow MSFT's financial growth....

        Gates without Microsoft [cnn.com]
        Microsoft without Gates [cnn.com]

    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:43PM (#23987053) Journal

      Microsoft will definitely open up.

      Or close down. I know which I'd prefer.

  • Ha ha ha ha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:37PM (#23986625)
    Ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha
    (catches breath)
    Ha ha ha
    ...
  • is if Ballmer and the Gates people are no longer at the top. And that ain't gonna happen.

  • by phrostie (121428) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:43PM (#23986671)

    the term, FUD originated with IBM, not Microsoft.
    so i won't say it can't happen, but i'm not holding my breath either

    • by thermian (1267986) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @02:09AM (#23987951)

      Don't you know the new required thought pattern? We aren't supposed to remember how nasty IBM were.

      They are meant to be thought of as the poor unfortunate victims of an evil Microsoft, not the over confident and arrogant giant company who's failure to understand the market handed the world of computing to a small company whose owner lived on junk food and didn't wash much.

      Being old I remember the time when Microsoft were this great company who liberated the computing world from the Unix wars. A company whose philosophy of getting their product out there cheaply and on everything meant I could finally afford a computer after several years of wanting, but not being able to buy, a Mac.

      There was a time when Microsoft were the good guys, where people suddenly found that they could write a product for DOS and it would run on almost any computer. That meant it was possible to become a software house with a lot less effort and money than before.

      I rather suspect people just don't realise what it was like before DOS.

      Ok it didn't stay that way, or didn't unless you're a big Microsoft fan, but when I were young it was true.

      Personally I wish they would get with the Open Source movement. I've been an open source developer for over five years, working with both Linux and Windows, and the lack of high level co-operation between the two camps is, in my opinion, is preventing a huge leap forward in computing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Don't you know the new required thought pattern? We aren't supposed to remember how nasty IBM were.....There was a time when Microsoft were the good guys,

        Wrong thread, we only remember microsoft as good guys when we talk about google.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        It was not microsoft who did that however...
        It was IBM by basing their hardware design on off the shelf parts... Dos was just one of many components.

        Basically the hardware opened up, but the software remained closed. That was a good first step since hardware used to account for the majority of the cost, but now we've had open hardware for a few years and it's about time software went the same way. MS just rode the wave of open hardware, and their actions managed to largely go unnoticed.

        When it inevitably ha

  • by Icy_Infinity (1313035) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:50PM (#23986725)

    i would just love the day when i can just go to an MS website click a link download windows and be installing it when in minutes with out spending a dime.

    it could happen and very like will here's how:

    Microsoft has its fingers is A-LOT of things (X box, Zune, Internet Services) just cut one of them off:
    Windows, windows should be open source just the OS that way with proper guidance from the whole things like security bug ans flaws in the code will be ironed out in no time.

    its other applications could be rolled into its internet services (see google docs). and then Windows would be separate from MS and, MS could go about making money and forget about the OS market which is too unstable and Unwieldy. they like to say that they'll support there software LOL yea right if your pay extra and that ISN'T support
    support wouldn't be needed if there wouldn't be problems with your software and there wouldn't be problems if every one could just look at it and fix it.

    Also if JUST windows the OS and only the OS was made open source they could say goodbye to the Department of Justice for good and there anti-trust lawsuit woes would be over. Its kinda hard to have a monopoly when your not REALLY making money from it. (donations wouldn't count, but heck they probably wouldn't get one for awhile as many peeps as they have pissed off heh)
    Also pirates would become a non-issue when your just giving away your stuff for free they won't be pirates any more.

    I have one requests of Sam Ramji PLEASE make this world a better place and make your life much easier by spinning off the Windows OS into an open source organization, please.

    P.S. There is a reason why Firefox stomps IE and That's because WE made it good - Windows can be good too if you let us (the end users) make it that way

  • by taupin (1047372) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:57PM (#23986763)
    ... Microsoft _could_ become the world's largest open-source company...
    ... Apple _could_ become the world's largest producer of low-cost laptops...
    ... China _could_ become the world's largest anarchy (by population) ...
    ... Jupiter _could_ turn out to be the solar system's second Sun...
    ... Hell _could_ freeze over...
  • Yeah right (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:59PM (#23986767) Journal
    Ballmer has a severe case of verbal diarrhea, so we know how he feels about open source software. "Open source is a cancer...", "Linux infringes on over 200 Microsoft patents" (as-yet undisclosed patents, I might add). I can only see Microsoft going Open Source when they finally glue Ballmer's hand to a chair. Then he'll follow it out the window when he throws it.
  • by FudRucker (866063)
    I will believe it when I see it, with microsoft's track record during its entire existence I wont hold my breath, respect and trust is something that must be earned and not given out like halloween candy, lets see them actually change = not with lip service and press-release/FUD, I want to see real change...
  • Skepticism aside... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sun.Jedi (1280674)

    How many would actually embrace an open source Windows, extend the code, and extinguish the bugs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      lots of people would drop linux like a hot potato if windows had the same level of openess. face it, windows is the standard and has all the vendor support and all the market share. if it was open, linux wouldn't have much of a reason to live.
      • lots of people would drop linux like a hot potato if windows had the same level of openess.

        Yeah, because somehow, if it suddenly were open source, it would stop being retarted (read: inconsistent and unsafe for general use) ? I somehow doubt that.

        • by mikesd81 (518581)
          I'm sure it would, and maybe fairly quickly (~5 years or so?) as developers start sifting through it.
      • by Bandman (86149) <bandman AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:59PM (#23987135) Homepage

        Lots of people would spend the better part of a year reading and rewriting code. By the end of that year, wine would be nearly complete, Windows and Linux would support each other's binaries (probably with a patch to the linux kernel, as I'm sure Linus wouldn't include it with that little testing). and the more broken part of Windows would be fixed. It's hard to tell whether XOrg would include Windows code, or whether they'd fork off another project to support the API. The windows code would fragment into dozens of distros, almost immediately. Of these, maybe a couple would last longer than a half year. There would be lots of interpretations of how to fix or change the windows code to bring it more inline with the linux philosophy. Eventually, I think most people would come to accept Windows as a separate end-product, but that wouldn't stop some people from working on combining them.

        It would be a couple of years before the first solid Linux distros started shipping which included support for Windows programs (and actually worked)

      • by spitzak (4019)

        I agree this would wipe out Linux, provided it is "open" in such a way that popular changes can be added to the "main distribution". What will then happen is full Unix compatibility, by default, will be added to the kernel, probably so fast it will make Ballmer's head spin, such as within weeks.

        Unix compatibility, not "freedom" and/or "stick it to Microsoft", is the real reason Linux is popular. This change will delete Linux's advantage. After that I think Linux is doomed, except it is possible that the eas

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mikesd81 (518581)
        I don't know. I think this would probably force companies to start open sourcing drivers. And we'd see things ported over to Linux. And we'd probably finally have linux on the desktop. Developers would take what they like from windows and pretty much salvage what they want instead of actually rebuilding Windows and taking out the bloat.
    • by Gabrill (556503)
      Oh please. Windows wouldn't work if you removed the bugs!
  • by shadylookin (1209874) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:05PM (#23986809)
    why would MS open source their software? If they open source it that means it can be ported and people will be more likely to leaving windows if they can use their windows apps on another operating system. Open source code does nothing to benefit MS especially when 99.99% of their customers don't even know what source code is. Sure it would be nice, but I just don't think it stands a snowballs chance in hell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If they open source it that means it can be ported and people will be more likely to leaving windows if they can use their windows apps on another operating system.

      Good point -- it would one hell of a Wine release when they can add a full layer of Windows functionality on demand. When you can run every single Windows app on a stable, secure FREE OS, suddenly Windows doesn't seem like such a necessary evil anymore. Of course, access to the Windows source would also mean that eventually Windows drivers could

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:06PM (#23986817) Journal
    Microsoft embracing open source would allow it to hurt them in the short term too. Remember how tolerable XP was? Well open source hacker A has made XP no longer need online registration. XP is free now! So is every Microsoft product. Maybe if the first hack everyone did wasn't to make the software free, companies may think about open sourcing their software to get a superior product in the long term. And you know what the second hack would be: Halo 3 cheats. With the whole code open to look through, cheating video games gets easy.
  • Because with their CEO, Steve Ballmer, calling OSS cancer, I can really see Gates's departure as allowing the company to become more involved in OSS. Involved in trying to derail it, perhaps.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:17PM (#23986873)

    I hear Ballmer is really into poniez.

  • by NotInfinitumLabs (1150639) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:18PM (#23986875)
    Microsoft would first have to get over its "Not Invented Here" syndrome. One of the things that has driven Microsoft to try and achieve domination over all things software is the belief that everything they shit out is GOLD, they can do it better than everyone else, and the other guys's stuff is crap and deserves to fail. They pretty much believe that they're the center of the computing universe. Opening up and embracing FOSS would mean that other people are LOOKING AT and TOUCHING their code, submitting PATCHES, who do these people THINK they ARE?! This is high-quality Microsoft code, mister! Keep your grubby hands off of it! Oh god, I feel so unclean, the stink won't come off!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft could give each open source developer a wheel barrow filled with gold and they would bitch about having to push it to the car. Why does anyone post any MS related article on /.? I just love it when MS is compared to the Nazi party and Bill Gates is called Hitler. It is as clear an indication as any just how out of touch the Open Source community is. Hitler murdered over 6 million people and Bill Gates ran a software company...? I am not seeing the comparison.
  • It's [youtube.com] a [itsatrap.net] trap! [youtube.com]

  • Let's see - at this point we've got 20 comments that basically say "we don't believe anything Microsoft says" and one guy that's still sucking his thumb. I think maybe the majority have a valid point here...
  • Bill Gates has left the campus but he still owns a large number of shares. About 857,499,336, says Yahoo Finance.

    Microsaur stock is still a good value with over 80% of the market using its products. The shareholders are not interested in ideals that don't create stock value.

    El Presidente Generalisimo Lanzero de SillÃnes Ballmero (408,252,990 shares) represents these people. He's the kind of leader that the shareholders want... They just wish he wasn't such an embarrassment. (As erratic and blustery as

  • If he's gone, we can see what happens. Until then, no, its not going to happen as they are still at war with everyone else on the software planet. Especially OSS.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:32PM (#23986963)

    'There is no doubt that Microsoft has no choice but to acknowledge that the closed development model for building software doesn't work any more.'

    Their reasoning is circular. It will happen because it will happen and they have no choice but to acknowledge it.

    An incredibly flimsy argument at best.

  • by click2005 (921437) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:35PM (#23986987)

    I think Microsoft will end up announcing that Vista will be free for non-commercial use.

    They wont release the source code but Windows will end up being free. They spread enough FUD that it wouldn't be hard to to convince a lot of people that free=open source. But better than open source because you don't have to set-up complex compilers and development environments you just need the binaries (yes i know but its FUD remember). Better because it stops someone inserting malicious code into the source.. the usual FUD.

    They sell Windows to schools so cheap just to stop Linux getting much of a foothold anyway that giving it away wont make that much difference. They'll still charge for Vista Ultimate/Pro/Uber-bloat or whatever its called but tie it in with online services.. for a small monthly fee. Vista for free and get Office/their gaming gaming thing/online media services for $15 per month.

  • by et764 (837202) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:35PM (#23986989)

    I feel like Microsoft has taken some important steps towards playing nice with Open Source, and encouraging interoperability. Some examples include projects like IronPython, the WIX Installer tools, the fact that Silverlight actually supports at least one non-Windows platform, and the extremely detailed communications protocol documents recently released on MSDN. Sure, part of this has been for legal compliance reasons, and it turns out customers value things like interoperability.

    I think there's a subtler reason that will become more apparent in the coming years. Microsoft needs to hire new employees if it wants to stay relevant, and it competes with the likes of Google and others for these new hires. It also happens that probably the very best college candidates are the ones that have contributed to open source projects. These are the students that went beyond what their curriculum required of them, and showed the drive to understand and contribute to a real-world project on their spare time. This kind of experience is valuable in a new hire, but many of them would be turned off by an anti open source attitude and look for more open source-friendly employers. In other words, to attract the best young minds (which is crucial to Microsoft's long term success), Microsoft is going to have to become much more friendly to open source projects.

  • Working on Linux?
    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:03PM (#23987149) Homepage Journal

      I would love to see MS programmers working on Linux, they would be freed of the crippling bureaucratic management that has done nothing but reduce their efforts to a thick, oily, billowing cloud of pure FAIL rolling across the fields of technology.

      I worked with an ex-Microsoftie who'd been part of the NT kernel and SQL Server teams and he was incredibly knowledgeable and really sharp. I'm sure Microsoft has its share of loser programmers, but they are far outweighed by its loser management which is drenched with the stink of FAIL all the way to its chair-throwing. triple-Y chromosomed, chrome-domed top.

      Ever been to MS Research? They are on to some really cool stuff. Too bad all the neat stuff they make never makes it into a shipping product, because it doesn't further upper management's goals of tyranny and world domination. Remember, the user experience is irrelevant to management, it's all about lock-in and unfair competition. If it was about making a better product, Vista would still be in development.

  • They will only become involved with open source insofar as it suits their ends (At minimum) and dilutes or destroys open source software as a category of human endeavour.

    They are not to be trusted. Proof? Bob.

    RS

    • not that bob was open source, but that it was a POS beyond human imagining, but it was a boondogle tht served them. Until it didn't.
  • MS has to get away from code as product altogether. No one cares what's open and what's not in the business market world. Look to MS to buy Amazon or eBay.

  • ... it really has nothing to do with Gates moving on, MS learning how to understand OSS and work with it has been happening for a while.

    http://osrin.net/2008/06/im-a-believer/ [osrin.net]

  • by NZheretic (23872) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:01PM (#23987141) Homepage Journal
    First posted in 2002 : What's the Business Case for Microsoft and Open Source? [slashdot.org]
    Green envy and spam [slashdot.org]

    With apologies to Dr "Suse", to the tune of "Green Eggs and Ham".

    Linux can. Linux can. Use Linux.

    That Linux can! That Linux can! I do not like that Linux can!

    Do you like open sourcing plan?

    I do not like that Linux can. I do not like the open sourcing plan.

    Would you like to free source share?

    I would not like to free source share. I would not like it anywhere. I do not like open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

    Would you like it very stable? Would you like it to enable?

    I do not like it very stable. I do not like it to enable. I do not like to free source share. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like the open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

    Would you use it in a X-Box? Would you use it if it ROCKS?

    Not on X-box. Not if it rocks. Not if very stable. Not to enable. I would not let them free source share. I would not let them anywhere. I would not allow open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

    Would you? Could you? In your biz? Use it! Use it! Here it is.

    I would not, could not, in our biz.

    You may like it. You will see. You may like it if it's free!

    I would not, could not if its free. Not in our biz! It should never be!

    I do not like it on the X-box. I do not like it that it rocks. I do not like it amongst our biz. I do not like it that it is. I do not like they free source share. I do not like that anywhere. I do not like that Linux can. I do not like you Linux man!

    service! service! service! service! Could you, would you, as a service?

    Not as a service! Not if it's free! Not in my biz! Man! Let not it be! I would not, could not, on a X-box. I could not, would not, if it rocks. I will not use it if its stable. I will not use it even to enable. I will not let them free source share. I will not let them anywhere. I do not like open sourcing plan. I do not like that Linux can.

    Say! if in copyleft? always free copyleft! Would you, could you, copyleft?

    I would not, could not, in copyleft.

    Would you, could you, why so nervous?

    I would not, could not, I'm NOT nervous. Not as copyleft. Not as a service. Not in my biz. Not if it's free. I do not like that it can, you see. Not if it's stable. Not on X-box. Not to enable. Not if it rocks. I will not let them free source share. I do not like it anywhere!

    You do not like open sourcing plan?

    I do not like that Linux can.

    Could you, would you use what we wrote?

    I would not, could not, use what you wrote!

    Would you, could you, to avoid your bloat?

    I could not, would not, avoid bloat. I will not, will not, use what you wrote. I will not compete with them as a service. I will not because it makes us nervous. Not in our biz! Not if it's free! Not if it is! You let me be! I do not like it on the X-Box. I do not like it that it Rocks. I will not use it if it's stable. I do not like that it does enable. I do not like they free source share. I do not like it ANYWHERE I do not like open sourcing plan!I do not like that, Linux can.

    You do not like it. So you say. Try it! Try it! And you may. Try it and you may, I say.

    Man! If you will let me be, I will try it. You will see.

    Say! I like open sourcing plan! I do! I like that, Linux can! And I would use it because it's stable. And I could use it to enable...

    And I could charge for providing a service. And I could copyleft without being nervous. And in my biz. And still source free. For you can still charge for a service fee!

    So I will use it on the networked X-box. And I will promote it because it ROCKS. And I will use it because it's stable. And I will use it to enable.

    And I will use it here and there. Say! I can use it ANYWHERE!

    I do so like open sourcing plan! Thank you! Thank you, Linux man!

    By The Cat with the Red Hat

  • Of course (Score:3, Funny)

    by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:16PM (#23987203)

    Cuz we all know that Bill Gates was at the forefront, standing fast on the thin red line between Microsoft and the open source hordes. Now that he's out of the way, I'm sure there'll be no other obstacles.

  • Wanna see something funny?
    hardware specs page [myopenrouter.com].....

    rriiiiiiggghhhhtttt clearly open source. we'll know exactly how to use this.

  • "They have to" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:19PM (#23987217)

    That's Internet Bubble talk.

    There's still no definitive evidence that there's a viable business model in an open source, software only company.

    Most profitable "open source" companies are in the closed hardware business and just use Linux inside.

    It's still an open question whether traditional companies who buy open source companies like MySQL will ever see their investment pay off. What is the balance sheet for Sun with respect to Star/Open Office?

    If you had inside information that MS was going to make all their products open source, that would be a great time to sell the stock short.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pastis (145655)

      "There's still no definitive evidence that there's a viable business model in an open source, software only company."

      * jboss
      * mysql
      * mozilla
      * exo platform
      * ...

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:55PM (#23987377)
    This just means they're buying some NetGear wireless routers.
  • by Dwonis (52652) * on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:57AM (#23987653)

    Given Microsoft's scathing history, including its tendency to promise lots of wonderful things it never delivers, I'll believe it when I've seen it happen for a few years. Microsoft has a lot to apologize for, and I certainly wouldn't be making any concessions for them for at least the next 5-10 years.

    This is not the time to be giving MS representatives positions on the boards of say, the Free Software Foundation or the Open Source Initiative.

    Microsoft is not a leader in the world of free and open-source software. It is a latecomer---a very late comer. Having a large pile of money doesn't change that, and it's perfectly reasonable to ask Microsoft to prove itself over the course of years before it is to be trusted.

    Microsoft could just as easily be using Gates' departure as yet another opportunity to try to fool us all. If that's true, I hope people don't fall for it.

  • by zerofoo (262795) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @11:32AM (#23990749)

    There is a current movement underway to slowly replace Microsoft at many companies.

    At my company, we are slowly rolling out Macs, Google apps, and Linux. Sure, we still have Active Directory, Exchange and SQL, but they are of the 2003/2005 variety. We have NO plans to go to Vista, 2008 server, Exchange 2007, or SQL 2008.

    Gmail will eventually replace our Exchange 2003 server, and the ONE application that needs SQL 2005 is running on a terminal server.

    Even if MS gave their products away, we still would not consider them. They offer nothing in terms of usability, functionality, stability, or security over their competitors.

    MS right now is fucked (they may be starting to realize this). I've been to a couple new product launch events for Microsoft recently, and I can't see one reason to buy their new stuff. ISVs are starting to make their products OS independent (or, at least, support multiple platforms) - thanks to Apple's desktop market share.

    Companies will keep the old stuff and when it is time to replace it, MS will probably not be considered. It won't happen overnight - it will take a decade or so.

    -ted

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