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Microsoft Open Source Stats Linux

Microsoft Counted As Key Linux Contributor 305

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
alphadogg writes "For the first time ever, Microsoft can be counted as a key contributor to Linux. The company, which once portrayed the open-source OS kernel as a form of cancer, has been ranked 17th on a tally of the largest code contributors to Linux. The Linux Foundation's Linux Development Report, released Tuesday, summarizes who has contributed to the Linux kernel, from versions 2.6.36 to 3.2. The 10 largest contributors listed in the report are familiar names: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. But the appearance of Microsoft is a new one for the list, compiled annually."
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Microsoft Counted As Key Linux Contributor

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  • whoa (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:20PM (#39564533)

    Did hell freeze over already??

    • Re:whoa (Score:5, Informative)

      by Soilworker (795251) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:23PM (#39564613)

      No. Microsoft just found a way to make money on open source OS.

      • Re:whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:31PM (#39564713)

        My understanding is a lot of the stuff they contribute is to get things that should be interoperable there, eg. smb and of course interop helps sell a more hetrogenous environment to corps (so they don't all run and flee to linux, but also linux doesn't break when talking to a Win server).

        • by tibit (1762298)

          IIRC from reading the forums and bugreports, samba has accumulated plenty of printing regressions since 3.2 or so, and nothing was ever done about them. It's been quite long since one could use, say, driver for HP LaserJet 8000/8100 directly via samba, without using a local printer port :(

          • Re:whoa (Score:5, Informative)

            by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @05:05PM (#39566021)

            IIRC from reading the forums and bugreports, samba has accumulated plenty of printing regressions since 3.2 or so, and nothing was ever done about them. It's been quite long since one could use, say, driver for HP LaserJet 8000/8100 directly via samba, without using a local printer port :(

            It's also been a long time since I've seen a network-connected printer that didn't have an IPP server built in.

            Come to it, it's actually been a long while since I've seen anybody try to use SAMBA to host a print server. Just use CUPS or some other IPP server if you don't have a printer with built-in print capability.

            • by tibit (1762298)

              It's a windows domain environment. You log in, you see printers, the drivers get autoinstalled. How again would I do it with CUPS/IPP?

              • Re:whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

                by ogdenk (712300) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @07:40PM (#39567433)

                Seems to work fine in OSX. Not sure what you're talking about. IPP printers can be autoinstalled as well as SMB. Can even participate in a Windows Domain and be managed by the domain if you want including scripted mapping of printers and shares. Linux can enjoy most of the same goodies with a little effort.

                Quit acting like Microsoft invented LDAP and autoconfiguration. Been around a long time. If it doesn't work in your environment, ditch the retard MCSE and hire a real network admin that knows what he's doing with a broad scope on more than one platform.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          If that's the case, they've got a lot of explaining to do. Windows/Samba interoperability has been getting progressively worse over the past several years. Not only have updates to Windows broken Samba file servers (particularly, things which haven't been fixed or won't be fixed at any point, relying on registry hacks instead), but Samba updates have clobbered quite a few things, as well.

          What is your basis of understanding?

          My impression has been that almost all of their efforts have been put forward towards

          • I heard a talk somewhere about SMB 2.2 features and how the standards were going to get published to help others adapt. You're probably right that most things are Hyper-V somehow I mentally mapped published protocol to "help with protocol".

            • Re:whoa (Score:4, Insightful)

              by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bobNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:03AM (#39568745) Journal

              I heard a talk somewhere about SMB 2.2 features and how the standards were going to get published to help others adapt.

              Yes, Microsoft published SMB standards out of the goodness of their hearts, and the threat of continuation of fines of US$2.39 million/day unless they complied.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Microsoft_competition_case

              Then they promptly changed their OS so it wouldn't interoperate with the standard...

    • Re:whoa (Score:5, Funny)

      by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:42PM (#39564871)

      Why not? It looks like this will be the year of the linux desktop!

    • BS MS Marketeers on /. ,,, W3 are funded and rampant.

      MS advertising has gone 607-viral

  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:20PM (#39564535) Journal

    I was wondering "why the hell?" TFA says:

    "Much of the work Microsoft did centers around providing drivers for its own Hyper-V virtualization technology. Microsoft's Hyper-V, part of Windows Server, can run Linux as a guest OS."

    Why that couldn't be included in the summary?

    • by John Mister (2609887) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564575)
      Microsoft has always been one of the best innovators about new technology. Against the popular belief on Slashdot, they have contributed a lot to computer technology, innovations, and of course, Linux too. Stop the hate and accept that Microsoft also has many technically knowledgeable persons who also contribute to Linux. When reading this hate about MS I can't but think that YOU are who is having problems with dealing with it.
      • by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:23PM (#39564617) Homepage Journal
        I didn't see any hate there, just surprise that a company was contributing to what is essentially a rival product. That's pretty reasonable, and doesn't portray Microsoft in a bad light at all.
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          It really doesn't make much sense. They are helping Android Linux to beat Windows Phone.

          • The Linux portion of Android is about the same as the MS-DOS portion of Windows 9x. Everything else runs on a VM.

        • by crutchy (1949900)
          keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

          ...or just contribute dodgy code to their kernel that introduces all sorts of vulnerabilities for those that use it, which might make those poor suckers give up running a superior rival product as a guest on top of a dodgy one
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        > Microsoft has always been one of the best innovators about new technology. Not really. Microsoft are early adopters, but they are not really innovators who discover new stuff (with a few exceptions). Ask yourself who invented: TCP/IP? virtualization? 3D graphics? MP3s? the web browser? DOS? vector display graphics and printing? the spreadsheet? the word-processor? the smart phone? Javascript? VM based applications (nb: .NET is a Windows-oriented re-implementation of the JVM that has been extended in us
      • by tibit (1762298)

        In all seriousness, there's some cool stuff coming out from Microsoft Research. Everything else, if it can be considered innovative, is half-baked. The dimwits who specified and documented winapi had no clue how to formally specify stuff. Thus all the undocumented behavior that applications exploit in light of no documentation and no clear direction as to the rationale and intended uses behind various APIs. Thus we have stuff that MS had to work around over and over to maintain compatibility with broken app

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aiht (1017790)

          In all seriousness, there's some cool stuff coming out from Microsoft Research. Everything else, if it can be considered innovative, is half-baked. The dimwits who specified and documented winapi had no clue how to formally specify stuff. Thus all the undocumented behavior that applications exploit in light of no documentation and no clear direction as to the rationale and intended uses behind various APIs. Thus we have stuff that MS had to work around over and over to maintain compatibility with broken applications; stuff that wine people have to deal with as well. As far as MS complaining that app writers are getting things wrong: well duh idiots, you can't write the docs, you'll pay for it. Yeah, I've been consistently pissed about that, even back in the times of 16 bit winapi -- even as a kid back then I realized that they were not saying things that should have been said.

          Of course with various non-standard Linux APIs, you're entirely on your own. But at least there's no pretense of documentation, and you can look at the code.

          Wow, you've really managed to piss off an AC today, huh?

          As a fun example of winapi, I happen to have an MSDN page open right now on the GetDIBits function. It copys bitmap pixels around, and it returns:
          on success: nonzero or "the number of scan lines copied from the bitmap." (because that's very helpful)
          on failure: 0
          Then it also says "This function can return the following value: ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER"
          And what is the value of ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER? 87
          How does someone sit down a design an API that

      • by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:41PM (#39565731)

        Microsoft has always been one of the best innovators about new technology. Against the popular belief on Slashdot, they have contributed a lot to computer technology, innovations, and of course, Linux too.

        First, I really hope you do some investigation on the history of Microsoft and the products that they claim to have innovated. You will find that many of us have very legitimate bias against Microsoft and their so called "innovation".

        Example: Microsoft during Windows 95 release was adamant about not producing a TCP/IP stack for Windows claiming that the Internet was a waste of time and there is nobody in their right mind that would use it. Microsoft released and poured cash into their own proprietary network protocol (NetBUI).

        When the hopes of crushing the Internet were dashed, Microsoft started releasing a TCP stack which broke communication with non Windows hosts. The original TCP/IP specification was to respond to an ACK once. Microsoft released a stack which sent and expected 2, and invented the term "Crippled Network" for anything that did not respond that way. Throttling bandwidth to any non-Microsoft host to make it appear that anything was slower than Microsoft. (An interesting piece of trivia is that most *NIX was still faster than Windows at networking even with the throttled bandwidth.).

        Sun found the (to be kind) quirk that Microsoft had build in to their TCP/IP stack. This was reported everywhere, and most vendors started releasing similar code because Microsoft refused to follow the specification. As vendors migrated their stacks, Microsoft increased the ACK count again. At least they stopped reporting any non windows host as "crippled" which stopped many of the complaints to other vendors about "Why does windows show your OS as crippled?"

        This is a company that has done the same with any open specification that they adopt. Kerberos, NFS, LDAP, and the list can go on and on and on.

        When it comes to "innovation", Microsoft does do a good job of watching the market and buying up things that appear to be good. Often times, this puts many other good companies out of business. Example here is that in WIndows 98 time, there were several web rating companies. NetNanny, Cybersitter, and more. Windows liked their ideas so much, they put a very limited and broken version of that service in to Windows and put all of those companies out of business. Not so much innovation here, but rather a predatory method of dealing with competition which people dislike.

        Stop the hate and accept that Microsoft also has many technically knowledgeable persons who also contribute to Linux. When reading this hate about MS I can't but think that YOU are who is having problems with dealing with it.

        Honestly, I think Microsoft has done a good job at giving people a consistent look and feel on a computer. For some odd reason, they do away with in Windows 7, and Office 2010 and the "Ribbons" which is why there is such a low adoption rate and Microsoft started losing more market share than they should.

        Outside of the look and feel, Microsoft has not innovated anything in the market. I wish that was a troll statement, but nothing they have done has been "new" or innovative. That's not to say that they have no patents, but every patent I have seen could be invalidated in court. Look at the 7 they are suing B&N for as an example. All 7 of those are either obvious or have prior art. Groklaw has lots of information [groklaw.net]

        When you see all the hate for Microsoft, do you ever wonder if it's warranted?

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:47PM (#39568159)

          Example: Microsoft during Windows 95 release was adamant about not producing a TCP/IP stack for Windows claiming that the Internet was a waste of time and there is nobody in their right mind that would use it. Microsoft released and poured cash into their own proprietary network protocol (NetBUI).

          Funfact: When I was working on my A+ back around 2004, the course material we used indicated that "one" of the communications protocols was TCPIP, but it was esoteric and of course everyone used NetBEUI.

          I think I still have the book talking about how the future is NetBEUI and how TCP/IP is some backwoods protocol that noone uses.

    • by 0racle (667029)
      It's a summary, not the whole article.
    • "Microsoft Serves Self" wouldn't be controversial enough for New Slashdot.

    • by miknix (1047580)

      Why that couldn't be included in the summary?

      The author wanted us to think, April fools!

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)

      Why that couldn't be included in the summary?

      Simple. Wouldn't be as sensationalist for those who didn't bother to read TFA and jumped straight to posting about hell freezing over. More comments, more ad views.

  • I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564561) Homepage

    Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

    • Re:I call B.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWX (665546) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:26PM (#39564645)
      If it increases interoperability, that is a rather high priority for any operating system whose proponents wish it to remain viable. I am no fan of Redmond, but I have managed to make a lot of money supporting their products.
      • Re:I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:29PM (#39564689) Homepage

        If you make a closed, proprietary system that is not interoperable, then work to change everybody else's system so that it can work with yours, do you really deserve a pat on the back for that? Every action from beginning to end was wholly self-serving.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        It doesn't increase interoperability. It increases the likelihood (or possibility) of dependence.

    • Re:I call B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by John Mister (2609887) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:26PM (#39564649)

      Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

      Why wouldn't it count as key contributions? Windows has market share of 95% on desktops and almost 50% on servers (used more on internal servers like exchange than your typical apache+centos cheapo host). Still, MS works to maintain some compatibility when they really have no reason to. I think that deserves some appreciation.

    • Re:I call B.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:34PM (#39564757) Homepage Journal

      Last I heard, all of Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel have been strictly to improve Linux support for Microsoft products, e.g. to allow Windows Server to be a host for Linux clients. That's fine, but it hardly counts as "key" contributions in my book.

      A large number of contributors put in source code which is "relevant to their interests". e.g. graphics card manufacturers contribute towards open source drivers and improvements to X.

      Personally I see nothing wrong with this, and quite frankly makes a good change from when Microsoft did everything possible to hide how their stuff works e.g. *cough*Samba*cough*

  • Hyper-V (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564565) Homepage Journal

    I do believe they've basically only added support for running Linux as a guest OS within their VM solution, Hyper-V. They haven't contributed to the betterment of Linux on the whole.

    • Re:Hyper-V (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:32PM (#39564725)

      I do think that's a legitimate contribution, even if it's obviously self-interested. To the extent that people use Hyper-V, it's good for Linux to have support for running under it, and it's good that Microsoft contributed the resources to make that happen instead of leaving it for other contributors to try to get it working. Similar to how Sun/Oracle employees contributed a considerable amount of the kernel's Xen support.

      It is fair to be aware that that's the entirety of their contribution, so it doesn't signal some more general engagement with kernel development.

      • I don't disagree with your assessment. I was just trying to make it clear what they contributed because the headline can easily be misconstrued. In proper /. fashion, I didn't read the article.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Alex Belits (437) *

        It's not legitimate at all. No one uses Hyper-V other but by mistake, or out of loyalty to Microsoft. Microsoft is trying to legitimize the use of its product at the expense of running Linux properly, and sabotages "Linux systems" that are built under virtualization.

        • by Kalriath (849904)

          Oh fuck off. People choose to use whatever product they want, and who are you to decree that they are doing it by mistake because you dislike their choices.

          God, OSS zealots piss me off more than "social media marketers".

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The hivemind approves of this post.

    • how is that any different than Red Hat's contributions to linux? aren't they also self serving? They make their money by providing support for linux, so it is in their own interest to make sure the OS remains relavent so that people want to use it.

    • Re:Hyper-V (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:03PM (#39565155)

      They haven't contributed to the betterment of Linux on the whole.

      I was with you on this for the past decade. Then on November of 2011, they went and did this [microsoft.com]. Real Linux drivers for SQL Server? Yeah!

      And if you don't think that counts towards the betterment of Linux, then we're just going to have to disagree!

      • by ianare (1132971)

        It's an improvement change in behavior from outright war, yes. But closed sourced drivers are rarely an improvement long term.

  • by BagOBones (574735) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:21PM (#39564579)

    It mentioned that most of it was Hyper-V drivers so you can run linux as a virtual machine on top of windows, but what else? If that is it, then it isn't a big deal and how little is everyone else contributing if this made them rise up the chart so much?

    • I think its still a big deal, for many enterprise customers that need to run Linux VM's and dont want to ( or cant ) spend the money on the ( better ) VMware solution.

    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:59PM (#39565095)

      About 24% of changes are the result of people who have not declared an association with any company, and there is a very long tail of companies that have small changes, so while the top 5 corporate contributers are fairly consistent, the top 20 varies significantly from release to release.

      In this case, these drivers have been 2.5 years in the making. They had been held out of the kernel for that time because their quality wasn't up-to-par before finally being approved. The metric used in this report basically comes down to git commits, and includes all the commits that were made in private git branches before being folded into the mainline kernel. So Microsoft has 2.5 years worth of work on Hyper-V credited to them during the 6 months in question, which amounts to 1% of the changes in that time period. It is a one-time blip, and not indicative of a trend.

  • by Lohrno (670867) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:22PM (#39564587)
    Several backdoors were found in the latest versions of the code...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:24PM (#39564619)

    Remember - they were threatened with having their HyperV drivers removed due to lack of support.

    And that could easily have spelled disaster for their cloud capability.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      And that could easily have spelled disaster for their cloud capability.

      Indeed, and I can't help but smile thinking about the reaction I would have had if back in 1997 you'd told me that one day Microsoft would be screwed if they didn't support Linux. :)

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:27PM (#39564663)

    This is linux, there list needs to go to daily builds :-)

  • I would be interested to see what these changes are. There is no link TFA.

  • Canonical (Score:4, Funny)

    by gtirloni (1531285) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:29PM (#39564685)
    Nice to see Canonical finally contributing something to the Linux kernel.

    Wait... Nevermind, my bad.
  • All your OS are belong to us (eventually.....)

  • My first though when checking out the report was: "Whoa, Microsoft contributed more to the linux kernel than Canonical itself"... but later I realized that Canonical is not even listed there. Maybe I am wrong, but I have this inner concept that Canonical would contribute to these projects just like Red Hat, since they are the most "open-source-focused" companies currently... Well, I guess they indeed are completely different companies with completely different goals, and Canonical is somewhat more focused i

    • MS contribution is for stuff to make Linux work on MS virtualization and interoperate with MS software since MS failed to convince all its customer to go pure windows so rather then risk customers going fully Unix, they now enable a mix. Pretty smart but it is self serving.

      Meanwhile Canonical has done a lot in making a distro with the linux kernel that is easily usable. Its install program is one of the smoothest I have seen, far superior to either MS or say a Red Hat, but that has nothing to do with the ke

  • I, for one, welcome our new top-contributing Microsoft overlords.
  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:05PM (#39565191)
    And yet, they haven't updated the linux version of Skype since they acquired the company. I have to wonder what their motivations are.
    • by Shippy (123643)
      The acquisition wasn't complete until October of last year. Not even six months ago. I'm sure one of their motivations for spending $8.5 billion includes getting their stuff to work on Windows Phone before worrying about Linux.
  • SCO. Whoops, did I really say that? Wipe, wipe, wipe...
  • ...and microsoft would disappear off the list again.

    it would also disappear if a team of competent kernel developers had a closer look at microsoft's contributions and cleaned out all the bloat
  • I'm surprised to see this as news; it was discussed about nine months ago in Jon Corbet's article in LWN.net [lwn.net].

    K. Y. Srinivasan topped the list of changeset contributors with a massive set of cleanups to the Microsoft HV driver in the staging tree; it's impressive to see how much cleanup less than 15,000 lines of code can require.

    It appears that Microsoft's contribution needed a lot of cleaning up to bring it up to scratch.

  • I'll never forget your line: "Come on, Linus, infect the mothership."
    I still believe that was the best recruiting pitch ever uttered.
    We both took a lot of criticism from our partisans, but look what we've accomplished.
    The world is using software that doesn't suck!

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.02/microsoft.html [wired.com]

  • Linux and all L/FOSS should beware of those (monoliths of bad software) barring gifts!

    Oracle, Microsoft ... are not there for fun; So, suspect (unintentional) damage to Linux and all L/FOSS is probable.

    I must use MS Vista and Office at work. MS products following XP have been problematic to say the least and have not gotten any better.

    Making Linux and all L/FOSS look bad is a marketing method that would make MS products look more secure and much better.

    ACCEPT -BUT- VERIFY everything.

  • by greenreaper (205818) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @07:47PM (#39567495) Homepage Journal
    . . . used for Microsoft topics? I miss that!
  • I won't buy Texas Instruments products to this day due to their old "802.11b +" cards that had a partial G draft implementation that would do 22Mbps - but only with Windows and absolutely refused to work with the open source community to support the cards.

    Later I had major issues with their 1394 chip [slashdot.org] and Linux, plus a couple of other things that turned up with TI chips that flat wouldn't work with anything but Windows.

    Then there was the whole rattling the saber over cracking their calculators open [theregister.co.uk].

    There aren't many companies of that size I can think of that have been less open source friendly. How can they contribute the the kernel while hating on Linux so much at the same time?

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