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Linus Calls Microsoft Hatred "a Disease" 634

Hugh Pickens writes "In the aftermath of Microsoft's recent decision to contribute 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community, Christopher Smart of Linux Magazine talked to Linus Torvalds and asked if the code was something he would be happy to include, even though it's from Microsoft. 'Oh, I'm a big believer in "technology over politics." I don't care who it comes from, as long as there are solid reasons for the code, and as long as we don't have to worry about licensing etc. issues,' says Torvalds. 'I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out.' Smart asked Torvalds if Microsoft was contributing the code to benefit the Linux community or Microsoft. 'I agree that it's driven by selfish reasons, but that's how all open source code gets written! We all "scratch our own itches." It's why I started Linux, it's why I started git, and it's why I am still involved. It's the reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree,' says Torvalds. 'So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That's the point of open source — the ability to make the code better for your particular needs, whoever the "your" in question happens to be.'"
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Linus Calls Microsoft Hatred "a Disease"

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  • by salimma ( 115327 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:51PM (#28821417) Homepage Journal
    That was a succint overview of the difference between open source and free software, though to be fair, even pragmatic free software supporters would find this new contribution by Microsoft as a positive thing.
  • What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xocet_00 ( 635069 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:03PM (#28821537)
    Do you honestly believe the whole open source movement depends on people uniting around a hatred for Microsoft, as opposed to sharing a love for innovation and technology?

    Sorry if that sounds kind if "hippy", but saying that the entire FOSS world is based around nothing but hatred for a particular corporation really cheapens the accomplishments of the people involved.
  • by f0dder ( 570496 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:09PM (#28821575)
    Ironic this story is coming from kdawson. He's like the Fox News guy from Slashdot. The story doesn't have to be true if it garners a ton of posts. His stories about MS are often shallow, w/ summary full of some perceived slight often having nothing to do with the story. This often induces a feeding frenzy as MS haters who take the bait goes. My only reason why this continues is that these bring a lot of ad revenue to Slashdot.
  • Thank you Linus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tsaot ( 859424 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:34PM (#28821765) Homepage
    I just have to put a big Thank You out to Linus. This uproar over MS putting out this code is ridiculous. MS sells programs to make money. True in the past they have not been the friendliest of companies, but point me to a major OS vendor that has. The fact that MS even wrote this code so that virtualized Linux machines will work better under its HyperV is fantastic! Not only are they recognizing Linux as a useful OS, but they are participating in the community appropriately. They wrote code for the OS that used GPL'd code, so they released their code. As Linus points out, this is how the GPL is supposed to work! You need something added? Write it and release what you wrote. What else do you expect from MS? "Oh, I see Gnometris is using 10 year old sprites, I'm going to be nice and upgrade it to vector based graphics"?

    MS deserves hate for some things, but when they play by the rules is hardly one of them.
  • Re:Um, no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:36PM (#28821781) Journal

    So copyright infringement is theft? Or did they steal their only physical copy from the lab, denying DEC from using their own software?

  • by actionbastard ( 1206160 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:37PM (#28821793)

    While we all love to 'bash' Microsoft and its tactics here, on occasion, please let' s not lose sight as to why they released this code. They did so because it contained both open and closed source components and were issuing them with both a closed and open source license. Those who aren't 'new around here' know that licensing them in this fashion is a violation of the GPLv2 terms. So basically they did this to avoid any 'repercussions' from the community -not that that would stop anyone anyway- and not out of a sense of 'contribution' to the FOSS movement. Ramji and the legal department at Microsoft probably had one of those 'Oh, SNAP!' moments and decided it was best to look like benefactors than the 'evil hive of scum and villainy' that most people perceive them as.

  • Re:+1 for Linus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msimm ( 580077 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:49PM (#28821887) Homepage
    He's funny too, if you read his biography.
  • by Abalamahalamatandra ( 639919 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:49PM (#28821889)

    I don't hate Microsoft, in fact I've done quite a few implementations of Exchange and SharePoint and AD for companies in the past.

    But I do understand that they're a typical scumbag corporate giant acting the way scumbag corporate giants do - trying to make it so that you HAVE to buy their product because you have no other choice.

    So now I make sure that I don't become dependent on that product by actively avoiding it wherever possible - which means my home family machine, my personal laptops, and my work machine all run Ubuntu quite happily. And when people ask me how I do it, I happily show them so they know they have that option too. Does it involve sacrifice? Yes, a little bit, and less every day. But it also involves great advantages, namely that I don't have to worry much at all about my wife and kids visiting the wrong Web site (and that's all it takes!) and getting our family machine rooted nine ways to Sunday, leading to my bank accounts being emptied out. That's really the stakes here.

    Could I spend all my time positively hating Microsoft and all that they do? Yes, I could, but I'd rather spend my time making sure they don't matter to me. Recently I read an article about Microsoft's change in the upgrade rules, meaning you have to jump through more hoops to do a bare install from an upgrade CD. In the past, I would have been ticked off and hated Microsoft more. Now, I just thought "man, sucks to be you if you're still a Windows user" and moved on to trying out the latest Ubuntu alpha release and looking for bugs. Much more productive use of my time, and more hurtful to MS as well, because it means Ubuntu will be a better OS if the bugs I find are fixed.

  • Re:Thank you Linus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:49PM (#28821891) Homepage Journal

    Kirk: They're animals!
    Linus: Jim, they're an historic opportunity here.
    Kirk: Don't believe them. Don't trust them.
    Linus: They're dying.
    Kirk: Let them die!

  • by baboo_jackal ( 1021741 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:57PM (#28821945)
    And before the deluge of, "OMG, Cutler stole IP," or whatever, consider that the bulk of Cutler's career has been... Designing and implementing OSes. How many people in the world do that? It'd be like New Line Cinemas suing, say, Paramount if Peter Jackson went to make movies for them claiming, "These are too much like our epic movies."
  • Re:What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:08PM (#28822047)

    A large majority of the Linux movement does, in fact, depend on people uniting around hatred of Microsoft. It's one of the defining differences between the Linux and BSD communities.

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:30PM (#28822243)

    Hatred of Microsoft is indeed a problem. A healthy mistrust of them and everything they put their stamp on, however, is not only rational but frankly quite prudent. After everything Microsoft has done to this industry, having done so little for it, they have a lot to prove. They have not yet proven it to my satisfaction, or apparently ot a lot of people's..

  • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:40PM (#28822315)

    See, you think you're being clever but all you're doing is proving the point. The fact that somebody is being an idiot doesn't mean you aren't as well. Nor does it excuse your being one.

    Steve Ballmer has a disease with his hatred for open source? Call up the newspapers, that's clearly breaking news! But so do you, and the other people who perpetuate the exact same thing back at them. "But he started it!" is a two-year-old's response. You're every bit as bad as he is, you just lack the resources to perpetuate it on his scale.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:55PM (#28822439) Journal

    Indeed. There needs to be more IT workers out there with actual knowledge of interoperability. The organization I work for is pretty much committed to Exchange/Outlook (a good deal of money was invested long before I came along). As well, a good deal of the infrastructure is controlled via Active Directory and Group Policies. And yet, I have Samba fileservers running as member servers, Linux firewalls, OpenVPN, OpenOffice is used on a number of workstations and there are even a few Ubuntu desktops for generic use.

    It's been an interesting ride, but I'm finally getting this heterogeneous set of server and workstation components working together with high availability; thus using existing software assets, but controlling licensing costs by plugging in open source alternatives where possible. What's more, from a purely career aspect, I'm looking a whole helluva lot more desirable than some chump whose got nothing but Microsoft certifications.

  • by RR ( 64484 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:09PM (#28822551)

    Because people like me will never use open soruce if it doesn't work and play well with the realities of earning a living. If you want an entirely isolated hippie utopia commune, hey, feel free, but you'll have no effect on the world of grown-ups.

    Insulting ad hominem... How did this get modded 5 insightful? (Feel free not to answer. The question is rhetorical.)

    I have no opinion on adding the Microsoft drivers. It's Linus's project. However, it's a mistake to discount the idealism that inspired the GNU project. Stallman could have made workarounds so his systems worked, hacked his way into a historical footnote. Instead, he chose to build his own OS based on freedom, and I think he certainly made an impact on "the world of grown-ups."

  • Re:Um, yes. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:16PM (#28822599)

    Dave Cutler didn't architect VMS. Dave was one of the developers.

    Dave Cutler [wikipedia.org] was most certainly an architect of VMS:

    In April 1975, DIGITAL began a hardware project, code named Star, to design on a 32-bit virtual address extension to its PDP-11. In June 1975, Dave together with Dick Hustvedt, and Peter Lippman were appointed the technical project leaders for the software project, code-named Starlet, to develop a totally new operating system for the Star family of processors. These two projects were tightly integrated from the beginning. The three technical leaders of the Starlet project together with three technical leaders of the Star project formed the "Blue Ribbon Committee" at DIGITAL who produced the fifth design evolution for the programs. The design featured simplifications to the memory management and process scheduling schemes of the earlier proposals and the architecture was accepted. The Star and Starlet projects culminated in the development of the VAX-11/780 superminicomputer and the VAX/VMS operating system, respectively.

    DIGITAL began working on RISC technology in 1986 and Cutler, who was then working in DEC's DECWest facility in Bellevue, Washington, was elected to head Prism, a project to develop the company's RISC machine. Its operating system, code named Mica, would embody the next generation of design principles and have a compatibility layer for UNIX and VMS.

    Dave took what he learned at D.E.C. and "brought it over to Microsoft."

    Yes. He changed employers. Just like millions of people do every day. Just like you probably have several times.

    Microsoft wooed him over, paid him extra, and got W/NT (note the letters are one higher than VMS).

    I note that you're an idiot.

    FACT: Microsoft's W/NT used concepts and code from DEC VMS

    Of course the concepts are similar - they were designed by the same person. What evidence do you have that VMS code was used by Microsoft ?

    Microsoft elected to pay DEC instead of defend in court and maybe lose the right to use the stolen code

    Thousands of lawsuits are settled out of court. What's your point ?

    The truth IS out there as anyone who reads the interwebs will see.

    Should be pretty simple for you to provide some evidence then.

  • by Johnny Loves Linux ( 1147635 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:40PM (#28822741)

    >Because people like me will never use open soruce if it doesn't work and play well with the realities of earning a living. If you want an entirely isolated hippie utopia commune, hey, feel free, but you'll have no effect on the world of grown-ups. If you want open source to become normal and accepted in datacenters and desktops world-wide, then this Microsoft move is a good thing. A great thing, even.

    I just like point out that google, the largest datacenter in the world runs Linux. Also, the majority of the web servers, dns servers, routers, firewalls, etc, run on Linux. Seeing as how pretty much everyone on the internet sooner or later *must* touch Linux one way or another I think that on the contrary, people who have hangups about Free Software are going to find it increasingly difficult to isolate themselves from it. I don't think it's appropriate to disparage those of us who choose Free software because we believe in Freedom of use.

    As a linux user, I don't run Linux because I hate Microsoft (I don't hate Microsoft anymore. What's the point? They're irrelevant to me.). I run Linux because I love Linux for its performance and how it works for me instead of me for it.

  • by RaymondKurzweil ( 1506023 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @09:30PM (#28823385) Journal

    Having claimed or opined that the GPL "is an awesome" license I of course assume that you are well aware of its wording.

    For the GPLv3: Why do you think Section 11 and Section 10 are completely useless? Is it a legal technicality in your opinion, or something more than that?

    For the GPLv2 (which is what applies in this case): Patents are mentioned a few times in the Preamble and section 7 IIRC. Basically, since Microsoft is the copyright holder of the code (the "contributor"), how can they loophole their way around the requirements in the GPL that patents covering a contribution must be royalty-free to all parties eligible for the licensed software?

    While if I personally, or IBM, or someone else release software that (either knowingly or unknowingly) infringes on Microsoft's patents, it is obvious that Microsoft never gave up their right to make claims, this is somewhat different. Microsoft is releasing this code themselves. If they turn around and claim that some of this particular code is patent encumbered by their own patents, how do you think they will get around the "implicit free licensing" requirement in the GPLv2.

  • by Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @10:24PM (#28823667) Journal

    What I was trying to get across was that "x is not a valid choice" doesn't hold up very well when what x actually conforms to the 4 freedoms. He seems to be implying that the driver is only valid under those freedoms if something that uses the driver is also covered by those freedoms. So, we're in the position where he says the driver is invalid because it only has a non-free application, even though it is actually free - and I think semantics is a dangerous game to start playing here. It risks fracturing what tenuous alliance there is between Linus and RMS even further.

    So yes, it was a bit of a snark, but it wasn't a full-blown troll - I wasn't looking for a negative reaction, just a discussion. I had a point in there somewhere, but I'm damned if I can explain it at 3am.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:11AM (#28824221)

    | "but it reflects poorly on yourself and the community when you do it."

    I love your points and you make good sense, but I'll never understand why one-off euphemisms for Microsoft get under the Slashdot crowd's collective skin so much.

    One need only consider the bedrock artifact of The Jargon File to see that silly nicknames for companies, machines, platforms, and products goes back to the dawn of hacker culture. Abbreviating it 'M$' and other forms is just a shorthand for indicating the company's greed - used in context, it indicates an extra shade of meaning.

    We do that with everything. We even direct that kind of humor at ourselves, for instance calling X Windows "X-rated Windows", calling Solaris "Slowlaris", FreeBSD "freeBDSM" and so on. "Ubunutu" is one I've seen, referring to the sometimes overly zealous fan base of Ubuntu (which it has earned anyway).

    Harmless good fun. Not the kind of thing you put at the top of a formal press release, but there are comments on a social geek site, for Heaven's sake.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spyowl ( 838397 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @05:51AM (#28825587)

    Maybe Slashdot isn't representative of the Linux community, but if it's not-- what is?

    Nothing. /. represents nothing more than the /. community. Not the "Linux community" (if there is such a thing), not the OSS community, not even the virgin community, etc.

    Quite frankly, Linux is so big and so spread out already, there is no single "community" that covers everyone and everything. There are a lot of communities. But, hey, generalizations are fun and poking fun at "loons" is cute, so why not - pick your labels and hit the gas.

    More to the point of the original article - that's the typical Linus position on these things. But like many other times, he sidesteps the issue (like a politician, ironically) and argues against a modified point. It's kind of like when politicians come on TV and start asking themselves and answering their own questions, completely ignoring the issue at hand.

    But on the other hand, we already know what his positions on the issues are, so it doesn't really matter. Linus wants to support Linux, not the principle of Free software. Linus doesn't care if a thief steals his expensive TV and then sells the remote control back to him at a really good price. He'll buy the remote control and tell you not to hate the thief.

  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:19AM (#28834299) Homepage Journal

    "But why does anybody listen to RMS anymore? "

    Because he points out to problems that appear to be just theoretical before they become practical ones.

    As for his eccentric behaviour, I could not care less. It is a logical fallacy to judge a message by the perceived faults of character of the person delivering it.

VMS must die!