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01/26/2006 07:07 PM ID: 52481 Permalink   

Microsoft to Release Source Code for Windows

 

Microsoft has agreed to license the source code to the Windows Operating System. The decision was made to resolve a March 2004 ruling made by European Antitrust Regulators.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said, Microsoft would license the Windows source code as a result of the EU commission’s decisions.

The EU is threatening daily fines against Microsoft unless they release the source code. Microsoft claims that this decision will hurt consumers and software developers.

 
  Source: www.taipeitimes.com  
    WebReporter: slavefortheman Show Calling Card      
  Recommendation:  
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
   
  38 Comments
  
  Heh...  
 
Ouch, my software's free...
 
  by: p_g_chris   01/26/2006 08:26 PM     
  gota figure  
 
that MS is going to prolly only release certain portions of their code and it will probably cost you your first born to get a license to obtain the code.
 
  by: slavefortheman     01/26/2006 08:30 PM     
  Interesting  
 
I've dabbled around with various flavors of Linux, and while Wine-X is pretty helpful; it would have been nice to run more windows programs. Maybe this will get some healthy competition in the OS market. But it sucks for MS.
 
  by: RunsWithScissors   01/26/2006 08:51 PM     
  clarification  
 
MS has only agreed to release the source code for those parts of windows that are required for interoperability between windows and other systems as per the EU commission's demands and findings.

Microsoft is NOT releasing the bulk of windows source, only small amounts.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 12:03 AM     
  I wonder  
 
if they will release the code to the NTFS.

Also I hope that they release their DX code. That would be awesome to be able to play even more games under linux rather than have to boot up crumby ole winblows every time.
 
  by: slavefortheman     01/27/2006 12:14 AM     
  Finally...  
 
Right, as if they were worried that the consumers are going to be harmed, if my mind doesn't fail me there's another article that says Microsoft gave data to the feds, how's that for hurting the customers? Linux is a great OS, yes there isn't that many programs that you can run in it as there is for Windows, but if you do your research you can always find what you want, I could live without Microsoft.
 
  by: the_one   01/27/2006 12:35 AM     
  What they are releasing  
 
The source to several key system API's (no, not DirectX), that before now have not been documented or exposed. These API's allow easier integration with, and more efficient operation within the Windows environment.

The reason they are doing this is because they still don't want to actually expose their API's via documentation (the documentation they originally supplied was practicalyl incomprehensible, so rather than redocument the APIs clearly, they elected to offer the source (equally incomprehensible without a lot of study)). Will the EU commission accept it? I doubt it, but it gains another delay while MS plans their next move.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 12:45 AM     
  Of course  
 
The source itself is a poison pill for developers, who could face litigation in the future should they develop something that could possibly have been derived from the source they viewed.

Almost no-one hires ex-Microsoft developers for that very reason.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 12:46 AM     
  25 new viruses per day without Windows source code  
 
Anybody want to guess what the upsurge in nuisances will swing up to with part of the source code out?

I'm sure it will never "accidentally" fall into the hands of the public by means of an unsecured server...

Just like the software that sold in China for $5 a disk...

This could get real ugly...
 
  by: Moojoo     01/27/2006 01:27 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
Thanks, I thought that was the case. That is a good question. Is the source adequate exposure for developers to interface with the OS on an equal footing to MS developers? I think that if their internal developers have documentation about these APIs then it should be available to others to meet the anti-trust ruling.

One of the key APIs is the network authentication and encryption. If this is made available, then Linux (and others) can hide in active directory like a regular server or domain controller and it could decimate the MS server industry. (corporate desktops are pretty much tied in with Windows at the moment. virtualisation may change that...)
 
  by: jendres     01/27/2006 02:02 AM     
  @jendres  
 
Many businesses are migrating away from Exchange based systems to other directory services like OpenLDAP or Kerberos. There is also a plugin available that will enable linux desktops to work transparently with Exchange servers.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 02:09 AM     
  aahh no  
   
  by: Emp3r0r     01/27/2006 02:24 AM     
  lol  
 
kerberos is not a directory service.

And do you have any stats to back up that many companies are switching away from exchange servers to anything else???
 
  by: gimpsta     01/27/2006 02:29 AM     
  @gimsta  
 
No articles to hand, however there are articles out there that have these figures, and personally the businesses im in contact with part of my work are considering pilot studies for moving away from Exchange (mostly a license/cost issue).

Yeah Kerberos is not a directory service - my bad - it's an authentication system . I'm trying to think of the other directory service I was thinking of, but honestly OpenLDAP is the one that comes to mind.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 03:35 AM     
  ya  
 
I was only asking cause i personally have setup alot of exchange servers for businesses and done ALOT of contract work and never seen a nix email server at any real business. I was curious if there were stats showing people moving from exchange to *nix cuz ya it may be free, but i've yet to see a TOTAL replacement for the power of exchange / AD. Just my personal experience tho.
 
  by: gimpsta     01/27/2006 03:43 AM     
  oh and  
 
yes I know there are plenty of BIG businesses with non-exchange servers, just from what i've read/seen exchange still has the greater market share.
 
  by: gimpsta     01/27/2006 03:46 AM     
  NTFS  
 
Chances of NTFS code being released is slim to none. The code they are releasing really isn't all that valuable, and as someone previously stated, it will cost you your first born.
 
  by: SpeedRacer   01/27/2006 03:57 AM     
  @gimpsta  
 
I think it's not just the possibility of replacing Exchange/Active Directory, but a general movement towards an alternative enterprise stack. As you would be aware, the incumbent MS enterprise offerings are prohibitively expensive - we service a lot of smaller credit unions, and none of them can afford or want to fork out that kind of money if they have any choice about it.

You're right - a fully fledged enterprise stack does not exist yet, but combining Linux, Apache, Postgres, PHP/Python, JRUN (not sure if CF is available on linux at this stage), and you're going a long way to replacing all the commonly used functionality.

Initial TCO is a lot higher, what with training (unless you outsource your administration needs), but in the long run, the savings in license fees and software works out a lot cheaper.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 03:59 AM     
  @Moojoo  
 
That was the first thing that came to my mind. My guess is that the only reason we don't see a lot of viruses that threaten Linux based on the source code is that the number of people that use Linux compared to Windows is extremely low so the people that write the viruses don't waste their time.
 
  by: testeng     01/27/2006 05:34 AM     
  @testeng  
 
It's a combination of things - the number of available systems, the quality of the code, the development model etc.

Remember that even though *nix is low on market share, it is possible for a hacker to do a lot more a lot more easily on a comprimised *nix box than on a compromised windows box. In fact, *nix boxes are a valued commodity in the black hat world.

Exploits that cause command execution are not as criticial generally on nix boxes because of the built in user privilege management. If a process is compromised, it may only execute commands within the scope of privileges available to it. Given that most services in contemporary nix distributions run in chroot jails, or with other forms of locked down privileges, it is much harder to cause damage to, or actually compromise a *nix box - even one that is poorly configured.

FOSS software also has a higher rate of patching and updating than Windows, more detailed advisory, and deeper and more stringent code review.

The flipside of this is that the reason windows machines are the biggest target is a) there are more of them, b) its a lot easier to exploit them, and c) there is less restriction on what can be done once successfully exploited.




Also, most *nix boxes are not run in Administration/root mode - any process that gets compromised can only execute commands within it's own privilege level.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 06:06 AM     
  Note that  
 
By compromised nix box I mean not just one that is successfully exploited, but one on which root privileges have been gained.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 06:08 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
The biggest issue is functionality and simplicity - combining Linux, Apache, Postgres, PHP/Python, JRUN and whatever is a PARTIAL solution, but it still isn't the equal of exchange server and you need a specialized service group to maintain it. You named 5 or 6 apps necessary to replace a single application (and ineffectively at that.) You are adding unneccesary layers of complexity, an evil that most administrators (myself included)avoid like the plague. I am all for open source, but it is a LONG way from breaking Microsoft's stranglehold on businesses.
 
  by: Twisted_Mister   01/27/2006 01:26 PM     
  *nix is not for this guy  
 
I looked at some reports saying that switching to linux costs more for training then microsoft does for licences (don't get me wrong I have se arguments from both sides). I have used both and I am a very techy person. I do not believe that linux is usable as a public desktop os yet. Its not simple enough. I work as a computer tech and I know that 90 of my calls are problems with the users not the machines, and these are on a point and click enviroment. I realize that fedora has come a long way in trying to make linux user frendly, but it has a long ways to go.
 
  by: HighTeckRedNeck   01/27/2006 04:02 PM     
  @lauriesman  
 
You're right about the litigations people could face because of developing anything that resembles MS coding, even if released to the public. They hold the copyrights to it. So hows this going to hurt consumers, except for making them an even bigger target to virus makers than they were before the code was released. Winbloze is the #1 target of viruses because it is so widely used and easy for idiots who shouldn't even own a computer to use.
 
  by: MephistoVI   01/27/2006 04:19 PM     
  @lauriesman  
 
You're right about the litigations people could face because of developing anything that resembles MS coding, even if released to the public. They hold the copyrights to it. So hows this going to hurt consumers, except for making them an even bigger target to virus makers than they were before the code was released. Winbloze is the #1 target of viruses because it is so widely used and easy for idiots who shouldn't even own a computer to use.
 
  by: MephistoVI   01/27/2006 04:43 PM     
  @gimpsta  
 
One huge move that Linux made recently was its partnership with Cisco. From now on Cisco will run its call manager software (Telephony Over IP) on Nix boxes. Telephony over IP is a rapidly growing business and with nix and Cisco getting things done together, that is going to make a huge difference.
 
  by: RoBBoB     01/27/2006 08:01 PM     
  @twisted  
 
Except that if you are running linux, you probably already have the Apache and MySQL or Postgresql installed - administering either is no harder than doing the microsoft equivalent with SQL Server. Setting up Apache permissions is a lot easier IMO than figuring out some of the obscure group policy settings of IIS.

Remember that the Microsoft Enterprise stack doesn't just consist of Exchange - it includes IIS, SQL Server, An application server of some kind (actually I believe most businesses are using either ColdFusion, JRUN or Websphere for this).

That's the basic enterprise stack, and in terms of functionality, it IS pretty much fully replacable with FOSS alternatives. The only downside for most businesses is the cost of running pilot studies, migration, and initial training.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 08:03 PM     
  @lauriesman you FOOL!  
 
All you should need to say is..
Yum
 
  by: RoBBoB     01/27/2006 08:05 PM     
  @robbob  
 
or synaptic, apt-get :p actually synaptic is just a gui to yum, isn't it?
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 08:12 PM     
  are  
 
you referring to the gui that runs onw Ubuntu or what flavor of linux are you running.

Once I moved to linux it took me 2 months to stop rebooting after install updates. Also I had some problems configuring apache, and I tried a reboot to see if it would work, and of course it didnt.

Any problem on a linux machine is usually 100% Pebkac

Problem
Exists
Between
Keyboard
And
Chair
 
  by: RoBBoB     01/27/2006 08:16 PM     
  My personal recommendation  
 
Ubuntu for the workstations, and probably one of the hardened enterprise distro's like... hmm White, or RHE... for the main servers. I haven't worked with Suse though.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 08:19 PM     
  @robbob  
 
Apache is usually a no-brainer for simply web serving, if you want to do something a little more complex like virtual servers there's plenty of guides on the net.

Synaptic is the Gnome GUI for package managent that uses Yum as a back-end.

WRT rebooting - unless you're recompiling the kernel, it's exceptionally unlikely that rebooting will change whether it works or not. :P Linux is not windows :p

 
  by: lauriesman     01/27/2006 08:26 PM     
  !lauriesman  
 
Like I said, that was when I was very new to linux. Right now my server at home has probobly been running since the power outtage before christmas. That is running the strainght CentOS server distro. 4.2
 
  by: RoBBoB     01/27/2006 08:28 PM     
  hmmmm  
 
I'm not a huge fan of Microsoft but why should they release the source code to windows to the EU. I don't think the EU has any right to dictate it.
 
  by: chris_sykes84   01/28/2006 02:02 AM     
  so...  
 
governments should be weaker then corporations... rrright...
 
  by: Emp3r0r     01/28/2006 02:13 AM     
  If  
 
If you created something that generated millions if not billions a year and a government told you that they would fine you every day until you told them how you did it, would you think that is that fair????
 
  by: chris_sykes84   01/28/2006 02:56 AM     
  @chris  
 
You are not allowed to abuse a monopoly positition to promote your own products. The fundemental finding here is that microsoft uses their windows monopoly and undocumented APIs to promote their own software and to prevent competition - which is illegal.

Microsoft doesn't have to release code, or anything other than adequate documentation to allow other software producers to compete on the merits of the software itself. This is their attempt to get around actually realising those documents (IE, they want to keep doing anti-competitive stuff, but dont want to be fined for it).

This is not the first time microsoft has been in hot water for anti-competitive practices - remember that Judge Jackson ordered the company broken up because of it, later reversed on appeal.
 
  by: lauriesman     01/28/2006 04:43 AM     
  yeah  
 
EU had balls when dealing with MS.
 
  by: Emp3r0r     01/28/2006 05:08 AM     
 
 
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