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Microsoft Expands Access to Windows Source Code 282

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the source-code-i-don't-wanna-see dept.
Brain Stew writes "According to eWeek, MVPs living within thecountries that have signed up with Microsoft's Windows Source code program can now see it for free (limited source code of course). 'Microsoft Corp. has expanded the Source Licensing Program under which its Most Valued Professionals get access to the source code for the Windows operating system. The Redmond, Wash., company said on Monday that all the MVPs within the Microsoft platforms community and living within the 27 eligible countries worldwide will now be able to access Windows source code at no cost. '"
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Microsoft Expands Access to Windows Source Code

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  • by Bold Marauder (673130) <boldmarauder.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:01PM (#9749993) Homepage
    It's pretty clear in my mind that by handing select portions of the source code to "most valuble professionals" that microsoft merely wants to go through the motions of open source, while not being open at all.

    And, certainly, this is their right, since it is their source code. However, I don't see many people outside of their "MVP" community (which is who? people stuck working on windows device drivers?) really being interested in doing their busy work for them. And for this reason, because of being unwilling to fully relinquish control, they are going to find themselves unable to fully benefit from openness.

    In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about, and manages to deal with the concept in an intelligent manner, instead of trying to make compromises and deal with half measures.

    If open source manages to become a signifigant methodology in tomorrow's IT world, IBM seems better equipped to benefit from it, whereas Microsoft is unwilling to do what it takes to prevent sliding off into irrelevence.
    • by t1m0r4n (310230) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:19PM (#9750160) Homepage Journal

      In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about, and manages to deal with the concept in an intelligent manner, instead of trying to make compromises and deal with half measures.

      I agree with the idea that MSFT allowing those deemed "MVP" worthy to view the source code is meaningless. But I doubt IBM understands open source. They are selling open source stuff because they make money doing so. If it conflicts with their other software, they will push closed source. And they will push it hard to the detriment of open source. Anybody have the link handy for the statements from HP? HP is trying to sell linux servers to existing IBM AIX customers, and IBM is alleged to bad mouth linux something fierce. While I can't back the claims of HP, I see no reason to believe that IBM is a saint of open source. When IBM goes 100% GPL, then I will trust them. The partial backing of IBM is a GoodThing, but I don't think the people of importance at IBM really "understand" open source.

      Insert some random badmouthing of MSFT backed by personal experience.

      • part of understanding open source means using it when it makes sense and not using it when it doesn't make sense.
      • IBM has made it clear, in my mind at least, that where they embrace free source software, they do so because they don't have to maintain it, that it levels the playing field and makes their fancy service the important part, that customers are not locked into them and they are not locked into proprietary software maintenance.

        That pretty much sums up why I like free source software. I can hack it if I want, or pay someone else to hack it, I get updates free from everybody else working on it, and I don't get
      • HP is trying to sell linux servers to existing IBM AIX customers, and IBM is alleged to bad mouth linux something fierce.

        "IBM" is a company which consists of thousands of people, including the commissioned sales people who allegedly did what you said above. IBM's corporate policy is pushing Linux. If not, they wouldn't bother to defend it in court. Think about it, SCO would have went away easily had IBM wanted them to.

        That some commissioned sales people aren't pushing Linux is no surprise, but it d

    • by PingXao (153057) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:44PM (#9750566)
      I agree to a point. IBM does not fully embrace open source, however. They sell plenty of products that do not include access to the source code. If you run one of their mainframe OSes like VM or MVS or zOS (or whatever they're calling them these days) you pay dearly for the privilege of having access to the source code. About 10 years ago - granted, a long time - the company I was working for was paying upwards of $50,000 per year just to get access to the source code. This was above and beyond the normal charges just to license and run the things.

      More recently - well, same time frame actually - OS/2 had a killer desktop: the Workplace Shell. It was totally object-oriented. AFAICT Windows 2000, NT, XP, Longhorn, etc. use completely object-oriented desktop models. People have been pleading with IBM for years to Open Source the WPS. 10 years later it would still be an improvement over the Windows offerings. IBM refuses.
    • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:47PM (#9750611) Homepage
      In contrast, IBM fully understands what open source is all about ...

      IBM, like Apple, understands open source. It is a vehicle to sell their hardware. In contrast, Microsoft is a software company.
      • >It is a vehicle to sell their hardware.

        and services of course :-)

        It is foolish to consider IBM or any company pro-open source (the grandparent post). The truth is they don't give a shit and why should they? Their mission is to rip the last penny out of the customer's vallet.
        Those who don't like it can download, install and support their own Linux or whatever.
        And for the neediest there's Red Cross (and Crescent) too.

      • Though they do sell some hardware, what IBM is really about is services. The secret that nobody else seems able to figure out about the benefit of using OSS is this - with other services or contracts, you produce the code and then when you are done that code all goes to the company you did the work for.

        Using OSS, they can improve frameworks devoted to services, and also benefit from others working on said frameworks as well - making thier service work even more effective, a virtuious cycle.

        I've seen some
    • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rd_syringe (793064)
      Why won't it work for Microsoft? Because someone on Slashdot arbitrarily said so?

      Microsoft already shares its source with many education and government institutes, and Shared Source is a way for private companies to get in on it.

      Yeah, IBM understands what OSS is all about, because it's all they had left after losing out to Microsoft. Of course they'd embrace it. IBM is as self-serving as any other company, and I find it highly amusing that people have forgiven all their past evils simply because they t
    • that microsoft merely wants to go through the motions of open source, while not being open at all.

      Fucking duh. Microsoft doesn't want to be "OPEN" source any more than we Microsoft developers want to write the OS or programs we pay for. But they do want to benefit from getting eyeballs into their code, allowing for peace of mind an enhanced security. And we want to benefit from being able to finally figure out what's going on in Function X that's always been a bit twitchy.

      If Microsoft can satisfy the
    • Not to sound like a parrot, but I agree 100%. This means nothing to 99.9% of MS users or OSS people. You can look (only at certain unimportant parts), and you cannot change it (though you can help and do our QA for us), and you are given no freedoms with it (please sign this really ugly NDA).

      <hat type="tinfoil">
      Maybe MS is releasing some non-important code in the hopes that some may "trickle" into other products, especially OSS/Linux. Then MS could bring down the hammer and get rid of the "viral

    • Shared Source WILL WORK for Microsoft.

      Maybe you and I differ on our definition of "work". Or maybe we differ on our perception of Microsoft's future business model.

      I'll just come out and predict it right now. Shared source will be a resounding success!

      The more "free" Microsoft's code becomes, that is, the more widespread it becomes, the greater the danger to Open Source. Shared Source is a viral license. Once you see Shared Source, your brain is now irrevocably contaminated with the Shared Sour
    • OK, but we're talking about opening-up Software source code. Microsoft is a Software company. IBM does write plenty of software, mind you; but they are selling metal. If OS/2 had become the de facto standard and IBM was making $50 for every PC that shipped, you could bet that they'd be in Microsoft's shoes right now. I also believe that this is the real reason for the Xbox as Microsoft needs to become a hardware/OS platform. The first couple generations will be game consoles; but I believe the hope is
  • However, the problem remains that they really need many more eyes to fix Windows, if that's possible.
    • However, the problem remains that they really need many more eyes to fix Windows

      You mean guys like this [somethingawful.com]?

    • by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-i ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:06PM (#9750057)
      From what I've seen of OSS, the solution is not many, many eyes, but a core handful of experienced eyes that have experience and training.

      Point needs to be made, however, that these guys who get free access are not here to "fix Windows" as much as they are there to write applications that require close cooperation with the OS (think antivirus or DRM applications). So the chances of them finding a bug and fixing it are slim, because they won't be looking for them.
      • Actually, no (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gosand (234100)
        From what I've seen of OSS, the solution is not many, many eyes, but a core handful of experienced eyes that have experience and training.

        Actually, no. I don't think the solution is to have a handful of experienced eyes - I am sure there are Windows programmers who are pretty top-notch. What is essential is having the power and ability to FIX problems. I am sure that MS is like most places, where the project ships with bugs. After that, someone else maintains the code and the original person moves on

      • There may simply be an evolutionary force in action. Those who see there are plenty of people managing any given project will see little result for their efforts spent trying to understand the nuiances of the project.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:02PM (#9750011)
    I'm going to recompile Windows optimized for my hardware! It'll blow every other Windows away.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:03PM (#9750015) Homepage
    I thought this was already happenning on Kazaa?

    • I thought this was already happenning on Kazaa?


      You can't find the code for XP or Server 2003 on kazaa; only for 2000; or were you joking?
  • by Pillager (6026) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:03PM (#9750024) Homepage
    10....
    9...
    8..
  • At no cost? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:04PM (#9750030) Journal
    will now be able to access Windows source code at no cost
    Sorry, my soul is NOT for sale.

    Seriously, do you want to be contaminated by having seen Microsofts' source? Always wondering when you'll end up being named in a lawsuit because you may have incorporated some of their worthless IP in a project you're working on?

    It could make you unemployable in the future.

    • Re:At no cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:22PM (#9750298)
      There have been instances of former Microsoft employees securing another gainful engagement. One prominant one have even sent a private ship to space recently, without any complaint that he infringed on an XP desktop theme.

      Microsoft was accused of stealing Altavista code lately. They are still hiring people with existing industry experience.
    • "Sorry, my soul is NOT for sale... Always wondering when you'll end up being named in a lawsuit because you may have incorporated some of their worthless IP in a project you're working on?"

      Oh, brother.

      a.) Microsoft's not going to show you something they don't want you to see.

      b.) By seeing the code, you'd know what to avoid, no harm there.

      c.) MS won't let us see the code, bitch bitch bitch! MS will let us see the code, bitch bitch bich.

      • I never bitched about not being able to see Microsoft's code. If I want examples of bad code, there's plenty of that available, starting with my earlier works.

        The idea of "knowing what to avoid" by seeing the code is a crock. If I write something and they can't prove that I had access to their code, I'm in the clear. If they can show that I had access to their code, whether I copied it or not is a matter for a jury to decide. I don't need the headache.

        If Torvalds had seen Windows source code, can you ima

        • " If I write something and they can't prove that I had access to their code, I'm in the clear."

          No you're not. If you magically cook up something and it's similar enough to their stuff that they can actually take you to court (geez this is a ridiculous situation, I have NFI why I'm even entertaining it) they won't need to prove you had access to it. The proof would be your code. At least after having seen it, if you really wanted to, you'd know what to do to NOT look similar to it.

          Don't mistake my pos
          • There was never any claim of bit-for-bit copying between SCO and Linux, even in their FUDdiest days.
            1. They originally claimed it was line-for-line source code copying.
            2. Then thy claimed it was "similar methods".
            3. Only now is it being reduced to "just a contract dispute - it was never about code copying".

            As for your comment about Windows and Linux - Microsoft freely admits that there's BSD code in Windows, just as there is BSD code in Linux.

            • "There was never any claim of bit-for-bit copying between SCO and Linux, even in their FUDdiest days. ... They originally claimed it was line-for-line source code copying."

              Though I don't see there being that much difference, I stand corrected. (Although I thought they detected the 'copying' by comparing the bits of copied code...)

              "Only now is it being reduced to "just a contract dispute - it was never about code copying"."

              In other words, despite having access to the code, they still had no case. MS
    • Seriously, can we all stop saying your eyes will burn if you look at MS' source code? If you're a decent coder, Windows' code won't taint your coding skills. I have looked at some VBs scripts once and I haven't been reduced magically to a script kiddie. I would look at MS' code once for the fun of it if I could do it, but I really doubt it would mean the end of my career... We're not so stupid as to copy/paste everything we see on the internet, we have brains and we use it, please.
      • One word: SCO.
        1. You see Microsoft source
        2. You later get hired to develop some wizz-bang software
        3. New product enjoys success in the marketplace
        4. Microsoft tries to buy your employer out with a lowball bid
        5. Employer asks for more money
        6. Microsoft pulls out your NDA
        7. Microsoft demands to see all the source for your product
        8. Microsoft threatening legal action against your customers
        9. Your employer caves in and sells on the cheap rather than face expensive litigation and "indemnification" FUD
        10. You get to be the new goat. [goat.cx]
        • One word: SCO.


          1. You see Microsoft source
          2. You later get hired to develop some wizz-bang software
          3. New product enjoys success in the marketplace
          4. Microsoft tries to buy your employer out with a lowball bid
          5. Employer asks for more money
          6. Microsoft pulls out your NDA
          7. Microsoft demands to see all the source for your product
          8. Microsoft threatening legal action against your customers
          9. Your employer caves in and sells on the cheap rather than face expensive litigation and "indemnification" FUD
          10. You get to be the new goa
          • Addendum:

            Step 8.5. Microsoft finds your code is identical to their code, thus they have the beginnings of a case.

            We've seen from the SCO case that you can safely skip step 8.5 unless you're stupid enough to go after one of the heavy hitters in the industry in an obvious attempt to get bought out (Gregory Blepp sort of leaked that as their original intention - guess that's why we don't hear much about him any more).

            Besides, it's not whether Microsoft finds identical code - that's for a jury to figu

    • Umm. So by your argument, the authors of Windows can never find employment elsewhere, even within Microsoft (because they'd be distributing Windows-derived source without a Windows license). I really doubt that, even though it is Microsoft.

      One, you'd have to not look at GPL source either if you plan to do non-GPL work, because incorporating that IP or source code in a project will supposedly GPL the code.

      Two, do you by any chance download music or software illegally (i.e., without the consent of the right
      • Umm. So by your argument, the authors of Windows can never find employment elsewhere, even within Microsoft (because they'd be distributing Windows-derived source without a Windows license). I really doubt that, even though it is Microsoft.

        There's the legal principle of confusion - there has to be a separation of the parties. The plaintiff and defendant employers would be the same - so no grounds for a suit.

        As far as unemployability, there are always other fields than writing OS code, for example, wri

  • Let's see if I recall things right from earlier discussions:

    This is bad because

    a) It's about Microsoft
    b) The license handed out is way too restrictive
  • Compile It? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:18PM (#9750145) Homepage
    Do they get to compile it and run it, or do they have to take Microsoft's word that the binaries that they are running were built from the source that they are seeing?
    • Re:Compile It? (Score:4, Informative)

      by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:25PM (#9751189) Homepage

      That's exactly the reason why Microsoft offering source code insight to the chinese (or other) government is a joke. As long as they can't compile everything themselves, they can never be sure to have a non-bugged (no pun intended) binary distribution.

    • "Do they get to compile it and run it"

      No, Microsoft DRM'd the text file containing the code so that it won't compile. It took a while for the engineers to figure out why they shipped it on an XBOX disc.
  • actual source? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:21PM (#9750171) Homepage Journal
    If developers want to be sure that the "source" code they're looking at is the actual code their own app calls, can they compile it and link it to the still-secret Microsoft code, then run the whole thing in a debugger?

    It's an open secret that Microsoft's own apps, notably SQL-Server, call a "secret Windows API" that isn't documented. That API is said to be faster to code for (time to market) and execute at runtime (performance), giving Microsoft apps advantages in competing with their rivals. Is there a way to use this new code access to discover whether Microsoft apps are calling a "shadow" API, rather than the code made public?
    • Re:actual source? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by M.C. Hampster (541262)

      It's an open secret that Microsoft's own apps, notably SQL-Server, call a "secret Windows API" that isn't documented. That API is said to be faster to code for (time to market) and execute at runtime (performance), giving Microsoft apps advantages in competing with their rivals.

      Oh really? Do you have some citation for us? How was this "secret" API call discovered since people don't have the source code to SQL Server. And what exactly does this secret API perform? It must be some sort of duplication

      • That's what we're talking about: closed source that conceals secret (advantageous) APIs. You're spinning past convincing arguments that they exist with a "perhaps", then saying they don't exist anymore. Where does your blind faith come from? Microsoft had good ($) reason to do it before, those reasons haven't changed. And with the source closed, there's no new reason to stop. FYI, most recently these APIs were alluded to by a recent several-year Microsoft development employee who told me that it was common
        • Re:actual source? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by M.C. Hampster (541262)

          Typical, of all the responses to my challenge, I see the following:

          • "I've... uh, had secret conversations with employees who know this is happening!"
          • "Well, they've done it in the past, so they have to be doing it now!"
          • "Oh, just look back through some magazine from a few years ago and you'll find some stuff that supports my position."
          • "Oh yeah, well Microsoft product X sucks anyway."
          • And miscellaneous nitpicks about my post that don't address my main issue
          • Of course, this is Slashdot, where FUD against

        • Uh... there being *some* undocumented API calls does not mean there is an entire parallel "shadow" API, as you call it. The latter would require a massive conspiracy designed to impede others; the former happens ALL THE TIME when complicated APIs are publicly released. It would be nice to have perfect documentation, but not having it does not mean that Bill Gates is skulking around the bushes outside your house. Besides, you don't need the source to decompile the binaries and see if they're linked with en
      • I don't know if this secret API exists or not, but this argument is nonsensical:

        How was this "secret" API call discovered since people don't have the source code to SQL Server.

        The same way vulnerabilities or hidden features are discovered without the source code: you can always look at the disassembly, and there are plenty of powerful code analysis tools that don't need (or benefit) from the source code.

      • Re:actual source? (Score:4, Informative)

        by boots@work (17305) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:01PM (#9750820)
        Have a look through a few issues of Microsoft Systems Journal. I haven't read it recently, but a few years ago you would regularly see article introductions like "You may have been wondering how Microsoft application XX did cool feature YY..." It goes on to document an interface not previously publicly mentioned (and says so).

        Therefore, from Microsoft's own press organ, we know that there are interfaces which are used by shipping Windows applications before they're publicly documented. Some of these are later revealed in MSJ, but there's no reason to think that they necessarily reveal all of them. At the very least Microsoft apps have a one-cycle lead time on competitors; at most the competitors never find out.

        There is no reason to think the API documents an existing one, although there are very many duplicated interfaces on Windows. It might do something not otherwise possible, or might wrap up several existing functions.

        But anyhow: why would there *not* be such an interface? Microsoft never promised they would document every aspect of their systems. Clearly it is in there interests for the OS to help their own applications.
      • I'm not sure if this is what the original poster was talking about, but he could be referring to the Windows Native API [sysinternals.com].

        How was this "secret" API call discovered since people don't have the source code to SQL Server?

        There are several very simple possibilities that anyone could figure out with the tools that ship with Windows itself. One way is dumpbin. dumpbin.exe can be used to dump a list of functions exported from a DLL. Another way is depends.exe, which list all functions called by a given binary
      • Oh really? Do you have some citation for us? How was this "secret" API call discovered since people don't have the source code to SQL Server. You don't need the source with an adequate disassembler and knowledge of x86 programming.

        And what exactly does this secret API perform? It must be some sort of duplication of some existing API in order for it to be "faster to code for" and execute faster at runtime, right? Yes, exactly. This isn't a secret API, just an undocumented one. Everyone else has to cod
      • I think this is an urban legend spread from the days shortly after NT 4.0 got sparse file support in SP4 (I think), and SQL Server 7.0 SP1 or some such released with sparse file support before the OS function was even documented.

        This also happened to be one of the reasons why the whole industry took Microsoft to task for introducing new functionality in Service Packs. Breaking shit and/or getting an unfair product advantage (witness, they're back at it with XP SP2...).

    • Being able to compile and link it with Microsoft tools isn't enough, of course... and it's doubtful that Windows will compile with a non-microsoft compiler anymore than linux will compile with a non-gnu one.
  • by JasonMaggini (190142) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:23PM (#9750179)
    "It's a trick. Get an axe."
    • Or more to the point... "It's a trap!!"

      What is the odds this is a ploy by Microsoft to "dirty" more programmers by introducing their code to a wider base. Then, when the next killer app for linux shows up, Microsoft shows up with a lawsuit claiming infringing code ala SCO.

      Then again, how many MVPs write open source software to begin with...
  • by Beast in Black (781819) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:28PM (#9750187)
    While at first glance this may seem like a good thing (at least for MS), i'm left wondering whether it will actually do any good...the MVPs who gain this access seem to be part of a rather closed community, being voted to their status by a bunch of people from other peer microsoft communities/groups.

    Take a look at the MVP FAQ: http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid =fh;EN-US;mvpfaqs [microsoft.com]

    Although some might say that sharing the code out, even among a closed community, might conceivably lead to improvements, from MS's track record with their multifarious products (some of which had oodles of people involved), there is no palpable confidence (at least in my mind) that it will get any better.

    And in any case, even though microsoft shares the code out to the MVPs, there is nothing in the article that states that the MVPs will be allowed to modify the code...rather, the article explicitly states that they will "help" the developers. So even if some sagacious MVP does somehow manage to make a tiny improvement (unlikely, i know, but let's just suppose it for the sake of argument), wanna bet that he'd probably have to move heaven and earth to get someone who counts at MS to recognize this?

    Also, as someon posted earlier, there is a good chance of the code getting leaked, even if MS uses the strongarm tactics that it is capable of to get the leaks plugged as fast as possible. What would happen then would be anyone's guess...

    Anyway, here a link to the Windows 2000 source code http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/source.php [albinoblacksheep.com]. (if it's been already posted elsewhere on this site, beg pardon, i did indeed search, so my search skills are lacking...)

    Wow, just as i hit SUBMIT earlier slashdot went down...is the big M already guuning for /.?
  • forget open source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dishwasha (125561) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:33PM (#9750196)
    how about Microsoft try open standards first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:05PM (#9750206)
    As someone who works for MS in their Mac business unit (that's why I'm anon). I'd like to point out that they're gradually increasing the exposure to selected parts of the Windows source code to people in other departments - us in the Mac unit have had access to the source code for 4 months now, but there's not enough code to compile a working system so it is only of use if you're interested in how certain sections of the OS work (if they happen to be released). So, even as an MS employee we can't get our hands on the whole thing.

    Because the source code is not complete and Windows is implemented a lot differently to Linux and MacOS X then some of us in the Mac business unit believe that they'd not care if the source was leaked - in fact a couple of us (me not included) think they actually want this to happen. In a way it makes sense - I mean if a wine developer seen some of the Windows source code (or even *suspected* of seeing it) then MS, in theory, could tie them up for ages with legal action. Personally, I think they'd have to be a lot more desperate to do that as it'd generate a lot of bad publicity for them. So I don't think they'd sue just develop a lot of negative spin around the fact open source people steal other peoples code and ideas.

    So, to be safe, anyone who doesn't work at MS should resist the temptation to look at the code even if you're doing so legally. Of course, it's easy for them to point their fingers at open source contributors, but it's harder to track down stolen code in closed source software. I can't say if any GPL code theft goes on at MS (officially we're all warned against it and us Mac developers pride ourselves on writing good quality original code), but it'd be so easy for a lazy programmer to steal some code from Mozilla or Apache and of course we're all free to persue the open code to get ideas from.

    Speaking of web browsers we used to have the best web browser for MacOS at one time, until management killed the project (officially the rendering engine is in maintenence mode to support MSN for MacOSX - but there's been little improvments). Personally I use Camino but most in my unit use Safari. Of the people outside my unit most use Firefox under Windows, there's not that many people keen on IE so Firefox has taken a hold here, there's still many people who still use IE here because of loyalty to their employer but we're not officially banned from using alternative browsers so many of us do.

    I've actually met a few of the WinIE developers, don't blame them for the stagnant product, until Firefox hit the radar then most of the team were placed on alternative projects. Personally I think they've got their work cut out, IE needs a total rewrite, its last major rewrite was for version 4 - with some of the code dating back even further (check the about box if you run windows).
    • officially we're all warned against it and us Mac developers pride ourselves on writing good quality original code

      The whole concept of stealing code seems a gray to me.

      foreach $x (@persons){
      $str = "<<*END*";
      Hello $x,
      This is your daily SPAM letter telling you to
      buy our wares.
      *END*
      sendemail($str);
      }

      sub sendemail {
      ...

      How many ways can you rewrite that? At what point is it original and at what point is it stealing?

    • Of course, it's easy for them to point their fingers at open source contributors, but it's harder to track down stolen code in closed source software.

      Yep, although there are telltale signs left behind sometimes. For example, open Internet Explorer (ver 4 or better), and type about:mozilla in the address bar.
  • if you want the freedom to do whatever you want don't sign anything that allows you to see source code for free. It will stop you from being able to do anything you want with GPLed software.

    Microsoft will use this to hurt the OSS community as they are seeing that SCO and others aren't as effective as they would like.
  • Authorities are puzzled when software developers in 27 different nations are found stark raving mad, having clawed their eyeballs out.
  • Or am I the only one who read the headline as:

    Microsoft Expands Access with Windows Source Code...

    I was thinking, "OK, as if Access wasn't already bloated enough, they're going to build their OS into it?"

  • Now microsoft can claim that your code is contaminated with theirs. No way would I take that risk with Microsoft.
    • OMG.

      This is the ulterior motive of Microsoft's partial source release is to pull another SCO-styled lawsuit in a few years (or months).

      Who needs another SCO with a bigger bankroll?

      Don't even click-approve their EULA when getting their source.
    • Bingo.
      And with the near insanity of the US patent system it would be all to easy to point at code that acomplishes the same thing, in an entirely different way.
      But wasn't this inevtiable under the current patent system? I mean it's completly legal for them to do just this, no?
  • Well WHOOPADEEDO!
  • Am I too paranoid? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bahamat (187909) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:34PM (#9750438) Homepage
    I sort of get the feeling that Microsoft is releasing source code to some so that they could eventually attempt to do what SCO is doing. UNIX may have no trade secrets left, but Windows certainly does.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:36PM (#9750469) Journal
    "within the 27 eligible countries worldwide "

    That is 28 if you count eDonkey as a country.
  • MVPs (Score:3, Informative)

    by wfberg (24378) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:39PM (#9750503)
    For those wondering, "MVP" is a title bestowed by Microsoft basically to people who help out others in the microsoft.* newsgroups and such. You can find a webpage of a couple of these peope at http://www.mvps.org/ [mvps.org].

    These aren't Microsoft partner companies or licensee developers by definition, an MVP can well be just some pimply 13 year old that happens to now a whole lot about IIS and shares it with others. As you'd expect there's a lot of emphasis on getting Microsoft applications to work, arcane Internet Explorer settings, scripting, that sort of thing.

    These people, for the most part, aren't kernel hackers. If they were, they'd be busy hacking away at *BSD or linux, not figuring out VBA stuff in Excel.

    It's hard to see how this will benefit Microsoft directly, in the way of open-ish source. It's not like an elite squad of kernel hackers will be pouring over the source code to find race conditions in inter process communications or something like that. Though perhaps it will help MVPs to explain to others what suitably vague-enough error messages actually mean by looking at the source code that produced it.

    (I'm no kernel hacker myself by a long shot, and given the source code to windows I'd.. well.. shrug, I suppose).
    • Re:MVPs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by boots@work (17305)
      I think that explains why they're doing it. People will use it in the same way that (good) support engineers now use the Linux source.

      Someone at work was trying to help a customer with a particular error they got. On Linux it's really easy to look through the source, and see what paths cause that error from that syscall, and that helps in debugging the problem. The source is the ultimate documentation.

      Being able to do that on Windows would be nice for people who have to use or support it. I don't supp
      • by am 2k (217885)

        The source is the ultimate documentation.

        As someone who's trying to write a device driver for Linux 2.6, I have to disagree. There's NO documentation, the source is NOT commented and just a huge pile of lines without any meaning to anybody who didn't write it. Usage examples, specifications about the parameters and step-by-step guides would be a huge time-saver (about 50-90%).

        (the book about writing kernel drivers hasn't been updated to 2.6 yet)

        The big plus about Mac OS X is that there's no full sou

  • by drdreff (715277) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:41PM (#9750528) Homepage Journal
    One of the wonders of closed and proprietary code is that you have the freedom to change certain things with impunity. All of the code that they release will be essentially frozed with all of the bugs in place. One of the very things that has kept MS afloat all this time is the painful process of maintinaing (mostly) adequate backwards compatibility. This has lead to much of the bloat and kruft that is within windows today. It takes much longer to make a breaking change to code that others may be depending on. When you make that code visible, you can almost guarantee that there will be dependencies created.
  • This needs major legal review. It may be necessary that contributors to GPLd code sign a statement that "I have not now nor have I ever been a licensee of proprietary Microsoft source code."
    • what about the billion other proprietary software sources they have viewed?
      You want people to sign a disclaimer and do what? Send it to Billy the kid that released his daemon under the GPL?
      And we've all got to wait for that patch because the guy that contributed it lives in Japan and Billy lives in the US and mail takes an awful long time?

      me thinks there a WAY to many problems with a suggestion like that.
  • by allowing access to the # sign.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:51PM (#9750677) Homepage
    One of the few good things about closed source is that if a vendor wants third-party developers to write to its closed-source OS, it is beneficial to the vendor to create and make available well-written, accurate, complete, up-to-date documentation.

    Admittedly Microsoft's documentation for developers has been going downhill lately, along with almost everyone else's. The physical volumes became CD's which became help-system files which became scraps of sample code. In order to develop to the Windows SCSI API, it is necessary to use guesswork, intuition, trial-and-error, and the assistance of the Windows community's "tribal knowledge." The PC community has long been used to using magazine articles and "Undocumented WIndows" books as sources of information.

    But it is now about to get worse. I potentially foresee a situation where favored developers have access to source code, and documentation will decline to the point where it is difficult or impossible for non-favored developers to work in any development environment but VB.

    In the Apple world, documentation was absolutely superb from about 1983 to about 2000 and underwent a precipitous decline with the advent of Darwin-based OS X. (A noticeable portion of the official documentation seems to have been generated automatically from header files!) I don't think this is a coincidence.
  • So tell me again what the advantages of Proprietary sofware are over open source? I thought the whole point was to keep it secret for security.
  • So I now have to sign up to see BSD source code?

    -Nano.
  • ...at MFC, the source shipped with Visual Studio for years.

    Ugly, ugly, ridiculously poor code documentation (if any), odd workarounds left-over from the days of WIN32s, 16-bit thunking days, et cetera...

    Be GLAD that you don't have access to the Windows source, god forbid anyone should code that way (of course, there's plenty of Open Source Software that is just as ugly or worse ;).) Sometimes end user features bury the desire for elegant (or even functional sometimes) architecture...
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @04:47PM (#9753021)
    I guess a limited relase of source code would look something like this:

    for (i = [REDACTED]; i != [REDACTED]; i++)
    {

    // Hmm, hope this buffer is long enough
    [REDACTED]
    continue;
    }

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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