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Open.NET — .NET Libraries Go "Open Source" 310

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the close-but-no-cigar dept.
An anonymous reader writes "whurley just posted a blog about Microsoft's announcement To Make .NET Libraries available under a crippled 'Open Source' program using their new Microsoft Reference License. The post includes the official pr doc from Microsoft as well as several points about how this really isn't open source. One example: If a developer finds a bug in the code, rather than fixing it themselves and submitting a patch to the community they'll be encouraged to submit feedback via the product feedback center."
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Open.NET — .NET Libraries Go "Open Source"

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  • Re:Could be worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:03PM (#20840543) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm biased - ok, definitely I'm biased - but this just doesnt feel like "open source" to me so much as "beta-testing with a peek at the code" or, to be blunt, "do our debugging for us."
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:05PM (#20840571) Homepage
    Seriously, most of us capable of seeing the negatives don't need help from the poster to see them. All those who don't see these licenses as not completely open source aren't going to have their minds changed by mini rants.
  • Re:Could be worse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moore.dustin (942289) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:08PM (#20840627) Homepage
    So what? If they want you to do the debugging for them via this method then it is up to us, the users, to satisfy that. If you do not want a part of it then do not participate. It is as simple as that. If there are people out there that are willing to look and submit bugs then the program is a success to Microsoft and that is all that matters here, how it helps Microsoft. Remember though, that is not a bad thing, it is just business.
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:10PM (#20840675)
    If you see the code and then create something remotely like it, MS will sue your ass off.
    This way, the more people who see the code will become "Tainted" for clean-room rewrites of parts of .Net


    (This is the "Embrasse" portion of the plan to kill of Mono.)
  • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:11PM (#20840681) Journal
    The Microsoft announcement says specifically and repeatedly that this is not "open source" and explains why they chose not to use such a license. They seem to understand the term a lot better than "whurley" does.
  • Wise move by MS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MtlDty (711230) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:14PM (#20840743)
    When .NET was announced as a platform independent language, I always struggled to imagine Microsoft developing the framework on anything other than Windows. Can you imagine Microsoft developing class libraries for Linux, or Apple Macs? Surely the world would end.

    So this move is a fairly wise one by MS. There's now a chance that the .NET framework will be developed for other platforms. And once that happens MS can help nuture a happy little band of developers, all sucking up MSDN licenced tools.
  • So fucking what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m50d (797211) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:15PM (#20840753) Homepage Journal
    So they encourage you to report things to them rather than distributing a patch yourself. So what? Trolltech does this, MySQL does this, Sun does this, Mozilla does this; in fact virtually every significantly-sized open source project encourages you to fix problems through their own channels rather than throwing a patch around yourself. It's just good sense.
  • Re:Could be worse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#20840767) Homepage Journal
    Fair enough, but Microsoft is trying to get street cred through a disingenuous use of the term "open source". I think that's what most people here would have a problem with. I've never coded using .NET and probably never will, so it's irrelevant to me, however, I do have a problem with Microsoft's cynical use of open source terminology in order to attempt to mitigate their image and soulless, greedy bastards.

    For the record, this being a capitalist society, "greedy bastards" is fine by me, it's the "soulless" part I don't like.
  • Remember IBM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Null Nihils (965047) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:26PM (#20840949) Journal
    Rememeber IBM? They used to be the gigantic Evil Empire everyone thought would either become the overlords of humanity, or implode gloriously in a blazing fireball of liberation.

    Instead they became just another business, later honorably defending (their contributions to) the Linux source code against the wretched SCO. Their interests have become more aligned with that of their customers.

    I think Microsoft has less wiggle-room to remain viable than IBM did when they lost total domination over their market (because MS's business is mainly about using restrictive copyright licensing to make sure they're the only ones controlling the software on PCs, which quite different from what IBM's business is) but something similar is happening, however slowly and painfully.

    Microsoft knows, to some degree, that in order to remain relevant it must give people access to the guts of its software. The software market has become far too complex for the ancient ways of floppies-in-a-box style business to work. However, as their Open.NET idea shows, they're still trying to keep as much control as possible, for as long as possible...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:27PM (#20840973)
    Because they can increase the mindshare, then kill it off if enough people start writing .NET apps on other platforms. Then those people are forced to go to Microsoft platforms.
  • Re:Could be worse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asd-Strom (792539) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:37PM (#20841149)
    Yeah real open source is like "beta-testing with full control of the code" or, to be blunt, "do our debugging for us and also fix the code".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:41PM (#20841217)
    Can you point to where MS claims 'open source' on their products?
  • by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:42PM (#20841227) Journal
    Applying this 'truth in advertising law' to misleading Slashdot headlines would be the first step....
  • by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:51PM (#20841387) Homepage Journal
    Reading it, I'm pretty sure developers are not permitted to distribute the patch. This is really not "open source": this is "viewing source." Microsoft is providing view only, and only downloading the source as you step through it.

    Now, like I said, this isn't really open source in any true sense of the word. But being able to step into your framework's code to see what's really going wrong isn't anything to sneeze at, either. Being able to read the code to determine exactly what triggers a bug is quite useful, since sometimes it can lead you to a workaround.

    Delphi (up to version 5 at least, I haven't used it seriously since) provided this with most of their editions, and it was very useful. Especially for some of the buggier releases.
  • Re:Unemployable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:57PM (#20841477) Homepage
    There is nothing of the sort.

    Your argument is like saying "If you've ever read a book you can never write another book on a related subject as your insights would be contaminated by the earlier reads or through outright copies."

    "Nyeh, it.s not an original movie/song... they could have copied from this previous work that was similar. They shouldn't have made their own."

    The issue of copying of code or misappropriating of IP is as old as both have been around... and is generally only relevant in very specific cases such as non-compete agreements and when a person has an extraordinary in-depth understanding of said IP, code or business practices.
  • Re:Unemployable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @03:16PM (#20841779)
    You know it's funny how you Open Source people constantly wave this red flag about lawsuits and contamination when the reality is Microsoft has never sued any individual over these issue. The corporations they have sued have always been after long tedious attempts at out of the court resolutions.

  • Re:Could be worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @03:23PM (#20841853)
    I couldn't agree more. I also agree with MS on this. You don't want people screwing around with custom builds of the framework. Then something stops working and you end up being a flamebait for the mass media. I suspect must have seen the 20 min, or 3 page articles in newspaper/TV. In this case it would be like:

    Blah, blah, .Net causes crashes, crashes caused airline reservation system to fail, medical devices weren't working ... etc. Somewhere near the bottom, users were using Uberfast .Net 3.0 an opensource distrobution of the .Net Framework. MS refused to comment.
    The end result would be that MS gets blamed for bugs that aren't theirs. Their is plenty of flamebait from MS already, it is good to see they are trying to be helpful without risking themselves to more. What is going to be hard, is being able to propose a fix, if you see a bug. If they won't let you compile it, how do you know your fix would work?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @03:39PM (#20842129)
    Exactly. This is basically what Sun previously did with Java, allowing the source to be viewed so that developers can better use the language. Its extremely useful to be able to understand what the code actually does, rather than guessing based on the documentation. Making it open source has questionable added value, and we'll see how Sun fairs, but the real gain is just allowing developers who have no conflicting interest to be better developers.
  • Re:Could be worse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JebusIsLord (566856) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @03:47PM (#20842253) Homepage
    If you can see the code, it's visible source. The word "open" has many different connotations. Open to view? Open to change? Open to redistribute? The open source community almost always assumes the latter two definitions, so Microsoft has done well by avoiding this loaded terminology. As you can see, the author of the article puts the words "open source" in Microsoft's mouth anyhow, because they knew it would cause controversy where there otherwise isn't any.
  • Re:MPL = Sue Bait? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:10PM (#20842621)
    "Does anyone else have the impression that the Microsoft Permissive License is nothing more than a means of showing source, hoping that others will copy it into some product and thereby be liable of some infringement and be sued?"

    Around Slashdot? Of course. But if you take off the tinfoil hat you might realize that no major competitor is going to be that stupid and the small fry don't have enough money to pay MS legal fees for a month. No matter how evil you imagine MS is, they aren't going to sue if there's no profit in it.
  • Re:Umm, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:25PM (#20842863)
    Right, because you've used the not-yet-released feedback system, and can say that it doesn't work.
  • Re:Remember IBM? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:40PM (#20843053) Journal

    Instead they became just another business, later honorably defending (their contributions to) the Linux source code against the wretched SCO. Their interests have become more aligned with that of their customers.

    IBM's empire collapsed in the early nineties (with a $5G loss IIRC) because no one wanted to buy their over-priced, underpowered and incompatible (MicroChannel) PeeCees any more. Microsoft cleaned up.

    IBM's support for Open Source and Linux is for publicity, to get back at Microsoft and to get at Sun, whose UNIX (Solaris) is streets ahead of AIX. IBM realised that to stay competitive in the unix server market, it needed Linux. IBM will sell you Windows, AIX, Solaris, Linux, mainframe boxes, you name it, but you will pay for the privilege. The Evil is still there at IBM, it's just not so explicit. They will always try to lock you in to IBM technology once they've got you hooked.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, already has 90% of the market hooked and on the upgrade treadmill. Applications nowadays are largely portable across operating systems, and file formats are open, except for Microsoft's stuff. Every thing they do is to keep people locked in and on the upgrade treadmill.

    Microsoft it pulling the wool over peoples' eyes again, paying lip-service to Open Source and Open Standards, whilst actually avoiding them. It's being successful getting to those who don't think so critically, the fans, PHBs and apologists.

    Microsoft is doing a wonderful job at getting its "inventions" (i.e. a touch screen on a table top and a clock with peoples' faces on it) on national TV as some kind of great technological breakthrough.

    Microsoft is too evil and too stupid to change its ways significantly. They won't die over night, but the writing is on the wall. They are desperate. They are astroturfing slashdot like mad too. The EU has found them guilty of unfair monopolistic practices and will not be bribed. Many countries around the world are moving to Linux and other Open/Free operating systems for government and education. Microsoft is having to give away its software just to remain in the market.

    I've been extolling the virtues of Linux since 1995, but at last people around me are getting the message. They're seeing for themselves the benefits (time, money, simplicity, freedom, empowerment) and it's largely due to Ubuntu (which was built on Debian originally).

    There will never be a "year of Linux on the desktop." There may be a time very soon now, though, when mainstream media acknowledges it as part of the establishment. This time next year, the question won't be "why should I use Linux?" It'll be, "Why are you still using Windows? No one uses that old crap any more."

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @05:18PM (#20843543)
    Well, we could debate that, but it's irrelevant to the issue of C# as a fork of Java.
  • by renegadesx (977007) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @07:13PM (#20844841)
    These actions are intended on hurting Mono while pretending they intend on "helping". Whats going to happen is they are going to go through the Mono code and find anyone who agreed to this licencse and see if they contributed to Mono.

    Its putting cheese in a mouse trap so they can do a SCO only for Mono, I advise nobody working on Mono go near this code. FOSS means the ability to see, modify and rediribute code, .NET is NOT open source: It is pretending to be open source.

    Basically Microsoft is the "Intelligent Design" crowd of the software community, open source systems are growing in popularity and Microsoft knows they cannot destroy it from the outside (look at SCO) so they attempt to destroy it from within by pretending to be open like the "Intelligent Design" pretend to be scientific.

    So Microsoft are attempting to skew the view of what open source is so they can attack it like the ID crowd attempts to confuse of what abiogenesis and evolution actually are so they can attack their little strawmen

    How can you miss this? It's as clear as day! If you are working on the Mono project, stay away from the bait!
  • by jasen666 (88727) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:19PM (#20845531)
    The rant used to be that it was "just about seeing the source code"... but now that they can actually SEE the source code... they whine about the license.

    No, it's always been about the license. However, one key component of the license just happens to be, seeing the source. There are several other major components.
    Just meeting one criteria does not make it "open". Just "visible".
    And I'm sure anonymous troll knew this, he just wanted to latch onto the topmost post he could find that even remotely fit his rant topic. /feeding the trolls //have another cookie
  • Re:Wise move by MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Almahtar (991773) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:46PM (#20845777) Journal

    And once that happens MS can help nuture a happy little band of developers, all sucking up MSDN licenced tools.
    If you think they'll settle for that you are misled.

    It was wise for Microsoft to release this code, yes. And it would be wise for open source developers not to touch it or .NET with a 10 foot pole. Candy from a stranger is stupid, candy from a known backstabber is beyond retarded.
  • Re:Unemployable? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mspangler (770054) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:14PM (#20846583)
    "You know it's funny how you Open Source people constantly wave this red flag about lawsuits and contamination when the reality is Microsoft has never sued any individual over these issue."

    But their stooge, SCO, did sue IBM over the exact same prInciple. Once you've seen the holy (SysV/.Net) code, you are forever doomed to merely recreate it's glory, and therefore your work is really their work, and you have to pay them to use the code you wrote.

    Yes SCO lost, but can you afford several million in legal fees to exonerate yourself? Especially since Microsoft has already been making noise about all the patent violations already in Linux? They want a fight that they can win against Linux. Since SCO has flamed out, they will be more careful the second time; to wit, they will make sure there really is some code that at least looks like theirs before they file suit.

    So, in proper /. format;

    1) Get hapless kid to look at .Net code.
    2) Kid then goes and implements something similar in Mono or elsewhere in Linux.
    3) Sic the lawyers on the kid, terrorizing said kid into admitting he copied the secret code.
    4) Wave around headlines "Linux coder admits copying secret MS code!"
    5) Turn loose Lyons, Enderle, O'Gara, Didio, and any other shill they can buy to terrorize PHBs.
    6) Profit!!

    Optional #7, buy wreckage of Novell for two ship's peanuts, set up program to "Help honest businesses bamboozled by those Linux Pirates to convert to a safe, legal operating environment."

    A simple straightforward business plan with a very low set up cost. And no downside. If it fails, (no one takes the bait) in a year no one will remember it anyway.
  • Re:"Shared" Source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @07:58AM (#20849929) Homepage
    That is quite correct. That is not open source code, it is viral source code. Once you have looked at it or even if there a rumours you have looked at it or even if you haven't looked at it, you are deemed to have memorised every line of code and if you accidentally use, or coincidentally mimic any line or part of a line of code, you will have committed copyright infringement and you company and software project will be scheduled for immediate M$ sanctioned legal termination.

    This public, you can look, but you can't touch or redistribute source, is like spreading a virtual contagion of copyrighted code. The new copyright wars 75 years beyond the life of the author. This marks the dawning of a new open source project, no actual program, just the sheer bloody minded copyrighting of every imaginable line of code for open use or how ever many continuous lines of code or characters are required to achieve a legal copyrightable entity.

    So is M$, yet again, trying to poison the source?

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"