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Microsoft Donates Code To Apache's "Stonehenge" Project 184

Posted by timothy
from the but-one-dimensional-villains-are-easier-to-comprehend dept.
dp619 writes "Several months after joining the Apache Foundation, Microsoft has made its first code contribution to an Apache project. The project, known as Stonehenge, is made up of companies and developers seeking to test the interoperability of Web standards implementations."Reader Da Massive adds a link to coverage at Computer World.
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Microsoft Donates Code To Apache's "Stonehenge" Project

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  • by Clover_Kicker (20761) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:48PM (#26554073)

    But it makes Apache better too.

    Sometimes it is possible for everyone to win.

  • by wawannem (591061) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:50PM (#26554099) Homepage
    I guess that's one way to look at it, but IMO, as one of the struts developers, I was happy to get easy access to copies of their OS so that I can virtualize them and test across browsers, etc. You can say it improves their product, but I say it improves mine... TOE-MAY-TOE / TOE-MAH-TOE however you want to look at it, I appreciated it.
  • by davester666 (731373) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:52PM (#26554113) Journal

    FTA: "The project, known as Stonehenge, is made up of companies and developers seeking to test the interoperability of Web standards implementations"

    The first thing I thought of when I read this, is that Microsoft updated the project so it was compatible with IE (not making the project more standards compliant, but that it made IE appear to be standards compliant).

  • I don't get it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:59PM (#26554205) Journal

    This is an open source project about web standards.

    If Microsoft really cares about these things, why have they continued to hack on Trident, which has been so far behind in both of those areas? Why not just adopt Gecko or Webkit as the IE/Windows rendering engine?

    As it is, they've consistently shunned open standards, including the Web. Only recently have they been starting to fix IE to follow web standards, and it really seems like they're doing the bare minimum they have to do to claim they're making an effort.

    Maybe that's what this is, too? Good press for them, while at the same time, they're doing more to undermine web standards with things like Silverlight than they have ever done to support them?

  • You did it wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:13PM (#26554347)

    Embrace - you are here. Extend Extinguish

    I do believe "Embrace" was covered when Microsoft joined the Apache foundation. Now that they're actually adding code... that's represented by "Extend."

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:23PM (#26554445)

    I see the value in what they provided. But is it the same value as contributing code?

    One of the things I'm looking for is proof that Microsoft is changing from their past. Providing easier access to their products doesn't really do it. Providing code does as would open licensing of their patents.

  • by jav1231 (539129) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:46PM (#26554611)
    Their immortal souls...the usual.
  • by pm_rat_poison (1295589) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:53PM (#26554669)
    Actually, grandparetn's right. Extend is when you offer proprietary extenstions that are not part of the competing product / standard which create interoperability problems for those who do not use the "free" version. This will come later on.
  • by BhaKi (1316335) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:59PM (#26554731)

    1. Create protocols/formats/standards/specifications which are not inherently inter-operable. (Remember how buggy, incomplete and inaccurate OOXML spec was. Remember how Windows-specific the .NET and Silverlight specs are.)

    2. Pick one of your competitors, give him (and him alone, not the whole public) code and/or patent-freedoms so that he can make an inter-operable software. (Remember Novell OO.Org plugins, Mono and Moonlight.)

    3. Claim that the standard itself is clean and inter-operable by showing the existence of the above competitor's inter-operable implementation as "proof". In making this claim, take advantage of the fact that most people, organizations and courts make the mistake of not seeing any difference between the original definition of an inter-operable standard - "A standard whose specification is public, true to reference implementation and complete so that any developer can make a fully inter-operable implementation without paying any fees or signing any license agreements" and the twisted definition given by Microsoft - "A standard that has at-least one competing implementation besides the reference implementation".

    4. As the claim gradually gets accepted, the "standard" becomes a de-facto standard and more people and government will adopt it. This leads to the death of 1) other standards and 2) other independent implementations of the same standard. (because the top implementations are not inter-operable with them)

    5. Now you and your friendly competitor are the only ones in the business. After everyone forgets history, pull the plug and let your competitor die.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:00PM (#26554743)

    Maybe that's what this is, too? Good press for them, while at the same time, they're doing more to undermine web standards with things like Silverlight than they have ever done to support them?

    When did Flash become a web standard?

    If it is one, what's so bad about competition forcing it to become better or die? Doing Flash programming used to be about as much fun as repeatedly slamming your junk in a car door. Now it's getting better from that perspective and I don't doubt that competition looming from Silverlight is some of why.

  • by Trails (629752) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:05PM (#26554805)

    Yup, and I've made this is a point I've made in the past. I personally believe that while MS is generally evil, and Ballmer rates slightly below Dick Cheney on the evil intentions scale (decidedly lower on the actual evil scale due to Ballmer's patented apeish idiocy), Chris Wilson, program manager for IE, is trying to do The Right Thing.

    Personally I think he gets away with it only because Ballmer hasn't noticed.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:07PM (#26554821)

    they're doing more to undermine web standards with things like Silverlight than they have ever done to support them?

    Oh, you mean giving competition the alternative to Silverlight, the extremely web-standards savvy and committed Adobe/Macromedia Shockwave/Flash? That doesn't even have a really XHTML standardized way of being embedded yet? link to w3's entry on embedding flash [w3.org]

    I guess I should stop using Apache. It's funded by MS :) On the other hand, I refuse to take the "karma" approach to companies, and will praise MS on their good actions and complain about their bad actions. I will not complain about their good actions because I am still sore from their bad ones...

  • by BhaKi (1316335) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:09PM (#26554851)
    That's the very point which deserves close attention. If the standard itself was clean, there would be no need to ask Microsoft for help. Think about why nobody other than Microsoft could build the test-cases.
  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:09PM (#26554855) Journal

    Windows has a larger distribution because they do it better

    No, Windows has a larger distribution because of unethical and often illegal business practices.

    Face it, if Microsoft was as crappy as everyone always complains about they wouldn't be a globe spanning corporation

    See above, Re: unethical and illegal business practices.

    Nice try Mr. Ballmer.

  • by BhaKi (1316335) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:28PM (#26555011)

    Chris Wilson, program manager for IE, is trying to do The Right Thing.

    The right thing is to let the truly inter-operable standards - the standards which won't require anybody to depend on somebody's charity - to come into acceptance. What MS has been doing will only contribute to the rise of pseudo-standards - standards whose inter-operability depends on one company's charity. This, in turn, leads to the death of other web-servers because they can't implement these standards in inter-operable ways. After that, MS quits Apache Foundation to be the single player.

  • by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @09:42PM (#26555565) Journal

    Two words: Dot NET.

    Mark my words. .NET extensions are on their way placing Microsoft in the hot-seat of Web development technology standards. They integrate .NET into the most widely used Web Server software on the Internet and then Introduce Windows .NET "Cloud." It releases as the only fully compatible Web-OS that works with this server launching it into a premium spot.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:03PM (#26555747) Journal
    The first thing I thought of when I read this, is that Microsoft updated the project so it was compatible with IE (not making the project more standards compliant, but that it made IE appear to be standards compliant).

    Close.

    The sample app is a .NET application [microsoft.com] that's tied into the Windows Communication Foundation. It's the "Embrace" phase of the plan.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:56PM (#26556153) Journal

    Microsoft doesn't want to use LGPL software in their OS for obvious reasons.

    Sorry, it's not obvious. Were it GPL, you'd have a point.

    Consider that Apple uses Webkit in Safari, which is shipped with OS X. Why is that not a problem for them?

    Microsoft has no way to be 100% sure that the code in there is written by the people who claim to have written it

    Apple has already taken that risk. No one has come forward. The iPhone is getting pretty huge, and it has Webkit on it.

    Google has also taken that risk. It's on Android. It's in Chrome.

    Many apps use and embed MSHTML/Trident including htmlhelp, MSDN library, the GameSpy Arcade frontend...

    So include Trident as a legacy version. Apps which support the newer library can use it.

    But when Wine uses Gecko, these same applications don't seem to have any problems.

    Many web pages, especially on corporate intranets wont run in anything other than IE

    Those pages are abortions. No new pages like that should be built.

    For the existing ones, they don't necessarily work with IE7, and IE8 is about to be released (or is it out already?), so I think making a newer, incompatible version wouldn't be such a tragedy.

    nor do these other browsers support any kind of "protected mode" ala IE7

    ...except Chrome, which is splitting it out per-process.

    What's more, given the environments we've seen these run on, I doubt there would be any real problem doing that. It's a rendering engine -- why should it care what user it runs as? Everything that needs to run outside the sandbox is chrome anyway, and could be carried over.

    Basically its just not possible to replace MSHTML/Trident with gecko or webkit and not break a whole bunch of stuff that is VERY important to Microsoft customers.

    You mean, like they did with Vista and UAC? Microsoft isn't exactly known for backwards compatibility.

    At the very least, they could start shipping other browsers as the default -- and this takes almost no effort. People for whom the above matters can use IE.

  • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:46PM (#26556405)

    I honestly can't fault Microsoft for not open-licensing their patents. They do that, they lose their own weapons in what is basically a corporate cold war of patents.

    Either everyone is going to open-license their patents, or nobody will.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:02AM (#26556875)

    Create protocols/formats/standards/specifications which are not inherently inter-operable. (Remember how buggy, incomplete and inaccurate OOXML spec was. Remember how Windows-specific the .NET and Silverlight specs are.)

    The WS-* standards are OASIS open standards. Microsoft has been a leader in this area - this is a simple fact. For example, the Metro/WSIT stack specifically targets Microsoft .NET 3.5 compatibility.

    Pick one of your competitors, give him (and him alone, not the whole public) code and/or patent-freedoms so that he can make an inter-operable software. (Remember Novell OO.Org plugins, Mono and Moonlight.)

    Many competitors have access to these web service standards. See: Sun, IBM, Apache, Anyone with a web browser, etc...

    I could go on. You're on your soapbox all right, but you're way off in left field with no real understanding of anything to do with..well...anything.

    Take, for instance, Mono. Microsoft didn't grant shit - the CLI spec is open. Mono is implementing compatible clean-room class libraries to mimic the .NET ones.

    Really - just give up. If you want to say something bad about Microsoft don't exhibit your cluelessness and instead just say "Micro$haft is teh suxx0rs!".

  • It's a patent trap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hweimer (709734) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:45AM (#26557559) Homepage

    // Code originally contributed by Microsoft Corporation.
    // This contribution to the Stonehenge project is limited strictly
    // to the source code that is submitted in this submission.
    // Any technology, including underlying platform technology,
    // that is referenced or required by the submitted source code
    // is not a part of the contribution.
    // For example and not by way of limitation,
    // any systems/Windows libraries (WPF, WCF, ASP.NET etc.)
    // required to run the submitted source code is not a part of the contribution

    Why is Microsoft so pesky about this? It's all about patents. The Apache License requires each contributor to give a patent license for the code they have contributed. By stating that all the patent-emcumbered libraries are not part of the contribution, Microsoft does not give you a patent license, but you still have to acquire one if you actually want to use their code. So don't use this code, it's a patent trap [quantenblog.net].

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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