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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 Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:37PM (#26553947)

    If only we had some history of technical partnerships with Microsoft to use as a guide.

    • 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).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Oh, NOW it all makes sense...

        Silly me, thinking Billy being gone and Ballmer's comments about OSS interest [slashdot.org] meant Microsoft would start supporting open source without any ultimately evil intentions.
      • 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 Giometrix (932993)

          I thought the point of WCF was that it supported standards so that Windows apps could interop with the outside world.

          Why is it bad that a test project is using WCF? Maybe I'm wrong, but I would think that it would be good to test with realistic applications that might be coming from Windows shops.

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            WCF.. from the book by Juval Lowy, I read that WCF supports many different communication protocols, including TCP/IP.

            Only thing is, the TCP/IP endpoint is "optimised" for communication with other WCF services only. Not so good for standards-based interoperability. MS says themselves that if you want to communicate with 3rd party systems, then a web service is the only option - not a socket.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by ozphx (1061292)

          Windows Communication Foundation is a framework so an application can expose services over a variety of protocols with different config changes. One of the protocols supported out the box is SOAP.

          So enjoy spreading that FUD.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Here's [wikia.com] a good one.

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:57PM (#26554187)

      I know you are kidding, but since they restarted Internet Explorer development, Microsoft have submitted thousands of testcases to the W3C CSS Test Suite, which were welcomed and almost entirely accepted without change.

      • by jav1231 (539129)
        Because they were delivered with cookies like all packages from the dark side!
      • 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 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BhaKi (1316335)
        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 gbjbaanb (229885)

        ah, but who tests the test-suites?

        Before you know it, all CSS standards will conform to the IE 'standard' only.

        Other browser developers will be scratching their heads, "I'm sure I followed the standard document correctly, but it fails the test-case. What could be wrong!?!?" :-)

    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:35PM (#26555087)

      Im sure Ackbar would have something to say about this situation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude?
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:37PM (#26553951) Homepage Journal

    Embrace - you are here.
    Extend
    Extinguish

  • by wawannem (591061) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:38PM (#26553959) Homepage
    Although it is nice to see code donated, they made a much bigger contribution earlier allowing all apache committers access to MSDN. This is full d/l access to all of their products for testing, etc.
  • by ciaohound (118419) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:51PM (#26554107)

    Microsoft submitted the code on a napkin and specified inches instead of feet.

  • Choosing to contribute sample code here is definitely interesting here, given that the Stonehenge project is meant to promote interoperability between Web service standards. First Microsoft contributes money, and now they contribute sample code to promote interoperability (between standards and platforms)! Wonders never cease!
    • by HiThere (15173)

      It's interesting. At this rate in 20 or 30 years I may take them seriously. If they don't do something else sinister in the mean time.

      One think that might cause me to think less favorably if it happens in the meanwhile is another EULA trap. (I *did* say another. I've counted every EULA since and including the MSWindows2000 as a trap. To be fair that should just be every one that I've read, which is only a small percentage of them.)

  • by thehossman (198379) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:55PM (#26554155)

    "Several months after joining the Apache Foundation, Microsoft has made its first code contribution to an Apache project."

    Corporations can not join the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Microsoft became a "sponsor" of the ASF last summer, but only individual people can join the ASF.

    This is also not the first time Microsoft has contributed code to an Apache project, pulling one quick example out of google...

    http://port25.technet.com/archive/2008/10/14/microsoft-s-powerset-team-resumes-hbase-contributions.aspx [technet.com]

  • 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?

    • Re:I don't get it... (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:15PM (#26554377) Journal

      This is an open source project about web standards

      Correction: this is an open source project about Web Service standards. If you see the development history of the various existing WS standards, especially the W3C ones, you'll see that Microsoft was a major driving force behind most of them, and many related standards (such as XML Schema), dating back to early 2000s. Then you may want to remember why .NET was called that in the first place (back when all MS products also got that prefix - Windows Server 2003 was originally Windows Server .NET, for example) - it was supposed to be all about web services (which were the Next Great Thing that will Revolutionize Software Development, Proactively Synergize your Paradigms, etc - the stuff which had essentially evolved into SOA today). Of course, Microsoft is still the big player on that market, and "interoperability and standards" has been the talking point for all that time, so nothing new here.

      • If you see the development history of the various existing WS standards, especially the W3C ones, you'll see that Microsoft was a major driving force behind most of them, and many related standards...

        That also seems odd, especially in light of the Halloween documents. A web service protocol (WebDAV) would've been great for Exchange, but was instead extended/extinguished.

        I'm not just talking about web standards. Microsoft has been against any standard they can't control for pretty much their entire lifetime.

        • That also seems odd, especially in light of the Halloween documents.

          That has been quite a long time - and, more importantly, several anti-trust lawsuits ago.

          The point, anyway, is that in areas where standards sell, Microsoft is quite willing to sell you standards - but usually when it gets to write them (see OOXML). This wasn't quite the case for WS, but the influence was strong enough regardless.

          By the way, MS also had pretty strong involvement in XQuery in a similar fashion - as I recall, they were the on

    • Re:I don't get it... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:50PM (#26554647)

      It's a lot easier to fix IE than to ditch IE and shoehorn Gecko/Webkit into the IE programming model. If developers miss their COM objects, there will be riots in the street. When I say easier, I mean for a company that would have to throw away a huge investment as well as have many people around who know so much about a product that doesn't behave like that any more. Plus, not invented here.

      • It's a lot easier to fix IE than to ditch IE and shoehorn Gecko/Webkit into the IE programming model.

        Except that it's already been done, to an extent -- Gecko can be embedded in Wine, and used as a browser activex control.

        And, current evidence would not tend to suggest that. Consider how many years Microsoft has been at it, and IE is still not fixed. Compare to several browsers which have been built from the ground up since IE6.

        When I say easier, I mean for a company that would have to throw away a huge investment

        It didn't work out. Oh well. Now would be a very good time to cut your losses.

        as well as have many people around who know so much about a product that doesn't behave like that any more.

        If you're talking about code, I can't imagine people want to work on IE, considering the alternatives.

    • 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 BhaKi (1316335)
        Neither Flash nor Silverlight is a standard. It's just a fight between two evils.
      • Re:I don't get it... (Score:4, Informative)

        by markdavis (642305) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:30PM (#26555977)

        Like BhaKi says below- "a fight between two evils".

        Except that Flash:

        1) Has been around a lot longer
        2) Works on all major browsers (Firefox, IE, Safari, Konqueror, Opera, Seamonkey, etc)
        3) Works on all the major operating systems, and natively (MS-Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris)
        4) Is self-contained
        5) Has development tools for most platforms

        I have no great love of Flash, but at least it works and works on all the machines I need for it to work. I can't say that about Silverlight. And based on MS's history, Silverlight seems very much "isatrap".

        I would feel much better about Flash if Adobe would just get over itself and open source the client- they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Time is ticking... open sourcing it NOW might be their own weapon against Silverlight.

      • When did Flash become a web standard?

        When did Flash become the only alternative?

        We've still got HTML5, SVG, Javascript, etc.

        Silverlight could've been cool -- but they built it on .NET, which means it's going to be hard for a lot of people to trust. In any case, it's a plugin, as opposed to an actual, direct improvement to the existing technologies.

        And they still haven't got those right. Why not take all of the Silverlight developers, and have them work on maybe finally getting CSS right in IE?

    • 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 jonwil (467024)

      The reasons they dont abandon MSHTML/Trident and use gecko or webkit include:
      Licensing (webkit is LGPL, gecko is GPL/LGPL/MPL) and Microsoft doesn't want to use LGPL software in their OS for obvious reasons.
      Code ownership (Microsoft has no way to be 100% sure that the code in there is written by the people who claim to have written it and with Microsoft and Windows being such a HUGE target, its a risk Microsoft cant afford to take no matter how small it is)
      Application Compatibility (Many apps use and embed

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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?

          I never understood why some companies avoid even LGPL in a proprietary development environment as well, but recently someone pointed out one interesting bit in LGPL:

          You may convey a Combined Work under terms of your choice that, taken together, effectively do not restrict modification of the portions of the Library contained in the Combined Work

      • Licensing (webkit is LGPL, gecko is GPL/LGPL/MPL) and Microsoft is...

        DRM/OOXML/MSBOB?

    • 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?

      NIH?

  • by postmortem (906676) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:02PM (#26554229) Journal

    Interoperability simply means that Microsoft stuff that was not used (or possible to use) with OSS projects, will be used now. Which leads to more sales.

    Microsoft still charges for its products, it just has opened doors to more customers.

  • one of them as of this moment is "masturbation" ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by greg1104 (461138)

      I'm surprised it's not tagged "itsatrap" yet.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        The night is young...OK, OK.... I just did. But, if they can hold the course for 8 or maybe 10 years like this, I will be willing to consider partial forgiveness their some of their numerous past evil doings and resend the "isatrap" on this one.

        Besides, this is much less of "isatrap" than Silverlight.

  • by icejai (214906) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:22PM (#26554423)

    Project Stonehenge!

    Abstract:
    Nobody will know why something so large and simple was created, what it's good for, how it's supposed to be used. It will face complete abandonment and isolation, only to be admired and appreciated by a handful of people once a year.

    I keed I keed!

    • by rkanodia (211354)

      I guess you'd have to ask the creators why they chose it. Trouble is, no one knows who they were, or what they were doing.

    • Nobody will know why something so large and simple was created, what it's good for, how it's supposed to be used.

      Considering this, they really should rather have used that codename for the original W3C committee that developed the WS-* standards stack.

  • 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.

    • i believe ackbar was more to the point, but wholeheartedly agree with the entirety of your post.

    • 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!".

  • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @08:37PM (#26555107)
    The code that Microsoft contributed was the Happy Slider. It should be set to maximum if you really want your server to sing.
    • The code that Microsoft contributed was the Happy Slider

      I know a certain Genuine People Personalities prototype which could use one of those.

      You better replace the diodes down his left side first, though :)

  • Great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by R3d Jack (1107235) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:29PM (#26555969)
    Who's going to debug that mess?
  • 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 Devil was seen shopping for skis recently...

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

Working...