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Microsoft Open Source Software

Microsoft Launches Its Own Open Source Foundation 344

Posted by timothy
from the said-the-spider-to-the-fly dept.
darthcamaro writes "Microsoft already had its own open source (OSI-approved) licenses, its own open source project hosting site and now it's adding its own non-profit open source foundation. That's right, the company that is still banging the patent drum against open source now has its own 501(c)(6) open source foundation. Officially called the CodePlex Foundation, it's a separate effort from the CodePlex site and is aimed at helping to get more commercial developers involved in open source. Considering how they continue to attack Linux and open source, will anyone take them seriously?"
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Microsoft Launches Its Own Open Source Foundation

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  • Re:trap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Icegryphon (715550) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:03PM (#29380863)
    keikaku doori
    Translators note means: Just as Planned.
  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:04PM (#29380869) Journal

    That's right, the company that is still banging the patent drum against open source now has it's own 501c open source foundation.

    As far as I've noticed, MS has just protected *other* patent-trolls by getting the patents what they need. I haven't noticed any misuse by them (if they have, please inform me too :)

    Considering how they continue to attack Linux and open source will anyone take them seriously?

    How have they actually attacked Linux? The same way that Linux attackes Windows, aka competition? Competition is good and will only improve products.

    Just because Microsoft's main business model is in closed source, it doesn't mean a company that big cant contribute to open source at all. Their Bing search engine actually ignored MSN's Live platform [thinkdigit.com], while providing that service to Facebook and Twitter.

    The interesting thing is that MS really seems like trying to change their old ways, and if you look at it they're been pretty successful. Looks like they're dividing their different business aspects; Windows, xbox360, games, Bing.. They all are quite separate and are getting even more so, with only minor links between them.

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:08PM (#29380925)
    It is a way for Microsoft to reduce its tax bill - Donate a few hundred million dollars worth of code to a charity you control and get a nice tax receipt.
  • Re:trap (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:08PM (#29380935)

    How does it go again, embrace, extend...

  • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:12PM (#29380967) Journal

    Not sure it it's that or the fact that they are still trying to be the "center" of technology. It's been revealed in internal docs that they'd rather see their system or standard being used rather than someone else. If they can push their way into Open Source development and corner the market on it, they can phase out licenses they don't agree with and form the community how they like instead of how the community does.

  • Jealousy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mollog (841386) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:14PM (#29381005)
    I think Microsoft sees a lot of good work going on in the open source community and it wants to tap into that source of innovation. Regardless of what they say, Microsoft is sorely lacking in true, original innovation. Their best plays have been rip-offs of established ideas.

    They have the money and they have to try, but I am doubtful that they'll do much else besides foster Microsoft-centric development of tools and programs similar to the Windows Powershell IDE by Dr. Tobias Weltner.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:15PM (#29381029) Homepage Journal

    "We believe that commercial software companies and the developers that work for them under-participate in open source projects," Microsoft stated.

    While I applaud the intent to appear to be open source friendly, they haven't yet begun to address two of the major issues with Microsoft and open source:

    1. What happens when a Microsoft developer inadvertently contributes to their Open Source repository something better than a commercial Microsoft offering?
    2. Most of us developing commercial software *CAN NOT* participate in open source projects due to overly broad non-compete clauses in our contracts. The extent of our participation is not up to us, or Microsoft - it's up to our employer, and Microsoft's recent action in this regard does nothing to change this.

    Now, here we have Microsoft reinventing the wheel, aka sourceforge. I could even go for a BSD style license, or even public domain. But I have one question:

    Would they host, and allow development on ReactOS? (for those who don't know, it's an open source Windows clone)

    How Codeplex and Microsoft deal with this question would reveal far more about their true intentions than what their pundits say about their open source attitude.

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:19PM (#29381065)

    I think Microsoft sees a lot of good work going on in the open source community and it wants to tap into that source of innovation.

    Cloning proprietary applications and OSes is innovation?

    Their best plays have been rip-offs of established ideas.

    Pot calling the kettle black? Almost any app you see in the Linux land is either a clone of a proprietary app or a clone of a clone (and so on).

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:20PM (#29381075) Journal

    Even if they take the best ideas elsewhere, MS products are usually solid and just work. Visual Studio is *still* considered the best development environment there is and with a reason. Windows is still the major mostly used OS in desktop (mac, the only competitor, doesn't really come even close).

    Even if you have original ideas, you have to know how to put them together. Now to do something other than car analogy. Even if you have the best ketchup in the world, you cant make your hamburger better if its all burned up, rotten and full of bugs and worms. You need the *whole* thing to be good.

  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:21PM (#29381093)

    mod parent up.

    The Microsoft Corporation owes its shareholders a genuine effort to make money and to do the right thing for the long term. I really can't see how anyone could make a business case for Microsoft to have released Windows or Office to be Open Source - It would have been a highly risky strategy, with no "un-do" possible.

    Here, they are trying to dip their toes into Open Source, and the summary bashes them. Geez, guys, get a life!

  • by MoxFulder (159829) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:22PM (#29381105) Homepage

    ... doesn't seem to be working so well against open-source stuff. Maybe Microsoft's new strategy is to split and balkanize the open-source community with a bunch of conflicting licenses and communities.

    Division, Discord, and Destruction

  • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:25PM (#29381131)

    Maybe Microsoft's new strategy is to split and balkanize the open-source community with a bunch of conflicting licenses and communities.

    Microsoft doesn't need to do that. The open-source community has been doing that just fine by themselves for years now.

  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:28PM (#29381169)

    Here, they are trying to dip their toes into Open Source, and the summary bashes them. Geez, guys, get a life!

    The problem is that it is far too early to tell if this is just another attempt at "embrace, extend, extinguish" -- something MS has a very long and well documented history of doing, or the final stage of "ignorance, denial, attack, accept."

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:29PM (#29381185)

    Cloning proprietary applications and OSes is innovation?

    There are plenty of small, single purpose open source applications with small, innovative communities around them. Consider XMonad, a tiling window manager. No general purpose computer user would ever need a tiling window manager, but the interface is easily modified for turn key kiosk applications. It is excellent for automating repetitive programming jobs. And so on. Each of these is a small niche, but with active development, each niche gets what it needs.

    Consider programming language communities, where people post code to ask questions, where people post code to answer them. That can't legally happen unless the code snippets are properly licensed. (Of course, a few out of context, anonymized lines of code hardly makes for a license violation, but you know lawyers). There is truly innovation in the programming language sphere, and Microsoft has a record of hiring successful open source language designers. Simon Peyton-Jones (of Haskell fame) is a recent example. This leads directly to new .NET languages and APIs. What's the name of the new functional MS database access API? LINQ?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:34PM (#29381241) Journal

    Translation: Major industry vendors will be able to get together, trash and make threats against real Open Source projects, all under the banner of OSS.

  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:40PM (#29381321) Journal

    If they were ever smart enough to do a Good Thing â the world would support them because they are so well known. As much as I hate Microsoft personally if they changed, I'd be a pretty loyal guy. Everyone would. We could use true and open unified computing if done properly.

    However, since we have that thing called history, and it can't be cleared like our browsers one, most people tend to believe that leopards don't change their spots.

    I give it 6 years for Microsoft to evolve or die, really.

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:44PM (#29381349) Homepage Journal

    Cloning proprietary applications and OSes is innovation?

    MS-DOS 1.0 was originally QDOS, Tim Paterson's clone of Digital Research's CP-M. MS-DOS 2.0 was an attempt to clone some UNIX features. Some (folders, file handles, I/O redirection) were implemented successfully; others (namely pipes) are simulated due to the lack of any sort of task switching.

    Pot calling the kettle black? Almost any app you see in the Linux land is either a clone of a proprietary app or a clone of a clone (and so on).

    Windows is a clone of Mac OS classic, and Excel is a clone of VisiCalc and 1-2-3. Real or malarkey?

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:47PM (#29381413) Journal

    I think you're rather abusing the word "clone" here. A clone would be identical. DOS was not a clone of CP/M, Windows was not a clone of MacOS, Excel is not a clone of VisiCalc. They have similar functionality, common concepts (I mean, there are only so many ways you can do a spreadsheet) and probably some operability or low-level rip offs, but they ain't clones.

  • Re:Jealousy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:48PM (#29381421)

    I think Microsoft sees a lot of good work going on in the open source community and it wants to tap into that source of innovation.

    Can we please kill the word "innovation" already?

    I don't care about innovation, not should most people involved with software do. Ideas are trivial, implementation is king.

  • by mollog (841386) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:01PM (#29381601)
    Sir, you make distinctions without a difference. All of Microsoft's work is derivative.

    Yes, they are hugely popular and they have the major market share. They make billions of profit, yet smaller companies like Apple seem to be the ones coming up with new products.

    Microsoft has been a drag on innovation for more than two decades. Its best, and seemingly only, plays continue to be copies of new technology.
  • by Smelly Jeffrey (583520) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:09PM (#29381697) Homepage

    From IRC 501(c)(6) Organizations â" page K-4 [irs.gov]

    7. Its purpose must not be to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit, even if the business is operated on a cooperative basis or produces only sufficient income to be self-sustaining.

      FAIL!

  • mixed signals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:11PM (#29381725)

    http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/09/linux-foundation-to-microsoft-stop-secretly-attacking-linux.ars [arstechnica.com]

    While I dont think theres some grand plan to kill open source, I see absolutely no reason to trust MS at all.
    Even if Ballmer swears on a stack of dried lawyers, that means nothing tomorrow if someone else gets the job.

    The MS engineers probably mean well, but have no say in the end.

    And ofcourse theres all the crap theyve pulled in the past, should this just be forgiven?

  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aoteoroa (596031) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:36PM (#29381975)
  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:42PM (#29382017)

    "That's right, the company that is still banging the patent drum against open source now has its own 501(c)(6) open source foundation."

    Taking a few profitless applications from the bone pile and making them open source while patenting everything else like crazy was IBM's idea. Another example of non-innovation by Microsoft.

  • Re:trap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MynockGuano (164259) <<moc.liamg> <ta> ... pihCevitcarepyh>> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:44PM (#29382037)

    With Windows I can just point out the "Designed for Windows X" logo and my customers will get devices that work every. single. time.

    Normally, I wouldn't nitpick to this degree, but you seemed to place great emphasis on this point. Are you saying that you've never encountered a Windows user complaining that their printer just "stopped working?" It seems to me that every nontechnical person I know has expressed this frustration to me at one time or another.

  • Re:trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:18PM (#29382457)

    The problem with Ubuntu, or any other Linux for that matter, is that the lack of a stable ABI and certification process for hardware makes it damned near impossible to sell at retail. Which wifi sticks work out of the box at Walmart? Which of the half dozen all in ones that are on sale this week at Staples work, and which are paperweights? Will this laptop at Best Buy work out of the box, INCLUDING wifi, and will it continue to function after the next update without jumping through CLI hoops from hell?

    Which one of these devices will continue to work after the next Windows upgrade?

    I tend not to throw out perfectly working equipment just because Microsoft decided to gratuitously change their device driver model. I find that 5yr old video and sound cards work just fine in recent releases of Linux, but aren't worth the manufacturers time to create new device drivers in order to operate under the latest versions of Windows. How much hardware was thrown out in order to update to Vista?

    You keep buying your cheap crappy hardware at the Staples clearance sales. I'll buy decent equipment that is built to last longer than 6 months, and use an OS that doesn't obsolete it.

  • by Delkster (820935) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:19PM (#29382467)

    Or even more like "Major industry vendors will be able to get together and keep working on open source software projects, and MS will convince their customers to run that open source software on Windows rather than on Linux".

    MS realizes that a lot of open source software (servers, scripting languages, etc.) are in broad use and will stay that way. It's useless trying to make them go away. What MS can try to do is prevent that open source software from dragging people away from Windows.

    MS wants visibility in the same space with specific open source projects. If they doesn't have that visibility, open source software (Apache, MySQL, whatever) will be associated mainly with open source platforms, but if MS can break that association, many organizations might end up running their open source applications on Windows. That means keeping their customers, and many open source projects don't even compete directly with MS products because MS doesn't have a similar offering, so MS might not even lose that much by advocating selected projects.

    Creating bindings between open source software -- say, a scripting language -- and MS platforms such as .NET may help MS with that as well. You know, the whole embrace, extend, etc. thing.

  • by HitoGuy (1324613) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:26PM (#29382543)
    Don't worry. It's just Microsoft giving more fodder to the gullible Micropologists to futily argue to those who are rightly suspicious or even hostile to Microsoft's actions (I STILL don't trust Mono, for example.). I remember having an argument with one where he insisted that Microsoft not only stopped its "war" on Linux, but was now helping Linux.

    Now, very recently I am sure you are aware Microsoft launched yet another "Get The Facts" style FUD campaign against Linux, this time aimed at Best Buy employees! It's filled with the same inane dishonest bullshit you'd expect from a Microsoft-created FUD campaign.

    Microsoft isn't trying to bury Linux? Bullshit. Microsoft wants to help open source? Jury is still out on that one, but I still think in the end Microsoft has no long-term FOSS interests and just wants to find a good way to mutilate as many FOSS projects as possible.

    Many think I'm blindly hating on Microsoft here. No. Blindly hating on Microsoft usually involves simply hating Microsoft simply because its "trendy" without actually understanding WHY I'm hating Microsoft. I *know* why I hate Microsoft, and in my opinion, it's a damn fine reason (Or reasons.). I don't trust Microsoft because I am all-too-familiar with their past behavior. And this looks like just another case of Microsoft starting the "embrace" in "embrace, extend, extinguish." They did in with so many other things in the same way it looks like they're doing it with FOSS. And I'm expected to NOT be suspicious of Microsoft when they do this? Their history has taught me one big thing: Microsoft "helps" until they get what they want, then they get backstabbing.

    Thus, it takes more than a Micropologist saying Microsoft no longer wants to harm FOSS and a little inane Microsoft PR (Like their "community promise.") to convince me Microsoft is anything BUT harmful.
  • Re:Coal.. Kettle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpinyNorman (33776) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:31PM (#29382603)

    No doubt their motivation is self-centered, but that's not the point.

    The bottom line is that IBM has contributed significantly to open source projects. The reason they can afford to do so is because the interests of the two are aligned - IBM has made Linux a strategic part of their business. If that were to change tomorrow they can't "discontinue" the good they've done since the contributions are GPL'd.

    I'm not saying that IBM are morally better than Microsoft because of this, just pointing out that there are commercial companies whose interests are aligned with open source and have therefore been able to contribute in a way that champions of open source (e.g. the /. crowd) approve of. Just answering the question that was posed. What benefit does it do open source advocates to write code under an Microsoft "open source" licence that doesn't force or come with any reciprocity?

    Want an alternate way for Microsoft to get some open source credibility, even if using a Microsoft open source licence? How about they donate some major pieces of software to the community up-front under their proposed licence, and continue to contribute on an ongoing basis? How about Microsoft open sourcing Visual C++, or C#, for example? They don't make their money in development tools, so why not? Sure they'd be giving up some Microsoft technology, but isn't that the whole point of open source - I share/contribute because YOU do too. Fundamentally, if they are not willing to share, then don't expect anyone to take them seriously when they say open source but really mean free software to benefit Microsoft.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:53PM (#29382829)

    If you'd said this:

    All software work is derivative.

    I'd probably agree.

    I mean, sure something like Office is an evolution of other productivity software that came before it, but you're kidding yourself if you think Apple (to use your example) is creating things that aren't similar evolutionary steps or improvements over previous products.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:22PM (#29383123) Homepage

    "Are some of you people really this fucking stupid? Of course Microsoft attacks Linux and Open Source. That is part of their competition. Just like they attack Apple. That's what businesses do."

    That is complete bullshit. Geiko says their offering is better. They don't tell people if you buy from State Farm you'll contract AIDS and be dead by the end of the year. That is the difference between what legitimate companies do to market, and what M$ does. Make no mistake about it.

  • Re:trap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by int69h (60728) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:49PM (#29384101)

    It's not a problem it's a feature and it's by design. Do you really want to compare the amount of old hardware that works with Linux compared to other popular desktop operating sytems? If hardware vendors were truly interested in selling hardware for Linux, they would get their drivers into mainline and then maintain them.

  • by thesappho (1293114) <thesappho@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:24AM (#29386761)

    Q: How will this compare with other open source foundations?

    Other foundations are targeted at particular projects, platforms, or applications, such as Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation, or Gnome and the Gnome Foundation. We wanted a foundation that addresses a full spectrum of software projects, and does so with the licensing and intellectual property needs of commercial software companies in mind. Having said that, we expect the Codeplex Foundation to be complimentary to, and not competitive with, other open source foundations. One measure of our success will be if other foundations experience an increase in participation from commercial software developers because of us.

    Have they not visited www.sourceforge.net???

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