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Open Source Microsoft Programming Windows News

Microsoft's CoApp To Help OSS Development, Deployment 293

Posted by timothy
from the meet-the-world's-biggest-foss-vendor dept.
badpazzword writes "Microsoft employee Garrett Serack announces he has received the green light to work full time on CoApp, an .msi-based package management system aiming to bring a wholly native toolchain for OSS development and deployment. This will hopefully bring more open source software on Windows, which will bring OSS to more users, testers and developers. Serack is following the comments at Ars Technica, so he might also follow them here. The launchpad project is already up."
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Microsoft's CoApp To Help OSS Development, Deployment

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  • um... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:47PM (#31783776)

    Serack is following the comments at Ars Technica, so he might also follow them here

    Yes, I'm sure he's following all 0 of them...

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:50PM (#31783804)
    ... MS pulls the plug on this and leaves OSS developers hanging high and dry? Or worse, pulls some slight of hand with licensing, copyrights or patents and forces OSS dev's to stop in their tracks waiting for MS's next move?
  • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:59PM (#31783892) Journal
    Ask us about nuclear disarmament.
    We'll tell you everything WE want you to know. [slushdot.com]

    Barack Obama
    Dmitry Medvedev

  • by ChrisMounce (1096567) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:01PM (#31783912)
    Maybe they recognize that there's a ton of open source software that people really want to use, and that easy installs of OSS on Windows adds value to Windows.

    Like how they contributed some Linux stuff a while back to make it easier to run Linux in a VM... with Windows as the host machine (I'm not clear on the details, so I'm probably getting the terminology wrong).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:23PM (#31784138)

    *cough cough*

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

    *cough cough*

    History is not on your side. I hope, for all of us, that your intentions are noble. If they are, I hope those who back you and/or succeed you hold to that ideal. Thankfully, even if they're not these programs will live on in their desired format on other software platforms.

    Best of luck.

  • by causality (777677) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:24PM (#31784150)

    Ask me about CoApp, I'll tell ya everything ya wanna know.

    Garrett Serack CoApp Project Owner

    I'll bite. Given Microsoft's track record, particularly its embrace-and-extend tactics, its questionable business practices, its status as a convicted monopolist, its use of vendor lock-in, its related use of proprietary file formats, and the Halloween e-mails from top management clearly defining Open Source as an enemy, I have just one question: why should we trust them?

    Most (nearly all) of the upper management people who arranged everything I just listed are still working at Microsoft.

    "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

  • by iYk6 (1425255) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:30PM (#31784194)

    This sounds like a package management system for Windows, along the same veins of dpkg/apt and rpm/yum. Windows has been lagging in this area for years, and one of the reasons that it is so insecure and slow is because every program either runs in the background at startup, or doesn't get updated on a regular schedule. That wasn't my question, just how I view the situation.

    Why limit this to open source? It would be great if the users could update every program easily and painlessly, at least the ones that use this new system.

    I am assuming that this system will allow easy and painless upgrading like on most Linux systems. Is that true? Will it have automatic dependency handling and command line installation?

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:33PM (#31784218) Homepage

    Not only that, but they have two giant companies to compete with. Namely Apple and Google. This industry is cut-throat, and the loss of momentum is extremely dangerous.

    Embracing OSS while at the same time keeping control over the direction of your platform is the name of the game.

  • by thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:48PM (#31784340) Journal
    What's your reaction if MS port visual studio to Linux?
  • by Dragoniz3r (992309) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:50PM (#31784364)
    Is there something wrong with that?

    From TFA:
    • Place binaries, libraries and header files in a logical and consistent location
    • Facilitate sharing of components and allow multiple projects to easily both participate and consume them
    • Allow for upgrades and patching of both libraries and applications
    • Be Windows developer friendly. No forcing of building using ‘make’, but rather taking advantage of the nifty IDEs we already have

    Clearly these are horrible goals and this should by no means be done, simply because he is planning to do it in Windows.

  • by aBaldrich (1692238) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:51PM (#31784378)
    Do you know what was the first thing I thought when reading the article and the project's launchpad? Halloween Document II. Why does Microsoft need to support Free Software? I mean, they claim to have everything they need, their new shiny should 7 have it all.
    This article's summary should be something along the lines of: Microsoft embraces OSS. How long before they extend their dirty tactics to OS? I don't trust them.
    The jewels of OSS were built because we, developers, needed them. We needed an OS and made Gnu, and Linux. We needed a web server and made Apache. We needed a GUI and made GNOME, KDE and Compiz. We needed a web browser and made Firefox.
    Now Microsoft needs package managing software, and they really believe we are going to build it for them. Laughable.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:00PM (#31784468)

    If you only succeed in getting windows folks to learn this lesson you should be made a saint.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:29PM (#31784704) Journal
    I'm Darl McBride, and I'm dyslexic.
    So, Satan, I sold you my soul, and what the (*^*%^&^%$S did I get in return???
    I'll see you in HELL!
    You can have my soul when you pry it from my cold dead body!
  • BEWARE !! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:31PM (#31784720)

    This is the pusherman !! Run like you have never run before !! RUN !! RUN !! RUN !! Run Far, Far away from this pusherman !!

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:44PM (#31784782) Journal
    I can't help but think you are incredibly naive. Have you been paying attention to how Microsoft is suing third party controller makers? [slashdot.org] Or how they are subverting their own standards [slashdot.org]? Or if you are in Europe, how they are heavily lobbying your representatives to hurt open standards [slashdot.org]? If you live in the US, don't worry, they are working to influence your representatives too [opensecrets.org]. Not to mention they stand firmly committed [pcmag.com] to helping out a truly evil empire (yeah, saying 'evil' is a bit much but a government that censors political speech and has secret trials for people they don't like isn't exactly nice).

    I mean, this is just in 2010. You shouldn't have particular love for any company, but claiming that Microsoft has changed can only be done by ignoring the facts and reality. Don't do that.
  • by markdavis (642305) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:59PM (#31784888)
    >That, and I've also chosen the BSD license for it's do-what-the-f*-you-want spirit. I think you had no choice to choose the BSD license instead of the GPL. Had you chosen GPL, it is likely the project would have been immediately rejected by Microsoft.
  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:47PM (#31785190) Homepage Journal

    Let them do it. I have no problem with it.

    Seriously, getting people to install software only from a safe repository would be the greatest security move that MS could make. There are so many security holes in Windows, but the vast majority of crapware is installed voluntarily by some lackwit who responds to a banner ad or something with lots of pretty images and empty promises.

    I don't much care how Microsoft spins it, as long as they educate people, and motivate them to secure their machines.

    A lot of fanboys have claimed that "Windows can be as secure as Linux". I don't entirely believe that, but we all know that Windows can be a lot more secure than it is!!

  • by dudpixel (1429789) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:04PM (#31785306)

    but....but...this is slashdot...and you're saying Microsoft allows you to contribute code under the GPL?

    that cant be true. it just cant be.

    can it?

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:13PM (#31785368)

    And more *windows* users, more windows license, more vendor lockin, and fewer alternative OS's...

    Until Windows users realize that all their favorite apps run great on Linux as well as Windows.

    If chrome runs on Windows and Linux and you just use Chrome most of the day then it becomes trivial to switch over to Linux since your app will look relatively familiar. The largest obstacle to Linux adoption besides its contempt for its users is the lack of applications people are familiar with. If someone got used to pidgen then they would be less likely to revolt when they tried using Linux.

  • by k8to (9046) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:59PM (#31785622) Homepage

    Why are you using MSI? Really.

    It's a horror show of a backend, a crazy badly engineered database. Really, it's worse even than RPM.

    You really should figure out what you would need, and design that, and then get the OS people to accept that you've replaced their mindless zombie subsystem with something non-awful.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:22AM (#31785768) Journal

    Well, because package management is effective if you have can pull source code, compile, and determine dependencies.

    I don't see how this follows. Most Linux distros do package management on binary level, not source level, and, in fact, can happily package closed-source software.

    Why does it matter if application A and library B are open source or not, if there is a known dependency from A to B?

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:45AM (#31785906) Homepage Journal

    Because, even if we could get a great POSIX experience on Windows, it leaves out Windows developers.

    The problem with this, of course, is that no matter what you do Windows developers aren't going to be able to help the Free Software community because they have chosen to use tools that only work on one platform, Windows.

    Heck, the reason that there is a Free Software community in the first place was because they built a set of tools that was specifically designed to be portable to a wide array of operating systems. If Microsoft did not go out of its way to be incompatible this wouldn't even be an issue. Free Software apps build fine on every other proprietary OS on the planet.

    One of my goals is to get Windows developers in the OSS game.

    It takes discipline to build cross-platform applications, and despite the difficulty of using autotools-style build systems on Windows it is still arguably the best way to do so. If Windows developers were interested in joining the OSS community then they would already be using OSS build systems.

    This is not going to get Windows developers to join the greater OSS community, at best it is going to be a method for making it easier to use Free Software on a non-free system. At worst it might actually shift some projects from being autotools dependent (and thus easy to build on GNU/Linux) to being CoApp dependent (and thus impossible to build on GNU/Linux).

    Of course, you are free to do what you want with your own time (and Microsoft's money) but don't try and dress it up like some sort of blessing to the folks in the OSS community.

    On top of that, there is a hell of a lot of non-POSIX open source software on Windows that needs fixing too.

    If your tool aims to make software written for Windows work on POSIX systems then forgive me for my cynicism above. If not, why should the greater OSS community care? If we were interested in Windows-only software do you think we would be bothering with autotools?

    Your tool is likely to create a Windows-only sub-community of OSS developers that can borrow from the greater OSS community but that doesn't share with the Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X OSS developers that created the software in the first place. That probably sounds good to your employers at Microsoft, but it doesn't sound like existing OSS developers are likely to get excited about.

    Look at it this way: Would you respect someone who told you the best way to get FireFox running on Linux was to use some sort of Windows emulation layer... Like WINE? no, because FireFox *can* compile for Linux. Same thing with nearly all Open Source I encounter. I want to get the OSS quality and experience on Windows to exceed commercial developers... it needs the most love.

    People don't like Wine because they use it to run software that neither targets nor tests against Wine. I personally would be perfectly happy with Wine-based software if said software was a first class development target. If the developers ran build tests against winelib, for instance, and accepted bug reports based on wine-derived versions then I don't see the big deal. Heck, in may ways it wouldn't be any different than software that uses a JVM as a platform.

    The problem with Wine is not that it is a bad platform, the problem is that it isn't a platform at all. Instead it is trying to mimic a platform. If Wine became the target instead of Windows (or even alongside Windows) then I am sure it could be made into a perfectly acceptable platform for developing GNU/Linux applications.

    The problem, as I stated before, is that Windows developers aren't interested in creating cross-platform applications. Free Software developers have created the necessary tools (like Wine or Mono), but Windows developers don't seem to be interested in spending the little bit of extra time that it would take to use those to

  • Re:msi sucks! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:17AM (#31786062)

    You can't run two msi install processes at the same time. So why would we even want that on Linux.

    Eh, since when have you been able to run two deb install processes at the same time? Oh that's right, never.

  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:46AM (#31786188) Journal

    Not to break your bubble, but I don't see Microsoft ever really pushing a 'repository' distribution model, or mainstream Windows developers buying into the concept. This approach works for Linux (sorta) because the software is non-commercial, but wouldn't fly in the capitalist anarchy of the Windows ecosystem.

    However, for system administrators and developers looking to install commodity software library XYZ, such a tool will be a godsend. I have been complaining for a long time that MS never really understood the 'lego block'-like approach to building up *nix systems, and the appeal that has to the hands-on users. I could even see commercial dev tool vendors jumping on board - there's a gazillion 'components' out there for MS developers, but installation and updating them all is a pain in the ass.

    Glad to hear that someone is finally addressing this - it will make my life easier for sure.

  • by kubitus (927806) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:46AM (#31786936)
    Garrett Serack is pretty good with words. So are many other M$ officials, execs.

    Lets see what deeds and results come out of his declared good intentions

    forgive me if I am sceptic, the road to hell is plastered with good intentions

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:51AM (#31787802)

    I'd like to see an answer to this.

    As Admiral Ackbar would say: It's a trap!

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:09AM (#31788332) Journal

    Seems to me they want some competition.

    No they don't. They make most of their money from two things: Windows and Office. Everything else exists to make these two products more competitive. The only reason that Microsoft develops things like Visual Studio, for example, is to encourage third parties to add value to their platform.

    IIS does not make money for Microsoft. If Apache is a better web server than IIS on Windows, then that's fine, as long as you're still paying for the Windows license. Especially if you're using the ISAPI module so you can't take your code elsewhere.

    Same with PHP. They don't care if you're using .NET or PHP to write your web apps, as long as you're serving them from a Windows system.

    While I wouldn't describe this move as evil, it's disingenuous to describe it as anything other than self serving. Microsoft got its current position in the OS market by fostering third-party development. Aside from some shady business deals with OEMs (and a few former competitors), they have always been very active in encouraging people to develop for Windows. Microsoft, I'm sure, would love it if you didn't run anything other than Microsoft software on your computer, but they are rational enough to understand that this is not possible for most people and so they put a lot of effort into making sure that the non-MS products that you want have dependencies on some MS products (usually Windows, sometimes Office, and sometimes on something else that depends on Windows).

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