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Microsoft and Open Source

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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#11 Postby GoManutd » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:03 am

rich, for the longest time the pervading belief in the open source community appeared to be that microsoft was doing these sort of things to contribute to projects so they can influence OSS projects in a more MS favorable way.

this may or may not be true, but MS' previous ventures into linux have provided anecdotal evidence that one could interpret as supporting this.

MS is a commercial company, so that, in and of itself, means that they have a tendency to not do altruistic things without some underlying payoff in mind. whether there is some evil, over-arching goal to MS' venture into OSS will need to be seen, but given their historical predatory nature it doesn't bode well.

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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#12 Postby richb » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:10 am


That is my take as well. Unless it has a financial advantage either in the short term or long term, or some legal issue forces them to do so, any for profit corporation does not proceed out of pure charity. Having said that, in general terms now, and not saying this is the case with MS, there are times that corporate actions do benefit not only the corporation but other parties as well.

This does seem to be the case with the release of the Hyper-V drivers.
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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#13 Postby timkb4cq » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:17 am

Microsoft's past behaviour has frequently been the pattern of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. That pattern has often included its partners as well as competitors.
Free software licenses like the GPL frustrate the last step of that cycle by ensuring that the second step is fully disclosed and freely available. That's why MS prefers BSD style licenses for their "Open Source" projects. I understand why developers who wish to sell their products my be influenced away from the GPL and the other "share and share alike" licenses. There are advantages to the open but not free licenses. History shows there are also risks...
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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#14 Postby Saist » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:33 pm

richb wrote:My intent was not to start a "I hate MS thread". I wanted to gain some insight on what this move meant.

What is MS trying to accomplish and what is their motivation.

Extend. Embrace. Extinguish.

As a company the motivations of machinations of Microsoft have not changed as the management behind those motivations and machinations has not changed. There has been no high-level turnover within Microsoft. There has been no new blood. There has been no shakedown or shakeout of existing employees.

In short, there is no evidence to suggest that Microsoft is performing, or going to be performing, any different actions than they have done in the past. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that Microsoft's motivations and goals for their current and future performances have changed in any way, shape, or form.

Microsoft wants to control all software. Microsoft wants to be the only software "choice" available. Microsoft wants no competitors. Microsoft does not want to compete. Microsoft wants to eliminate any existing competition. Microsoft wants to erase the rights of the consumer. These are the core concepts that Steve Ballmer and the rest of the senior Microsoft Management consider when making all of their business choices.

Microsoft sees Open-Source Licenses as but a tool, and a very useful tool. Microsoft is quite willing to play by Open-License standards, and even fields a selection of it's own licenses that do adhere to the definitions of an Open-License according to the Free Software Foundation. However, those licenses are explicitly incompatible with the GPL: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-lis ... leLicenses

What Microsoft hopes to gain is what they've always tried to gain in the past. A better Working Relationship with Open-Source developers and a Friendlier Public Image. As far as Microsoft is concerned, if Microsoft can show that it can work with Open-Source developers, then it must be the Open-Source developers who are opposed to Microsoft that are the radicals that everybody should ignore.

How will the Open Source Community react?

Which community? The Open-Source communities banded around the ideals of the GPL and the concepts of the rights of the consumer will likely respond with extreme suspicion and distrust of any move Microsoft makes. Open-Source communities that don't agree with the GPL or the rights of the consumer will likely hail the latest advance from Microsoft as the greatest performance ever, and that all Open-Source communities should feel vindicated by the capitulation of the Mighty Microsoft.

For example, MS is in the list of the top 20 contributors to Linux. Not ascribing eleemosynary motives to this, one explanation given:

The biggest contribution coming from Microsoft was the cleanup of the company's Hyper-V drivers, which it originally open sourced in 2009. This wasn't an altruistic move, however — the drivers, which improve the Linux virtualization experience on Microsoft's Server products, were only contributed after Stephen Hemminger, a principal engineer with Vyatta, noticed they contained both open source GPL (GNU Public License) components and Microsoft's own code. Since the GPL doesn't permit mixing of open and closed source in publicly-released projects, Microsoft was believed to be in violation of the license, and released the drivers to the open source community shortly after the discrepancy was spotted.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/4/292437 ... driver-gpl

And this highlights where I stand. Microsoft does not perform business decisions for moral or ethical reasons. Microsoft only acts upon choices presented by moral, ethical, or legal conflicts when the moral, ethical, or legal choice is something that will make the company look good or avoid a court-case.

In recent history we've watched attempts such as the financial backing of SCO, the attempt to abuse the Nortel Patents, the attempt to abuse the AOL Patents, and the extortion of money over Android/Linux that's been highlighted by Barnes and Nobel. I see no evidence of any kind to suggest that Microsoft is doing anything that I would want to support.

So how will I react to this latest performance from Microsoft? By calling Bullmanure until Microsoft knocks off it's bad behavior.

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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#15 Postby Jerry3904 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:20 pm

Saw this in the Linux Foundation Briefing Book this week:
Microsoft fields tough questions about open culture at the company (with video)
Libby Clark
Microsoft engineers K.Y. Srinivasan and Tom Hanrahan presented “Microsoft’s journey to the Linux kernel” at the Collaboration Summit. They gave a technical talk, but much of the discussion revolved around Microsoft’s noticeable shift toward open source. And the pair fielded an intense round of questions from attendees, including kernel developers Greg Kroah-Hartman and James Bottomley.
I would have loved to hear Kroah-Hartman asking those questions...
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Re: Microsoft and Open Source

#16 Postby arjaybe » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:05 pm

Here's another take on Microsoft and "open source."

http://www.datamation.com/open-source/m ... ise-1.html

As of this article, Microsoft is actually one of the most active contributors to the Linux kernel. Yes, these contributions all benefit them in one way or another. But after I had a chance to ponder this issue a bit more, I began to question Microsoft's motivation in the long-term.
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