Topic: Microsoft offering Windows source code  (Read 8845 times)

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Offline Nemesis

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Microsoft offering Windows source code
« on: January 27, 2006, 09:06:19 pm »
Link to full article

In a nutshell:

1/ Microsoft ordered by the EU to document certain protocols by Dec 15th last year.

2/ Microsoft delivered 12,000 pages of documentation.

3/ Reviewed for compliance by someone (who's name escapes me) who was on a list provided by Microsoft to the EU as acceptable to do the review

4/ After he finished laughing hysterically he informs the EU that the document does not match their criteria.

5/ Microsoft told put up by Jan 22nd or face $2.4 million per day fine retroactive to Dec 15th

6/ Microsoft claims that they don't have and cannot create such documentation and offers to open windows source to external people who pay a licence fee and accept a EULA.  Fee and EULA not yet disclosed

7/ The EU is considering the situation and has delayed the retroactive fine but it may still his Microsoft.

I don't think that the EU will go for it as it has already been stated that you can't use the code you license and you can't use it for open source.
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Offline Strat

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2006, 10:18:20 pm »
Why should they be allowed to copy the code?  Thats just plain cheating.

If they want to make programs that are more compatible with thier OS's, and they don't like the documentation, then the source IS the solution though.

Anyhow, after reading all of that it seems to me to be another case of: 'You just can't please some people'.

People will always dislike Microsoft becuase, well, they just want to.  At its core, it's not logical.

What if they get source? And 10 years of support to read it?  People will still hate Microsoft.

For the legal remifications, time will tell; life will go on. 

There are many other industries in the world where one or two companies rules a market, and you never hear of them.  As for OS's, I've used many, and dont dislike any of them.  They all have thier places and strengths.

Offline prometheus

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2006, 11:02:03 pm »
Err...  So... Would some care to explain wtf is going on?


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Offline Just plain old Punisher

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 01:47:56 am »
Err...  So... Would some care to explain wtf is going on?

Sure, for 10,000 dollars and you have to sign a EULA promising not to understand the explination or to pass it on to others.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 03:29:53 am »
Err...  So... Would some care to explain wtf is going on?

Sure, for 10,000 dollars and you have to sign a EULA promising not to understand the explination or to pass it on to others.

A bit short and lacking in details but Punisher does essentially have it right.

Slightly longer form.

Like the U.S. the E.U. found Microsoft to be a monopoly that had illegally abused its monopoly status.  The solution was that Microsoft was fined and ordered to document certain protocols so that they could be used by competitors for interoperating. 

Microsoft claims that they don't have such documentation and can't create it.  They want to license parts of their source code on terms yet to be revealed but that excludes open source software (Linux, BSD/UNIX etc).  In essence they want competitors to examine Microsofts code and then document it themselves for cloning purposes while agreeing to unspecified and possibly expensive terms that could potentially leave competitors open to law suits. 

Since a significant proportion of Microsofts current competitors are open source excluding those programs (in my opinion) violates the intent of the settlement ordered by the E.U..  Microsoft is also currently in trouble in the U.S. for "foot dragging" on compliance with the 2000 settlement orders.  In the U.S. they have also tried to put high prices and onerous EULAs on information ordered to be provided by the courts and have been fought on that but each time they just back off a little and have to be fought again while they claim to have complied with the orders.

This is just another example of Microsoft breaking the law and trying to evade the penalty while claiming to be "abused".
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 12:09:02 pm »
Why should they be allowed to copy the code?  Thats just plain cheating.

Actually they don't want the code they want specifications.  But once you have seen the code you have legal liabilities if you come up with something "too close" to the MS code. 

If they want to make programs that are more compatible with thier OS's, and they don't like the documentation, then the source IS the solution though.

Professor Neil Barret was the one who rejected the documentation.  The EU courts chose him from a list provided by Microsoft of people acceptable to them to review the documentation.  Microsofts own chosen expert says they have not complied.

The source is not the solution.  It is a method of Microsoft saying we don't want to spend the illegally acquired billions making documentation so we will transfer the costs to other companies while leaving them legal traps that we can use later against them.

Now I am not a programmer but consider this.  If a given Microsoft program using a given protocol sends data in 128 bit chunks anyone studying that program will think that the spec requires 128 bit sizes and will code like that.  Later they may find that other Microsoft programs use different sizes of data chunks because the actual specification is 64 bit to 1024 bit.  Because they don't have the actual specifications they can't know that and can't choose a size that is most efficient for their own code.

Microsoft can also at that point change anything they want and point the finger at the other guy when things go wrong because by definition what they do is the spec. 

Think of the Windows metafile bug just recently revealed.  Anyone trying to deduce a specification from code would have implemented the same flaw.  Presumably it was not part of the specification and would not have been produced by someone actually working to spec.

Anyhow, after reading all of that it seems to me to be another case of: 'You just can't please some people'.

In this case Microsoft can by obeying the court order.

People will always dislike Microsoft becuase, well, they just want to.  At its core, it's not logical.

Just like people will always hate the guy who mugged them.  Hating criminals is pretty normal. Seems pretty logical to me. 

What if they get source? And 10 years of support to read it?  People will still hate Microsoft.

For the legal remifications, time will tell; life will go on. 

Legal ramifications is exactly where the problem is.

To use the MS source you need to establish a team that only studies the source and produces documentation (which Microsoft says that they cannot do themselves) which an entirely separate team has to use to then make your program compliant with the spec. 

Those programmers who studied the MS code are now "contaminated" and are pretty much unable to ever again work in the area that the code they studied covered.  The area that they obviously were expert in or they wouldn't have been hired to do the study in the first place.

Now if 3rd party companies can produce documentation from the code why can't Microsoft?  Why should other companies be required to spend the money to create documentation that Microsoft has been ordered to create?  I would guess that the Microsoft license to the code will prevent companies from sharing or selling that documentation so that the other companies can't combine efforts.

I hope that the EU imposes the fine and tells Microsoft that the fine will increase if they don't OBEY THE LAW.  Sooner or later Microsoft would have to obey the law because the expense of breaking it would finally be too great.

If Microsoft truly cannot produce the documentation what does that say about the quality of their code?  If they can't do it with internal resources then it is time to hire an outside firm to do it for them and to then require their coders to adhere to the documentation that is created.

There are many other industries in the world where one or two companies rules a market, and you never hear of them.  As for OS's, I've used many, and don't dislike any of them.  They all have their places and strengths.

Because those companies don't systematically break the law to maintain the monopoly?

Using your monopoly in one area to extend it into other areas is the crime that Microsoft keeps being judged guilty of. 

Here is the method.

1/ Company X produces a new product and creates a sales niche.

2/ Company X grows that niche until Microsoft says "there is good money there and it should be ours"

3/ Microsoft goes to PC companies that have bundling agreements with Company X and says "here is our version of Company Xs product".  If you bundle their product with your PCs instead of ours you will find the price of Windows (and Office if also bundled) goes up enough to compensate us for the losses

4/ Company X finds themselves cut off from being bundled with PCs.  Since Microsoft makes similar agreements for prime shelf space in retail stores many of those retail stores will either not be able to dedicate space to both products or will be forced to display it in hard to find locations.

5/ Company X is now back as a niche product or destroyed without regard to who had the better product.

There are other methods. 

For example you may have heard of the Microsoft Windows beta that would crash with an error stating that the DOS was incompatible.  The beta checked for DR-DOS and crashed if it was found.  Not because of actual incompatibilities but merely because it was detected.  The result was that companies who were using the beta to develop programs compatible with the next version of Windows wouldn't support those programs if you used Windows on DR-DOS, after all DR-DOS was incompatible with Windows and any problems caused were Digital Research's fault not theirs. 

The next phase was to combine the OS and the OE (Operating Environment), not because they needed to be combined but to kill off DR-DOS which is exactly what happened. 

Kill any company that threatens the monopoly or who is in a market that Microsoft can add as yet another monopoly.  Which is exactly why they want to exclude Open Source.  Steps one to 5 only work in the market Microsoft is used to.  The Open Source community works outside those rules and is pretty much immune to the normal Microsoft tactics.  The only ways Microsoft currently has to fight them is FUD (which they are doing) and keeping them from connecting into the dominant Microsoft systems. 

Next for Microsoft will be using software patents (which Microsoft is a proponent of though they formerly opposed them as stifling innovation).  The FAT patent is likely to be the first one used, at least until it is defeated in court and it will be at great expense.
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Offline Commander Maxillius

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 02:10:05 pm »
I say Microsoft should give the EU the code for Windows as well as an implementation guide 4 days before releasing Longhorn.

OR, Billy should revoke the entire EU's use licence, as is his right according to the EULA. Then he should buy lots of airtime in the EU to tell people affected people that the reason theiir PCs are no longer supported is that their leaders have their heads so far up their arses that they forgot to read the EULA of the product they're fighting over.  Then, release a virus that deletes the registry of machines whose clock settings are set to european time zones so that non-EU machines are unaffected.



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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 02:32:05 pm »
I say Microsoft should give the EU the code for Windows as well as an implementation guide 4 days before releasing Longhorn.

OR, Billy should revoke the entire EU's use licence, as is his right according to the EULA. Then he should buy lots of airtime in the EU to tell people affected people that the reason theiir PCs are no longer supported is that their leaders have their heads so far up their arses that they forgot to read the EULA of the product they're fighting over.  Then, release a virus that deletes the registry of machines whose clock settings are set to european time zones so that non-EU machines are unaffected.

-Maxillius the True Bastard ;D


So what you are saying is that Microsoft should be allowed to continue and even escalate its criminal acts without punishment or making restitution?

How about in the U.S.?  They have the same type of problems under the law there.  In fact if the U.S. had handled things well back in 2000 the EU would have dropped everything as having been resolved.  The U.S. dropped the ball when the administration changed hands and suddenly the DOJ instead of being hardline became very softline.

Link to full article
Quote
But in a filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington, the Justice Department and 10 states said Microsoft was dragging its feet and its last filing had "not detailed the seriousness of the current situation."

The company had fallen significantly behind and needed to "dramatically increase the resources devoted to responding to technical documentation issues."

The U.S. filing said Microsoft had acknowledged it provided inaccurate information and on some occasions had been unable to provide accurate information.


I suppose that you wouldn't mind if Microsoft were to do as you suggest in the U.S. as well as the EU?
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2006, 02:46:51 pm »
It never ceases to amaze me that people want to punish Microsoft for winning at the capitalist game. <shakes head> Make up your bloody minds people, is it a free market or not?

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2006, 03:20:14 pm »
It never ceases to amaze me that people want to punish Microsoft for winning at the capitalist game. <shakes head> Make up your bloody minds people, is it a free market or not?

Define free market?  Is it like freedom of speech?  You know the freedom that has certain limits like your not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater unless you really have reason to believe there is a fire?  Just as free speech has limits so does the free market.

When Microsoft went to customers and said "sell our competitors products and we will hurt you" it wasn't what I would consider a free market. 

In a free market if a distributor decides to bundle an Office Suite other than Microsoft Office Microsoft would not raise the price of Windows to that distributor.

In a free market Microsoft could not have forbidden distributors from installing Netscape Navigator on PCs with Windows.

In a free market if I buy a PC to put Linux on it Microsoft would not be paid too, afterall I'm not buying their product why should I be forced to pay for it?

When the media was riddled with reports that the Microsoft DOS developers had as a slogan "DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run" it wasn't a free market. 

When Microsoft used control of Windows to crash developers Windows betas on DR-DOS while telling them DR-DOS was not compatible to make those companies drop support for DR-DOS the market was not free. 

When competitors have to worry that their product may not work after each and every Microsoft patch but the Microsoft products all will the market is not free. 

Letting Microsoft screw over competitors by their control of Windows is not what I call a free market. 

When Microsoft threatened legal action for showing how to run a Microsoft product under Wine at a show the market wasn't free.  They claimed that you are only allowed to use the product you bought under Windows not under any other OS.  They claimed the right to dictate how you use the product that you bought.  Not exactly what I call free.

Microsoft believes on freedom for Microsoft and for no one else.

Once upon a time IBM did the same types of things and had the same legal fights.  Eventually when they realized they were going to lose they prepared for a breakup and reformed their behaviour.  In  the end they eliminated the need for a breakup. 

Microsoft should learn from that instead of insisting on a bitter fight to the end where either Microsoft beats the governments of the world or they get destroyed.  I don't think Microsoft can win if they fight to the end.  I would much rather they emulated IBM and survived.

I believe on the free market I should be able to choose whose products to use without Microsoft using its corporate might to compel anyone on the chain between us to make sure my choice is limited to paying Microsoft.  I believe in a free market.  I just don't believe that under the current Microsoft hegemony that we actually have one in PC software and that needs to change.  That will change without regards to the desires of the King of Redmond.
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2006, 04:30:38 pm »
The way I see it, all is fair and love and war. The principle of the free market economy is to rip off thy neighbor, its all out war as far as I'm concerned.

Quote
When competitors have to worry that their product may not work after each and every Microsoft patch but the Microsoft products all will the market is not free. 
Take a close look at the silliness known as Sun Java.

Please re-examine the logic of this statement:
Quote
Letting Microsoft screw over competitors by their control of Windows is not what I call a free market.
Windows is Microsoft's product, they should have full control over it. There is the Peter Norton school of product subversion however... ;)

Quote
Once upon a time IBM did the same types of things and had the same legal fights.  Eventually when they realized they were going to lose they prepared for a breakup and reformed their behaviour.  In  the end they eliminated the need for a breakup.
And where is OS2 today? ;)

I still think QNX is a far superior OS, however you do not see any governments trying to tell them what to do with their product. ;)

« Last Edit: January 28, 2006, 04:42:23 pm by Bonk »

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2006, 05:46:47 pm »
The way I see it, all is fair and love and war. The principle of the free market economy is to rip off thy neighbor, its all out war as far as I'm concerned.

Where do you draw the line?  False advertising (Microsoft has been convicted)?  Lying about your competitors (Microsoft has been convicted)?  Software Piracy (Microsoft has been convicted)?  Guido being sent to break your kneecaps or torch your offices (Microsoft has yet to be accused of that).  Where is the line that you say is too far?  There pretty much has to be one somewhere I'd like to know the limits that you think a company is/should be allowed to go to.

To me if one side can use compulsion to force the use of their products the market is not free and Microsoft has been doing that for a long time. 
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Offline Just plain old Punisher

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2006, 06:24:55 pm »
LOL I'm reminded of that Simpsons episode where Homer creates a useless internet home-business and Bill Gates comes to "Buy him out"

Hehe, like 2 burly nerds come in and trash the place.

Then Bill Gates says "Oh I didn't get rich by writing checks Mr Simpson"

Classic.

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Offline E_Look

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2006, 10:39:53 pm »
Ah, Bonk, you misunderstand capitalism.  There is laissez faire capitalism which in the end benefits no one except at the time for the few practitioners who survive.  That capitalism makes use of human greed is a truism; but it is also a two way street- greed will use capitalism as well!

Capitalism must be regulated, to protect it, to protect people in general from those immoral ones who would abuse the economic and stylistic freedom that capitalism affords.  Water is good.  Water is necessary for our continued existence.  But try to only drink just water and nothing else, and eat nothing, but drink water.

Offline Just plain old Punisher

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2006, 02:31:03 am »
Spoken like a man who hasn't purchased a solid gold car with money he embezzeled from his companies old widows and orphans fund.

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Offline prometheus

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2006, 06:23:23 am »
Why should they be allowed to copy the code?  Thats just plain cheating.

Well, most microsoft code seems to be based on stolen apple and unix code...


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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2006, 07:26:16 am »
Well, most microsoft code seems to be based on stolen apple and unix code...

Any actual evidence of that? 

I know that Microsoft has used BSD/Unix code for the TCP/IP stack which is perfectly legal under the BSD license so long as they don't remove the copyright notices.  Apple uses BSD code the same way as does Linux.    Nothing wrong with that it is totally legal and above board.

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Offline E_Look

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2006, 12:46:44 pm »
Spoken like a man who hasn't purchased a solid gold car with money he embezzeled from his companies old widows and orphans fund.

... spoken like a man who has watched others purchase solid gold cars with money they embezzled from their companies old widows and orphans fund.

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2006, 03:09:03 pm »
For those who may be interested in other Microsoft lawsuits:

A List of Microsoft Litigation
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Offline prometheus

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Re: Microsoft offering Windows source code
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2006, 04:19:20 pm »
Well, most microsoft code seems to be based on stolen apple and unix code...

Any actual evidence of that? 

I know that Microsoft has used BSD/Unix code for the TCP/IP stack which is perfectly legal under the BSD license so long as they don't remove the copyright notices.  Apple uses BSD code the same way as does Linux.    Nothing wrong with that it is totally legal and above board.



So, if he's willing to benefit from the generosity of others, ie. the OS movement, perhaps it's time, after years of earning billions through the use of OS transfer protocols, to give something back? 

Incidentally, I don't recall seeing any requester pop up to tell me that I was using a BSD/Unix protocol the last time I used Outlook Express... Perhaps it's hidden away insome small print somewhere?

And yes,there is actual evidence...  The guy has been embroiled in more law suits than I've had hot dinners...


I mean, Jesus Christ, we might not have it 100% right in Europe, but at least over here there is a debate about how much bullying massive corporations should be allowed to get away with, and I can assure you, if Microsoft was based in London, Gates would have had his neck reeled in a long time ago...  The practices of the Freemarket (and I hate that name because "free" implies some kind of benefit to the consumer and some kind of ethical dimension, neither of which exist) must have some ethical restrictions on them, and Gates has gotten away with murder over the last twenty years... 

Using OS products while trying to shut down every single competitor?  I detest double standards, I always have, that is the failing in humans that pisses me off more than anything else, and Gates is guilty of some bloody big ones...


   
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