“When Bill Hilf came from IBM to join Microsoft three years ago, the company’s stance on open source vacillated wildly. It would swing from outright indifference to overt nastiness. Today, something else is unfolding: Microsoft is striking a surprising balance. It has stopped dismissing open source licensing and community development as dangerous folly or evil foe, and is looking for a way to both compete and co-exist.”
Cracking Open the Door to Open Source
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2007-03-14 12:13 pmConstantine XVI
They’ve only managed to, you know, standardize the desktop computer as we know it and generally help mass adoption of the PC. Though that’s not much of a big deal.
Granted, they have sort of disposed of things like competitors, good programming practices, and ethics along the way, but think of it this way:
What if Apple held the desktop market? One OS, one architecture, one hardware manufacturer.
2007-03-14 2:38 pmmarkjensen
but think of it this way
Well, you pointed out some negative points you believe came from Microsoft’s overwhelming dominance of the computing market.
And you alluded to negatives that would happen in an Apple-dominated market.
Perhaps you could consider another alternative (utopian though it may seem) where no single vendor has the power to make any competing product they wish disappear completely, or at least vanish from any practical use. There is no reason (besides actions of the dominant player) that multiple OSes can’t co-exist so that there was more balance in the market. (Well, maybe the desire of corporations to maximize profits is the root of this issue, but that is a matter for a different thread)
2007-03-14 3:09 pmAlmafeta
There is no reason (besides actions of the dominant player) that multiple OSes can’t co-exist so that there was more balance in the market.
Have you heard of the law of three, in the console gaming world? It states that the market can not support more than three consoles competing at any one time. If a fourth competitor enters the market, it will usually fizzle (see Jaguar), but occasionally it will push one competitor out of the market (as Microsoft’s Xbox pushed Sega’s Dreamcast, and with it Sega, out of the market).
Right now, we’re at that point of three: Windows series, Mac series, and Linux series. Microsoft’s lead is largely because Mac and Linux have fatal flaws in their business structures (Mac’s hardware lock-in and Linux’s lack of leadership, where distros have to compete against each other before they can even compete with actual full OSs — see 3D0. OSS doesn’t help either compete), but even with those fatal flaws, they still have respectable amounts of the market (1 in 10 and 1 in 1000 users, respectively). Microsoft is still the de facto standard, but even at the 1 in 1000 level, small companies can still get enough end users to survive and grow, but that means that whatever company gets their act together thinking of serving that 1 in 1000 instead of that 9 in 10, they’ll push Linux or (if they’re extremely lucky) Apple out of their spots — we’ll still have that three-OS business again.
(Interestingly, you can think of Microsoft as preparing for just in case they get Sega’d out of the market, as they shift from a ‘OS and office suite company’ to a broadly spread company, making consoles, games, file formats like OOXML and HD Photo, Search and Encarta, MSN, many IDEs, et multiple cetera… even if Microsoft loses their OS business, they’ll still win.)
Edited 2007-03-14 15:28
2007-03-14 4:29 pmichi
There’s no way to release cross-platform games for consoles, while cross-platform should be the norm in the scenario markjensen was talking about.
That law of three wouldn’t apply there, same as it doesn’t apply to linux distros right now.
With open formats and protocols, and software being compatible, it doesn’t matter what OS you use.
2007-03-14 3:04 pmJohn Bayko
“They’ve only managed to, you know, standardize the desktop computer as we know it and generally help mass adoption of the PC.”
Before Microsoft DOS, there was CP/M (and similarly, Windows vs. GEM). Before IBM PC/ISA, there was S-100. Before Intel, there was Zilog.
And there were dozens of Apple ][ clones before there were IBM PC clones.
Microsoft only positioned itself well, but the desktop computer was well on its way to being standardized with or without them. Only the technology changes (ISA -> PCI, 8086 -> 80386 -> x86-64, OS improvements, etc.).
2007-03-14 3:17 pmmarkjensen
EDIT: Stupid client/server error made me think earlier post was not accepted. Please disregard this post.
Edited 2007-03-14 15:19
Just as long as they keep the source of the things I intend to use closed, I don’t care where they throw their excess profits.
2007-03-14 6:31 amPlatformAgnostic
huh?? Why do you care if the software you use is open or closed source?? I defend a lot of things about Windows and Microsoft on this forum, mostly because I think the attacks are unfounded and driven by ignorance rather than truth. But I have nothing against open source software and have spent plenty of my free time learning from the Linux Kernel.
I personally think that Microsoft should open-source the NT kernel but keep all the mechanisms for third-party closed-source drivers. They already have the WRK (Windows Research Kernel), which is available to academics sans win32k, pnp, some DRM features, and a couple of other intentionally obscure parts of the system. Having an open-source NT would vastly improve the quality of the drivers and would probably have negligible effect on Windows sales. The mechanisms used in Windows are pretty well-understood or already available between OpenSolaris, Linux, and BSD, so they wouldn’t be losing much in that regard. And the license wouldn’t even have to allow commercial redistribution to make someone like me happy.
Btw, with Gentoo in the news so much, does anyone remember this? http://gentooexperimental.org/nt/
…is under-estimate companies like Microsoft. They have the ability to re-invent themselves. Look at IBM, Sun and Novell in the last 10-20 years. Microsoft could do the same. If it was in their best interest, I believe Microsoft could release a version of Microsoft Office for Linux in 6 months to a year (probably based off of the Mac port). Look at Internet Explorer and its short-lived Unix version.
They may be a mean-marketing machine, but they do have a lot of very smart people working there. They almost missed the Internet boom (late to the party), I don’t think they would repeat that mistake if they see the OSS winds blowing strong.
2007-03-14 4:38 pmSouthern.Pride
Yes I would agree with this concept to, the Customer is always right and they have responded saying they want both. If they run Windows & Linux then they are paying for the services if angered or the inability of MS not wanting to deliver a solution other vendors are chopping at the bit for the chance to do business.
I think in my opinion the options today are unlimited and some companies have went the open source route leaving MS in the dust…
Embrace and extend
People’s ingnorance of computer history is astounding.
Microsoft does NOT invent anything. Every version of Windows (sans bugs) is a blatent copy of another os.
DOS = CPM/mini UNIX
Windows 3.1 = Mac OS through OS 9 which has it’s roots but not look and feel from PARC
Windows ’95-XP = OS/2
Vista = Mac OS X
It doesn’t matter one bit what you announce. What matters is that these other OSs were out first and MS came around later.
But at one point early on, IBM started insisting tat any software that “linked” to their operating system was their property. There was only one program (theirs,) and all of our code was stored in a “phase” of that program.
There has not been, is not, and never will be, such a thing as an OSS-friendly Microsoft….
I wouldn’t trust MS to help me across the road… 🙂
Microsoft are trying to cut off any kind of progress opensource has in the market place, obviously they are worried by what’s happened on the server front.
OEM’s like DELL and HP show hints of wanting to offer Linux(HP do anyway), the FUD did nothing and now it’s lets co-exist. “Get the facts” didn’t work, patents threats didn’t work(Novell caved in on that) what next ,we are going a office 2008 especially for Linux for the next five years!
I just don’t get why people talk so naturally when talking about Microsoft… just like any other guy in town.
Go look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft and try to write something positive about Microsoft. :-S
Edited 2007-03-14 02:28