Home > Windows > Microsoft Gives 12 Governments a Peek Microsoft Gives 12 Governments a Peek Eugenia Loli 2003-07-31 Windows 18 Comments Microsoft said Thursday it has now let a dozen national governments see its Windows source code in its battle to win lucrative public-sector contracts and to muffle mounting hype over rival OS, Linux. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 18 Comments 2003-07-31 8:53 pm Not to sound callous, but there’s a world of difference between Microsoft’s “look but don’t touch” shared source and Open Source. They’re feeling the preasure and acting in turn. 2003-07-31 9:50 pm I agree. Letting govt.’s see some source is better than nothing, but holy cow. The advantage to OSS is that everyone can examine every facet of it, and anyone can tackle any critical problem on the spot. Every little problem can (not that it always does) get fixed fast. Say, for example, the government of Norway had a Linux server that was being used for national security (kinda ambiguous and vague example, but ya know where I’m going). A problem was found. What to do? Pin point it, correct it, sigh in relief. Now, say they’d gone Windows. It’s okay, because they can see some of the source. A problem arises. What to do? …… Not to say Windows suX0rz, or that Linux is 1337, but just chattering on the advantage of open over shared source. Just one thin slice of the pie. 2003-07-31 10:10 pm The battle is against the hype not the actual contract. What can a government contract be worth, a couple million? Who cares about about a million dollars when a 40 billion dollar company is on the line. This is just a marketing ploy for anti-Linux purposes. Aside from minor security audits, the governments cant do anything with the code. It just says, we can do everything Linux can do but better. 2003-07-31 10:17 pm Two things, HOW can people from a goverment see how windows work. There are like 20.000.000 lines of codes? Impossible to understand all code if you didn’t write it. And who says it’s the source of the compiled distribution? 2003-07-31 10:41 pm That’s what they are doing… Shooting the sky at wild, “our OS is better because… well it’s bigger.” This tactic is not going to work anymore. They do not get the point. 2003-07-31 10:56 pm perhaps the government of Norway should have used OpenBSD 2003-07-31 11:07 pm I’m thinking one .gov employee is going to post the .src on all the newsgroups and it’s going to hurt an already weak security problem…. We call windows. 2003-07-31 11:32 pm “Two things, HOW can people from a goverment see how windows work. There are like 20.000.000 lines of codes? Impossible to understand all code if you didn’t write it. ” Maybe one wouldn’t understand it all but i’m sure many people could. I would be willing to be that the Windows code is the best commented large peice of code out there. How many people work on in, how many people start and stop working at MS every year. I don’t think it’s much of an issue. if you’re a gov and want to check it out you can find people to look at it. There really isn’t much point at looking at it unless there is something in there you think it might be doing and then you would have someone who knows what to look for. These govs very well might watch that code get compiled. It probably takes days on a very high end machine compaired to the day it takes on MS’s computer but still they could see that it works. Also for MS to re-work the whole thing to a peice of code missing stuff would be hard. for one that would be a ton of work for them, and second to start ripping out parts and some how elimitnate all links to the missing bits would be insane. And someone could probably see somethings not right. You will never see MS letting places keap versions they can compile, the last thing they need is groups making changes and then having tons of problems with apps not working and such. Also not just govs have seen the code, many universities have it as well. 2003-08-01 12:57 am China must look at Windows code and make an opensource clone ! USA will not have power to retaliate them. 2003-08-01 1:08 am marcelo is right… haha… Intellectual property has nothing to do with legal responsibility. The concept of sharing their source code so they can get lucritive govt contracts? Was a sales pitch from the start. I am against msft’s bullying , period. I want it to stop. These actions do not addresses this. It’s not good enough. Enough with the smoke filled back room deals between msft and governments. I want it to stop. It can be stopped. I don’t see them as a threat. I see them as a company that’s messed with the wrong people. Yeah, share (sell) to china. Then spread em.(hehe) 2003-08-01 2:22 am And in other dealings with MS and the government, the government has now turned into MS’s babysitter and has issued a warning: http://newsvac.newsforge.com/newsvac/03/07/31/235225.shtml?tid=13 If MS can’t get its OWN customers to patch their products maybe the government will, or better yet, make it a law to have to patch MS systems when the patches come out! Sorry, know this was OT, but couldnt resist. 2003-08-01 5:56 am There’s no way in hell that MS is showing the full, real code. They must be showing only snipets and such. It’s not the real code until someone compiles it and it turns out the same size and hash as the released binary. Plus looking at code, unless for very specific items would be worthless, you’d forget what you saw by the time you got back to your desk. Without a copy of the source code and the ability to compile it, it’s next to useless. Plus the way windows operates, it’s spaghetti personified… imagine what the code looks like and how many modules you’d have to view to get a real feel for the stuff. 2003-08-01 9:04 am So how is this going to change that>!? AFAIC, this is a scam until Microsoft release the source code under the BSD/MIT license. 2003-08-01 5:46 pm China should just make a better windows os, heck they probably already have ms code anyways! 2003-08-01 9:28 pm First thing: I bet you $5 American that 8-10 million of those lines of code are the drivers that are submitted by companies and approved by MS WHQL for inclusion on the XP and service pack CDs. All the core stuff is probably pretty small. BUT when you add in .NET, Internet Explorer, MSN/Windows Messenger, IIS, DirectX (in Longhorn), Terminal Services, virtualization services (recently purchased from Connectix–slated for Longhorn server), and other peripheral modules that have recently become part of what Microsoft considers “core” OS services it balloons pretty quickly. Second: It would take China armies of programmers, millions of dollars (or is it Yuan?), and several years to make a proper Windows clone even if they co-opt WINE. Then again, the Chinese government is funding development of homegrown x86 compatible processors (initially for the embedded space, later for desktops). A few in their government still think that every Intel chip from the P3 forward can transmit data and code to the NSA or something. Third: MS would figure out how to get back at any country who seriously tries to clone Windows after seeing the source no matter how much they want to ignore international copyright restrictions. Sharing source could be a kind of insurance against efforts like this, even if they were clean room implementations based on published (and reverse engineered) APIs. –JM 2003-08-02 5:43 am The point of this is so other governments can see that Windows doesn’t have some sort of backdoor for the US government, not to try and update themselves, etc… Quit trying to compare it to OSS, the ideas behind the two things aren’t the same even in the slightest. 2003-08-02 6:45 pm Who cares if people see the code, if they can’t fix the probs. they see. Will all thes windows security holes being reported, I don’t understand why people still use it anyway. 2003-08-02 6:47 pm With all these windows security holes being reported, I don’t understand why people still use it anyway.