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Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:25 AM EDT

According to eWeek, Microsoft would like to talk to the Open Source community about how they can work better with the community. Is this the embrace part? The article quotes attorney Brad Smith:

"We're going to have to figure out how to build some bridges between the various parts of our industry," he continued. "We're going to have to figure out how we can bring the various parts of our industry closer together. Not necessarily in the sense of changing the way software is developed, but building bridges so that we all have the ability to collaborate with each other. And that will mean we will need some new rotations, I think, in how we work together, in how we license, in how we share technology or intellectual property rights with each other."

Let me guess. They'd like us to toss the GPL overboard, perchance?

Here's a suggestion to anyone who takes them up on their invitation and believes this is a true olive branch: Ask them why the EU threatened to fine them this week. What was the sticking point exactly?

And just a reminder: Linux, their number one competition, is licensed under the GPL. That isn't changing. Larry Rosen is quoted in the article, and that reminds me to tell you that his book on Open Source Licensing -- Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law is now available online.


Microsoft -- Can We Talk? | 193 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
Authored by: tknarr on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:49 AM EDT

I think Microsoft has started on this course because they've realized that, in the process of insuring everyone was locked in to MS's products and plans, they've burned every bridge with the rest of the world. Including their own customers. Their customers have stayed with them only because MS had made it so hard to change, but that same difficulty makes MS's customers nervous. If MS decides to go in a direction not to the customers' liking (think various licensing change attempts), what options do the customers have? Not reassuring if your business depends on MS software. But now there's a viable option, and plenty of proof it works. Now MS needs those bridges to get off the island they've marched themselves onto, and they need the rest of us to build those bridges for them.

My question, of course, is why should we, given the way MS has operated over the last 2 decades? Sure they need to build bridges with us, but do we need to build bridges with them? If they can't bring something to the table we want, on terms we can accept, why do we have to sit down with them at all? We've gotten this far without them, after all.

When MS talks about new forms of licensing, I'm inclined to say "We already have forms of licensing that work for us. If MS feels a need to change their licensing terms, there's nothing stopping them. If they want us to change, well, it's not us coming begging is it?". Or, more bluntly, "MS, you made your bed, now lay in it.".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bridges to no-where
Authored by: golding on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:59 AM EDT
Why would we want to build a bridge to a toxic island?

As far as I'm aware, you would only build bridges to where you would want to go,
wouldn't you?

Regards, Robert

..... Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I have
never been able to make out the numbers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
Authored by: blacklight on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:08 AM EDT
"We're going to have to figure out how to build some bridges between the
various parts of our industry ..."

Said the python to the mouse: "I'll surround you, hug you (and choke you).

[ Reply to This | # ]

    /. has amusing commentary on this.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:11 AM EDT
    I think the Vlad the Impaler analogy is interesting.

    My guess is that Microsoft's new strategy is to try to move the open-source community in the direction of closed-source friendly(BSD) and even patent friendly (CDDL) licenses.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This Sounds Strangely Familiar...
    Authored by: Weeble on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:25 AM EDT

    Is it just me, or does this "olive branch" strangely resemble another one offered by ole DMcB back in September 2003?

    And might it just be that the FOSS community's response to Microsoft should be comparable to Linus Torvalds' response, appropriate sections of which are quoted below?

    ...we find your references to a negotiating table somewhat confusing, since there doesn't seem to be anything to negotiate about...we wait with bated breath for when you will actually care to inform us about what you are blathering about.

    You Never Know What You're Going to Learn--or Learn About--on Groklaw!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:26 AM EDT
    Here's a picture of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett playing bridge.

    Buffett controls the company, which has a market value of around $130 billion, with nearly 40 percent of the stock, worth more than $40 billion. Berkshire invests in companies in traditional businesses like newspapers, soft drinks and insurance.

    Gates is worth more than $46 billion as founder of the world's largest software company. He owns about $300 million in Berkshire stock and was appointed to the board in December, to fill the vacancy left by the July death of Buffett's wife, Susan.

    Gates and Buffett - Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on Forbes magazine's list of of the world's richest men - share similar backgrounds, Connelly said. They grew up in comfortable circumstances; Buffett's father was a Nebraska congressman, while Gates' is a prominent Seattle attorney. Both built their own companies, and they share a love of hamburgers, bridge and golf, and have vacationed together, including a trip to China in 1995.

    Microsoft is politcially motivated and Bill Gates has enough money to buy a small country.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OK will Microsoft support these formats?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:35 AM EDT
    All the new Open Document formats?
    The Future Is Open: What OpenDocument Is And Why You Should Care ~ by Daniel
    Sunday, January 30 2005 @ 05:00 AM EST

    OpenDocument Text [.odt]
    OpenDocument Text Template [.ott]
    OpenDocument Database [.odb] <--------------- Databases
    OpenDocument Spreadsheet [.ods]
    OpenDocument Spreadsheet Template [.ots]
    OpenDocument Drawing [.odg]
    OpenDocument Drawing Template [.otg]
    OpenDocument Presentation [.odp]
    OpenDocument Presentation Template [.otp]
    OpenDocument Formula [.odf]
    OpenDocument Chart [.odc]
    OpenDocument Master Document [.odm]
    OpenDocument HTML Document Template [.oth]

    I hope I haven't missed anything.
    Daniel Carrera. volunteer.

    Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora for open audio and video formats

    And support for:
    GnomeMeeting and the various open codecs that have been created from scratch...

    How about sharing an open XML for all, with all?

    Any other Open Stuff? ...s that Microsoft can support (and not extend_?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Off topic here please
    Authored by: fudisbad on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:43 AM EDT
    For current events, legal filings and Caldera® collapses.

    Please make links clickable, see text in red when submitting a comment.
    Example: <a href="">Click here</a>

    See my bio for copyright details re: this post.
    Darl McBride, show your evidence!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Standards are important
    Authored by: CypherOz on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:58 AM EDT
    The goal should be 100% compliance with standards to enable interoperable
    systems. No 'inovations' unless they become part of the next release of the
    appropriate standard, after proper debate etc.

    Standards should be encumberance free, i.e. not tangled with licence fees etc.

    BOTH proprietory and FOSS software must comply with standards (e.g. W3C)

    This is the only way that we the consumber can have real choice.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: jkondis on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:59 AM EDT
    Honestly, does anyone really believe this uh, stuff?

    Building bridges? Collaborate? WORK TOGETHER???

    Hardee har har har.

    The thing that gets me is they know no one will believe this boloney, so why are
    they saying it? Are they trying to set up Linux/FOSS for something? Is it just
    PR? Are they expecting milder treatment from various governments if they put on
    a "show" of cooperation? Maybe they're trying to act like the good
    guys so they can point out the blessings of CDDL and try to make GPL stuff look

    I don't know if it's a trap or what, but the only thing certain is their
    fondness for cooperation is obviously feigned. You don't cooperate with a

    Don't steal. Microsoft hates competition.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft is tring to show EU: It's tring to coopoerate
    Authored by: dhonn on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 03:08 AM EDT
    Microsoft it showing EU that it is tring to cooperate with the competition. But
    obviously we cant cause our GPL wont allow us too. Then Microsoft wins in the
    end, and we lose!


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Conspiracy theorists move over....
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 03:12 AM EDT
    If you toss aside all grudges, conspiracy theories, etc etc, then this may show
    that a certain turning point has been reached. For a few years the F/OSS
    community has been working hard to make software work with Microsoft products. I
    think this is a sign that now it's MS it's turn to work on their products to get
    them to work with F/OSS.
    Since the acceptance rate of F/OSS is still growing, MS realizes that in order
    to keep customers, they must provide some compatibility with this software. And
    I think the dialoge their aiming at is one where they can ask how to reach
    compatibility without getting their software GPL'd.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    To borrow from a famous Unix quote
    Authored by: dmarker on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 03:12 AM EDT

    Microsoft supports Open Source like a rope supports a hanging man


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: geoff lane on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 03:18 AM EDT
    What does a rich boy do when he wants something that cannot be bought? He can't own GPLed code and he can't buy respect from the people who are the true pathfinders in the software world.

    Gates can't even compete against the 19 year old developer of Firefox! With over 50 million downloads, Firefox has taken between 5 and 10% of the "market" for IE. How does MS compete? It seems their only answer is "more of the same" by bringing forward the Longhorn IE code and releasing it as part of an XP bump release (which is only needed because Longhorn release date is rapidly disappearing into the far future.) Oh Hum.

    MS have a huge problem. They are now too big for their market but being a monopoly the law restricts what they can do. Perhaps Gates is thinking that some kind of modified GPL could be used to work around the monopoly laws?

    As the old saying says, "Beware of geeks bearing gifts."

    I'm not a Windows user, consequently I'm not
    afraid of receiving email from total strangers.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 03:20 AM EDT
    The problem with Microsoft is that the talking is about "shareholder
    care" and not about "customer care"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: jmc on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 04:27 AM EDT
    "He must have a long spoon that must eat with the devil."

    William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors Act IV Scene 3.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Don't you just love the marketing speak?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 05:41 AM EDT
    Don't you just love the veiled language? "Building bridges", "work together". Maybe the actual meaning of the words is just 180 degrees of what they appear to mean? Usually, when a corporate blahblah producer opens his mouth, it does.

    Let me think ... what interrest would Microsoft have in this "bridge building", "working together?"

    And that will mean we will need some new rotations, I think, in how we work together,

    More Microsft "we are are reaching out to you, we are nice, honourable, reasonable and cooporative cooprative people" posturing.. He is preparing his audiance to be receptive to his message.

    in how we license,

    I'm getting a feel of what that is message will be..

    in how we share technology

    Share? Hmm.. does Microsoft make a habit of sharing? Don't think so.. Does Microsoft have an interrest in opening up their techonolgies? Hmm multiple compatible offerings for MS products on the market... don't think that Microsoft wants that. Do Open Source developers make a habit of sharing? Yup, by defenition, they do.. Let me think.. might it be that "we" in actuallity means "you?".

    or intellectual property rights with each other.

    "intellectual property rights".. who is actually sharing "intellectual property rights?" Microsoft? Nope. OSS developers. Yep. Microsft wants OSS developers to change the way they license the fruits of their hard work. Let me see.. what is the most popular OSS license? The GPL?.. Yep.. Under which license is the OSS product that poses the biggest competative threat to Microsoft, Linux, distributed? You guessed it, the GPL. What is it in the GPL that is not in Microsoft interrest? Maybe that the GPL does prevent it playing its proven (think client side Java) Embrace, Extend and Extinguish game?

    Others have commented that this "reaching out" of Microsoft is reminiscent of McBride's "Open Letter to the OSS community". That was my first thought exactly.

    McBride's letter at the time indicated to me that the OSS community's position was strong. When a bully starts playing Mr Nice Guy, one knows the bully starts to realise his bullying strategy didn't work and he tries a different strategy. Today, this "reaching out" of Microsoft reaffirms to me that the OSS community's position is strong, that the GPL is rock solid. First they laugh at you..

    Boy, is this new Microsoft attempt to persuade the OSS community to get rid of the GPL transparent. Do they hold us for stupid or naive or something?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 06:17 AM EDT
    I don't know if I should laugh or cry.... here in Europe with the ongoing
    software patent debate and DRM-legislation promoted with increasingly dirty
    tricks by MS it's kind of hard to believe there's any good intentions behind
    this "bridge building".

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Gates attempts handshake with Gorilla; Gates hand swells 3X afterwards
    Authored by: RedBarchetta on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 08:05 AM EDT
    This brings to mind a post I made on some popular tech-zine forum, roughly 3
    years ago. I had just installed the latest SuSE on my PC, and was blown away by
    the quality - (I may have repeated this already; forgive me if you've read it).

    I said something to the effect that Microsoft's stock WOULD go down in value
    because of Linux; no two ways about it. At that time, Linux had reached a
    maturity level that allowed me to rely on it for my everyday needs (which
    included multi-media; a historically weak point for Linux). I felt that this
    sudden jump in quality would eventually cause MSFT great headaches due to lost
    licenses/revenue. Towards the end of my message posting, I wrote that people
    might want to consider selling their (long) MSFT stock positions, which at the
    time was hovering in the $34 to $35 range (today it closed ~25).

    I suspect my statement was too radical because that portion was redacted within
    24 hours.

    My question is, would they do that today? Perhaps. But now at least I know it
    wasn't because I was being too "radical."

    Collaborative efforts synergise.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 08:14 AM EDT

    Consider, if Gates WANTS more interoperability then all
    Gates has to do is send an email to HIS developers
    commanding them to do so.
    If Gates decides he does NOT WANT interoperability then
    all he has to do is sent an email to HIS developers
    commanding such.

    Either way the there is nothing the free software
    community can do about what Gates decides. The decision is
    ALL his.

    Likewise I have NO say in what other decide but personally
    I would trust gates NOT TO BE a snake in the grass about
    as much as I would trust any other poisonous snake. That
    is NOT AT ALL.

    Nor can I imagine anyone else DUMB enough to trust someone
    who has prov en over 30 years by numerous actions to be a
    self center demigod intent on conquering the world to be
    anything but what he has prov en to be. Since an
    individuals past actions are a good predictor of what
    their future actions will like one would thus be foolish
    to ever trust a scam artist to be anything but a scam
    artist or a demigod to be anything but a demigod.

    Thus since what Microsoft does or does not do is not going
    to effect any rational individual persons decision to do
    everything possible to avoid using any Microsoft products
    who cares what Microsoft wants or does not want?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: blacklight on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 09:05 AM EDT
    Microsoft is sort of holding an olive branch, because it recognizes the reality
    that a future Windows environment will include Linux components. Without
    interoperability, Microsoft does run the risk of marginalizing itself not
    necessarily with small businesses but with a fair number of those corporations
    with revenues of say $200 mils or more. For Microsoft's point of view (POV),
    pulling up the drawbridges protects the castle but it also isolates the castle
    from the life of the town below - and guess where all the commerce is done.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 09:12 AM EDT
    Microsoft needs a discussion? What is there to discuss?

    To build a bridge, microsoft must use open standards. They must document and
    license their protocols. They must legally declare they'll never use patents
    against FOSS.

    To interoperate, they already have all the information they need, in our source
    code, RFCs, and specifications.

    It's entirely up to them. Why do they need us to tell that obvious fact to

    Thus, they have ulterior motives. Perhaps this is just an attempt to get off
    the hook in Europe by looking "nicer". Perhaps worse.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Darkelve on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 09:41 AM EDT
    Hello Bill&Co!

    I would love it if M$ Word supported the Open Document Format and saved to it by
    default. You know, open and available for all, unencumbered by patents and

    Second, I would like Internet Explorer to follow web standards, you know, xhtml,
    css, png transparency, the standard stuff. And it would be jolly nice if the
    of IE and LookOut! security bugs were solved. Can I recommend you take a look at
    Firefox? And of course make Frontpage write clean, valid code, or better yet,
    it away immediately. For a contest, Frontpage was one of
    the three main prizes. Good thing I didn't win first prize. I would have had to
    refuse the prize. Yes, I do think Frontpage is *that* good.

    Oh yeah, drop ActiveX, that's no good for anything. At least don't activate it
    by default.

    Oh and, could you also stop spying on me please? You know, one of those nifty
    Windoze Media Player (appropriately called 'wimp') features.

    One more thing: DRM, Palladium, Next Generation Secure Shackling Base, erm...
    how shall I say it. These are not
    exactly the features I want. My content, owned by me. My software, bought it
    myself, can do with it what I want
    (as long as its within fair use).

    What? Ranting, you say?

    But... I thought you said you wanted to *talk* ? ...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Come into my parlor....
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 09:45 AM EDT

    Frankly, until I actually see some change in MSFT before any "bridge building attempts", it smacks of a "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer" attempt by MSFT.

    Let me loosen my tin foil hat a bit now, O.K.? :)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Divide and Conquer Strategy
    Authored by: maco on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 10:02 AM EDT
    If MS can get some significant part of the Linux community to "sit
    together" with them, esp some major player who is willing to pay to use
    their protocols, they will have put a huge wedge through the community that will
    make all previous flame wars look like brush fires.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    M$ - embrace and extend fallacy, here
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 10:26 AM EDT
    M$ has used the 'embrace and extend' strategy before to lock out competitors,
    but it was always economic strangulation that killed off the competitor(s).

    F/OSS doesn't operate on a capitalist economic model. It operates more on a
    communitarian (and yes, socialist) model, and is a secondary activity for many.

    Since most of the community doesn't depend on it for survival, it can't be
    killed by economic pressure. It is, in that sense, a hobby. Imagine trying to
    kill off bird-watching, or choral singing, or poetry appreciation, to mention a
    few activities about which people are passionate.

    These examples, to my way of thinking, are less productive than F/OSS, but their
    advocates are passionate in the same manner.

    In short, *if* a topic generates passionate enthusiasm, *and* any attempts to
    block/subvert/pervert it don't affect the participants' individual &
    collective economic success, IT CAN'T BE KILLED. All that will happen is the
    participants will be seriously angered and energized to defend it.

    Doug Hayden (DetectiveVentriloquist AT hotmail DOT com)
    "I'd have an account but I hate strong passwords"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Stumbles on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 10:35 AM EDT
    I can see no reason for Microsoft to have a sit-down with the Open
    Source arena. Open source is not some back room, in the dark,
    mysterious activity hidden from view. All it's activities are in the
    open for anyone see or read about. They want to talk about licensing
    and/or patents? That to is in the open and no secret. So what would
    they possibly want to talk about? Not much of anything I can see.

    This "desire" by Microsoft is nothing more than marketing and
    political posturing on their part.

    You can tune a piano but you can't tune a fish.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    whatever happened to the Microsoft Linux distro?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 10:35 AM EDT
    I remember reading some place many months ago, about this.
    could have been a rumor.

    But why doesnt microsoft just produce their own distro and see how it goes? I
    mean seriously.

    Or they could buy out Lindows (or whatever they're called these days).

    Microsoft owns and funds VMWare so I'm not exactly sure what the technical
    difficulties are - they are already hip deep in this "compatibility"

    and lets not forget the utterly aweful "unix for windows" stuff that
    Microsoft recently released. and still couldnt get working right. Whats wrong
    guys, never checked out "cygwin" ? i mean, hello???

    all the pieces are there for them to try something but the months and years keep
    passing and nothing materializes.

    by now I'd have expected to see a box on the shelf at retail stores - Redmond
    Linux - with full windows compatibility - to run all microsoft products and
    fully functional and integrated with Linux. This was rumored years ago, yet its
    nowhere to be seen.

    we have the technology, it's been around for years. it could be done. yet they
    still haven't.

    so you have to ask yourself, why doesnt this exist yet?
    I could tell you why, but that would be too easy ;)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk? Sure Why not?
    Authored by: NemesisNL on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 10:58 AM EDT
    Talking never hurt anybody. Talking is what you have to do if you want to get
    things done. So the question that remains is....what do we talk about?

    If MS feels a need to bury the hatchet and start to play nice I think that's a
    good subject for discussion. If it wants to find a way to stay in buisiness and
    still be able to be friends with the open source community....why not? It's just
    that I do not see how this is going to happen without MS doing a complete about
    face on their buisiness ethics. Something I think is not likely to happen
    anytime soon. I think open source and MS can live together in harmoney when both
    parties respect the other and stay away from using tactics to undermine
    eachother. So maybe MS could stop abusing the rediculous software patent system
    to patent the blatantly obvious. Maybe it wouold like to stop threatning the use
    of patents to undermine/destroy anything non MS. I'd like that scenario and if
    it were offered cincerely I'd say go for it.

    I know some camps on both sides tend to believe there is only room for one, open
    source or propriatary. I do not believe in that. There is room for both and
    probably profit in both if both parties can stay away from tactics that can only
    lead to mutual anihilation.

    So talk to MS...sure why not. I just hope MS understands it has to start making
    up for a lot before they encounter anything even vaguely resembling trust from
    the open source camp.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Damage Control
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 11:50 AM EDT
    I'm cynical, but there is empirical evidence that these statements from
    Microsoft must eb treated with some skepticism.

    Microsoft is fighting on 3 fronts these days, and this "new attitude"
    is an attempt to appease the decision makers. I'll mention a 4th point as well.

    1. In the server market, and with all the multi-tier front office/back office MS
    is afraid to be frozen out. Linux is eating their lunch. Many companies chose
    to leave MS out of the application stack because their licenses makes it almost
    impossible to use open source in some tiers, and MS in others. These problems
    are not created by GPL, but by Microsoft. Microsoft has no choice but to
    embrace open standards if they still want to be a player in the enterprise.

    2. Currently Software patents is being debated in Congress, and in EU. There
    seems to be consensus that the patent system is being abused and not functioning
    as intended. MS really wants to keep the status quo, as it has served them
    well. True, they're plagued by patent swindlers who win 100's of millions $
    from them every year, but for MS it is worth the price. After getting the
    reward, these swindlers can go and bother MS competitors, with smaller pocket
    books, an din the end of the day ti keeps MS competition down. Throwing out a
    symbolic olive branch is intended to repair MS public image, and give lawmakers
    the impression that the system is fine, "we just need to have more

    3. EU is facing regulatory and legal pressure from EU, and also some states that
    did not sign on the the antitrust settlement. EU is levying heavy fines. MS
    need to create an impression that they "are playing nice". Such an
    impression would reduce the fines, as well as limit the amount of interference
    with how MS products is built assembled and marketed.

    4. Many corporations and muncipalities are developing IT standards on things
    such as document formats. Many of these insist on open formats. MS knows that
    they will eventually have to abandon the prorietary formats if they want to keep
    on selling. Since they know it will happen, might as well pretend they were all
    for it from the beginning, instead of missing the boat the way they did with the
    internet. MS does not want another Netscape eating their lunch. This time with
    office applications.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Remember the Alamo!
    Authored by: lsmft on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 12:11 PM EDT
    Actually it's not the Alamo we need to remember, it's Java.

    "Specifically, Sun says Redmond chose last week to ship products it claims are fully Java 1.1 compliant, but which failed to pass the Java 1.1 compatibility tests -- tests the company received from Sun last February. "Microsoft embarked on a deliberate course of conduct to fragment Java," says Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft." Sunsite

    "Background on the Sun Deal.

    Here's the background: Microsoft's attacks on the open-standards community process rubbed against Sun in many different areas. There were three in which legal action was possible:.

    * Microsoft modified, contrary to its license from Sun, its version of the Java Virtual Machine and related code, with the effect of reducing Java's value as a write-once, debug-everywhere environment...

    * Microsoft tried to create its own user identification and system authentication technologies while refusing to implement the open standards developed by the Sun-led Liberty Alliance...

    * Microsoft tried to establish, through webXML and other proprietary means, secret protocols for interoperability only between its own server and client software..

    Each of these Microsoft strategies, if successful, would strengthen Microsoft's competitive position while weakening Sun's -- and so required some response." Macworld

    A last thought on the subject, remember the beginning of the original Battlestar Glactica, where while a peace treaty was being signed between the Colonists and the Cylons, the Cylons were sneak attacking...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    One word: China
    Authored by: jbb on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:16 PM EDT
    As PJ pointed out before, Microsoft (in their infinite wisdom) has locked themselves out of China by their refusal to interoperate with FOSS such as Linux.

    Now they are scrambling to undo the lock and get their foot in the door because a foot in the door to China is worth more than total lock-in of two or three normal-sized countries.

    Nelson (voice): Ha-Ha!

    SCO cannot violate the covenants that led to and underlie Linux without forfeiting the benefits those covenants confer.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- We Must Talk?
    Authored by: webster on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:21 PM EDT
    We have become a victim of our own success. Why can't Monopolies be allowed to
    live in peace? We could make life easy for everyone. The EU can't be cowed.
    They are continuing their crackdown and won't take no, or maybe, for an answer.
    Our salesmen throughout the world are forced to do some real bargaining before
    they win contracts. They almost always win, but our margins are plummeting or
    static. We don't have a competitor we can knock out or absorb. Even IBM sells
    our stuff and "..recommends Windows XP..." Our opponents are aligned
    with baseball, apple pie and freedom. We can not buy Linux and we dare not lock
    it out at the moment. They are like a religion or ethnic group. We are having
    difficulty conquering the internet.

    Our position as a Monopoly is in great danger. It is questionable that we can
    maintain our market share in a growing global market. A strategy to sell cheap
    to the developing world and dear to the industrialized world won't work due to
    the quality of alternative software available to all. Our stability and
    security have undermined our strength. The virus writers have succeeded. If we
    can not continue to "compete" as we have in the past, our monopoly,
    market share and ability to expand is all threatened.

    We are going to have to give a little bit to get past the present difficulties.
    Opening a dialogue with the OS community can at the very least buy some time and
    eventually result in a plan to our benefit or one to the least detriment.

    It looks like we are going to have to live with interoperability so we will
    begin to talk about it. Each day of talk is another day of monopoly profit. In
    the end we will be forced to accept some open standard. We must make sure it is
    our standard opened up rather than one of theirs. This would be a natural
    result since we own all the desktops. We should open up our formats which will
    certainly become the world standard due to our installation base. This should
    give us a market advantage although everyone else will get a boost from M$
    compatibility. It will be important to release our standards as late as
    possible and then only one at a time. Ideally we could save Word formats until
    last since that is the most popular. The talks should stave off the regulators.
    If we do this carefully, we should be able to ride our monopoly momentum to a
    great advantage in the open source world.

    In the meantime we should tie in some Windows only software companies like
    Quicken so that there will be no open source alternatives for a while longer.

    The open standards will be our standards. We have a great marketing advantage
    and should maintain advertising exclusivity and our "tax." As
    alternative proprietary and open software erodes our dominance, we can then
    respond with our own M$ Linux with a propietary over Suite of convenient windows

    We are in a struggle for our life as a monopoly. There is no second place.
    Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The Bridges Exist
    Authored by: kawabago on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 01:33 PM EDT
    Open Unencumbered Standards and Open Unencumbered formats. It's that simple.
    All Microsoft has to do is stop blowing up the briges!


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: The_Pirate on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:15 PM EDT
    Doesen't this have a strange look of:

    "Resistence is futile - you _will_ be assimilated..."


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Hey, Bill: Talk to the hand
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:16 PM EDT
    Your bad-faith bull**** over the past two decades has resulted in any creature
    with two or more functional neurons trusting you about as far as they can throw
    your pile of ill-gotten treasure.

    F*** off.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Properly document the interfaces
    Authored by: mscibing on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:22 PM EDT
    And that will mean we will need some new rotations, I think, in how we work together, in how we license, in how we share technology or intellectual property rights with each other."

    They should properly document their interfaces and provide them unencumbered by patents. That's it really; the FOSS community has shown that it is willing to do the heavy lifting of using those interfaces. Heck, we're using interfaces that we've had to reverse engineer because they've been kept secret.

    We're upholding our side; programming interfaces in the FOSS world are by and large available to all comers and are documented. Given the nature of FOSS we can harldy keep our interfaces secret.

    There are a few exceptions to this though: there are a number of libraries that can't be used (linked to) without charge by proprietary programs. The qt libraries spring to mind. Still how big a problem is that anyway? One doesn't need the qt libraries to interoperate with qt-based programs.

    But somehow I don't think it's interoperability they're after:

    We're going to have to figure out how we can bring the various parts of our industry closer together.

    No thanks. I don't like the Microsoft desktop. I don't like the new Gnome desktop. They just rub me the wrong way. This isn't a problem. I use the programs I like, you use the programs you like, everyone's happy. Interoperability gives us that choice. I don't want choice in software taken away.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Don't stay at arm's reach from MS
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:29 PM EDT
    "Microsoft Corp. has extended an olive branch to the open-source

    Right. They are using one hand to extent said olive branch. You can't see the
    other hand though, but I'm sure it's holding a really sharp butcher knife, or a

    Just ask Burst, Orange, or many other companies who responded to Microsoft's
    call for cooperation.

    Another point of interest:

    "(...)value and utility of software patents, rather than simply make the
    assumption and jump to the conclusion that reform is needed".

    Nobody is "jumping" to conclusions or making any
    "assumtions". Those who oppose the current status of software patents
    do so because of the incredible amount of mind-bogling obvious and stupid
    patents signed off by the USPTO. And that opposition is very well based in facts
    (real pain would be the best way to put it).

    And why isn't anybody talking more about new legislation being pushed that
    changes the patent system from a first-to-invent model to a first-to-file model?
    Anyone doubts that Microsoft (and many patent pirates out there) will just
    multiply by 10 the number of patents they file?

    Anyone doubts that these guys and most of the people who defend the patent
    status-quo are going to file patents on any and all FOSS inventions whose
    creators were too busy, had no money, or just didn't want to file for patent

    Anyone doubts that we will start to see people having to pay to use their own

    An example: Just like they patented the FAT filesystem, now Microsoft can come
    and patent any filesystem, even if it's not their own.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Monopoly is the biz: fishing in a bucket
    Authored by: dodger on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 02:52 PM EDT
    Microsoft has the pleasure of shooting cattle from the fence of a closed corral
    or fishing in a bucket. It's STILL A MONOPOLY. It just had a whopping quarter,
    because the MONOPOLY business model is simply the best around. Don't give me the
    arguments about the EU and how its enforcing the law. Microsoft sees this as a
    small TAX on the way it does business and they will LIVE WITH IT. It fits the

    Open Source? The discussions are simply to keep the tax small and to keep
    stalling and talking. They have nothing to lose by talking and stalling. What
    they gain is to continue in their business model.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Bas Burger on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 04:55 PM EDT
    They just see a problem coming, that is, they lost credibility with developers
    Not with their hate campains pers├ę, but by changing the rules every time when
    the developers got their act together.
    This only happens to people 1 time, next time they will invest into proper
    licencing and open source, just to garantee continuity.
    It is that continuity that form the basis of new things and new innovation to
    happen. when people are trying to survive (developer that has the carpet yanked
    from underneeth every time) they have no time for arts.
    Yes arts, innovation is more art then R&D, the latter is to finetune the
    initial art so that it comes economical and for wide use.

    Art is never born from corperate structures as MS is, biggies just buy out as
    usual and if they arent able they try to steal it and make the real owner

    My answer as developer to MS is: We are a long way beyond the point of no return
    with your FUD and other nuisance, so no, we cannot have a talk, you do the
    talking and I will go to a nice concert that I do want to hear.
    You have absolutely nothing to offer me, I also really hope that the feeling is
    mutual, it saves us both from embarrassing moments.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: blacklight on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 04:56 PM EDT
    Given the track record of Microsoft's business dealings, the Microsoft corporate
    slogan should be "Reach out and screw someone!" It's OK to talk to
    scorpions, as long as we don't take our eyes off the tail.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Step one
    Authored by: Tufty on Saturday, April 30 2005 @ 07:46 PM EDT
    Don't lock out WINE.

    This reminds me of catching a cat.

    1) Softly, softly, here kitty, kitty.

    2) SLOWLY reach one hand towards the nose for it to sniff.

    3) Grab it's tail with the other.

    4) While it's pulling away from the hand holding the tail (and before it has
    time to turn) swiftly grab the scruff of the neck with the first hand.

    Well, let's have a bit of caution and observer from the garage roof untill we
    are more sure of the intentions and not purr too soon

    There has to be a rabbit down this rabbit hole somewhere!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Consider the Source
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 01 2005 @ 01:35 AM EDT
    Although MS Windows is monolithic, Microsoft Inc is not. We often hear quite highly-placed Microsofties uttering positions that others at a similar altitude would not consider to be representative of Microsoft at all. So, just who is waving this "olive branch"? Is it the CEO? The Chairman? The Chief Software Architect?

    It is Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel.

    Why is the general counsel talking about making joint purpose with the powerful grassroots open software movement? Shouldn't that be the concern of the marketing department, facing the previously unknown spectre of competition? Or the product developers, wanting to usurp some of that giveaway coding and debugging labor? Perhaps Brad can help explain:

    "...we will need some new rotations, I think, in how we work together, in how we license, in how we share technology or intellectual property rights with each other."

    This is not standards and interoperability talk. This is licensing and royalty talk. He goes on for quite a bit of this, then:

    Smith called for patent reform, a refrain of a message he had raised earlier this year.

    "The reality is that anybody who is an inventor and is successful both relies on patents and is a target for patent litigation by others," Smith said. "And everybody should have to pay their fair share and respect the rules. But it helps if the system works well. And with the explosion in patent litigation in this country we've see the increase in litigation abuse. We've seen people inflate their ability to seek monetary awards when it wasn't really deserved."

    In other words, Microsoft is getting the cuprolite whupped out of it by patent terrorists and Brad would like to co-opt the energy and talent of the open source community to reform U.S. patent law and practice -- just enough to protect the big rich businesses from the pure patent abusers, although not enough to protect any impecunious private true inventors from the big rich businesses.

    I don't think he's talking about interoperability, documentation, or standards at all. I don't think he'd recognize an open standard if he fell into one. He's just frustrated that the patent terrorists are biting chunks out of Microsoft's hide but are leaving open source alone, and he can't help thinking, "How does Linus DO that?"


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft becoming irrelevant
    Authored by: Juggler9 on Sunday, May 01 2005 @ 02:34 AM EDT
    I think Microsoft is now starting to realize just how inconsequential and
    irrelevant they are starting to become. I believe it would be good for everyone
    to help this process along.

    Here are some things that could help:

    1. Create/validate/certify open formats (being done).

    2. Get the word out to mom/pop/dentist/mail carrier/WHY that Microsoft IS NOT
    all there is. If they still want to stick with it then that's their choice.
    But at least they'll know they have one.

    3. Work on the user interfaces. A lot of FOSS purists seem to be against an
    elegant and usable interface. They'll say "Just use the command
    line." But if you're going to do something repeatedly and KNOW that you're
    going to be doing it then it should be an option in the GUI. The whole point of
    the computer in the first place is to take care of the drudge work for you.
    Take a look at 2.0 (beta). The installation is a breeze under
    Windows but a nightmare under Linux. Why are FOSS programs stable but a
    headache to install? There's got to be a better way.

    4. Vote with your dollars/euros/yen/etc. If a piece of software is worth using,
    donate to the author or organization or buy it if there's a retail package. If
    a piece of hardware doesn't have open source drivers then buy one that does and
    write a letter to the manufacturer that didn't get the sale and tell them why.
    If they find that they're losing enough sales then the sales department will
    make the argument to management FOR you.

    This is only a start. There are many other ways. Got more for the list? Let's
    hear 'em.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Open source procedures are all open
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 01 2005 @ 03:17 AM EDT
    If microsoft wants to interoperate they need to stop creating proprietary
    formats and protocols and join open source and open format and open protocol
    groups and implement open interoperable standards.

    They are welcome to join at anytime, we the community welcomes anyone who wants
    to participate and contribute.

    What we do not welcome and what we condem are large companies trying to shove
    closed standards down our throats. Especially companies that secretly have
    patents on standards that they are trying to get aproved.

    These companies can shove those standards where the sun don't shine.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: gdt on Sunday, May 01 2005 @ 08:57 AM EDT

    Is such a discussion even possible?

    I don't know about the US, but in Australia a discussion between two large competitors about the terms and conditions under which their product is sold would run into the anti-collusion clauses of the Trade Practices Act.

    At a meeting of the PC Users Group (ACT) in the mid-1990s the Business Software Association of Australia (roughly the same as the US's BSA) said that anti-collusion clauses of the Trade Practices Act prevented an alignment of the licenses of the major software vendors, no matter how much this was desired this was by their large customers. So what has changed?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Listen up, Microsoft
    Authored by: Wesley_Parish on Sunday, May 01 2005 @ 09:52 AM EDT

    Microsoft are feeling the pain of the net effect, where something becomes more valuable the more people use it - eg, the telephone, absolutely worthless when you're the only person with one, definitely more valuable when your friends and family have them as well.

    Linux's source code was valuable in a world of artificial scarcity, where people kept their source code locked away from prying eyes; now that many more people are opening their source code or starting out with source code openess being a given, it's even more valuable and Microsoft's Closed Source loses value very quickly.

    I mean, they can no longer charge a premium for Universities to have access to their Operating system source code, because the world's full of Linux and *BSD cdroms and consequently, with people who know what and how and so on and so forth, to do with source code archives of that scale. Even their vastly oversized MS Windows NT 5.x source tree is no longer scary, because people have gotten inured to that sort of scale.

    Microsoft are stuck, and one part of them is screaming out to the F/LOSS community to rescue them - or at least, that's how it sounds to me.

    Well, I have made my wishes known - the MS Win9x source tree to be released under a certified OSI-recognized license such as the MIT X License or the MPL, or CPL, or LGPL - I don't care. A few other things, such as the MS Office95 source tree, and that of the MS Windows NT 3.x and 4.x, and the MS development tools environment of a similar vintage, released under similar licenses.

    When Microsoft comes to the table bearing that sort of gift, then maybe they have something worth to say. (It would at least be proof that they are willing and capable of reconsidering entrenched positions.) If not, then not.

    finagement: The Vampire's veins and Pacific torturers stretching back through his own season. Well, cutting like a child on one of these states of view, I duck

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Why Microsoft is in trouble ...
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 02 2005 @ 05:15 AM EDT

    this little dissertation may help explain MS's predicament...

    Today our CIO who is also a founding director (we are 3rd largest wholesale
    & dist company in our industry/country) called me in to ask for some help.
    His son is at university and had to develop a full on-line working web portal as
    part of his degree studies. The problem the CIO had was that having spent the
    week-end with his son downloading Apache, MySQL PHP etc: etc: etc: and setting
    up the required site from some other freeware PHP scripts, he didn't know how to
    put it online without purchasing a domain name & a static ip address.

    I gave him a google link with 'Dynamic DNS' & provided a few additional
    links to descriptions of how his son could put his home computer / server
    (already on a cable broadband with wifi/router/modem) on the live net.

    Anyway, the point here is his son did this all on Linux. the discussion gave me
    an opportunity to tell him about the ongoing Microsoft attempts to damage Linux
    and how the world was changing because of Linux adoption. I was with him for an
    unintended hour talking about Linux and the future of our IT. Incidentally, he
    had just approved our purchase of two large IBM pSeries frames (16-way &
    8-way) plus a large iSeries (4-way) to replace our aging HPUX boxes (I had no
    involvement in that decision other than to assure him he would never regert it

    In fact, HP had supplied us with some itanium servers so we could evaluate their
    performance against our existing PA-RISC boxes, we expected 2/3 times
    price/performance improvement but were very dissapointed that we got neither
    (running our large peoplesoft application). It was more like 1.2 better
    performance. The itanium performance certainly looked good on paper and may have
    run some software faster but failed to deliver when we tested it using our
    overloaded realworld business application.

    But, the interesting question he asked (allowing that he had just spent a lot of
    money on these POWER5 boxes) was "what is the future of AIX". I told
    him IBM was migrating AIX and z/OS customer to Linux over time and that I even
    wondered about the iSeries.

    Now if this little scenario is in any way being repeated in other companies CIO
    offices across the world, then all I can say is MS is in deep trouble (as well
    as HP :-).


    Doug Marker

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Do you trust Microsoft on Botany?
    Authored by: tz on Monday, May 02 2005 @ 11:30 AM EDT
    Is that an olive branch, or poison sumac?

    I think they are being quite helpful now. How can they help more?

    Drop all support for the W/O2K stuff and force everyone to upgrade tomorrow to
    XP including a much more secure (noisome) product activation - mabe require it
    monthly or weekly. Delay Longhorn (I think of Taps in largo on a tuba) and IE7
    another year, and insure IE7 won't display any standards compliant web page
    correctly. Oh, and do one of those really expensive "service
    contracts" promising free upgrades, then move the upgrade until after the
    expiration and substitute some useless support services instead.

    This weekend I think I made another firefox convert, though we had a discussion
    about "well hackers are evil so it isn't really MSFT's fault", v.s.
    "Your car has a door, trunk, and ignition key - would the world be better
    if the automakers had MSFT's attitude so could be entered and stolen without any

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    They only want to build bridges to charge tolls. (EOM)
    Authored by: tz on Monday, May 02 2005 @ 11:32 AM EDT
    Embrace, Extend, then charge big bucks for the extensions.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 02 2005 @ 12:40 PM EDT
    sure - I will talk with you as your company slowly fades away.

    You can take your intellectual property talk and put it where the intellectual
    sun doesn't shine.

    I don't need to talk to Microsoft - see all my computers do not run their lowsy
    OS. So why do I need to talk -
    the only time I am exposed to their os is when it is shoved down my throat at
    work because you TALKED to the executives and convinced them to write web pages
    for IE only and also convinced them to run your proprietary exchange piece of
    junk along with your bloated office suite.

    Why don't to talk to them and convince them to start creating work that is
    exchangable accross all platforms - then I might talk - otherwise don't let the
    door hit you on the way out.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Sure we can talk
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 02 2005 @ 05:59 PM EDT
    You see those fellows over at IBM? You know, the ones that you screwed over in
    the OS/2 fiasco (yes, them)?

    A long time ago, IBM was a big nasty monopoly just like you. In fact, they were
    bigger and nastier in their heyday than Microsoft has EVER been. And there was
    no "free hardware" community to beat IBM at it's own game (the closest
    thing was DEC and its PDP line of minicomputers--at least until the PC
    revolution occurred). It took a rather nasty government consent decree to reign
    IBM in.

    Well, guess what? These days, IBM is considered one of the good guys; out of
    all the major computer manufacuters (HP, Dell, Apple, Sun, SGI, Gateway) IBM
    probably enjoys the BEST standing among the FOSS community? Why?

    They put their money where their mouth is, and:

    * Donated code. Under TRUE free software licenses. No special priveleges for
    the "original author". No non-compete clauses. No gratuitious
    incompatibiles with existing license terms. No NDA to view source. No
    "read only" licenses. Millions of lines of useful functioning code
    was donated to the world, with no strings attached (other than the conditions of

    * Paid programmers to develop MORE code, also donated.

    * Granted perpetual licenses to numerous patents in IBM's mammoth portfolio.

    * Dealt with the FOSS community honestly--no tricks, no bait-and-switch.

    This cost IBM billions of dollars. Money well spent?

    According to folks at IBM, and observers on Wall Street, every penny was worth
    it. Linux is strategically important to IBM for numerous reasons. For one, it
    lets them give the finger to you at Microsoft. For another, it lets them focus
    on other aspects of their business that they are in a better position to provide
    value for. For a third, they do get to reap the benefits of FOSS. And finally
    (this is what sucks for you at Microsoft), it allows them to treat a key
    component of their systems as a commodity.

    So, if Microsoft wants to be friends? Go ahead. Release code--under TRUE FOSS
    licenses. (And no patents either). Act like you mean it. There's a lot of bad
    feelings--most of them earned--towards Microsoft in the FOSS community.

    But ten years ago, most of us thought the same way about IBM. If you reform and
    repent, your sins will be forgiven. But it must be genuine.

    If you want us to trust you, you should try trusting us, rather than viewing us
    as competition to be squashed.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I'm prepared to listen to their unconditional surrender
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 08:21 AM EDT
    No other terms that they can offer interest me in the slightest.

    Yup. Them's *fighting* words.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Change Agent, Indeed!
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 04:21 PM EDT
    Regarding whether he though Microsoft had matured from its fast-growth days,
    Gates highligted M$'s $7 billion R&D budget, and said, "We're as big a
    change agent as any corporation ever has been," he said.

    What an apropos statement, that Microsoft is a big change agent. A very
    productive Microsoft-Partner friend of mine, who's been in the industry a long
    time, said that if there was anything which would push Microsoft customers to
    Linux, it would be Microsoft Licensing 6.0.

    Boy, was he right.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft -- Can We Talk?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 04:23 PM EDT
    this has disaster written all over it - all our code is out there for them to
    see - what is there really to talk about they have the resources to test their
    stuff against our stuff just go ahead and do it - no need to talk about - unless
    they really want something from us like our signatures on nda's etc

    I don't want to look at one bit/byte of their code. Just do dangerous - and I
    would recommend anybody that codes for the gpl not to look at any of their code

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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