Hello, Microsoft


Jon says:

This feels weird to write. Over the past few years, Microsoft seem to have been doing a lot of good work.

Windows Phone 7, despite struggling to pick up market share, is an attractive, innovative mobile OS and is available on some very good looking hardware - Nokia Lumia 900, for instance. Internet Explorer, too, seems to have been coming on leaps and bounds, with much better support for standards and nice privacy features. In fact, according to Ars Technica, IE has actually seen an increase in market share over the past year.

Then there's the best news of all. They no longer seemed to be afraid of open source. We talked about how Microsoft has just open sourced ASP.NET on our last podcast. Since then, the Linux Foundation has published a report that identifies Microsoft as one of the top 20 contributors to the kernel.

This suggests that not only are they not afraid of open source any more, they get it. With ASP.NET they're going to accept external contributions, not just do a lot of code dumps, and with the kernel they're contributing their changes upstream - better than some more traditional Linux companies manage!

While I'm sure they're by no means perfect, I'm hopeful that these developments reflect a shift in the company's culture. Standards compliance, real innovation and support for open source projects are the right ways to work in the technology sector, and if Microsoft continues down this direction, everyone will benefit.

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Your comments

Well I suppose

Everyone has their price!

Or has Jon's family been taken hostage and we need to release the penguins to go rescue them from Mircosoft?

They are getting better though I suppose. I am having to use XP this week, and after using windows 7 for ages you can see the improvements. Still problems with both though. But then there are problems with linux to. Like lubuntu hiding away the power management settings! RARARRRRRR TOOK ME 3 HOURS TO FIND!!!!!!

So quote Linus, "If

So quote Linus, "If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux, it means I've won."

To interpret the statement a bit, Microsoft churning out Free Software simply goes to show that even they are recognizing the movement as important and effetive. However, this doesn't mean I like ASP.

Windows 8

I've been trying out Windows 8 Preview using Qemu, and whilst it hogs all my RAM and used more than 6GB to install despite not actually having any real applications (IE excluded), I was surprised and impressed, once I'd got used to the user interface - it's much better than previous releases (vista/7).

I think it'll be popular, but they won't be taking my money. Mind you, I can't exactly claim that any Linux project has taken my money recently either. Hmm... feeling guilty now and feel a donation coming on...

Certainly remarkable.

In the literal sense of the word! Let's hope it's not an "Embrace, extend, extinguish" attempt.

Don't be silly!

I don't think I'll ever trust them. They are facing a tough time at the moment - everyone is predicting that the desktop market will shrink a lot with the advent of smartphones and tablets, and the cloud encroaching at the other end. Microsoft realise that their only real sell is Microsoft Office suit, with Outlook/exchange - it's the reason for their servers, and the reason Windows is the standard PC desktop.

Their behaviour is not because Microsoft have become nice, it's because they're forced to compete.

MS products for linux...


How about Office365?

Get the facts right.

The only part of linux MS contributed to was a set of kernel patches to make linux run smoother in their hypervisor. On top of that, they did not want to release the patches only their version of the linux kernel. It turns out that they were forced to release the patches by evil GPL.

Finally, the patches were so badly written, that Linus ori9ginally refused to adopt the patches into the mainline kernel. It was only after they submitted tons and tons of patches to clean up their original code that the patches were adopted. In other words it was only because of MS crappy ( aka rubish ) coding practices that they contributed so much, not their generosity.

Compare that to IBM's contribution of JFS, or SGi's contribution of XFS.

why should MS be afraid?

Why should MS be afraid of Linux and open-source as they seem to implement UEFI and its software certificates in Windows 8?

Think about that.


CP/M was pushed away by DOS. So did OS/2 by Windows Now we see same going with C®a$hdows. Soon they'll start to make Linux version of MS Office (they do Mac one), then they will discontinue completely.

While I don't believe that last Windows version will be Win8, it is visible that they actually don't have idea for Windows anymore (Funky and bulky interface in Vista which is rip-off of Compiz or Beryl as it was called at the time, less bulky but still funky interface in 7 along with Explorer (both in Start Menu and in actual Folder window) changes that makes finding anything close to impossible, and even Chuck Norris would be troubled by it, then Windows 8 with it's Metro (-sexual?) interface that can be used basically only by Gnome Shell/Unity target - 5 years olds which use computer for the first time).

I think last version of Windows will be Win9, maybe Win10. For me last good version of Windows was Windows XP. Current ones simply SUCKS.

Though I need to grant M$ kudos for ribbons - IMO it's good solution and when used correctly can really make using applications easier (of course when you use program with ribbons for the first time it may be overwhelming a bit, but you'll know your way after few minutes of using it).

On servers it may take bit longer to get rid of Blue Disease. But it probably will happen in next 3-4 versions of WinServer. The longest Windows will survive on tablets, I think. While I can't estimate in versions here, I think it'll fade away within decade, maybe decade and half.

Don't put the silver bullets away yet...

Microsoft, like most large companies, isn't the one big entity that's suggested by the name on the door. So while you'll find parts of it that are pro-open source, you'll find just as many that regard it as bolshevik.

Are Microsoft less evil than before - yes. Are they running to a sun-lit open source future - not a chance. They're doing some good works, like contributing to the kernel, not persecuting open source development projects (thinking of the Kinect drivers), etc. Then again, they're also hitting the Android phone makers with the usual FUD tactics, and are still pushing the .docx/.xlsx "standard".

I personally feel more positive about them as a company, and compared to others (Oracle and Apple especially) they're certainly heading in the right direction - long may it continue. Some may like 'em, some loathe 'em, but none can afford to ignore 'em!

Although if they start shipping Office for Ubuntu, then I'm going to have to eat my words... ;)

Their code contribution is

Their code contribution is more of compatibility and making sure their virtualization technology is compatible with Linux. That's mostly it according to another news site. So it would look like they're only taking care of their own interests. Of course ASP.NET is another story.

I am so bored with Microsoft . . . .

Last month I found out that I would have to do some training requiring "Microsoft Access". I downloaded the 2 month Trail version of office to investigate it. I would have to pay at around R3000 (South African rand) or so to activate it. This is about the same price as the net book I run. This is about 3 times a monthly old age pension in this country. I took one look at the package and felt no motivation to learn it.

I have been on Linux for 5 years or so and want nothing to do with Microsoft at all. Microsoft stand for "boring computing"

Microsoft Are Doing Nothing New

As some people have pointed out already. Microsoft's contribution to the Linux kernel was entirely in their own interests. They wrote some patches in a hurry to make Linux run better on their hypervisor. And then begrudgingly fixed them to be clean an maintainable.

Getting the job done properly in the first place is far more valuable to the Linux cause than having to submit a dozen patches and fixes.

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 don't bring anything new to the table. The "tile" interface isn't new. Tiled Windows have been around for a long time. Longer than overlapping cascading Windows actually. And back in the early 2000s web developers were implementing designs very similar to what we see with Metro.

The single task touch orientated interface is also not new. That began life on Linux netbooks and ultimately spawned Unity and Gnome Shell. Not to mention Apple's launch pad. And of course arranging stuff in a grid on a touch device is hardly new.

So should we be giving Microsoft kudos for anything? Open sourcing a project and accepting third party contributions doesn't mean they get open source. The important thing to look at are the licensing conditions. I bet Microsoft are reserving the right to sue for IP infringement. No they don't get it.

If proof were ever needed that Microsoft are as big a threat as ever just look at what happens to companies that partner with Microsoft. Novell gone bust, it's assets stripped and sold off. OpenSUSE now languishes in some unholy no man's land where nobody is quite sure what to make of it any more. Which is a shame. SuSE was once a very promising and progressive distro. It was amongst the first to get Compiz working properly. Now it's been surpassed by Ubuntu and it's various spawn.

Look at Barns & Noble. We all know what lies ahead for them. Look at the state of Nokia? And I'm sure none of us are shedding a tear over SCO. But what exactly prompted them to push the nuclear button? It's fairly well know Microsoft were funding their legal activities by proxy.

We can only hope the US judge lifts the injunction on Motorola preventing them from enforcing a German courts ruling. Which the US courts shouldn't be interfering with in the first place anyway. But with Windows 7, Xbox and IE banned from Germany that would really open up an opportunity for Linux on the desktop.

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