back to article Microsoft goes open source - almost

Microsoft later today will present itself as a kinder, gentler software maker. The company is expected to announce a broad change in its development policies. The Register has obtained information out of Europe that Microsoft will open up all of its APIs and protocols around the companies' major products such as the Windows …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April First Allready ?

    Did I miss March ?

  2. Ian

    Hi John

    It appears as if you've posted this years April fools story early.


    - Ian.

  3. Richard
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good...

    Sounds great if it's true. Their track record is poor, but perhaps the EU action has forced them into action. Let's hope it's as good as it sounds...

  4. triky

    i must be dreaming...

    oh no, it's only a joke! hahahahaha!

  5. Bruno Girin

    Yeah, right!

    Did I just see a flock of pigs flying in formation?

  6. Alan Lukaszewicz

    Skeletal strokes

    I hope they start with skeletal strokes.

    These, that is skeletal strokes, are brilliant and not without some issues. However, tidying up the issues seems to render the creative aspects of skeletal strokes as timid and much diluted.

    It would be soopa (as in SOOPA!) to see skeletal strokes technology go almost open.

  7. Marcelo Nascimento


    Wasn't MS that said: "Open source is a cancer"?

    Are they sick?

  8. AlanGriffiths
    Jobs Horns

    The Devil is in the details

    It is hard to assess this until we see terms under which information is being made available. We've seen plenty of "promises" in the past that imposed unrealistic burdens on potential users.

  9. system


    How do they square allowing users to move to rival code with their shareholders? Maybe they can be distracted by a little dancing, or some guitar hero 3.

  10. Mustang


    Man I thought we still have a few more decades in this god forsaken planet.

  11. Wonderkid

    Android/Apple Multitouch is why...

    ...MS are doing this. MS have a history of initially poo pooing something (such as the 'Web browser', the 'thin client' and, uhm, 'open source'. But as soon as they wake up and smell the coffee, they will adopt this new fangled trend with a gusto that almost implies they conceived such trend. It's the 1990s all over again. So, it's now going to be a war between Android, whatever MS are about to announce and Apple's next generation multi-touch based versions of OSX. With Apple applying for patents on so much of the future of the way we are going to interact with computers, the future is looking interesting...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Someone Pinch Me

    I think I must be dreaming... did someone say Microsoft is opening up their API? Or do I need a whole box of Q-Tips to clean my ears out?

  13. Magnus Egilsson

    Nice try

    There must be a mile long fine print on this one. Somhow I cannot imagine the word Microsoft in a sentence with, open source, fair play, customer does matter, respect for others, etc. . .

  14. Ed

    Re: Cancer

    I believe Bill Gates said the GPL was a cancer, not open source. I have to agree to an extent with that too - the GPL makes it impossible to use GPL covered code in any closed source project, even if you're just linking to it as a DLL. This is very frustrating, but it's obviously within developer's rights to use it, and I'd likely want to use it myself if I made an open source project.

  15. Tim Blair

    vista? macrip?

    microsoft wants us to bend over and open? where's the news in that? bill steve and st jobby the flower.. (sorry) cash pot men. finding jebus and selling their souls to save the world would be better news..damn! they've already sold out to the great god capitalism..

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Money on the Table proves it as a Fact?

    "Are they sick?"..... By Marcelo Nascimento Posted Thursday 21st February 2008 16:04 GMT


    I wonder if they know/fear that their Windows Kernel and its Key Access Code[s] is/are cracked and this is them on a damage limitation/humble pie exercise?

    Of course, they aint goin' open source until they invest in open source programmers/intellectual property, which would appear to be a contradiction but buying in the XPertise is the only model and assurance that they know, and the only way that anyone will ever believe them.

    After all Ray, you can't put tits on a bull no matter how much spin you spill Steve, Bill, but you can buy a nice pair of artificial knockers if you're into Intelligent Design rather than fundamental evolution.

  17. Brian


    It depends on what they mean by "open source". As always, Microsoft--I'm sure--has its own definition of "open source". So, actually, Microsoft OpenSource is a new product. They'll give it away, but then charge you $300.00 to get the "complete open source". Hey, open source doesn't mean free, certainly not in Microsoft's case.

  18. Paul

    We'll see

    "Microsoft later today will present itself as a kinder, gentler software maker."

    So that's why the soles of my feet got really cold - hell just froze over.

    OK, seriously, if they mean what they say, and stand by it without any funny business, then good for them. But this *is* Microsoft we're talking about, funny business is what they do best and they're well known for being a dangerous company to trust.

    Maybe one day that reputation will change, and this might be a good first step, but they'll have their work cut out to make it happen.

  19. Andy
    Thumb Up

    Internet strategy

    The transcript of the announcement gives much of the reason. The internet.

    I read this as if Microsoft don't have open apis and formats many of their formats will be surplanted by open versions. Working with portal manufacturers now means that users can continue using microsoft formats while users still want them.

    It's also interested that formats that involve patented technology will not be available for free.

    Perhaps too they see linux as less of a threat on the desktop.

    Good news.

  20. Chewy


    So you think its unfair that you shouldn't be able to take somebody else's time and effort for free and sell it as something you created?

  21. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    @ Chewy

    Read what Ed actually wrote.

    Firstly he is wrong, you CAN use GPLed libraries in closed systems as long as you don't try to claim that you aren't using them, and comply with the stuff about allowing recipients the source etc. That is easy enough by a simple notice saying what libraries you've used and where they can be downloaded.

    But then, he goes on, having complained that it means he can't just rip off someones work and pass it off as his own, acknowledges that the original developers are quite within their rights to use the GPL, and then goes on to say that he'd use the GPL himself.

    No one is EVER forced to use GPL code, it is always an option. If you don't like the terms then you have the freedom to not use it - I can't see where there's a problem. It's not like Microsoft put loads of their code out in the open for all and sundry to use/copy/modify as they want subject only to a clause requiring the same freedom to be passed on !

  22. Steve Bush


    By "closed systems", Ed will be meaning ones without source ... so he is correct and it is worth repeating his words ... "the GPL makes it impossible to use GPL covered code in any closed source project".

    I really dont think there is any disagreement that GPL does tend to propagate due to this. Calling it cancerous is prejudicial though and deserves reaction.

  23. Derek Hellam

    No other option really

    I don't think that they had any choice really. The EU where after them for it's monopolistic and "competitive stifling" practices. And add to that, the fact government agencies across the EU are ditching Microsoft products in favour of open source, then what else could Microsoft do? In the past Microsoft said if you don't play our way, we'll take our ball back, now they find that people don't want their "ball" as there are a few alternatives. I for one look forward to more diversity!

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