back to article Can Microsoft 'do' open source by 2015?

The recently appointed head of Microsoft's global Linux and open source team hopes the company will have a clear and comprehensible open source strategy by 2015. Sam Ramji wants people to clearly understand what projects the company is contributing to, and what code Microsoft is making available - along with the terms - on a …


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  1. heystoopid


    Well can a fat pig fly and out swim a penguin ?

    That's your answer !

  2. E

    Six hundred thousand pages of documentation...

    "...for its implementation of Extensible Application Markup Language"

    The beauty of UNIX man pages is that they are terse.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Wrong title?

    Shouldn't it be 'Microsoft plans to trick people into total control over Open Source by 2015'?

    Their existing actions lead me to believe they are like little red riding hood, trying to lure people in with sweets and chocolate, but once its too late and they're in, they reveal their true nature and give them a nasty surprise!

  4. Mr Blonde
    Gates Horns

    Embrace, Extend... Extinguish

    Placing large gobs of documentation out in the open is not opening up anything, it's laying large traps for unwary developers.

    There is no nice side to this criminal predator.

  5. Dunstan Vavasour

    Microsoft is not a service organisation

    The problem for Microsoft is that their primary revenue stream is royalties on proprietary software. Opening your code, or having a viable business model for acquired free software companies, depends on being able to make money doing something else, and using free software to facilitate this.

    If Microsoft has plans to generate or acquire an implementation and support capability alongside this "open source" push, then they may have a model which will work. Other companies (the largest being Sun) are following this path - making software a means towards revenue generation, not the end in itself. Can Microsoft make this transformation before 2015? Well, it's good that they are setting themselves an ambitious target.

  6. Peter Labrow

    This shows exactly why they are in such trouble -

    If a company needs to take so long to make a relatively simple change in direction, then they are no longer nimble and competitive. When they almost missed the boat on the Internet several years ago, the turnaround was impressively fast and outflanked many competitors who had been in pole position. Microsoft today is not the same company - Vista, years late, rejected by the market, fat and bloated, is not the product of a nimble company - even Gartner now says that Vista is Microsoft's tombstone. The timescales against this are embarrassing and far too slow for an IT company - by the time Microsoft gets wherever its open source initiative takes it, open source will be somewhere else.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    MS will 'do' open source.. right up the arse. MS have proven themselves time and time again to be cynical manipulative corporate bastards with no interest whatsoever in promoting competition or playing on a level field.

    They will embrace, extend and extinguish any project they can and try to ruin the competition. They've just taken a slightly more subtle tact this time.

    Jolly Roger cos we all know who the real pirates are here.

  8. Jaster
    Gates Horns


    Microsoft seems to be redefining it and then still not "doing" it ...

    .. as a company that sells software they cannot embrace open source without breaking their business model?

    XAML is a proprietary technology to interface with a proprietary technology none of which is open source but some of which has been opened up so some of the interfaces are known and so it could be reimplemented (and some has been), but some of the technology is patented and so Microsoft could shut down any project they do not approve of at any time ...

  9. Slaine

    What about the Users - don't they get a say?

    "ISVs and systems integrators “rely” on a consistent platform and openness leads to forking" - Fork Off.

    By 2015, I doubt M$ could find it's own arse in a dark room with both it's hands tied behind it's back.

  10. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Would you want it though

    Be honest. If M$ do a linux distro (for example) it would either urinate all over your hardware before passing away. (like vista)

    Or be shown to be on such a low level compared to the existing distro's. People could do a like for like and realise how bad windows developers. Whether the skill is lacking or the management structure.

    A bunch of hobbyists and academics can do for free what MS spend billions on, and do it better, faster etc.

  11. david
    Gates Horns

    Seven years...

    ...has been chosen because it is near enough to get people excited and far enough away for people to forget.

    ..or because the world will be so significantly different its all irrelevant.

    FFS it can't take 7 years to come up with a _strategy_. Anything done today will be nugatory in a years time. Things Change!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft == Erlking

    "Won't you come along with me, my fine boy?

    My daughters shall attend to you so nicely.

    My daughters do their nightly dance,

    And they'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep."

    and for those who don't know how the story ends ...

    "In his arms the child was dead."

    Never trust the Microsoft. Let 'em touch you and you'll be dead.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misleading headline again!

    BTW, this headline should read "Microsoft won't have open source strategy before 2015"

  14. Giles Jones Gold badge


    This is what is wrong with Microsoft, the company's leadership can't make their mind up on where they want to be. They slate Linux, threaten and FUD the OS community, then the next week they're saying they want to embrace the OS community.

    Some of the biggest ideas and change in Windows Server 2008 has been lifted from Apache and Unix. Headless servers, more modular products etc...

  15. Anonymous Coward


    UNIX man pages are as terse as the author makes them. There's nothing about man which means they have to be terse.

    As for XAML being 600,000 pages - that's not A4 pages, but probably the pretty small MSDN library pages.

    And having used man pages before - I find they're usually only useful for single application switches and documentation - although I often found that they went to pages and pages of information which still didn't answer what I was after.

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Creating Wealth from Virtually Nothing ...which is Everything ?

    "inadvertently using techniques that happen to be already “owned” by Microsoft and are listed in these documents." ... That would be a problem of Microsoft's Own Making and therefore no Valid Base for Payment Request/License Fee by Virtue of their Abject Failure in Publishing to the Public Domain, Intellectual Property Rights.

    Should an Application/SAP from an an Open Source, Third Party be felt to Infringe and/or Impinge upon any Microsoft Operation which they can Quantify with a Perceived Worth in the mirrored Macro, will it define the Current or Past Value of the Third Party or be ITs Stock Market Valuation ...... this Creating New Virtually Real Credit for Third Party Spend, being as it is Perceived Wealth already Generated but never Spent/Realised?

  17. George Johnson

    They never will, they simply can't afford to.

    At the end of the day MS is beholden to their shareholders and the board, they cannot simply make wild decisions and go off chasing butterflies. The OSS community isn't really beholden to anyone, other than the ire of millions of fanatics, myself included. The dreaded F-word is both a blessing and curse to the OSS community, soon as something starts going of track, it's f*rked and pull back, kicking and screaming!

    MS knows that if OSS ever got it's act together on a global scale and on a par with stellar items like Apache, it would have a killer O/S to blow everyone away. However OSS is a bit like a very, very large tent at a church fate, lots of people all shouting, pulling and swearing to get it up. It goes up and does the job but only just, there's always people nipping round the back to pull this and pull that and John tries to undo what Fred did, 'cos John reckons he's more right about X than Fred!

  18. dave

    The Dude Looks Satanic

    I bet that once M$ realizes that Windows is doomed, they'll try to roll out Xenix again, then start a whole new round of embrace/extend/extinguish.

  19. Eduard Coli

    License this

    Self preservation and exploitation are usually synonymous with M$ business practices. They do have a way out that may have not been considered yet.

    If M$ was to steal another page from the Apple play book maybe it would be possible to shell Windows over a BSD-like back end. They may still already have the ability to develop and extend a UNIX franchise like they did with Xenix. A UN*X based Windows would go a long way to at least he appearance of openness and I'm sure speed and security over current spaghetti-ware Windows code.

  20. E

    @Anonymous Coward

    Indeed, and any developer who wrote a 600,000 page man page would have no time to write code, so...

    Reading MS docs is sometimes like searching for a needle in a haystack: I know the info I need is in there somewhere but it is surrounded by so much unrelated, or irrelevant, or merely marketing, stuff.

    Might it not simply be that MS was trying to impress some politicos or judges by being able to say that it had released 600,000 pages - "600,000 pages, guv!" - of previously 'private' documentation? That an XML schema could not possibly require 600K pages to describe is something MS does not mention.

  21. RW
    Paris Hilton

    "Consistency and commitment needed"

    Please, dear Register, do not use such headlines. I am sitting in a puddle of urine having pissed myself laughing.

    Speaking of puddles of urine, alistair millington wrote: "Be honest. If M$ do a linux distro (for example) it would either urinate all over your hardware before passing away. (like vista)"

    If you are going to engage in this style of dialectic, the right quote is from Edgar Lee Masters' immortal Spoon River Anthology:

    "She was some ind of a crying thing

    One takes in one's arms, and all at once

    It slimes your face with its running nose

    And voids its essence all over you;

    Then bites your hand and springs away,

    And there you stand bleeding and smelling to heaven!"

    Why is there no poet icon? Paris will have to do, poetic girl that she is.

  22. Elrond Hubbard
    Dead Vulture


    a pint says MS has gone the enron route to hell before 2015!

  23. Charles Manning

    2015: MS RIP

    Remember Sperry, DEC, ICL, Univac, Borland,....... MS will join the club, perhaps by 2015.

    MS are certainly doing nothing to aid their longevity.

    They're blaming Vista's failure on user stupidity. Perhaps they are no longer capable of designing software with people in mind.

    They have failed at all attempts to create a service industry. They've bought various companies, then let them rot (hotmail, ...).

    The only real question is how long their momentum will last.

  24. Tim Bates

    Look at them flipping and flopping...

    So they can't decide if they want Yahoo, and now they can't decide if they want to release things openly.

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but a well run business needs vision and management stability, doesn't it?

  25. Geoff Mackenzie

    PHP developers deploying on Linux?

    Imagine if that happened! What a weird world that would be!

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