Story 2015-04-14 727B Microsoft may one day open source Windows

Microsoft may one day open source Windows

Anonymous Coward
in microsoft on (#727B)
Mark Russinovich, a Microsoft technical fellow and senior engineer, and well-known for his Sysinternals/Winternals products, dropped a bombshell in front of several hundred people during a panel discussion at the ChefCon DevOps conference in the United States. Russinovich told the crowd it was "definitely possible" that Microsoft could, in the future, choose to open up the Windows source code. "It's a new Microsoft," he said. "Every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software -- open versus not-open versus services -- has happened," he said. Almost 20 percent of the the company's Azure cloud computing virtual machines run Linux already.

The prospect is not as surprising as it might once have been. Last November, the company announced plans to open source the full server-side .NET core stack and bring the open-sourced .NET core to Linux and Mac OS X – with everything happening in plain view on code repository GitHub. The company now has more than 1000 software repositories on GitHub, but until now Windows, a US$4 billion per-quarter cash cow, has looked untouchable.
Reply 15 comments

Somewhere in Redmond... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-14 23:24 (#72G3)

Every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software -- open versus not-open versus services -- has happened
I can imagine how that conversation went:

Sales Guy:
Inexpensive alternatives like Chrome OS are eating into our Windows revenue! What if we give away the OS and charge everyone a yearly maintenance fee?

Tech Guy:
Are you sure the customers would stand for paying for bug fixes every year, forever?

Sales Guy:
Why not? It's brilliant! They only look at the purchase price of the laptop in the store. They won't even realize that they'll end up paying us significantly more than they are now!

Tech Guy:
But what if they want to cancel their subscription?

Sales Guy:
Cover their screens in Windows Genuine Advantage ads and force their computer to reboot after a few minutes; like we do with pirated copies now!

Tech Guy:
Won't that just push them further towards Linux-based alternatives?

Sales Guy:
Oh ya, that reminds me. You and 18,000 of your buddies report to this room down the hall. Sorry.

He Didn't Say It (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-15 02:25 (#72QC)

Or at least there's no evidence he did. The article quotes exactly two words ("definitely possible") around which it builds its assertion about the Windows source code.

The remainder of the article is related to Linux VMs that happen to be running in the Azure cloud, and have brave MS is not to be freaking out about it too much.

"what should we do with our software -- open versus not-open versus services" doesn't imply in any way that the Windows OS is going to be open sourced any time soon. He could be talking about almost anything. Maybe small parts of MS Office will be open sourced to compete with GApps and LibreOffice. Who knows.

Re: He Didn't Say It (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-15 03:42 (#72T2)

It's not the job of reporters to post an exact transcript of what someone said. Instead, they include the highlights. Sometimes it's easiest or most useful to include exact quotes in there, but often it's best to just summarize the key points. The fact that they summarized instead of including his exact words, doesn't make it somehow invalid. If you've got some *other*, more compelling reason to believe they're guilty of inaccurate reporting, I'd like to hear it.

Waving a carrot on a stick (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-04-15 03:10 (#72RR)

Considering the competition and how open source seems to be the "trendy choice", perhaps the "new M$" is just waiving an open-source-windows-carrot in front of millions of donkeys hoping they will follow.

Even if Windows would become open source.... (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-15 09:15 (#739J)

...I would not care. Apart from all the politics, I just don't like the 'user experience'. When I have to develop using Windows I always feel like I am wearing boxing gloves.

Re: Even if Windows would become open source.... (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-15 12:05 (#73M8)

At this point I am fully agreeing. I just hate the "user experience" of Windows. For me the right environment is a combination of *nix, tiling window managers and many terminals open.

I like how parts are interchangeable in an *nix environment. I can put together something that fits my work perfectly. Most settings are just text files, simple scripts and almost anything can be customized.

But somewhere at Redhat there is a man whos name has become a curse for the whole *nix world. That man tries his best to make Linux similarly unfriendly as Windows. It might be that if ever Windows becomes open source the difference will not be big anymore. We already see a lot of binary stuff replacing simple text files, binary logs and other kind of abomination.

Re: Even if Windows would become open source.... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-19 20:31 (#7CNC)

Dear Strongba...I mean Tanuki64,

How do you type with boxing gloves on your hands?


That Guy

bullshit (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-15 10:35 (#73EM)

Microsoft isn't about to give up it's cash cow that it's been milking for 30 years. they would only ever do this if it no longer gave them an advantage. this effectively means that the source would only be released after windows was worthless.

Re: bullshit (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2015-04-15 12:18 (#73NB)

Are you able to download a pirate version of Windows today? Yes or No?
Still they sell a lot of Window licenses.

Open sourcing does not mean to give away for free. It means anyone who bought Windows is able to look at the source and do modifications for himself. It is all about licensing. "Open source" and "free" are not symonyms. Some open source licenses means free, other not. Spreading the source to people not having a bought license would still be pirating, if they want it to be so.

MS is at this point in desperate need to get developers. This is visible from their latest moves. Anything that might attract developers to develop for Windows is welcome inside of the new MS. It is thus not impossible they will open source Windows in the future unless they have too much licenced code as an obstacle in this process.

Re: bullshit (Score: 2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-15 21:49 (#74TD)

After looking at "metro" I can't blame anyone who won't write code for Windows now

big penis (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-17 00:54 (#77EP)

yeah and someday kuro5hin will be the front page of the internet!

Re: big penis (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-04-17 07:45 (#77XT)

It was .. for a while.. for me anyway..

How many people (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-18 02:14 (#79RN)

would want to dive into the Windows source code if given the opportunity?

Re: How many people (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-19 22:08 (#7CRJ)

I would like to see if Windows source is as bad as rumour says

Re: How many people (Score: 1)

by on 2015-04-22 21:03 (#7M29)

You'd be surprised to know that the source code of Windows is actually already available (and has been for quite a while) to various governments, companies and universities. It is distributed under very restrictive license and non-disclosure agreements for research (security, new technologies, etc.) and new product integration purpose.

see for more info (Microsoft Enterprise Source Licensing Program, Microsoft Windows Academic Program, Microsoft Government Security Program, Most Valuable Professionals Source Licensing Program)

disclaimer: I swear that I've never ever had a look at Windows source code (that way or another).