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Author Topic: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)  (Read 4607 times)

zridling

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Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« on: December 04, 2006, 03:10:26 PM »
For some interesting reading, check out what Microsoft says its risk factors are against Open Source software. This is from the opening paragragh:

Our business model has been based upon customers paying a fee to license software that we developed and distributed.... In recent years certain "open source" software business models have evolved into a growing challenge to our license-based software model.... A number of commercial firms compete with us using an open source business model by modifying and then distributing open source software to end users at nominal cost and earning revenue on complementary services and products. These firms do not have to bear the full costs of research and development for the software.... the popularization of the open source software model continues to pose a significant challenge to our business model, including continuing efforts by proponents of open source software to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of open source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, sales of our products may decline, we may have to reduce the prices we charge for our products, and revenue and operating margins may consequently decline.... While we believe the breadth of our businesses and product portfolio offers benefits to our customers that are a competitive advantage, our [Open Source] competitors that are focused on a narrower product line may be more effective in devoting technical, marketing, and financial resources to compete with us.
________________________________________________
That seems about right. I wonder though, if in ten years office software will still be as central to our work as it is today.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 03:14:49 PM by zridling »

Edvard

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2006, 03:39:07 PM »
FTW!!!11!!!1! ;D ;D

app103

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006, 08:00:44 PM »
And then there is this classic from 1976 written by Bill Gates himself.

Quote
Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man
years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software.


Lashiec

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2006, 01:33:51 PM »
Open Letter to Hobbyists, isn't it?

I answered in your blog, Zaine. Though it could be a more elaborate answer...

f0dder

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2006, 05:27:01 PM »
app103: and then you look at the general program, code and documentation quality of most open sores software... and you realize that what Bill wrote still holds true today :)
- carpe noctem

zridling

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2006, 05:01:32 PM »
The 1976 Bill Gates sounds a lot like the 2006 Miguel de Icaza of Novell when talking about all their exaggerated contributions to OpenOffice, ha! "Nobody's done more than us!"

Lashiec

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2006, 12:00:35 PM »
WHOA! My comment disappeared from the blog!

zridling

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006, 12:17:09 AM »
Sorry Lashiec, I accidently deleted about 100 comments last weekend by hitting the delete button that grouped them with spam. I've had to disable comments temporarily for a while. A blog without comments isn't a real blog man!

What would be great would be able to have a 5-day comment window on each post, thereby preventing spammers from dumping comments into old posts over and over.

Renegade

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006, 10:05:04 AM »
app103: ...open sores software...

Oh! What a wonderful little slip or typo!  :D

PREAMBLE: This degenerates in some places into a bit of a rant.

But about Open Source, there are different kinds. Personally, I'm not a GPL fan - like many developers I avoid it like the plague. That's the FOSS type Open Source.

There's nothing wrong with "Open Source" and in fact Windows is Open Source - but only to a very few select customers. Open Source doesn't mean "free". I license software that I also get the source code for, but I don't get any rights to sell ot distribute it. I can modify it as I like, but that's it. That is what real open source is.

However, the hippie tree-hugger FOSS (Free Open Source Software) crowd continually blurs distinctions and tries to preach some kind of altruistic holier-than-thou silliness. Open standards are good - but FOSS is not. In some circumstances, yes, it is a good thing, but the radicals turn the good into an infection (i.e. the GPL).

There are two basic different interpretations of the GPL, and some of the FOSSy crowd take it to extremes. For example, for any web site that uses any software that is GPL'd, they must in accordance with the GPL license make their web site open source. That interpretation holds even when only 1 piece of code is GPL'd. This also extends to content and graphics on a site as they are a part of the application. Taking it a step further, if a site hosts downloads, then if they are a part of the site, they are thus also infected by the GPL and must be GPL'd with the source opened up.

That's obviously completely insane, but depending on where you choose to place your beliefs in what the GPL means, that's what you get.

It should be trivial to see that Open Source does NOT mean GPL. But that point is often confused.

One piece of software that I use is LGPL if I choose to get the source code. If I don't use the source then I get a different license.

In most circumstances I generally choose closed source, proprietary, copyrighted software over anything else. There's a good reason. I pay for it. It's not free. That's a GOOD THING. When someone gets paid to produce something, they have a real incentive to keep developing it and to support it. In turn, as a licensee I get the benefits of that additional development and support if I need it. These things matter if you really need to use software to get things done. If you're just playing around and aren't serious, then sure - free stuff with no support is often good enough.

FOSS can be useful, but when it's infected by the GPL it basically becomes unusable. It makes more sense to offer a GPL non-commercial license and a seperate commercial license. Some companies and developers do this, which I think is a smart move. It makes the software available, but if you really want to seriously use it then you have the option to pay for it.

But even on the extremely liberal take of the GPL, it's still a real problem to use GPL software. Licensing it otherwise is very difficult as well when you have many developer that have contributed to the code base. Who gets paid what? On that side, there's no real business model for it.

The business model is crucially important, and Microsoft should be concerned.  Money puts food on people's tables. GPL doesn't feed anyone but may leave some table scraps on the floor.

So what incentive is there to develop software if it's all free? There has to be some kind of reward at the end of the day. "Value added services" just doesn't cut it. Look how Red Hat got screwed by their partners. Even when everyone is chanting "Open Source" (when what they really mean is "GPL"), they're secretly lying in wait with alterior motives that are profit based. There is no real altruism in it (except for a very few people). People expect to get something out of it.

Oracle embracing "Open Source"? BAH! Total BS. It's a ploy. As shown by how they screwed Red Hat.

The proprietary software model works better all the way around. It works for developers that get paid and put food on the table. It works for product managers. It works for program managers. It works for executive and management. It works for sales people. It works for distributors and retailers. It works for consumers that get support and upgrades reliably.

How many "Open Source" projects see the light of day? How many "make it"? How many have a long life? Answer: NOT MANY.

Software that costs money is far more likely to see the light of day and to continue.

Apache, PHP, Audacity, etc. Yes - there are some good programs out there that are FOSS. But look at the number of products out there and the quality as well. For Audacity, it's good enough for most people, but nobody would ever use it in professional production. It's laughable. There are a few programs in that space that people use. e.g. ProTools, Nuendo, SAW, etc.

Here's the letter from above:

Quote
An Open Letter to Hobbyists
   William "Bill" Henry Gates III  - 3 Feb 1976


To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself.
Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be
written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair
BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving
and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we
have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising
things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC),
and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2
an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software
is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make
money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you
do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man
years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested
a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive
to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported
to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show
up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE,
#114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby
market with good software.

Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft


The URL is: http://appsapps.info...stuff/bill_gates_on_evils_of_open_source_and_piracy.txt

Please take special note of "EVILS OF OPEN SOURCE". Nowhere does he mention that. That's just pure BS. He's talking about piracy, and NOT Open Source. Just another example how the pro-OS crowd spins things. Or in more truthful terms, how many of the people "aligned" with the FOSS philosophy outright lie, twist, and deceive.

Bill Gates is the single most important person in software history. He made development of software open to more people than anyone else. Microsoft has continued that and makes software development open to more people than any other company or product. Period. There's no debate on that topic. Look at the tools MS makes available, then look at others. The free tools from MS are far more powerful. Their paid for tools are also OPEN TO THIRD PARTY DEVELOPMENT. MS has always been on the side of the little guy. Bill was upset in that letter because the little guys were stealing from him. He was a little guy in 1976 too though. :)

But I'd like to point out this:

Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

He's right.

When was the last time you walked into a grocery store, got all your groceries, then walked out without paying? Everyone from the checkout clerk to the truck drivers to the manufacturer's employees to the farmers are counting on you to actually pay for the food you eat. If nobody paid for it, would the shelves be stocked? I doubt it.

I offer several kinds of software myself.

1) Paid for 'try-before-you-buy' software
2) Freeware
3) Open Source BSD style (use and abuse - or do whatever you want with the code)

I have not yet even attemped to monetize my freeware or BSD / use and abuse software. I have no Google ads or anything like that. Free is free.

But with the software that I charge for I do make money, and that's important. It allows me to purchase components that I need to build software and lets me also create some software that I can give away.

When it comes down to "Open Source" in the literal meaning of what Open Source is, I'm for it. I'm not for the radical "let's all program for free" silliness. I BUY Open Source software and am more than happy to pay for it.

One of the guys I buy software from does a great job and I don't even need to bother trying it. I just buy it, then use it. I've bought several products from him - ALL OF WHICH ARE OPEN SOURCE - and am always glad to send him another payment for an upgrade. He does a great job with the products, supports them, and gets me minor version upgrades quickly and for free.

And when I continually see FOSS type lies and deception, it ticks me off. The GPL is a joke. A sick and bad joke. And it's only getting worse. That's where I take issue.

This is a post - not a novel... I'm going to bed now. :D

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006, 04:16:06 PM »
Quote
Bill Gates is the single most important person in software history. He made development of software open to more people than anyone else. Microsoft has continued that and makes software development open to more people than any other company or product. Period. There's no debate on that topic.

Want a bet?

Name a single computer language (high level or low level) that Bill Gates or Microsoft designed that wasn't based on somebody else's hard work.

I am not saying Bill Gates is not significant - he is. But opening up software development to the masses - no.

If any company could claim that it is probably Borland who produced the first decent PC compilers (and assemblers) aimed at both the hobby and professional markets. When Turbo Basic and Turbo Pascal were originally released MS was no where in the development tools market. Even now Borland probably has the edge on the hobby market with the new free Turbo products and the Turbo Pro packages.

f0dder

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2006, 07:17:44 PM »
"open sores" wasn't a slip, it was a specific reference to GPL :)

I don't have a problem with Open Source as such, not even some of the free ones - BSD/Apache/zlib etc. seem like decent licenses... what I'm apalled by is the GPL hypocrites; GPL is not free in the "speech" way, and even not always in the "beer" way either.

There are situations where a "really free" license (BSD, or even public domain) is good, and there are situations where more restrictive "greatest good for the greatest number" licenses work better (although I'd never opt for GPL unless I was forced to).

I'm personally a fan of a special form of "open source" (which will of course be flamed to death by zealots and labeled "not open") that involves giving your clients the source code for your solution under very restrictive license... basically ensuring them that if you go out of business, they don't have to start from scrap, and also ensuring there's no back doors etc. Difference from traditional Open Source license being that your client can not redistribute the program(s) and that you still own the absolute rights.

What the FOSS/GPL crew wants is software socialism, which would kill off programming as an employment, dull out innovation (GPL projects are usually just more bugged and less featureful copies of commercial software), move programming to a hobby (or underpaid chinese/indians/whatever), and move the money to support and big firms.

I want to code for a living, not being a support monkey.
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2006, 08:01:36 AM »
f0dder - AMEN! And well said.

Carol - Regarding BG - I think he really is. The fact that he didn't develop the tools isn't the point. He made the PC platform accessible to PEOPLE. He put more power into people's hands than anyone else. TI. Commodore. Atari. Amiga. Maybe good system, but DOS and MS-DOS is what really made computing a home thing. What was there before that? Different flavors of UNIX? That nobody could afford?

AS-400, IRIX, HP-UX, Solaris (a long time ago) and all those others just weren't something that anyone could run.

MS still supports its small developer community a great deal. Bill started that and he should get credit for it.

On top of that, he's not one of the most generous - he is THE most generous man on earth. I don't see Larry or Steve doing anything like Bill does. He might not be eligible for sainthood, but he's darn close. Ummm... Maybe I should strike that... ;)
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Renegade

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2006, 08:03:43 AM »
Zaine!

I just saw that new commie pic in your sig!  8)

I LOVE IT!  :Thmbsup:
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2006, 11:15:34 AM »
Carol - Regarding BG - I think he really is. The fact that he didn't develop the tools isn't the point. He made the PC platform accessible to PEOPLE. He put more power into people's hands than anyone else. TI. Commodore. Atari. Amiga. Maybe good system, but DOS and MS-DOS is what really made computing a home thing. What was there before that? Different flavors of UNIX? That nobody could afford?

AS-400, IRIX, HP-UX, Solaris (a long time ago) and all those others just weren't something that anyone could run.

MS still supports its small developer community a great deal. Bill started that and he should get credit for it.

On top of that, he's not one of the most generous - he is THE most generous man on earth. I don't see Larry or Steve doing anything like Bill does. He might not be eligible for sainthood, but he's darn close. Ummm... Maybe I should strike that... ;)

Sorry the BG sainthood is a bit too rich for me! ;)

Actually following your argument you could really argue that IBM are really responsible because they made the personal PC accessible to the masses and commissioned the writing of MSDOS. I don't think they really expected MSDOS to become quite so dominant the way it has or Bill Gates wouldn't have got the job.

MSDOS is another story - BG didn't write it on his own - in fact there is a large body of opinion that there wasn't much in MSDOS that wasn't ripped off directly from CP/M and UNIX (not that BG would admit that - but if others did with Windows today what he did with CP/M you can bet your life that they would be in court).

As for generosity .... I suppose it is fairly easy to be a bit cynical about this. BG may be very generous but don't forget the story in the bible about the "widow's mite". It is really easy to give huge amounts of money when it is a tiny proportion of a huge and rapidly growing fortune. A lot of that fortune has been made by good business sense but quite a sizeable chunk has been made by sharp practice, predatory trading and pure exploitation.

I am sure there are some genuine motives but BG's giving is (at least partly) an element of the PR spin exercise to try and make MS look respectable. After all the company has been repeatedly convicted of illegal trading practices and anticompetitive behaviour on most continents and shows its democratic principles by often choosing to ignore the courts, and even national/international, rulings on such matters!

Renegade

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Re: Why Microsoft fears Open Source (in their own words)
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2006, 03:21:16 PM »
But he's basically willed everything he has to the Gates Foundation. Warren Buffet has followed suit. (I thought the saint thing would be amusing :) )
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker