Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’

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    Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’

    Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’

    Posted: 03 Apr 2015
    Microsoft’s software empire rests on Windows, the computer operating system that runs so many of the world’s desktop PCs, laptops, phones, and servers. Along with the Office franchise, it generates the majority of the company’s revenues. But one day, the company could “open source” the code that underpins the OS—giving it away for free. So says Mark Russinovich, one of the company’s top engineers.

    “It’s definitely possible,” Russinovich says. “It’s a new Microsoft.”

    Russinovich is sitting in front of several hundred people who spend their days running thousands of computers. He helped build Windows, and he carries one of the most respected titles at the world’s largest software company: Microsoft Technical Fellow. But here, on stage at a conference in Silicon Valley, he’s perched in front of an audience whose relationship with Microsoft is, at best, complicated.

    The conference is called ChefConf. Chef is a tool that helps tech geeks setup and operate the many machines needed to drive a website, smartphone app, or some other piece of business software. It’s an open source tool, which means it’s typically used alongside other open source software. When Russinovich asks how many in the audience use nothing but Windows to run their machines, one guy raises his hand—one guy out of several hundred. Mostly, they run the open source Linux operating system.
    But this is what Russinovich expects. “That’s the reality we live in today,” he says. The tech world has changed in enormous ways. So many companies—so many Microsoft customers—are now relying on open source code. And that means Microsoft must embrace it too. As Russinovich points out, the company now allows Linux on its Azure cloud computing service, a way of renting computers over the internet, and today, Linux is running on at least 20 percent of those computers.

    It’s quite a change for Microsoft, so long the bete noir of the open source community. But as Russinovich explains, it’s a necessary change. And given how popular Linux has become, Microsoft could go even further, not only allowing open source software on its cloud services, but actually turning Windows into open source software. “Every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software—open versus not-open versus services—has happened,” he says.
    Read more: Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is | WIRED
    Brink's Avatar Posted By: Brink
    03 Apr 2015

  1. Posts : 104
    Windows 7 x64 HP

    I would so LOVE that to happen but chances are slim to none.
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  2. BunnyJ's Avatar
    Posts : 22,694
    Windows 10 Home x64

    That would be nice.. not sure if it will occur or not.
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  3. Lee's Avatar
    Posts : 4,793
    OS X, Win 10

    Hope not. . .look at Linux. . .do I need to say more. . .
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  4. BunnyJ's Avatar
    Posts : 22,694
    Windows 10 Home x64

    Lee said:
    Hope not. . .look at Linux. . .do I need to say more. . .
    AH.. YES.. Linux is a nightmare when it comes to that.. too many distros for it's own good I thinks. While Open Source is good for some things it can be bad for others, IMO.

    Python is open source but the people who contribute don't try to go there own way with a separate version,
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  5. swarfega's Avatar
    Posts : 6,494
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Just can't see this happening.
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  6. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 9,252
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Hi there

    Linux AND Windows together --what a great Idea -- but as Humans I don't think we've really got rid of all the egos etc that'll make it happen any time soon. Just take Political Parties (not a Political Post please note) -- you often get a load of more "Left wing" parties wanting to get rid of say relatively right wing parties and once they gain power they split up into zillions of factions all fighting viscously over often quite trivial differences.

    Even Linux has its share of disagreements in the Open Source Community. The Philosophical idea is GREAT - a decent OS worked on by all sorts of people -- but are we ready as Humans capable of taking the next step. Just read the Daily papers -- 4 Great philosophies or "Faiths" - Muslim, Christian, Buddhism and Judaism essentially preach the same ideals but you don't need to read any further to see of the various conflicts going around on Planet Earth to understand the problems of getting people who even subscribe to the same "faith" to work together.

    I'd still love it to happen though.

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  7. NickTh's Avatar
    Posts : 98
    Windows 10 Pro

    Lee said:
    Hope not. . .look at Linux. . .do I need to say more. . .
    What Windows would be without the support of manufacturers and third-party drivers ? Just look at that.
    I don't think Windows OS will go open source, albeit MS has many repositories in Github. That would be a miracle.
    Open Source offers security, privacy and stability and the reason is simple, too many eyes on the code and not just the paid developers of the company. But because Open Source demands an open source license, this just could not happen. Too many companies have licensed Windows since they was born. Maybe a modified open-source like license in less utopian.
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  8. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 9,252
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Hi there

    You could still have OPEN SOURCE with application interfaces to various bits (API's) so what needed to be proprietary -- say hardware drivers or security based code could be embedded in the API.

    The kernel would also need some sort of status key so that only "authorised" callers would be able to access the relevant API.

    IBM did something like this years ago (donkey's years ago -- circa 1970) with MVS mainframe OS. They had a PSW status word which enabled "Supervisor" or "Application" state. To change this you had to issue a "Supervisor call (SVC) which would set up the relevant parameters etc. If an Application Program (rather than a "System task") made the SVC call it would be rejected if it wasn't "Authorised".

    Too complex to explain here - but IBM MVS probably was the least hacked system in history.


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  9. TechnoMage's Avatar
    Posts : 369
    Win 7 Pro/32, Win 10 Pro/64/32

    Open Source, seems to work well for Mozilla, in their Firefox Browser.

    I love their "Sync" feature, where I can install Firefox on any of my 10+ PC's, then run "Sync" and have all my settings, bookmarks, etc. installed for me, and it's all FREE. Good stuff for FREE is so hard to find anymore. :)

    I know first hand, what's been said about Linux. Too many versions!!! I just tried "Tails" and their browser seems to work, but their email program totally wets the bed!!!

    Guess I'll stick to good ol' Winders.

    Cheers Mates,
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