To everyone looking at Microsoft releasing "open source", allow me to remind you of FUD cousin: EEE.


Don't be fooled by MS. It is not your "friend", nor a friend of open source. It is a giant faceless corporation only interested in PROFITS, not in privacy, software freedom or consumer choice.

And it has DECADES of experience peddling FUD and EEE. Its history is a long bloody trail of aggressive attacks against competitors.

Linux is MS competition TODAY. That is all.


@ParadeGrotesque you can't make Microsoft go away. They're the most valuable company in the world. So your choices are to encourage them and appreciate their open source efforts, or to continue to disparage them. Which of these options encourages the engineers at Microsoft to keep pushing for open source? Reard them for the good they've done so they keep doing it. They can't un-open the things they've open sourced. They've made permanent and meaningful contributions to open source and I'm thankful to them for it.

You just completely missed my point.

The fact that MS is the most valuable company in the world does NOT mean it is a friend of open source, far from it.

It also does NOT mean that MS has to behave ethically with regards to consumer privacy and a broad respect for human rights.

I have worked in enough megacorps to know that these are entirely dysfunctional, with the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

Finally open sourcing software is 100% compatible with EEE.

@ParadeGrotesque we should totally give them hell for ethical violations. Windows is a dumpster fire of spyware and they deserve shit for it, and for all the other dumb shit they do. But they DON'T deserve crap for writing open source software. They deserve thanks for it. If you give them crap for it what reason do they have to keep doing it? You can't change minds by just yelling at at the top of your lungs at someone and dismissing their improvements.

The free software community has blinders on when it comes to Microsoft, and it's not healthy or productive.


Again: you are missing my point.

Writing open-source is all great and good, except that in the case of MS, it may well come with strings attached, in the form of EEE. And MS is a master of both FUD and EEE. They have a long track record in using both.

I agree with you we should not obsess about Microsoft. But also should not be naive about it. It is NOT our friend.


Sorry if that offends some people at Microsoft, especially if they are writing open source stuff.

Same with their donations to #OpenBSD by the way. I say cash the check, politely thank them and move on.

@ParadeGrotesque there's no evidence that MS's open source work is EEE.

Let me put it this way: what would Microsoft have to do to convince you?

There is no evidence right now about the current "initiative". There is, however, plenty of historical evidence.

To answer your question:
1) I don't think MS gives a hoot about convincing me.
2) Again, this is a company with a decade-long track record of anti-competitive practices and deceit (SCO? Anyone?).

This is backed up, not just by the rant of a deranged idiot like me but by multiple condemnations in multiple jurisdictions (EU, US, etc).

So why trust MS?

@ParadeGrotesque you're not answering the question, though. What could Microsoft do to convince you their intentions are good? An entity beyond redemption has no incentive to reform. Microsoft isn't going away so if you want reform you must be willing to forgive

I am sorry but this attitude is entirely naive.

Microsoft is a corporation. Corporations do NOT change. People change. And all people find changing their beliefs extremely wrenching.

This is not a question of "forgiveness" either. You can forgive a person for past deeds. Corporations are soulless legal fictions created to organize complex human activities.

Corporations are not "forgiven", they are dismantled.

NOTHING I have seen so far makes me believe that MS has changed.

@ParadeGrotesque just beat around the bush some more and lather me up with a few more insults. You think Microsoft (and all corporations!) can be "dismantled" and _I'm_ the naive one? Your idealism is extreme and your lack of practical sensibilities undermines your ability to bring about change

I am sorry if you feel like I have insulted you. Please accept all my apologies.

Companies can, and should, and have been dismantled in the past. See US antitrust regulations in the 30s and 40s.

And, yes, I believe most of the predatory companies that exists today should be dismantled.

This is not *idealism* this is simply a normal reaction to the overarching dominance of dangerous companies. This is an *eminently* practical response to the danger posed by concentration of power.

Think about it this way: when a person exhibit a pattern of repeated psychopathic behaviour, (s)he ends up locked in a prison for life.

When a Corporation does the same... nothing happens. It is fined, sometimes huge sums, but it continues to exist and continue misbehaving.

The only good thing about Microsoft is what it did seems tame compared to the truly evil companies such as Google, Facebook and Uber.

@ParadeGrotesque you seem like the sort of person who, in another breath, would argue that corporations aren't people (and I would agree). The comparison to locking a psychopath up for life is nonsensical.

If you want to have an impact, you need to decide what reasonable goals are. Dismantling the most valuable company in the world isn't going to happen. Reforming it could. So you need to square yourself with the idea that it could be reformed.

Right now you're just yelling at the wall. The wall isn't listening.

To wit:
> Dismantling the most valuable
> company in the world isn't going
> to happen.

To which I can only reply: Why Not?

Does it have something to do with the huge sums spent by Microsoft to influence political representatives?

So that Microsoft is allowed to continue operating as before? And continue its pattern of anti-competitive practices?

@ParadeGrotesque @sir

We used to routinely nuke corporations guilty of malfeasance. For some reason we forgot over the course of the twentieth century -- or were made to forget -- that corporations are not people and have no rights.

The states and the Federal government already have all of the legal authority they need to shut down Microsoft (or the #FAANG corporations) for its abuses.

What they lack are the balls to actually do so.

@starbreaker @ParadeGrotesque you need to cultivate an ability to compromise and find incremental steps for change, or you will fail to bring it about.


The state doesn't have to compromise. It has thus far chosen to do so, but if enough of us put sufficient pressure on public officials to take decisive action against corporate tyranny on pain of losing the next election, I think you'd see some change and that right quickly.


I believe the time for incremental "steps" is over, unfortunately. There are just too many emergencies in this world right now.

The only thing that will have an impact on MS, Apple, Google (etc) is either complete boycott or legal action, or ideally both.

But, hey, that's just me. Feel free to pursue compromise and incremental changes. Then, see you in 10 years and let's compare notes.


@sir @ParadeGrotesque Why do you want to reform ms? Why does anyone in the open source community need their continued existence?

@ewok @ParadeGrotesque you can't stop them from existing, but you can be supportive when they channel their existence into positive things like publishing, funding, and contributing to free software

@sir @ParadeGrotesque Whatever open source work they do is tied to profit. It’s a corporation. This is like endorsing McDonald’s for charity work helping childhood obesity. Nice try but nah.

@ewok RedHat is a corporation traded on the NYSE and therefore, their work is also tied to profit.

Profit is not evil, nor is it contrary to open source.

@sir @ParadeGrotesque

There is nothing wrong with profit, I agree with you, except when you reuse said profits into political pressure to obtain an undeserved dominating position. And Microsoft has been doing that for decades now.

Also, let us be honest:

- MSFT cap: US$ 904 billions
- RHT: +/- US$ 35 billions

We are not exactly talking about companies of the same size here...

(Finally, I'll add that I loathe Red Hat because it foisted the horror named systemd upon us... But I digress.)

@ewok @sir


Is this a reply? Because it’s wholly unrelated to anything I said.

@sir @ParadeGrotesque

@ewok Perhaps I misread the intention behind this statement?

> Whatever open source work they do is tied to profit. It’s a corporation.

Because it sounded to me like you were trying to negate the benefits of MS's contributions to open source because they are profit-driven.

@sir @ParadeGrotesque

@erikstl @sir @ParadeGrotesque You did miss the point. MS’s motives for contributing are not benign. Eg you can bet that their free software will change the computing landscape enough in their favor such that this highly unethical company will continue to hurt people. It is exactly my McDonald’s charity analogy. Pardon me for not kissing their ass for making some free garbage. A statement like “profits aren’t evil” doesn’t really have anything to do with what I said.

@erikstl @ewok @sir @ParadeGrotesque i would argue that. Keeping sources closed, restricting users and locking them in has granted Microsoft power and money they never would have "earned" if they would have opened their code. Maybe #FOSS is not contradicting #profit, but some business models are hostile to open source.


Agreed, let's thank them for what they do... While keeping in mind they do have a very ugly track record.

It's a little bit like this scene in "Backdraft": "Yes, I have changed, I am so sorry for my crimes, and I love Linux and open source now..."

Oh, and "You can stop them from existing"? Sorry, but we can. Either divide MS into different companies (forbidden to talk to each other), sue it into oblivion or boycott it. I have chosen option #3.


@sir To be frank, I think you're coming from a kind of myopic position here. Microsoft supports Linux because it's good for their cloud business. That's fine and, in isolation, a good thing!

However, by making Linux binaries work on their desktop platform, they hope to push even harder against the development of free and open desktop platforms, just as they do whenever a local or regional government tries to move from their nonfree office software or desktop to free software (see Frankfurt, etc).

@sir This is in and of itself a _bad thing_. It means that there's less and less of a reason for people without an ideological reason to use Linux on the desktop, which means there's less and less reason for software developers to release on Linux, which in turn reduces market share.

There is already a negative feedback loop there, and Microsoft is applying a very serious lever to counteract the work being done by e.g. GNOME to overcome that negative feedback loop.

This is why people are upset with them.

@sir It is explicitly and unequivocably an EEE strategy, as they have done in the past with other open source and free software projects.

So, yes, Microsoft's open source work is great! I'm glad Visual Studio Code exists, and I'm glad the new terminal is open source.

That does not excuse their explicit attempts to make irrelevant and unusable the only thing that makes using modern computers bearable for me.

Microsoft is no monolith; I'm sure some people there are great. But they are _doing harm_ here.

@tindall there we go, that's a bit more substantive. So basically you see WSL as an attack on open source?

@tindall I fuckin get it but can we please answer the questions I'm asking and not the made-up questions which let you repeat the party line?

@sir Totally! The question you asked is "Which of [encouraging or disparaging them] encourages the engineers ... to keep pushing for open source?"

The answer is... neither. Or, maybe more accurately, it doesn't matter. Yes, engineers at Microsoft pushing for open source is important, and congratulating them on open sourcing things is a good way to make individual contributors keep doing that, but unless it aligns with business goals it doesn't matter at all. The business makes these decisions, in the end.

@sir The business case for working with the open source community is threefold:

1. Developers, developers, developers. The more people are comfortable with MS software, the more they will develop on and for MS platforms, so when the things they develop make money, it profits MS, directly or indirectly.

2. Prestige. I don't doubt that this is part of the calculus, though probably only a small part.

3. Free labor. If other people are using e.g. the new terminal, they will give MS work for free as patches.

@tindall I need to start by dismissing the idea that WSL is an attack on open source.

People (myself included) have been giving Windows shit for years for being a nonstandard shitstain to write code for, and asking them to just implement POSIX already. Adding a Linux syscall compatibility layer is a great way to do that, and actually becomes more compatible than it would be with POSIX support alone.

WSL allows Windows users to access a larger suite of open source tools for their work, and encourages the development of cross-platform software based on it.

On top of that, it's all by the book and totally valid per the licensing terms of the software they use.

@tindall now I don't like it because I don't use Windows, but an attack on open source it is not.

@sir You're the one talking past me, now. I never said it was illegal or even bad for Windows users.

It's bad for everyone else, because it decreases competition in the desktop space. Unless we really see the Linux ABI become the universal compilation target because of this (we won't), all this does is remove a reason for a section of the population to use free desktops, reinforcing that negative feedback I mentioned.

Is that not true? Am I missing something?

@tindall no, it increases competition. You just don't like the competitor

@sir Sorry, what?

Making it so that Microsoft can reinforce their monopoly even more is increasing competition?

Currently, one of the only escape hatches in the Microsoft monopoly is that software developers often need a UNIX-like OS and, if they don't like or can't afford a Mac, they will use Linux.

This cuts out that escape hatch to a huge degree. I don't see how you can say that's doing anything but reinforcing their monopoly.

This is not a level playing field, and they're tipping it further.

@tindall do you actually understand how monopolies and competition works? Compatibility is good for competition because it gives users more options and reduces lock-in. Locking users into open source is still lock in. Note that the Wine project hasn't been sued, by the way

@sir No, no, I get it in principle, right? Like, I understand that, if it were the case that Windows and Linux now each supported each others' binaries to the same level, that would be AMAZING for consumers.

That's not where we are.

Where we are is that Windows can now fully support literally everything Linux does, with probably some minor exceptions based on what Windows engineers have integrated, while Wine still has to struggle to reverse engineer Windows features and re-implement them.

Hence uneven.

@tindall WSL doesn't support large swaths of Linux programs, and doesn't implement a lot of kernel features. It's far from perfect

@sir But that's the whole point of WSL 2; they can just copy-paste the kernel and do (admittedly difficult) integration work, while Wine has to literally reverse engineer Windows to go in the other direction, in addition to all that similarly difficult integration work.



If I write a program using all the new swanky Linux kernel APIs and Ubuntu userspace, how long will it take for WSL users to be able to run it? A few months, at the most?

Now how long it will take until I can run DirectX 12 games on Linux with the same level of reliability? And how long has DirectX 12 been out?

Now tell me again that this is in any way fair. Yes, I know they don't HAVE to be fair to desktop Linux users; I know they never will be. As they say, "that don't make it right".

@tindall there is a lot of shit to hold Microsoft's feet to the fire to. Windows spying on its users is totally unacceptable. Patent trolling is totally unacceptable. Publishing open source software is commendable.

@sir @tindall Isn't this akin to applauding Lord Vader for feeding the clones with vegan food?

@byllgrim @sir That doesn't seem fair. As I said in a different post in this thread, I'm sure there are many individuals at Microsoft who are genuinely good people and who don't want to screw the open source community

it's just that the business objectives of the corporation don't line up with that

microsoft will always be able to make more money by fucking us than by not fucking us, thus they will fuck us

@sir @tindall
I'm all for taking the source and thanking MS for providing it whenever we find it useful.
And for now let's agree that the code behind WSL isn't an attack on open-source.

But what about the marketing around it?

Isn't "Ubuntu is just an app on Microsoft Store" a wonderful narrative for someone who wants to prevent people from using Linux?

@tindall @sir So, more MS FLOSS could bring about less net FLOSS world total?

@sir @ParadeGrotesque imo I think the first step MS could take to garner actual good will to a significant degree to get a large amount of people to give them a chance is an action MS will never take.
Be this open sourcing under free software licenses any of it's main product lines (dos/win, winxp, etc), or willingly breaking themselves up without govt actually enforcing existing laws that they could enforce right now (even if stock splits would be a huge boon to investors).

MS has plenty of incentive to get better, they choose not to and lead people on and there is a limit of how 'good' they will be
They may be 'better' than some other major centralize conglomeration, but their interests do not align or respect yours just as much as the other companies.

MS isn't going to replace Google in the 'do no evil' space, and with Google we have an example of MS's classic EEE being used in the open source space.

MS isn't open sourcing to promote free/libre software, but to compete with Google. Anything freed is just a side effect of a business decision that cares not about you and other people.
@sir @ParadeGrotesque that's not to say that OSS from MS isn't good overall as it forces other companies to adopt OSS which may be free/libre, and that being able to run Linux stuff in Windows at least allows many Linux-only projects to be ran on Windows by regular folk.
But they are not to be trusted in the end.


> But they are not to be trusted
> in the end.

Again, that was exactly the point I was trying to make.


@sir @ParadeGrotesque as a serious answer, because i was thinking about this recently while walking through the microsoft campus:

open source the nt kernel and the core components of the windows operating system.

when i can go and build my own minimally functioning version of windows, and modify it, freely, that's when i will start to believe microsoft is genuinely committed to open source

until then, i'm inclined to believe that these actions are nothing but part of an effort to increase their monopoly.

@sir @ParadeGrotesque i am genuinely concerned that, as an example, the new windows subsystem for linux features will mean that my employer could make the decision that all of my embedded linux development work should be done on windows now that it's "compatible".

i do not want that, and i think many folks don't, but that is a thing that is probably going to happen to some people.

that's how microsoft does this, and that's how they always have. make it "compatible", and then take over the competition.


> that's how microsoft does this,
> and that's how they always have.
> make it "compatible", and then
> take over the competition.

And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the very definition of Embrace, Extend and Extinguish.

Thanks for giving us a concrete example of what Iwas saying earlier.

Big corps LOVE proprietary software, because it means they have someone to blame if something goes wrong.

MS is very happy to take loads of $$$ and shoulder the blame.


@sir @ParadeGrotesque i *guarantee* that a previous employer of mine is going to have their engineers do that, and the engineers will not have a choice if they want to keep their jobs (which, knowing them, means they don't have a choice).

microsoft is going to gain share in favor of linux on this, and not by the choice of their users, but by the choice of companies. the open source ecosystem isn't going to gain more people from this, it will lose them. microsoft has enough market share.

@ky0ko @ParadeGrotesque

Right now there's fuck-all stopping me from buying a brand-new Thinkpad X1, wiping the OS, and installing #OpenBSD or #Linux. It's almost trivial for me to do, because I'm an experienced techie.

What happens to Microsoft when somebody who *isn't* an experienced techie can wipe the default OS and replace it with #Linux as easily as somebody like me?

Microsoft is playing the long game, trying to stay relevant. They know more people are growing up with exposure to #FOSS.

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