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Microsoft Finally Open Sources Windows 7 Tool 284

Posted by timothy
from the right-generous dept.
Jan writes "Microsoft has open sourced the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool by releasing it under the GPLv2 license. The code is now available on CodePlex, Microsoft's Open Source software project hosting repository, over at wudt.codeplex.com. The actual installer for the tool is now again available for download at the Microsoft Store (2.59MB). (Microsoft previously took responsiblity for the violation.)"
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Microsoft Finally Open Sources Windows 7 Tool

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  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dsavi (1540343) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:22PM (#30391604) Homepage
    It's good that Microsoft took responsibility for this, kudos to them.
    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Akido37 (1473009) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:24PM (#30391638)
      I suppose it's a testament to the strength of the GPL in the court system. If Microsoft thought for a minute that the courts wouldn't uphold the GPL, they wouldn't have bothered to open source anything.
      • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nacturation (646836) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:30PM (#30391724) Journal

        Because heaven forbid the alternative: that they were informed they did something wrong and then voluntarily did the right thing, regardless of how enforceable the license is.

        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:54PM (#30392120)
          Or the other alternative: the marketing department decided that releasing this trivial small amount of code would make Microsoft look better to the open source community, whereas fighting the matter in court would make them look bad.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Foredecker (161844) *
            The marketing department doesn't make these kinds of decisions, neither does the PR team. Yes, they may be involved but these things are decided (we use the term 'drivin') by the product teams.
          • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jonbryce (703250) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:05PM (#30395102) Homepage

            Their legal department would have told them that they could either release the code or agree a compensation settlement with the copyright holder. Download managers are not core technology for Microsoft and there is nothing to be lost from releasing the code, so they did that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Locutus (9039)
          mod this funny people, I LOL'ed on this one.

          'Microsoft voluntarily do the right thing', ha. It probably had to go through 12 committee layers just to make sure it can't be used on any OS other than Windows and must not benefit anyone who does cross platform development. Because of the GPL, they probably had to run it through another 12 committee layers to clean up the code. This took loads more expense and effort than they probably wanted to put into it and you can thank the GPL for that. It's probably on
        • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:05PM (#30392320)

          Because heaven forbid the alternative: that they were informed they did something wrong and then voluntarily did the right thing, regardless of how enforceable the license is.

          [citation needed]

          No really, is there a citeable example of MS ever having acted like that before?

          I suppose there must be, but all I can think of is stuff like Stac which took losing a lawsuit to convince MS to do "the right thing."

        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by quadrox (1174915) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:15PM (#30392484)

          Yes, it would really be nice if that were the case.

          I have long held a more or less neutral opinion on Microsoft for a very long time, until they pulled all those OOXML stunts. Since then I have become aware of more and more of their evil scheming to ruthlessly achieve their goals that I simply cannot believe in a good Microsoft any longer. I'm not even out there looking for stuff about Microsoft, I just happen upon it from time to time and each time my opinion is confirmed more and more.

          There may well be individuals in Microsoft who want to do the right thing - sadly none of them seem to be able to exert any power whatsoever. And while you might argue with me that this incident proves me wrong, from past experience I must still believe it more likely that Microsoft is acting out of pure self-interest.

          Microsoft needs to be boycotted at all costs. This company can not be allowed to continue to exist while one evil scheme after another is revealed with nobody doing anything about it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            A company is not a conscious entity and acts of capitalism are not "evil" on their own. You have witnessed Microsoft make money in a society based around the freedom to make and lose money. If Microsoft sold weapons to a foreign country that they knew were going to be used to kill innocent people, because it paid well, then the people who approved such deals would be evil, or at least morally wrong. Microsoft furthering it's company's agenda in the global marketplace is capitalism. And open source is incl
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by shaitand (626655)

              "A company is not a conscious entity and acts of capitalism are not "evil" on their own."

              Actually it is an emergence consciousness like an ant colony or... a human brain. As for acts of capitalism being "evil" on their own, you need to back that up.

              "You have witnessed Microsoft make money in a society based around the freedom to make and lose money."

              I'm not sure which society that is. This society is based on freedom from government oppression. Capitalism is a tangent and this society won't lose what it is

            • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by egarland (120202) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:50PM (#30393938)
              This is not simply a company furthering it's own agenda and competing as companies do. They intentionally break the rules and systematically use anti-competitive, sneaky, underhanded and illegal activity to further their agenda. Most people have to work with Microsoft in some way to get our jobs done but that doesn't mean we have to pretend they aren't evil.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              First of all, yes, a company is an emerging conscious. That's the reason why we have the entire body of corporate law in the first place. If you don't believe me, ask a lawyer who specializes in corporate law. Anyway, you don't really believe that Microsoft isn't a conscious entity yourself, since you've said that Microsoft has been witnessed 'making money" and "further it's [own] agenda". You can't your cake and eat it, too.

              I'm all for capitalism. After all, I'm an anarcho-capitalist. There is nothing

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by man_of_mr_e (217855)

                We have no reason to believe that Microsoft is being honest of their own accord here because their track record speaks for itself. If what Microsoft did to the ISO committees on OOXML and ODF isn't illegal, it's downright dishonest and unethical.

                You seem to forget that what MS may have done in OOXML pales in comparison to what IBM and Sun did. IBM and Sun stacked more comittees, wrote more responses for said committees, paid astroturfers, got employees to blog against it while all but hiding their identiti

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by im_thatoneguy (819432)

              The problem is that it's also been morally defined now that it's the moral responsibility of executives to look after the best interests of the company and by extension shareholders. Turning down a lucrative weapons contract wouldn't well represent the interests of the shareholders.

              If executives are supposed to be responsible for their share holders, shareholders don't vote on most individual actions and a company is ammoral then you've got a problem since it's nobody's responsibility.

              You could say it's th

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by canajin56 (660655) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:37PM (#30391840)
        What legal principle allows a judge to void somebody's copyright because he doesn't like the terms of their license? If Microsoft successfully argued that they used GPL code because they thought the license was invalid, they just successfully argued that they committed willful copyright infringement by using code they, in good faith, believed they did not have a license to use.
        • I believe the most serious challenge proposed to free-software licenses is that since the software is distributed to the public for free there can be no damages resulting from infringement. If accepted, that line of reasoning would lead to a judgment of willful copyright infringement, as you say, but without any compensation required of the infringer. This would effectively render the software public-domain (which doesn't seem like a bad thing to me, but then I have a fundamental disagreement with copyright

          • by chihowa (366380)

            Well there is still the issue of punitive damages, which would make the code not quite free. Also, the fact that the code is being used for commercial purposes may affect the amount of damages rewarded. If someone took the poem that you put on your website, included it in a book and started selling it, you could collect damages even though you were giving it away for free.

          • I see you like the play of devil's advocate.
            This goes against the spirit of the GPL.

            However, in legal perspective (IANAL), I don't think it will work out like that. You see, either you accept the license (GPL) and you get to redistribute the software under the GPL license.
            Or you don't accept the GPL license, in such case, copyright would still be with the original copyright holders.

            Now, any works under copyright doesn't have to have been sold yet. You can always discuss the price with the copyright holder f

    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nametaken (610866) * on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:30PM (#30391712)

      It is good, but I'm uncomfortable with how this whole thing unfolded. It reads like, "Woot... caught em! Engage the GPL virus! F-U Microsoft!" As if a battle was won and they're over there shaking their heads about having lost something.

      Open Source is not supposed to be a punishment you get slapped with. It's about availability, encouraging development and creating better software. Let's not jeer too much, eh?

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      asking, not implying: is this supposed to be under GPLv3?

  • I give up (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I took a quick look at the article and I have no idea what this tool is supposed to do. I couldn't even venture a guess. So some tool that I know nothing about and have no idea what it does now has the source code available for it. I think the term "underwhelmed" would apply. What exactly is a USB/DVD download tool?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Java Pimp (98454)

      "The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool allows you to create a copy of your Windows 7 ISO file on a USB flash drive or a DVD. To create a bootable DVD or USB flash drive, download the ISO file and then run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool. Once this is done, you can install Windows 7 directly from the USB flash drive or DVD."

      Source: http://wudt.codeplex.com/ [codeplex.com] from TFA.

      • Source: http://wudt.codeplex.com/ [codeplex.com] from TFA.

        Ya know, I've created more bootable (and/or non-bootable) CDs and DVDs than I care to count. I've also created (almost routinely) bootable (and/or non-bootable) USB hard drives drives, USB flash drives, flash memory cards, and SSDs.

        I've read the two stories, the two respective articles, visited any links provided, re-read your quote, and I still don't know WTF this tool is supposed to do.

        Is it a download tool (ftp, wget, fetch), a CD mastering or burning tool (cdr

        • by RKThoadan (89437)

          It's mostly a bit of 2-4 wrapped in a fancy GUI.

          Here's some action packed screenshots of the tool in action. See page 2 for action packed screenshots of doing it from the command line instead.

          http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2009/12/-the-usb-flash-drive.ars [arstechnica.com]

        • This takes an ISO and will burn it to a DVD or create a bootable USB drive (DVD size or bigger).

          Remember that windows XP by default does not have ISO CD/DVD burning installed, so if no CD/DVD burning software was installed, this will help create a bootable disk to use.

          The tool works by:
          Start tool, pick the ISO file, pick where you want to burn it DVD/USB drive.

    • I took a quick look at the article and I have no idea what this tool is supposed to do. I couldn't even venture a guess. So some tool that I know nothing about and have no idea what it does now has the source code available for it. I think the term "underwhelmed" would apply. What exactly is a USB/DVD download tool?

      Read TFA's discussed last weekend [slashdot.org] link.

  • For a company (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:32PM (#30391754)

    For a company that believes so strongly in the inviolability of Software licensing, it's nice to see them practice what they preach when it comes to the rights of others. Fair play to Microsoft for meeting it's requirements, and score one for the GPL and Open Source.

    • For a company that believes so strongly in the inviolability of Software licensing, it's nice to see them practice what they preach when it comes to the rights of others. Fair play to Microsoft for meeting it's requirements, and score one for the GPL and Open Source.

      Yes, it is good that Microsoft did the Right Thing here and opened the code under the GNU GPL. But color me pessimistic. I'm somewhat concerned that in a few months, we'll hear lots of hay being made from this - and it won't be good for F/OSS.

      Microsoft is trying to kill Linux and pretty much all "Free / Open Source" software. One wedge they have continued to use is "the viral nature of the GNU GPL is evil", spreading misinformation like "if you use GNU GPL tools to build your software, you will need to publ

    • by bmcage (785177)
      It is priceless to read this on a MS site: http://wudt.codeplex.com/license [codeplex.com]

      The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. ...

  • by pm_rat_poison (1295589) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:38PM (#30391848)
    First the SEGA logo brazenly appeared on a Nintendo console
    Now it's Microsoft publishing GPL licenced-code. TWICE (the other being their contribution to the kernel)
    Pigs expected to fly next week.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#30391928)
    The bigger news is not that Microsoft open sourced the tool after their GPL violation (that was inevitable). The news here is that Microsoft kept the open source tool instead of replacing it with one of their own. Microsoft has open sourced portions of their code before, that really isn't newsworthy. Keeping an open source tool that will be used to deploy their crown jewel operating system by millions of people - that's newsworthy.
    • Microsoft has open sourced portions of their code before, that really isn't newsworthy.

      But have they GPL'd anything before?
      Seems like anytime they comment on open source, they make sure to give love to BSD and tell everyone that the GPL is the devil - or at least ebola since they are fond of the gpl-is-viral meme.

      • Yes, their contrib to the linux kernel a few months ago. Some virtualisation stuff that helps them run linux on their OS I think. More news here [microsoft.com]
      • by onyxruby (118189)
        Actually they have, if fairly recently [networkworld.com]. However they are farther along with open source than many people believe, they've even started their own version of sourceforge called CodePlex [codeplex.com] that hosts open source projects and developer tools. You can search directly by license type for software released under a number of licenses, including GPL.
    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      Doesn't seem like that big of a deal...
    • by shaitand (626655)

      "The news here is that Microsoft kept the open source tool instead of replacing it with one of their own."

      I think you are jumping the gun on that conclusion. Of course they are keeping the tool for the moment. But no doubt they are moving at corporate speed to develop a replacement immediately! They should begin hiring people to do it sometime in the middle of next year.

    • by bcmm (768152)
      It was not inevitable. It would've been possible for them to simply stop distributing it, or stop distributing that version, strip out some features of their own they were scared someone would copy, and start distributing (with source) that version.
  • Finally? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rix (54095) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:50PM (#30392066)

    It's been, what, a month since they were informed of the lapse, and less than that since they acknowledged the error?

    Show a reasonable amount of patience.

  • /. Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:50PM (#30392070)

    I can't help but notice the "finally" in the title.
    Really slashdot, can't you post any MS related story without personal bias?

  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:53PM (#30392108) Homepage Journal

    1) What programs do people here like for applying .ISO images to USB drives in Windows? Is this one "locked" to Windows 7 ISOs or can I use it to, say, put Puppy Linux onto a USB drive? I tried to install this one to find out but it's telling me "This application requires the Image Mastering API v2" and I don't want to put too much effort into this if it isn't for general use.

    2) Anyone know how to do the same thing in OS X? I tried using Disc Utility but it will only let me a) burn ISOs to CDs or b) apply Apple .DMGs to drives. I tried mounting the ISO and using that as a source to create a DMG and that worked, but then when I went to apply that DMG to a disk it gave up at the last minute. (Sorry, that machine is at home, I don't know the exact error message. It basically said "Sorry, can't" after I clicked 'restore'.)

    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      Use UNetBootin for making bootable USB drives to install Linux.

      All this little MS app does is format you drive, mark the partition as Active, and extract the Windows 7 ISO to it. You can do it manually just like that if you wanted.
      • by sconeu (64226)

        UNetBootin doesn't work well with Mandriva One 2010. Or at least not for me. Of course, Mandriva One is a hybrid ISO. If you use their "Seed" tool (essentially dd), it will boot nicely off a stick.

  • unusual trend. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shentino (1139071) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:10PM (#30392402)

    Microsoft's been doing this a lot lately (a lot being relative to their past conduct).

    It's good that they're doing good and paying down their negative karma, but sometimes I wonder if people are deliberately infecting their sources with GPL'ed code just to make them cough it up once it gets published. A windows 7 tool getting fingered for a GPL violation so quickly makes me think that the exposure had a bit of inside help.

    Time will tell.

    Kudos to Microsoft though if their efforts are sincere.

    • by shaitand (626655)

      "It's good that they're doing good and paying down their negative karma, but sometimes I wonder if people are deliberately infecting their sources with GPL'ed code just to make them cough it up once it gets published."

      Yeah because that keeps happening agai.... wait this is the first and only time its ever happened? Shit, so much for that theory.

      MS has only GPL'd code twice and the last time was because they wanted some stuff in the kernel so their virtualization would work better.

  • by KickInNutsAnalogyGuy (1697658) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:43PM (#30392878)
    Microsoft did the right thing, they shouldn't be bashed for it. Consider the following:

    You're standing in line thinking that the guy next to you, Steve, is a pretty normal guy; perhaps you don't like him a lot, but he seems to keep to himself. Suddenly Steve turns to you and junk-kicks you right up in your man business. When you come to several minutes later, Steve apologizes profusely. Apparently there was a mix-up which unfortunately resulted in your swollen nuts. Wanting to make things right, Steve allows you to junk-kick him in his man business.

    I think it is safe to say Microsoft is doing the right thing allowing you to junk-kick their man business.
  • There are two kinds of people who don't like copyright (as a general concept) (1) Those so prolifically and amazingly creative that they put very little value in any one thing they create, and (2) Those who are so incredibly lazy or uncreative that to get anything they have to rely on others to do it for them.

    People in category (1) are incredibly rare. Lots of people THINK they're in (1), but most of them just produce a hell of a lot of useless crap, kindal like that Shampoo guy. I've never encountered an

  • what is that very faint oinking sound I am hearing. OMG I see pigs fly in the distance!

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