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Cloud Driving Microsoft To Open Source? 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the pigs-fly-to-the-cloud dept.
Julie188 writes "Sam Ramji thinks the days where Microsoft's, (and Apple's, and Oracle's) love-hate relationship with open source are numbered, thanks to the cloud. Whereas some open source advocates say the cloud may kill open source, because users won't have access to the source, Ramji says the cloud will be its salvation. Ramji, Microsoft's original internal open source dude, thinks companies building clouds won't be able to keep up if they don't participate in open source communities because that's where the developers building new cloud infrastructure are doing most of their work. The main concerns standing in the way for both cloud builders and users of free software are legal fears, he contends. These include fears of the GPL's copyleft provision and fears of being sued by downstream users. Is he right ... or full of FUD?"
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Cloud Driving Microsoft To Open Source?

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  • Also not present in the article.

    On the whole I agree with Ramji here though. I think that the development of cloud computing in many areas (though not applicable everywhere of course) will force many companies who are sitting on the fence to adopt open source both for reasons of up front cost, and also for reasons of participation in the community. This trend will furthermore move up the stack until all that is held as proprietary (even in BSD-licensed projects) will be a few enhancements tailored to the

    • by Meshach (578918)
      Also we need to realize exactly what "adapt open source" means. Projects providing an interface to an open standard is different from companies putting their CVS on a public FTP every night.
      • by einhverfr (238914)

        Well, here's how things work with the (BSD-licensed) PostgreSQL community:

        Lots of people develop and share code. Some companies release proprietary, closed source versions. For example, EnterpriseDB offers Oracle compatibility above what the community wants, and therefore finds a niche market in those who are migrating from Oracle. Green Plum offers a parallel-based BI version. However on the whole these companies contribute back everything the community would actually accept or want in order to minimiz

    • by Squiddie (1942230)
      To be honest, I don't like the whole idea of SaaS at all, which is what this "cloud" computing is. In the end all it does is take control away from the user, regardless of the software being open or not. I can see it being used for a business so that employees can take their work home with them, but once you start trusting others with your data, you're going down a dangerous path.
      • by einhverfr (238914)

        The danger is there not just regarding open source though. Think of the dangers it poses for data ownership for businesses. I am a firm believer that businesses should not store their data in a cloud, unless it is one they have direct back-end access to (like a virtual private server or something), and even then they should be taking frequent backups and bringing those off the cloud.

        The fact is, critical data needs to be owned by the company that is using it, and it needs to reside (at least in backup fo

        • by black6host (469985) on Monday October 10, 2011 @10:04PM (#37674190)

          The fact is, critical data needs to be owned by the company that is using it, and it needs to reside (at least in backup form, if not in fully managed form) inside the company's infrastructure.

          Absolutely. I can't tell you how many small businesses I've worked with that are franchisees and one of the big selling points is that they won't have to manage an internal network. The franchise company handles the whole vertical market app (such as dispatch software for service companies) including storing the data. I ask them: what happens if your internet access goes down? How are you going to find our where your techs are supposed to be? What about if the hosting company for the parent company goes down? Or, worst case scenario, you get in a conflict with the parent company and they don't release your data to you. You're out of business. Even if you had the data you don't have the app to read it. Trust me, this is being tried by a lot of franchise type companies and it's not going to be a happy ending for someone. The franchises aren't stupid, they know control of the data is control of the franchisee.

          • by JAlexoi (1085785)
            In short:
            • build your own network, don't use internet
            • buy a university to train your own engineers
            • hire those chip designers to create a chip that you will own
            • build a manufacturing facility to build your own hardware
            • do not use anything from anyone else...
            • and obviously, closed-source is then evil!!!!

            In other words, your statement just stinks of medieval thinking - when people cared a lot about self-sufficiency.

            • by einhverfr (238914)

              I think you are taking things to an extreme nobody even in the Middle Ages would have agreed with.

              The points I make here are about control of your own data. This is an important point. If your internet connection goes down, that's bad. But if you lose your data permanently this is often something that can easily make a business go under, not to mention cause legal problems when filing for taxes, etc. If you control your data, you control your business. How you reach that data is secondary. If you are

          • And then you tell them what it will cost them for you to do all the form them and they quickly figure out that it's better to take the small chance that they get in a dispute with their franchiser and hope they can sue for damages if it does occur than to create an entire IT support system themselves. Simple math, centralized IT is cheaper.

      • In the end all it does is take control away from the user

        Most users don't want control. They want to get on with what they want to do without having to configure everything themselves.

        regardless of the software being open or not. I can see it being used for a business so that employees can take their work home with them

        Nope, that's what VPN is for.

        Cloud services are good because somebody else is taking care of the boring parts for you - like being on-call 24/7 to make sure your services stay running so that you don't have to. I'm considering moving our email to external hosting so that I don't have to worry about redundancy and reliability issues myself, and also because you get constant feature u

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Most users don't want control. They want to get on with what they want to do without having to configure everything themselves.

          I definitely agree with this, as much as 'control for the user' is touted as a benefit of open source the prevalence and success of devices that don't offer this proves that the user does not want control, all they want is for the device to do what it is supposed to do, they want someone else to take care of the management and configuration of it for them.

    • This might be like Android is OpenSource ... i.e. it is OpenSource, and so are all the components, but from the user's point of view this make no difference at all you are still locked into a propitiatory sandbox ...

      • Interesting timing for another round of this particular FUD.

        You do know Ice Cream Sandwich will be fully open source again?.

        • Many Android devices are effectively locked down so that you can only use the interface provided, regardless if it is open-source or not ... But at least with Android you have the device in your hand and so can always tunnel underneath the interface and get at the real system ...

          With Cloud based systems the interface is all you have access to and so what the actual system is written in what OS it is on are largely irrelevant ...

          • Many Android devices are effectively locked down

            I haven't seen many. Cyanogen seem to have ROMs for most of the current crop - http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices [cyanogenmod.com]. Can you link to a few locked-down examples?

            With Cloud based systems the interface is all you have access to

            So not at all like Android then?

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              I haven't seen many. Cyanogen seem to have ROMs for most of the current crop - http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices [cyanogenmod.com]. Can you link to a few locked-down examples?

              You really haven't seen many devices that you have to root before being able to install cyanogenmod?

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Yes, it will certainly be open source by the time humanity ceases to exist, but no one will care then.

  • Next up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday October 10, 2011 @07:40PM (#37672720) Homepage

    On AirNews

    The kernel in Windows 9 will be Linux.

    Steve Jobs will be reincarnated as a Pony.

    Obama will get us out of Afghanistan, balance the budget and move Wall Street to a FEMA trailer court outside of Biluxi, Mississippi.

    • by cupantae (1304123)

      The kernel in Windows 9 will be Linux.

      ...so will we be able to claim that as The Year of the Linux Desktop?

      • The kernel in Windows 9 will be Linux.

        ...so will we be able to claim that as The Year of the Linux Desktop?

        Don't be silly. We still have to wait for SP1 to be released.

  • What does the creator of "Army of Darkness" know about "cloud" computing?

  • by pyronide (2440046) on Monday October 10, 2011 @07:47PM (#37672800)
    Microsoft will most likely keep their business model that they have had for almost 40 years - in its very nature, their business model does not shift to new Ideas, but shifts the new Ideas into that model.
  • I'm sure I'm just really jaded now but I can't read a slashdot story anymore without looking for the anti-MS rhetoric. You think Microsoft sits around thinking about whether the cloud will force the adoption of open-source or closed-source software? Or do you think they're looking at what Amazon is doing and they've done the math. The cloud is about viewing computation as a commodity to be sold and bought. Why do open-source advocates have to make everything about open-source? Isn't the far more intere
    • by Anonymous Coward

      We're getting better at this stuff and not re-inventing the wheel every time (MS is better at this than just about any other company IMHO

      HAHAHAHAHAHA

      Microsoft has basically reinvented the wheel - and for the most part, terribly - on just about all software they have ever produced. (Oracle is a strange comparison, mostly because they are now a services company, not a software company. What they end up doing with Java remains to be seen.)

      Wait - did you really type that with a straight face?

      • I have to disagree, sir. Microsoft has stolen the wheel, for the most part terribly.

        CPM -> DOS
        Basic -> Basica
        Turbo [Pascal, C, ...] -> Quick C (early), then IDEs for all MS compilers
        Lotus 123 -> Excel
        Wordstar, Word Perfect -> Microsoft Word
        Apple Lisa -> Windows 1
        Mac OS -> Windows 2
        Mac OS, Sunview, etc -> Windows 3
        VMS,OS/2 -> Windows NT (and boy, was IBM pissed, long story of billion-dollar betrayal biting of the hand that raised you up from a pup)
        Mosaic -> Explorer
    • I'm sure I'm just really jaded now but I can't read a slashdot story anymore without looking for the anti-MS rhetoric.

      I know, when did this attitude become so prevalent on /.? Microsoft never did anything to warrant this type of negative bias.

    • Re:More Anti-MS crap (Score:4, Informative)

      by gtall (79522) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @06:28AM (#37677172)

      errm...could it be because of MS's past history of tying everything in their ecosystem? Might that have something to do with it?

      In other words, it isn't that open sourcers make everything about open source, it is more MS has made everything they touch about MS and the principle feature they use is closed source and its ancillary ill-effects. Care to explain why MS treats everything not MS as an enemy, how they posit their tools as this- or that-killers?

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        errm...could it be because of MS's past history of tying everything in their ecosystem?

        Yeah i can't think of any other companies that do that.

    • You think Microsoft sits around thinking about whether the cloud will force the adoption of open-source or closed-source software

      Probably. Microsoft hate open source. Well, they hate any form of competition in fact, and basically just try to destroy anything that might try to oppose them. Try looking at some of the memos released during their anti-trust investigation, or witness Steve Ballmer desperate to "fucking kill Google" (good luck with that, Steve).

      I'm not sure what you mean about MS not reinventing the wheel. They've been reinventing their user interfaces a lot recently. Often turning them into less usable messes (at least in

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "We're microsoft. We'd really like to profit off this new openstack thing. Please, please, please re-license it so we can screw you all over. Pretty please?"

  • Without the GPL, a shameless company can base its own Operating System on the work of open-source contributors, lock it down, put a nice logo on it and sell it with its hardware, calling it "innovation" or "vision".

    It is even easier if that same company is using generic hardware available to anyone, that way they don't even need to put a lot of work in drivers.

    • So what? The shameless company is sticking to the license. How is this wrong? I don't get this. The sources are still available and actively developed. The shameless company might employ some of those developers (it does) and contribute back to the community (it does).

      I am a programmer who's employed to work on public domain software. My software is regularly used by academia and in commercial products. That people find it so useful is a good thing for me. That people can use my software to make mon

    • Without the GPL, a shameless company can base its own Operating System on the work of open-source contributors, lock it down, put a nice logo on it and sell it with its hardware, calling it "innovation" or "vision".

      TiVo and Android do that with the GPL.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      And this is wrong in what way?

      They are sticking to the licence, and using the code as intended by the people who chose to release it under said licence.

      Furthermore, they are contributing new open source code back to the community at large (and not just by being "forced" to by things like the GPL licence on KHTML/Webkit).

      I'm not sure what your point is. That it's "shameless" to participate in open source projects?

  • OMG! The annual apple harvest is coming! I foretell that the hysterical mobs will burn down the orange orchards and oranges will become extinct! FUD.
  • And it seems to be shit -> for, in the end what he seems to be demonizing is copyleft license. So then entire thing becomes a veiled statement for proprietarization of previously open licenses.
  • because that's where the developers building new cloud infrastructure are doing most of their work.

    You do realize Microsoft and Apple have a lot of developers, and they can hire more. If they need more people to build cloud infrastructure, they will. Microsoft was able to build an entire OS without using Open Source Software. They can also build an entire Cloud Infrastructure without using Open Source Software.

    • by ahodgson (74077)

      Yes ... they can. Because they don't have to pay themselves licence fees. And they have the source.

      The point, however, is that no one else can.

    • Microsoft was able to build an entire OS without using Open Source Software.

      Yeah, but look what became of it.

    • It's even better than that. The "cloud" often puts the actual application on the cloud servers, right? All that is running at your end is a browser with a network API. So Microsoft can take GPL applications, hack them and repackage them any way they like, and put them on their own cloud servers without contributing back a damn thing, all while staying perfectly well within the GPL. In fact, the cloud gives MS the best of all possible worlds -- the ability to use GPL and other OSS software internally on
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...it probably won't matter if it's open source or not.

    Go back and take a look at Miguel's technical description of Metro. App developers will code a mixture of XAML and a general purpose language such as C#, which will compile into bytecodes interpreted by the .NET CLR and bound to the new WinRT runtime (perhaps using the infamous P/Invoke), which Miguel says is layered on top of COM (a component technology leftover from the '90s which MS developed to compete with CORBA and DCE) on top of Windows kernel s

  • by gig (78408) on Monday October 10, 2011 @10:27PM (#37674372)

    If you are in I-T, just fucking shut up about Apple. You just keep saying stupid fucking things. How is WebKit a love/hate relationship with open source? How is shipping the only name brand PC with open source software on it a love/hate relationship with open source? Fuck. So stupid.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Try loading an Ipod with open audio formats if you want to see the hate side. Observe that tho open source offerings you cited were not actually origintated by apple, and that they guard their own code like rabid dogs.

      General hint about life: usually, the problem is *not* that everyone *else* is stupid....

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