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Microsoft Finally Open Sources Windows 7 Tool 284

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 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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  • Re:PROOF! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:32PM (#30391764) Homepage Journal

    I've seen some of the Windows Source code when I worked there. Trust me, it's WAY more professional than the Linux source code.

    Microsoft's problem with code quality isn't the engineers - they're the same as everywhere else. In Windows 2000, they set out to eliminate BSOD, and they mostly did. In XP SP2, they set out to make it secure, and it's better.

    The problem is no one asks them to do the right things.

    Anyway, trust me - it's very professional, clean code, nice design, and not filled with hacks like the Big Global Lock that used to be in the Linux kernel.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:37PM (#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.
  • by pm_rat_poison ( 1295589 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:38PM (#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.
  • Re:PROOF! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bmearns ( 1691628 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:43PM (#30391922)

    Wouldn't changing the code at this point still be a violation of the GPL? They released a certain version containing GPLd code, they need to make /that/ version available, right?

    Obviously there are plenty of other reasons it's likely to take a week to do anything at a megacompany like Microsoft.

  • Re:PROOF! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slothrup ( 73029 ) <`gro.rehcolnegah' `ta' `truc'> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:48PM (#30392030)

    This is PROOF that Microsoft KNOWS they are producing bad code. They put something out there, and then when they had to open source the code, they were all like "Well now everyone will see how bad our coding is, better take a week to fix it up before releasing it to the public!"

    Having been involved with open source at Microsoft, I'd guess that the real reason for the delay was to "scrub" it to make sure that no intellectual property was inadvertently being given away.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:53PM (#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'.)

  • Re:PROOF! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:55PM (#30392148) Homepage

    I'm sure Microsoft's source code looks much more professional than the Linux source code. The company probably has rigid coding standards that all programmers must adhere to. Not only standards that have to do with the kinds of constructs you are allowed to use, but how the code must look, how many spaces to indent, how to format your comments, and where to put comments. In other words they probably have a 'grammar police' for code. (Do they still use Hungarian notation?). OTHO the Linux kernel was written by coders from ALL walks of life with different views on how to write code. There is only a very loose coding standard for the kernel, if Linus can read it and understand it, it gets used as is.

    Does this make Microsoft source code work any better than Linux? No. Does it make it more supportable (for the programmers actually working on it)? Probably. But the people working on the Linux Kernel are used to the hodge-podge of coding standards in use. Still it could make it harder for someone to break into kernel support.

    BTW, I've heard of some diehard Mircosofties getting windows tats. Wonder if Linux coders have a Tux tat. (yuck).

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:05PM (#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."

  • unusual trend. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:10PM (#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.

  • Re:PROOF! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:17PM (#30392522)

    I've seen some of the Windows Source code when I worked there. Trust me, it's WAY more professional than the Linux source code.

    That's not what we saw with the Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 source code leak back in 2003. It was an absolutely horrible mess with practically no comments what so ever except meaningless crap at the top of each source file. It seems it wasn't too terribly bad to figure out eventually since Linux's NTFS write support improved quite a bit not too long after the leak.

  • Re:PROOF! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:04PM (#30393216) Journal

    "Microsoft's problem with code quality isn't the engineers - they're the same as everywhere else. In Windows 2000, they set out to eliminate BSOD, and they mostly did. In XP SP2, they set out to make it secure, and it's better."

    So in 1999 they set out to eliminate the BSOD but they failed. Then they blamed the failing on third parties... when the reality is that Microsoft is responsible for the fact that hardware drivers are maintained by thousands of third parties in the first place. In XP SP2 they set out to make windows secure and again they failed, miserably.

    "Anyway, trust me - it's very professional, clean code, nice design, and not filled with hacks like the Big Global Lock that used to be in the Linux kernel."

    I'm sure its very pretty. But at the end of the day, it doesn't work as well as the Linux kernel.

  • Re:PROOF! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:35PM (#30393708)
    good point. It's easier for Microsoft to miss when the original source had the license text removed before handed over to Microsoft and if they had an agreement that all code and licensing were to be handed over to Microsoft.

    It does surprise me that Microsoft would hire out for little tools like this. Unless, it's in payment for some other more 'serving' task(s). Like how they hired Mainsoft to create Internet Explorer for UNIX while at the same time they just about quadrupled the cost of licensing their Windows sources needed to do the task. MainSoft had the dough to pay the higher licensing fees but none of the other Win32 on UNIX vendors could afford that expense. Mainsoft survived but all other products which allowed Win32 to compile on UNIX were shut down. It was a great trick to get vendors to port UNIX apps to Win32 and then eliminate the ability of those apps to be updated and run on UNIX.

    I wonder who the 3rd party was and why they were hired to do this little tool for Microsoft?

  • A peek (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nyri ( 132206 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:55PM (#30393998)

    As opposed almost everyone fussing about "teh M$" and nuances of "freedom", I decided to take a look as see this professionalism.

    The first, the first, line I read had a pre-processor no-no. Here:

    #define ReleaseStr(pwz) if (pwz) { StrFree(pwz); }

    You can read all about it here: []

    Here's how it doesn't work:

    if ( something )

    So there. The code might look professional. It might but it doesn't mean that it is.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @06:31PM (#30395540) Homepage Journal

    Two words: Vista Ready.


  • by Steeltoe ( 98226 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:04AM (#30398518) Homepage

    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 for proprietary use.
    Better do it before using the code though, as you may have more bargaining power then.
    The fact that you didn't, even if you didn't know, copyright still stands. The copyright holder can make you have to pull all your violating binaries / code from any distribution, which could actually cost alot by itself if infringement is big.

    Price will be at market price, or whatever agreement with the copyright holder. Not sure if there are any limits to demands here.

    Just because the sourcecode can be distributed under the GPL license doesn't mean it no longer have any market value. It can be relicensed under any other free or non-free license by the actual copyright holder (not those who merely redistribute under GPL), with or without monetary or other compensation.

    This vibes very much with what other posters have said, that the GPL itself give value back in form of collaboration. If you don't want to collaborate with the rest of the world though, you gotta pay something else. Many companies are already using this strategy to make money off of GPLed software, selling their rights to companies who wants to do proprietary work.

    Always remember: GPL == free software, GPL != free beer

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:28PM (#30405706)

    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 identities and connections... Do you REALLY think the controversy got stirred up to the froth it was organically? No, 95% of it was fueld by IBM and Sun employees, or people compensated indirectly by them.

    For example, did you know the Kenyan response to OOXML was written by an IBM employee? The malaysian response was written by IBM Employee? That it was, in fact, the same employee that wrote both?

    The fact of the matter is that OOXML is a non-issue, except to the financial concerns of Sun, IBM, Oracle, and a number of others. OOXML being a standard does not detract from ODF being a standard, but one would think that OOXML was being proposed as ODF version 2. If you don't like OOXML, don't use it. If it's such a bad standard, it will die by itself. And, if this whole issue had not been pushed by financial concerns on both sides, it would have simply occurred that way.

    ODF and OOXML are designed for different purposes, and ODF cannot, and never will be able to fulfil the requirements that OOXML was intended to fill, namely the ability to losslessly represent legacy MS Office documents in a format that makes them interoperable with other tools. IBM and Sun's refusal to accept proposals to ODF by its committee members for features that would make it more interoperable with Office ensures that.

    Make no mistake, both ODF and OOXML have serious failures, and serious political muscle behind them, and serious bullheadedness of it's proprieters. The open source community just got duped into believing this was a freedom issue, when in fact it was nothing of the kind.

    My point with this rant, is simply to point out that using the example of OOXML and ODF relating to ethics is a serious FAIL, because there was a gigantic lack of ethics on both sides.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito