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View Full Version : Microsoft to Reveal Windows CE Code To US Government


Ed Hansberry
01-15-2003, 02:30 PM
<a href="http://biz.yahoo.com/ft/030114/1042490784354_3.html">http://biz.yahoo.com/ft/030114/1042490784354_3.html</a><br /><br />"The world's largest software group has decided to make nearly all the Windows code available to government and government agencies free in an effort to encourage them to use its software.<br /><br />"Microsoft will provide the code for its most recent version Windows XP, Windows 2000, its new Windows server product due later this year, and Windows CE, the operating system used in mobile devices. The company will also allow government representatives to visit Microsoft's campus to inspect a small amount of code not included. The group is talking to 20 governments and agencies and has signed agreements with 10."<br /><br />Do you think this will help Microsofts share of government customers? Think we'll see more Pocket PCs and other Windows CE embedded devices being used by our civil servants?

Ken Mattern
01-15-2003, 02:47 PM
Think we'll see more Pocket PCs and other Windows CE embedded devices being used by our civil servants?

Absolutely! But think well beyond civil servants to the warfighter and the contractor. My job security is so high right now that I would continue to make an excellent living even if I were dead 8O I just delivered a pile of Jornadas to Ft. Campbell, KY. and they want more. One warrant officer told me that he had just ordered his Dell. Pilots love them, just ask Bus Driver. The Department of Defense is seeing the Pocket PC as a great new tool. Computing power without the size and weight of a notebook. Read my article in the March 2003 issue of Pocket PC magazine for more.

Ken

DaleReeck
01-15-2003, 02:56 PM
No, it won't help Microsoft because I'm sure some company or State government will sue MS to stop them from doing it.

cesarfong
01-15-2003, 03:16 PM
uhmm share code? uh,, sounds good .. it is a way from MS to say " i have nothing to hide you ", but does government respect code confidenciality?

Regards

CÚsar

Busdriver
01-15-2003, 03:32 PM
Yes, it will go a long way towards promoting the use of Windows by the goverment.

There are so many ways that a PPC can be used in aviation. I used it in the USAF and I'm using it now in the civilian sector, and I'm not nearly as imaginative or clever as many people in these fields are; people who could code very, very useful apps.

I agree with the other poster though-Microsoft WILL see their code out in public. They are taking a risk, hopefully it will pay off for them.

ppcsurfr
01-15-2003, 03:38 PM
Well, tis might also mean that they're showing somethig old and when the new one comes out it will be kept nder wraps???

Gary Garland, Esq.
01-15-2003, 04:00 PM
I can't wait for the department of justice (just-arse) to bring an antitrust suit to stop microsoft from monopolizing the government. or better yet, microsoft will have it's revenge when all the government machines crash repeatedly! :twisted:

Gary Garland, Esq.
01-15-2003, 04:01 PM
One last thing - i just remembered - wasn't windows 3 (or earlier?) a complete rip of the mcintosh? does that mean when the gov sees winxp, they'll find nestled deep within some cobwebs and apple copyrights? okay, okay, i'll shut up already! :lol:

Seraph1024
01-15-2003, 04:38 PM
#include "crash.h"
#include "bugs.h"
#include "oldstuff.h"
#include "billrulz.h"

char make_prog_look_big[1600000];

void main()
{
while(!CRASHED)
{
display_copyright_message();
display_bill_rules_message();
do_nothing_loop();
if (first_time_usage)
{
run_minutes(10);
do_nothing_loop();
hang_system();
soft_reset();
}
do_nothing_loop();
hang_system();
if (still_not_crashed)
{
do_nothing_loop();
win_CE2.0_for_wrong_CPU();
do_nothing_loop();
win_CE2.0_for_wrong_CPU();
do_nothing_loop();
}
}

if (fast_cpu())
{
set_wait_states(9999999);

}

/* printf("Welcome to Windows CE 2.0"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows CE 2.11"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows CE3.0"); */
/* printf("Welcome to PPC 2000"); */
printf("Welcome to PPC 2002");
/* printf("Welcome to PPC 2003 / CE .net 4.2"); */
if (system_ok())
crash(screen_fade);
else
soft_reset();
while(something)
{
sleep(5);
get_user_input();
sleep(5);
act_on_user_input();
sleep(5);
}
hard_reset();
}

stareja
01-15-2003, 04:48 PM
I think it's something that looks good on the surface, but will ultimatey not change anything.

I notice they mentioned that they're allowing the governmnet to look at the code, but will Microsoft accept suggestions on changes? They're certainly under no obligation to. An I seriously doubt they'll allow the government to make changes to the code.

It's not just the ability to look at source code that makes opensource appealing to governments, it's the ability to change that code if they have to. What microsoft is doing is equivelent to handing the governmnet a stone tablet with the Windows code written on it. Yeah, it's nice to look at, but doesn't really do much good.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Seraph1024
01-15-2003, 04:59 PM
I'll hang it in my room if they give me a stone slab full of code.
:D

Foo Fighter
01-15-2003, 05:01 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The government is going to look at the source code? That should be good for a laught. Like they can make any sense of it? :scrambleup:

Government Inspector: "What is all that jibberish on the screen?"

Microsoft Employee: "Uh...that's the source code."

Government Inspector: "Hmm....I see. [long silent pause]

Microsoft Employee: "Would you like to see the rest of it?"

Government Inspector: "You mean there is more of this...er, stuff?"

Microsoft Employee: "Yep. Several million lines of code in fact."

Government Inspector: "No, that's ok. I'll take your word for it."

Microsoft Employee: "So, what do you want to see now?"

Government Inspector: "The bar. I need a drink."

vincentsiaw
01-15-2003, 05:14 PM
share source code is one thing, the next thing we know the government is microsoft :!:

stareja
01-15-2003, 07:03 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The government is going to look at the source code? That should be good for a laught. Like they can make any sense of it? :scrambleup:


Hhhhmmm...Good point. That's what the government hire contractors for and, most likely, MS will not allow contractors access to the code.

Janak Parekh
01-15-2003, 07:27 PM
Does this mean it can be used for free? The aticle didn't say that this eliminated the requirement for government licenses... that's the biggest threat Open Source offers: not that you can see the source, which is for only certain niches, but rather that it's startingly cheap.

--janak

Kevin Daly
01-15-2003, 07:34 PM
This looks like largely a response to the pressure for governments to mandate open source operating systems, which I understand has gained a lot of ground in Europe.
The question of who is going to look at it is certainly an interesting one.
Those who are anti-Microsoft (as opposed to just having a healthy wariness of them) will never see anything they like or agree that what they're seeing is the real deal.
The rest won't really want to wade through millions of lines of code that they basically trust (not as in believing it's bug free or perfect, but as in not believing that it is full of spyware for the NSA or any of the other paranoid nonsense) - We all have better things to do with our lives than deskcheck Microsoft's code (naturally I'm excluding Slashdotters from that remark).
Open Source is irrelevant to this issue...if government employees have the time to debug and fix or enhance open source OS code (which is not exactly what people are paying them to do, as a rule), something is not quite right (I myself am a senior developer for a government department, a situation I earnestly pray will shortly end (voluntarily that is)).

This stuff is definitely going to leak - my guess is that the bits Microsoft is withholding are the ones they really don't want their competitors to get hold of (OK, that wasn't particularly profound, I admit it. Maybe I should have said "Obviously, the bits...") .

Will T Smith
01-15-2003, 07:45 PM
It will help more if ... It was free like Linux.

For your average home/small org user Windows makes a lot more sense.

However, for large organizations of blue or "cornflower" collar workers (FBI, Air traffic controllers, Postal Machines, etc...) Linux makes more sense. Why:

* It's more secure
* It's less succeptable to viruses.
* Most workers in large enterprise only use computers for a single job. Those apps are typically custom jobs anyway, there is no issue with compatibility.
* It's free, AND it can be customized at the OS level. So for instance, lets say you want a customized authentication infrastructure on the OS level (say if your the FBI). It can be done. Or if you want to create a permission system for who can run WHAT applications and access WHICH machines. It can be done.
* The hardware is cheaper than traditional unix workstations. There's even a handheld version available which is represented by the Sharp Zaurus. I would shudder if I saw an airport security worker using an iPaq for input.

Of course, this can be done in the Microsoft world as well. But truly customized OS level behavior isn't possible on the same scale as in Linux.

I seriously believe that Linux will become the new OS/2. Well some of you are laughing right now. But let's not forget that IBM sold a butload of OS/2 to large organizations like banks. They were installed largely on single purpose workstations where stability and security was the concern. There is no solataire running on OS/2 teller workstations.

IBM realizes this, and they have embraced Linux in a HUGE way. This is especially relevant in the services industry since IBM never made any money selling an OS. They make progressively less money selling hardware (hence the sale of the hard drive division to Hitachi(or Fujitsu, I can't remember)). They do however make a TON of money in services.

Ultimately, I don't believe that showing the source code to govs will do any good as long as Microsoft leads the Billboard charts in security holes. If they improve their record, it will help. However, linux definitely has the edge in enterprise wide deployments of specialty machines.

Timothy Rapson
01-15-2003, 08:38 PM
I really need to think about this. The implications are staggeringly confusing.

My initial feeling (as one who has had it up to his eyeballs with Microsoft.) is that, along with the huge Bill Gates spending to fight disease world-wide, this might actually change my mind about MS.

That would be a BIG change.

Ken Mattern
01-15-2003, 10:06 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The government is going to look at the source code? That should be good for a laught. Like they can make any sense of it?

Actually the government won't look at the source code for the very reason you gave.

But

It is we contractors who will get to look at the code, and we will take advantage of it. :twisted:

Fzara
01-15-2003, 11:31 PM
It will help more if ... It was free like Linux.

For your average home/small org user Windows makes a lot more sense.

However, for large organizations of blue or "cornflower" collar workers (FBI, Air traffic controllers, Postal Machines, etc...) Linux makes more sense. Why:

* It's more secure
* It's less succeptable to viruses.
* Most workers in large enterprise only use computers for a single job. Those apps are typically custom jobs anyway, there is no issue with compatibility.
* It's free, AND it can be customized at the OS level. So for instance, lets say you want a customized authentication infrastructure on the OS level (say if your the FBI). It can be done. Or if you want to create a permission system for who can run WHAT applications and access WHICH machines. It can be done.
* The hardware is cheaper than traditional unix workstations. There's even a handheld version available which is represented by the Sharp Zaurus. I would shudder if I saw an airport security worker using an iPaq for input.

Of course, this can be done in the Microsoft world as well. But truly customized OS level behavior isn't possible on the same scale as in Linux.

I seriously believe that Linux will become the new OS/2. Well some of you are laughing right now. But let's not forget that IBM sold a butload of OS/2 to large organizations like banks. They were installed largely on single purpose workstations where stability and security was the concern. There is no solataire running on OS/2 teller workstations.

IBM realizes this, and they have embraced Linux in a HUGE way. This is especially relevant in the services industry since IBM never made any money selling an OS. They make progressively less money selling hardware (hence the sale of the hard drive division to Hitachi(or Fujitsu, I can't remember)). They do however make a TON of money in services.

Ultimately, I don't believe that showing the source code to govs will do any good as long as Microsoft leads the Billboard charts in security holes. If they improve their record, it will help. However, linux definitely has the edge in enterprise wide deployments of specialty machines.

Bah, the only reason Linux has these advantages, ie. less viruses, free, less suceptible to crashes, follow a number of reasons:

1. the slowed down adaptation to the new OS. No wonder you dont see so many viruses for Linux. OBVIOUSLY the public hasnt started even touching Linux, and the virus coders/writers know this. Therefore, they pray on Windows instead of Linux.

2. Customizable? Open source lets people add programs/whatever the heck they want, becuse they know/see the code the OS uses. THerefore, if Microsoft let Windows XX be open source, i'm sure we would see the same amount of customizing as we see with Linux today.

3. Linux is so open source, that each company refines it every couple of months/years. Tharefore, the reason it has very little bugs, is because so many developers have access to the code, and they actually use their expertise to help benefit others. One coder left out a bug? Another guy picks it up and refines it and releases a patch/new version. The benefits of Linux are endless.

Let it all go, Linux will soon be dominating the market, Microsoft will drop their prices, and competition will soon create a boon to the customer.

The Big Jay
01-16-2003, 04:21 AM
1. the slowed down adaptation to the new OS. No wonder you dont see so many viruses for Linux. OBVIOUSLY the public hasnt started even touching Linux, and the virus coders/writers know this. Therefore, they pray on Windows instead of Linux.

You're talking about viruses and end-user exploits. There's a lot more to security than that, there's buffer overruns (which Windows has quite a few of, not that Linux doesn't have any), port exploits, etc. Even in the server market where Linux has a decent slice there's isn't a vast number of exploits, at least to the magnitude of IIS.

Second of all, it's insanely easy to write viruses for Windows, because of JavaScript and VBScript.

2. Customizable? Open source lets people add programs/whatever the heck they want, becuse they know/see the code the OS uses. THerefore, if Microsoft let Windows XX be open source, i'm sure we would see the same amount of customizing as we see with Linux today.

Except they won't let it happen (this is their biggest cash cow after all). Moreover many things are so integrated into the code (IE for example) that it's hard for people to take out parts of the code without wrecking a lot of things in the process.

someppcuser
01-16-2003, 08:26 AM
M$ will only let you look at the code, you cannot customize it. This is not really open source.

And as usual, they will try to rip you off...

Let's say you find a big security flaw. In the OSS world, you make the change and release a patch. This benefits the community because everything is free. In the case of M$, they will let you do the audits, the fixes,etc. and keep them proprietary in order to $ELL them to the end users.

This move is just PR bull. Any governement serious about keeping costs down and having a safe environnement to work with will stay away from M$.

Ekkie Tepsupornchai
01-16-2003, 01:57 PM
Let it all go, Linux will soon be dominating the market, Microsoft will drop their prices, and competition will soon create a boon to the customer.
People (including myself) were saying this eight years ago when Linux first hit the scene (I was in my final year of college then). At that time, people were still trying to adjust to Windows 95 having come from Windows 3.1 and OS/2 Warp was actually considered a competing OS.

Don't get me wrong. Linux has picked up quite a bit of momentum in those eight years, but it's been more as a alternative to the commercial flavors of UNIX (Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM-AIX) than as an actual replacement for Windows. I don't see this changing anytime soon.