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MS to open source for China

Microsoft is going to let the CHinese government have tehir source code:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=568&e=15&u=/nm/20030228/bs_nm/tech_microsoft_china_dc

Also, Microsoft is going to "invest" $750 million in China.

Gates says, "That actually has zero dollars of revenue associated with it because it's a free thing, but I'd say it's a very important thing".

Heh heh. Tech people are such pushovers. Man what a dumb move by MS.

Obviously having the source code will give them a serious technical advantage. Say goodbye to your jobs Americans!

Dennis Atkins
Friday, February 28, 2003

I imagine its the same as all other governments that have the Source Access licence.  Basically you can go to some Microsoft facility, play with the source, run tests etc but you can't take it away with you.

This is an example of 'opening the kimono' not releasing source.

Simon Lucy
Friday, February 28, 2003

When someone from MSFT utters the words "open the kimono", find the exit or grab the vaseline.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, February 28, 2003

This, I presume, is from personal experience Nat?

Simon Lucy
Friday, February 28, 2003

So does this mean that the creators of the Code Red mess that we went through a while back will now be more likely to have access to Windows source code?  I am not saying that the Chinese Govt. sponsored that attack, but I can't help but wonder about the security implications of this decision. 

Ran Whittle
Friday, February 28, 2003

It's probably not such a stupid idea.  I think M$ faces some serious OS competition in China.  Besides Linux, I've read that there's a government-backed effort to develop a Win98-equivalent OS.

The link below goes into more detail. Security and M$ information gathering are the big concerns.

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/030228/microsoft_china_2.html

Nick H
Friday, February 28, 2003

"have their sorce code"

"controlled access to its source code"

not the same thing and not open source. a desperate move to keep a fifith of the worlds population from growing up on Linux.

doobius
Friday, February 28, 2003

CAll me "Mazola Boy".  Mmmmmm.  Butter.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, February 28, 2003

That whole thing really strikes me as odd.

The main reason for China wanting the source code to windows is to do a security audit - take out the NSA back doors, for instance.

But there's no guarantee that the source they get to look at is the the source code to the actual bits that get shipped!

Chris Tavares
Friday, February 28, 2003

"Obviously having the source code will give them a serious technical advantage."

How do you figure that? What kind of advantage? I seriously doubt that there is some golden nugget of programming Zen that is only contained in the Windows source code.

If you're referring to finding some "undocumented" feature and using that, then I'd recommend you think that through again.

Go Linux Go!
Friday, February 28, 2003

"Tech people are such pushovers. Man what a dumb move by MS."

If you look back at the history of Microsoft thus far, they have made very few "really stupid" decisions (please don't flood the board with examples of stupid things Microsoft has done - I can read the news, too - I'm speaking generally to prove a point).

Sure, there are a million "unpopular" decisions, but in the end those decisions ultimately benefited the company (try to separate "benefiting the company" from "benefiting the industry" and "benefiting the user" - Microsoft is in business to make money for their shareholders, like it or not) .

Do I care for all of Microsoft's business practices?  No way.  But despite how much hatred so many people have for the company, their decisions appear to be "dumb moves" until that one day (months or years later) when the competition goes, "Oh, THAT'S why they did that.  Damn, we should have done that."

Make no mistake - Microsoft does EVERYTHING for a reason.  Why they do things, however, is initially sometimes quite a mystery.

At this point, all we have is a bunch of maybes and suspicions for why they're doing this.  As time goes by, however, we're going to discover the bigger picture and be surprised we didn't see it sooner.

-Jeff

Jeff MacDonald
Friday, February 28, 2003

>Obviously having the source code will give them a serious technical advantage. Say goodbye to your jobs Americans!

They already have a serious technical advantage - a lot of very intelligent people. If we assume a Chinese population of 1.2 billion then I would estimate that they have about 2.4 million people with Mensa level IQs. I imagine a lot of these people will start coding for peanuts or fun and then we will have so much free software that no one will pay for it. Anyway how many people in China pay for software now ? Very few I would guess. I bet Microsoft sell more software to Iceland or Ireland than they do to China.

Harold
Friday, February 28, 2003

"Very few I would guess. I bet Microsoft sell more software to Iceland or Ireland than they do to China. "

Yup. The Chinese (government, businessmen, I.T. workers, etc.) are big time pirates. For example, many of the Computer Science students in China possess or have free access to just about any software product or I.T. related book they want or need. Note: I'm not saying that piracy is only going on in China!

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, February 28, 2003

Right, that's what I was thinking -- it seems extremely unlikely that anyone in China is going to suddenly start buying MS products rather than pirating them, so opening the source code up doesn't provide much strategic advantage, which is what I assume they are seeking to gain.

I think MS, intoxicated with the idea of 1 billion new customers is following the same path that a lot of other US companies trying to break into China followed, only to get double-crossed and triple-whammied once the Chinese had all the information they needed to start producing their own stuff.

The latest versions of Windows are supposed to be much harder to pirate, requiring telephone calls and hardware checks, than older ones and MS may be getting close to the point where they are impossible to pirate -- unless you have the source code of course... then you can manufacture your own.

I don't think the Chineses government has any interest in switching to Linux actually - but I do think they can use that story to their advantage to get access to the source code so they can make the copies they need.

And of course allow their intelligence arm to prepare worms to unleash upon the Western capitalists Infidels!

Dennis Atkins
Friday, February 28, 2003

the attitude of americans to china never ceases to bewilder me...with a population of 1.2 billion, huge over crowding problems and an iffy economy, china has had a good excuse for years to start a few foreign wars, but aside from a few border squabbles have not done so.
America, OTOH, has been involved in a war every few years.  <g> truth is, Ive lost count of them all.
And thats not counting the various countries they have been bombing, manipulating and otherwise badly treating.

which is the country that has done most to ensure international peace?  my vote goes to china for doing nothing whatsoever one way or the other....kind of sad really.

american sceptic
Friday, February 28, 2003

must...resist..the urge...to flame...the naive simpleton who posted...

Go Linux Go!
Friday, February 28, 2003

Uh, now let me get this straight.

According to the article, the Chinese government is being given 'controlled' access to the source code for Windows and other Microsoft products.

And we ALL know the very high, almost religious esteem in which China and other far east countries view intellectual property law. I'm sure that anyone who inspects or peruses this source code will have *NO* contact with a competing platform developer, right?

LOL!

Excuse me for the overtones of stereotype in the following comment, but how long before "Yankee Dog Die"/"Red Dawn" "Window 200x" comes out...?

God, what a profoundly stupid move. Unless MS has decided to give away the desktop product market in those countries, and possibly the rest of the world, too...

Bored Bystander
Friday, February 28, 2003

"the attitude of americans to china never ceases to bewilder me..."

Huh? I think you need to re-read the postings.  The following is what we are discussing here:

Microsoft (like many other American companies) wants to do business with the Chinese government and the rest of China. They have decided to give China their source code because they are well aware of the Chinese government's preference for Open Source solutions such as the Linux OS.

Some of us don't think this move will help Microsoft increase their sales in that country. The latest statistic that I have read is that for every copy of Windows sold in China ten copies are acquired through piracy. Personally, I think the 10 to 1 ratio is too low (20 or 30 to 1 sounds about right to me).

One Programmer's Opinion
Saturday, March 01, 2003

Harold,

Sorry for the criticism my man, but your statement that "If we assume a Chinese population of 1.2 billion then I would estimate that they have about 2.4 million people with Mensa level IQs." is wrong. First of all, Mensa is for people with an IQ in the top 2% of the population. That would make 24 million members--not 2.4.

Of course, the normative comparison to the U.S. is also worthless as these 24 million people might actually be much smarter (or much dumber) than an American Mensan. Also, what makes you think that software developers should automatically be grouped in with Mensans (an inference based upon your assumption that Chinese Mensans would take to writing code)? Having actually been in Mensa, I can tell you that IT types definitely abound, but so do librarians, prostitutes, farmers, and every other kind of person that you wouldn't normally think of as "smart" (except many did have broken glasses and smelly T-shirts ala Meatballs).

Eat Mensans for breakfast
Saturday, March 01, 2003

Yes, you are right. It should be 24 million possible Mensa members in China. It was very late at night when I wrote that comment - that's my attempt at an excuse. This is a scary prospect for paid programmers. I take your point that many of these egg heads will not be interested in coding, but it will only take a small percentage of them to swamp the market with free stuff.

>Of course, the normative comparison to the U.S. is also worthless as these 24 million people might actually be much smarter (or much dumber) than an American Mensan.

I think it is safe to assume that the Chinese who score above the 98th pecentile on an IQ test are no less intelligent than the Americans or Brits who can do the same. I am not interested in starting a flame war about race and IQ but I have not come across any references showing that the Chinese score lower on intelligence than other races.

You say you were in Mensa and you found many people there who you wouldn't call smart. Well my wife  would get into Mensa very easily and she comes out with some very stupid comments. She has just told me that the Chinese are not very inventive !

Harold
Saturday, March 01, 2003

Hmm, american sceptic, you should try googling for 'tibet occupation' for starters.

Neil E
Saturday, March 01, 2003

This thread, along with several others recently, seems to be showing that the ability to read is now an optional skill.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, March 01, 2003

"Hmm, american sceptic, you should try googling for 'tibet occupation' for starters. "


<g> ok...so thats *one* war since 1949...still looking good in comparison to america..

american sceptic
Saturday, March 01, 2003

"<g> ok...so thats *one* war since 1949...still looking good in comparison to america.. "

Did they teach history where you went to school? How about China's involvement in the Korean War?

Yeah, China is a wonderful place. Such a democracy. Such freedoms. Just ask any Falun Gong member.

Idiot.

Go Linux Go!
Sunday, March 02, 2003

Ok, I apologize for the "idiot" comment...

Go Linux Go!
Sunday, March 02, 2003

"Yeah, China is a wonderful place. Such a democracy. Such freedoms. Just ask any Falun Gong member."


actually I didn't mention freedoms at all, I was discussing wars.....and even given the korean war china is *still* doing an awful lot better than america.......

american patriot
Sunday, March 02, 2003

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