RE: [OT] an Amicus Curae to the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson

From: Jim Driscoll (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 16:02:05 EST

> I'd be interested to know why Richard doesn't encourage people to publish
> their source code, personally...

I think he's just griping about the term 'open source'.

> > If Windows' source were opened, Microsoft could find itself in
> a situation
> > in which, in some areas at least, they are slower to improve
> Windows than
> > others are. That would be a little scary for Microsoft, and
> perhaps quite
> > good for the competition (hence the relevance) but it would have no real
> > effect on Microsoft's ability to maintain a monopoly, so yes, it isn't
> > exactly an appropriate action to take.
> On the contrary. Look at the issues with the NTFS driver now, for example:
> if the Windows [NT] source were available (with the restriction on patent
> usage) we could just read the source, and make the Linux driver work
> perfectly (well, as well as their version does, anyway :P)
> Equally, the Wine project is hampered by the many undocumented API calls
> used - while you can have "undocumented" calls in an open source OS,
> there's nothing to stop you analysing the source code itself.
> Wine, Samba, the Linux kernel - there are plenty of open source projects
> which would benefit from this.

I agree, absolutely, particularly where Samba is concerned (However I
suspect if any source will be opened it will be Windows 9x). But my point
was that the decision of an appropriate action in the case should be taken
with a view to ensuring it doesn't(or is less likely to) happen again.
Opening the Windows codebase would be great for the OS community and it
would strengthen companies competing with Microsoft (potentially), but
nonetheless Microsoft would still be in a position in which it could without
too much effort maintain/regain its monopoly. The idea of splitting the
company up would actually be much more effective at ensuring that Microsoft
is not a threat to competition.

> Richard will probably object to my references to "open source", rather
> than "free software"; I feel the former is more appropriate. The main
> problem, I think, is the association between "free software"-FSF-GPL.

Probably; however I think the more general (in some sense) term 'open
source' is more appropriate when describing those who stand to gain from the
opening of Windows' source.


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