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Old Jan 25, 2006, 09:31 PM   #1
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Microsoft to Offer Access to Source Code




Category: Microsoft
Link: Microsoft to Offer Access to Source Code
Description:: Microsoft said it would offer commercial rivals access to a "pretty significant" chunk of the source code governing communications between servers. The code is from its Windows workgroup server and its desktop operating systems.

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Old Jan 26, 2006, 12:49 AM   #2
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Will this increase the likelihood that hackers will get their hands on it, analyze it, and exploit weakness they uncover?
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 01:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Q
Will this increase the likelihood that hackers will get their hands on it, analyze it, and exploit weakness they uncover?
What more that the existing weaknesses that they already know about?
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 04:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by winmacguy
What more that the existing weaknesses that they already know about?

90% of the flaws found in Windows and are exploited come from analizing Microsoft's Security Bulletins and patches Only occasionally do you get a real exploit that was discovered by a black hat and used. All of the worms that have come out over the last 5+ years have occurred AFTER Microsoft released a patch. Remember MS blaster that came out in September 2003/4? The patch for that worm was released in July of that same year. What worm writers are banking on is that Windows users won't update their OS in a timely manner. Frankly I don't update my computer more then once a year. Most security vulnerabilities are negated by putting the system on a non-direct connection to the internet; read: DHCP. Throwing a firewall up on my systems, and running Norton AV corp edition. Oh and not using IE, but that's a given.
With the introduction of XP SP2 where your system has automatic downloads turned on, and a firewall enabled it becomes less worrisome since MS will nag you to death to install that patch, install that patch, install that patch, are you going to install that patch?, waiting for you to install that patch, why haven't you installed that patch?, you really should install that patch, damn it install that patch, we're doomed if you don't install that patch. Waiting for you to instal... *shoots the computer*
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 04:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Q
Will this increase the likelihood that hackers will get their hands on it, analyze it, and exploit weakness they uncover?
Probably not since it's somewhat of a given that Microsoft is going to go through this code with a fine toothed comb before they release it. Also I wouldn't be at all surprised if each license has some sort of hash built into the code itself so Microsoft can backtrack where the code came from on the net and sue the crap out of them. It wouldn't be hard to stash 3 or 4 sets of numbers, in random spots, in a segment of code that consists of a few thousand lines.

I still think this is a massive cop-out on Microsoft's part. Once again they are dragging their feet because they know if a company can assure that their software or OS can play well with Windows servers and workstations its going to be much more tempting to IT folks to try out. The only question I have is how does this Apply to Apple. No doubt they have an European division. Can they license this and use it globally?
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 06:48 AM   #6
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How does this affect Apple?

What i would like to know is exactly why Microsoft is being made to release its source code? I know about competition laws etc, but why just microsoft. Does this mean that Apple will have to at some point release source code to its OS, or is that not required because it is built on DARWIN? Am a missing the point!?

Any help would be appreciated on this!

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Old Jan 26, 2006, 07:41 AM   #7
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If this leads is something that communicate with directplay, it would be good for mac gamers. Other than that, I don't see this as much more than a slap on the wrist.
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac2102
What i would like to know is exactly why Microsoft is being made to release its source code? I know about competition laws etc, but why just microsoft. Does this mean that Apple will have to at some point release source code to its OS, or is that not required because it is built on DARWIN? Am a missing the point!?

Any help would be appreciated on this!

-ac2102
This isn't about MS releasing source for their whole OS--just one specific area.
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 12:57 PM   #9
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This is about compatibility and stopping MS blocking measures to maintain interoperability. It doesn't really involve or affect Apple directly, while the article doesn't specify, I would think along the lines of Samba.

A stable and public API might have cut it but that won't pull in licence fees and MS would need to offer some assurance that they are not going to build whole programmes using hidden functionality. In theory (at least) MS shouldn't be able to build better applications than anybody else through inside knowledge of the OS.

Just as an example, suppose Apple had a monopoly in the OS market. They decide to release some photo management software called Aperture. In order to secure the dominance of this product, the Aperture development team ask the OS developers to secretly add Core Image to the operating system. Apple can pretty effectively lock others out of the market place with a massive performance boost in every image and video processing application they care to release.
Of course competitors might try and take Apple to court over this behaviour and force Apple to release relevant parts of their source code so that everyone can compete on a fair footing. Translate that into Microsoft, networking, protocols, servers and interoperability.

Quote:
but why just microsoft
Probably something to do with leveraging their monopoly in certain ways
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac2102
I know about competition laws etc, but why just microsoft. Does this mean that Apple will have to at some point release source code to its OS, or is that not required because it is built on DARWIN?
Exactly. Darwin is already open source, so anyone can check it out freely. And that's what defines the inner workings of the OS. No secrets there.

The proprietary part in OS X is AFAIK mainly the user interface - probably not as critical if you wanna make OS X-compatible software.
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