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Mundie To Debate Open Source Pundits At O' Reilly Conference

By Carnage4Life in MLP
Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:48:15 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

C|Net has an article that states that Craig Mundie will be debating the virtues of Shared Source vs. Open Source at the a debate which will take place at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in San Diego, Calif., July 26.

It would be rather interesting to see how customers will be shown that Shared Source is more beneficial than Open Source in both the short and long run.


rusty: For those who don't have any idea what this is about, C4L adds the following:

Craig Mundie is a senior VP at Microsoft who answers directly to Bill Gates and is one of the three Microsoft executives (Steve Ballmer and Jim Alchin being the others) to directly bash the Open Source movement specifically the GPL and Linux.

Shared Source is Microsoft's program that allows certain corporate partners who to access the source code to Microsoft's products for a fee.

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Mundie To Debate Open Source Pundits At O' Reilly Conference | 14 comments (9 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Who is the argument aimed at? (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by driptray on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 10:12:29 PM EST

Open source is obviously better for customers, and closed ("shared" if you must) source is obviously better for software vendors who are interested in making big profits. I hope I don't have any disagreement so far.

And so you ask, how can closed source be better for customers? I can only think of one reason, and it's expressed in the quote from Mundie in the article:

...developers writing and releasing open-source software such as the Linux operating system would not be able to create powerful, easy-to-use programs that are broadly accessible to consumers.

Now this may or may not be true. Please debate it all you like. But it's not an argument that is aimed at customers. Customers aren't interested in what methodology is better for creating user-friendly software. They're only interested in finding the best software for them. Mundie doesn't touch on that perspective.

In short, Mundie is trying to influence the software industry, not the customers. And frankly, his argument will be received quite well, cos it is difficult to make a ton of money selling GPL software, and money-making is the prime goal of the software industry.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
indeed (none / 0) (#5)
by Kellnerin on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 10:25:06 PM EST

I have no doubt Mundie and Tiemann will mainly be arguing at cross purposes with each other, following the pattern of any debate where the phrases "open source" and "business model" may come regularly into play. Still, it's always good to see two ideologies go head to head. I'll be making a nice big bucket of popcorn before I settle down to read the transcripts, and keeping track of who scores the most points :P

--Stop it, evil hand, stop it!--
[ Parent ]
should be a good fight (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by spacejack on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 11:16:31 PM EST

Say, somebody should grab the transcripts and then assemble a big long thread here on k5. Then we could all vote on what they said. :)

[ Parent ]
Depends on the customers... (none / 0) (#6)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 10:52:52 PM EST

Now this may or may not be true. Please debate it all you like. But it's not an argument that is aimed at customers. Customers aren't interested in what methodology is better for creating user-friendly software. They're only interested in finding the best software for them. Mundie doesn't touch on that perspective.

I don't think Mundie is trying to sell Shared Source to Joe Blow consumer who uses IE and Office but to Fortune 500s and the like who can actually afford to participate in the Shared Source program. These are the people who actually have custom needs and can afford to hire a team of developers just to handle these customizations for them and don't need to release the source code of their customizations to the public as long as they are distributed in house (if they were using Open Source).

These are the people Mundie who are slowly beginning to consider Open Source solutions and whom Mundie has to convince that MSFT's Shared Source program is better than having a band of rag tag college kids and hobbyists as your primary software vendor is a good idea.

[ Parent ]
Shared source for corporations (none / 0) (#12)
by Trepalium on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:15:23 AM EST

I don't think Mundie is trying to sell Shared Source to Joe Blow consumer who uses IE and Office but to Fortune 500s and the like who can actually afford to participate in the Shared Source program. These are the people who actually have custom needs and can afford to hire a team of developers just to handle these customizations for them and don't need to release the source code of their customizations to the public as long as they are distributed in house (if they were using Open Source).

That's probably one of the most important distinctions between the GPL (and most other Open Source licenses) and Shared Source.

The shared source license is pretty much "look but don't touch". Modified versions are not permitted. I can see hardware manufacturers finding this useful since it would allow them to find bugs or other things that do not work as advertised in Microsoft's code to make their drivers more reliable and stable. However, it still doesn't help the third party developers who have been complaining for a long time that Microsoft doesn't publish all their APIs for Windows, and that Microsoft uses or adds unpublished APIs in their own products (such as Office, Exchange, etc) and that gives them an uneven advantage. If I remember correctly, one service pack for Windows NT 4.0 added a feature that specifically boosted the performance of Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 (I doubt Oracle ever had this option).

The GPL and Open Source only require the source code to modifications to be made available to anyone who the modified version is distributed to. If I make a modification to the Linux kernel, for example, and install it on every computer in a company, the only entity I'd have to distribute the source code to is the company itself. Depending on the modification made, there may or may not be pressure to distribute it to the outside world. This is an important part of the "freedom" that RMS is always preaching about. The freedom to distribute your changes, and also the freedom to not distribute your changes. Both the GPL and BSD/X11 licenses are careful not to tread on this (although the GPL places restrictions on distribution).

[ Parent ]

It's not in your interests. (none / 0) (#14)
by stuartf on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 08:19:35 AM EST

If I make a modification to the Linux kernel, for example, and install it on every computer in a company, the only entity I'd have to distribute the source code to is the company itself. Depending on the modification made, there may or may not be pressure to distribute it to the outside world.

It's not in your interests to make a change to the kernel you use internally. As soon as you do this, and don't return the code to be included in the main code base, you have to make that same change every time you want to upgrade to a new kernel. Same applies to any open source app you care to name, unless you can absolutely guarantee that you won't want to move to a new version. Or perhaps your modification is uncompatible with an essential security fix

[ Parent ]

Conrtol the words (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by interiot on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:22:28 AM EST

It seems like this "Open Source" vs. "Shared Source" thing is like other idealogical debates-- each side choses its own words to cast the debate on their terms.

For instance, "death tax" (you don't want to have to pay money to die, do you?) vs "estate tax" (you don't want families to be eternally rich without working for it, do you?)

Or "Pro-Life" vs "Pro-Choice". The pro-choicers don't want to merely say that they're on the opposite side of the debate-- then outsiders might think of them as anti-life. In fract, pro-choicers really AREN'T diametrically opposite. They pick a different continuum (choice, non-choice) to emphasize the strengths of their side.

In a way, this is what microsoft is doing. The term "Open Source" makes it seem as if corporations are 100% closed. Microsoft has made the first come-back, saying that they've been partially open for quite some time, "we're not Closed Source". But the symantic difference between "Closed Source vs Open Source" and "Shared Source vs Open Source" seems very small (or there wouldn't be a debate). Thus, the debate is still cast in OSS's terms. That is, unless Microsoft can dupe people into thinking that there is no debate-- that there is no difference between open and shared source, so there need not be another contiuum. Only Microsoft could consider such a tactic.

In which case, I don't understand why Mundie is debating on July 26th.

MS vs Opensource vs FreeSoftware (none / 0) (#13)
by rawg on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:53:01 PM EST

Its more like MS's Shared Source vs. GPL (Free Software) vs Open Source Software.

GPL is a virus. It was made that way. Its not a bad thing I think.

[ Parent ]
Ask Craig Mundie (none / 0) (#11)
by wiredog on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:06:09 AM EST

You can post questions to Mr. Mundie at O'Reilly

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
Mundie To Debate Open Source Pundits At O' Reilly Conference | 14 comments (9 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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