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While this may seem like a far-fetched idea to some of us, the current Anti-Trust case makes me think twice about things like this.
If the case were settled along the lines that the dissenting States want, the resulting eviscerated Windows OS might be of such low value that it would be turned into a give-away.
Can you immagine 500 million CDs being distributed like AOL CDs?
Would Linux survive if a free Open Source Windows was delivered?
Would Bill Gates be welcomed into the Open Source communiity and become a cult hero?
Would all our ire fall on Sun Solaris and Java that remains outside both the Open Source and Standards movements?
Microsoft will be:
1) restrained from retaliating against partners for using non-Microsoft products.
2) required to disclose some of Window's blueprints so software developers can make compatible products.
3) make it easier for consumers to remove extra Windows features.
It will NOT stop Solaris from becoming a niche OS like Apple.
It will NOT force Java to take part in the standards movement.
It will NOT force Oracle to become Open Source.
It will NOT cause the rebirth of Wordperfect or Lotus 1-2-3.
But getting it over and done with just might get the software market focused on innovation rather than litigation.
>Would Bill Gates be welcomed into the Open Source community and become a cult hero?
I agree with Brett, MS will never go open source.
On the note of Solaris and Java...
Solaris is "quasi-open-source". If you sign some unfriendly contracts, you can get access to the source code. Of course, you won't get to see the source for CDE or most of OpenWindows (like the display-postscript code or the Creator video drivers).
Java, on-the-other-hand, is its own standard. Sun has no interest in allowing clones to the java API exist, so they are going to produce their own "standards" and you must abide by them.
There really isn't a need for a non-Sun java clone anyway. Perl coupled with Tk can do some interesting things. The only problem is that no web browser executes perl/tk code directly.
By that same standard Windows is "quasi-open-source" too. Remember important parts of the Windows code are made available to Universities.
winsor says> Java, on-the-other-hand, is its own standard.
That's double speak. It is an industry standard or it is Sun's OWN code. Sun has withdrawn Java from the standards group.
I think it is fair to say that Sun, Oracle and Microsoft are all NOT Open Source companies.
Would you define "VA Software" as an open-source company? Most would, considering that they sponsor sourceforge.net wholeheartedly and have their own flavor of linux that they effectively give away (source and all). Have you asked them for the software engine that powers sourceforge.net? You may be in for a bit of a surprise, they won't even give you binaries for free.
Hint: Almost all so-called "Open-Source Companies" have software for which they will not divulge the source-code. The label "Open-Source Company" is not a binary attribute.