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Microsoft Dilutes Open Source, Coins 'Open Surface'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the scientology-favors-sanity-don't-you dept.

Open Source 191

sfcrazy writes "Now, Microsoft is coining yet another term to further confuse users — 'Open Surface.' Senior Director for Open Source Communities at Microsoft, Gianugo Rabellino, said at Oscon 2011 that customers don't care about the underlying platform as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open. That's when he threw the term 'open surface.'" This seems to have more than a grain of truth to it — after all, programmers have been creating open-source software with closed-source programming languages for many years, and I'm certainly more impressed by Google's willingness to let me export my data than I am turned off by the fact that they use a mix of open and closed source software to run the Google circus.

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Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (4, Insightful)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36916966)

I believe this is step 2

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (-1, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917028)

No, I'd call it more of a refinement or evolution.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (1)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917096)

The idea is to use Windows Server instead of Linux (open source)... That's the point There is no refinement or evolution

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917474)

No, it is a clear evolution. "Free software" -> "Open source" -> "Open surface".

But then, those who really care already understand what I mean.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917676)

We understand that you've drunk the Kool-Aid and are now offering to pass the jug around.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917796)

The words "evolution" and "improvement" are not synonymous.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (-1, Troll)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918722)

Those who understand what you mean, really care, and know you're wrong. Nice one MS shill.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917638)

They forgot how to do it right then. Saying nobody cares about the platform they're on is a poor way to extend. But yes, I know, this is Microsoft and they can't say their business model is wrong or else they'll fail at meeting their goals.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (4, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918002)

Indeed. I'm glad you got first posting for this.

It's not that specifications and standards aren't important. Of course they are. But Microsoft is more than a bit disingenuous in pretending to advocate them when it has been so egregiously, perennially active in undermining them. This hypocrisy is all too familiar.

Thanks, Microsoft, for reminding me why I loathe you.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918110)

"Ascend from Darkness"? Or am I looking at the wrong list of steps?

Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36916976)

Folks, while this little "too-doo" might seem to be an important event in your little lives, really it's nothing at all.

You need to understand that RIGHT NOW, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are HAVING PREMARITAL SEX. In the nude

Yes, it's true. "The Bieb" and possible illegal alien and card carrying "Latino" Gomez (prostitute) are attempting to procreate even though they are both under-age and indeed NOT MARRIED.

This unholy liaison is being coordinated by these two teenager's "handlers" because Justin Bieber IS GAY and they desperately want to convert him to be "straight".

If it were to become common knowledge that "The Bieb" *IS* gay, it would mean the END of the gravy train

Folks, please set your PRIORITIES.

WE NEED TO START A PETITION TO END THIS UNHOLY EXPERIMENT KNOWN AS "THE BIEB".

He *MUST NOT* be allowed to procreate with the "Latino" Gomez, and produce a "love" child that can only be named DAMIAN.

Re:Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917080)

Hilarious.

Re:Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917472)

This unholy liaison is being coordinated by these two teenager's "handlers" because Justin Bieber IS GAY and they desperately want to convert him to be "straight".

Apparently it's not working, 'cause I hear she's banging Bieber with a strap-on.

Re:Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (-1, Offtopic)

arbulus (1095967) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917568)

Selena Gomez is of age.

Re:Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917652)

Selena Gomez is of age.

Than she is a rapist.

And how is it you know this tidbit?

Re:Come on, folks, OPEN YOUR EYES! (-1, Offtopic)

petman (619526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917740)

http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/ [justfuckinggoogleit.com]

Well documented APIs? Sign me up! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917020)

I'm pretty sure this would still be an improvement for MS. It would also make compatibility layers easier (Wine also says thanks if they do this).

Of course, what actually will happen, is that they'll coin the term, and then not do anything.

MS looking to a post windows world? (1)

Tyler Forge (78847) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918026)

It's a pretty bold admission because customers "not caring about the underlying platform" means windows won't be the infection vector for all that other MS software. Maybe they're getting ready for a future when there are hordes of iOS and android devices out there. They have to do something to get people using their libraries and other software. I don't think anyone really believes that windows mobile or whatever mobile OS microsoft tries next will take over the market like back in the wintel days.

Re:Well documented APIs? Sign me up! (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918808)

Oh, it'll be well documented all right. Only the product being documented will be some huge gargantuan beast of a thing that requires hundreds, if not thousands of pages to adequately document. And the documentation will be released 6-12 months after Microsoft release their implementation; the first version of the documentation will be mysteriously different to the implementation and the documentation may never be updated - meaning that by the time anyone else has a hope of having some competition implemented, Microsoft will be well entrenched.

Even so, this would be an improvement over the status quo.

What is the point of the linked page? (3, Insightful)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917038)

This is so backwards from Slashdot norm. A summary with a tidbit of "news" in it and intelligently written opinion, no FA to read.

Am I missing something, did Microsoft not really coin this term or is there some biased, slanderous opinion that was unintentionally left out of the summary?

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917102)

It was posted by timothy, what do you expect?

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (5, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917546)

This is so backwards from Slashdot norm. A summary with a tidbit of "news" in it and intelligently written opinion, no FA to read.

Am I missing something, did Microsoft not really coin this term or is there some biased, slanderous opinion that was unintentionally left out of the summary?

In other words, an Open Surface post.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917594)

Submitter is an idiot.

Anyway, for a coherent link, zdnet [zdnet.com] , which has more than three sentences. What it boils down to is that the Microsoft Azure platform is not open source - but how to interact with it is well known and open. You can then run Open Source programs on top of a closed-source platform.

To be honest, I think it's a complemntary idea to Open Source; and I'm not sure that he explicitly set out to 'dilute' the term open source.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917660)

Yes and no, it's a medium ground between fully opening the source code and keeping the APIs shut, but I'm not really sure how this differs from typical APIs where the programmer knows what the API is but doesn't necessarily know how any of it is accomplished internally.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (3, Interesting)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917758)

I'm not really sure how this differs from typical APIs where the programmer...

One is a marketing term that Microsoft can slap a trademark application in for, the other is not? Then Microsoft can claim to be the only vendor with Open Surface(tm) systems, or OSS.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917908)

These days, there are enough levels of abstraction for the typical web/cloud app that the programmer doesn't generally need or want to *CARE* about the low level implementation details. So long as the API is open and it is portable from platform to platform, the low level source of the host platform is not of concern.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918768)

It is all about thinking for today versus thinking for yesterday, today and tomorrow. You might know the current APIs, protocols and standards but when the underlying platforms are closed off from input and control, you have no idea what you will have to deal with tomorrow and how that will affect what was done yesterday.

When it comes to M$ they have been unreliable, manipulative, insensitive and arrogant. If it saves them money and enables them to make more whether it be saving costs by not fixing bugs and security faults, holding out on simple improvements and forcing upgrade cost plus lost productivity for years waiting for upgrades or simply dumping their costs on end users to be replicated millions of times.

So lack of control of the underlying platform in many other areas of computing have wasted billions of dollars, a lesson that should be and never forgotten. It would be the same to hand over all infrastructure services to one for profit corporation, like roads, rail lines, airports, footpaths, bridges, electricity, storm water and sewer and expect things to term out well without being screwed at every turn. That kind of thinking was OK early on in the computer industry but just doesn't make any sense at all any more.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917782)

You mean libelous, since it's in print. But otherwise I agree with you: the article is poorly written garbage, and the summary is decently insightful.

Re:What is the point of the linked page? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918764)

Do you still subscribe to the hard copy?

the open my skull syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917044)

when ya cant EEE this is the next step, empty skull

Everybody knows about open interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917048)

There's no reason to coin a silly new term. They're talking about function, object, and other types of libraries with a well-documented and therefore "open" programming interfaces.

Problem is, sometimes if you don't know how the code that implements the interface is structured, you won't be able to use the interface optimally. You *can* try to do so, and in some ways not knowing is better (then the code can be changed as usage patterns change, or whenever new algorithms are implemented), but it will always be easier to figure out what's going on with access to the source code than without it.

Then there's the "undocumented" parts of the interface, which Microsoft is particularly [wikipedia.org] famous [wikipedia.org] for historically.

Re:Everybody knows about open interfaces (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917076)

Chalk this down to a marketing team with nothing better to do.

Re:Everybody knows about open interfaces (1)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917514)

Aww, I have better things to do but I just can let pass this opportunity

Open Surface it's a means and the end itself, to bring developers developers developers the joy and magical tools that allow for easy integration of polisynergistic code with the flick of a finger .

Right from your non thrown chair, You can take your open source code and rub it to the installation dvd of Windows 8 and it magically interfaces extending its functionality, embracing it's capabilities and extinguishing old grievances that used to populate the relationship between open source developers and real developers developers developers.

We welcome anyone to try this chair-blasting experience and together create a new world of Open Source Surfaces with You, my Open Source developer, bending over a table of perfectly interfaced and monetizable software.

Signed
Steve Ballmer
(I was in marketing before getting the promotion, remember?)

Yay marketing! Trolling the world for profit since the 30's. ©

Last time I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917060)

... that's called "open standards". You know, things like IMAP and SMTP enabling mail exchange between open and closed source MxAs alike. Or routing protocols, like BGP or OSPF (and the story of the interop labs), or, well, TCP/IP already. All fairly huge successes. Or HTML enabling... well not much interop of anything, really, as everyone chooses to interpret the browser side of w3c "standards" differently. Yes, they're open, but they also are ambigious on that side, and thus fairly poor standards. And micros~1 abusing the crap out of this loophole plus abuse of their OS installed base monopoly to push a browser, drowing out the others to such wild success that they themselves got sick of it eventually. micros~1 out-micros~1ing micros~1, now that's impressive.

There really isn't much call for yet another term, except if you're called micros~1, of course. Please ignore the chair-throwing monkey behind the curtain. Nothing to see here, move along.

"Published API" (3, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917094)

It's called "published API".

Microsoft, as usual, is trying to conflate "published protocol" (an interface that can be used by independently developed software that may share no components with software providing interface) and "published API" (an interface that requires direct use of software providing the interface within common framework such as libraries, plugins, compilers' handling of interface definitions, etc.)

Shut up, Microsoft. Nothing short of published, open protocol is going to suffice. And none of your products will survive if you won't hide and obfuscate protocols used by them. You know that and we know that, so don't pretend that you are not our enemies.

Re:"Published API" (2, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917126)

"published API" (an interface that requires direct use of software providing the interface within common framework such as libraries, plugins, compilers' handling of interface definitions, etc.)

It doesn't. You can take a published API, and provide your own clean-room implementation of the same - see .NET/Mono.

Nothing short of published, open protocol is going to suffice.

http://www.microsoft.com/openspecifications/en/us/technical-specifications/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

Patents covered seperately (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917258)

I believe the following statement on the front page says it all:
"rights under Microsoft patents covering such specifications are available separately"

Re:"Published API" (1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917480)

It doesn't. You can take a published API, and provide your own clean-room implementation of the same -

I am describing normal use, not reimplementation. Reimplementation of a product made by a large company is usually a massive, rarely successful effort, prompted by the company being negligent or outright malicious with the product development, use or licensing.

see .NET/Mono.

Mono is a failed reimplementation of a useless product. The only successful reimplementation of a proprietary API (as opposed to protocols/formats) that I have ever seen is Lesstif, and arguably more good was done by destroying Motif dominance by superior toolkits than by reimplementing it.

http://www.microsoft.com/openspecifications/en/us/technical-specifications/default.aspx

And none of that is actually useful for interoperability or reimplementation.

Re:"Published API" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917588)

The only successful reimplementation of a proprietary API (as opposed to protocols/formats) that I have ever seen is Lesstif, and arguably more good was done by destroying Motif dominance by superior toolkits than by reimplementing it

NDISwrapper, maybe? It and the FreeBSD equivalent NDISulator are the only other examples I can think of.

Re:"Published API" (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917710)

I am describing normal use, not reimplementation.

In normal use, there's no difference between e.g. a network protocol and a shared library interface. Both are ultimately about pushing some bytes in, and getting some bytes (and side effects out). That in one case your bytes are packaged in packets and sent between processes and computers, and in another they are pushed onto the execution stack, is immaterial.

Mono is a failed reimplementation of a useless product.

Your expert and well-referenced opinion on this will doubtlessly be extremely valuable to people who mistakenly use either or both in their products with great success.

And none of that is actually useful for interoperability or reimplementation.

AD and Exchange protocols are not useful for interoperability or reimplementation? What happened to the holy grail of making full-fledged FOSS replacements for either one?

Re:"Published API" (2)

unity (1740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918172)

Mono is a failed reimplementation of a useless product.

That is funny, I coulda sworn that my customers put through hundreds of millions of dollars of sales on .net software every year. Hell of a useless product.

Re:"Published API" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918240)

Mono is a failed reimplementation of a useless product.

That is funny, I coulda sworn that my customers put through hundreds of millions of dollars of sales on .net software every year. Hell of a useless product.

I'm pretty sure there are at least hundreds of millions of dollars of sales that go through FORTRAN software every year.

But that doesn't particularly mean a whole lot about anything.

Re:"Published API" (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918770)

I'm pretty sure there are at least hundreds of millions of dollars of sales that go through FORTRAN software every year.

But that doesn't particularly mean a whole lot about anything.

No? Whoa.

It actually says a mighty shipload of a lot about software and the software business.

It also means, incidentally, that you cannot call stuff 'useless' just because you feel like it.

Re:"Published API" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917384)

Shut up, Microsoft. Nothing short of published, open protocol is going to suffice. And none of your products will survive if you won't hide and obfuscate protocols used by them. You know that and we know that, so don't pretend that you are not our enemies.

People like you will always deride anything MS does because if you didn't have MS as your enemy you wouldn't have anyone to hate on.

Re:"Published API" (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917544)

People like you will always deride anything MS does because

...because Microsoft is inherently evil. Everything that defines Microsoft as Microsoft -- its goals, methods, tradition and people are evil.

if you didn't have MS as your enemy you wouldn't have anyone to hate on.

I don't see how not having anyone to hate would be a bad thing.

Re:"Published API" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917960)

...because Microsoft is inherently evil. Everything that defines Microsoft as Microsoft -- its goals, methods, tradition and people are evil.

run by satan ballmer, if you use Windows it will take your soul, because they are evil! in fact more to the point they are so evil that they only let you run whatever software you want and the even let you choose not to use their products, that's how evil they are!!!

Re:"Published API" (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918766)

You start with hating and that is a bad thing.

There is always Apple, Google, your government, your little sister, your parents, your neighbors.
There are a lot of people and companies you can hate.

Hate is an emotional thing, not a rational one. It takes away the ability to be objective and that is the reason why it is a bad thing.

I know plenty of people who hate Germans, solely on what they heard they did and this includes people who were born now. I know people who hate all Americans and those who hate Jews or progress or pollution or anything that you can come up with.

It is the people who dislike or disagree with things that are able to do the changes. People that hate don't..

And that is why hate is a bad thing. So you are right in saying not having anything to hate is a good thing. However to be able to do that, you must remove the hate, not the object of your hate. Because then it will be replaced with something else to hate.

Re:"Published API" (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917750)

People like you will always deride anything MS does because if you didn't have MS as your enemy you wouldn't have anyone to hate on.

As long as there is unmaintainable software, users (and any programmer who empathizes with them, or who values economic efficiency) will have enemies. You don't need Microsoft for that, but they sure help. :-)

Documented APIs are a fine start, and as long as the size/complexity of the components that provide these APIs is small/simple enough, the resulting systems can approach the maintainability of Free Software. Just as a high-level language programmer doesn't worry about the object code that one of his lines of code compiles to, a bash scripter might not worry about using a proprietary awk or sed alternative, as long as it behaves in a known way. If there were a problem with MS sed, you could replace it with GNU sed, so MS sed's unmaintainability wouldn't matter. (And therefore, if MS sed had any advantages, such as speed, using it might indeed be tempting and relatively low-risk.)

But somehow I doubt anyone thinks Microsoft has systems this small in mind, or that they are considering using APIs that have already been implemented by other tools. And of course as others have mentioned, there's always the threat that a documented API might be specified in such a way that implementing it at all, could require getting a patent holder's permission before you're legally allowed to do it. If you can't easily replace an API-well-documented component, then all the maintenance headaches of proprietary software are in full force, and the "Open" aspect of its "Surface" is useless to you.

Re:"Published API" (2)

unity (1740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918156)

You know that and we know that, so don't pretend that you are not our enemies.

Speak for yourself; MS is my sugardaddy and I like it that way.

Simple solution. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917128)

Take the word as it is - open as in open, and forever to be open.

That requires whatever that is supposed to be open, not to be owned by any private party. Because, that only means 'open for now'. until the owner decides to close it.

Open means open - not 'open for now'.

So, microsoft, if you own anything, it cannot be open. now go shove your intentional concept obfuscation up your ass. the people who are technically apt enough to be working on these matters, are not as clueless as your customers to be deceived like idiots.

Re:Simple solution. (2)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918584)

Um... what? That's not what the word "open" means. If a door is "open" is might at some point in the future be "closed". The word open describes the current state of something.

Unless you mean "Take the word as it is given the specific context I will now thrust upon it, thus defeating the point of my own argument that the word has a specific universal meaning"

Free Surface (2)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917140)

I'll be the first to coin "free (as in freedom) surface."

Re:Free Surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917730)

I'll be the first to coin "free (as in freedom) surface."

perhaps you should shorten it to frurface.

Re:Free Surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918752)

If a free surface is freedom, with the amount of stuff sitting on my desk.. it seems that I am 100% enslaved.

open APIs must remain open (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917182)

as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open

The key thing is to ensure that the APIs cannot be controlled, or changed or withdrawn or have conditions of use imposed on them. Open means more than just having them documented.

The only way to ensure that the APIs remain usable is to have the ability to rebuild the underlying software, rather than simply have a third party provide us with it - where the way the API is still under their sole control. To do that requires unencumbered access to the source code, and the entitlement to copy it and make other things that use it.

Without those abilities, there will always be the possibility that the original owner could arbitrarily change it, refuse to support it, add private functions and features or prevent certain classes of users from benefitting from it. These are the attributes that make free software valuable.

Re:open APIs must remain open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918368)

Very true. And there are basically two ways to warrant that. One is, have multiple vendors supplying the same standardized API. Or open source, that commits itself to a standard.

Open v. Free (0)

Downchuck (1333195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917194)

I certainly understand, as a software developer, that freedom does not come with open source. I'm still required to publish and inform every single user when GPL is included in the code base. And that's intentional. Same applies to BSD,

MIT and about everything but public domain, CC0 and the other do what you want licenses.

Now there are easy ways to serve them. You can add an about page, you can do what you must, but the protocol still applies. It's very difficult to create a visual surface on the internet that is truly free. Consider a public domain book.

Can you really publish an application to view and download that book without tripping on licenses? It's very expensive, it's very difficult. Unless you're looking for an ascii reader. And don't get me wrong, I love colorForth. But that doesn't quite reach the level.

There is a fundamental distinction between a computing surface, patents and copyright involved, an open surface, with copyright involved, and a free surface. That last part is expensive, it's difficult, and from a perspective of practice

and pragmatism, it's not something I would wish on anyone. I've spent the cash, it is expensive on an individual or group of individuals to develop a truly free surface. This doesn't even get into the complications [patents] involved in actually touching a surface.

I'd need a half million dollars to even start. And believe it, Intellectual Ventures, or one of many others would have an attack strategy. But at least there, I can deal with lawyers and patents. There's enough ammunition cataloged in the W3C and other patent databases to regain costs on attorney fees.

This semantic is worth saving. An open surface is not the same as open content, but it's the best that most can hope for at this time. I've put up enough money and time to have full confidence.

Re:Open v. Free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918288)

What? Are you drunk? Or high? I've never seen a train of thought go as irretrievably off the rails as yours has just done. This is like a roller-coaster that has gone flying off into the gift-shop, or a runaway mine-cart that has gone careening into a chasm.

Security by obscurity, still... (4, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917216)

Whether or not this is a move to co-opt FOSS, I can't say, although I have my suspicions. But from a security standpoint, it sucks. Security breaches are becoming more and more common; with the underlying code being closed, there can be no independent confirmation of the quality of security measures, patches, etc. So when a vulnerability is found and 'patched', we still won't have any assurance, beyond Microsoft's say-so, that the patch fixes the problem and doesn't introduce any new ones.

This announcement doesn't really change anything, and on the face of it it's non-news. But as propaganda, it stands a good chance of getting more people to drink the MS Kool-aid. And remember when MS used to use undocumented OS calls to give their own applications an edge over competitors? I think we can expect such abuses to increase greatly - the appearance of openness will hide what's really going on.. The 'surface' may be 'open', but the underlying code, and the underlying politics, are murkier and more closed than ever.

Besides, 'Open Surface' sounds rather shallow, doesn't it?

LOL, Open Surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917218)

Could the *nix dream be coming true? They have finally admitted defeat?

I love this shit. Is anyone as excited as I am?

Relax, God is just. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917234)

Sell microsogft short and laugh at them.

God says...
you_think_you_could_do_better I_donno Bam don't_even_think_about_it
meh exorbitant crazy ba_ha get_to_work in_theory no_more_tears
I_didn't_do_it not beam_me_up how_come I'll_ask_nicely
you're_no_fun fake earnest Jedi_mind_trick sad heads_I_win_tails_you_lose
sixty_four_bit class__class__shutup flat tv fake HolySpirit
air_head Varoom other grumble why_do_I_put_up_with_this
over_the_top fer_sure linux I'm_off_today but_of_course
that's_your_opinion I_veto_that skills wrath yikes petty
What_are_you_doing_dave vote but_of_course look_out Ivy_league
wonderful climate it_figures dang_it why_is_it hobnob
BBC how_about I'm_off_today wanna_bet virtue Indian stuff
pwned man high_mucky_muck walking I_just_might Percival
bastard bring_it_on jobs I_see_nothing youre_welcome Zap
that's_no_fun I_had_a_crazy_dream cowardice what_part_of_God_do_you_not_understand
other linux are_you_insane ouch You_da_man gosh illogical
angel IMHO thats_right astounding delicious merry_christmas
WooHoo piety ROFLMAO wastoid Shalom youre_lucky wazz_up_with_that
God that's_your_opinion ordinarily hilarious off_the_record
let's_roll what_a_nightmare how's_the_weather You_know
sing_birds Is_that_so now_you_tell_me That's_gonna_leave_a_mark
make_my_day nerd not youre_lucky I_have_an_idea flat so_let_it_be_done
and_then_what Indian hollywood I'm_not_dead_yet

There's nothing to dilute. (2, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917252)

His revelation is right on the mark. I constantly see proponents of Open Source say things such as "It's auditable because the source code is free". Well yes it is, but no one cares. I think even from the Slashdot crowd the number of people who bothered to build Firefox from source is a small minority compared to those who downloaded it. Those who actually look at the code are an even smaller subset of those bothered to build from source.

People talk about open source as if users give a damn. Users are only interested in 2 things, how much it costs, and if it works. Open APIs are part of the ability for something to work if your idea of working is interoperability.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917452)

"It's auditable because the source code is free". Well yes it is, but no one cares. I think even from the Slashdot crowd the number of people who bothered to build Firefox from source is a small minority compared to those who downloaded it

That exact same logic condemns "open surface" too - the vast majority of customers don't give a damn about documented interfaces, they just want to use the product.

It's only a very tiny minority that need to get their hands dirty. And of that tiny minority, only a minute fraction are good with "open surface" but not actual open source. The minute that one of those API's turns out to be only partially documented, or the code behind it buggy, or disabled for marketing reasons, then those same people now need real open source and not a sucker's stand-in like "open surface."

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917552)

The concept also covers protocols and standards, and the context was the cloud. If I'm using a standardized API, then I can change providers, and how many people would actually bother to roll their own cloud computing provider? You get much less lock-in with broadly supported open industry standards (open surface) than with any single non-standard platform, even an open-source one.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918168)

The concept also covers protocols and standards, and the context was the cloud. If I'm using a standardized API, then I can change providers, and how many people would actually bother to roll their own cloud computing provider?

Anybody who might want to take their app out of the generic cloud and host it in house. But portability isn't the only benefit of open-source. As I alluded to in my prior post - getting access to the source code trumps crappy docs.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918260)

And of that tiny minority, only a minute fraction are good with "open surface" but not actual open source.

Are you saying that developers targeting Windows, OS X and iOS are a "minute fraction"?

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (1)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918550)

No. What the poster actually said was:

That exact same logic condemns "open surface" too - the vast majority of customers don't give a damn about documented interfaces, they just want to use the product.

It's only a very tiny minority that need to get their hands dirty. And of that tiny minority, only a minute fraction are good with "open surface" but not actual open source.

The "tiny minority" are those that work with open source code to maintain or upgrade existing products or create new open source products compared to those that "...just want to use the product." The poster argues, further, that only a small fraction of that tiny minority (open source developers) are comfortable with "open surface."

That quote in full context can be seen to have absolutely nothing to say about "...developers targeting Windows, OS X and iOS..." since they are, by definition, not working with open source code when targeting those proprietary, patent-encumberd OSes.

Now, please return to your little hollow under the bridge there...

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917504)

It's fairly unusual for me to examine a project's source code, but if you're not willing to show others what you've written, then I assume it's of very poor quality. If you're worried about code theft then that indicates you have few plans to further improve your software. These are rules of thumb, obviously, but I find them to be true more often than not. How else shall I determine which program to try first? It's nonsense to pick the program with better marketing, or to wade through pages of clueless user reviews (potentially astroturfed and rarely done by anyone knowledgeable).

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917690)

You recognize, though, that there are in fact people who do look at the source code, rare as they are.

Would it be such a stretch to believe what those-so-few then do with what they see would benefit other users of the software, even those who don't look at the source code?

Would it be so hard to imagine that encouraging F/OSS would help foster such situations?

Oddly enough, I was looking at instructions for getting CyanogenMod on my phone as this article came up. Android *works*, is *free-of-charge*, and yet - there's benefit from it being F/OSS. As an Android user, I sure do give a damn it's F/OSS, despite having never looked at the code.

Open source allows someone else to fork (2)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917768)

His revelation is right on the mark. I constantly see proponents of Open Source say things such as "It's auditable because the source code is free". Well yes it is, but no one cares. I think even from the Slashdot crowd the number of people who bothered to build Firefox from source is a small minority compared to those who downloaded it. Those who actually look at the code are an even smaller subset of those bothered to build from source.

It isn't necessary for a user to personally view, modify, or even compile the source to benefit from open source. At some point the copyright holder may add shovelware, spyware or just plain bugs. They may choose not to port to other platforms. They may just abandon the product. In these cases. a user of a closed source app can do little but continue to use the old version until it no longer runs on current platforms or until advanced security threats make it unsafe.

But as long as one person has the will and ability to adopt what the developer has effectively or literally abandoned, the freeloaders can still their updated binaries. They won't be exactly what they wanted but the freeloaders never had or asked for that anyway.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917822)

It is time cosuming, costly, tiresome and dull sifting through code. But that does stop me. These are moments of my life slipping away, one by one, but that doesn't stap me. Shit breaks, I fix it, shit breaks again, and I am frustrated to the core of my being, but that doesn't stop me.

Reading source code sucks. It's not fun, but I do it anyway. Building from source is complicated and thankless, but I do it anyway. I don't do it for money, or greed. I don't hunt done exploits and vulnerabilities out of craven fear or a lust for power.

I do all these things because I understand that this is an incredible time, and there is a bloody force of nature sweeping through humanity right now like some vast tidal wave, and it's important to pay attention to the enigmatic muses driving all this momentum beneath the surface of this wave.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918216)

It is time cosuming, costly, tiresome and dull sifting through code. But that does stop me. These are moments of my life slipping away, one by one, but that doesn't stap me. Shit breaks, I fix it, shit breaks again, and I am frustrated to the core of my being, but that doesn't stop me.

Reading source code sucks. It's not fun, but I do it anyway. Building from source is complicated and thankless, but I do it anyway. I don't do it for money, or greed. I don't hunt done exploits and vulnerabilities out of craven fear or a lust for power.

I do all these things because I understand that this is an incredible time, and there is a bloody force of nature sweeping through humanity right now like some vast tidal wave, and it's important to pay attention to the enigmatic muses driving all this momentum beneath the surface of this wave.

Umm, ...what he said.

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (2)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918390)

There's a difference between "having the right to vote", "actually voting" and "STFU I'm in charge!".

Re:There's nothing to dilute. (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918682)

You are wrong, people care. Maybe most end users do not care but Azure is not marketed to end users. It will be marketed to businesses and they care very much about which technology they stake their entire existence on.

And no you do not have to compile from source or even look at the source to get the benefit of open source. The main benefit of open source from a business point of view is that other people can look at the source. Thus, if the technology you are using is popular you can be sure that there will be multiple companies that will offer support. Thus, you are not dependent on the whims of a single company. You can always use the power of the free market to ensure that you get all support and services at fair prices.

Furthermore, if the people that provide the software or the cloud service decide to go away or raise their prices, if you use open source, then you can be reasonably sure that someone else will pick up the slack and offer the same software and/or service (again as long as it is popular enough).

Documented interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917262)

So we can expect to see proper documentation of the interfaces, standards and protocols Microsoft will be pushing?

Somehow I suspect we'll see more things like Open Office XML. Sigh.

Strawman attack (3, Interesting)

enoz (1181117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917288)

Published APIs are important, nay, necessary for "cloud" applications and services to be useful to developers to build upon. Open source is necessary for community based development of the underlying applications or services.

Open source software is completely irrelevant in this instance and this appears to be a simple strawman attack from Microsoft against the open source movement.

customers don't care about the underlying platform (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917300)

customers don't care about the underlying platform as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open.

customers don't care about the underlying platform as long as stuff works. Problem with Microsoft is that their stuff does not work and their users don't have any option for fixing it.

And this open shit coming from MS which has history of closed APIs, protocols and standards.

Re:customers don't care about the underlying platf (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918754)

Yeah, their stuff is "not working" on 95% of personal computers, keep that up, dork, but know that not even the FOSS community likes you.

Patent and Copyrights (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917322)

yeah, just wait till you use the APIs and get hit with suit for violating patents and copyrights.

Kaching!

OPEN SORES BEATS IT ALL AROUND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917344)

El Reg has it named well enough already now !! MS always at the ready to copy-embrace-extend/rename, but really now, come on, OPEN SORES it is and shall remain !!

And yes, yes, you'd have open sores if you beat it all around, yes, yes, I got that !! Child !!

Compatibility WIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917372)

Naysayants get back to your Linux, this is a huge step towards modularity.

Article makes no sense (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917442)

Assuming you had this open surface* then in the context of cloud computing* i'd say you probably wouldn't care what the back end platform is since you could be running on any platform that implements the open surface*, in the same way that most people don't care about what OS the server that their website is hosted on is running. Then again if you want vendor lock-in then i don't see how this would be beneficial.

*yeah i don't think we need yet another term for an existing concept

but customers do care about the platform too (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917454)

This is, as stated, a ploy to dilute what open source means. To say customers don't care about the platform is silly considering how serious platform intrusions are, how serious platform reliability is and how platform updates are handled. Can Microsoft really say that Windows gets out of developers way and out of the way of maintenance admins? No, and for decades they designed Windows so it wasn't out of the way. This is just another Microsoft ploy in their attempt to Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish open source and in particular GNU/Linux. IMO

LoB

sac longchamp (0)

chenc81 (2423990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917476)

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Customers or Providers? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917636)

> customers don't care about the underlying platform as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open.

That seems true. Customers want openness in the part that they deal with. Since the customer does not deal with system maintenance and development, he does not care whether the underlying platform is open. The provider of the cloud service, on the other hand, has a deeply vested interest in the openness of the platform. Maintenance, repair, and extension requirements all strongly favor an open platform from the cloud service provider's perspective.

Pointing out that the customer does not care about platform openness as long as the protocol is open is a bit like saying that automobile drivers do not care if the paving crew uses horse-drawn paving machines as long as they get the job done in a timely manner. It does not necessarily follow that horse-drawn paving machines make sense.

Re:Customers or Providers? (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918482)

There you go, talking about things making sense again...

And in a M$ thread no less.

Get with the program!

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917684)

That's not true. I'm a customer, and I care. Is that not enough to disprove such a claim? So perhaps I am in the minority...

I suppose that makes me a mouse, and not a man.

Stop the hating already (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917746)

Microsoft has taken some big hits and seems like they are ready to play ball with the community. They are totally OK with modifications to their phone platform where Apple and Android Handset makers are not. They have reversed their stance on linux and are actively using it, contributing to it, and offering it as part of their cloud services. Is Ballmer a nutjob? Yes. Do you really think after how badly he tanked the company since Gates left he's calling the shots anymore, and will not be "stepping down" soon? Come on.

Microsoft, please first open "surface" Skype. Give us somewhere to get an API key and a protocol specification to the Skype network so we can make apps to send push notifications to Skype usernames that subscribe to them. Digium has stopped Skype support for Asterisk, open up the protocol and instantly every PBX software in existance can have a Skype module -- instantly you add amazing corporate-level value to your product. Make all your services as easy to manage for Linux admins as Amazon's cloud platform services are. I might even use MS-SQL server in my web app if it were hosted on a server I could manage with nothing more than an SSH and the occaisional VNC connection. Give Oracle some real competition to Java and SQL, give Apple some real competition to handheld gaming/communication, give Google some real competition to Online Presence Management and Advertising.

You have the potential to surpass your former glory, but you aren't going to do it by mimicing anymore. Drop "embrace, extend, extinguish" for "innovate, profit, liberate". Hell, you want some amazing branding, open source Windows XP and watch the ensuing holy war in the open source community over which Desktop OS to run once the first mashup is made. Change with the times and you will not be left behind.

You can have ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917754)

... any style house you can. As long as its built in our company town, we own your ass.

Does this work in other languages (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917766)

besides English, or is Microsoft marketing just losing it? Anything that's on the 'surface' in English is bad. 'Scratch the surface' and you haven't done enough. 'On the surface' means superficial, shallow. Maybe it's different in British English, but in American English this just sounds awful.

Either that or it's April 1st again...

After decades of open source (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917792)

They had their chance to brand it to the point of Nintendo, Nike, and Kleenex

and ?

C(losed)++ ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917798)

What is a closed-source programming language ?

I don't think that it is true anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36917870)

> customers don't care about the underlying platform as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open

Customers do care about security breaches and closed source software has become the major source of security breaches (previously Microsoft, now Adobe and Siemens).

Customers do also care about non-working products like Word, recently a spokesman for danish police told us: "It just stopped working, it couldn't load or save just like Word" he was speaking about a big custom built police system.

"Majority of customers moving towards open source" (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36917896)

With a majority of 'customers' moving towards open source technologies such as Linux,

...what? What majority is that?

I think this guy is a bit delusional when it comes to how he perceives the broad majority of users. Most users don't give a shit if the product is open source/free software and especially what that means at the source level. They just want something that works for them. If it happens to be free, great, but it often isn't, and it more than often isn't Linux. Vendor lock is meaningless to the broad majority of users.

FTFY (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918140)

"I'm certainly more impressed by Google's willingness to let me export their data"

Once you give it to Google, it ain't yours any more.

Who does that server really serve? (3, Interesting)

joeaguy (884004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918170)

All I am going to say to those of you who think "open source" does not matter is read Richard Stallman's paper "Who Does That Server Really Serve?"

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html [gnu.org]

Having open and honestly published API's and protocols is important and certainly better than nothing, but there are so many other reasons why access to source code is important for trust and freedom in computing.

Still a useful term (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36918708)

I think it's a good idea to differentiate between a truely Open Source thing and something that operates with the outside world in an open way.

For example, a standard USB port verses an ipad connector.

Although it might dilute attitudes, it's also a useful term. You shouldn't turn ones back on that with emotion. Sure, avoid the term but recognise it's usefulness, if only to coin another term because otherwise we're blinding ourselves with emotion... and if having a holy war this is where the enemy creeps in.

something from Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918710)

Microsoft again...does anyone really care?

Never hurts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36918802)

...to register some domainnames like open-surface.com. Then build a page that explains what Open Surface means and why Open Source is actually better.

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