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Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’

  1. #1


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10

    Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’


    Microsoft’s software empire rests on Windows, the computer operating system that runs so many of the world’s desktop PCs, laptops, phones, and servers. Along with the Office franchise, it generates the majority of the company’s revenues. But one day, the company could “open source” the code that underpins the OS—giving it away for free. So says Mark Russinovich, one of the company’s top engineers.

    “It’s definitely possible,” Russinovich says. “It’s a new Microsoft.”

    Russinovich is sitting in front of several hundred people who spend their days running thousands of computers. He helped build Windows, and he carries one of the most respected titles at the world’s largest software company: Microsoft Technical Fellow. But here, on stage at a conference in Silicon Valley, he’s perched in front of an audience whose relationship with Microsoft is, at best, complicated.

    The conference is called ChefConf. Chef is a tool that helps tech geeks setup and operate the many machines needed to drive a website, smartphone app, or some other piece of business software. It’s an open source tool, which means it’s typically used alongside other open source software. When Russinovich asks how many in the audience use nothing but Windows to run their machines, one guy raises his hand—one guy out of several hundred. Mostly, they run the open source Linux operating system.
    But this is what Russinovich expects. “That’s the reality we live in today,” he says. The tech world has changed in enormous ways. So many companies—so many Microsoft customers—are now relying on open source code. And that means Microsoft must embrace it too. As Russinovich points out, the company now allows Linux on its Azure cloud computing service, a way of renting computers over the internet, and today, Linux is running on at least 20 percent of those computers.

    It’s quite a change for Microsoft, so long the bete noir of the open source community. But as Russinovich explains, it’s a necessary change. And given how popular Linux has become, Microsoft could go even further, not only allowing open source software on its cloud services, but actually turning Windows into open source software. “Every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software—open versus not-open versus services—has happened,” he says.
    Read more: Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is | WIRED

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  2. #2


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Boy, things sure have changed since I bought my copy of Suse Linux way back when just to play with. Back then it was considered a hobby OS. Not anymore, it even has the big kid on the block scrambling.
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  3. #3


    Posts : 143
    Windows 8.1


    Interesting article.
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  4. #4


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    I wonder with how much undesirable junk that one would come.
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  5. #5


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    If "open source" wouldn't that mean anybody could take the junk out and release a no junk version?
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  6. #6


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    That would be the thing to have. A bare bones version with all the drivers but no apps other than file explorer and internet explorer. No Microsoft account, no Cortana, no OneDrive and none of the other useless stuff. And of course no PUPs, other adware, trial stuff, etc. Just a plain OS for the desktop with a small footprint - maybe 5GB.
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  7. #7


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    That would be the thing to have. A bare bones version with all the drivers but no apps other than file explorer and internet explorer. No Microsoft account, no Cortana, no OneDrive and none of the other useless stuff. And of course no PUPs, other adware, trial stuff, etc. Just a plain OS for the desktop with a small footprint - maybe 5GB.
    Now you are talking! A "minimalist" Windows. One can only dream.

    Hey, they released a Windows 3.1 for phones.
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  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Sounds like an expansion of the IoT. They are going to release a free version of Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi model 2B. An alternative to the LINUX embedded that runs on it now. It's still rumors as to what this version of 10 will look like GUI wise, or whether it will have one. One rumor is it will be a command line interface only. Time will tell. This sounds like more of the same to me. Command line only is about as minimalist as it gets in my books. I'm not saying that's what this will be, just talking out loud as it were. Isn't it interesting how they can say so much and yet say so little.
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  9. #9


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    That would be the thing to have. A bare bones version with all the drivers but no apps other than file explorer and internet explorer. No Microsoft account, no Cortana, no OneDrive and none of the other useless stuff. And of course no PUPs, other adware, trial stuff, etc. Just a plain OS for the desktop with a small footprint - maybe 5GB.
    Now you are talking! A "minimalist" Windows. One can only dream.


    Hey, they released a Windows 3.1 for phones.
    Are you referring to this, Microsoft's new OS reinvents MS-DOS for mobile. That's just DOS, not Windows 3.1. Windows 3.1 runs on top of DOS. It may sound like I'm splitting hairs but I'm old school and was there. Dos was command line only, Windows 3.1 was GUI driven. big difference.
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  10. #10


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Sounds like an expansion of the IoT. They are going to release a free version of Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi model 2B. An alternative to the LINUX embedded that runs on it now. It's still rumors as to what this version of 10 will look like GUI wise, or whether it will have one. One rumor is it will be a command line interface only. Time will tell. This sounds like more of the same to me. Command line only is about as minimalist as it gets in my books. I'm not saying that's what this will be, just talking out loud as it were. Isn't it interesting how they can say so much and yet say so little.
    That would be pushing it and a bit too minimalistic even for my taste. A GUI should be there. Command line only is bland.
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Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’
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