Should Microsoft Open-Source WinNT 4.0?

from the sounds-familiar... dept

nonuser writes “A pundit offers advice to Microsoft: open the source code to Windows NT 4.0 as a means to revitalize developer interest in the Windows platform, and incidentally as a way of dealing with support issues for corporate customers not willing or able to upgrade. The author also argues (in an earlier editorial linked in the text) that this tactic would also allow Microsoft to take advantage of the “many eyes” security vetting that the free software world has enjoyed. The company stopped selling the product years ago and officially ended technical support at the end of December. The successor products, Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003, are sometimes collectively referred to as “Windows NT 5″.” The debate over whether or not proprietary software companies should open source dead products has gone on for quite some time. Still, this article does add some interesting ideas to the usual discussion. Either way, I think pretty much everyone agrees that it’ll be a damn cold day in Redmond before this happens.

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Comments on “Should Microsoft Open-Source WinNT 4.0?”

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auMoose Cowherda (user link) says:

m$ open source nt4 ??

i think this article is misguided. why would making nt4 ‘open source’ suddenly draw back developers ?? a few quick fixes maybe, but the majority would be long coming & difficult.

linux has always had the ‘many eyes’ treatment & has slowly progressed. suddenly opening nt4 to the world will undoubtably show the best & worst of m$ coding & marketing. the only sensible way to progress that is to have a m$ control / qc stream of patches that work together. presumably these would be ‘free’ and would be undoutbly a long & lengthy process. like linux, there would be some areas that no one with the skills has an itch to scratch.

m$ currently has for all purposes infinite resources (ie billions) and yet is still driven by marketing rather than security, stability etc. and consistently fails consumers with annoyances, bugs & ongoing security problems

even if nt4 could be ‘evolved’ / bug fixed, this would draw attention & revenue away from windows 2005 etc and even expose possible ip infringement.

bill has labelled open source supporters as communists ie anti-american (thou his monopoly has more of the russian communist flavour than the free economics style of gpl/bsd). his current policy of letting federal govt organisations inspect win2k* code under an exclusive nda is nothing more than more marketing. releasing nt4 code to the masses wont happen – too ego bruising.

thecaptain says:

wouldn't really help Microsoft in any way.

It would certainly be a boon for a lot of businesses who still run NT4, as many servicing consultants would be able to offer services Microsoft is unwilling to.

However, I don’t think any new developpers would waste time going through the code to create new applications for the platform. Everyone’s always interested in the latest and greatest when looking for work.

The upshot is that IF this were to happen it would keep the few remaining NT4 holdouts from upgrading and we all know that the big money for Microsoft is in the upgrade treadmill…they don’t do service and they don’t have a huge lineup of stuff…they NEED you to keep upgrading or they don’t get their money.

Linux has its quirks, but for my money, you have a LOT more options once you cross over.

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