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Windows 7: Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’

05 Apr 2015   #11
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I doubt very much it will ever come to reality. It would in the opposite direction MS has always headed and would mean a radical shift in their direction.

For one, it's a good thing for users to have at least Windows as a free software, users at last someone actually listening at them, bugs will at last be fixed and features won't simply go away at each release. It won't be rare to forks to begin appearing, maybe one day to the point to have many Windows "distributions" in the same way Linuxes proliferate.
Another plus is that the NSA backdoors can finally be reliably tracked down and eliminated right away, now we can only rely on the known workarounds.

The obvious downside is, where MS will make money from that? Obviously they won't make it just "because the're good guys" (they aren't). So they most likely will try to force more "cloud" services, subscription based things or ads infected websites that may impact many users or even forced into the OS. While existence of those services is generally a good thing to have as an alternative at least, but trying to force them upon users is certainly bad.


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05 Apr 2015   #12
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anshad Edavana View Post
I would say giving Windows for free will kill the classic Windows experience we loves. Since MS is not a charity foundation but a company which should make a profit, it will start charging for every single service they are offering. Basic OS will be free of charge but most of the important functions will be cloud dependent. That is the root MS is currently going - they started with forced MS live account creation in Win 8.x and the upcoming Win 10 is more dependent to net and cloud services than ever. I think most probably MS will give "Win 10" for free to laptop/tablet manufacturers - like the "Windows 8.1 with Bing" version but on a much larger scale to prevent people from exploring and be familiar with open source alternatives.

Not necessarily. If windows goes open source, then according to the GPL your code can be ported, so in a way we could see many different version of windows. So if that happens intel & others will have to make more open source drivers. For example you could use and update windows 98se on a newer computer if you can find the open source drivers that would work for it and fix the memory bug.
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05 Apr 2015   #13
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
Not necessarily. If windows goes open source, then according to the GPL your code can be ported, so in a way we could see many different version of windows. So if that happens intel & others will have to make more open source drivers. For example you could use and update windows 98se on a newer computer if you can find the open source drivers that would work for it and fix the memory bug.
Nobody said that this hypotetical open source Windows will be GPL, it could use any standard license or even a custom one as long as it grants escential freedom to users. And not necesarily it applies to former versions, but maybe only to Win10 or maybe a future version only, who knows really
For everything else, I would really like that! I wonder why no more drivers are written right now as open source, even for proprietary Windows.
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07 Apr 2015   #14
Anshad Edavana

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
I wonder why no more drivers are written right now as open source, even for proprietary Windows.
Open source drivers are difficult in Windows world as all 64 bit Windows versions require that the driver should be signed by either MS itself or another certified signing authority - which obviously requires handing over a handsome amount of fee to M$

With "Windows 10", things are more ridiculous. Now on MS will only accepts drivers from companies who are registered under Windows Hardware Developer Center Dashboard. Individuals are not qualified for this as you need to submit Company registration documents etc in addition to the extended fee.

Driver Signing changes in Windows 10 - Windows Hardware Certification blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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07 Apr 2015   #15
Anshad Edavana

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
If MS can't be bothered with Windows Phone, neither can I. Shame as I hate Android so will be stuck with the iPhone which, while deplorable (even if just for the price alone), just works.
Two of my friends has "Windows 8" based phones. After got a chance to look at them, i should say that i am impressed. While i almost hate "Windows 8.1" desktop version, i actually liked the phone version. Unlike Android, it seems to be operating super smooth - no occasional freezing or performance issues. I can't say anything about Apple products as they are beyond the reach of common man in my country.
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07 Apr 2015   #16
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anshad Edavana View Post
Quote:
I wonder why no more drivers are written right now as open source, even for proprietary Windows.
Open source drivers are difficult in Windows world as all 64 bit Windows versions require that the driver should be signed by either MS itself or another certified signing authority - which obviously requires handing over a handsome amount of fee to M$

With "Windows 10", things are more ridiculous. Now on MS will only accepts drivers from companies who are registered under Windows Hardware Developer Center Dashboard. Individuals are not qualified for this as you need to submit Company registration documents etc in addition to the extended fee.

Driver Signing changes in Windows 10 - Windows Hardware Certification blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
If that the case, they just killed windows 10. The reason, are the following programs (Some may not have drivers though)

Macrium
oracle virtualbox
Vmplayer
Dosbox?
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 8.1.1

There is another problem, my driver ironically provided by windows update may not work in windows 10 after it released. HP Deskjet 3740 Series (LiDiL) and the Epson printer driver.
The Hp driver is actually open source. Currently the Hp driver works in both windows 7 and windows 10.

It would possibly be cheaper for Oems to go with ubuntu or fedora then with Microsoft.
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07 Apr 2015   #17
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I'm thinking it takes a lot of knowledge and time to create drivers. Then more time to test and get certified.
All those steps cost money that someone has to pay.
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07 Apr 2015   #18
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

I would actually like to know the answer to Mathiu Silverberg questions. He has good points.

Quote:
Let's see the cost that we can find for these "EV Code Signing Certificate", for 3 years: $950, $995, and... yes, $1549.

Without speaking of the fact that we are forced to first buy a Symantec certificate (and nothing else!) to register a company account...


So, here is my question: what about developers of free software? These amounts are not a problem for a company that sells hardware. But for an independent developer who sells nothing, this is often prohibitive. So what are the possibilities?

There is a common case where a driver is required even for a simple software: each time a volume is required for managing data. E.g.: encryption software, image file mounting tool, ramdisk...And as long as you will not provide an API for that, a driver will remain required.
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08 Apr 2015   #19
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anshad Edavana View Post
Open source drivers are difficult in Windows world as all 64 bit Windows versions require that the driver should be signed by either MS itself or another certified signing authority - which obviously requires handing over a handsome amount of fee to M$
That only gives problems to small companies or independent developers, but not to those big hardware vendors. Those drivers in particular are a great fit for open source development (and they're a commodity for the corporation anyway) so they can benefit with cooperation from independent developers and even give support for some older/newer OSs. Keeping them proprietary only closes their potential market to those OSs who the vendor cares about developing, not to mention the bugs they have.
Other kind of programs might not have this clear advantage as their main revenue source is precisely selling their software.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
If that the case, they just killed windows 10. The reason, are the following programs (Some may not have drivers though)

Macrium
oracle virtualbox
Vmplayer
Dosbox?
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 8.1.1
No idea about Macrium or the Partition Wizard, but DosBox doesn't uses any driver at all (its emulation is entirely implemented in user-mode). Both VirtualBox and VmWare do use drivers for their hardware virtualization, but I doubt they'll be affected at all. Both are backed by big corporations so a few thousand dollars is virtually nothing to them. Besides, their current versions are already signed, so they've already assumed the cost.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I'm thinking it takes a lot of knowledge and time to create drivers. Then more time to test and get certified.
All those steps cost money that someone has to pay.
Certainly driver development is one of the most difficult programming tasks and is even more complex to do it correctly. Testing is made by the developer of course, but certification? Nobody has to "certify" a driver or any other piece of software.
Signing software only requires a certificate (it's a trivial operation once you've got one). Getting a certificate is what cost money, but this doesn't means that anyone will actually review your code. You just buy a certificate from an authority, they do basic verifications on who you are, your history and a few more things, but that's it. Once you've got it, you can sign virtually anything, and nobody really can review the code if you don't want it. MS itself doesn't cares a bit about that and certainly don't check every software for Windows in existence, not even those that are signed. Evidence for this is the vast amount of drivers that clashes with each others, throws BSODs or gives problems in certain circumstances.

MS has a testing site for drivers and they do a "certification" process, but those who pay directly to them so MS itself does the signing. The only "advantage" is that this gives the developer the "approved for Windows 7" logo (don't recall the exact term), which is more a marketing moto rather a quality assurance as reality as shown us numerous times.

Besides, for open source developers there are still people that wants to help them. The ReactOS team has given the chance to use their certificate for signing independient projects' drivers to meet MS policy. See the details here: https://www.reactos.org/wiki/Driver_Signing
In short, open source projects ask ReactOS to sign their drivers, they review and compile the code and sign the binary using their certificate, relieving the small and independent developer of this burden. While it's not for everyone, it certainly helps some projects that could not afford the certificate. An example of those is Process Hacker.
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 Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’




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