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The Industry Standard: Microsoft uses Open Source, Despite Critical Stance

Jun 28, 2001, 13:39 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by IDG)

[ Thanks to Jeremy Allison for this link. ]

A common thread in talkbacks over the past few weeks as stories have appeared about Microsoft's attacks on the GPL and its own use of open source software has been the company's Interix product. Craig Mundie pops up to explain that while the company may acquire GPL'd products in the process of acquiring another company. Samba's Jeremy Allison, Sendmail's Eric Allman and the FSF's Bradley Kuhn are on hand for this item, as well.

"Interix was developed in the late 1990s in response to a similar version of the migration tools that Microsoft had created months earlier on its own, according to Mumit Khan, a former contracted engineer for Softway, who helped develop the compiler that ran on Interix.

"(Microsoft) had a baseline implementation (of migration tools) that basically didn't do anything," Khan said. So through a joint development and licensing agreement with Microsoft, Softway went to work on the Interix tools.

"Softway had a very interesting license agreement with Microsoft," said Jeremy Allison, co-creator of the open-source program Samba -- which allows users to access printers and files on a variety of operating systems -- who has followed Microsoft's acquisition of Softway and its ongoing criticism of open source. "They had access to Microsoft's source code with the idea that they would make a small operating system" within Windows that would run Unix programs."

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