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CNET News.com: Microsoft takes a page from Linux; Opens Windows code to 100s of customers

Feb 01, 2001, 15:47 (43 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mary Jo Foley)

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"...in an unprecedented move, during the past six months Microsoft has made available to "hundreds" of its larger customers copies of its closely guarded Windows source code, said Doug Miller, group product manager with Microsoft's Windows .Net server marketing group. "Our goal is to make this (source code) available to many hundreds of customers," Miller said during an interview at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo trade show in New York this week."

"While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has suggested over the past two years that the company is interested in making the Windows source code more freely available, there has been little evidence that Microsoft actually is interested in doing so--until now. "Microsoft is so security-conscious about letting the Windows source slip into anyone's hands" that a move to liberalize its source availability among customers is surprising, said Summit Strategies analyst Dwight Davis."

"Microsoft is not going so far as to allow its customers to tamper with the Windows source, Miller emphasized. ... "We don't want to be in the situation that Linux is in, where there are more than 140 different distributions, leading to serious fragmentation," Miller said. ... "Only a very small number of our customers want source code," Miller said, "but we've gotten a lot more aggressive in the past six months" about providing Microsoft's largest customers with source code if they express an interest in having it."

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