back to article Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal

Good news everybody! The Free Software Foundation has blown through its self-imposed target of 7,777 signatories in its efforts to persuade Microsoft to make Windows 7 open source. We noted last week the GNU-gang's attempt to coax the born-again open-sourcerer formerly known as "The Beast Of Redmond" into making a surprise …

  1. Artem S Tashkinov

    "The Free Software Foundation really set the bar high there"

    The bar of insanity, right.

    Microsoft is unlikely to release the sources even of Windows 95 since many of its libraries are still there in Windows 10, which means the sources could be used to find new vulnerabilities. And Windows 7 is still supported (albeit for a price) and it's the core of Windows 10. Nah, there's no way on Earth Microsoft will voluntarily release the sources of Windows 7 any time soon (or probably ever, unless someone leaks them like it happened with Windows 2000 many years ago but even that leak was largely incomplete).

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      If Microsoft made Windows 7 open source, many people would use it instead of the abomination known as Windows 10. I know I would. That means lost revenue for Microsoft.

      1. Amentheist
        Joke

        And in other news

        Amber warning of ice for most regions of Hell

        1. BillG
          Facepalm

          Re: And in other news

          "Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal..."

          "... of which 6,666 signatures are hackers."

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: And in other news

            FYI - it's been MY observation that *MOST* hackers are of the white hat variety, and are either doing IT and security, or some kind of engineering. The thing your company invents and sells to make money was PROBABLY invented by *HACKERS*.

            So 6,666 hackers is a *GOOD* thing.

            The term 'hacker' probably originated from the description of someone who builds furniture with an axe, or basically "someone who regularly uses unconventional solutions to problems". See 'Jargon File'.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        If Microsoft made Windows 7 open source it would end its OS revenue stream then and there. The amount of developers that would flock to get DirectX code and port that to Linux, tweak the sources to get rid of the bloat and streamline the whole thing would be simply dizzying.

        Microsoft simply cannot open source its OS. It has way too many technologies in there that it still uses and needs, and open-sourcing the OS without those technologies would be handing out an empty husk.

        In spite of all the angst around the Windows UI, it's what's inside that really counts. And Microsoft is counting on that too, so proprietary it will stay.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "many people would use it instead of the abomination know"

        as Linux on the desktop - all 4% of them.

        Fixed for you.

        1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: "many people would use it instead of the abomination know"

          And I wonder of that 4% how many are using the abomination known as Gnome 3?

          How to take something that works really well (Gnome 2) and totally fuck it up.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        "If Microsoft made Windows 7 open source, many people would use it instead of the abomination known as Windows 10"

        this was more or less what I wanted to say, so thanks for saying it.

        Since _ONLY_ _STRONGARM_ _TACTICS_ caused MOST people to "up"grade from 7 to Win-10-nic [in my opinion], with a *SMALL* number of exceptions, I'm sure Micro-shaft will *BURY* all versions prior to 10 whenever they get the chance to do so.

        The chance of open-source licensing Windows XP is probably even WORSE... for that very reason! (so ReactOS may be our only remaining hope...)

        But I think FSF didn't market their petition very well. I didn't know it existed. I would have considered signing as long as it didn't get my e-mail address *EXPLOITED* in the process...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I doubt it. I moved to Windows 10 fairly early on and while there are plenty of things I dislike about it, I still opt to use that as my main OS over my two flavours of linux and Windows 7 which I still have on another hot swap.

        If I had the option I'd most likely keep using W10 as there are benefits to it and I've personally has very few issues with stability, but then again I don't update my GPU drivers on the day of release..

        1. Avast antivirus

          I will not be dictated to by Microsoft and just because part of my computer hardware won't operate windows 10 of having to pay another computer, which was the graphics card, yet it will work on Ubuntu.

          Lots of people cannot afford a new computer like myself because I am a pensioner.

          I have had since a graphics card given to me from my son and will operate on 10 .

          Since then I have created a dual boot system and getting use to Linux, it actually boot's faster than windows also have been using may android tablet more than my computer which actually boot's faster and is good enough for many applications, gain why let a corporation like Microsoft dictate !!!

    2. Azerty

      "The bar of insanity"

      You can tell that RMS is no longer leading this band. Not that RMS is not kind of insane..

    3. Daniel von Asmuth
      WTF?

      RMS left the building and Don Quixote entered.

      Parts of Windows are Open Source, such as Berkeley Sockets a.k.a. Winsock2 and Kerberos, a.k.a. Active Directory. Microsoft does not own the entire source code of Windows nor all the patents, so it would be a huge Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time.

      The benefits of open sourcing would be minor, but the threat to Windows 10 significant. Please, Free Software Foundation, Get the HURD done (and leave Brexit to Boris).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RMS left the building and Don Quixote entered.

        On the topic of Brexit and Boris I've just ordered this:

        Thomas Philippon’s The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up On Free Markets

        Reading the review here (Diane Coyle is one of our top academics) if we move out of the EU's orbit and into the US' it looks like we are fucked.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: RMS left the building and Don Quixote entered.

          Don't worry. Boris has made it clear with his Huawei announcement: the UK is not moving into the US's orbit, but rather China's.

    4. Joe Montana

      Blackhats...

      The idea that people aren't already looking for vulnerabilities is extremely naive...

      Organisations like the NSA almost certainly have access to the source code, and probably used that access to develop the suite of vulnerabilities that leaked a couple of years ago. There's no reason to believe they don't continue to do so.

      There are also almost certainly underground leaks of source code out there, also being used by people with malicious intent.

      The only difference open sourcing would make, is that whitehat researchers would be able to look for vulnerabilities too and might actually fix vulnerabilities rather than trying to exploit them.

  2. vtcodger Silver badge

    Uh!

    I think open source is great. And I suspect the widespread belief that manufacturer support for software guarantees its security may be largely wishful thinking. But really, don't you folks think that open sourcing Windows 7 might lead to hackers worldwide picking over the code looking for, and exploiting, Windows 7 security flaws for fun and profit? And how many of those currently unidentified Windows 7 security flaws might still be present in Windows 10?

    Open sourcing Windows 7 really might turn out to have unintended consequences.

    Not that it's likely to happen anyway.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Uh!

      Windows 7 might lead to hackers worldwide picking over the code looking for, and exploiting, Windows 7 security flaws

      Probably, but white hats would be doing it too.

      You might get more prompt fixes than the odd tuesday, and lacking in additional hare-brained additions and bugs masquerading as features.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Uh!

        Yes, but the hackers only have to work out where there is an exploit to take advantage of. That is a lot easier than finding it, fixing it and making sure it doesn't break anything else.

        Especially as the white hats would have to work themselves into the code. If it is open source from the beginning, finding and fixing will be much quicker than fixing in a codebase you aren't familiar with.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Uh!

        Unfortunately, when someone releases a patch, you wouldn't get to see the colour of their hat before installing it.

        So there's nothing for it but for every company still using the software to apply some sort of trusted reviewing service, to decide what hacks - sorry, patches - to apply, and what not. If you were really, really stupid you might try to do that in-house, but I suspect 99% of companies would prefer to subscribe to some trusted third party for that service.

        So... there they are, paying a subscription for extended support. How is that an improvement on the present situation, again? Oh sure, more hackers (of both kinds) reviewing the code, but the flip side is a markedly increased chance of a deliberate exploit being inserted (and mistakenly passed by the reviewing authority).

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Uh!

      The flaws are already there, and most of them will come out eventually. It would just speed things up. And more importantly, it would speed up the fixes, and ultimately make it more secure.

      Having the source code available for public inspection hasn't done OpenBSD any harm has it?

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Uh!

        In the long run, you're probably right. The problem, if there is one, would be the transition period while the bad guys rip the code apart, exploit it -- maybe on multiple OS versions -- and the good guys frantically try to patch the holes that have appeared in their hull(s). Identifying problems, fixing them without introducing new problems, and distributing the fixes in a timely manner is a horrible problem. I did that for a few years, many decades ago when the universe was a much simpler place. It was ... stressful. I think nowadays -- given the great complexity of modern software and the huge attack surfaces -- things could potentially get REALLY ugly.

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Uh!

        But OpenBSD has a robust code base, an experienced team of developers, and the infrastructure for testing fixes and distributing them to users. And it's funded by a Foundation which these days seems to be reasonably good at securing donations.

        None of that would be in place for a Win 7 source dump. It would suddenly exist and be ripe for exploitation.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Uh!

          "None of that would be in place for a Win 7 source dump"

          I _WHOLEHEARTEDLY_ disagree with you on this. I, for one, would _GLADLY_ fork it, make fixes, and issue pull requests. It is likely that MANY would be willing to take charge over the project, or at least a fork of it, FOR GRATIS, *just* to get support in something "NOT Win-10-nic" that runs EXISTING software.

          I've contributed to several open source projects, usually when I have a need (or I find a serious bug or deficiency and submit a fix along with the bug report). I'm not an official developer for any of them, but this is typical of "peer support":, where "some user out there" fixes a problem and submits it and it becomes part of the project.

          1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Uh!

            I, for one, would _GLADLY_ fork it, make fixes, and issue pull requests

            .. because windows isn't case sensitive?

          2. Mark Dempster

            Re: Uh!

            >I _WHOLEHEARTEDLY_ disagree with you on this. I, for one, would _GLADLY_ fork it, make fixes, and issue pull requests. It is likely that MANY would be willing to take charge over the project, or at least a fork of it, FOR GRATIS, *just* to get support in something "NOT Win-10-nic" that runs EXISTING software.<

            And there you have the big problem with open source software - too many forks, leading to different versions of software that are *almost* the same as each other but introduce their own problems/ways of doing things that make support so much harder.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Uh!

      the argument that "open source leads to hacking" has been COMPLETELY disproved by history with Linux and the BSDs.

      For every evil hacker who would bother doing such a thing, there are MANY white-hat security expert hackers willing to FIX those problems BEFORE they become 0-day exploits. THAT is what you see in the open source world, WAY more often than not.

      "Closed Source" is _NOT_ more secure. The "serious bug" rates of Linux, the BSDs, and open source software in general, as compared to, say, WINDOWS 10 ALONE, is STAGGERINGLY DIFFERENT, and *EASILY* demonstrates how open source is MORE secure, because it *IS* peer reviewed!

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    This is just going to be an ego trip for Microsoft.

    They might even weaponizing it by saying "Windows is so great, the open-source community was begging us for it"

  4. big_D Silver badge
    Coat

    Surprise deposit...

    "The Beast Of Redmond" into making a surprise deposit into GitHub.

    That sounds like something the BOFH does in his boss' desk drawer after a bender... Hmm, probably has a lot of the the same qualities.

    Mines the one with beer vouchers in the pocket.

  5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    The chances of Microsoft open sourcing Windows 7 are zero, I think.

    Even under the assumption that the costs of maintaining Windows as a product start to outweigh the profits and it starts to lose them money, even then I don't think they would open source Windows. They'd much rather move their profitable applications to Linux/Mac/Android, continue making money over there and let Windows just rot in peace.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Agree with your assessment of the chances of Bloat 7 being open sourced.

      The real issue is not open sourcing any Bloat version but what is Slurp's real long term OS plans. As they downgrade Bloats visibility they are implying Bloat's importance is dropping. So what are the plans once Bloat's support cost become too high.

    2. toejam

      > chances of Microsoft open sourcing Windows 7 are zero

      I agree. Besides the lost revenue and security aspects, it would fork the Windows ecosystem which would be disruptive. What happens when the OSS version starts adding API and KPI calls that Windows 10 doesn't have or purposely declines to add calls that have been added in Windows 10?

      A less unlikely scenario would be MS licensing Windows 7 to a third party for long-term maintenance, essentially freezing the feature set but providing bug fixes and minor tweaks for new hardware. But you still have the issue of splitting the market in two. And there is also the profitability issue: since many people and companies are staying with Windows 7 because of budgetary reasons, how many of them are going to pay for continued service?

      1. Sanguma Bronze badge

        Forkin' Heck!!!

        it would fork the Windows ecosystem which would be disruptive.

        Microsoft already has had heaps of experience - one might even say "piles of experience" - in forking its Windows ecosystem. There's that Win16 Win32s Win32 API mess in the nineties; there's that Win95 versus WinNt 4.x mess a little later. Then we get the WinME mess while WinNT transforms into Win2k and WinXP. Then WinVista broke a lot of WinXP expectations, and Win7 then broke the expectations of the WinVista loyalists. Then Microsoft jumped headfirst with both feet into the Win8.0 interface change, then back again to the Win8.1 fix-up when most of its users forked the Windows ecosystem however momentarily by not accepting the Win8.0 hash-up.

        My guess is that most of the potential FOSS Win7 hackers would be more interested in fixing problems they found, and the potential for forking to the degree that the *BSD have forked, would only happen after at least three years of playing around with the source tree.

  6. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Windows

    Not holding my breath

    Remember that last year Microsoft open-sourced MS-DOS 2.0, released in 1983.

    By that schedule, we can expect Windows 7, released in 2009, to be open-sourced in 2045 ...

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Not holding my breath

      When do you think NT4 would be open sourced? That would actually be quite useful for the Wine project and ReactOS.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Not holding my breath

        Don't know if NT4 is/was affected, but pretty much every other Microsoft OS from that era remains unavailable on MSDN due to the JVM lawsuit filed by Sun for incomplete implementation of the Java 1.1 standard. Open sourcing of those OS's would require Sun's consent, and given who owns Sun these days that is to say the least unlikely.

        Edit: NT4 not on the affected list, assuming you believe Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Java_Virtual_Machine

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Not holding my breath

          as I understand it, MS's JVM was NOT part of the OS, but an add-on.

          MS has _also_ shipped versions of windows 7 that exclude multimedia stuff, because of certain EU-related restrictions (as I understand it).

          NOT a problem, really. Just don't include the JVM. It wasn't needed for anything but IE anyway, and ONLY if you ran a Java "applet" with it.

          1. Franco Silver badge

            Re: Not holding my breath

            The later one was an add-on to comply with the terms of the lawsuit, the original one was baked in hence why to this day (or at least last time I looked) MSDN has large gaps in legacy OS's available for download. Removing things baked into IE is near impossible from those days given how tightly tied to the OS it is.

            Edition N was the EU version, N standing for no media player. Might still be available for all I know, used it back in the XP days.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not holding my breath

        "When do you think NT4 would be open sourced? That would actually be quite useful for the Wine project and ReactOS."

      3. Daniel von Asmuth
        Unhappy

        Re: Not holding my breath

        More likely it would kill ReactOS and Wine would be replaced by the Linux subsystem for Windows:-(

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It may be a pointless gesture with no chance of it ever happening, but at least it gets people talking about free software and EOL problems, so I guess in the end they've achieved their goals even if MS don't cooperate.

    1. David Austin

      Agree: As a marketing and awareness exercise, it's hit all the goals, which frankly is probably as much as the FSF Hoped for.

      Still, credit where it's due: Microsoft is making slow, tentative steps towards open sourcing certain technologies, which is great.

      From a licensing, technical, and company ethos perspective, I think they're a way off giving the NTKernal crown jewel.

  8. IGotOut

    This is about as deluded..

    ...as Vegans demanding that everyone stop eating meat, so that the animals can be set free to survive on their own.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: This is about as deluded..

      Hey, animals have been "surviving on their own" for millions of years, before Homo sapiens even existed on this planet.

      But what do they know, eh?

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: This is about as deluded..

      Vegans demanding that everyone stop eating meat, so that the animals can be set free to survive on their own.

      That'd only last for as long as it took for Vegans to realise a lot of animals only eat other animals, then we'd have campaigns trying to get cats to stop eating small rodents, birds etc. and Lions to stop eating Gazelle.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: This is about as deluded..

        Don't be silly. For everyone except the 'militant' vegans (and even other vegetarians / vegans think they're crazy!), veggie/veganism is a free-will choice to make. Or not to make. But, regardless, the natural world works in a certain way, and yes that way includes animals eating other animals.

        They survive, or perish, just as they always have. Without human intervention. Naturally.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: This is about as deluded..

          And how exactly do you propose to isolate them from "human intervention", with 7.5 billion people on the planet? How about those species (including nearly all currently living land mammals - ob XKCD) that wouldn't even exist in their present form without human intervention?

        2. the Jim bloke Silver badge

          Re: This is about as deluded..

          Simple way to clarify things.

          Vegetarian is a dietary choice.

          Vegan is a cult membership

      2. Grinning Bandicoot

        Re: This is about as deluded..

        UMMM! Fresh Gazelle.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: This is about as deluded..

      Vegans eat _WAY_ too much soy, including those "fake meat" burgers and soy milk. (ok this is a bit OT but maybe related to the word 'deluded')

      Soy contains phyto-estrogens. Excess estrogen in women can cause real serious problems, and in men, well, "chemical castration" and "gynecomastia" come to mind. And you can't be a Vegan without taking special vitamin supplements unless you want deficiencies that cause serious health complications.

      The REAL delusion is FOISTING this upon THE REST OF US. [if they want to do that to themselves, vegans are welcome to abstain from meat and animal products. just don't foist that on ME].

      (Just thought I'd point all that out)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is about as deluded..

        vegans are welcome to abstain from meat and animal products. just don't foist that on ME].

        Nobody is. There are plenty of people like you who seem to view the extra choice and increased number of products as some kind of personal attack. When BK introduced the "Impossible Whopper", for some reason people got it into their heads that it was somehow MANDATORY and all meat-based products were about to be imminently discontinued.

        1. VBF

          Re: This is about as deluded..

          Well said.

          IMO Vegans have the absolute right to avoid meat, milk etc.

          I as an omnivore have the absolute right to carry on eating what I like.

          I also benefit from the Vegans, as I can CHOOSE the occasional vegetarian / vegan meal.

          Had a delicious lentil burger last week, yet today I fancy some chicken.

          I call that a "win-win" situation.

          1. Androgynous Cow Herd

            Re: This is about as deluded..

            I eat vegans.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is about as deluded..

          There is a whole segment of insane militant vegans who advocate stigmatising the consumption of meat.

      2. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

        Re: This is about as deluded..

        Soy contains phyto-estrogens. Excess estrogen in women can cause real serious problems, and in men, well, "chemical castration" and "gynecomastia" come to mind.

        I'm just going to leave this here. He even went to the trouble of putting sources in the description if you'd like further reading. And then he did an experiment by going on a soy diet, which he reports on here.

        The short version is that just because it has "estrogen" in the name doesn't mean it's the same chemical. And I'd really appreciate if people would stop saying this because it has no basis in fact. Unless you have some studies you'd like to point me to?

        As to the rest of what you say, yes, I for one think the best solution to the vegan problem is to legalise hunting and eating vegans.

  9. Blackjack

    Why not set an easier goal?

    Like Open Source MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 and under?

    Windows 7 cannot run MS-DOS programs and Windows 3.11 programs without either emulation or virtualisation anyway. And unlike Windows 7 they don't get any more money for ithose old things.

    Turns out there is still some Windows 95 code in Windows 7. Heck Space Pinball, with some elbow grease, works on Windows 7. Same for a lot of Windows 95 programs but not all of them. Making Earth Worm Jim Windows 95 Special Edition work on Windows 7 is a nightmare.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Why not set an easier goal?

      Windows 7, 8, and 10 32 bit can easily run MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 applications. The 64 bit version can't because when in 64 bit mode the processor can't enter Virtual86 mode, because AMD decided so when it designed the x86-64 architecture. Without Virtual86 mode there's no way to run 16 bit applications without emulation or virtualization.

      You could still need to run MS-DOS program and 3.11 ones in a VM, because some could have a lot of issue running on actual hardware directly, as some legacy modes could not longer exist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not set an easier goal?

        Still dependent on some degree of virtualization/emulation:

        NTVDM - NT Virtual DOS Machine

        wowexec - Windows On Windows

        1. Blackjack

          Re: Why not set an easier goal?

          Whatever is left of DOS on Windows 7 won't run most old DOS programs. Heck even XP couldn't, hence why Dosbox became so popular. It's there mostly to run the terminal programs in safe mode and those programs you can set to run before Windows boots the GUI, like antivirus and so on.

      2. Blackjack

        Re: Why not set an easier goal?

        Some old programs do work in Windows 7 64 bit without Virtual86 mode. Hence why you can run Space Pinball and other Windows 95 games anyway.

        If you want to keep using Windows 7, it better be the 64 bit version. Many programs are dumping their 32 bit versions nowadays so that means no more updates of them for 32 bit windows.

        Spybot Search and Destroy for example, no longer updates the 32 bit version, save for the legacy version for Windows XP that is still there to download for some reason.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Why not set an easier goal?

          I think MOST of the windows 7 holdouts [like me] aren't "up"grading to newer versions of the software we run on it, either. If what you ALREADY BOUGHT STILL WORKS, why "up"grade?

          [especially wnen those $$$ "up"grades are JUST to support Win-10-nic "features"]

          A few years ago, while I still could, I got a box with Win 7 pre-loaded. It runs accounting software (in my case Quickbooks 2007) and music production software (an older version of Cakewalk, specifically), and "other things" not related to an MSDN subscription. I don't plan on buying newer versions of any of that

          My dev-only boxen get MSDN licenses, and I target windows 7 for executables DELIBERATELY. [sometimes I target XP even].

          Not so amazingly, targeting win 7 compatibility covers a ~90% use case for windows users, as opposed to JUST targeting Win-10-nic. So I bet I'm *NOT* the only one!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not set an easier goal?

        Incorrect. W10 64 bit can run 16 bit W3, it merely needs a small library addon. I used it recently because I'm still a fan of Tetris for Windows (1990).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why not set an easier goal?

          "Incorrect. W10 64 bit can run 16 bit W3, it merely needs a small library addon. I used it recently because I'm still a fan of Tetris for Windows (1990)."

          What library addon is needed?

          I would be very interested in this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why not set an easier goal?

            This is what I used, simple enough:

            https://github.com/otya128/winevdm

      4. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

        Re: Why not set an easier goal?

        Windows 7, 8, and 10 32 bit can easily run MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 applications

        Lol! I love a good joke. And that's a damn funny one.

  10. Digitall

    gotcha!

    That petition is probably click-bait for data harvesting run by an affiliation of data farmers (or to be sold off later)

    So, what of the business enterprises, educational institutes, health services, govt dept's and small businesses who have already paid for ESU 'extended security updates' via microsoft?

    In other words, dream on! it ain't happening

  11. Electricity_Guy

    I really want to destroy my business too

    Why on God's green earth would Microsoft want release W7 code as Open Source?

    Or more pertinently why won't they:

    They will have to seperate out all the licensed code - cost a time and money for no return

    They risk revealing aspects of the code that just might have followed into later product, potential compromising secuirty.

    Users won't upgrade to W10 if they can hold on to W7 as there is now a less expensive support path - essentially f-up their own business.

    Piss off users who've are lready paying for support.

    And the list goes on...

    These guys are bonkers if they thing MS will go for this base on the 7,777 people who signed a petition (100's of millions of users didn't sign the petition).

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: I really want to destroy my business too

      "They risk revealing aspects of the code that just might have followed into later product, potential compromising secuirty."

      This is a common mistake. This is not even security by obscurity. Keeping source closed in no way protects future products (OpenBSD is open-source and is deemed one of the most secure operating systems in existence).

      When hackers, or crackers try to break into some software, they don't do it via analyzing the C/C++, they do it by looking at the memory representation of the software or code generation. This way they can look at how overflowed memory might get executed as instructions.

      It basically looks more like this: https://www.aldeid.com/w/images/a/af/OllyDbg-interface.png

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: I really want to destroy my business too

      "100's of millions of users didn't sign the petition"

      hundreds of millions of users DID NOT KNOW ABOUT the petition...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never happen because they probably re-used >70% of Win 7 code in Win 10

  13. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    7,777,777

    Even this amount of siggies wouldn't sway M$ to open source it.. I think it's a novel idea to try, but a bite of a reality sandwich will bring that idea into the harsh bright light that is reality of business.

  14. Dave 32
    Coat

    Yeah, and Windows XP, too.

    Yeah, and Windows XP, too.

  15. Dwarf Silver badge

    Microsoft's response will be Nein, Nein, Nein, Nein, Nein.

  16. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Windows 7 source code shall enter the Commons regardless of Microsoft's wishes

    Sooner or later, the entire Windows 7 source code will be published on multiple dark recesses of the Internet and parallel peer to peer nets. That is inevitable because digital sequences (in this instance source code files) cannot be corralled indefinitely. No matter how hard people try to contain sequences published for commercial purposes they succeed only for a short interval, this determined by how keen people are to get their hands on it. Proprietary source code takes longer to leak out than compiled versions but is certain to happen in Microsoft's case.

    The sheer size and complexity of Microsoft's development apparatus makes maintaining absolute code security difficult. Moreover, resources available for security are best targeted at software still in production. My understanding is that Windows code is released to a privileged cadre of trusted external developers because it is in Microsoft's interest so to do. There must be numerous copies of Windows 7 code knocking about outside Microsoft, some perhaps 'borrowed' by Microsoft employees. These will range from the earliest Windows 7 versions through to final release.

    Unofficial release of Windows 7 code will leave Microsoft with egg on its face: far better to garner credit by showing generosity. Perhaps it will spawn an underground hobbyist movement. It will pose no commercial challenge to Microsoft. Even should recompiled versions with enhancements circulate there will be no observable impact on Microsoft's revenue from routine price-gouging.

    Linux Wine developers can do something useful with leaked code. Because of egregious copyright/patent law they will be obliged to include paraphrased Microsoft code in Wine source releases. It seems only fair given that Microsoft is drawing freely upon open source Linux code.

  17. hotpants_jesus

    Riding a snowplow

    In response to that second to last paragraph : https://imgur.com/a/wvPBBC7

  18. P.B. Lecavalier
    WTF?

    Security Lawsuits

    I am a strong advocate of free software, but on that one, unless the FSF made this as a joke (like that petition to actually build a Death Star), it doesn't make any sense.

    As others said above, asking DOS/win3.1 and win95 would be far more realistic. Everyone knows that these were quick-and-dirty insecure hunk of junk and just won't work on modern hardware without a boatload of emulation. Mostly retro gamers would stand to benefit, among other technology archeologists. If I recall correctly, no USB support on the first release of win95, so it's not like it would compete against their current crop.

    Security. Can you imagine if people could nose around the source of Windows 7 and actually inspect whether it's safe? Lawsuits!!! A cottage industry of consultants and lawyers mulling whether the design was inherently insecure and if the company knew it all along. "My client was exposed to untold risks by using this product which was sold as an enterprise-class solution..."

    We would get to know why updating Windows 7 takes longer (search for updates, download, install, try again and download again!! because failure) than updating an install of Gentoo with ~1400 packages (where you must compile everything). Yikes, that would be embarrassing.

    1. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

      Re: Security Lawsuits

      Of course it's a joke. It boggles my mind that people here are treating it like it's a serious suggestion.

      Security. Can you imagine if people could nose around the source of Windows 7 and actually inspect whether it's safe?

      ...and submit patches to make it safer. Hmmm. Sounds like not a bad idea to me. And strangely reminiscent of how certain other, more secure operating systems do it.

      Lawsuits!!! A cottage industry of consultants and lawyers mulling whether the design was inherently insecure and if the company knew it all along. "My client was exposed to untold risks by using this product which was sold as an enterprise-class solution..."

      Somebody hasn't read their EULA. Specifically the part about no warranties express or implied and no guarantee of suitability for purpose. Good luck with those lawsuits.

      Yikes, that would be embarrassing.

      Yeah. Somebody recently suggested somewhere else that the main reason thet don't open source it is out of embarrasment. I think they might be onto something.

  19. Milton Silver badge

    Dirty laundry

    Several posters have explained why MS will not open-source Win7, citing cannibalisation of its revenue stream, revelation of vulnerabilities, loss of proprietary drivers and codecs etc. All true, and ultimately of course the loss of revenue is the main driver people focus on. MS has never not been obsessively greedy, always at its customers' expense.

    But even if ways were found to replace the lost revenues (for example, those offering paid "Win7: The Clone" services of any kind pay a fat commission to MS), they still wouldn't do it. In fact, MS wouldn't open Win7 even if it was guaranteed a huge payday.

    And that is not because folks will find some vulnerabilities, or rip off some of the code.

    It's because (a) the quality of the coding will make MS look awful, and (b) some naked theft will be provable, probably right in the core of the system. MS, in short, knows that its reputation would be blasted to cinders if the knowledgeable world gets a good, sober look at the wretchedly inefficient, derivative, obscenely bloated rubbish that it spackled together to make its least awful operating system. El Reg would have a whole year's worth of dreadful headlines to publish, and run out of puns and goofy clichés inside a month.

    And of course, the story would only get worse, because once out of Redmond's clutches Win7 would go from strength to strength. A grateful world would discover just how good, and nice to use is a well-supported, efficiently refactored Windows OS, designed for the productivity and ease of use of customers—rather than as a series of entrapments and wholesale spying.

    MS can't open Win7 because it would choke to death on dirty laundry.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Dirty laundry

      "It's because (a) the quality of the coding will make MS look awful, "

      Where do you base your FUD?

      Some time before Win7 was released, Microsoft had portions of Win2000 code leak and the general opinion back then was that the code snippets were of good quality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dirty laundry

        Where do you base your FUD?

        Have you ever used windows?

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: Dirty laundry

          Yes. And many others.

  20. IGnatius T Foobar !

    oblig

    Stallman will then be trotted out to explain that it must now be called "GNU/Windows"

    (And it will be given the same response as "GNU/Linux" -- no one important will care.)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would set back open source 15 years

    I haven't seen the codebase, but I know people who have, and I trust their opinion when they say "it's absolute [facepalm] complete utter shite"

    stack(copyandpaste)overflow is bad enough. I don't want to see code where people justify it by "well it's Microsoft code from Windows 7"

  22. Steve Channell

    Kernel is more likely

    Microsoft will have seen what has happened with the open core of MacOS (Darwin) and seen that an open core does not threaten the Windows franchise. The motive would be to provide a core microkernel infrastructure that can be preloaded on cloud infrastructure to load Win32 and Linux subsystems. This core would be good for a variety of Software-Defined network and storage appliances.

    The reason it hasn't happened yet is more to do with the maturity of the Linux subsystem WSL2 than to do with license or commercial considerations.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like the Open Source guys are looking for something that actually works?

  24. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    I await the decompiling of Windows 7 by AI...

  25. Zangetsu

    it is never going to happen.

    Microsoft does not release code on anything.

  26. Jonjonz

    Never Going to Happen

    A huge part of MS long term modus operendi is planned obsolescence of previous versions.

  27. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Instead of this

    Someone once tried to get IBM to open-source OS/2, that didn't go any either (for much the same reasons).

    If people are so desperate for an open-source "Windows", go work on ReactOS.

  28. carlsonjma

    much harder than it looks

    I love the idea, but this is far harder than the FSF seems to think. I was one of the many, many people at Sun who were involved in the work required to turn Solaris into OpenSolaris. It was a monumental amount of work involving an army of engineers and lawyers. We had to establish the lineage of every source file and every contribution to it. Many things were purchased from third parties (e.g., the Mentat TCP/IP STREAMS code) long, long ago. Some were patched with contributions by other vendors. The documentation of these agreements was buried in offices all over the world, and known to people who'd either left the company or had died. And then there were patents to contend with, both Sun's and others.

    We had to establish rights akin to ownership for everything such that we could then re-license (or sub-license) it for use by others. It was extraordinarily hard work.

    If you don't care about being sued or enticing others into being sued, I suppose you can just dump it all on github and walk away as they seem to be suggesting. But in the world as it is today, that's just not going to fly. It's bonkers.

    Based on what I saw, I think it'd be hard to estimate the effort required, but 30 man-years and USD$6m or so wouldn't be out of line. It may even be an order of magnitude or more than that, depending on just how much swill they've accumulated over the years and how well they've kept the records of it all.

  29. Grinning Bandicoot

    Thanks for the humor

    I got my laugh of the day with the suggestion that MS would refund money. The more likely scenario: Concerning your extended service contract for Win7 if you send Microsoft two box tops and $5 we will send you a receipt for your charitable donation.

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