2x25: The First 17 Pages

Jeremy Garcia, Stuart Langridge, and special guest presenter Steve Walli from the Microsoft Azure team present Bad Voltage, in which Walli is to his relief not the star of the sting before the intro, and:

  • [00:02:20] Stuart thinks that people are now so averse to the GPL and reciprocal licensing that Apple were prepared to write a browser mostly from scratch and Google may be replacing Linux with Fuchsia from scratch just to avoid the GPL. Jeremy and Steve are not all that convinced. We look at why GPL use is trending down, and what it means
  • [00:24:38] Steve Walli is a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, has spent his career working with open source, and also worked at Microsoft back in the early 2000s when they were certainly the enemy of Linux. But now MS are the fifth biggest contributor to the Linux kernel, half the developers in the world are using VS Code as their editor, and so the ship seems to be turning. Is it just lip service, or is this something real? We take the opportunity to bombard Walli with questions and concerns about whether Microsoft are actually really into open source or if it's a fair-weather friendship. We have lots of questions. And Steve's agreed to answer _your_ questions in a similar vein; go to community.badvoltage.org if you want to ask things about Microsoft and open source that we didn't get to

Jeremy’s speaking at FOSDEM on February 3rd, so say hello and watch his talk if you’re there.

Also, we’ve set up a Slack channel! We’ll be talking about this in the next show, but if you want to get in early and hang out with the BV community, sign in to our Slack channel via https://badvoltage-slack.herokuapp.com/!

Download from http://badvoltage.org/2x25

@SteveWally :
45m 30seconds-ish "Well No. That that’s, that, that, well so. None of us can predict.
Well, an’ I think that’s a perfect answer - of why we can’t go back on the three things we did, so successfully, because at the end of the day there are enormous …

@jeremy “xbox was not a success, it was you willing to lose billions of dollars to compete with a better product!
I don’t know that, that one’s is even arguable.”

@SteveWally “okay. Let’s talk about the other two franchises. …fie”

@jeremy “most companies ; just realistically arenot in a situation to burn billions of dollars to build market-share”.

@SteveWally " they make billion dollar mistakes all the time."
“they seep it up and re-do stockey-things. You can’t say that about microsoft and some special situation here.”

@sil 47:25 So you can’t open something like word.


What about Softmaker @sil ?

I shall listen to the end after burns night is over.

Your quote is fairly disjointed and lacks some context, but SoftMaker Office isn’t open source to my knowledge.


jeremy, like most office-producs most of them aren’t - they are from Italy.

what is your alternative?

I have heard rumours that there was no Windows 9 because of the German market. Nine being No in German.

I have no idea if this is true or not however.

I do know the Toyota MR2 bombed in France largely because the French would pronounce it “Em-re-deux” which sounds similar to “Merde” which means shit.

@jeremy I would have loved to come and see you at FOSSDEM but I have other commitments so can not make it. Can you and for that matter @sil and @jonobacon try to give us a little more notice please?

If you had mentioned it on the last show I would have been up for the talk and happy to buy you a beer or two too.

A very good show. I enjoyed having Steve as a presenter. It was nice to have someone who has a historical perspective as one who was there. Thanks.

It’s probably not true. Germans refer to the numbered versions of Windows by the German word for that number, e.g. Windows Sieben rather than Seven, Acht, Acht Punkt Eins and Zehn. Windows 9 would have been Windows Neun, not Windows No :wink:


I will be very negative on Azure here, I think Steve was let off. Azure is pathetic in uptime compared to any competitor you can possibly name. I use AWS, Azure, Wonka Compute and I Cant Believe it’s not a Cloud Ocean every day.

Azure’s reliability is pathetic, but more importantly there is no openness. As they patched for Meltdown they communicated NOTHING to their customers about reboots. They just rebooted machines with zero notification.

Microsoft, in my general and recent experience are incapable of openness.

There is no real business case for buying Azure beyond the executive trust in MS.

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I recommend that everyone be just as cynical about MS in the cloud as they ever were on the desktop.

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You may want to put that question to Walli himself on the Stephen Walli, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft - Ask Him Anything thread – he’s an Azure guy, as you note, so I think he’d be interested in talking about that!

Isn’t that why they say “niner” in radio comms? :wink:

Where to even begin. Can say, after this Episode my Trust in Microsoft is even smaller. As was pointed out, Microsoft has only Open sourced in areas where they are losing. As a Developer I will continue to happily avoid all things Microsoft

Disclaimer: if the criticism of microsoft only open sourcing “in areas where they are losing” had nothing to do with a moral evaluation, you can safely ignore this comment of mine.

Hi @TheEndIsNear,
my first thought when i read

As was pointed out, Microsoft has only Open sourced in areas where they are losing.

was: so why the f*** should they change their ways in areas where they are winning?
I’m not sure I understand why you trust them even less, now they seem to be moving into the general direction of open source.

I guess it might come down to morality vs pragmatism (with microsoft being on the pragmatic side ofc).
From there, the whole open vs. free software dichotomy comes to mind.
(Btw, here is nice read that helped me a lot getting the difference: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.en.html .)

Personally I’m happy that I’m able to work in a field where i can be free and open and pay the bills, but I think that’s not a common situation and I’m certainly not morally superior to any closed-source developer, closed-source engineer etc…I think I’m just luckier.

The next might seem sortof OT, random and unfair to write, but:
I don’t think that RMS just by chance chose software as his area to make the world a better place. I don’t think he might just as well have spend his carrer as a development helper in a 3rd world country.
Instead, I think, just like say Bill Gates, he did the things he loved to do, and did them the way he saw fit.

Having that said, I absolutely respect anybody’s distrust in microsoft and avoiding using it (the same goes a lot of other corporations).

@jeremy I’m going to Fossdem with a friend, will drop into your talk!

It more comes down to the Claim by Microsoft that they care about Developers, so they are going Open source. No they are going Open source because in the Server space they were getting their teeth kicked in. Microsoft cares about one thing, and one thing only, platform lockin.

But, But, What about…Me! :smile:

Around 5:00, plan 9 is mentioned.
In that context I’d like to mention this podcast which I happened to listen to the other day:

If you are as interested in plan 9 and why it didn’t take off:
Brian Kernighan talks about it from 43:40.

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