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Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal
The Register ^ | Jan 29, 2020 | Richard Speed

Posted on 01/29/2020 2:30:33 PM PST by dayglored

The Free Software Foundation really set the bar high there

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 deposit into GitHub.

The thinking was that since Windows 7 has now come to the end of the road, as far as free security updates are concerned, then perhaps Microsoft might release it as open software?

We put it to the Free Software Foundation that it might be more complicated than that – after all, Windows 7 contains all manner of codecs and the like licensed from third parties, as well as code licensed back to those same customers.

The FSF's Greg Farough told us: "We want all software to be free software." The clue, after all, is in the name. "But Microsoft freeing just the operating system itself would satisfy our demand here."

But what of those enterprises that have already paid for support? Should Microsoft start lobbing out refunds or fork the freshly open-sourced code base?

"Enterprises wouldn't be paying for a licence anymore," explained Farough, "but they would still need support."

With what we imagine is the starry-eyed glint of a true believer, he added: "They could either choose to take that on internally, with other vendors, or stick with Microsoft. That's one of the beauties of free software.

"You may still have to pay for support, but you can shop around without arbitrary restrictions, and you're not paying for just a licence."

Certainly, anyone who has had to explain to a bean counter that Linux is free but those who look after it – internally or externally – still expect to be paid will know that there is always a cost somewhere down the line.

We put it to Farough that other obsolete software in the Office or Server lines might also benefit from the open source wand. He agreed, but said the focus was on Windows 7 due to "headlines we're seeing about users feeling left in the lurch by the EOL".

Farough told us that the FSF usually gives Microsoft stick "for their proprietary software", but since the giant had "been talking so much about how they now support free software (they usually say 'open source' or 'Linux'), we think they should take this opportunity to do the right thing."

Freeing the software, he reckoned, would mean it would stay alive as long as someone could be bothered to maintain the thing. "Intentionally killing Windows [7] off," he said, "is irresponsible and even disrespectful to the many people who have spent so much time using and developing it."

While those who developed it (Microsoft) would dearly like to see the back of it, Farough has a point regarding those used to its familiar Aero desktop. A good portion of users remain on the platform unable or unwilling to upgrade or pay for extended support.

"We do already have our own operating system, GNU/Linux, so we don't *need* Windows 7," Farough said, but added the FSF would be happy to shepherd Microsoft through the wilds of open-source licenceland (and all the monsters within).

"As the FSF is the caretaker of the GPL, we feel confident in our ability to assist them."

We asked Microsoft if it had any more thoughts now that the petition had passed its target but the company declined to comment.

And the target? Far be it from us to suggest it might have been a little on the low side, but more people signed a petition to sort out the roads in the UK county of Surrey. Or ban the sale of fireworks to the clearly untrustworthy British public.

To be frank, Satan is more likely to caught riding a snowplough before that source is made free. Certainly in the near to medium term. In the meantime, if Windows 10 is out of the question and you're reluctant to pay Apple's idiot tax, then perhaps a look a modern Linux distribution will be enough to scratch that free software itch.

The world has, after all, moved on a bit in the decade since Windows 7 was new. ®


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: microsoft; opensource; windows; windows7; windowspinglist
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Gotta love those starry-eyed folks over at the Free Software Foundation.

My favorite quote from the article:

"...Satan is more likely to caught riding a snowplough before that source is made free..."
Pretty much sums it up.
1 posted on 01/29/2020 2:30:33 PM PST by dayglored
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To: Abby4116; afraidfortherepublic; aft_lizard; AF_Blue; AppyPappy; arnoldc1; ATOMIC_PUNK; bajabaja; ...
Windows 7 - Open Source! Wait, what? ... PING!

You can find all the Windows Ping list threads with FR search: just search on keyword "windowspinglist".

2 posted on 01/29/2020 2:31:50 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored

Never happen! Open sourcing W-7 means most of W-10 becomes open source as well!


3 posted on 01/29/2020 2:32:21 PM PST by entropy12 (You are either for free enterprise or want gov't to protect your wage levels. Can't be both.)
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To: dayglored

Have they ever made XP or earlier open source?..................


4 posted on 01/29/2020 2:32:38 PM PST by Red Badger (Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.......... ..)
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To: dayglored

Just curious...I know nothing about PCs but my trust laptop runs wonderfully on W7 and I’m wondering what it would mean for me if this proposal was accepted by Microsoft.


5 posted on 01/29/2020 2:36:25 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (The Rats Can't Get Over The Fact That They Lost A Rigged Election)
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To: Gay State Conservative
> Just curious...I know nothing about PCs but my trust laptop runs wonderfully on W7 and I’m wondering what it would mean for me if this proposal was accepted by Microsoft.

It would continue to run. Potentially it could run better over time.

As things stand, Windows 7 will never get any more regular security updates when vulnerabilities are found. Since many of those vulns are also in Windows 10, which _will_ get the patches, it's relatively easy for a Bad Guy to "reverse-engineer" the Windows 10 patch, discover what vulnerability it fixes, and then test to see if that vulnerability existed in Windows 7 also (very likely it does). Then the Bad Guy crafts a new malware exploit to take advantage of it, knowing that there are a tens of millions of Windows 7 machines still in use that will never get patched.

So.... if Win7 were to be open-sourced, -and- the bright-eyed folks who read the source discover the vulnerability, they can design and release a patch for it. In that way -- if you keep up with those patches -- your Win7 computer would be more secure than otherwise.

However, that's a long shot. I wouldn't bet on it.

Just keep your trusty Windows 7 laptop off the internet, or at least be VERY VERY CAREFUL about what sites you visit and what links you click. Windows 7 is now considered UNSAFE FOR INTERNET USE.

For private, off-line use, it's still pretty safe and will remain so for a long time, IMO.

6 posted on 01/29/2020 2:44:49 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: Red Badger
> Have they ever made XP or earlier open source?

Nope, and I don't expect them to.

Going all the way back to MS-DOS, Microsoft DID open-source some very early versions of MS-DOS. They're largely useless except for techno-historical study.

7 posted on 01/29/2020 2:47:06 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored

If windows 7 is about to be dropped.

Long since the time to allow XP to run with authenication crap. I have two perfectly good XP boxes, expect I am locked out due to hardware change and thus tripped Authenciation issues. Thank you Bill Gates.


8 posted on 01/29/2020 2:52:10 PM PST by George from New England (escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: dayglored

I’ve had computers with almost every Microsoft OS except for Win-2000 and Win-Me and Windows 7 was probably the most trouble free and also easy to learn/use.


9 posted on 01/29/2020 2:57:42 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: dayglored

“As things stand, Windows 7 will never get any more regular security updates when vulnerabilities are found”

How often are security vulnerabilities found that could endanger the home user? Is Microsoft trying to scare us into upgrading?


10 posted on 01/29/2020 3:20:28 PM PST by cymbeline
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To: dayglored

Even windows 3.1 is not open source as far as I know.

Sadly windows 7 won’t even work with most good CPU’s made in the last few years. Microsoft stated forcing windows 10 around the time the 7th Gen Intel processors came to be. They did the same with AMD.


11 posted on 01/29/2020 3:53:33 PM PST by Revel
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To: dayglored

Opening the source would expose all kinds of stupidness that M$ has been collecting money for for years.


12 posted on 01/29/2020 3:55:19 PM PST by bigbob (Trust Trump. Trust the Plan.)
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To: dayglored

Another thing that surprised me is that current tax software won’t even run on windows 7 starting this year. I would not have expected that for another year.

I would still be happy with windows 98 if it wasn’t for the fact that hardly any non legacy software will still run on it.


13 posted on 01/29/2020 3:57:44 PM PST by Revel
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To: bigbob

Windows 7 was the last good version of Windows, before it became a defacto Indian software company, pushing out pure copy-paste broken code.


14 posted on 01/29/2020 4:19:42 PM PST by Starcitizen (American. No hypenation necessary. Send the H1B and H4EAD slime home. American jobs for Americans)
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To: dayglored

7,777 signatures is like pissing in the ocean. Who cares? I’m not a MS fan, but why should they give it away?


15 posted on 01/29/2020 4:21:44 PM PST by caver
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To: cymbeline
> ... How often are security vulnerabilities found that could endanger the home user?

Every month that Windows has been out. Every. Month.

16 posted on 01/29/2020 4:32:50 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: Revel
Another thing that surprised me is that current tax software won’t even run on windows 7 starting this year.

Hmmm. I was going to use my W7 desktop next week to do my returns with H & R Block software. Guess I'd better use my W8.1 laptop instead. Thanks for the info.

17 posted on 01/29/2020 5:00:05 PM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-free zones are playgrounds for criminals.)
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To: dayglored

“Every month that Windows has been out. Every. Month.”

What do Apple and the Unix crowd do about security vulnerabilities?


18 posted on 01/29/2020 5:04:48 PM PST by cymbeline
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To: dayglored

“Every month that Windows has been out. Every. Month.”

What do Apple and the Unix crowd do about security vulnerabilities?


19 posted on 01/29/2020 5:05:04 PM PST by cymbeline
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To: dayglored
ooooh, a whole 7,000 signatures? Damn, look out Microsoft, almost .00001 percent of your potential customers have signed this. I mean, seriously, 7000?

puhleaze
20 posted on 01/29/2020 6:00:15 PM PST by softwarecreator
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