Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Japan Times
The Japan Times Online Microsoft to reveal source code to Japan, which has eyed Linux

Microsoft Corp. will disclose the source code of the Windows operating system to the Japanese government in line with the government's e-Japan project, company officials said Wednesday.

I recently made a public comment on the record at the oversight committee for the National ID about Microsoft and trying to get them to open up the source code. I wonder if this had any effect. I guess we must all have had an effect. I assume many people have been saying this. It's a great step forward, even if it is just MS trying to keep Linux out.


What does this really mean? Somebody who understands the technicality care to explain? To a non-expert like myself, it seems very important. But what could MS have up their sleeves?

It is not all that unusual for Microsoft to permit a very customers to inspect the Windows source code. Some of Microsoft's largest customers even receive custom builds of Windows specific to their organization.

--Lucky Green

Lucky's right. I think China has their own build and many people have access to the source. What struck me was that the Japanese government hadn't gotten it, even though their whole e-government project is based on Windows and because the recent anti-trust case verdict had an explicit provision giving MS exemption from providing access to the code when a US government agency thought it was bad for national security.

Now, the question is whether anyone in the Japanese government is qualified to review any of the code. ;-p

Source code with all the restrictions that Microsoft imposes is not very useful, especially for a project such as e-japan.