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Embracing and Extending SVN — the Microsoft Way

Posted in FSF, GPL, HP, Mono at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I am convinced we have to use Windows – this is the one thing they don’t have. We have to be competitive with features, but we need something more — Windows integration.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Same old and familiar maneuvers, new project though. This time Microsoft is redoing SVN. It’s doing it the ‘Microsoft way’.

This infuriates me. This cool thing they spent six months (six!) writing is called Subversion, and it had a 1.0.0 release three years ago. Subversion had its first beta in late 2003, so the Codeplex folks are waaay behind the state of the art on this one.


This problem is ingrained at Microsoft, which feels the need to brand everything, but it is in no way limited to them.

Needless to guess, there’s some .NET dependency and integration there. The following comment ‘gets’ it.

It’s called reinvent the wheels they like so that they have copyright. Then get people to help improve their wheels and not those of someone else.

It’s a strong itch because they can then integrate that (eg, GPL.. for others) code into their Monopolyware. Keep it closed and full of hooks while the community debugs most of it for Monopolysoft, spends their (the community) time doing that instead of something that benefits the community more, and even adds innovative features while at it.

Remember what they did with Ruby [1, 2]? If not, be sure to read about it.

When Stallman et al built the GNU system, they systematically created free substitutes for proprietary yet modular pieces of UNIX. What Microsoft is doing now is it embraces the power of Free software, but it tries to spit the GPL out of it, thus giving control to Microsoft, rendering developers its slaves under the ‘open source’ promise (where open source is defined by Microsoft).

Did you know that there’s an ongoing implementation of a .NET-based emacs? Remember that Microsoft tries to market its poor Vista sibling, Server 2008, as though it’s a better Linux than Linux. How about Apple and its UNIX, which gives the false illusion of open source and POSIX while hiding all the underlying lock-ins (hardware- and software-wise)?

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