Contributed by Dengue on from the april-fools dept.
April 1, 2002
"Microsoft to base next generation OS on OpenBSD"
In a surprising development Microsoft stated today that it would not be using the eight year old NT kernel in its next generation operating system. The new system, to be called Windows BSD, will be based around the freely available OpenBSD operating system.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer had the following to say: "As part of our new commitment to security, we are developing the next Windows product based upon OpenBSD. We feel that OpenBSD's security record fits well with our new proactive security model. Furthermore, we fully approve of the BSD license and encourage developers continue to write similarly-licensed code and avoid the infernal GNU GPL." When asked whether the decision to base the new Windows operating system on OpenBSD had anything to do with the success of Apple's BSD-based OS X, Ballmer exclaimed "There's nothing those Mac people can do that we can't do better. Microsoft has a long history with Unix-like systems, dating back from our original development of Xenix. We are dedicated to providing the Windows experience to Unix on the desktop."
And it is not just the desktop that is the target of the new OS. As servers have traditionally been Unix's strong point, Microsoft sees a bright future for Windows BSD, Server Edition. One of the first tests of Windows BSD Server will be running on Microsoft's Hotmail servers, a trial by fire that always left Windows NT a bit scorched. Said de Raadt "We are confident that Windows BSD can more than hold its own in the server arena. Indeed, we expect it to become the benchmark against which all others are judged."
OpenBSD founder and project lead The de Raadt will be relocating from Calgary, Canada to Redmond, Washington to oversee the new endeavor. When asked if he felt he was selling out, de Raadt replied with characterist aplomb "I've dedicated my life to free software, it's about time I got something in return." Other OpenBSD developers will likely be moving to Microsoft's Redmond campus soon. Joining de Raadt in Redmond is OpenBSD packet filter designer Daniel Hartmeier. Hartmeier has already started work on a new firewall codenamed "Microsoft Ward." Said Hartmeier, "I had some trouble getting to the states, what with the airline problems we've been having in Switzerland, but I'm looking forward to working with my development team on the new firewall."
When confronted with the apparent inconsistency of developing a Unix-based system while at the same time sponsoring a wave of anti-Unix marketing, Chairman Bill Gates replied "That campaign is targeted towards those other, incompatible versions of Unix. It has no bearing whatsoever on Windows BSD."
One potential problem with Microsoft's plans were the revelation that the BSD trademark is currently owned by embedded operating systems specialist WindRiver systems. According to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, "WindRiver will surrender the BSD trademark to us or we will bury them!"
During the announcement of Windows BSD at a PR blitzkrieg, Ballmer, Gates and de Raadt jumped around shouting "Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! Come on, get up, get up... Give it up for BSD!". A beta version of Windows BSD, codenamed `Brobdingnag', will be available to MSDN subscribers in 6 month's time.
However, not everyone was happy with the news of OpenBSD's commercial success. A group of disgruntled OpenBSD developers who were not offered jobs at Microsoft have created a competitor to OpenBSD. Unlike OpenBSD, this operating system will be available under the GNU GPL, effectively preventing Microsoft from using their code. The new project, called GNU/BSD, is headed by French former OpenBSD developers Dr. Marc Espie and Miod Vallat. In a joint statement, Espie and Vallat stated "We feel it is grossly unfair to the European developers of OpenBSD that all the attention should be centered around North America. We will not stand for this wanton disregard of the contributions of OpenBSD developers from around the world. Therefore, we have started the GNU/BSD project to take the place of OpenBSD, utilizing the skills of developers in the European Union and beyond." When it was pointed out that Swiss developer Daniel Hartmeier was part of the new Windows BSD project, Espie declared that "Switzerland is hardly a part of Europe. They have only just joined the United Nations for goodness sake."
Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman had the following to say about the split. "I'm gratified that these people have finally seen the light and have released their code until the GPL. One of the GPL's goals is to prevent this kind of software theft by large corporations. You can't have free software without Freedom. By including GNU in the name they show the proper respect for the GNU project's contributions to all free software projects, including BSD." When asked to comment on Stallman's statement, de Raadt simply said "In Windows BSD we've replaced gcc with Microsoft Visual C Studio. We've no need for RMS, his software, or his silly song. After all, we have Gloria Estefan."
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