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wall street journal report
Microsoft Uses Open-Source Code
Despite Denying Use of Such Software
By LEE GOMES
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Microsoft Corp., even while mounting a new campaign against open-source
software, has quietly been using such free computer code in several major
products, as well as on key portions of a popular Web site -- despite
denying last week that it did so.
Microsoft acknowledged its repeated use of open-source code Friday, in
response to questions about the matter. Just two days earlier, it had
specifically denied the existence of any such software at Hotmail.
In recent statements, Microsoft executives have argued that open-source
software is dangerous to companies using it, in large part because of the
licensing provisions that accompany the software. Microsoft Vice President
Craig Mundie, for example, said in a recent speech that all open-source
software "has inherent security risks and can force intellectual property
into the public domain."
But Microsoft's statements Friday suggest the company has itself been
taking advantage of the very technology it has insisted would bring dire
consequences to others.
The spokesman said FreeBSD was still in use simply because the company had
yet to switch the machines over to Windows.
But one employee of the Redmond, Wash., company said Microsoft has
deliberately kept FreeBSD in parts of Hotmail because of its technical
superiority over Windows in important functions and furthermore had
decided to actually increase its reliance on FreeBSD. Many of the
company's Web sites went down much of a day in January, and this person
said FreeBSD was judged to be better than Windows at helping to prevent a
recurrence of the problem.