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When Windows 7 was first released Microsoft and open-source software appeared to be at diametric opposites of the spectrum, but since then Microsoft has actively adopted free software development principles internally, and contribute to numerous open-source software projects, including famously the Chromium rendering engine.
It may have been this change of heart which encouraged Greg Farough, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation to pen a petition demanding Microsoft open-source Windows 7, now that the software has reached End of Life.
Saying it would be compensation for “ten years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security”, Farough notes that Microsoft has open-sourced a number of Windows utilities, setting a precedent.
Saying Microsoft had “nothing to lose” their demands reads as follows:
To the executives at Microsoft:
- We demand that Windows 7 be released as free software. Its life doesn’t have to end. Give it to the community to study, modify, and share.
- We urge you to respect the freedom and privacy of your users – not simply strongarm them into the newest Windows version.
- We want more proof that you really respect users and user freedom, and aren’t just using those concepts as marketing when convenient.
The petition has already reached its low goal of only 7,777 supporters, currently counting 8,099 supporters who wish Microsoft to “upcycle” Windows 7.
It seems the low numbers are unlikely to convince Microsoft to take on such a massive project, and it seems likely Windows 7 contains so many patent-encumbered technologies that it would be impossible to release a functional version of the OS under any reasonable Open Source licence.
Do our readers think the FSF’s demands are in any way achievable? Let us know below.