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Microsoft Robotics Software Technology

Microsoft's New Attempt To Dominate Robotics 225

Posted by timothy
from the more-robots-in-more-places dept.
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum reports that Microsoft's Robotics Group is announcing new world domination plans — at least for the robotics world. The company is making its Robotics Developer Studio (RDS), which includes Microsoft's CCR and DSS runtime toolkit, available to anyone for free. Why make it a freebie? Because the company wants to expand its RDS base and get a grip on the robotics development space, hoping big things will come out of it."
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Microsoft's New Attempt To Dominate Robotics

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  • Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @08:54PM (#32287892)

    Wow, that is one biased summary.

  • by aBaldrich (1692238) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:04PM (#32287956)
    From the article:

    In addition to creating a single RDS release, the robotics group is also making the source code of selected program samples and other modules available online, hoping to improve collaboration among users. In particular, Microsoft wants to entice the growing community of hobbyists, do-it-yourselfers, and weekend robot builders.

    They are releasing code. Which is worth mentioning in the summary, since we are talking about Microsoft. Obviously they are not opening the whole thing, because after they extend, they want to make money, but still it is interesting.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masterwit (1800118) * on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:20PM (#32288048) Journal

    I will have to second the AC's opinion here...

    We call this Business 101. Same reason Oracle kept java free...in the "goal" that its services would be desired later. (Keep Java popular and mainstream)

    Why don't we just say we hate Apple, Microsoft, and all other corporations to be fair...or we can legitimately point out where corporations are unethical and not tolerate those acts and support good business practices (There are examples for Microsoft, Apple, etc. Every silver lining has a touch of gray). Plus why start complaining about free software, do you wish they charged for it?

    Sorry for that rant...but this isn't front page new format, more flame-bait. As for creating software for robotics, I did find that interesting, thanks.

  • by xzvf (924443) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:25PM (#32288078)
    They offer Internet Explorer for free undercutting Netscape's business model. They offer Outlook with a pretty user GUI and integrated with Office to push users to ask for Exchange. An email program that's easy to setup the first 50 users, but a nightmare for large corporations. Active Directory simplifies an all Windows environment, but mangles LDAP so you have to jump through hoops to add any other desktop to the environment. Sharepoint is really cool and easy to setup until you have to set controls and expand it enterprise wide. RDS is cool for simulating robotic programming and could be nice for education, but you'll end up with something that's easy to get started with, but a nightmare to really implement.
  • Another example... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:45PM (#32288218)
    ... of Microsoft trying to stay relevant. Will it succeed? The answer will be found in how many gullible people remain on the Blue Marble.

    .

    Will Microsoft suck the innovation and profits out of the robotics industry in the same manner they sucked the innovation and profits out of the PC industry? Will the use of Microsoft's development environment environment force you to slow down your innovation to the level that Microsoft wants to accommodate?

    Stay tuned to /. for updates..................

  • by The Spoonman (634311) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:47PM (#32288250) Homepage
    An email program that's easy to setup the first 50 users, but a nightmare for large corporations.

    Really? Every Exchange implementation I've been on in the last 15 years (starting at 1000, 5000, 9000 & my current job @ 15,000 users) has been just as "install and forget" as the first @ 200 users. Perhaps you're just doing it wrong?
  • by thenextstevejobs (1586847) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:50PM (#32288274)
    Didn't RTFA, but I'm assuming that the main idea here is lock-in to MS products and technologies. That means it'll be harder to share work and ideas down the road because of artificial dependencies on MS to run the code, etc. Hopefully folks in the field will hold their ground and build their work on top of open, sharable, neutral platforms
  • Nice summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:57PM (#32288330)

    By the summary's logic, Linus Torvalds must be the next Dr. Evil, because he's been giving away Linux for over a decade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @09:59PM (#32288336)

    Honestly people, there are more than enough valid reasons to dislike MS without adding imaginary ones. TFS takes the free release of what's probably at least nifty and interesting software and turns it into an irrelevant blurb about "world domination". As far as I can tell, MS dominates two (closely related) industries: home/office desktop and laptop OSes and utilities, and office software. They have also entered into many other markets, sometimes producing good products, sometimes bad, but never really getting the necessary leverage to "dominate" other, often better competitors for long. (e.g. Xbox, Zune, hotmail, Silverlight, Windows Mobile, Windows Server, even IE at this point.) I'm sure there is no shortage of asshats who go with MS simply because of an easy contract, but I'd like to think that robotics engineers and researchers aren't among them. If the tools are solid, great. If not, no one will care.

    Seriously. Hate on MS because of sleazy monopoly abuse. Hate on them for releasing disappointing public-beta style software. But the sort of hyperbolic nonsense on the frontpage makes *NIXers look like unbalanced zealots.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locutus (9039) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @10:39PM (#32288580)
    Microsoft has a LONG LONG LONG history of doing all things legal and illegal to win market share. So dah, blindly thinking they are giving out the SDK free, as in beer, has a high probability it will not feel free or really be free if they win much market share. Look at how they handled the browser for a good example of how they work. They even tried making MS IE free but that wasn't working very well so they had to tie it to the OS, spread its bits all over the OS to fight orders to keep it separate, and even buy up Netscape contracts and pay companies for every unit shipped. And then they shipped a browser with many tied directly to proprietary features of only their platform.

    So, dah, who would trust Microsoft to actually compete by making better products? Not too many who've seen them operate over the past 20+ years. If they are so good, let them sell API's which run on top of Linux. Oh wait, they die without the ties to Windows. IMO

    LoB
  • Re:Wow... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @10:49PM (#32288636)

    I will have to second the AC's opinion here...

    We call this Business 101. Same reason Oracle kept java free...in the "goal" that its services would be desired later. (Keep Java popular and mainstream)

    Why don't we just say we hate Apple, Microsoft, and all other corporations to be fair...or we can legitimately point out where corporations are unethical and not tolerate those acts and support good business practices (There are examples for Microsoft, Apple, etc. Every silver lining has a touch of gray). Plus why start complaining about free software, do you wish they charged for it?

    Sorry for that rant...but this isn't front page new format, more flame-bait. As for creating software for robotics, I did find that interesting, thanks.

    No charge /= free software.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @10:57PM (#32288676)

    And it's that 'legal AND illegal' that worries some here. With one hand, Microsoft is openly doing something that is legal and will doubtless benefit some people. Given their history, what's the other hand doing? It's possible there isn't a concealed part of the overall process, but given that very same history, why is anyone in a rush to demand they get the benefit of our doubts? How many times does Microsoft have to demonstrate they have an ulterior motive, before everyone gets the memo?
          Giving away your browser is legal. Having a monopoly is, in itself, legal. Not prosecuting everyone who distributes bootleg copies to overseas markets is legal. But whether they all should be or not, all these things have tied in to Microsoft doing things that (surprise) aren't legal. Now some Slashdotters don't think Antitrust should be the law. Some disagree over just what constitutes an abusive monopoly. Some think Europe is some socialist psycho-state that simply targets bigness. But the laws are what they are. Proving the court cases Microsoft has already lost has taken establishing how MS has had hidden motives for various actions that look open and aboveboard. The hidden motives are now on the record. So why does someone always seem to demand the rest of us prove those methods and motives are coming up again, when after five or six good examples, the burden of proof ought to at least have shifted the other way?

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:19PM (#32288790)

    Give the MS bashing a rest. Not only is it no longer true, it's dangerous, as just focusing on Microsoft leaves Google and Apple free to do whatever they want without any kind of check.

    I agree with the spirit of your post, but certainly not this statement. It's 100% true.

    Microsoft is a deeply shitty company, not because of the software it makes, but because of how it behaves in the larger community. Always has been. You are entirely correct to point out we should not give a Google/Apple a pass on ANYTHING just because they are not Microsoft, but let's not start rewriting Microsoft's dirty history to support that point either.

    Point in fact, Apple worries me a lot more than Microsoft at this point with it's shiny walled garden approach and holier than thou attitudes, and Google worries me with it's, "let's record and store everything and sort out all the ethics later" approach. Not to mention, Google does some pretty dirty things, but just does it with company names they acquired. *cough* FaceBook *cough*.

    Considering how Microsoft has handled some things like IE, the fear about how the same thing would happen in Robotics is quite valid, and the logic is not based in simplistic Microsoft bashing.

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:23PM (#32288806) Homepage

    mucking foron - did you see what microsoft did to its last attempt at putting out open source stuff? just killed it not too long ago. so... sure, yeah, whatever.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:24PM (#32288812)

    As with most religions, F/OSS zealots like what they like and hate what they hate without regard to fundamental principles.

  • Re:Nice summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devent (1627873) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:48PM (#32288946) Homepage
    Linus doesn't give Linux for free, he's giving it for Free. Meaning, you can do what ever you like with Linux and it's source code.

    If MS would be opening up the code for everyone under an open license, that would be news. But until that, it's just a marketing gag to get a foot in a new market.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:51PM (#32288972) Journal

    Actually, yes, "no charge" == "free software". What you probably meant is that "no charge" != "Free Software".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @11:58PM (#32289026)

    Apple and Commodore owned the PERSONAL COMPUTER industry

    Sure. That alternate universe would have been so cool, where I'd have to pay f**** $10,000 for a toaster made by Apple. Say what you will abt MS's abusive monopoly practices (they are guilty as daylight), I like having cheap hardware for my Ubuntu distro. And IBM clones were cheap.

    Seriously, ease up on the Mac-kool-aid. Side effects include delusions...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @12:13AM (#32289102)

    As I read it, it is unfortunately only free as in beer. What they're talking about is releasing sample programs written in RDS. That's very different from releasing any source code for RDS itself.

  • by falzer (224563) on Friday May 21, 2010 @12:23AM (#32289182)

    Khan... or, Ahab...

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jvillain (546827) on Friday May 21, 2010 @12:45AM (#32289322)

    When was the last time Microsoft had a success with any thing new? I hate to break it to you but the reason we don't hear more complaining about Windows 7 is coporations are still clinging to their XP licences and most home users are clinging to their pirated copies of XP.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Friday May 21, 2010 @12:53AM (#32289372) Homepage
    That's funny, because I thought 7 was great. It just shuts up and sits in the background making all of the bits of your computer work, without you having to even notice it. That's what an operating system should be like - the best OS is one you never even think about because it just does what you want.

    Maybe it's time to stop being so angry about something that, if you'd only stop using it, wouldn't even affect you?
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:11AM (#32289758)

    We're not all zealots - some of us consider software to be nothing more than something to get a job done or to entertain.

    Open Source has been around for decades, it hasn't stopped commercial software companies making huge amounts of money in the process.

    If I "preach" to friends or family about Open Source then it's because I want to make them aware that they have a free alternative if they want to consider it, but ultimately it's down to them what software they use.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:11AM (#32289760)

    That's funny, because I thought 7 was great.

    That's strange, unless you're from the future, the 7 [windowsphone7.com] the GP was referring to isn't even out yet.

    It just shuts up and sits in the background making all of the bits of your computer work, without you having to even notice it.

    Yeah, wake me up when any version of Windows even remotely resembles that in any way. Or you could, you know, just embrace reality and realize that between the annoying UAC prompts the absurdly circular menu in a menu configuration settings, constant popups from various programs wanting to be updated, incessant whining from various "security" software, nagware wanting you to upgrade to whatever the next expensive version is, it's really just the same old annoying in your face crap that MS has been putting out for 15 years. I understand a fanboy like you can't fathom the possibility that there could be any other way than the MS way but, trust me, Windows is far from the fairy tale you are making it out to be. Fortunately for me, I found a better [ubuntu.com] way. Now my computer just works. No more viruses, spyware, trojan-ware, adobe upgrade this, java upgrade that, "are you really sure?", wga thinks I'm a thief, etc. anymore. Finally, I can compute in peace and actually Get Work Done.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:44AM (#32290212)

    Yawn. And the trolls are still harping about netscape and ie. MS has over 4000 commercial, in-house and custom products.

    If they are so good, let them sell API's which run on top of Linux.

    Huh? The API is only good if they port it to Linux? LOL. I understand that you anti-ms trolls have suffered some brain damage. But cmon, a child can make better arguments.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:53AM (#32290274)

    Why the hell would a person interested in robotics want the source code to a programming IDE?

  • Re:Nice summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:51AM (#32290866) Homepage

    Linux doesn't have a proven track record of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. Step 1, embrace whatever new protocol it is. Everyone's happy that MS gets on board. Step 2, extend the protocol with MS-specific tech. Competitors can't use this because it's patented or relies on knowledge of the inner workings of closed-source software. Step 3, extinguish. When the extensions become industry-standard, use them to smash competition. Winner: Microsoft.

    Note that this isn't some sort of flamebait. Microsoft invented these terms in their own internal memos to describe their business practices.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Smallpond (221300) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:21AM (#32291590) Homepage Journal

    "Having a monopoly is, in itself, legal."
    No, it's not. There are anti-trust laws for specifically this sort of thing.

    If that were true, the first company to make any product would always be breaking the law. What's illegal is using control of a market to stifle competition.

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