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Microsoft Offers Source Code to China

Microsoft Corp founder and chairman Bill Gates said on Friday the software giant had signed a deal to give the Chinese government access to its source code, which lies at the heart of its Windows operating system. The world’s largest software firm, fighting competition from the free “open-source” Linux platform, will distribute its jealously-guarded technology to China under an initiative to promote software security and to woo the world’s most populous country. “The government source program covers 100 percent of the source code of Windows, every part of Windows,” Gates told a news conference of eager Chinese reporters, who even asked for his autograph. “That (deal) actually has zero dollars of revenue associated with it because it’s a free thing, but I’d say it’s a very important thing,” he said with a chuckle. Microsoft will offer source codes underpinning its Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows CE.NET software, a company executive said. Unlike its rival Linux operating system, Microsoft sells proprietary software that cannot be copied or modified freely. An increasing number of technology giants, such as IBM, have switched to Linux. Full Story

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