Desmond File

Blog archive

Opining on Openness

Our buddies over at Redmond magazine are at it again, poking around Microsoft about issues related to open source and discovering some very interesting things in the process. Whether it's Ray Ozzie's touted Live initiatives or the SourceForge-esque CodePlex site for sharing open source code, it's clear that Microsoft has been changing its tune.

The question is: What tune will it eventually follow? While Microsoft's open source maven Bill Hilf is saying (and to some extent, even doing) all the right things, suspicions about playing ball with the original 800-pound gorilla abound.

The most telling quote comes from Michael Tieman, president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), who chides Microsoft for the lack of transparency with its various licensing structures: "We don't want anyone claiming they are open source if they aren't. Microsoft has always extended a friendly gesture to anyone willing to build on the Microsoft platform, and then kept the other hand clenched to strike if that application company becomes successful."

Is Tieman being too hard on the Redmondians? Maybe. As Hilf points out, the company has sued over IP infringement only twice in its history. And with so much open source software being developed for Windows, there's definitely a platform imperative for Microsoft to get in on the open source applications game.

What do you think? Could Microsoft's engagement help advance and diversify the arena of open source development? Might we be looking at a classic Trojan horse gambit to inject Microsoft IP deep into open projects? Or is it simply Microsoft doing what it does best: protect, extend and leverage its Windows platform into growing markets?

You tell me, and let me know how these concerns impact your development efforts. E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/21/2007

comments powered by Disqus


  • AI for GitHub Collaboration? Maybe Not So Much

    No doubt GitHub Copilot has been a boon for developers, but AI might not be the best tool for collaboration, according to developers weighing in on a recent social media post from the GitHub team.

  • Visual Studio 2022 Getting VS Code 'Command Palette' Equivalent

    As any Visual Studio Code user knows, the editor's command palette is a powerful tool for getting things done quickly, without having to navigate through menus and dialogs. Now, we learn how an equivalent is coming for Microsoft's flagship Visual Studio IDE, invoked by the same familiar Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcut.

  • .NET 9 Preview 3: 'I've Been Waiting 9 Years for This API!'

    Microsoft's third preview of .NET 9 sees a lot of minor tweaks and fixes with no earth-shaking new functionality, but little things can be important to individual developers.

  • Data Anomaly Detection Using a Neural Autoencoder with C#

    Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research tackles the process of examining a set of source data to find data items that are different in some way from the majority of the source items.

  • What's New for Python, Java in Visual Studio Code

    Microsoft announced March 2024 updates to its Python and Java extensions for Visual Studio Code, the open source-based, cross-platform code editor that has repeatedly been named the No. 1 tool in major development surveys.

Subscribe on YouTube