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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/21/2007 at 1:15 PM