Microsoft “Open Source”

Microsoft has gotten eWeek to promote its 25 most active Open Source projects here. Now remember there are 4difficulties with Microsoft Open Source. First and foremost, the Microsoft Open Source licensing terms (there are two sets of licensing terms being proposed)have not yet been approved by the Open Source Initiative. I have not checked the legalese; but one thing I would be checking for is what I call the “terms of closure”. Microsoft might want at some future date want to fork one of its Open Source projects and close it off from future disclosure – basically take it back into private source. This is not unprecedented, Microsofts chairman declared IIS and IE both perpetually free. IE has remained so but at the cost of no development work done on it other than security bug fixes for 5-7 years depending on who does the counting. IIS was taken back in “the money making fold” and is one of the principal components distinguishing Windows XP Home from Windows XP Professional. IIS can no longer be found available for free download on Microsofts site. So caveat emptor – you may work on Microsoft Open Source and depending on the license, find it closed in the future … details still to be determined.

The second problem with Microsoft Open Source is that it is .NET based primarily and Windows only unless it may work in Mono on Linux (again, check to be sure). The third problem with the 25 projects shown by eWeek is that they are currently under so many different present licensing terms, (GPLv2, Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL) v1.1, and several Custom Licenses) one does not know what will remain on the CodePlex (think Microsofts SourceForge) depending on how things work out. Some of the top 25 could disappear.

There is no code, here just .csv database files and “how to” explanations on loading and using the databases
Finally, 5 of the twenty five “Open Source Projects” appear to be nothing more than promotional pieces for SQL Server. There is no source code available but all they do have are the .CSVs, .SQL and other tips/promos for using SQL Server. Hardly Open Source. And in fact, it appears eWeek was again taken to the cleaners by Microsoft PR who got eWeakers to do a story on Microsoft doing Open Source while stealth disguising 5 promo pieces on SQL Server.

Now I came to this fully expecting to see some of the best of Open Source code from Microsoft. Some programs comparable to the dozens of PHP Open Source CMS and Portals or comparable to the wonderful totally free, true Open Source and cross OS platform tools like FileZilla, Gallery, Jasper Reports, Art of Illusion, and dim dim Meeting Server among the thousands of programs available at SourceForge.net (see the top 50 here). Instead, I got duped thanks to eWeak and Microsoft.

Now you would think top Microsoft people like CSO Craig Mundie or CTO Ray Ozzie would not let a cheap and appalling travesty like this happen in their efforts “to burnish the Microsoft Open Source image”. But then again, the climate of truthiness in the US is such that stunts like this are all just part of the game.


(c)JBSurveyer 2007 If you liked this, let others know:
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