Microsoft:Rapprochement with Open Source ?

eWeek is chronicling efforts by Microsoft to have some sort of Rapprochement and Reconciliation with Open Source. Do read the comments attached to the article – the first 10-12 are not little kiddie verbal brawls and insults … but actually generate some key points and alternative visions on what is actually going on here.

I will reserve judgement but would like to echo at least 2-3 similar comments.

Microsoft is the largest software development company by a factor 2 at $40B in revenues and growing. But in its 25 years of existence, Microsoft has yet to come even within 1/100th of the contributions to Open Source in terms of scale to match the likes of Actuate, BEA, IBM, Laszlo, Macromedia, Novell, Sun, Sybase and dozens of others IT firms large and small. Even those code-pinchers at Computer Associates have done more for Open Source than Microsoft.

Laughable Open Source

And in fact, the writers of the article embarrass themselves with the pittance of offerings they cite as Microsoft Open Source. Yeah right – GoDotNet freebies only work in .NET and require Visual Studio, SQL Server and/or a lot of proprietary software to work effectively with the “free” tools. And the standalones – do just that, only work in Windows. One commentator used the word “laughable” – which was straight to the point.

As soon as Microsoft delivers in open source actions in the form of cross platform software comparable to Beehive, Eclipse, NFS, and others; and as soon as Microsoft delivers interoperability with Open Source software unconstrained with deliberate “it must run best in Windows” liabilities (think Mono, CORBA and JDBC support, etc.); and as soon as Microsoft delivers comprehensive “turn-on and use standards only” switches in its Visual Studio, BizTalk, BIStudio, and other development programs that makes it dirt simple to turn off all MS proprietary extensions and stick to ANSI, ECMA, OASIS, W3C and other standards – then we can talk Rapprochement.

Note the use of the “and” connector just above. Until Redmond does these things consider their efforts at Rapprochement just obfuscation and smoke-with-mirrors for the troopers back at Redmond (“we tried our hardest – but look they rejected our 5 week effort at Rapprochement after we called Open Source a disease”); legerdemain for the EU and DOJ (“we are trying to make good with the hippies but they are so radicalized and frankly dis-jointed…..”) and/or Machiavellian machinations (“if we co-opt and neutralize this critical group of Open Sources players why we can ….”).

Oops, like Bill and Steve, I did it again !

Steve and Bill, after swearing “no-no never again” to the DOJ, EU and anybody else who wanted to believe them – are out “cutting off the revenue oxygen” in the BI field, SW development team tools, and maybe even a big chunk of security/anti-virus software (and watch out Content Management, Business Applications, and Software Modeling tool vendors).

And so I too, after so recently saying I would reserve judgement on Redmond Open Source Rapprochement … look what I have done Ma!

But I consider myself a battered OS owner – after Win 3.1 to Windows XP promises of an available, scalable, secure and reliable desktop OS, I am not doing anymore Charlie Browns. When the two Redmondian Lucys promise to hold the football – I am looking for a tee. Ohhh … and look what Sterling Steve Jobs has to offer!

(c)JBSurveyer 2005