jump to navigation

Microsoft Wants Open Source Links 2006-11-13

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Gizmo, Money.

Software giant ‘Microsoft’ is not intent on competing with the open source community — and is seeking further tie-ups with it — an executive at the company has said.

Earlier this month, a long-running dispute between ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Novell’, which sells one version of the ‘Linux’ open source software, was settled.

It enabled ‘Microsoft’s Windows’ operating system to work better with ‘Linux’.

General Manager of Platform Strategy at Microsoft Mr.Bill Hilf who also runs open source strategy across ‘Microsoft’, said that while ‘Microsoft’ competes with commercial products based on open source,

‘…we do not compete with the open source community’.

‘That clarity is super-important for the user, be it a developer or an everyday user of a computer, to know where “Microsoft” stands,’ he added.

‘It’s not as polar as people think; are we going to compete every day with products that come out of commercial and open source? Of course.

‘But we’re not competing with the open source community.’

Reciprocal learning:

Until recently, ‘Microsoft’ had been reluctant to allow its products to work alongside ‘Linux’, which is the most well-known of the products developed by the open source community.

But The General Manager said that ‘Microsoft’ had found that, once it began talking to ‘Novell’, there were a lot of similarities between the two — although this did not mean that ‘Novell’ would be the only open source company it would talk to.

‘I actually anticipate other arrangements like this in the future,’ he said.

‘I’m not promising anything… but we don’t view any singular body as all open source, and nor should anyone.’

And he added that ‘Microsoft’ is now seeing ‘reciprocal learning’ with open source, which presents a challenge for both sides.

‘No one person represents open source at all — that’s part of the power of it,’ he said.


The General Manager
who himself spent 12 years working as an open source developer before joining ‘Microsoft’, said that the goals of people working within both commercial and open source were actually ‘much aligned’.

‘There is the same amount of frustration, the same amount of angst, the same amount of passion — it just happens in a different form,’ he said.

‘So, literally, in my first week [at “Microsoft”] I saw a great opportunity; they’re not two different sides of the tribes.

‘It was really how to bridge people who are a lot more alike than most people know.’

Technology commentator Mr.Bill Thompson told ‘Digital Planet’ that ‘Microsoft’ would be ‘foolish’ to disregard developments in the open source movement, from where a number of good ideas and innovations were coming.

And he added that the software giant will be judged not by the result of the ‘Novell’ settlement, but by how it moves next.

‘The deal with “Novell” was a bit of a surprise, and there’s a fear amongst certain parts of the free open source part of the community that this is an attempt to ‘hedge off’ some companies and say “these are the legitimate ones we will work with; we’ll leave others outside”,’ he explained.

‘That’s not inevitable at all, but there is historically some suspicion of “Microsoft’s” motives.

‘So it will be interesting to see how these things progress.

‘Deals with other organisations will go a long way to reassure the community that what’s happening here is about building better software and serving users better, rather than “Microsoft’s” corporate advantage.’



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: