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Why Microsoft Cozied up to Open Source at OSCON

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the guarded-optimism dept.

Microsoft 325

This year at OSCON it seemed that you couldn't throw a stone without hitting someone from Microsoft (and in fact, I'm sure several people did). They were working very hard to make themselves known, and working desperately to change public opinion of Microsoft's involvement in the open source community. Linux.com's Nathan Willis took a look at what they were preaching, with a hefty dose of skepticism, and tries to postulate what the "angle" is. Of course, the powers that be at Microsoft may have finally seen the writing on the wall and felt the pressure from Google enough to alter their strategy a bit. For now I guess we'll have to wait with guarded optimism (or laughable contempt, depending on how old/jaded you are).

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All together now: (5, Insightful)

MisterSquirrel (1023517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472295)

Embrace, Extend....

Re:All together now: (2, Funny)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472369)

Extinguish [flickr.com]

Re:All together now: (5, Funny)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472889)

Take two... Extinguish! [davidparedes.es]

Re:All together now: (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473039)

Lol, I do like that one much better.

Re:All together now: (4, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472633)

Embrace, Extend....

No doubt that approach remains dominant, but it's too simplistic. The article seems to conclude that Microsoft is after hearts and minds, developers, specifically, but anyone else within earshot would help just the same.

That would make the latest developments more akin to Walmart's "our valued associates" commercials, oil companies touting "green" initiatives, US car makers promising economic turnarounds with concept cars, or, if you're so inclined, presidential political political strategies that ranged from compassionate conservatism, to "restoring honor", to the latest "I'm Different (honest!)" by McCain.

Re:All together now: (4, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472919)

No doubt that approach remains dominant, but it's too simplistic. The article seems to conclude that Microsoft is after hearts and minds, developers, specifically, but anyone else within earshot would help just the same. That would make the latest developments more akin to Walmart's "our valued associates" commercials, oil companies touting "green" initiatives, US car makers promising economic turnarounds with concept cars, or, if you're so inclined, presidential political political strategies that ranged from compassionate conservatism, to "restoring honor", to the latest "I'm Different (honest!)" by McCain.

Right. That's step 1, "Embrace". I'm interested to see what "Extend" is in this context. Possibly a new open source license? They've made steps down that road, but not seriously.

Re:All together now: (5, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472699)

Microsoft cannot extinguish a methodology no matter how much they want to. Sure, they can manipulate the governing systems, they can sue people for "patent infringement" and other garbage, but at the end of the day, open source will continue to proceed unabated.

Re:All together now: (3, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473049)

Microsoft cannot extinguish a methodology no matter how much they want to. Sure, they can manipulate the governing systems, they can sue people for "patent infringement" and other garbage, but at the end of the day, open source will continue to proceed unabated.

Really? It seems like it would be difficult, but taking out Linux would be the same as winning an election. You just have to introduce a new feature that's so spectacular, that over 50% of the user base will sacrifice the fact that it's not open source to have it. They will give it away, for free, as in beer. They will now have divided the user base and continue to do so until Linux has forked so many times it's unusable.

Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish has a lot in common with another tactic. [wikipedia.org]

Beware of forks! You have been warned.

Re:All together now: (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473251)

You just have to introduce a new feature that's so spectacular, that over 50% of the user base will sacrifice the fact that it's not open source to have it.

they already have that: it's called "It's from Microsoft." Remember, MS has a dominant position in the PC field, and most PC users don't even know there's a choice. What they need is a feature that will make over 50% of all Linux/FreeBSD users willing to ignore that it's not OS and that FOSS developers can't copy.

Re:All together now: (2, Insightful)

philipgar (595691) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473417)

I think they have that feature already. There are a lot of FOSS people (at least on slashdot) who are also gamers. The ability to play almost every game in windows (combined with the fact that their video card drivers are generally more mature and offer slightly better performance) means that many FOSS people HAVE to have microsoft windows on their computers. Should microsoft care that they also have linux installed and use that sometimes, maybe even predominately? As long as these users have still purchased a legitimate copy of MS Windows, Microsoft is making their profits, regardless of how much their product is used on the machine.

Of course, if the gamers are pirating windows, then that's a different story, and they have no right to complain about Microsoft's ethics.

Phil

Re:All together now: (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473631)

And then the rest of us gamers either purchase games that work on Linux (I buy most id Software games, even if they aren't that great, simply because they support Linux natively. Same with the UT games.), or buy a console. I love my Wii.

Re:All together now: (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473373)

Microsoft cannot extinguish a methodology no matter how much they want to. Sure, they can manipulate the governing systems, they can sue people for "patent infringement" and other garbage, but at the end of the day, open source will continue to proceed unabated.

... I agree ...

How do you fight an idea?

--Ben Hur (1959)

Re:All together now: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472765)

I am lost. Just what is Microsoft supposed to do to make people who use (F)OSS happy? Not helping with open source didn't cut it. Trying to help open source, apparently, doesn't cut it either. What (realistic) thing is Microsoft supposed to do, anyway?

Re:All together now: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472807)

GPLing every piece of source code they ever wrote won't be enough for some. Others will say when they can't even sell one computer with their OS on it.

Re:All together now: (2, Informative)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472993)

die? I think a lot of them would just like Microsoft to die. I mean I really don't want them developing shit, not if that means they can affect change within the community. Honestly, the one thing Microsoft wants (control) is the last thing FOSS was designed to provide. What can Microsoft do that will make me happy? Leave shit the fuck alone.

Re:All together now: (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473217)

What everyone seems to miss about embrace, extend, extinguish is the "extend" part. That means Microsoft improves over what was there before. Look at Schema as one example. It's just more useful.

Re:All together now: (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473421)

Microsoft extinguished a wga license on one of the bosses Vista laptops today it was only eight months old. Don't ask me why but i had an enraged boss to deal with why his computer would not work.

I have 'ossed' the model - is this what Microsoft want me to do ?

I for one welcome ... (5, Funny)

hachete (473378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472303)

... nah. No I don't.

This should be obvious... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472305)

Since Steve Ballmer isn't a programmer, there's no geek pride to be stepped on here. Just watch out for the chairs. :P

Re:This should be obvious... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472957)

Since Steve Ballmer isn't a programmer, there's no geek pride to be stepped on here. Just watch out for the chairs. :P

Ho ho ho! The chairs! Will that joke ever stop being funny? Oh, hang on, it did... about two years ago, at least.

Listen, I hate to break this to you and *every damn person* (nothing personal, you're far from the only one) that thinks the mere mention of chairs whenever the topic of Steve Ballmer- or even just MS- comes up is funny... it's not.

The incident was in the news almost three years ago. The novelty's worn off.

Secondly, most of the "jokes" aren't; they just mention chairs.

It's as if the subject is deemed to be automatically "funny", not because it's actually funny any more but because its "funniness" is a self-reinforcing classification. People think it's funny, so people make jokes about it, which make people think it's funny, so more people make.... you get the picture.

This shouldn't be mistaken for true group-shared humour. Whether it's funny is irrelevant. People don't even bother making true jokes about it any more, they just mention chairs as a shortcut. It's canned humour... it's cargo cult humour, because most of those jokes have lost sight of what was meant to be funny in the first place. They just go through the motions of mentioning Ballmer on the assumption that it's "funny".

Do we actually think it's funny any more? Do we actually think that others find it funny any more? Or do we just all know that everyone else has implicitly agreed that this topic is considered funny?

What was I talking about.... oh yeah, chair jokes. They're so 2005 :-P

Re:This should be obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24473085)

I recommend decaff.

Re:This should be obvious... (5, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473229)

Listen, I hate to break this to you and *every damn person* (nothing personal, you're far from the only one) that thinks the mere mention of chairs whenever the topic of Steve Ballmer- or even just MS- comes up is funny... it's not.

Yes it is.

Secondly, most of the "jokes" aren't; they just mention chairs.

Which is all that's needed to rekindle the fire that apparently got Ballmer's ass so hot he had to throw it.

This shouldn't be mistaken for true group-shared humour. Whether it's funny is irrelevant. People don't even bother making true jokes about it any more, they just mention chairs as a shortcut. It's canned humour... it's cargo cult humour, because most of those jokes have lost sight of what was meant to be funny in the first place. They just go through the motions of mentioning Ballmer on the assumption that it's "funny".

Actually, something that's "funny" is based purely on individual perception. Given that most people around SD *still*, after 3 years, mention the Olympic event of chair-throwing (ha ha!), they still find humorous value in it. You can't tell someone that something isn't funny if they think it is. That's like telling someone "You don't like cheese." If they actually do like cheese, you're just trying to tell them what they like. Which is exactly what you're trying to do in your comment.

Do we actually think it's funny any more? Do we actually think that others find it funny any more? Or do we just all know that everyone else has implicitly agreed that this topic is considered funny?

Yes, yes, and no. Again, something is funny to someone when they think it's funny. Obviously, a LOT of people think that a balding, fat billionaire throwing a chair and screaming like a toddler because someone left their company for another, more honest and progressive company...well sh*t yeah, that's funny as hell!! Hahahahahaha!

Star Trek quote... (4, Insightful)

timjones (78467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473399)

From IMDB:

[on whether to help the Klingons]
Captain James T. Kirk: They're animals.
Captain Spock: Jim, there is an historic opportunity here.
Captain James T. Kirk: Don't believe them. Don't trust them.
Captain Spock: They're dying.
Captain James T. Kirk: Let them die!
[pauses... Spock cocks his head in surprise.

Honestly, folks, what makes you think any Klingons, err, microsofties can be trusted in this day and age?

or maybe this is closer to home:
Steve Jobs (from Pirates of Silly Valley): "Dead culture in a crumbling castle"...

They're just saying "nice doggy" until they can find a rock. Maybe this is what the teachers meant when they said: "Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it".

Or how many times do you insist on touching that hot stove? Really. They need us more than we need them. Ignore them, move along, nothing to see...

MS cannot be trusted (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472311)

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.

--Steve Balmer

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472419)

I bet there are plenty more good quotes to fall back to in the coming months. *IF* MS wanted to be open source friendly, things like OOXML would just vanish, and they would begin to release their own OSS code, but I guess that won't happen. What was that old story about the frog and the scorpion?

This smells like scorpion shit to me.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (0, Redundant)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472565)

I bet there are plenty more good quotes to fall back to in the coming months.

640k should be enough for everybody.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473203)

From a memory management point of view Gates had a valid point there. As memory has become less expensive developers have become less concerned about memory usage.

Whether the end user notices or not - algorithm optimization is still a good idea.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (0, Flamebait)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472869)

*IF* MS wanted to be open source friendly, things like OOXML would just vanish

So, to be friendly to open source, they should get rid of the only open document format that can handle billions of legacy documents without losing fidelity???

I think you mean PDF (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473103)

*IF* MS wanted to be open source friendly, things like OOXML would just vanish

So, to be friendly to open source, they should get rid of the only open document format that can handle billions of legacy documents without losing fidelity???

Grandparent said OOXML not PDF.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (2, Insightful)

Anders (395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473159)

*IF* MS wanted to be open source friendly, things like OOXML would just vanish

So, to be friendly to open source, they should get rid of the only open document format that can handle billions of legacy documents without losing fidelity???

Sure. Bonus points for opening the legacy format so everybody can write converters.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (3, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473487)

Nah, they need not go that far. Just OPEN SOURCING a valid reference implementation would be okay.

Hell, HAVING a reference implementation AT ALL wouldnt hurt either!

And while we are on our wishlist, they should start transitioning from ooxml to odf, because that would be FRIENDLY to opensource instead of just yapping.

And then youre also quite ignorant: ooxml looses fidelity and office 2007 cant even open office 2000 files...

Man... who the hell do you think youre talking about?

Re:MS cannot be trusted (2, Interesting)

drsmall17 (1240792) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472601)

Linux has not been taken off Microsoft's threat list yet, so this is only a strategy to eliminate linux in the end. I personally, do not like the thought of Microsoft helping Apache in any way, shape or form.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (4, Interesting)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472641)

I personally, do not like the thought of Microsoft helping Apache in any way, shape or form.

You may want to rephrase that slightly:

I personally, do not like the thought of Microsoft "helping" Apache's CODE in any way, shape or form.

Don't forget, they CAN help Apache by making IIS even crappier...

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473573)

No no... ill have to disagree: 100k bucks are a100k bucks. If it has no strings attached (and the ASF is pretty well versed in how to treat its members donations), take it and make it a better webserver.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (3, Funny)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472605)

So...Balmer's plan is to give his employees cancer?

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472927)

We call it "canchair" in Redmond.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1, Informative)

ibanezist00 (1306467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472647)

I'm not trying to defend Microsoft in any way, here, but that quote is often taken out of context. I think what Ballmer was trying to state was that any work that is a derivative of something based on the GNU GPL has to also be released under the GNU GPL. Note that I don't personally think this is a bad thing, I'm just trying to clarify best I can.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (4, Insightful)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472703)

"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." - Steve Balmer

eh? no no no...

"Microsoft is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

yep. sounds about right.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472835)

Here's another one:

Steve, your organization is now bloated - 640kB of common sense is no longer enough.

MS can be trusted (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472761)

MS can be trusted to do whatever they need to do to make a buck.
So I'm expecting Office .Net binaries that happen to run OK on Mono any time soon.

Re:MS cannot be trusted (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473585)

And if we consider there is a lot more to opensource than Linux and GPL, I can't see why Microsoft can't continue attacking Linux while "embracing" opensource.

I know this is slashdot, and no one RTFA, but the analysis actually makes sense to me.

I'm sure a lot of people here were using opensource software before ever hearing about Linux (I know I was). A lot of people using opensource software on Windows these days. Which is interesting by itself.

Consider this, for most people (non-geeks), Windows is free (they get it "free" with their new Dell, whatever). If, after that, they can have all the software they need also for free (Firefox, Openoffice.org etc), why would they want to migrate to Linux ? (yes, I know all the technical arguments).

As long as Microsoft keep pushing windows through OEM, they can even up its price to recover their loss on the, let say, Office segment.

There are many possible scenarios here that don't involve MS-Linux.

MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472339)

Microsoft's biggest problem isn't Google, it is that everyone is writing for a platform that is vendor neutral. It's extraordinarily difficult to find a business client that wants a client program - they want everything on the web whether it is stupid or not, and that's what has MS really worried. Google has failed in web apps fairly well, besides search, so they aren't the threat. What is the threat is that no one is really writing any sort of new applications for Windows SDK, .NET, etc. Open source people are at least interested in desktop applications development or PC applications development for Linux, and so, this could be part of a larger effort to at least get their stuff on Windows. Ultimately, Microsoft would rather have Windows running Linux applications on it desktop, then to have no desktop at all!

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (5, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472451)

Google has failed in web apps fairly well,
-

Google needs to release its web office applications as a server that can be installed in a corporate datacenter. That would allow corporations to maintain full and auditable control over their data, while leaving the high cost of MS Office behind.

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (5, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472595)

that goes against google's core principle of hoarding as much data as possible

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473297)

that goes against google's core principle of hoarding as much data as possible

Google sells a server you can drop in to index your internal corporate network, dropping in a similar apps server doesn't seem any different from a 'data hoarding' perspective.

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472625)

That's relatively high cost. If you are paying (luke) warm bodies $60,000 a year (and another $30,000 in benefits and shit), $600 software doesn't have to improve their productivity a whole lot to be entirely and completely worth it. Especially if you only pay that $600 every two or three years.

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473607)

I find yours an excelent point in what makes TCO an important figure.

Too bad that its impossible to find out what that is since all the houses that calculate it are slanted one way or another.

In any case, you have efficiently depicted why the soho software market exists. Kudos to you.

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (1)

bravecanadian (638315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472799)

It would also help if Google even *remotely* competed with MS Office on a feature basis.

This is a case where you do get what you pay for thus far in the game..

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473007)

I already commented on the article or I would have giving you a +1 Insightful.

The one thing that I am very upset with during all of this movement to web apps is the complete lack of quality network appliances.

To hell with ordering a server, and OS, and the software... then spending days configuring and testing, resolving any issues with scalability etc!

I say appliances are the future.

Re:MS Open Source is a Web Fallback (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473101)

Microsoft's biggest problem isn't Google, it is that everyone is writing for a platform that is vendor neutral. It's extraordinarily difficult to find a business client that wants a client program - they want everything on the web whether it is stupid or not, and that's what has MS really worried.

I have frequently used this fact to argue that Netscape won the browser war after all.

enemies close (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472359)

Just like the saying goes...keep your friends close, and your enemies closer...only in Microsoft's case they have no friends.

Re:enemies close (4, Insightful)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472409)

Hardware vendors? If it weren't for Vista, how many average consumers would want 3GB ram?

Re:enemies close (2, Insightful)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472551)

Considering I just paid 20 for 2GB DDR2 PC5300 brand memory, shipping included, I think pretty much everyone. Vista's memory usage is actually a good thing, because it uses it for precaching much used applications. Empty ram is no ram. I agree with all anti-Vista sentiments (I just can't work with that pos) but memory usage is the only thing I think is good about it. It just doesn't work that well with systems with less memory, and they've failed (surprise) to include some form of graceful fallback.

Re:enemies close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472649)

Pre-caching is ok, but should be done when enough memory is available.
That's different from pre-caching is ok, so let's make loads of memory mandatory.

Re:enemies close (1)

sir fer (1232128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473083)

Vista's memory usage is actually a good thing, because it uses it for precaching much used applications. Empty ram is no ram.

It's hard to elucidate on how many levels that this statement is wrong. Guess you bought the FUD along with your mega-quantities of "no-RAM". I bet you think the bogus "UAC" and the constant access to HDD are good things as well.

Lets hope that this will be the year of the Vista desktop as their first release wasn't ready for Grandma Mabel. That Linux cancer is taking over....

Other than that Steve Ballmer and Microsoft can go fuck themselves sideways with their shit software. I'm glad I've never given them a cent and never will

Re:enemies close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24473657)

What? Does mummy by all your MS software? Linux on the desktop? Apple destroyed that pipe dream with OSX. Now off to bed with you little freeturd.

Re:enemies close (2, Interesting)

philipgar (595691) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473493)

What about all the OSX users?

This is spoken from someone working on a macbook, so don't mark me down as an anti-apple zealot. OSX eats up memory. 2GB is the minimum I'd want on a leopard machine. If you plan on using parallels at all, 3GB is likely not enough. Of course, I tend to always have tons of tabs open in safari, I run mail, a terminal, xchat, adium, textedit, itunes,and other stuff at the same time.

At the end of the day, RAM is dirt cheap. I can buy a 2GB stick for about $40. If my OS eats memory it really isn't a big deal. The real problem is that my machine can only accept so much RAM.

Phil

Re:enemies close (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472525)

Wow, you're right! [slashdot.org] But they have a few freaks [slashdot.org] . And five fans.

Re:enemies close (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472669)

Are you claiming, sir, that Microsoft is a Harlot?

Re:enemies close (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473273)

only in Microsoft's case they have no friends.

Apart from Baal, Dr Evil, Satan, Cthulu, Shub-Niggurath, Dr Evil, Darth Vader, Celine Dion, Pinhead, the ebola virus, Cowboy Neil, er..

Re:enemies close (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473633)

And Dr. Evil as well for good meassure....

Er....

Embrace, extend, extinguish. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472405)

What part don't you understand?

Re:Embrace, extend, extinguish. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472861)

I don't understand why only MS can do it.

Let's fuck up all their de-facto standards with GPL-only extensions and see how they like it.

Re:Embrace, extend, extinguish. (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473123)

Because they are a monopoly? As long as GPL software doesn't dominate desktop market you cannot fight Microsoft with their own EEE tactics.

The writing on the wall: "Mene mene tekel uparsin" (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472413)

Microsoft's measure has been taken more than once, and when weighed found wanting. Their kingdom shal not remain intact.

Luring developers back (4, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472425)

The argument that Willis makes about MS wanting to lure F/OSS developers back is quite accurate. I just wonder how much MS's past behaviors will hurt them in this endeavor. Many people, especially those closely aligned with projects like Apache, Open Office, etc. are well aware of MS's historic practice of "embrase, extend, extinguish" so they're likely to be very cautious about any olive branches that they offer. I wonder if this well documented behavior of MS's is likely to doom such tactics to failure in the long run. As the next generation of programmers gets their feet wet they'll likely read & hear about all the trouble MS has caused, and see growing number of F/OSS projects. My guess is that many of them will likely deduce for themselves that sticking with F/OSS as much as possible is the preferred track to go and that they shouldn't trust MS themselves like those before them. Perhaps some folks within MS have also realized this and that's why they're starting to "cozy up" to F/OSS. They likely realize they've got a LONG way to go to start winning the real hard-core F/OSS folks back to supporting Windows.

Re:Luring developers back (0)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472961)

The impact of that would be negligible.

Most developers view open source as a means to an end, not a religion.

Re:Luring developers back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24473623)

Until they realize that they can't get a pay check from F/OSS.

yeah right... (4, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472437)

working desperately to change public opinion of Microsoft's involvement in the open source community

After years of calling it "open sores" and saying open source is a "cancer", I'd say they have their work cut out for them.

Do they really wonder why open source people don't trust them?

Re:yeah right... (4, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472615)

After years of calling it "open sores" and saying open source is a "cancer"

I hate to barge in on the fun here, but after years of calling them "Micro$haft" and "Windoze" and lame outdated jokes about Bob and Clippy, not to mention the massive FUD campaign against Vista, do you really wonder why they'd trust you at all?

You're not going to get rid of Microsoft, much as twitter & co. would want you to believe. So I'd recommend you eye them suspiciously and try to figure out if they're being open and straightforward about what they're doing. A sort of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" deal.

My personal perception - admittedly a limited view of a slice of the company as viewed from the outside - is that the rank and file are more and more aware of the need to play fair in order to compete effectively. They know that they have some really good software, but they have to justify the costs that go with it. Interoperability is one way to do that, as long as it's in everybody's interest and not just theirs.

I think Microsoft is changing, but it's not going to happen overnight. You can either give it a chance, or continue down the same path. They still own 90% of the desktop, their server market share is growing and either way they're still shoveling money every quarter. They're still the 300lb gorilla, and charging them head on while screaming is not going to work very well.

Re:yeah right... (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472921)

I hate to barge in on the fun here, but after years of calling them "Micro$haft" and "Windoze" and lame outdated jokes about Bob and Clippy, not to mention the massive FUD campaign against Vista, do you really wonder why they'd trust you at all?

I think the key difference you've failed to recognize is that the people who have done the things you point to aren't trying to get in good with Microsoft, while Microsoft, which has likened Open Source to cancer, is trying to get on the good side of the open source community.

They're still the 300lb gorilla, and charging them head on while screaming is not going to work very well.

A 300lb gorilla is either abnormally small, juvenile, or perhaps a large female. The common term for an a juggernaut that dwarfs all competitors in an area of business is "800lb gorilla".

Re:yeah right... (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473019)

I think the key difference you've failed to recognize is that the people who have done the things you point to aren't trying to get in good with Microsoft

Perhaps you'd like to read my post again. Attention to the part where I suggest trying to meet them halfway would be appreciated.

A 300lb gorilla is either abnormally small, juvenile, or perhaps a large female.

It's also faster and more nimble than the 800lb one. And it's still 300lb.

Re:yeah right... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24473429)

I think the key difference you've failed to recognize is that the people who have done the things you point to aren't trying to get in good with Microsoft, while Microsoft, which has likened Open Source to cancer, is trying to get on the good side of the open source community.

So when you say M$ Winblows you're *not* trying to get on Microsoft's good side, but when they say opsn source is a cancer, Microsoft is?

Way to go, you managed to say absolutely nothing of value, and someone even voted you up.

Re:yeah right... (1)

sir fer (1232128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473139)

You're not going to get rid of Microsoft, much as twitter & co. would want you to believe.

True, they're doing that well enough on their own. Vista has bad press because it is bloated and doesn't do *anything* better than XP or Linux and in fact does many things *worse*.

Re:yeah right... (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473537)

> They still own 90% of the desktop

They also owned over 90% of the web browsers in 2003. Now it is less than 80%. http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2008/August/browser.php [thecounter.com]

> their server market share is growing

By what study?

> charging them head on while screaming is not going to work very well

I think we are doing just fine. It is the Microsoft who is losing here. Why do you think they first ignored us, then tried their FUD campaign and now they want to be our friends? To me it seems that we are doing better and better.

Re:yeah right... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473541)

I hate to barge in on the fun here, but after years of calling them "Micro$haft" and "Windoze" and lame outdated jokes about Bob and Clippy, not to mention the massive FUD campaign against Vista, do you really wonder why they'd trust you at all?

Please show us direct and credible quotes from Linus Torvalds, or ANY CEO of ANY Linux-centric corporation who has made ANY such statements. Meanwhile, we have the CEO of the Microsoft Corporation making blatantly false/misleading statements, often doing so in a childish manner.

This is why your argument fails before it even gets out of the gate.

/P

Re:yeah right... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473675)

Man... who on earth would want MICROSOFT to trust them?

Get a grip: they were once a good thing for computerdom, they freed a many developer from really mean overlords, but they became one themselves and do not want to cave in and cooperate so that we can transition to a competitive market where everyone can make a buck without them necessarily making ten.

Its time for them to be smitten. And smite them the lord will.

(sorry for the bad spelling, it wouldve read quite nicely if i knew how to write better english)

Re:yeah right... (2, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473685)

Ah... and by the way: charging them head on IS WORKING very well. Thank you very much.

Poor schmucks (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472439)

While these MS employees might generally want to work with open source, I would guess most people in open source distrust the company. These employees might actually be working on things like interoperability in earnest; we are highly suspicious of how the executives are planning to use those projects for more nefarious deeds. It wasn't that long ago (Nov 2006) that Ballmer rattled his sword about Linux IP infringments without specifically naming them. All MS wanted to do is plant FUD. In today's IP world, companies stockpile patents mainly for defensive purposes. If MS ever actually went after Linux, it would have to deal with companies that would need to defend their IP whether they had a stake in Linux or not. But those who have huge investments in Linux: IBM, Oracle, Redhat, Novell, aren't pushovers either.

Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24472461)

Not sure what google has to do with OpenSource. I know that they use a lot of it, but they certainly are not releasing their applications such as search, mail, documents, etc.

Re:Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24473317)

Not sure what google has to do with OpenSource.

I'm not sure you've been paying attention or that you belong here. Google has contributed developer time and resources to many open source projects ranging everything from the Linux kernel to Wine.

Yes they keep some of the stuff they develop to themselves. Yes they use a lot of open source stuff too. What you are missing is that they also contribute back to many of the open source projects they benefit from.

Google Summer of Code and Google Code would seem to have everything to do with open source.

Get out from under your rock, stop trolling, or both.

Re:Google? (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473591)

And the way I see it. Using is also contributing. If you use open source, you don't pay money to the competitors. Money which they would use to market their product.

Also if you ever tell, mention or if someone can see you using an open source application, you have marketed it. Google has done this also as we know that they are using open source software.

So while Google is doing a lot more than just using. Don't underestimate the power of "just using".

Survival..... (1)

UseCase (939095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472515)

Embrace, extend and extinguish if possible.... If not mimic, befriend and strangle until you can extinguish.

M$ is kinda like kudzu or pigweed in that respect.

Cashing the GNU (5, Interesting)

Lucas.Langa (922843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472523)

What about this crazy idea:

  1. take an interesting open-source project Foobar
  2. if there's a need of new feature, write them
  3. hell, even release the changes as open source as well
  4. package it as Microsoft Foobar
  5. sell the product like mad in ways no other company is capable of (think OEMs, institutions, government, lawyers, etc.)
  6. PROFIT

Yeah, there even doesn't have to be a "???" step.

Re:Cashing the GNU (1)

nih (411096) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472865)

What about this crazy idea:

  1. take an interesting open-source project Foobar
  2. if there's a need of new feature, write them
  3. ???
  4. package it as Microsoft Foobar
  5. sell the product like mad in ways no other company is capable of (think OEMs, institutions, government, lawyers, etc.)
  6. PROFIT

there, fixed it for you

Re:Cashing the GNU (4, Funny)

steelfood (895457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472989)

I'm sorry, but Foobar [foobar2000.org] is not open source.

Re:Cashing the GNU (1)

smooth123 (893548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473135)

Isnt that what Billo did the first time around to make his M$ fortune. Sell a crappy version of an existing product. This is not new, anybody who has followed M$ knows exactly what Ball mer is trying to do.

Re:Cashing the GNU (1)

drodal (1285636) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473243)

They could start with firefox!

Anybody else think this might backfire for MS? (4, Interesting)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472651)

The one thing that MS has going for it is a complete lack of understanding of "open source" by upper management of many companies. I know that at previous jobs I couldn't even use those two words together without fear of a slap on the hand.

I realize that things are shifting and many companies are already investigating "open source" solutions, however they still weigh the pros and cons of both and still usually go for the business model that they understand the most.

Now that Microsoft is trying to be Open Source friendly, their name is appearing in all kinds of articles with those dreaded words "open source" and therefore all those managers who disreguarded that entire sector of the software industry are now that much more willing to let their IT departments experiment with "open source" solutions. And us IT people who have been waiting to jump the MS ship for years actually have an audience for that great MS replacement solution we have had in our heads.

I predict that this pandering to the Open Source community might signal the downfall for MS. Unless they embrace it completely and bleed "open source", they will never be as good as their "truely open" competitors.

It would be like Coke advertising that it now tastes more like (insert cheap cola maker here)... all of those people who have been drinking Coke because they thought it was better because they knew the name will now try the alternative. If the alternative is truely better, who's gonna drink Coke anymore?

Re:Anybody else think this might backfire for MS? (1)

sir fer (1232128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473185)

The one thing that MS has going for it is a complete lack of understanding of "open source" by upper management of many companies.

I think it will backfire because of the assumption that everybody will buy the FUD.

MSFT adding staff to compete against open source (4, Interesting)

twasserman (878174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472819)

I've recently heard that Microsoft is looking for a Senior Director in the Product Marketing area around their web application development strategy and tools. One of the requirements for this position is a solid understanding of the LAMP stack and development approaches for web applications built on open source software. Presumably the successful candidate will have the task of marketing Microsoft's .Net story against the open source LAMP stack. Microsoft's participation at OSCON and similar events gives them both the opportunity to become part of the open source community, and a better understanding of how they can compete against it.

Big Deal? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472825)

I've been writing software of some sort for about 10 years; naturally I've been involved in computers even longer than that... and I'm curious - what exactly is there to be optimistic about as far as Microsoft's attitude toward OSS? How would Microsoft opening the source to any of its stuff really change anything?

I keep seeing people get all excited about this. Just because something goes open source doesn't mean it's going to be free. Even if Microsoft opens everything tomorrow they will still be a huge monopoly capable of charging whatever they want to charge.

So, FOSS / OSS fanboys - why all the excitement?

Re:Big Deal? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473603)

Not sure if the word "excitement" applies here.

I'd suggest the more descriptive terms of "trepidation", "abashment", "surprise", "caution", and other factors that can serve as descriptions for the entire FOSS community looking in Microsoft's direction and thinking "WTF!?"

/P

Here's the deal. (4, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472937)

Here are the plain, simple facts regarding this sudden "change of heart":

1) Microsoft has, up until this point, violently opposed the open-source model, community and underlying morals & ethics that sustain our "ecosystem" as they put it. They have used Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, slander (and lots of PR/marketing money) to make open-source look inferior to their products. Remember, open-source is a "cancer".

2) Microsoft, since the beginning, has outright sabotaged other software companies' software, pushed (against their own customers no less) software onto their customers that only benefits them (WGA, Terminal server licensing server) and causes unjust amounts of headache for the people who purchase said software.

3) Speaking of Terminal Server, just a quick personal note from my recent experience: Microsoft intentionally limited Windows 2000 Server color depth to 256 colors for connecting devices (NT4 did NOT have this limitation). Windows 2003 Server touted features include 'Increased color depth in connecting devices'. This seems an awful lot to me as a conscious effort to cripple one version of their product, to be able to sell more of their next.

4) Microsoft is headed by a guy who got so butt hurt at an honest competitor that he threw a chair and started cursing.

---

The open source community must stand tall against Microsoft. Don't let the easily forgotten past dilute in your current glass of water - Microsoft has absolutely no intention of making an about face. They exist because they want to make MONEY. LOTS of money. And that's not bad, we all need money to survive - but Microsoft doesn't play by the rules. Never has, never will. I say we give them 10 years to prove their intentions (since it took them at least that long to put them in the position with the community in the first place) with the community. After that, maybe we'll feel more comfortable with letting the wolf into the sheep's domain.

lolcrosoft (4, Funny)

sohp (22984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24472985)

Im in ur OSCONs, stealin ur develpurs! DEVELPURS! DEVELPURS!

Devel purrs (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473439)

I can has BSD?

Microsofts biggest threat is the GPL, not OSS. (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473071)

The biggest hurdle between Microsoft and open source is the GPL. Because of how the license is written its very hard for Microsoft to embrace and extend any project written in GPL, especially GPLv3. Even if Microsoft somehow should manage to get the lead developers of some high profile projects away enough people exists that would just fork and ignore them completely.

I expect Microsoft to put much effort into trying to get more projects to use for example the BSD or Apache license instead of the GPL. Some people might but i suspect most peope are smart enough to realize all they are after is another chance at doing a Kerberos on other peoples hard work.

If Microsoft -HAS- seen the light.... (2, Insightful)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 6 years ago | (#24473205)

...then where the HELL is the "Mia Culpa, Let's be friends." interview with Stevie "King of the Flying Chair" Ballmer here on /.?

Wake me when this happens.

[Snoring Begins]

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