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Why Microsoft Is Being Nicer To Open Source

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the in-some-markets-at-least dept.

Businesses 231

itwbennett writes "Is open source's growth in emerging markets what is driving Microsoft to say 'we love open source' with an attempt at a straight face? 'The emerging markets (like the BRIC nations) are a huge potential market for Microsoft,' says Brian Proffitt. 'And I believe Redmond is wisely not taking the FUD route on open source software in those markets. Why? Because open source already has some strong roots in the BRIC nations (heck, in Brazil, open source is the whole darn tree), and any attack on open source would be seen as a foreign company attacking local software projects. If Microsoft attacked open source publicly in this environment, a lot of potential customers and developers in those countries could react in a protectionist manner and start giving Microsoft the stink-eye.'"

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Wrong (-1, Flamebait)

javelinco (652113) | about 4 years ago | (#33431506)

Microsoft has ALREADY attacked open source. Many times. I could link to a dozen articles, at least, discussing just this here at Slashdot. If you are going to write an editorial, know the subject, and know your history. Thanks for playing!

Re:Wrong (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431534)

The article didn't say or even imply that Microsoft hasn't slammed open source, the whole point was that they're not doing it any more.

Re:Wrong (0)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#33431572)

For how many days last "any more"? would ask for how many hours, but is already late today. They are just warming up to strike twice as harder next time.

Re:Wrong (2, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 4 years ago | (#33432032)

We need a sign!

Safety first: it has been [15] days since Microsoft last attacked.

Re:Wrong (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33432176)

Here's your sign? :p

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432346)

lmao...mods...look up the blue collar comedy reference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erwv8vcZEoU [youtube.com]

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33432140)

The article didn't say or even imply that Microsoft hasn't slammed open source, the whole point was that they're not doing it any more.

Yeah, that's usually called "pandering".

Like the summary explains, they're doing this out of a concern that anything else might alienate potential customers in various markets. That is not a change of heart. It's the same old self-serving Microsoft we've always known. They'd say that Jeffrey Dahmer was a really great guy if they thought it would boost sales. Microsoft hasn't changed. What will and won't alienate potential customers is the only thing that has changed here.

I'll put it very bluntly: anyone who believes otherwise is a naive fool who doesn't understand the first thing about this company or its history.

Re:Wrong (1)

clodney (778910) | about 4 years ago | (#33432258)

So let's see. Microsoft will do anything that it thinks will boost sales.

Those bastards! Next thing you know they will have the audacity to start fixing bugs that people complain about, or implement features that are requested, or even make products that they think people will buy! Oh Noes! The horror. The horror!

Re:Wrong (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33432334)

So let's see. Microsoft will do anything that it thinks will boost sales.

You accurately summarized my paragraph...

Those bastards! Next thing you know they will have the audacity to start fixing bugs that people complain about, or implement features that are requested, or even make products that they think people will buy! Oh Noes! The horror. The horror!

...yet managed to completely miss the point. Maybe you don't want to see the point, but I'll try.

The point, my eager-to-resort-to-mockery friend, is that appearing to appreciate Open Source is what Microsoft believes is in its interests today. It was not in Microsoft's interests yesterday (not literally 24 hours ago but figuratively speaking) and may not be in their interests tomorrow. Microsoft is doing this because they hope it will appeal to people who care about Open Source. The people who believe it are likely to find that Microsoft will continue this act for just long enough to lock them into using its software. At that point Microsoft will feel that the ruse has served its purpose and will revert to openly regarding Open Source as an enemy.

Now that you know what my point was, or now that it's more difficult for you to deny knowing what my point was (whichever may be the case), you can see plainly that it has absolutely nothing to do with fixing bugs, adding features, or introducing new products. If you weren't deliberately trolling, you provided a good example of what emotional knee-jerk reactions lead to.

Re:Wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431540)

This isnt about Microsofts past attitude, buts its present one, which is a hell of alot nicer then it was before. Microsoft have made several contributions to the Linux kernel, and helped out other projects in other ways.

Re:Wrong (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 4 years ago | (#33431552)

Microsoft have made several contributions to the Linux kernel...

ORLY? I'm genuinely curious what they have contributed to the kernel.

Re:Wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431630)

Hyper-V kernel extensions

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431638)

there was tis really cool new invention called the search engine. Try something like www.google.com and typing "linux kernel" "microsoft contribution", if you were genuinely curious you would not have any trouble what so ever finding the information.

Re:Wrong (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431696)

You blew my mind!

Re:Wrong (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#33431710)

Wow this is amazing. I think this new technology is going to change everything. Microsoft has done it again!

Down with gopher, up with Microsoft Google!

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432288)

ORLY? I'm genuinely curious about that rock you've been living under.

Re:Wrong (3, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | about 4 years ago | (#33431796)

Not to mention the release of the .Net DLR under an Apache license.

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

yyxx (1812612) | about 4 years ago | (#33432380)

Wow! They contributed Linux kernel extensions to let Linux run on their Hyper-V platform! Amazing! Will wonders never cease?

Re:Wrong (3, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | about 4 years ago | (#33431564)

Basic reading comprehension skills are in order: "what is driving Microsoft to say 'we love open source' with an attempt at a straight face?"

Re:Wrong (1)

javelinco (652113) | about 4 years ago | (#33431798)

As I said in another reply:

Microsoft is saying good things about open source in ALL OF ITS markets. For now. Changing what they've done in the past.

My reading skills aren't the problem here. Perhaps some focus on your own skillset might be in order?

They're on the ropes (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#33432400)

They see they've missed the transition to mobile, they feel their empire slipping away. Deliberate incompatibility isn't working any more, so this is the change-up. Don't be confused though - as an entity Microsoft still sees open source as "open sores" - a cancer, in Steve Ballmer's words. They just realize that in some markets they have to be more diplomatic now.

In others? Well I'll just quote the first comment from the fine article:

Nicer? Not really! Here is an excerpt from an invitation for a seminar by Microsoft in Budapest/Hungary on 8.30.2010. "Program: 9:30 - 10:30 The art of selling against free, opensource Office competitors by Moritz Berger / Enterprise Tech Strategist (in English) 10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break 11:00 - 12:00 Technical teardown of OpenOffice by Moritz Berger / Enterprise Tech Strategist" by Anonymous (not verified) on 8/30/10 at 4:43 pm

I get these invitations from Microsoft too. Everybody in tech does. If they want to fool the public into believing they're all about competing on an open field they're going to have to get all of their messaging in-line everywhere, because we have this "Internet" thing now.

Re:Wrong (1)

lawpoop (604919) | about 4 years ago | (#33431672)

I could link to a dozen articles, at least, discussing just this here at Slashdot.

How many of these articles are in Portuguese? The public mass consciousness has no memory, only a fickle perception of the present.

Re:Wrong (1)

javelinco (652113) | about 4 years ago | (#33431790)

That's a fair point - but really - while that might work, my point is that we've got an editorial that doesn't really make the point you are trying to make. Microsoft is saying good things about open source in ALL OF ITS markets. For now. Changing what they've done in the past.

Re:Wrong (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33432276)

That's a fair point - but really - while that might work, my point is that we've got an editorial that doesn't really make the point you are trying to make. Microsoft is saying good things about open source in ALL OF ITS markets. For now. Changing what they've done in the past.

It seemed apparent to me that the point he was trying to make is not what you are responding to there. In fact I was about to make this point my own way until I saw that he had already raised it.

The point is that the general public seems to have an awfully short memory. Otherwise they'd be rightly skeptical of this move. They'd understand that a model of 100% open source software from operating systems to applications is antithetical to Microsoft's business model (for one, that sure would make it hard to implement vendorlock). That alone renders this move suspect. Then there's the long history of viewing Open Source as an enemy, both in the form of action and in the form of things like the Halloween documents.

If Microsoft is saying good things about Open Source in "all of its markets" it's only because of the ease with which the Internet would expose any attempt to say good things in Location A and bad things in Location B. That would just make them look stupid and would be counterproductive to their goal of pandering to the BRIC nations. They're ruthless bastards in my opinion but no one who takes a hard look at their use of long-term strategy would conclude that they are stupid.

GP was not denying that Microsoft is currently acting warm and fuzzy towards Open Source. I have no idea why you reiterate the editorial and must conclude you didn't correctly comprehend the GP. The grandparent is saying that Microsoft's new stance is not genuine and that a cursory understanding of the way this company does business would strongly affirm that position. If documentation of their history in Portuguese can promote such an understanding it could remedy the public's short memory.

The public sees that now Microsoft is being kinder to Open Source. Many seem to forget what the last 10-15 years of the Microsoft monopoly was like. And all it took was a change of PR strategy. They definitely got their dollar's worth from the marketing department this time.

You see this kind of short memory in politics all of the time. Why would it be a surprise when the same tendency is shown regarding business? In either case it doesn't survive contact with the facts so that's where a constructive remedy can be applied.

Not entirely wrong. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 years ago | (#33431706)

Perhaps Microsoft shows one face to the nations in question ("we lurve FOSS"), but their usual face to the rest of the planet ("lunix suX0rz!").

It's not like a corporation that big can't present opposing personalities, each suited to the markets they're trying to take on.

Re:Not entirely wrong. (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | about 4 years ago | (#33431806)

Just like during the fifa World Cup coca-cola cheers for Argentina in Argentina, for Brazil in Brazil, etc..

Re:Not entirely wrong. (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33432264)

Corporations are not people. They hate when you antropomorphize them.

In all seriousness, it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing stance. Microsoft is a business; it exists to earn money. When and where supporting FOSS one way or another is beneficial to the bottom line, directly (more sales) or indirectly (good PR -> more sales), of course it will be supported! This doesn't mean that it'll be supported all the way - and while we're at it, go ask Google for the source code for PageRank...

Re:Not entirely wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432432)

PageRank - U.S. Patent 6285999. Why would you need their source code? It's not complicated. Pick a language and start coding.

The lawyers...that's a whole nuther ball-o-wax.

Re:Wrong (4, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33431982)

Microsoft may be interested in open source, but the real question is, is the real open source interested in Microsoft? Tainting the water is a bad thing. Patent battles are going on like crazy today. It probably isn't a good thing to get open source involved in that if at all possible.

And, Microsoft's seemingly over night change of heart can be changed over night again. There's no historical evidence that they should be trusted.

Microsoft's version/vision of open source is much different than the official definition of open source. Even if they are making happy with something it isn't true open source.

We might not want to trust Microsoft at all, ever, because of their preexisting policy of embrace, extend, extinguish.

The few instances where some code was contributed are infinitesimally tiny overall. The size of open source code universe makes those Microsoft contributions look like an amoeba compared to the sun.

Re:Wrong (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33432274)

Patent battles are going on like crazy today. It probably isn't a good thing to get open source involved in that if at all possible.

Did you miss Apple's recent patent lawsuit against Google over Android (which, need I remind, is very much FOSS)?

And, Microsoft's seemingly over night change of heart can be changed over night again. There's no historical evidence that they should be trusted.

You can still deal with people whom you don't trust - you just assume the worse case scenario, you'll get as much from the deal as is legally entitled to you, and not a bit more. From there, trust may (or may not) eventually enter the picture.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | about 4 years ago | (#33432384)

Your comments show a total misunderstanding of open source on your part.

Your point seems to be that we need to *trust* a person or a company before we *let* them join open source. And the trust should be perpetual. That is a darn big barrier. I doubt anyone is actually qualified.

I think Linus Torvalds once said it very well: "People don't need to trust me because of the GPL" (or sth to that effect). The GPL protects the copyrights of the contributors and makes sure it stays in the public domain forever. There is no requirement or need for a "trust" in the contributor (other than that the code he contributes does belong to him). For whatever reason, as long as the code is good with the appropriate license, we should welcome that.

Linux has long gone beyond 'us vs Microsoft'. Please let it go.

lulz for the frost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431514)

I made your mom's eye stink...LIKE MY JISM

MS can't be serious with this Strategy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431520)

I saw MS OSS strategy in a local event. They are not serious with Open Source. They want OSS software to take money away from their partners, but not them.

Check my article.
http://martin.iturbide.com/?page_id=114

Re:MS can't be serious with this Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431620)

So you are saying that a for-profit enterprise, wants to prevent money from being taken from them? Scandal and shame! Wait until I tell batman about this!

Re:MS can't be serious with this Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431840)

I really hate it, when people use unnecessary commas, in the middle of, sentences.

MS OSS Strategy is UpSide Down. (5, Interesting)

martiniturbide (1203660) | about 4 years ago | (#33431530)

Nobody will fall for MS OSS strategy. It is focus to harm MS business partners, and not too touch MS money source. Check my article: http://martin.iturbide.com/?page_id=114 [iturbide.com]

Mod Parent Up (1, Insightful)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 4 years ago | (#33431618)

Your article is far more interesting and substantial that the little blurb in the /. post.

Re:MS OSS Strategy is UpSide Down. (0)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#33431820)

I'm just curious as to why you wrote the word as "UpSide".

Re:MS OSS Strategy is UpSide Down. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431824)

They should throw a BRIC at Microsoft.
The US is now a dead economy like latin is a dead language.

Re:MS OSS Strategy is UpSide Down. (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33432056)

The slide in your editorial demonstrates Microsoft's vision of OSS during initial announcement a couple years ago. They were all for OSS as long as it fit their definition of it. They were working quite hard to get enterprise businesses to embrace their vision of OSS. If they had business following their vision then the vision of true open source would be blurred and out of sight.

What was identified by the OSS community regarding their definition of OSS those couple years ago was exactly what you have identified here. They showed that Microsoft's definition of OSS was only OSS if it was done for Windows. Of course, that's not what true OSS is nor how it was defined some 17 years ago.

Their definition of OSS was released not too long after several Microsoft employees spoke out about how Microsoft was going to kill Linux. One of them went so far as to predict that that year was the start of the death of Linux.

Their definition is nothing less than embrace, EXTEND, extinguish. By getting business to embrace their view they can reduce the reach of OSS into business because they believe Microsoft's version is the only true OSS. That in effect will cease adoption of OSS by business and hence the death of Linux.

I must admit that Linux adoption seems to have slowed and the amount of press has considerably declined. Certainly some areas have continued to expand.

Yes, something is up (2, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 4 years ago | (#33431532)

I get MSDN magazine and the latest issue has a seriously good article on sqlight. They said it works really well on cell phones, etc., where it was almost impossible to install a database server and/or could not always have access to a server to connect back to a database.

transporter_ii

Re:Yes, something is up (2, Insightful)

sodul (833177) | about 4 years ago | (#33431664)

You mean SQLite [sqlite.org] ?

Re:Yes, something is up (2, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 4 years ago | (#33431684)

Yes. I wish Slashdot had an edit feature. Crap just doesn't show up until you hit submit...

Re:Yes, something is up (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about 4 years ago | (#33431682)

my symbian S60 phone has mysql install on it.

Re:Yes, something is up (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 4 years ago | (#33432420)

Yeah, but SQLite isn't even open source -- it's straight up public domain software. Hardly a threat to Microsoft or its business model.

Embrace, extend, eliminate (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431548)

This is Microsoft's old M.O.

Nothing to see here folks ...

When the cheese moves you follow it (4, Interesting)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | about 4 years ago | (#33431554)

Microsoft is always going to be concerned with maximizing their profits (their legal fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders). If they see ways to do that by working with or using open source, then they will.

Microsoft is in a position similar to IBM, where they can provide solutions and support them. If part of that solution is open source, MS still gets all the support dollars. A lot of companies use some open source stuff now, but the last thing you want to tell your PHB is that your support comes from some usenet forum.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431584)

Have you ever seen Microsoft support an end user directly?

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431640)

Yes...the ones who have the money to pay for it.

Same as IBM or Apple or anybody else in the big leagues.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (4, Interesting)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 4 years ago | (#33431776)

That depends on the end user (how big their Microsoft licensing fees are) and/or their willingness to pay for an incident. Personally, I only use enterprise grade operating systems and application software for my machines and I'm not talking XP, Vista, or 7. I noticed a long time ago that that's about the only version where it just works unless there is a hardware failure or Microsoft does something wrong with an update. Am I paying a lot for that peace of mind and a higher level of support from MS (and others)? Yep. For me, it's worth it especially given the wild and crazy experiments I conduct here which turn out to be not so wild and crazy ten or more years later.

Aside from Microsoft making somewhat nice with the F/OSS community, which is their own self-interest given that large firms are not monolithic MS, I've noticed that getting technical support for a hybrid set of systems does not automatically get a response that places the blame on the non-MS pieces of your IT setup. If I had to guess, MS may be eyeing the market niche that IBM pretty much dominates (IMNSHO) while still making hardware and creating software; services that mix and match across whatever has in place and make it work. I've seen the first steps in this direction with their various systems management tools, especially for virtualization. The Office cash cow won't last forever and I think they are getting that. Finally.

Does this portend a kinder, gentler Microsoft? Not on your life. They are just continuing with embrace and extend while looking like a 'nice' Microsoft. Yeah, right.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 4 years ago | (#33431726)

If you recall, the original "Anti-GPL" stance that Microsoft had, went something along the lines of "Contaminating the software ecosystem."

This was at a time when Microsoft was a quasi-dominant force in the server market, when their IIS server platform actually had a reasonable install base in production environments, and Windows was totally unchallenged by Linux and pals.

Fast forward about a decade now. Ubuntu Linux (and it's sub-flavors) is gaining popularity, Android is devistating Microsoft's offering in the handheld OS market, FOSS software is gaining deeply established traction in many developing countries and making inroads in countries that were previously deeply in Microsoft's pockets, and the FUD campaign that GPL==Communism has failed miserably.

As such, their "Cherished" "Software ecosystem" has had no choice but to accept the new competition, which if you re-read their old FUD campaigns, is exactly what they were saying was wrong with GPL software; It is a disruptive license that destroys the status quo, and threatens for-profit development (as it was practiced at the time.)

In the face of their major competitors (like apple) who have at least partially embraced FOSS software (OSX is based on BSD, IIRC.. could be mistaken. That's why Darwin is FOSS.) and are leveraging it like a catylist to gain more and more market penetration and market share, microsoft can no longer afford to try and play the status quo card. That's why the whole "Software ecosystem" rhetoric has dried up. Now they are playing damage control, and trying to butter up to the same projects and people that they snubbed just a decade ago, hoping that small time developers have as short a memory as do MBAs. (Or, even more disturbing, that they can bamboozle new, young and fresh talent in the FOSS community into drinking the koolaid.)

I would trust Microsoft to "Actually like" FOSS, as I would trust Darl McBride to make a linux kernel patch.

Like you pointed out in your post above, Just about the only thing you can predict that Microsoft will do is do whatever is necessary to increase its bottom line; including redact its own policy statements. Likewise, you should expect that Microsoft will do the same thing concerning FOSS policies and licenses, should it cease being profitable for MS to continue such licensing tactics.

This is a very important situation to quietly think to yourself "Caveat Emptor" about, because when you buy into their new policies, you need to be fully aware that Microsoft, can, and likely will, pull the rug out later. Their ONLY loyalty is to their stockholders, and to the all mighty dollar. They don't even have loyalty to their own rules; it would be absurd to expect that they have somehow had a change of heart in a deep way, or to behave ethically if money is involved.

Personally, I find that as a company, they are overburdened in a faulted development and managerial model that wont fare well in the current market environment. Microsoft is slowly but surely being left behind by smaller, or more agile players, much like IBM was neutered by the end of the 90s. As such, I personally would approach this whole issue with a more forward thinking eye.

As much as I DESPISE apple and Mr Jobs, I feel that he is a much more savvy CEO than Ballmer ever was, or ever could be, and this is probably the main reason why there are rumors of his imminent replacement. As such, I would predict Apple's market share to continue to grow in handheld electronic devices, and through that, leverage more into the personal computer market, though Apple seems to be taking the stance that the macintosh market is now a secondary priority.

About the only thing Microsoft has going for it right now is market momentum, and the upgrade inertia of other corporations. (The exact same reason why IE6 refuses to die.)

So, personally I would focus more on other platforms than the microsoft offerings. Microsoft has the smell of death about it.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432040)

I'd like to think GNU/Linux has made progress. In reality it is more like a tug of war though with one side much stronger than the other and GNU/Linux is just fighting dammm hard where Microsoft is big, clumsy, and stupid. It moves slow although eventually wins most markets. The thing to remember is the little Penguin isn't going away. It's a charity project if nothing else supports it. The fact is it isn't a charity project though. People just make it out to be that way because Microsoft is such a rotten company and GNU/Linux is mostly free. Now if we could just convince the *@)@ holes who are stopping it from being free to come on board. For the few who manage to get away using the cut-throat distributions without any non-free software components I look up to you. For those who want to support and be able to do so in the future use those distributions check out www.thinkpenguin.com. They are the only ones with the hardware right now other than the bios. They even sell usb wifi adapters and other stuff.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (0, Redundant)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#33432148)

This was at a time when Microsoft was a quasi-dominant force in the server market, when their IIS server platform actually had a reasonable install base in production environments, and Windows was totally unchallenged by Linux and pals.

Microsoft is doing quite well in the server market:

x86 server revenues were up 31.7% to $7 billion on shipments up 25.8% to 1.8 million servers, positively impacting Windows server demand. IDC put Windows server revenue at $5 billion, representing 46.5% of overall quarterly factory revenue. Linux server revenues were up 30.1% to $1.8 billion, representing 16.8% of all server revenue, up 2.5 points over last year. Server Sales Were Healthy in Q2: IDC [sys-con.com] [August 29]

With the second quarter server market figures tabulated and analyzed, it looks like SMBs rule the roost. Basically, there's been dramatic market growth among x86 servers--i.e, the PC-derived kind that SMBs buy. The high end of the market, meanwhile, continues to dry up.
IDC, the market research firm behind the figures, says that there was a 28.2 percent 2Q year-over-year increase in Windows Server shipments, as users not only bought new x86 machines, but found broader uses for x86 machines.
Linux servers (which also often involve x86 machines) showed even better growth, with vendor revenue up 30.1 percent. Linux servers now account for 16.8 percent of the server market, an increase of 2.5 points over the last year. Server Field Becoming An SMB Market [informationweek.com]

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (2, Interesting)

CyDharttha (939997) | about 4 years ago | (#33432350)

I'm probably not taking all the above numbers into account accordingly, but I think there are plenty of factors to consider. Businesses continue to upgrade from Server 2003 to 2008 in the past year; this should contribute to growth of Win Server sales. I'm seeing plenty of our 2003 systems finally look to upgrades as hardware comes up on renew. We're still moving clients off Exchange 2k3. The second point, and always a point I think for Linux - we'll purchase a blank server, toss a hypervisor on it, then proceed to install numerous VMs with varying flavors of Linux with varying function. None of those installs or OS sales are recorded in the above figures. Not to mention that the hypervisors are Linux, be it VMWare, Xen, KVM, etc. And of course the move to x86 hardware continues as virtualization penetrates the datacenter and clusters of commodity hardware replace big iron.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 4 years ago | (#33432220)

Fast forward about a decade now. Ubuntu Linux (and it's sub-flavors) is gaining popularity, Android is devistating Microsoft's offering in the handheld OS market, FOSS software is gaining deeply established traction in many developing countries and making inroads in countries that were previously deeply in Microsoft's pockets, and the FUD campaign that GPL==Communism has failed miserably.

They were just ahead of their time. Today the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world call anything they don't like communist/socialist and people just accept it without question.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432480)

http://newzeal.blogspot.com/2009/09/obama-file-87-socialists-in-obama.html [blogspot.com]

Unlike the "Racist" tag tossed by the looney left, there are actual "socialists" all over Obama's Administration. Oh, and I bet Martin Luther King's Niece has never been called a racist before ...

What Beck's rally signifies is the new face of racism, in that it's insidious, but not in-your face racist.

Excerpt From http://www.blogher.com/glenn-becks-restoring-honor-rally-racist-or-just-free-speech [blogher.com] .

http://img.chan4chan.com/img/2009-09-14/1252938242628.jpg [chan4chan.com]

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (2, Insightful)

maugle (1369813) | about 4 years ago | (#33431754)

Except, unlike IBM, they can't get too cozy with open source without risking their OS and Office cash cows. Though I haven't seen any numbers, I would guess that the income from support is absolutely dwarfed by the income from sales of Windows alone.

As Microsoft has said in the past, open source does have a tendency to spread ... infectiously. If Microsoft suggests using an open-source program instead of a commercial one, any smart client will notice and begin wondering what else they can get without having to pay licensing costs.

Re:When the cheese moves you follow it (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33432292)

If Microsoft suggests using an open-source program instead of a commercial one, any smart client will notice and begin wondering what else they can get without having to pay licensing costs.

By your logic, the latter would happen for any free product that Microsoft offers, not necessarily FOSS (since the client is presumably mainly concerned about saving $$$). Which does not stop MS from releasing stuff for free or very cheap (e.g.: SQL and VS Express, DreamSpark, BizSpark).

Why? Because sometimes, when you drop the price, or even give something away for free, it boosts sales for the rest of your stuff. For example: free Windows development tools -> more Windows applications -> higher Windows sales during the next upgrade cycle. For the same reason, Microsoft publishes that installer thingy that downloads and configures PHP on Windows/IIS, even though PHP is technically a competitor (to ASP.NET): if it makes someone who's sticking to PHP pick Windows over Linux, then it's still one more sale.

"stink-eye" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431558)

when the summary said "stink-eye", i thought it said "brown-eye".

MSFT vs "Open Source" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431654)

Let's see: who profits in a big way from 'Open Source"? GOOGLE. What does Apple use as its underlying programming? Open Source. Who is killing open usage of Java? Oracle. And by default, Oracle is trying to crimp "Open Source" And who would not license JAVA to MSFT, so that MSFT had to create their own language(s)? That's right-SUN. (Although, MSFT probably would have done that to some extent anyway. So get off MSFT as the exclusive enemy of "Open Source"

Re:MSFT vs "Open Source" (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#33432206)

I don't think this is any MSFT as the exclusive enemy of Open Source. I think it's more of a wolf in sheep's clothing situation where it's being pointed out that the sheep over by the tree is actually a wolf in disguise.

In other words, not all rants have to touch all participants in a topic. This is just as valid as railing on anything you mentioned, it's just targeted at the "look at me, I'm your friend now" enemy.

"Could?" (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | about 4 years ago | (#33431688)

What's this "'could react in a protectionist manner and start giving Microsoft the stink-eye'" shit? Isn't that the normal reaction?

Re:"Could?" (1)

beefncheese (1663847) | about 4 years ago | (#33431934)

I think Microsoft passed beyond stink-eye, and into brown-eye territory, long ago.

Re:"Could?" (1)

Barny (103770) | about 4 years ago | (#33432234)

Since you seem knowledgeable on the subject...

What the hell is a "stink-eye"?

Have never heard this turn of phrase before.

Rio de Janeiro's point of view. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431724)

People in Brazil (unfortunately) dont give shit about open source.
The roots are slowly spreading, but it will take long time before it really grows.

I can tell a tale about how Vista contributed for our crescent love for Ubuntu:
- XP is very popular
- people here buy PCs more wisely (they need more bang for the buck, since computers used to be expensive here and we still have the old thinking of "expensive computers"), and thus, have less powerful computers. Less powerful computers that dont benefit from Vista.
- MS took too long time to start advertising Vista seriously here (most people only got vista due to bundled crappy "starter edition" - and most people would get rid of it and install illegal XP copies)

From those 3 points, people would stick with XP. But XP is a 2001 system and looks dated next to Mac and some Linuxes. Whenever someone with a geeky linux user get to see some nice Ubuntu presentation, eventually, gets converted. I work for a mobile software development company - at first, we were Vistas and Macs only. Eventually, we're all migrating to Ubuntu. Heck, even Comedy Central cites Ubuntu!

As a final testament, I can tell about my ex-gf (she's a sociologist, not a programmer), that got a seven starter edition with her netbook and asked me to install Ubuntu on it - that would be pretty normal, if wasnt for the fact that she asked me AFTER I broke up with her and she was very angry at me. I can also tell about my aunt, a painter with no skills on computer at all.

What's the deal on your aunt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431740)

You sleep with her too? Incest is best, really.

Re:What's the deal on your aunt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431894)

No, he meant the Aunt was also angry after he broke it off with her.

Noticed something (1)

zmaragdus (1686342) | about 4 years ago | (#33431748)

From the article...

since business-types and engineering-types don't often communicate to each other very well.

Oh boy...did he ever hit the bullseye with this one.

Re:Noticed something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431900)

I don't think the problem is communication. The business types do understand that open source has the potential to become more powerful than proprietary software. The marginal costs of production are much lower. From an economic point of view, this plainly means "better". Even if it means devoting a few year's worth of resources to make it fit their needs. Businesses make capital investments all the time. That's the whole point of a business.

But there's a "problem". Most businesses aren't in the business of writing software. Moreover, there's a prisoner's dilemma in play. There's little point in investing if somebody else can do it for you. The resources tied up in writing and supporting software can (potentially) be put to better use developing the business's core strategy. Any sane business will gladly move to open source, once it fits their needs.

This is not to say that there isn't a profit to be made from open source. Public parks are underfunded, but their amenities are often very profitable.

Not the main reason (1)

wen1454 (1875096) | about 4 years ago | (#33431752)

I do not disagree with this article, but I think there are many other reasons why Microsoft is being nice. 1) Reputation. It is harder for Microsoft to attract talented programmers and “elite” users if they are viewed as some kind of Mordor. 2) Hurting competitors. Microsoft was no fan of freeware, but they made IE free (as in beer) for obvious reasons. 3) Helping the PC. Microsoft’s success is connected to the success of the personal computer. If more people switch to tablets or to the cloud, Microsoft suffers.

Re:Not the main reason (0, Redundant)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33432126)

Giving away a product for free is not the same as open source.

Microsoft's strategy is as dumb as their software (0, Redundant)

harlequinade (1122273) | about 4 years ago | (#33431808)

It is necessary to get behind someone/thing in order to stab them in the back.

Re:Microsoft's strategy is as dumb as their softwa (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | about 4 years ago | (#33432072)

I disagree. I would think that stabbing someone in the back could also be done just by getting the target into a position where the killer can make him feel good with a hug. A pat on the back, some support, a...SHARP STABBING PAIN OF DEFEAT!

The Eternal Spin Zone: Microsoft (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431872)

Few years ago, right here on /., someone compared Microsoft and Open Source to being a dinosaur
spinning in circles within a tar pit and several animals barking and chattering around it, watching
and waiting as the pathetic creature was sucked in completely by the tar.

Could it be the dinosaur's head is slightly above the tar's surface and a fat, greasy, yet
tiny rodent like clawed hand is reaching out with a large slice of bacon and waving it around
for every animal surrounding it to see, with a pathetic grin and swan song expressing a last
mournful love interest in the solidarity of its foes?

Do not fall for the melody of the monster, nor the pit which welcomes him and his own kind.

Geeks Know Better (2, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | about 4 years ago | (#33431896)

Emperor: Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station! *click* Fire at will, commander!
Crewfish: Sir, we have star destroyers!
Admiral Ackbar: It's a trap!

Zoe: So. Trap?
Mal: Trap.
Wash: Wait...how do you...
Mal: You were listenin' I take it?
Everyone: ....
Mal: Did'ja hear us fight?
Zoe: No?
Mal: Trap.

not true (5, Interesting)

8086 (705094) | about 4 years ago | (#33431898)

I don't know about the whole BRIC, but I've been practicing computer science for 13 years in India and haven't seen a single person use Linux as a desktop OS. Even as a server OS, people usually go for Windows instead of Linux, web servers being an exception. Most people just pirate MS products if they can't afford them. My two cents: MS realizes that people use mixed UNIX/Linux-Windows environments and that they're not going to gain any more market share by bashing open source, since it has 'arrived'. What they are trying to do is show interoperability with open source software, so that you buy Windows because it won't hate your Linux machines. Also, like everyone else, they're trying to build 'community' around the Windows programming environment, because that's where they've been lacking so far. ASP is losing to PHP because a lot more free code is available that can be quickly and lazily deployed. Another reason why this might be happening is because younger people who have grown up with open source software are now working at MS and they probably want to change the evil MS image.

Re:not true (4, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33432156)

The guys that make the WUBI product are from India.

I know India is heavily into math. It really would make sense to have more in India using Linux because more people would have examples to learn by, especially complex code such as the OS kernel.

If India is a lot like their nearby neighbors in Asia most people would be pirating Windows.

Options? (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 4 years ago | (#33431912)

The only way MS could continue to benefit from a proprietary model in an open-source market would be to work toward more or less completely isolating a few markets from open-source (probably U.S., Gr. Britain, Australia).

Didn't Bill Gates already say he wants all of us to store all our "data files" in massive, sub-oceanic storages? While forcing us all to use processors that always ask Microsoft (and/or monopoly "trade" partner microprocessor firm) for permission before executing any set of machine instructions in lieu of perfecting "security"?

In a world where Adobe can try a Russian in an American court and send him back to Russia for imprisonment, where breaking rot-13 or simple substitution can get you a similar conviction for "espionage", where learning about and discussing the "trade" partner microprocessor firm's backroom-deal hidden opcodes is industrial terrorism or some crap, where America's number one terrorist threat are "the homeless" and where veterans are "right wing extremists", where sleeping on the couch while your son is in the backroom downloaded 0-day can get you gut-shot, and basically where owning a 486 will one day be considered an act of treason?

Of course, "being nice" might just equate to "pushing the envelope", i.e. attempting to buy-out "big open source" development.

Where the licenses don't allow for actually purchasing and closing the code, there's always the possibility of just buying up developers for the right price (right price? everybody has one), signing them to non-disclosure and corporate clearance (against "corporate espionage") agreements lasting a decade or longer with huge liabilities attached for leverage (where your options if you did spill the beans or take your "trade secrets" back to open-source would be either live on the street and be "uncollectible" or pay out the ass to a multi-million dollar damages judgement for the rest of your life, which may or may not be the life of a convicted corporate saboteur) giving them their own "department" while simultaneously closing/internally-buying-out the "department" and laying them all off, and considering the unemployment pay to be a small fee compared to losing product sales against the open-source "competitor".

. . . Just Say No to Open Source, Chummer!!!

Do Not Trust Microsoft (0, Redundant)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 years ago | (#33431914)

The only thing that Microsoft cares about is profit. There have been far too many companies that have been sucked devoid of life by Microsoft in the past [groklaw.net] by those who falsely belived that Microsoft played "by the rules".

imo, the reality is that one of Microsoft's major contributions to business is the questionable exploitation of the far fringes of business legalities.

Re:Do Not Trust Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432012)

The only thing that Microsoft cares about is profit. There have been far too many companies that have been sucked devoid of life by Microsoft in the past [groklaw.net] by those who falsely belived that Microsoft played "by the rules".

It's true they were incredibly obnoxious (and illegal) bullies during the 1990's when they were in position to get away with it. However, the world has changed. The PC is fast becoming legacy technology, and MS itself has become a dreaded enterprise software company in the same boat as IBM, HP, and Oracle - just too damn big to turn around rapidly except via acquisitions.

Consumers and developers need to be wary of all the major commercial players, especially Google.

Re:Do Not Trust Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

gnupun (752725) | about 4 years ago | (#33432484)

The only thing that Microsoft cares about is profit.

Do you breathe air, or eat food? That's profit, and there's nothing wrong with it. Working for profit is better than being some brainwashed OSS slave programmer who is not making money himself and is also destroying income source of fellow programmers.

I live in Brazil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431974)

The federal government is pro-FOSS; I work for a state government which is not (maybe even for political reasons -- that would be admitting your enemy's right).

Where I work (7 k+ employees), we had a pro-M$ IT director, followed by a yuppie (pro-M$, as in "I don't want to touch this") and now we have a really cool and nice guy, so workaholic one wonders about his health. Well, even if he is a great guy, we cannot just get rid of M$. A lot of our apps depend on .NOT -- I've heard developers are more or less feeling like dorks, since a main reason for that was that IE would rule forever and ever.

The evil guy guy and the yuppie made the environment even more pro-M$ (with Exhange and Sharepain_t, no less)... It would be great to adopt free apps (like Openoffice) at least, since abandoning Windows is too radical of a surgery; OTOH, having our size, we could force M$' hand... alas, it would not work. M$ simply can't play nice with non-Windows desktops.

And, for starters, we're a non-IT organization; discussing Linux would be considered a waste of time and resources (even though it saves money when compared to proprietary solutions). But the winds of change are getting stronger day-by-day...

On the bright side, a lot of companies now use Linux and desktops/notebooks with it are sold everywhere.

MS and open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33431980)

I think it's probably because in the past, microsofts business model kind of revolved around stomping on competition before they could become competition, there are many companies that suffered due to microsoft just destroying them.

Open source is probably the only way newer (and some old ones) could compete against microsoft, and the model works against MS's model, so that probably has MS spooked.

Not the greedy evil company you think they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432024)

Of course MSFT is concerned with their bottom line, that's what a company is. If you think any for profit company is any different you are completely crazy.

But that doesn't mean that MSFT doesn't have a budget to assisting open source groups, helping both groups reach a larger market.

In the recent months MSFT has been pushing PHP on IIS and, as part of that, they submitted a native MSSQL dbal driver for the open source PHP group I work with. A few months before that they paid for a few of the developers in the project I work with to fly out to a conference and worked with them to get our project working on Windows Azure. They've also offered full MSDN licenses to anyone who is involved in the project.

Yes, they are a business, but they are not the greedy evil company everyone seems to like to think they are.

Re:Not the greedy evil company you think they are (0, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#33432246)

In the recent months MSFT has been pushing PHP on IIS...

If this isn't evil, I don't know what is.

Oh, yeah it's a trap. It's always a trap.

Re:Not the greedy evil company you think they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432368)

> Yes, they are a business, but they are not the greedy evil company everyone seems to like to think they are.

Part of being a business is understanding competition is good for business; it's kinda of playing: you got to have opponents to play.

From past experiences, for M$, good competition is dead competition.

> They've also offered full MSDN licenses to anyone who is involved in the project.

Was there some beverage included? You know, if you're into this naïve thing, it's common practice to ask for a badge -- not of paper, but a plastic one -- preferably with metallic paint...

ItsATrap (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33432036)

They are in the "embrace" stage, regarding most open source projects.

Possibly still working out plans for the extinguish phase, probably something involving patents and trying to steal away the open source product's credibility, by releasing their own equivalent version, and throwing the open source devs into a quagmire of litigation.

Simple reason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432058)

Because they are getting trashed in the marketplace.

mod Ufp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432060)

Standing joke (2, Insightful)

dhammabum (190105) | about 4 years ago | (#33432162)

Along with beowolf clusters and Russia doing stuff in reverse, we now have the equally tiresome joke that Microsoft is being nicer to open source. Why do these articles keep getting posted?

MS may 'love' open source ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 years ago | (#33432172)

... but they still won't give it a reach-around.

Simple, really. (2, Insightful)

Tokerat (150341) | about 4 years ago | (#33432310)

Developers, developers, developers, developers.

Open Source projects for Windows mean more functionality, interoperability, and convenience for Windows users, and Microsoft doesn't have to do a damn thing to get it. Open Source and Linux are two different things, and Microsoft now realizes this.

Re:Simple, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432508)

wwwwwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo *gasp* wwwwwooooooooooooooooo *snort* *throws chair*

buy software for your open source OS (1)

animepunkw (1329027) | about 4 years ago | (#33432314)

It's clear open source isn't going way, so why would MS close it's doors to potential opportunities. You can still buy software for your open source operating systems.

Keyword there (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#33432326)

"publicly"

Is bad press to be the big guy bullying the small one. But that don't mean that the big guy loves him, or that "pay" a slightly smaller guy (i.e. Oracle?) to do the dirty job.

I GPL'ed and I liked it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432404)

Related to the story, you might enjoy I GPL’ed [live.com] , a parody about Microsoft contributing code to Linux under the GPL based on “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry,

maybe... (1)

iconic999 (1295483) | about 4 years ago | (#33432408)

maybe, just maybe, M$ has realized FOSS is here to stay, and they just look like dip shits if they don't accept it and roll with it.

BYODF (Buy Your Own Damn Fuel) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33432502)

Just as open source is rightly WYODD (Write Your Own Damn Drivers)
These launch ventures are BYODF (Buy Your Own Damn Fuel)

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