Microsoft Opens Up and Supports the Free and Open-Source Developers?

NOTE: Don’t get me wrong, this is a good move of Microsoft. But I have some points I want to make.

(“Microsoft Interoperability Being Watched by the European Commission” – link below)

Microsoft is releasing 30,000 pages of documentation for Windows (both desktop and server products) that were previously available to partners only through a trade secret license. Then they make the following pledge to open-source developers:

Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.

The interoperability program of Microsoft will apply to Windows Vista (including the .NET Framework), Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007. They even have “four principles”:

Follow up:

(1) ensuring open connections
(2) promoting data portability
(3) enhancing support for industry standards
(4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities

Ok wait. We heard all these before right? So what do they have in mind this time?

Personally, I believe that this timely announcement has something to do with the OOXML voting. With a Microsoft message of “we will help you”, “data portability”, “open engagement with the open-source communities”, this will sow confusion into the hearts and minds of people, groups, companies, and governments who haven’t been fully swayed over to the FLOSS World.

Microsoft isn’t really doing this for the FLOSS Community, they are doing this for themselves, to sway those who are still standing on ground and water – the Undecided and the “we’ll support the best option” minded people. Especially with the OOXML voting where they are trying to make their OOXML an ISO Standard when there already exist a similar format known as ODF or the OpenDocument Format.

This is just another show, a show that they will play with the world for their own benefit not for the benefit of the FLOSS Community. This is more evident when we look at how many news have come out in the past few months of companies and governments making a full switch to ODF and FLOSS applications in general. Microsoft have seen the long-term effects, they are losing grip. Yes they still dominate, but it is diminishing – FAST!

Just as I’ve said, 2008 is FLOSS Year. This year, we will hurt Microsoft, and the FLOSS World will send ripples to the Proprietary World. Yes the giant is still there, anyone who will say we can kill the giant this year is dreaming, BUT we will hurt the giant this year, and it is happening already. What best way to avoid that future than to move now?

“Let’s show them we are open and support the FLOSS Community, so they don’t have to switch anymore. Get them back to our favor again.” That’s just about it. But don’t be dumb not to use this opportunity, read the documentations and use it for the benefit of the FLOSS World and hurt them some more!!

Seriously, the timing is too good for this to be just a coincidence. Nonetheless, this is a good move and a positive development. Whatever their real motives are, of course it is for the benefit of their company and business. Microsoft is here to stay that’s for sure, and this war between Microsoft and the FLOSS Community will rage on for the years to come. Its a game of tag. Push-and-Pull. Push-and-Pull…

Btw, here’s the Microsoft Interoperability website.

Let’s hope for the best that this continues. Bottomline is, interoperability. We can not deny the fact that there are good proprietary software available. Now let’s see how the rest of the FLOSS Community will react to this… acceptance, cautious, or something else?

Source: Microsoft Sings a New Tune—Wants to Play Nice With Open-Source

Microsoft Interoperability Being Watched by the European Commission: Microsoft set to open up software

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *