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07.27.07

OSI and Microsoft: Open Source ‘Divide and Conquer’? (Updated)

Posted in Deals, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OSI at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader of our Web site, SubSónica, had some insightful thoughts to share. Some of the points raised therein are probably worth sharing in a separate, standalone post.

There is a certain concern that Microsoft’s OSI approach could further divide an already-fragile and already-divided community. Microsoft’s affairs with Novell may have put an end to what we once knew as OSDL.

Could Microsoft turn the open source community against itself simply through involvement? Could the term “Open Source” be further ‘diluted’ by the inclusion of a “Shared Source” licence, which might fall under the same umbrella of definitions? Last month I spotted an article that referred to “Shared Source” as “Open Source”, arguing that our ‘friend’ Mr. Hilf is actually spreading the open source message around Asia. This is far worse than Sun Microsystems’ work in this area.

If there is a parallel between the speculation made here and the Novell deal, then it is probably new deals such as this.

On the software side, Microsoft today announced a partnership with open source solution vendor SpikeSource to eventually certify all of SpikeSource’s SpikeIgnited solutions on the Microsoft Windows platform.

Remember deals with XenSource, Zend, among a few other companies that receive incentives from Microsoft in order to abolish and neglect Linux performance? Does this not remind you of Novell, which neglected ODF and began working on OOXML ‘translators’?

Updated: watch this article which reveals Microsoft’s true intentions.

When I really looked through Microsoft’s open-source Web site, it’s objectives became clearer: To convince IT managers that they can use open-source software side by side with Microsoft software….

The objective is seemingly about interoperability, but what Microsoft really wants is to prevent defections—customers replacing some of their software with open-source alternatives.

This is not news, but Microsoft now confirms this. It only uses “Open Source” when it suits it — to its favour. It’s nothing to do with an ideological change. Think of it as assimilation for proximity.

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3 Comments

  1. SubSónica said,

    July 27, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Gravatar

    Danger Will Robinson!: The deal with SpikeSource could well mean Microsoft is going after… Drupal..or any open source CMS!!!! :-O
    Drupal development and adoption has recently boomed and it seems it has just apeared in the Borg’s radar: in fact this is consistent with their “interoopserability” deal with PHP and Zenworks, I have no doubt PHP is a formidable foe for ASP.Net, and is hindering the aption of ASP->IIS->WindowsServer, now, stretch this a little bit further:
    With a decent implementation of Drupal/FOSS CMS in your enterprise with a LAMP stack who the hell needs Sharepoint, WindowServer and IIS, ASP, or.Net for the web with their ludicrous licensing costs (laugh about their CALs!)???
    [Also mind the recent SugarCRM embrace of the GPLv3... these things -like Dell's Ubuntu offering- could be precipitating the following movements in the Microsoft endgame book]
    Drupal+a LAMP stack server not oly has zero-cost licence overhead,it poses a terrific beachhead for Linux entering in many businesses that up to now are M$-only shops… Microsoft would certainly love to control (and kill) this way out of the customer lock-in and its potential for customer defection.
    As I read in the Spikesource news:

    The certified stacks retain the core open source promise of no vendor lock-in.

    “Everything is just regular open source components. If you started using stack and support, the stack would run just fine and you could source patches updates yourself,” Halsey explained. “Users have flexibility and support with enterprise SLAs {service level agreements) but no enterprise lock-in.”

    Enter Microsoft: Hello lock-in; bye-bye open source (although if M$ can force OSI, they will spin it in the opposite way).

    Just a few pieces of the M$ strategy puzzle that seem to be starting to fit…

  2. SubSónica said,

    July 27, 2007 at 6:29 am

    Gravatar

    Sorry:

    “[...]deal with PHP and Zenworks,[...]”

    I meant “deal with PHP and ZEND/ZENDSOURCE

    (clearly a means to try to coopt and control PHP)

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 27, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Gravatar

    Drupal — being less centralised — might not be the best candidate for ‘hijacking’, but I concur and agree with your of thinking. The idea of paying money for exclusive (or contrariwise — discriminatory) support is a classic gamebook strategy,

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