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03.15.08

Microsoft and the Windows-isation of PHP After Zend Deal

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Identity Management, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Servers, Windows at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several hours ago we discussed Microsoft's participation in Pycon 2008. Also, recently we showed the effects of Microsoft’s role in Zend, but our focus was not Zend in isolation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. To sum it all up, Microsoft strives to have everything PHP run on top of Microsoft Windows Server. It was predictable and it was said openly last year.

Here comes further evidence that Microsoft is getting uncomfortably closer to the development process of PHP. LDAP, Microsoft’s InfoCard and Microsoft commits on CodePlex are just a few examples of this.

Zend Framework 1.5 also features LDAP authentication designed to work with Microsoft’s Active Directory and LDAP-enabled directory systems.

On the web front, Zend Framework 1.5 features the ability to implement OpenID and Microsoft’s InfoCard for single sign-on. In turn, the PHP code for InfoCard will be posted to Microsoft’s CodePlex site. With InfoCards Microsoft has become a committer to Zend’s PHP, along with IBM and Google who signed up with version 1.0 launched nine months ago.

Isn’t Microsoft getting just a little too close to a project which it competes against (with ASP/.NET)? It wants its bread buttered on both sides and it clearly wants to steal PHP away from its number one threat, GNU/Linux. Only a few days ago, Matt Asay wrote this item with the headline “The future belongs to Linux”. Microsoft knows this and it tries to bend the rules.

You’ve already lost the mindshare war, and tepid changes to Microsoft’s server licensing policies won’t change things, either. Your company’s limp olive branch to the open-source community (“You can use our software royalty-free and without fear of legal retribution…so long as you never make a penny from your efforts”) is worse than insulting.

Don’t. Let. Microsoft. Hijack. PHP. Why can’t developers wake up and smell the coffee (mind Asay’s remarks above)? It’s not just PHP by the way. We have recently mentioned Java, Eclipse, Apache and OSBC. Using Novell, Microsoft already subverts GNU/Linux as well, e.g. with Mono, virtualisation, OOXML, Silverlight and royalty rights. Some projects are enticed by sponsorship money, which is akin to a stranger offering candy to a child. This whole fiasco requires and also deserves wider attention.

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2 Comments

  1. DarkPhoenix said,

    March 15, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Gravatar

    I wouldn’t worry about Microsoft hijacking PHP. There are now multiple implementations of the PHP language itself, and at least one is GPL’ed. Ultimately, it’s not PHP that Microsoft will take; it’s Zend. And I don’t believe for a second that the FLOSS programmers that have worked on PHP for years will suddenly agree to work for Microsoft’s benefit, not to mention what normally happens when Microsoft attempts to take a piece of software they’ve already got a separate solution for, and the fact that PHP is still obviously designed to be run in tandem with Apache…

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 15, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Gravatar

    What worries me are several things (oh, and be aware that I’m into pessimistic, but I merely try to assess the risk and present worst-case scenarios in case they become a reality, which they might):

    1. Zend’s Gutmann’s praising of Microsoft, which I see in the news almost every week now. He sort of invites others to join hands with Microsoft and not to be afraid. That’s just what Microsoft wants and it already has de Icaza for this
    2. Embrace and extend. Need one say more? :-) Imagine a version of PHP which is ‘enhanced’ and only works properly (or better) with Server Windows 2008. Just look at Java. Microsoft can stifle interoperability/cross-platform and even provide PHP developers an SDK that encourages the building of WIndows-esque code. Think about FrontPage or even about Microsoft’s latest development suite, which encourages the use of Silverlight. Several hours ago Mary Jo Foley boasted a new interview with her on Channel Nine, but Linux users are out of luck. Guess why?

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