“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
Summary: Microsoft — despite known hatred for open source — is entering ODF and open source quite maliciously, in order to deform them
Somebody has just published a very good summary of Microsoft’s attitude towards Free/open source software over the years. It’s a recommended read and it’s concluded as follows:
Since identifying open source as a threat 10 years ago Microsoft has consistently done two things: increased its patent portfolio, and gained revenue from licensing that portfolio to others.
Microsoft has clearly decided that it cannot directly fight or defeat open source. But it can further increase license revenue by attacking users of open source with claims of IP infringement.
Individual open source developers are too small to target with attacks such as this. But any large company using open source internally or in a product or service should be concerned by this. The open source movement as a whole needs to pay attention to IP issues.
There are many people in the open source movement who hold a “we don’t believe in intellectual property” stance. They may, one day, find themselves sending a monthly payment to Microsoft for privilege of continuing to hold that belief.
As long as Microsoft continues attacking Free software and GNU/Linux, it has no place anywhere near them.
Occasionally we see Microsoft’s people trying to get closer only to cause trouble from the inside. Take for example Jesper Lund Stocholm trying to get close to ODF. Yesterday we noticed that Microsoft's hAl is already editing Wikipedia pages for Microsoft even on OpenDocument format (which he battles against). hAl is adding links to Microsoft Web sites as references in the ODF pages. Read this for some perspective on embracing, extending, and extinguishing ODF.
“hAl is adding links to Microsoft Web sites as references in the ODF pages.”Elsewhere on the Web we find Richard Waters and the Gartner Group (both consistently push Microsoft’s party line) labeling the Oracle-Sun marriage a “culture shock”. Rob Enderle has just had his share of Oracle/Linux FUD as well.
As for Microsoft, when it is not busy sending out partners and pseudo-analysts/journalists out there, it is throwing some money at a self-serving project (for Windows only). It even calls it “open-source” and the messenger is one of Microsoft's former pseudo-journalists, Peter Galli (he is now paid directly by Microsoft). The Microsoft crowd is immediately citing his post to play along with the “Microsoft loves open source” storyline. Here is some love from the usual suspect in SoftPedia and some more from Mary Jo Foley.
A few months ago, Galli also used former Microsoft employees (Aaron Fulkerson and Steve Bjorg) to promote and disseminate the “Microsoft loves open source” message, essentially by writing about MindTouch. They are still in close touch with their former employer Microsoft and sometimes promoting them. MindTouch is also a one of the key vendors who promote Mono. Now they also promote proprietary software add-ons as a business model to “open source”. They call it “open core”, which is further deviation from open source, let alone Free software. They ‘proprietarise’ the whole model (although it did not originate in MindTouch). Embrace, extend, and extinguish?
An Open Core Licensing Model
There is a concept of an Open-Core License (OCL) model for building a business on open source that is growing in popularity among open source companies.
For quite some time now, Microsoft — via its Port 25 people — [cred 3762 has promoted this idea of "hybrid"] and now we see it coming from former Microsoft employees who claim to be in “open source” and proliferate .NET. Whether it’s deliberate or not, they are likely to be stealing open source, trying to change it for Microsoft’s convenience. █
“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO