Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Microsoft: an end to open hostilities?

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS

First branded as a communist plot, then derided as a form of cancer, before being upgraded to merely a 'grey spectre', free and open source software (FOSS) has had a pretty rough ride from Microsoft over the years. For many in the open source community, the company represents all that is troubling about closed source software development. Recently, though, there have been developments that at least one leading open source developer has labelled a 'sea change' following last year's announcement that Microsoft was to become sponsors of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

Microsoft surprised many in the open source community for a second time in July 2009 by actually committing some of its own, hand-crafted-in-Redmond code to the Linux kernel. Initial reaction to the news ranged from shocked delight to deep suspicion and things took a turn for the worse a few days later when further information about the reasons behind the decision seemed to confuse matters. What at first had been officially described by Microsoft as 'a break from the ordinary', and had been talked up in blogs by various software engineers at the company, turned a little sour when open source advocates and commentators began to question the real motives behind the move. Just as debate about this had started to die down, Microsoft pulled another rabbit from the hat. In mid-September 2009, the company announced the launch of a not-for-profit organisation, The Codeplex Foundation, set up with the aim of exchanging code and furthering the understanding of open source among 'commercial' companies.

These recent events neatly encapsulate the continuing saga of the relationship between Microsoft and the FOSS communities. Whilst some believe that significant change is underway at Microsoft, many are not so easily convinced. They worry that there is more 'spin' than substance to the company's various open source initiatives, and others point to past exploits as evidence of Microsoft's inability to change. In this respect there are three key events that have drawn attention to the company's interest in open source development: Microsoft's sponsorship of the ASF, the MS-Novell deal, and an agreement with the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to certify two Microsoft licences.

Rest Here




More in Tux Machines

Open Source History: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of VA Linux

What's the most successful company in open source history? Red Hat (RHT) and Canonical would probably top most people's lists. By one measure, however, VA Linux is far and away the most explosively popular Linux company to ever exist. That's if you measure success based on the highest value of its stock, which peaked and then fell dramatically 16 years ago. If you haven't heard of VA Linux, you probably grew up in the post dot-com bubble age. Once upon a time, the company was a huge presence in the open source world. Founded in 1993 as VA Research, the company known in its heyday as VA Linux initially sold computers with Linux preinstalled, aiming to compete with the likes of Dell. The company expanded rapidly, boasting $100 million in annual sales by 1998. In the same year, it received capital investments totaling $5.4 million from Intel and Sequoia Capital. The next year, an additional $25 million in funding arrived from an assortment of other backers. Read more

Debian Needs Artwork, Sysadmin Horrors, VA Linux

July 29 was System Administration Appreciation Day and OpenSource.com celebrated with five sysadmin horror stories. Tecmint.com put together a list of t-shirts for system administrators and The Register had a round-up of fun things to do. Back in Linuxland, Bits from Debian put out the call for new artwork for upcoming version 9.0 and Ian Murdock was honored at this year's International Free Software Forum. And finally, VarGuy.com contributor Christopher Tozzi looked back at VA Linux today saying it was probably the most successful Open Source company. Read more

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 2016.07.27 Adds LightDM as Default Display Manager

André Fabian Silva Delgado proudly announced the availability for download of the live ISO images of the Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 2016.07.27 operating system based on Arch Linux. Read more

Modular Moto Z Android phone supports DIY and RPi HAT add-ons

Motorola and Element14 have launched a development kit for creating add-on modules for the new modular Moto Z smartphone, including an adapter for RPi HATs. We don’t usually cover smartphones here at HackerBoards because most don’t offer much opportunity for hardware hacking. Yet, Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility subsidiary has spiced up the smartphone space this week by announcing a modular, hackable “Moto Mods” backplate expansion system for its new Android-based Moto Z smartphones. Read more