Microsoft proposes open source alliance

Microsoft proposes open source alliance

Summary: 'Independent' and 'fact-based' research would be the order of the day, with both sides sharing the costs, if the OSDL accepts the proposal from Redmond


Microsoft has approached the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), home of Linus Torvalds, to propose working together on a Windows vs Linux analysis.

Redmond is hoping to woo the open source organisation into conducting what it calls "independent" and "fact-based" research.

Microsoft has said it will pay half of the necessary funding for the research and, should the OSDL take up its offer, Microsoft is expecting the open source group to pay the remaining half.

According to Microsoft, the invitation was made to the head of the OSDL, Stuart Cohen, by Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy, Martin Taylor, and comes in response to demand from Microsoft customers for third-party research on how the competing operating systems perform against each other.

Martin Taylor said such analysis would be a boon to IT buyers when evaluating the merits of the two operating systems.

"Customers have asked me for analysis on Linux. While we have done some research in our Linux and open source lab, there's not yet any substantial, fact-based research out there on Linux to help customers make value-based IT decisions.

"At the end of the day, I want customers to have the tools they need to evaluate technology on its merit versus on hype and emotion. It helps all of us build better products and respond to customer needs more effectively," he said in a statement.

Microsoft has already made attempts to satisfy such demand with its 'Get the Facts' campaign. The campaign came in for criticism for its extensive use of Microsoft-sponsored analyst reports, which largely showed Microsoft to be cheaper than Linux. It also drew fire from the Advertising Standards Authority over claims relating to a comparison of the cost of Windows and a Linux server.

The OSDL has not yet responded to the offer, a Microsoft spokesman said.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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  • Who cares?

    At the end of the day, it's not about pie charts showing the results of foo vs. bar. It's about the freedoms that are provided by Free Software licenses. It's the freedom to modify, redistribute, analyze, and use for any purpose that truly empower.

    This is the problem with the Open Source movement. They forget the fact that Microsoft can not compete on the grounds of freedom and therefore, lose their most powerful selling point. Instead, by limiting the discussion to only the practical, the "movement" plays in the same sandbox that had been created by those they seek to replace.

    This is just silly....... Notice how Microsoft didn't approach the FSF with this offer :)
  • For me, from a marketing and management background, the simple answer is 'No.'

    Just ignore them. Linux is proving and will continue to prove it's TCO advantage on its own over time. That is something MS can't afford. If MS can introduce more FUD into the comparison, the better for their bottom line. This "comparison" approach also plays into a posturing strategy (ie, look how confident we are) and a 'freeze the consumer until we deliver Longhorn (ie, VIsta is taken)' strategy (ie, don't buy yet, there's that, you know, study going on).

    If OSDL says no, they will appear confident and secure, as they should be. All people have to do is read. (I know here in the 'dumbed-down" US that's an abstract concept. Just give me my big ol' SUV/Pickup and them thar reality shows. OK, hold it. I'm off-topic.)

    There are many news stories and examples out there that document Linux and FOSS as the better solution. Every day I read about another business, school, local government, utility, or national government that has discovered those benefits. By reading and investigating and actually putting some thought into it (instead of just saying, "We hafta use MS 'cuz everyone uses it."), people will see for themselves which is better.

    MS is actually worried now. Let 'em stay that way. Maybe they actually WILL create something on their own for a change.
  • After their impresive lies about being less expensive than FREE, the OSDL would be nuts to fall in the trap. I would not touch Microsoft proposals with a 10foot pole.

    My 2 cents
  • Past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour.