Microsoft's open source strategy is at last in open source hands.
They are in the hands of Bill Hilf, a former C|Net architect who now carries the exalted title of general manager, platform strategy at Big Green. He has had a quick rise in the company -- he was Linux Lab Manager last year.
Hilf has a good reputation in the open source community. In recent TV and magazine interviews he comes off as a straight-shooter. He admits to opposition within the company, but says he always gets a hearing, which sounds about right.
I hope to get an interview myself some time soon. Hint, hint Microsoft PR.
He also recited what I think is the new big company mantra concerning open source, which is that it's all about support, support, support.
Questions remain, of course, about the Novell deal and Microsoft's real corporate strategy here. But I think the most important question is whether Hilf can show Microsoft a way to profit from all this. The bottom line remains the bottom line. And there is no way on Earth Microsoft will ever earn the margins from open source it gets from proprietary software.
So can Bill Hilf lead Microsoft into the light? Does Microsoft even need to be led into the light?