How good a friend to open source is Google?

As you may have guessed by now, I like Google. But opinions on Google are not unanimous, and as Google continues to grow (its market cap is now one-half that of Microsoft, nearly equal to that of IBM) its moves will be viewed with increased suspicion.

The question of how good Google is to open source has come up again, in a good way.

When Jeremy Allison of Samba fell out with Novell over its Microsoft deal recently, he fell into Google's loving arms. He will keep doing exactly what he was doing, working on Samba, but he'll have a Google hat on when he speaks and he will cash a Google paycheck.

Google has done this for many other people in the open source movement. Google runs Linux. Google has its own open source code base.

As you may have guessed by now, I like Google. But opinions on Google are not unanimous in the open source community, and as Google continues to grow (its market cap is now one-half that of Microsoft, nearly equal to that of IBM) its moves will be viewed with increased suspicion.

This is inevitable. They're no longer the little upstart. Now they're an industry heavyweight. And heavyweights, in time, inevitably throw their weight around, against other heavyweights. Little guys get crushed underfoot when this happens.

So as 2007 prepares to open let me throw it open. How do you like Google now?   

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