My post yesterday on Microsoft stirred up quite a hornet's nest.
Not just here, either.
Michael Francisco of Microsoft's Port 25 project was kind enough to send a personal e-mail. "Be assured, we are not abandoning the Open Source conversation. Quite the contrary; through Port 25, we are working to create a community wherein constructive communication can take place," he wrote. (Want to go there? OK.)
This is one step down the open source road, but for all proprietary vendors it's a journey of 1,000 miles. Throwing out some code under a restrictive license and looking for "constructive communication" are fine, but they are baby steps.
Engaging fully with the community, rather than just through your own site where you will get "constructive" communication, is another step. These are steps I noted Microsoft has retreated from lately.
Alex Barnett (above), Big Green's Community Project Manager, made his differences more public, posting them on his blog and linking to my original post. He also links here to many open source projects Microsoft has going (his post is filled with such bloggy goodness) and adds what I consider an appropriate level of snark. (My j-school degree is 28 years old this month, by the way.)
All these projects are under Microsoft's "shared source" license, one of the most restrictive in the open source world. Barnett also notes that contributions to its CodePlex are being accepted under many licenses, including the GPL.
Fine enough. But how far is Microsoft going, really? How much is it giving, not just in terms of code but in terms of license terms, against what it's expecting to get from the community?
I'll leave that for the ZDNet community to answer. My own view remains that if you want to get, first give. And that for those to whom much is given, much is expected.