Microsoft proposes joint research with OSDL

But the Open Source Development Lab is hesitant in accepting the software giant's offer.

Microsoft's open-source point man Martin Taylor has expressed interest to jointly develop a study on deploying Windows versus Linux with the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL).

During the LinuxWorld conference in the United States earlier this month, Taylor had reportedly approached OSDL's chief executive Stuart Cohen to discuss shared research and other topics. Cohen last night confirmed, in an e-mail reply to ZDNet Asia, that the encounter had taken place.

Taylor, Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy, said in a media statement that the joint research would help IT buyers to evaluate the Windows and Linux platforms. Microsoft has pledged to foot half the bill in funding the study.

"Customers have asked me for an analysis on Linux," Taylor said in the statement. "While we had 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 added.

Cohen however, was coy on Taylor's proposal. "As far as working with Microsoft on a study, Microsoft could probably find one negative line on Linux in a 100-page research report that it would spend $10 million marketing while ignoring the other 99 pages," he said in his e-mail to ZDNet Asia.

"Why would OSDL want to participate in that?" he posed.

Microsoft has been taking an adversarial stand toward Linux with its "Get the Facts" campaign that puts forth the advantages of Windows over Linux in areas such as security and total cost of ownership.

To better understand competitive threats posed to Microsoft products by open source, the software giant has also set up a Linux and open-source software lab that houses various flavors of Linux.