Microsoft, Red Hat announce open source releases in same week

It's an odd week when competitors Microsoft and Red Hat both release software under the GPL.But the gift giving wasn't entirely voluntary.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

It's an odd week when competitors Microsoft and Red Hat both release software under the GPL.

But the gift giving wasn't entirely voluntary. Microsoft, for its part, acknowledged that its Windows 7 download tool violated the GPL and released the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool (WUDT) under the GPLv2.

As noted by Mary Jo Foley, a "Within Windows" blogger discovered the violation in November. Microsoft speedily removed the tool from its site and began an investigation.

Upon its re-release of the tool and code as open source this week, finally, Microsoft thanked customers for their patience.  Microsoft said the testing and localization took longer than expected but noted the project is now hosted on CodePlex.com, Microsoft's Open Source software project hosting repository.

All is well and good.  Still, I wonder if the developers of the code at the center of the controversy mulled some additional compensation. It would seem quite unpalatable to any open source developer that Microsoft used his or her code as a way to distribute and build market share for Windows 7 --Linux's chief competitor. Bah humbug!

Red Hat also this week announced an open source gift as a way to build market share for its Linux desktop virtualization platform -- which has yet to see the light of day.

Red Hat open sourced the SPICE hosted virtual desktop protocol, acquired with KVM virtualization pioneer Qumranet last year. SPICE,  or  Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment, is a big part of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, which is in beta testing and due for release in 2010.

Speaking of cause, I've always wondered privately how Citrix developers think about Qumranet's use of the term SPICE,  which is very similar to Citrix's ICA (Independent Computing Architecture. ICA is the code in Citrix's XenApp used for remote protocol. Yes, Citrix's open source Xen virtualization technology competes head on against Red Hat Qumranet's open source virtualization technology.  Well, it was the Qumranet gurus that gave the naming.  Bah humbug!

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