He makes great pronouncements, donates some old code, maybe tosses a few bucks the way of open source.
Then Steve Ballmer opens his yap and we're back to square one.
Eventually people stop listening. That's the problem for current Bush Administration press spokesman Dana Perino (above). We've seen the act, this is no different, she is not taken seriously.
The last is not a political hit. It was true late in the Clinton years, and it's true in many state houses, even mayors' offices. Once reporters know where the wizard is coming from, we don't care about the new explanations, the new spin.
So is Sam Ramji the Dana Perino of Microsoft? Is the credibility hole Microsoft has dug itself with the open source community so deep that no one can dig them out?
Despite his best efforts at OSCON, press reviews do not offer many flattering images:
- Slashdot compares him to a turkey knocking on Thanksgiving's door. Ouch.
- The Register's take is that, with Ramji, the heart of open source is still beating. He's Microsoft's Huey Lewis?
- Network World says Ramji "still faces slings and arrows." He's George Custer?
- An O'Reilly blogger says Ramji still won't answer the tough questions. There's a credible image.
- Boycott Novell says Ramji wants to "politely steal" from GNU/Linux. He's Ronald Colman in Raffles?
- Information Week says Ramji has "the worst imaginable job" at Microsoft.
It's the last that got me thinking of Perino.
I heard her, unscripted, on the NPR show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" recently. Nice lady. Polite, sincere, and doing her best. But I wouldn't trade places with her for all the tea in China.
Unfortunately there is seldom such a thing as "regime change" at a business like Microsoft. Not unless they want to replace Ballmer with a ponytail.