While attending the Blog Business Summit this afternoon, I ran into chief Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble (right), who told me (along with IE7 product manager Dean Hachamovitch and SOAP and RSS pioneer Dave Winer) his tale of running into Steve Jobs at lunch. Star struck, Scoble introduced himself and the others, and true to form Jobs said, "It's nice to see that you're copying our stuff."
Meanwhile on BTL, David asks if one man's corporate standard is another man's (or woman's) monoculture, and whether the mitigated risks of a polyculture outweight the benefits of a corporate standard/monoculture.
In his blog, John Carroll describes Microsoft's mostly proprietary monoculture as a software ecosystem, and outlines what he thinks are the challenges for a competitive open source ecoystem:
The single biggest force holding back the growth of open source software are the Free Software vigilantes who view proprietary software as tantamount to slavery. That puts open source in the productive category of nations that prevent the female half of the population from working. Open source programmers do great things, but proprietary software can benefit from both the efforts of open source programmers AND the efforts of those who create for financial gain.
John encourages the open source community to learn about pragmatism and profits. Many companies and people I have met who are wedded to open source intimately know those two elements. They have profound philosophical differences with Microsoft's variant of a software ecosystem. On the pragmatic side are companies like Google, which leverages open source everywhere it can and keeps its secret sauces secret. Red Hat, Novell, Sun, etc are building open source stacks that will challenge Microsoft more in the coming years. It's not a zero sum game, and all sides will end up moving toward a middle ground....