I've been a Linux and open-source software user since the early days. I'm writing this story using LibreOffice 5.1 on a Linux Mint 17.3 desktop. And I don't just believe -- I know -- that Microsoft has changed its anti-open-source ways.
It's not even like this is a new Microsoft policy. Back in 2008, Sam Ramji, now the CEO of Cloud Foundry and then Microsoft's director of platform technology strategy and Open Source Software Lab, said: "The Microsoft open-source strategy is focused on helping customers and partners be successful in today's heterogeneous technology world."
Talk is cheap. Code matters, and Microsoft has risen to the challenge.
So why, with all this, are many open-source fans and developers certain that Microsoft can't be trusted?
Some of them hate it because they're sure Microsoft is just up to its same old "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" tricks. I don't think so. Microsoft is releasing most of its code under true open-source licenses. There's no hidden trap here.
Other people hate Microsoft because, well, they've always hated Microsoft. For them, the Microsoft of today is the same Microsoft of the '90s and '00s that financed SCO's attack on Linux. It's not.
More and more people in the open-source community are realizing that 2016's Microsoft is not the greedy, win at all costs Microsoft of Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer.
Every time I write about a Microsoft open-source move, readers tell me that if Microsoft were really serious about being a good open-source citizen they'd stop forcing companies to pay for its bogus Android patents.
So, why are people still paying up rather than fighting? Because patent litigation is incredibly expensive. It's cheaper to pay a $5 to $15 per device licensing fee than to pay a small fortune and take even a remote chance of failure in court.
And, that, of course, is why Microsoft is never going to stop charging for its Android patents. So long as the boys from Redmond can milk these patents for billions every year, they're going to keep them.
Why shouldn't they? While some open-source programmers may be unhappy about Microsoft patent-trollish ways, major open-source companies such as Canonical and Red Hat are partnering with Microsoft.
The bottom line is the bottom line. Hard-core free software developers are never going to trust Microsoft anyway. So what? So long as Microsoft can profit from Android patents while still working with open-source enterprises, the company has no reason whatsoever to change its ways.