Back in 2001 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux a "cancer" that threatened the company, but now the Redmond giant claims to "love open source." Well, actions speak louder than words.
Here's the background at Network World:
"We love open source," says Jean Paoli of Microsoft in a recent interview with Network World. "We have worked with open source for a long time now."
The mistake of equating all open source technology with Linux was "really very early on," Paoli says. "That was really a long time ago," he says. "We understand our mistake."
Paoli is the general manager of Microsoft's interoperability strategy team, which touches on some open source issues. A Microsoft veteran of 14 years, Paoli is also the co-creator of the XML specification.
Well, if Microsoft really does love open source, here's three things that the company can do, and should do, now:
- Put an end to the whole "open source infringes on our patents" rhetoric/FUD/nonsense. If not put an end to it, come clean as to what these infringements are so that the it can work with the open source community to rectify outstanding issues. As CEO, this job should fall to Ballmer, and the open source community should expect a statement shortly (although I wouldn't hold my breath).
- Make available all/much of the source code for older, obsolete operating systems under GPL v3 license. This would clear up a lot of issues and
- Work to offer greater interoperability between Microsoft products and open source products.
Without taking measurable actions to prove that it supports open source, Microsoft's love of it as it stands could be little more than a return to the old ways of embrace, extend and extinguish.
Actions speak louder than words.