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Will Microsoft always be seen as open source Astroturf?

Will we ever see Microsoft as meaning anything but Astroturf in open source? Or to quote the philosopher Joe Wilson, you lie.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

There's an old game in politics. If some group is giving you trouble, launch a competing group under your control.

Bar Association won't approve your judges? Launch your own lawyers' group. Feminists giving you trouble? Create a group of "real feminists" spouting your talking points.

These are the origins of Astroturf, a popular term in current political debates denoting phony grassroots, people who claim to be angry from the bottom up but are controlled from the top down.

(Are you ready for some football? My local team, the Atlanta Falcons, plays all their home games on the fake grass of the Georgia Dome. This weekend they'll be tangled up in blue...)

Now before you go all political on me my question is whether we'll ever see Microsoft as meaning anything but Astroturf in open source.

This week Microsoft is putting a cool $1 million into its new CodePlex Foundation. It's a valedictory of sorts for director of platform strategy Sam Ramji, who has given his notice. Matt Asay thinks Ramji was da bomb, and suggests his replacement should be a diplomat, not a bomb thrower. (Just pass them your resume.)

The Foundation is organized under the tax law as a 501(c)6 organization. Sounds a lot like charities organized under 501(c)3, but it's the designation given to business groups like chambers of commerce. The Linux Foundation is also a 501(c)6, while GNOME is a 501(c)3.

Fact is I can almost smell and taste the press releases sure to follow from groups like the Linux Foundation, the FSF, and Software Freedom. It's phony, it's an attempt to deceive, Microsoft will always see open source as captive to its interests.

Or to quote the philosopher Joe Wilson, you lie.

But do they?

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