Microsoft joins Open Source ?

February 22nd, 2008

This is no joke. It’s real. Microsoft will open their API’s for, and I quote: “Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007; with more info coming by June on Windows Vista (including the .NET Framework), Office 2007 and Office SharePoint 2007.

Also, the company says it will be launching an “Open Source Interoperability Initiative. To promote and enable more interoperability between commercial and community-based open source technologies and Microsoft products, this initiative will provide resources, facilities and events, including labs, plug fests, technical content and opportunities for ongoing cooperative development.”

Further, according to the statement: “Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.”

During the conference call, Ballmer could not resist adding that commercial use patent licenses would be “readily available for the right fee”, but the promise not to sue non-commercial open source developers who tap Microsoft’s API is a marked departure from previous lawsuits and threats.

“Ignore the puffy press release, which makes it seem less substantial than it really is,” said respected industry observer, Joel Spolsky. “The bottom line is that they released a TON of useful documentation today will be very helpful for people trying to interoperate with Microsoft’s products… this should only help Microsoft in the long run. It’s a surprise that they didn’t do it sooner.”

Hell Freezes Over.

2 Responses to “Microsoft joins Open Source ?”

  1. Pedro Melo Says:

    Not so.

    the licensing is incompatible with the GPL, both v2 and v3. So this annoucement is pretty meaningless.

    Hell is still pretty warm.

    best regards,

  2. Fred Says:

    Yes, you’re right. Forgot this little detail: “Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft,”… patent license, yeah.

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