One more clue to Microsoft's dysfunctional open source relationships (Groklaw)

Pamela Jones has dug about to try to figure out just what Microsoft hopes to gain from open source. The answer seems to be, "Much for itself, and not much for open source."

PJ writes a probing piece on just what Microsoft is up to in its patent deals and interactions with Linux vendors. By tracing back Microsoft's interaction with Novell to Brainshare 2006, she comes up with an interesting conclusion:

So. What does it mean for FOSS that Mundie says it wants a similar bridge with Open Source businesses? I think it means Microsoft would like to pick your brains and have you code for them for free, and it will sprinkle some money on vendors who sell your code, so they'll go along. The patent deals keep Microsoft in control, and thus, shazaam, it remains the dominant software world power, and you help them stay that way, not as compensated employees, but as free-as-in-beer worker bees. Linux companies get the money. You get to innovate your brains out, but only for fun or for the benefit of Microsoft, under their direction.
Just what the community was hoping to do with its time/development cycles, right?

If there's any truth to this - and I suspect that there is, and plenty - then I hope open source vendors will hold firm. Not for themselves, but rather for the good of the community that will be skimmed if Microsoft succeeds. I don't like stripmining. Least of all as applied to human creativity.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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