Microsoft is a very big company, so perhaps it's not surprising that it hasn't been able to articulate a coherent message around open-source software. While the Redmond giant has largely distanced itself from earlier criticisms of open source as "anti-American," "a cancer," etc., it struggles to present a coherent, consistent face to the open-source world.
This isn't just true in Microsoft's criticisms of open source, but also its praise.
On the one hand, Microsoft has put TomTom, a major GPS device maker, Microsoft released !exploitable Crash Analyzer, an open-source security assessment tool., including claims against TomTom's use of Linux. Two weeks later,
This falls in the same week that ahighlighting the machinations Microsoft engineered to get around the GNU General Public License in its controversial patent covenant with Novell.
A week later, Microsoft launched Web App Gallery, a service that makes it easy to deploy a range of open-source content management, gallery, wiki, and blogging tools. Almost in the same breath, Microsoft is urging open-source vendors to not promote their cost advantages and instead focus on value, .
And now Microsoft has published an official position paper on its open-source views, which says lots of happy things about open source, while cautioning that open source isn't a panacea.
What the !%!%!% is going on? Has Microsoft listened to itself lately?
Of course it has. Microsoft is simply going through growing pains as it learns to adapt to the open-source friendly world in which it lives. Any big company will both compete with and collaborate with open-source software, and Microsoft is no exception. What we're witnessing is the natural inconsistencies made public through Microsoft's efforts to get open source right.
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