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Rich irony of Kevin Johnson's departure from Microsoft

He built a career fighting open source at Microsoft. Now he owes his future to it.

Kevin Johnson, who has headed Microsoft's Windows empire, is leaving Redmond to take the helm of Juniper Networks, a leading network infrastructure vendor.

Johnson, the man who for years fought against open source, and particularly Linux. The man who talked about Linux forking back in 2005 and then who, as head of Microsoft's Windows unit, must have been involved in trying to foster that fork with Microsoft's patent deal with Novell. The same Johnson who, as head of the Windows business, had to have been involved in Microsoft's patent campaign against Linux.

Johnson, the man who now heads up a company deeply indebted to and entrenched with the open-source FreeBSD operating system at the heart of its Junos operating system, as well as Linux.

Yesterday: Open source, Johnson's enemy. Today: Open source, Johnson's friend. Oh, how sweet the irony!

From its Intrusion Detection Platform to the FreeBSD-based Junos, Juniper is in deep with open source. In Junos it has chosen an "open, but not open source" model that may play well to Johnson's Microsoft sensibilities.

Regardless of the model, it is delightful to see Johnson now dependent on the same "patent-infringing" open-source operating systems that he once fought. Who knows? Maybe Steve Ballmer will sue him?