Many of us have been saying for a long time that Microsoft's Windows product would be better if the company open sourced it. But today marks the first day that the Wall Street Journal has chimed in to second the motion:
Open-source software such as Linux is traditionally seen as the opposite of proprietary software from the likes of Microsoft and Apple. But that's a false dichotomy. Why can't Windows be proprietary, for-profit and copy-protected -- while at the same time be open for user control and inspection? If Windows were a car, you'd never be able to open the hood and see what was underneath.
The software's "black boxness" was driven home for me once when XP was taking an excruciatingly long time to load, and even the best tech sleuths at Microsoft couldn't figure out the cause. Had I been able to look under cover, I might have seen, oh, that Windows was wasting 90 seconds looking for a nonexistent drive.
Lee Gomes, who wrote the article, also suggested a few other ways in which Microsoft could improve Windows (Fewer SKUs, snapshots and rollbacks, etc.), but this is the one that would have the biggest impact on end-users and Microsoft partners.
Lee is right: Open source wouldn't spell the end of Microsoft's proprietary business model, per se. Rather, it would give Microsoft's ecosystem more control of its fate after it has paid for the software.