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Torvalds gives props to Microsoft for sharing

The Linux kernel project leader sees the glass as half full when it comes to Microsoft's move last week to share technology with open-source programmers.

Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project that's among the best-known open-source threats to Windows, has words of praise for Microsoft's announcement last week that it would share some previously hard-to-get technology with open-source programmers.

"I may make fun of Microsoft occasionally, and yeah, I think they do stupid things at times, but I think this one was a step in the right direction," Torvalds said in an e-mail.

"Could it have been even more? Sure. But give them credit for at least seeming to open up a little, even if it probably was at least partially pushed upon them by the EU rulings."

Torvalds' opinion goes right down the middle of the mixed reactions various people in the open-source software area had to the news.

Some praised Microsoft for making it easier for programmers to get access to technology such as communication protocols and file formats, and to get their software to work better with Microsoft's; others griped about Microsoft's continued desire for open-source companies to obtain patent licenses.

Torvalds isn't in the castigation camp. "Does it mean people should trust and love them? No," he said. "But I also don't see the point in flaming them over what is clearly at least an incremental improvement."