Even though some believe that Microsoft’s recent patent lawsuit against TomTom is a prelude to an all-out legal assault on Linux, that doesn’t stop Bob Muglia, the company’s president of Server and Tools Business, to look into the future and state that Microsoft’s products will look more and more to open source software. In fact, he predicts most Microsoft products will have open source in them at some point.
Muglia made his comments during his speech at the Stanford Accel Symposium. Alfresco CTO John Newton posted some parts of Muglia’s speech on Twitter. Muglia said that “at some point, almost all our product(s) will have open source in (them).” He went on to say that “if MySQL (or) Linux do a better job for you, of course you should use those products.”
Various Microsoft products already contain open source code, such as MSN Messenger and Visual Studio, and the company also works closely with the Mono guys on improving Silverlight and .NET support on non-Microsoft platforms. A lot has changed since the days Microsoft would vigorously disparage anything related to open source.
Microsoft still has a long way to go, of course, and I hope that one day they will finally acknowledge open source in a more official way, and work with open source developers to improve their own products as well as open source products. A promise not to sue any open source project using vague patents would be a start. I mean, if the US patent office can’t fix their own patent system, maybe companies ought to step up.
Then again, I also hope to see a live dodo bird one day, but that doesn’t seem very likely either.
Of course they like gratis code but they still hate the GPL. They are against freedom not freebies.
Their long term strategy is to drive a wedge between the copyleft licenses like GPL, MPL etc and instead convert the open source world into a smorgasbord of freebies for proprietary software vendors. Of course Microsoft would absolutely love this, just like they used BSD socket code to bootstrap their “winsock” project previously.
This is exactly why it’s crucial to use the GPL/AGPL, this is also why, even though they feel nice in the short term, the BSD/MIT/Apache licenses will not protect freedom in the long run.
They will take the work produced by the community and extend it to build proprietary closed DRM-riddled non-sharable “solutions” in order to make a profit.
In conclusion: It’s a trap. Now, get off my lawn.