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MS Halloween author said to have left for Linux startup

Come on Vinod, update your Web site - it can't really be a 'blast' to work on proxy server...

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Writing on the first anniversary of the leak of the 'Halloween' documents, open source partisan Eric Raymond claims that the author has recently left Microsoft to join a Linux start-up. If true the move should make for a interesting, not to say awkward, future career for Vinod Valloppillil - his written output a year ago was apparently intended to help Microsoft formulate a strategy against Linux, and it was splashed all over the press. As yet we've been unable to confirm that he has left, and if so, where he's gone. His personal Web site still reports him as working for Microsoft, and his favourites list doesn't seem to have acquired any suspiciously off-message material in the past year. Raymond's piece indirectly suggests one possible reason for Valloppillil to go, noting that in the time since the leak Microsoft has switched strategies: "Microsoft has been trying to sandbag Linux with supposedly `objective' studies by third parties that turn out to have been bought and paid for by the boys in Redmond." The original documents (which, incidentally, were dubbed 'Halloween' by Raymond, and weren't really called that) were considerably more thoughtful than that. Valloppillil had clearly made an effort to understand Linux, open source and the free software movement (See story) and tried to figure out ways in which the Microsoft machine could combat them. As nothing much seems to have happened in most of the directions he suggested in the interim (apart from Steve Ballmer regularly mouthing off vaguely about considering opening up access to source code), we might deduce that these have been nixed by the High Command. If Valloppillil really has gone to a Linux company the bit likely to cause him most embarrassment is the old 'embrace and extinguish' gag. He suggested making some Microsoft components available in order to win developer support from the open source movement, and then using extensions to these to bind them closer to Microsoft. The company should: "fold extended functionality into commodity protocols/services and create new protocols." Wouldn't have worked, of course, but it'd be a tricky one to explain to your new Linux buddies, wouldn't it? ®

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