Feeds

Can Microsoft 'do' open source by 2015?

Consistency and commitment needed

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

As to opening Windows and Office? That’s unlikely to form part of Microsoft’s strategy by 2015 - at least under the current mode of thought.

Note, Microsoft is largely making its infrastructure-level code - tools, APIs, protocols - free to read but not open source. To Microsoft's credit, free to read is a huge step for any proprietary company, holding intellectual property claims in the US.

The strategy is somewhat self-serving, though, as one might expect. The idea is that by publishing such details, developers can improve the performance of their open source products and code - like PHP - when running on Windows. Why? To ultimately ensure Windows continues to sell, and that PHP developers don’t develop and deploy on, say, Linux instead.

It’s a strategy of practical engagement with open source that’s at least moved on from the early days, with Microsoft’s “Get the facts” campaign. That was a PR hammer designed to bludgeon IT buyers into picking Windows over Linux and open source products. However, it failed to take into account what those building the applications were really doing with their code.

Ramji repeated the current standard Microsoft line: there is little value in opening Windows or Office. ISVs and systems integrators “rely” on a consistent platform and openness leads to forking.

Beat open source "champions"

In some ways Microsoft is little different from other big vendors, companies who are actually seen as "championing" open source. Companies like Oracle and IBM who are keeping their runtimes - databases or application servers - securely closed, and have bought in open source products.

Microsoft is actually more like Adobe Systems, publishing details of its Flash specs to the world but being very careful not open source the code.

2015 is seven years away and why Ramji picked this date is not clear. Perhaps, because it has taken a good seven years for IBM, Oracle, Adobe and others to devise their current stances on open source. While these companies have yet to fully open up to open source, Microsoft is behind them in terms of having a positive corporate attitude and consistent - if limited - strategy on engagement. That's thanks to the fact it's held out for so long.

The challenge for Microsoft - thanks to its size, product diversity and an unpredictable management stance on open source - is to use the next seven years to not just pull level with IBM, Oracle et al by 2015 in its corporate policy, but to actually overtake them.®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.