Microsoft claims heart beats in open source
If you ignore Windows
If Microsoft has a beating heart then the senior director of Microsoft platform strategy Sam Ramji reckons he's found it.
Where's that heart? Inside Microsoft's open source activities.
Ramji believes Microsoft's recruitment of doers from the world of open source and their placement inside its Open Source Software Lab means Microsoft has the experience and commitment to support Linux and open source and work on their interoperability with Windows for the long term.
These doers include the former IBM Linux kernel engineering manager and Linux Foundation and Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) engineering director Tom Hanrahan.
"I feel like we've got a beating heart that is the core of what we are going to be doing for the next couple of years," Ramji told the chap leading Sun Microsystems' own relationship with the GNU/Linux communities Barton George in a podcast recorded at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON).
Speaking separately to The Reg at OSCON, Ramji said he's also been telling Microsoft's sales and marketing people how the company can work with open source. The argument goes a little like this: open source applications can be made to run well on "infrastructure software" like Windows and SQL Server and there can be interop with Linux, and Microsoft can still make money.
Ramji said he's "helping employees understand it's not about allegiance to Visual Studio. The community is building applications using Emacs and Zend". In the past, Microsoft had made the mistake of not being agnostic. He recounted how he got a phone call that Microsoft risked losing the Open University as a Windows customer to Linux simply because it was bringing in open-source content management system Moodle.
"We need to engage with Windows administrators - this stuff runs on Windows," Ramji said.
For more from Ramji on how Microsoft surrendered sovereignty to the Open Source Initiative, on chief executive Steve Ballmer's apparent rapprochement with open source - just don't mention the "L" word - and how Microsoft won't be open sourcing Windows, you can download George's 11 minute podcast here.®
Beware of Ramjis bearing Presents
The Linux crowd is made up of to nice people.
Instead of driving Ramji out of town, if necessary by carrying his head on a stick, the are nice and polite and listen to him. Some might even believe him. This will be the ones who will regret it to no end in a few years.
@ the other steve & John Ohare
I do run Ubuntu and it works well on my fairly old Tosh laptop. I had a couple of issues straight after install which were quite easy to resolve but the standard desktop that came with it didn’t look or feel enough like Windows to make me fall into using it easily (OK it doesn’t take a genius to work it out, just play around a little)
My point was simply that if Microsoft could produce something "like" Ubuntu but looking and feeling EXACTLY the same as Windows (XP or Vista, take your choice) then it would be much easier to get people to migrate.
Even Ubuntu, with it's ease of installation / use still sometimes needs users to drop into a shell, perform some obscure editing of strange files in a file system structure that isn’t familiar to "most" people (those without beards, white socks and sandals)
Remember. Most windows users are LAZY they continue to use windows because they know how to use it. If Microsoft could come up with a Linux distro that looked, felt and installed as though it were windows then people wouldn’t even notice.
"What I'd like is a linux distro with a windows interface"
Pick any popular one, it will come with KDE or GNOME, which oddly enough, despite all the freetard whining, look astonishingly like windows 95 with some nicer wallpaper.