Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Is Microsoft turning open source friendly?

We already now that Microsoft has it’s own open source software blog. We know that the Redmond Mogul is dipping it’s toes in sharing open source software. And after the deals with Novell, Linspire and Xandros we also know that something is brewing at Microsoft headquarters.

But a Microsoft that is actively promoting the use of competitive open source software, I guess that is kind of new. Groklaw reports that the Microsoft Marketplace offered a download of Ubuntu Linux for a short while and that at least 10.000 users actually did that.

So, thanks to Microsoft we might have about 10.000 extra converts to Linux. If the majority are actually Dutch speaking our book could be a bestseller.

And the internet has more good news. Microsoft is a Gold Sponsor for the FOSS-ed for Windows convention in Sri Lanka. You can see the familiar logo at the bottom of the page. A quote:

While there is a trend in the industry moving towards GNU/Linux and Free and Open Source Software – FOSS – Microsoft Windows is still a dominating force. Many applications have been developed around it and many continue to do so. Most of this software is also proprietary and includes heavy license fees. Proprietary software may cost anything from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars for licensing fees alone. As a developing country, most individuals and even companies cannot afford such prices and resort to using illegal copies of software. Pirated software may cost only a fraction of the actual price but the implications can be far greater.

So are there viable alternatives to be used in the Windows environment? The answer is YES! Alternatives that don’t have exorbitant licensing fees and will not result in intellectual property violation lawsuits being slapped against you! Alternatives that do not involve high maintenance costs either, are customisable, regularly and quickly provide security fixes in response to feedback and also have community driven support. What are these wonderful viable alternatives? It’s Free and Open Source Software that run on Windows too! A large and wonderful catalog of FOSS applications exist for Windows users today. From Web browsers and mail clients to graphics software and content management systems, it’s all out there ready to download and use! If you want to know more come check out FOSS-ed for Windows: THE event for all you decision makers to find out how YOU can benefit from FOSS while still continuing to use Windows.

Yes, you read correctly. Microsoft is supporting a convention that wants to fight the piracy of (Microsoft) software by promoting the use of open source alternatives. Maybe my argument that Microsoft is no longer the evil company it once was has some validity after all. Next: Microsoft open sources Office 2007.


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One thought on “Is Microsoft turning open source friendly?

  1. Or maybe Ms is just scared of Linux.

    Anyway, it’s pretty interesting that they’re saying “use FOSS software, as long as it’s not the operating system”. A well, my first step towards Linux was my use of Firefox 😀

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