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Microsoft's new weapon against open source: stupidity

An Information Week article published last week appears to position Microsoft as trying to do something right when it comes to open source. And it positions the open source community as being not quite ready to make nice after past insults, threats, and abuse.

Speaking for myself, I am always ready to see what somebody has to say when they say they want to work with the open source community. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to be continuing its campaign of defining open source on its own terms, terms that violate the basic principles of our community. According to the article:

For patented protocols, Microsoft said it would offer licenses on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms." Open source developers can access the protocols for free for noncommercial use without fear of lawsuits, Microsoft said.

The Open Source Definition makes it quite clear in #6 that restrictions against commercial use violate the OSD. Thus, a free-of-cost license that prohibits commercial use is useless to open source developers. And therefore I cannot understand why anybody would think that Microsoft is doing the open source community any favors.

And yet to the uncritical eye of the media, Microsoft is comes across looking humble and generous while we look petulant and ungrateful. It is the OSI's mission (and written into our bylaws that we are an education and advocacy organization. So let me try to do a little education and advocacy: the open source community cares about open source software, and cares especially to not pollute its good work with compromised software that violates basic open source principles. As long as Microsoft goes around making one-side claims about "working with the open source community" when such works actively disrupt our work at the core, you can expect we're going to call them on that.

Comments

I was listening to the LUGRadio podcast the other day; they discussed this Microsoft community initiative, and I just couldn't believe that they just glossed over that part.

Brandioch Conner has a great response in Linux Today about this joke of a post. Here it is: Previously, he was all for getting Microsoft involved: http://opensource.org/node/225 ..."The OSI approved the Microsoft licenses to give Microsoft the courage to trust open source on terms their own lawyers could accept." You sold out to Microsoft. Now you want to complain about it? ..."Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to be continuing its campaign of defining open source on its own terms, terms that violate the basic principles of our community." Well, I'm sure there are only a few million people who could have told you that THAT was going to happen. But feel free to cry about it now. What was that about "stupidity" in your title? =============== Feel insulted all you want to his comments, he is right on the nose. I just came back from a working lunch with about 20 other developers we talked about this and the names they called you would make Rosie Odonell blush like a dainty schoolgirl. They used you and now you are mad. I get it. You should be mad at your own complicity because EVERYONE SAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN. I and most of my coworkers dont have problems with Redmond joining an open source project. Im old enough to remember when IBM was the evil empire so if I can work on a project alongside IBM employees and appreciate all that IBM has done for open source (and themselves, lets be clear) like for instance SCO, I wouldnt have problems to do it with Microsoft. BUT it has to be according to the rules that EVERYONE uses and respects. You dont join a team, a company or any other organization and start telling them under what conditions you will work with them. That abortion that you allowed to go through was ONLY to be used to market themselves as open source without actually being open source. YOUR fault for being stupid/naive, not Microsoft's. YOURS. Redmond is like the scorpion in the fable with the frog: that is its nature. We might wish for them to change but NOTHING they have done so far has shown it. They hint at it but never measure up. Its not hard. All they have to do to convince us (or con us) is to join one stinking open source project. It doenst guarantee they wouldnt lie to us again but c'mon...they cant find one true open source project that they can contribute some code? They cant get ONE developer to spend a few hours to contribute as a sign of good will? Bull, they dont want to. You guys whistled by the graveyard hoping this wouldnt happen and you were wrong so why dont you be a man and stand up and say that first? I'd have a lot more respect for you if you did than crying like the cheerleader who got used by the team's QB and tossed aside afterwards. Zeke

I think this is a result of the IW article inaccurately describing the Microsoft position on FLOSS and OOXML patents... http://involve.jisc.ac.uk/wpmu/oss-watch/2008/04/09/microsoft-poi-and-odd-distinctions/ Rowan Wilson OSS Watch www.oss-watch.ac.uk