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Thread: Open Source Software

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
The era of the political assassin is over, and thank God for that. -- Tony Abbott, August 2018

MS Contributes To Apache Foundation.

Chronogical Blog Entries:

Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 00:41:13 +1000

The news that Microsoft will be contributing to the Apache foundation is not really all that surprising.

Recently, I have been experimenting with Emacs and the latest copy of MySQL. Emacs is a difficult to use as it ever was. Although every time I tinker with it I can see the attraction of an editor that has considerable amounts of features written in lisp and can be customised by editing some of that lisp code with the very same editor that has been created with the code. It has that weird geeky recursive quality that would appeal to someone like Richard Stallman.

MySQL has improved considerably since I last looked at it. Some of the features now included are Rollback, complex queries and joins, hot backup, and a much improved command line interface. It is now looking like a real RDBMS.

Also each time I download a package using apt, I am impressed with how easy it is to download and install software in Ubuntu, which offers the best distribution model I have encountered. There have been no major hiccups as a result of a of an Ubuntu upgrade. And I have installed several major version upgrades. In my life as a programmer and an analyst, this has rarely happened with proprietary distribution models. I have had enough bad experience with "upgrades" to have become highly sceptical about the prospect of upgrading any proprietary application let alone a proprietary Operating System without encountering problems.

Even Apple, who have opted for BSD as their OS (very sound choice), have had their share of problems. But Apple get a free ride in the press and online. There were a couple of recent disasters that did earn them some criticism (e.g. the email fiasco with their iPhone rollout). But most of the time Mac fans (and there are lots of them) seem willing to forgive Apple for their stuff-ups.

This must be particularly galling to Microsoft who have so many more bums on seats, and so many less (real) friends than Apple. The hostility Microsoft endure is mostly due to their past behaviour in regard to Open Source software. Not only has this prevented Microsoft from benefiting from the real advantages that Open Source software offer, but it has earned them a legion of articulate and well informed critics and opponents. And that is why I think there are now moves inside Microsoft to "build bridges" with the Open Source community. There are several examples of this change.

Apart from this Microsoft are now starting to "schmooze" the OS community.

Alas, this change of heart is not really whole-hearted. I suspect that there is a struggle going on within Microsoft as a certain faction sees the writing on the wall. And another faction thinks the only way forward is to keep doing what they always did. Just do it bigger and louder. I'll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide which faction Steve Ballmer is in.

And I can't resist speculating that there might be a significant company-wide shift at Microsoft if Ballmer was "encouraged" to take "early retirement" and enjoy the fruits of his labours.

Meanwhile it seems that Vista has arisen from the depths. July data seems to indicate one of the biggest jumps in Vista market share (as measured by agent strings). This suggests that the slump in June was due to the "XP cutoff date" (1st of July).

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