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Is Microsoft really any more trustworthy?

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Lately, Microsoft has been trying really, really hard to appear as open source’s best friend. All I can say is: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Microsoft has been making all these wonderful promises of opening up APIs and protocols. The company just forgot to mention that it is only obeying the orders of the European Union court system.

If someone stole from you, and the courts ordered them to pay you back, how would you feel about them holding a self-serving press conference to tell you how generous they are? Or, as Michael Tiemann, head of the Open Source Initiative and a Red Hat executive, put it in an OSI blog posting on March 30th, Microsoft’s new weapon against open source: stupidity.

You see some people still believe that Microsoft offering patented protocols under “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” or “for free for noncommercial use without fear of lawsuits” is somehow some kind of olive branch to the open-source community.

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Also from SJVN:

I couldn't make it to OSCON last week in Portland, OR, but I have read the announcements that Sam Ramji, the director of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab, made at this open-source software show. They were the friendliest things I've ever seen come out of Microsoft towards open source.

The first announcement, that Microsoft was contributing a patch to ADOdb, a PHP database access interface, wasn't that big a deal. It is, after all, self-serving. Microsoft's contribution will enable people to use its own SQL Server instead of MySQL or PostgreSQL with PHP programs. Yawn. Nothing new here.

The second announcement, that Microsoft was placing its Communications Protocol Program under its Open Specification Promise, and clarified that developer could use the communication protocols to build open-source software for commercial use, sounded much more important than it really is. You see the European Union courts ordered Microsoft to open those protocols up. Samba and the SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) hammered out an agreement late last year that spelled out how the protocols could be used while avoiding Microsoft patents.

Could Microsoft actually be getting an open-source clue?

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