Just read that Microsoft has formed a new foundation called CodePlex foundation, presumably
to spinoff their Code plex site and allow it to stand separately from Microsoft. The mission appears to be to allow an easier avenue for developers
working for proprietary software companies to contribute to open source projects.
The line up of people they have on their advisory board (including Monty) and board of directors is interesting CodePlex About.
I'm particularly happy that Miguel De Icaza is on the board since he is one of my favorite people and I believe shares my pragmatic ideals on the synergy between open source and non-open source software. I wonder what it takes to get on this board.
It would be really nice if someone in the PostgreSQL community were on this board just to ensure the needs of the PostgreSQL community (especially our growing number of windows users) is well represented.
As to the argument of Monty's that software for sell is dying, not sure I quite agree though haven't given it much thought. Certainly I would like to think
that service for sell is rising since that's the business we are in and enjoy most. One thing I believe is that software is getting more complicated and people
expect more. With that said even as a company that sells software, you would be foolish not to try to leverage on the open source software out there that fits nicely into your codebase.
You just won't be able to compete even with the sole proprietor next door who is with it.
Microsoft reinventing itself
First I would first like to give this caveat that yes I am a pro Microsofter. Always was, and really can't see myself changing. Over the years I have seen myself
change along with the face of Microsoft. I no longer use just Microsoft products, but partake too of all the good things that the world has to offer, much of which thank goodness is free
in the sense of not costing as well as not having restrictive uses, and fitting often more nicely with our clients codebase and general requirements than closed source software.
I have observed over the years, that Microsoft has been embracing PHP and basically trying to make the world forget about ASP. This all seemed puzzling to me at first
and then realized it makes perfect logistical
sense. ASP is a dead product and even as the owner of said dead product, you want to get your customer off of it as quickly as possible so you don't have to waste money supporting it. That is why the PostgreSQL and other communities push people to upgrade. All those die-hard ASP fans hated ASP.NET. ASP.NET was too complicated for their needs. Ironically
the transition for many people from ASP to PHP was a much easier one than from ASP to ASP.NET. PHP also had the advantage of running pretty consistently on Linux as it did on Windows.
Work still needs to be done to allow ASP.NET that luxury. I happen to like both for very different reasons and workflows.
Last week I noticed what appears to be an acceleration in whatever company Microsoft is turning into. I wanted to try out the
new SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services by downloading the free SQL server 2008 Express with Advanced Services. Last time I downloaded it the install of SQL Server 2008 express was a bit painful, but
this time I spent a lot of time puzzled. You see I had to download this thing called a Web Platform Installer. It recognized the dependencies I was missing and dowloaded it for me. What puzzled me however were these screens.
The strange thing is that a lot of the PHP side of products are MySQL centric and don't even work with SQL Server to my knowledge and much of it
doesn't work with PostgreSQL (except for Moodle, Gallery, the variant of Drupal they packaged Acquia Drupal - claims to only support MySQL. What happened to plain Drupal that supports PostgreSQL). So on the
one hand I was glad that Microsoft was embracing open source and on the other hand I was irritated by the choice of offerings. I'm not sure if I can blame Microsoft for the lack of applications I can actually use.
I'm sure a poll was done and this is what people commonly use and being customer centric as they are that is what they put out.
this is all wishful thinking.
Microsoft won't ever do anything good either for customers or opensource. They are in business of making cash. But care only about large customers, and themselves.
So thinking that microsoft wants to make something good, and contribute in this way is at least naive wishful thinking.
I think all companies are out to make money and maximize on that. So of course I don't expect Microsoft to be any different. I am arguing its in their best interest to do so. Because they have a large developer following pushing them to do so. I honestly don't know why everyone is so against Microsoft.
I bet if you talk to customers both large and small vs. the customers of Oracle -- you will find that most Microsoft customers are much happier with Microsoft than they are with Oracle. Well at least in the arenas I've been in (both large and small).
In my mind Oracle fits your description better -- a company that pretends to be on the side of open source but really isn't.
you are right. My description probably describes likes of Oracle as well.
What I am trying to say, is - Microsoft in no way is trying to make 'world better'. They are forced to try support some opensource base. It is really simple. Opensource 'stuff' currently runs mainly on linux, or other BSDs. So obviously, to change that pattern, microsoft has to do something for the opensource world.
But that's again, not 'pro opensource' move. It is more along the lines of leaning towards what people do at the moment.
They didn't get they idea, that they are still quite evil at what they do, and until they change that - (stop stealing ideas, stop making stupid 'innovations' that aren't really any innovations at all, stop abusing 'network effect', etc, etc).
The fact that microsoft creates opensource portal, or whatever that thing really is going to be - doesn't mean they changed their policies, or attitude.
Until that happens, any that sort of 'news' is as funny and propostrus as Chinese democratical humanitarian aid force in africa.
Okay we are not in disagreement. My point
is it really doesn't matter if Microsoft is evil or not. The market forces if pointing in the right direction will force them to do the right thing.
When a company gets beyond say 200 people, I think the judgement of morality etc. goes out the door (you have to judge them as a machine and see what is feeding that machine). Google is no longer "NOT EVIL". they were not evil when they were 20 buy they are a machine now.
Oracle ironically I would sense is less pressured to do right by Open Source -- simply because they have high margin business, higher number of sales force and a lower developer customer base. To them open source is a means to upsell. Microsoft makes much of their money on lower margins and ISVs reselling their wares as part of their things. They can't afford to piss off that group as much as Oracle can get away with.
of course I could be wrong with all these observations, but that is my general non-statistically proven sense of the way the wind blows.
I am not trying to say that microsoft is evil.
It looks to me, like we are in agreement here, really.
I am trying to show the reasons behind Microsoft's steps, which clearly shows you - that believing in their honesty and generosity is just wrong.
Basically, they don't make anything new here. They don't innovate, they don't help people to create and grow. They try to take a slice of the 'open source' pie, grab it and hold it.
That just defines any microsoft action. It shows you how great is the 'network effect', and how really easily fooled people are.
On a side note, any corporation is evil, both if you work for it, or if you're their customer.
Sorry, that's wishful thinking. If you look the CodePlex board is composed entirely of Microsoft Staff, a community-hater, and one genuine open source person (Monty) who is too busy to participate in any decision-making. Further, if you read their Contributer Agreement, it's an "all your code are belong to us" agreement, which says that Microsoft can use your code in any way they please.
So, Microsoft has done some good things in the recent past with OSS. However, Codeplex isn't one of them; it's nothing more than developer entrapment.
I second Josh here. He is fortunate enough, to be able to put it into nice words, and explain it better than I do.
I double checked Josh's article sources: http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/database-soup/codeplex-stay-away-34128?rss=1
And yes, This is pretty much my feeling in the guts.
Microsoft will never do anything good. The fact, that few ex-opensource activists (can't really call Miguel an opensource friend anymore) got fooled, and paid little something to belive, well.
As they say, Lie changes depending on the level. In corporate environment, you have to convince common people that they do good, in order to achieve a/the goal. So you lie. And lie changes, depending on the level.
It is no different for Microsoft, and other corps.
Only time will tell. You may or may not be right, but I don't see the harm in welcoming with half-open arms. Of course Microsoft wouldn't join an existing org, look at the animosity in such orgs at the name of Microsoft.
I provide a link to Miguel's blog in contrast.
I think there is a chasm here -- and it seems to fall between .NET programmers and non .NET programmers. I happen to sit on both camps. But I do consider Miguel someone I hold in high-regard - he isn't militant and egoistic like some people I can name in the OSS community (not you 2 so don't think I'm talking about you).
Is it true that FSF threw Miguel out because he refused to call Linux GNU\Linux? or were there other reasons. I would be interested in knowing your take on that. Because if that is what it is then the whole discussion of "Why wasn't the FSF contacted about CodePlex" is shall I say one-sided BS.