Sunday morning, and I couldn't help but ponder Michael Tiemann's excellent note on Microsoft's revised (and improved) Open Specification Promise and "what Microsoft can do for open source."
Michael rightly notes that Microsoft's Promise, while certainly improved, still leaves much to be desired. No surprise there, which leads Michael to a thoughtful, probing analysis of what Microsoft could do to fully engage with open-source communities:
Let's think big. The open-source community already has more than a billion lines of source code at its disposal, and it's doubling every 12.5 months, so I think it's fair to say "we don't really need your code." And we also know that money alone is no substitute for the freedom to innovate that we so crave. So what big thing could we do with Microsoft's cooperation?
There are really four things on my list, but if they did only the first, it would be a meaningful start. The list is:
Pursue the abolition of software patents with the same zeal they showed in their efforts to get OOXML approved as a standard. Unilaterally promise to not use the DMCA to maintain control of their Trusted Computing Platform. Transition to 100 percent open standards (as defined by the OSI, IETF, W3C, or the Digistan). Stop trying to maintain their monopolies by illegal, anticompetitive means.
These sound more like an ultimatum than a request for mutual action, but you get that in Michael's detailed discussion of these four items. In so doing, I think that Michael does an excellent job of demonstrating how to work with Microsoft:… Read more