A blog for the enterprise open source community
Open source and Windows 8: spotlight on Microsoft’s open source interop strategyMatthew Aslett, August 18, 2010 @ 9:00 am ET
It seems safe to say that Oracle is currently ahead of Microsoft when it comes to the company with the most contentious relationship with open source. To some extent that is due Oracle’s questionable approach to community, but it must also be noted that Microsoft has managed not to put its foot in it for a while.
In Microsoft 2009 published its first companywide perspective on open source, made its first contributions to the Linux kernel, and created the CodePlex Foundation, an independent entity designed to encourage its developers and other companies to contribute more to open source software projects.
Doubts have remained about Microsoft’s ongoing commitment, however, with the company being labeled opportunistic in its approach to open source, and skepticism persists – particularly in relation to software patents. We have recently published a new Open Source Strategy Spotlight report, which updates our perspective on Microsoft’s relationship with open source in the light of recent organizational changes.
One of the interesting aspects highlighted by our research for this report is the role of the Open Source Technology Center (OSTC), which consists of the Open Source Software Lab in Redmond, Washington, and the Microsoft/Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Once a part of the Windows server marketing group, the OSTC has been shifted to Windows server engineering, and now contributes directly to interoperability efforts in the development and testing of Microsoft’s platform products, including Windows and Azure.
As such, OSTC is part of the planning team for the next version of Windows Server, ensuring that interoperability principles are embedded into the next generation of the company’s operating system before a single line of code is written.
While this is not the commitment to wider open source development that I know some people would like to see from Microsoft it does signal a significant shift in Microsoft’s development effort that interoperability with open source is front and center of the development of Windows 8.
The report puts the organisational changes around interoperability in context, as well as assessing the drivers behind Microsoft’s engagement with open source (business, technological and government-mandated) and the participation in and contribution to open source projects.
The report is available here to existing 451 Group clients, while non-clients can also apply for trial access.
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