Source Leaving Microsoft Sitting on the Fence?
The open source model, with special regard to Linux, has no
doubt become a formidable competitor to the once sole giant
of the software industry, Microsoft. It is expected when the
market share of an industry leader becomes threatened, retaliation
with new product or service offerings and marketing campaigns
refuting the claims of the new found competition are inevitable.
However, in the case of Microsoft, it seems they have not
taken a solid or plausible position on the use of open source
applications as an alternative to Windows.
I read on a daily
basis the latest ventures of Microsoft from the much publicized
"war on Linux" to surrendering and publishing portions
of their source code. In their first argument, executives
of the Redmond Washington company regard Linux as everything
from a "waste of money" to a threat to the well-being
of the software industry. During these arguments, Microsoft
executives stick by their original perception, attempting
to position open source software as a less secure, less technologically
sound option that does not only offer inferior solutions but
is inherently bad for the financial and developmental growth
of the industry. Although proved wrong time and time again
by accredited analysts, journalists and customers it is a
fair position for a corporation to take when their competition
has them against the ropes.
is puzzling to me is that Microsoft never seems to stick with
that argument. Whether they are intentionally or unintentionally
releasing portions of their source code to the public, they
themselves have implemented a "shared source initiative"
in recent years. Coincidentally, this program mirrors the
benefits brought fourth by the open source development process
in which segments of their source code are released to the
public intended to be used as a resource for developers. Originally,
backing up the view that open source was substandard and dangerous,
the program operated under a "look don't touch"
policy, however, in recent months the software giant has changed
its tune offering participating developers the chance to modify
and propose ways to improve upon the available code.
manager of Microsoft's shared source initiative defines the
benefits of the program as something developers and Microsoft
will benefit from. Further emphasizing his claim Matusow was
quoted as saying "by allowing others to modify the code,
Microsoft benefits by increasing Windows development, while
programmers benefit from improved tools." Additionally,
in a separate interview, he was further quoted as saying "the
whole function of shared source is to learn from open-source
and apply that to how we do business." The irony of this
project is that it follows a similar model to that of open
source development and consequentially is the exact ideal
proprietary developers like Microsoft so vehemently condemn.
To create and
promote a program such as Microsoft's shared source initiative,
while at the same time making such harsh comments to the Linux
and open source community concerning their development model,
confirms the theory that the executives at Microsoft truly
do see the merit in open source and find those vendors operating
under that model to be a substantial threat to their business.
From a consumer point of view, on the other hand, Microsoft
sitting on the fence is an attempt to please everyone but,
in actuality, could prove to be debilitating. How can consumers
trust a company in which their whole business model and focus
is skewed based on the situations and actions of a particular
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I am hearing so much about Internet and network
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Behind the Shield editors encourage their readers to
submit questions. The most frequently asked questions
will appear in future issues. We look forward to answering
all your inquiries! Email us at email@example.com
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desktop workstations is an integral part of network security
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sure your workstation utilizes the latest version of the
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