Bruce Perens on Microsoft and Apache

You may or may not have heard that Microsoft recently sponsored the Apache Foundation, to the tune of $100,000 a year.

While I'd love to believe that Microsoft is finally changing its tune on the open source development model and actually honestly trying to promote interoperability, it seems I am not the only one with cynical and sceptical views on Microsoft's real agenda.

Bruce Perens, creator of the Open Source Definition and co-founder of the Open Source Initiative has written an interesting and insightful article discussing what he believes Microsoft's 'game' to be this time around.

Just a few years ago, Microsoft exec Jim Allchin called open source "an intellectual-property destroyer, I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business." [...]

Now they just want to interoperate, right?

Wrong. You wouldn't have to look too far to convince yourself that Microsoft still engages in hard-edged fighting against open source. The Office Open XML standard has recently been pushed through ISO with so many irregularities in process that four nations complained. There already was an ISO-accredited office document standard called OpenDocument, created by the OpenOffice team. It was one-tenth the size of Microsoft's effort, and did the same work. But it would have put Microsoft and open source on an equal footing. Office Open XML, in contrast, is 6,000 pages long, so large that it's not possible for a programmer to learn it in his or her useful lifetime. That'll keep the open source folks from ever handling files quite the same way that Microsoft does.

He also touches on some of the wider issues that the open source development model faces today later on.

It is definitely an interesting read if you're interested in these sort of issues.

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Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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