April 19, 2007
"gapingvoid got it wrong"
Heh. Nothing like seeing "Gapingvoid Got It Wrong" on the front page of Techmeme to get your attention...
OK, so it's on the advertising section of Techmeme, still, it's pretty prominent. Prominent enough for me to go "Oops".
Microsoft's Sam Ramji makes a good point:
Their definition of the problem includes long-term viability, mission-critical support, and interoperability with their other technologies. So what this quote means is “if you have a technology for me – open source or not – you have to provide for my key concerns.” Companies like Novell, Red Hat, JBoss, and MySQL have built businesses based on meeting these needs. This is reality. It is foolish to label these companies and their customers, users, and community as playing with things that are “not proven” or “science experiments”.
This is not a war. This is about technology.
It’s only a war when we hold on to hunter-gatherer era tribal mentalities and say “Our way is good! Their way is bad!”
It comes off the Microsoft Port25 blog, the latter I only became really aware of after my friend, James Governor enlightened me.
[UPDATE: Terrific Stuff from Vijay:] "Nice to see Microsoft people feeling uncomfortable with Hugh’s post and coming out quite strongly against it. It shows how far Microsoft have come. I hope the Opensource guys are taking notice of Microsoft’s defence of it!"
[Great, great comment- Michael Neel:] "Open, Closed, Microsoft, Sun - it doesn't matter. _Software has no value_ (nod to eric raymond). What has value is the people, companies, and support behind the software. If software had value, then upgrades and new versions wouldn't replace prior versions. Mac OS 9 anyone? Windows 98? Apache/Linux/MySQL - great support and people involved - high value. Sharepoint 2007 and .Net, again great support and people involved - high value. When I write code for someone they are buying me, not the code. I'm the one that brings the value."
[Related Link:] "The Case For Technological Atheism".
Posted by hugh macleod at April 19, 2007 10:59 PM
open, closed, Microsoft, Sun - it doesn't matter. _Software has no value_ (nod to eric raymond). What has value is the people, companies, and support behind the software. If software had value, then upgrades and new versions wouldn't replace prior versions. Mac OS 9 anyone? Windows 98?
Apache/Linux/MySQL - great support and people involved - high value. Sharepoint 2007 and .Net, again great support and people involved - high value. When I write code for someone they are buying me, not the code. I'm the one that brings the value.
"Technological Atheism", eh? You can tell when Redmond is really losing badly, because it's the only time they begin advocating for a level playing field, portability and the marketplace of ideas. You didn't hear anything about an "Office Open XML" until Open Document Format started gaining mindshare traction.
And remember when their counterargument to Java's "platform independence" became that silly .Net "language independence" riff?
re: Micheal's "When I write code for someone they are buying me, not the code"...
Let's bear in mind that they *aren't* buying you. At $125/hr, they are only renting you. When the engagement is over, you'll be gone, and what they'll have is the code...along with whatever inherent engineering limitations it has. Of course, if the engagement is perpetual, that won't ever come up...if you're immortal. ;-)
(This reminds me of those taglines you used to hear on ads for DVD movies: "Die Hard XVIII: Own it today!" What a lie. After the sale, you don't *own* the movie, you've just bought a licence to view it in a very restricted set of circumstances including audience size and geographic regions. Don't even *think* about moving it to a different technology platform. That's why we don't hear those taglines anymore.)
I don't mean to sound snarky, but I'm pretty sure 90% of the comments regarding that Open Source entry said exactly the same thing. They told you so. ;)
On the one hand it's nice to hear all this pragmatism coming out of Redmond instead of the old smears an name-calling, but this doesn't paint an accurate picture of reality either.
There is a war.
Sorry, but that's the way it is. Open Source is about Freedom. Microsoft is about total control and ownership. Microsoft's ownership. The fact that both sides are willing to compromise, cooperate and learn from each other to get things done that need to be done *now* doesn't mean the long term conflict has gone away.
(The "software has no value" post is extremely ironic in this context. Placing value on it, turning the software and the knowledge behind it into economic property and then restricting its use, thereby limiting the people that could add the real value is exactly what closed source companies like Microsoft do.)