Sam Ramji has just confirmed what I always had a feeling about, that Samba developers know more about Windows Networking than Windows Developers. Working with Samba certainly helped me transition to Windows and I would highly recommend people looking at “Samba 3 by Example” by John H Terpstra, it’s available online. This guide highlights that if you want an LDAP/Kerberos based infrastructure which just works then chose Active Directory but if you want an alternative then Samba/LDAP/Kerberos is available. However, with many things in Linux having a unified/consistent management inferface is a lot more tricky, yes there are GUIs for OpenLDAP but they’re not going to give anything as nice as the Server Management console that you’ll find in SBS 2003.
After all the negative karma around recently, here is a more positive story. Miguel de Icaza, of the Mono Project, has been down at Microsoft at a compiler lab meeting and being taken out to dinner by Scott Guthrie. You see, get a couple of techies in a room and they’ll quite happily work together, it’s the execs that get in the way! Scott mentions the meeting and dinner on his blog.
Looks like Miguel has started on the evaluation of being able to do Silverlight on Mono as well.
I found a presentation recently which I wote back when I initially started the business giving an overview of Open Source/Linux. Having looked back over it, I think it’s quite a good overview and pretty even handed (even if I say so myself!), although you can judge for yourself?
Feel free to download it and let me know if you think it’s useful.
This is an interesting event which is taking place tomorrow in San Francisco and shows part of Microsoft’s strategy on Open Source. One of it’s aims is to get ISVs to develop their applications on Windows rather than Linux. The LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack is a very popular choice and Microsoft wants to convert this to WAMP (Windows, …, etc).
Sam Ramji, from the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab is presenting, and they’ve also got the CEO of SugarCRM. I’m guessing he’s going to be talking up building Open Source apps on Windows. His company is another good example of an Open Source company making money. They use a business model which has a zero cost Open Source version with a range of commercially licensed versions based on the Open Source solution with enhanced support services etc. SugarCRM has financing from Venture Capitalists, so you can see that serious people are willing to put money in to these business models.
You see, Microsoft and Open Source doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive and is a part of the positive stuff that is going on.
…that hole is just getting deeper. Bill Hilf is trying to explain himself in this interview with the IDG News Service. According to him it’s not Microsoft strategy to litigate but to resolve the IP Issues. The resolution of these IP Issues is by organisations negotiating IP License agreements with Microsoft which I assume will mean some kind of payment. He says that judges decide patent issues and he’s absolutely right, so how can he confidently say there are IP issues? The answer is he can’t! This is where he’s got himself all in a muddle, because someone, somewhere will turn round and say prove it in a court of law and that’s where the litigation starts. Groklaw is on the case now and this thing is going to be picked through with a fine tooth comb. In reality Linux has never really hurt Microsoft in market share, it’s taken most of it’s gains from Unix. However, Microsoft has a sort of irrational fear of Linux, it feels like it is it’s Nemesis waiting in the shadows. Microsoft is a smart company with some smart people and eventually they will realise they have to just put this patent silliness to one side and just go out and compete on the technology and value to customers. This is where it’s done an amazing job in it’s new technologies pulling it further away from many open source solutions. The last thing our industry needs is customers unsettled by threats of retrospective IP licensing.
…they we’re only joking, had us all fooled and hot under the collar for no good reason – maybe they thought it was a slow news week! Anyway, Horacio Guiterrez, Microsoft’s VP for IP and Licensing has said that “We’re not litigating. If we wanted to we would have done so years ago.”. Oh, okay so why say it – is this a Marketing 101 example that we should be following in our own businesses? Poor old Microsoft, for all it’s power, wealth and glory cannot help creating a rod for its own back! Problem now is, and it’s still evident in the article, is that people are going to keep chipping away at this 235 Patents business. Guiterrez goes on to say that Microsoft collects royalty payments from some companies that use Linux in their computing environment. That’s absolutely crazy and those companies should ask for their money back. You cannot go to a company and say this product infringes my patents but I’m not going to prove it to you in any way and it’s never been tested in court either! SCO tried this and is failing miserably while slowly going out of business! Microsoft needs to get a grip on this and really get a coherent message out there.
The article has one major thing wrong in that it says that the Free Software Foundation controls Linux Licensing. Wrong! Linus Torvalds and the other members of the Linux Kernel project control the licensing and there is no way at the moment they are going to move to GPL v3. They’ve made their position clear publicly and Linus has too and you can see it here. Now, the Linux kernel by itself doesn’t make a Linux distribution and indvidual projects may choose to license under GPL v3 and that’s when the fun and games are going to start!
Novell’s response is here restating it’s position that it’s agreement with Microsoft in no way admits that Linux infringes Microsoft Patents and they totally disagree with Microsoft’s claims. They say their focus was on interoperability and making it easier for customers who have Windows and Linux. That’s great, so why oh why oh why couldn’t Microsoft just stick to that message!!!
Scoble has a post on this which links through to a report by Fortune Magazine that Microsoft might be preparing itself to enter in to patent battles with free software. Obviously, the legal action would have to be against legal entities, so they are going to have to target certain companies. From Scoble’s post it seems this is inevitable and just around the corner. However, when you read the Fortune Magazine article it doesn’t have any new announcements from Microsoft or it’s executives. This article really stems from the Novell/Microsoft agreement that the two companies wouldn’t sue each other over patent claims. It is asserted that Microsoft did this so it could go after someone like Red Hat and others to get royalty payments. Many people think this is the inevitable outcome. However, people have been saying this ever since Microsoft started to get concered about Linux. I seem to be in a minority thinking that Microsoft would not follow this course of action. A patent battle of this type would be protacted (look at the SCO vs IBM case, it hasn’t even moved to trial yet!), it could trigger reciprocal patent claims. Just remember IBM probably holds more patents than Microsoft! It would be a huge PR disaster for Microsoft. Taking legal action of this nature is not a good business model, it is no substitute for just going out and competing in a free market environment. I would hope that this would not be popular within Microsoft with those who are trying so hard to build a human side to Microsoft.
Some links to others commenting on this issue.
Here is Vlad’s post. I think we’re pretty much saying the same thing (although he uses a lot more words than me!) so agreeing with him is getting quite a habit for me! Vlad is so right about the mixed environment especially in larger companies. I’ve been going on about the interoperability stuff for a while now, so it’s good to see I’m not talking total rubbish!
Alex has some thoughts on this over at the IMPACT Blog as well.
There’s an interesting article in the Bangkok Post quoting Bill Hilf, Microsoft Director of Platform Strategy, on a recent visit there. The article starts with the following quote from Bill Hilf
The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn’t exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today
Read the story, the usual Stallman diatribe.
…and that’s what doing damage to Free Software, that kind of attitude! It’s apparently about “ethics” according to Stallman!
Doesn’t this sound like “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” type of attitude?
Oh, and by the way Free Software promotes “democracy” according to Stallman. In fact I think it could actually bring about world peace and reverse global warming! It’s so simple, why didn’t I think of that …doh!
Good old Sam Ramji of Port25 has made his thoughts clear on the Gapingvoid Opensource debate. It echoes my own thoughts on this subject and really Hugh’s argument holds no water. I wish he’d just admit it! So when people in Microsoft are saying “hang on, this isn’t our strategy”, you have to take notice. Let me say it again, walk into any enterprise company in the world and they’ll have a mix of systems running. Opensource has produced some serious technology and to think or say otherwise is just so off the mark that it just shows your own ignorance.
Sam mentions JBoss which is a perfect example of opensource making money. JBoss was the first opensource J2EE 1.4 certified application server in the world and was developed by Mark Fleury, who couldn’t intially get any funding for it. However, when it started to take off and challenge BEA, IBM and SUN, then VCs were falling over themselves to invest. He declined the money and eventually sold JBoss to Redhat for $350 million. Now, Hugh that’s real money! Redhat has revenues of $278 million, again real money!
No one in Microsoft has ever said to me opensource is rubbish, don’t deploy it. What they say is we think our products deliver more value, try them yourself and if you agree sell them to your customers. It’s a grown up approach, it’s something I can relate to. Dave Overton’s approach is to say to Partners deploy the solution which best serves your customer’s needs. As IT Consultants WE make that decision for our clients, not Microsoft or IBM or SUN or anyone else!
Funny how Hugh, while trying to be “edgy” and “different” is coming out looking quite out-dated. Unfortunately, The Blue Monster is seeming more and more like a “pre-historic dinosaur”! I’m with the message, “Microsoft, change the world or go home” but the approach has to be about “engagement” and not “confrontation”!
I feel passionate about this!
P.S. 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!
Those hard working guys at Port25 have just released a Firefox Plugin for Windows Media. Nice job but it would be even sweeter if Linux was one of the supported platforms!
So, when people talk about Opensource and Microsoft being mutually exclusive they should really think again!