No Bull!

How far wide open is Microsoft going?

Coman Hamilton
ballmer-cloud-windows-azure-microsoft

Microsoft announces big policy on open source to change – to mixed reception.

Open source and behemoth scale enterprises
generally tend to go together like X Factor contestants and musical
credibility. But, amidst all the litigation and dubious API claims,
one giant has apparently taken a stab at cleaning up the
status-quo. In an

open email
to all Microsoft employees, CEO
Stay Nadella announced that he is working to “evolve” the company’s
organisation and culture.

The news of change come amid the wake of
Microsoft’s recent announcement cut its workforce by 18,000.
Although Microsoft has already loosely been involved in open source
for some time, this marks what may the beginning of a genuine
effort to commit to the open source movement.

In addition to its own
CodePlex platfor
m
, the company has
begun making open-source projects available via a

GitHub profile
which it launched for the
first time last year. It joins the ranks of
https://github.com/azure
and https://github.com/MSOpenTech.

Of course, the as-yet to be populated page is a
hardly inspiring marker of change, in a year marked by an
tumultuous Google-Oracle copyright case verdict that could have
grave implications for open development as a whole, it’s at least
positive to see one market leader making a stand in its favour.
Right? Well, not exactly.

News of Microsoft’s has been welcomed
b
y
on
Reddit
, albeit with
sensible dose of scepticism, with much of the community commenting
on rumours that Microsoft developers were previously “forbidden to
look at open source”.

“[I]t is called contamination,” one Reddit user
writes. “[I]f you read some open code and reimplement it, that can
be the same as copying the code into your project. Obviously, most
employers point out this only applies to similar software – of
[sic] you make ms office, reading openoffice code would be
sketchy.”

Or as another cheery soul put
it, 

“Microsoft: three decades of evil.

And now, hey, all’s forgiven, we have a github
account.

Right.”

Quite. Just how far Microsoft intends to take
this new policy remains to be seen. After all, we’ve seen how fast
and loose Oracle’s played with the

open source
concept in the past, and
Microsoft doesn’t exactly have a flawless track record when it
comes to corporate ethics – but we’re willing to be
surprised.

Author
Coman Hamilton
Before becoming Editor of JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group), Coman completed an M.A. in Cultural Studies and wrote for numerous websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies. // Want to submit a story? Get me at coman[AT]jaxenter.com or linkedin.com/in/comanhamilton
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