Everyone in the Linux world remembers Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s famous comment that Linux is a “cancer” that threatened Microsoft’s intellectual property. Ballmer is still CEO of Microsoft, but that comment occurred in 2001, a lifetime ago in the technology market. While Microsoft hasn’t formally rescinded its declaration that Linux violates its patents, at least one Microsoft executive admits that the company’s earlier battle stance was a mistake. Microsoft wants the world to understand, whatever its issues with Linux, it no longer has any gripe toward open source. “We love open source,” says Jean Paoli of Microsoft in a recent interview with Network World. “We have worked with open source for a long time now.”
The mistake of equating all open source technology with Linux was “really very early on,” Paoli says. “That was really a long time ago,” he says. “We understand our mistake.” Paoli is the general manager of Microsoft’s interoperability strategy team, which touches on some open source issues. A Microsoft veteran of 14 years, Paoli is also the co-creator of the XML specification.
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Of course they love “open source”. It helps them steal ideas and pretend to be good guys.
What they probably don’t love so much is “free software”. How many GPL’d projects are they hosting?
Keep your eyes open for the Arduino-like board they are working on at the Cambridge, UK, research lab. It’s hardware extension modules (wireless, sensors, etc) are all connected using DIL headers so that pin numbering in the C# code it uses is standardised. Kinda whacky-looking board with DIL headers all over it but small nonetheless.