A very interesting announcement from Microsoft today. I’ve been
following some of their moves lately and have a gut feeling that
Microsoft is preparing some kind of ‘take over’ plan.
My opinion is that they are doing a silent revolution. Instead of
going head to head with Linux and Apple they are making small steps
towards releasing significant parts of their software assets for free.
Today, it’s totally possible to be a Windows Developer and work with
several technologies without paying a single cent on development tools
licensing. You take the 2003 and Vista betas, a Express Edition compiler, and you
are writting your next application, ready for the to-be-released
versions of Windows.
I mean, seriously. Here’s some signs:
- They released some major pieces of software as free downloads
(Visual [you name it] Express, SQL Server Express). The Open Source
community still has a ways to go to offer the same level of
functionality as even a single one of those apps.
- They have adopted the word ‘beta’ in some service/product
- Recently, they released Microsoft Virtual PC and Virtual Server for
free as well. This directly competes with the VMWare offerings.
- Both Vista and Windows Server 2003 R2 are available as downloads
with a simple registration and timed expiration from their site.
- They have acquired SysInternals and WinInternals, adding Mark
Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell to their operating system
team. Those folks were known for providing low-level debugging
tools for free.
- They are working with the community in some fronts. For example,
the WiX project on SourceForge, receives lots of community feedback
and even patches. It’s a quite high traffic mailing list.
- They have created a SourceForge-like website for hosting community
projects centered around Microsoft products.
- Have you looked at MSDN? Now that’s documentation. Ok, it lacks in
quality in a few places. But can you name a single Open Source
project that provides similar documentation? What’s the sound of
one hand clapping?
How big of a dent that can make in the Open Source community? How many
people, frustrated by the lack of a good and free IDE will move back
to developing on Windows?
My advice: keep an eye on Microsoft. One day we might wake up and
sheesh they made the Windows source code available. Will Linux be
able to survive that?