CyberTech Rambler

August 31, 2010

Microsoft view of open source is upside down??

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:05 pm

Via Groklaw, I saw Iturbide‘s recollection of Microsoft’s Open Source Strategy. In particular, his recollection on the slide which Microsoft had drawn where Microsoft sits in the open source world was hilarious, if you are like me used to see the standard community open source diagram, or even corporate open source diagram.

With Community Open Source, you only see open source software. With corporates’, even with well established company, you see open source as the bottom most building blocks. As Iturbide pointed out, it is upside down, since we have Microsoft products as building blocks.

After laughing my heart out, I start to see Microsoft point. They want Open Source to be built on their ecosystem. Well, in a sense, everyone do. We should take it as  coincidence that Microsoft is charging for Windows, Exchange and Visual Studio. Swap Microsoft out for RedHat and we will see RedHat products at the bottom. It is hard to argue that that is not what RedHat wants. Of course, we can migrate away from RedHat relatively easily.

Bearing that in mind, my further analysis shows that there is only one thing that I cannot accept in the diagram as an open source advocate, i.e., building on top of exchange, share point and System center. The rest are just fine by me. Why? I can migrate away easily from SQL Server, Windows and Visual Studio (Assuming you are writing Visual Studio plugin with proper layering  and you would if you are writing for Visual Studio, I can easily write the VS dependent part out). Since I can, I can pull the three out right under Microsoft’s nose in the future.

Don’t agree with me? Guess on which platform converts to open source  first encounters Open Source Software? Windows!


  1. It all depends on your perspective, business value or IT architecture.

    From the point of business value added by a solution, the core is in the proprietary software, with OSS as a value-added. You pay for the proprietary stuff; the free stuff just adds value, but you don’t pay for it. The value is in the core, with added value in the enhancement.

    OSS is just part of the the augmented product (from a marketing perspective), like things such as documentation and training. Sorry if that offends you, but that’s simply true from a business value perspective.

    On the other hand, if you view a vendor’s solution like an IT architecture perspective or as an OSS supporter, you view the OSS as fundamental and the proprietary core as an extra.

    Regards, Ian Easson

    Comment by Ian Easson — August 31, 2010 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Ian,

    “OSS is just part of the the augmented product (from a marketing perspective), like things such as documentation and training. Sorry if that offends you, but that’s simply true from a business value perspective.”

    It does not offend me at all. In fact I adopt the same stance if I were a proprietary company.

    Sometimes, I built OSS software using other OSS built on Matlab for business. I do it because I get more value out of it than to insist on using pure OSS software. The other OSS author obviously see value in basing his software on Matlab. If I want to built on top of his, then I will have to accept it.

    I would, however, try to avoid OSS (and if possible, undermine them) on proprietary foundation for philosophical reason.

    Aside: I once have a sales engineer (not Matlab’s) trying to persuade me to convert my 3D or 4D data into 2D data in order to ‘take advantage’ of their software. That sounded to me like ‘upside down’ as one would had expected his software to scale up to N-th dimension, not me scaling down to 2D. My initial reaction was that he got he will do anything to get a sale, but after thinking about it, I can see some potential advantages, which he should had pointed out to me but did not. For example, I might be able to take advantage of his product optimization of 2D data operations, especially those operations that does not care that the data is in 3D or 4D, or when I have 3D or 4D data that has characteristics that will allows 2D operations.

    Best regards,

    Comment by ctrambler — September 1, 2010 @ 11:19 am | Reply

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