Hilf speaks about Linux through Microsoft eyes

When I saw the title of this article, I was quite interested to see what Bill Hilf had to say on the topic. As Director of Platform Technology Strategy he's in charge of the Microsoft LinuxLab, which means he must have a pretty interesting perspective on things. Unfortunately, the article was extremely light on what he thinks about Linux or about what Microsoft is actually doing with Linux. It does get a little into what they are doing with Open Source though, which is also a topic of interest for me. The first thing that caught my eye was his reason for pulling out out LinuxWorld AU – “an internal meeting that could not be moved”. Considering his job function, that must be a pretty important meeting. I found his statement about the size of his department quite telling also. “It's a small, experienced and focused team – it usually is around eight to 10 people at any given time.” Reading between the lines a bit, I'd say the department must have extremely high turnover. To be fair, I can certainly see why. The two questions he seemed to dodge, “How does Microsoft plan to make money from open source and Linux?” and “How much does Microsoft view open source and Linux as competition?” were the two I'd liked to have seen answered the most. One thing that comes up in the article is something I've seen said by multiple people from Microsoft from multiple disparate department, both on and off the record. Microsoft is learning from the OSS development model itself and are indeed using some of the methodologies and parts of the paradigm to improve their internal development process. More proof (although at this point I don't even think more proof is necessary) that the model demonstrably produces better code. Even though you know it, it's always great to see it in print in an interview like this. I think an open dialog between Bill and the Linux team at Microsoft could be quite beneficial for all involved. If anyone from Microsoft reading this interested in making it happen, feel free to contact me.
–jeremy
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