Can Windows and Open Source Learn to Play Nice?

Bob Muglia, the senior vice president of Microsoft's server and tools business, talked about just that question with eWeek at the recent TechEd conference (where I am told there was at least one LQ shirt on the floor ;) One quote that stuck out to me was:
A commercial company has to build intellectual property, while the GPL, by its very nature, does not allow intellectual property to be built, making the two approaches fundamentally incompatible, Muglia said.
That's one problem with Microsoft. A commercial company should have to build value. Someone should tell Red Hat, MySQL AB and the other myriad commercial companies making money with GPL software that it's not allowed. Aside from that, he did have some good things to say. One problem here is that Microsoft is going to have to take the first step here, and it's going to have to be a large step. The company has a sordid history of business partnerships being completely predatory and interoperability meaning “embrace and extend”. I think what we may be seeing here is Microsoft reaching the acceptance stage. They've ignored, they've laughed, they've fought, and now they are realizing that this is for real and while they still have the dominant position in many places now, things are demonstrably changing. As I wondered in my last post though, I'm not sure Microsoft is yet ready to change alongside us.
This seems to have been a popular topic at Tech Ed, with Jeremy Moskowitz calling for a truce between Windows and Linux. I don't see much of a war going on, and if there is Microsoft is the only one fighting it from what I can tell. Linux and Open Source develop to Open Standards that are available to anyone. By doing that, interoperability is a non-issue. Anyone who develops to the standard is inherently able to work with anyone else who develops to the standard. The fact that Microsoft does not develop to many standards doesn't make a war. On a funny note, he also says:
Windows has more patches, but Microsoft releases them more frequently and fixes things more quickly,”
The fact that he thinks a company that has a specific day to release patches (Tuesday) releases things quicker than anyone is amusing to me. Looking at the average response time from report to patch for Linux vs. Windows and I think you'll find the ascertation by Mr. Moskowitz quite misguided.
A note to Microsoft, you can join the party anytime. But that means joining the party. No predatory practices, no anti-competitive behavior and no monopoly abuse. Open Standards is the way for Open Source and proprietary software to interact. Clean documented interfaces and API's mean the license of two interacting programs don't even come into play. The truth will set you free :)
–jeremy
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