Much has been made lately of Microsoft collaborating with Eclipse developers. It began with vague references that neither organization would substantiate. This week, the plans were revealed at EclipseCon.
But even before Microsoft's Sam Ramji spoke on Wednesday, open sourcers were wondering just how much Microsoft was planning to do in Eclipse-sponsored projects. Computerworld quotes Redmonk analyst Michael Cote this way:
Microsoft's involvement with the open-source world has largely been around shoring up two way interoperation and platform coverage. Rather than do open source or directly support the use of open source, Microsoft tends to partner with other people to do the open-source work for them. I suspect that any collaboration will really be around making sure various pieces of middleware and software libraries can work together rather than using Eclipse Rich Client Platform to replace Visual Studio.
Directions on Microsoft analyst Greg DeMichillie also told Computerworld he would be "stunned" if Microsoft was planning to open source much -- if any -- of its Visual Basic IDE.
Ramji answered some of the questions in his keynote, but raised others. According to InformationWeek, Ramji told EclipseCon attendees:
Microsoft is making a transition from being a company that values only proprietary software to one that recognizes that developers produce much unpatented, freely available open source code on Windows machines. That doesn't mean Microsoft is an open source code company, but it does mean the hostility it has previously expressed is abating.
Apparently, it also doesn't mean that Microsoft will be joining the foundation or donating its C# programming language, the story says. But Microsoft does want Windows to be the best development platform for open source. "It's a huge, sustainable market opportunity," Ramji said.
Responses were mixed, according to InformationWeek. One Eclipse contributor, for instance, said Microsoft may "increase its activity" in open source, but it's also still competitive with several open source programs.