Google's Chrome browser includes Microsoft code. It's all over the tech headlines.
I have to say, my first reaction was, "So?" Microsoft has been moving further into the open source arena for awhile now, so the fact that Microsoft code ended up in a Google release didn't seem all that newsworthy to me.
In fact, I wasn't even going to bother reading any of them until I saw Dana Blankenhorn's "Google Steals Microsoft Code and You should Cheer" on ZDNet. First, the headline made me laugh. Then I had to see whether Google really did steal code. There was no actual stealing involved. Blankenhorn admitted this first thing -- the Microsoft code used in Chrome has been open source since 2004, he says.
Even still, I'm glad I clicked through. He raises some really good points that I hadn't taken the time to think about. Among them:
Chrome has introduced some key concepts to the Web. The idea of separating tabs as tasks. The idea of an address bar as an application. These are concepts Microsoft can now use to improve Internet Explorer, because Chrome is open source.
Going a step further, he says the fact that Chrome and the Windows Template Library it uses are open source is a good thing:
We can now know why windows crash, and [that] it's often from bad implementations of technologies... It can force [ad] agencies, and the application developers, to do a better job. They can't hide behind a closed session, or claim malware did it.
And that, of course, benefits everyone in the browser business.