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What's Motivating Microsoft's Open Source Maneuvers?

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On Monday, InfoWorld blogger and MySQL exec Zach Urlocker commented on Bill Hilf's address at OSCON, in which Hilf explained that, after periods of "experimenting" and "learning," Microsoft is ready to "work more closely with open source." To that end, Hilf also announced that the company has launched an open source Web site and is submitting its shared source licenses to OSI for open source certification.

 

Urlocker notes that the efforts Microsoft has made to this point (JBoss support, work with XenSource, etc.) are "bearing fruit" in increased Windows server sales and customers who are pleased with the cooperation between open source and proprietary software. But, he says:

I hope that the cooperation is more along the technical lines of what Hilf presented on his slides and less about, ah, patent licenses.

He has reason to wonder, given that nearly all -- if not the entirety -- of the collaboration agreements Microsoft has signed recently with open source companies include some sort of patent provision. But I guess only time will tell what's behind Microsoft's latest open source moves.

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