|Subject: [hangout] More egov-os stupidity
Microsoft softens stance By Adam Turner February 25 2003
Microsoft and Linux evangelists called a truce in the open-source war
last week for a seminar examining the use of open source by government
Microsoft acknowledged the open-source genie was "out of the bottle"
to 150 government and industry representatives at the one-day seminar
organised by the Federal Government's National Office for the Information
Despite initial criticism of Microsoft's inclusion on the bill, the
Windows giant took a constructive approach and was well received, says
the NOIE general manager of business strategies, Steve Alford.
"A few people said when they've been to such conferences before it's been
like an evangelist-type experience and it's almost a religious thing as
to which side you come down on, but they said that this was different,"
Microsoft's senior vice-president of business strategy, Maggie
Wilderotter, addressed the seminar with speakers from IBM, Gartner and
the Australian Unix and open systems User Group (AUUG). Attracting twice
the expected numbers, the seminar is likely to spawn a series.
Microsoft's approach was an about-face from chief executive Steve
Ballmer's description of Linux and the GNU Public Licence, under which
many open-source applications are distributed, as "a cancer" only 18
"The comments that Steve made some time ago, I'm sure he would choose
an entirely different set of words to talk about what we're doing and
our stance around non-commercial software," says Microsoft Australia's
competitive strategy manager, Martin Gregory.
The fact open source has affected Microsoft and IBM's approach to business
was "very clear", says fellow speaker Gordon Hubbard - AUUG treasurer
and chair of its Open Computing for Government board subcommittee.
"Microsoft seemed to be making an effort to fit in with the mood of the
conference," says Hubbard.
"They made a statement that they wanted to see a level playing field
and that they were in favour of open standards and these were a couple
of statements which were a little bit surprising. They concentrated
on positives rather than directly criticising; they didn't directly
attack open source. It was certainly a lot milder than what we would
Microsoft's change of tack came as the group program manager for
Microsoft's Shared Source initiative, David Stutz, resigned this month
with a parting shot at the software giant.
"Linux is certainly a threat to Microsoft's less-than-perfect server
software right now (and to its desktop in the not-too-distant future),
but open-source software in general, running especially on the Windows
operating system, is a much bigger threat," said Stutz in a "sanitised
version" of his parting email to Microsoft staff.
This story was found at:
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