Open-Source Model Here to Stay

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-28 Print this article Print


With regard to the open-source model, Ballmer acknowledged that it is here to stay, as is the commercial model. Microsoft "encouraged, invited and wanted" as much open-source innovation as possible on top of the Windows and .Net platforms.

"We are excited to have it. Look at all the work we have done to really make sure that PHP is well-integrated and runs well on IIS," he said.

Asked what the new interoperability and openness principles announced Feb. 21 mean for open-source developers, Ballmer said they mean that they no longer need to get patent licenses for commercial or noncommercial works.

"Open-source developers can write software that uses those patents without having to get a license. But their customers who use those products must then get a license, directly from us or through Novell and maybe one day from Red Hat," he said.

Microsoft knows most open-source developers are not in that business, but open-source distributors are, or at least could be. "We have set up vehicles for people to license those patents, at least in the case of Linux, quite simply, through the work we have done with Novell and SUSE," Ballmer said.

For his part, Muglia said the interoperability move allows them to build products that interoperate with the large ecosystem around Windows in standards-based ways.

"We are just trying to make it very transparent how we use standards and, if we do provide enhancements to standards, to be able to define what those things are. And, in some cases, there are a set of proprietary protocols that are part of Windows, and we've published all of those and developers have access to all of them," he said.

But Muglia acknowledged that those developers really have to be committed to doing this as it is "deep-level stuff. This is not light bedtime reading," he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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