Open-Source Developers Covered

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-04-08 Print this article Print


Open-source developers will be covered by Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Open Source, even before the documentation is final and the patent pricing is complete, as the preliminary specifications published April 8 are automatically covered by this pledge. That pledge will also cover the final versions of the documentation when published.

"When the protocols are completed in June and we share the patent map and licensing structure for each of these, that will give developers and customers clarity," Robertson said. "This is another step in ensuring open connections to our high-volume products."

Microsoft is releasing preliminary versions of the documentation to get the information out, and to provide the opportunity for feedback from the community in those areas where it might not be meeting their needs or might be incomplete, Robertson said.

The overall response to the first 30,000 pages of documentation was positive, Robertson said. However, he acknowledged that some people are reserving judgment until they see how the principles are implemented. "We completely understand that and will continue to take additional steps going forward to get the protocol and API documentation as good as it can be," he said.

However, Microsoft competitors in the open-source community have responded with skepticism to news of the software vendor's commitment to greater openness and interoperability.

Michael Cunningham, general counsel for Linux vendor Red Hat, said it was not surprising to hear Microsoft finally state that interoperability across systems is an important requirement and that it is changing its approach on that front.

Microsoft has also denied that its commitment to greater interoperability and openness was a result of pressure from the European Commission, though many remain unconvinced.


Jean Paoli, general manager for interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft, told eWEEK that the technical documentation will be used by both those people-adding value to Microsoft products as well as those with competing products.  




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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