How to Get Vista Back on Track: Open-Source It

Opinion: Seriously. It's clear that Microsoft can't do the job right, so why not embrace the enemy and be done with it?

If Microsoft really wants to make Vista a great desktop operating system, it should open-source it.

Ill bet you think Im being sarcastic. Im not. Im quite serious.

Vista is a mess. I know it. Windows experts know it. Even Microsofts own arent happy with it.

Microsoft may yet pull out more features from Vista to make its January 2007 deadline. Will we ever see WinFS? The latest Vista CTP (community technology previews)—read betas—have started running late again.

Why is all this happening? Microsofties in the trenches like to blame the leadership. Jim Allchin, the lame-duck co-president of Microsofts Platforms & Services Division, said in late March that overall quality issues—especially security, drivers and performance—were why Vista was being delayed.

Can this operating system be saved?

Well, first, I dont think anything can really get Vista out the door in January. To be more precise, I dont think a version of Vista can arrive this coming winter that anyone in their right minds will want to run.

But, if Microsoft could summon up the guts to abandon its clearly failed massive software development path for an open-source approach, they just might be able to pull a decent desktop operating system out of Vista sometime in 2007.

Im not suggesting that Microsoft put its code under the GPL. Hell really would freeze over before that happened.

But, Sun has shown that you can open-source an operating system and still keep essential control of it. Sun has managed to open-source its Solaris operating system under the name of OpenSolaris with its handcrafted CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License), while still calling the operating system shots.

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