I am pleased to see MS pony up US$100,000 to join the Apache Software Foundation. It is poetic justice in that the webserver that is 100% open source that beats the 100% proprietary iis in many ways least of which is about security, now has the creator of that broken product becoming closer to the winner! Apache has won. Free and Open Source Software has won. Hands down.
We have to read in between the lines of this move by MS. As the truism goes, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. I sense that this cosying up with Apache is just that. The Apache licensing model allows anyone to take anything, and unlike the GPL, the consumer of Apache code is not obliged to return improvements etc and are also allowed to close up the code.
While I think it is unlikely that MS will close up Apache code, it is very likely that they will do their embrace and extend (and perhaps extinguish) method in ring fencing software and ideas. But I could be wrong and horribly at that. Ray Ozzie is the man in charge, now that BGates has retired. My sense is that Ozzie is far more clued in and savvy that this Apache relationship might actually turn out to be good for FOSS. It will help more people adopt Apache and related subprojects and remove any need for any form of proprietary software solutions. The clueless CIOs of the world (and there’s no shortage of them) on seeing the MS embrace of Apache might actually ask the question – “why not Apache and Open Source?”.
I think brighter days are ahead. Welcome to the open source party, Microsoft.