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O'Reilly Network: Tim O'Reilly: A Response to Jim Allchin's Comments

Feb 22, 2001, 21:35 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tim O'Reilly)

"Like many others, I was surprised, disturbed, and disappointed by Jim Allchin's comments about open source software development...."

"I was surprised, because in my recent dealings with people inside Microsoft, I've seen signs that the principles of collaborative, open source development are gaining a lot of headway there. The principles outlined in Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and The Bazaar are seen to have a lot of validity, and Microsoft is taking steps to apply them both inside the company and by opening up to certain kinds of joint development with customers."

"I was disturbed, because Allchin suggested that open source is somehow "un-American." He can hardly be unaware of the historical resonances of such a statement, that it harks back to the Cold War images of free market democracies versus communism. To have the discussion about alternate business models descend to such a level demonstrates either that Allchin was quoted out of context (since I hear he's a thoughtful, intelligent guy), or that Microsoft has truly grown desperate in its fear of the competitive threat from Linux. Open source comes close to the heart of the American way: innovation (both in software and in business models), and a free market of ideas. Open source and proprietary software models are duking it out in the marketplace in the grand American tradition."

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