Information Week: Can’t Beat Microsoft? Adopt ‘Em

“Levitt’s First Law of Information Technology: If it’s free,
adopt it. Linux is a good example, with software vendors lining up
to port their applications to the free operating system once
considered too risky to implement in IT departments.”

“A more subtle example is how Netscape has rather quietly
adopted Microsoft’s object technology model, COM, for its
forthcoming Communicator 5.0 (or whatever they’re calling it). COM
isn’t “free” in the traditional sense-Microsoft isn’t giving away
the source code. But anyone can freely implement the programming
interfaces and make a compatible version. That’s exactly what
Netscape is doing. While attempting to remain as compatible as
possible with COM, Netscape’s version, called XPCOM, will not only
be portable but will actually be implemented and given away on many
platforms besides Windows.”

“In the long run, XPCOM might actually benefit Microsoft by
getting developers more interested in moving their COM applications
to other platforms At the same time, it’s far-fetched to assume
that XPCOM will have IT departments dumping their Windows desktops
in favor of other platforms. Microsoft’s response to XPCOM might be
to actively support, promote, and give away COM for other
platforms. COM will never be an open source standard, though,
because too much of Microsoft’s core technology depends on it.
Meanwhile, XPCOM looks like it could make life easier for Netscape
developers and administrators.”


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