Today, Microsoft announced that it has joined the AMQP working group. As a founding member of the AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) working group, we at Red Hat are excited about this development.
And why might that be?
AMQP is the industry’s first standard for messaging that spans from the wire-level to the semantics of messaging; it provides a full specification of an Internet Protocol for business messaging. This is significant because before the arrival of AMQP, no two messaging implementations could natively interoperate with each other—even though messaging software’s core mission is to distribute data across disparate systems. Furthermore, with the rise of messaging-based architectures like SOA or EDA and the critical nature of messaging to many of today’s networked applications, the lack of a standard in messaging is a major obstacle for integration and developing next-generation applications.
Microsoft’s joining AMQP and decision to integrate AMQP into its platforms, combined with the work that we have already been doing with AMQP at Red Hat and elsewhere, has made the fulfillment of AMQP’s promise inevitable and quite exciting.
OK, but Microsoft's motives for cosying up to open source have not always been entirely pure in the past: isn't this just another case of Microsoft seeking to pollute open standards with intellectual monopolies?
Because this will be of concern to many people—particularly in the open source community—it is worth pointing out one of the legal ramifications of Microsoft joining AMQP. There is a strong IP provision in the contract for joining the AMQP working group. Anyone joining the AMQP working group must freely license IP that is used by AMQP—AMQP is and will always be an open standard that is free to implement. By joining the AMQP working group, Microsoft has signed this contract. So, there is no threat of Microsoft holding the AMQP standard hostage via patent threats.
I've no idea whether AMQP is indeed the bee's knees, as Red Hat would have us believe, but I do know this: if Microsoft *really* wants to join in the open fun, it must always freely license its contributions, as Red Hat says it has done for AMQP. If the devil *insists* on supping with you, do check that you have a good supply of long spoons first.