Microsoft looking for open-source credibility

Microsoft is looking to cosy up to the open-source community after years of hostility. The company is looking for an official stamp of open-source approval for the licences that the company uses to share its own software and source code.

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Microsoft is looking to cosy up to the open-source community after years of hostility. The company is looking for an official stamp of open-source approval for the licences that the company uses to share its own software and source code.

Bill Hilf, Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy, said in a speech at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention that the software vendor is submitting its so-called shared source licences to the Open Source Initiative. The plans were also detailed on Port 25, a blog written by workers at Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab.

Russ Nelson, who chairs the OSI's licence approval committee, said he expected Microsoft to submit its shared source licences for approval within a week or so, but didn't comment further.

Initial reaction by outside commentators tended toward the positive.

"This is a huge, long-awaited move", Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media, wrote in his blog. If the shared source licences are accepted by the OSI, he added, "it will be a lot harder to draw a bright line between Microsoft and the open-source community."

Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing at open-source database vendor MySQL, also applauded Microsoft's plan in his blog on Infoworld.

"Although a bit late to the party, I think this is still a good step on Microsoft's part," Urlocker wrote. "It shows that they appreciate there's a community outside of Microsoft and [that] they are adapting their business practices and licensing in order to be successful there. That, to me, is highly significant."

Microsoft has released 650 internally developed software programs to the general public via its shared source program, according to Hilf.

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