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All Things Open: Microsoft Explains Open Source

Here on the morning of the second and last day of the All Things Open conference I took advantage of the opportunity to hear Microsoft’s take on open source. The presentation was offered by Ross Gardler who’s worked for Redmond for about a year. Mr. Gardler is also President of the Apache Foundation.

As expected, there really wasn’t much new here. Basically, it’s the same ol’ same ol’ from the Redmond boys. Microsoft wants you to know they’ve changed and that they now embrace open source. The small audience, the smallest of any presentation I’ve been at so far at All Things Open, was treated to a long list of open source projects to which Microsoft contributes.

It all sounded good and might convince someone who can’t read between the lines. Sure Micorsoft is contributing to many open source projects. Why? To make sure these programs will work and play well with Windows. In other words, they contribute to FOSS to make sure they can continue to sell their products. End of story.

I also took the opportunity this morning to check-out Jason Hibbets presentation “Open Source All the Cities.” Jason works for Red Hat and is pretty much the main guy behind Red Hat’s site Opensource.com. He’s an idea man and has been working, independent of Red Hat, to use open source ideas to help make local governments more responsive to the needs of citizens.

He’s had success, especially here in Raleigh which is now dubbed by some as “the open source city.” Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to go into his ideas in detail here and now, but I fully intend to publish a more in-depth article sometime in the next two week on Mr. Hibbets’ idea.

This afternoon I’ll be checking out a presentation by John Mertic from SugarCRM called “Open Source communities in a for profit world. After that I’ll be at “In defence of vendor mistrust” featuring Shadow-Soft’s Matt Dugan. I’ll be finishing my day listening to Josh Barratt of the hosting firm Media Temple talk on containerization.

After the conference closes I’ll be driving back to FOSS Force’s home in Winston-Salem, a couple of hours away. I’ll get a snapshot like this up of my experiences this afternoon sometime after that, hopefully before midnight.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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