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Lorin Thwaits A geek says what?

Vivek opened up for discussion Jamie Cansdale's current plight.  Well, I've got some opinions because indirectly it impacts me.  I'm very involved with various user groups in the Phoenix area, having coordinated two code camps.  In our camps we strive first and foremost to incorporate the widest variety of technology possible.  Perl, PHP, Ruby, and Linux are are always hot topics, right along side Atlas, WPF, and Sharepoint.  Everything is equal.  So when Microsoft's legal arm pulls these kinds of tricks it really affects my efforts in the community.

Case in point.  Right now my friends and I are spending lots of time (along with our own money), to create a quality community event in the Phoenix area: Uber '07.  High-end talent from Redmond is flying out to present to us, and we're delighted.  We've secured the largest theater in Arizona for the event, really hoping to do this thing up right.  If you're around the Phoenix area on June 27th then please join us, it will be lots of fun!  As Silverlight is on the agenda, we wanted to invite the members of the various open source user groups around the valley to attend.  We figured this would be something they should be excited about since they can incorporate it in their solutions without abandoning their platform of choice.  So this week I attended two different user groups that focus on open source technology.  Twice while chatting with people after the meetings Jamie's plight was mentioned.  And once the Linux violates 235 of Microsoft's patents thing came up.  I seek to promote that which is good that comes out of Redmond.  Sometimes along the way I have to throw a blind eye to these assorted legal battles that Microsoft decides to get itself into.

When you go out to MIX you see kind-of a utopian Microsoft.  There's this feeling of respect for open source software, and it instils a hope that solutions can be established that combine popular frameworks and platforms, such as PHP and ASP.NET, or the .NET CLR on Mac, or even Silverlight on Linux.  So the feeling I came away with from MIX was that many barriers that keep people from adopting useful Microsoft technologies are eroding, and sensible licensing on cheap to free platforms is becoming available.  In the developer space it just so happens that Microsoft has what I think is the best interface available, right there in Visual Studio.  Also in terms of functionality vs cost SQL Express gives lots of bang for the buck.  And without a doubt .NET has emerged as a versatile and platform-independent solution.  All of this has better enabled computing to move forward in the past few years.  But this kind of growth is stunted by the litigous legal team in Redmond.  What is the point really if Jamie's TestDriven does or does not run on Express?  Would Microsoft really lose enough sales of Team System to justify going after this little guy?  VSExpress can use plug-ins for Orcas, so why not also allow Jamie's tool to do the same?

Update: I read the emails on Jamie's site, and better see and appreciate Microsoft's points of view.  But still the litigation scare around Linux is ruffling many a-feather with my open source friends.

Overall it just feels like a more nervous Microsoft these days.  I just wish they would consistently let folks innovate.  Let Linux be Linux, and innovate on top of it.  Seems like the developer division is already branching out in that direction with Silverlight and dynamic language support.  Someone on that team must have read "Who moved my cheese?"  It's time for this kind of innovation to come from more areas of Microsoft.  Surface and parts of Office are also shining examples.  Let's see less litigation and more of this kind of innovation.

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2007 8:36 AM Community | Back to top


Comments on this post: Microsoft... please... less litigation and more innovation

# re: Microsoft... please... less litigation and more innovation
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Good points. I appreciate your remarkable efforts making the Phoenix tech community bigger, stronger, and better informed.

There are a good number of developers in the Valley who do not use Microsoft products and who view the company with deep suspicion and disdain. Whatever the merits of those views, my real concern is that this distaste will carry over to how these people view the regular developer using MSFT tools.

Microsoft seems to have a knack for shooting itself in the foot; the recent announcements of the quite cool Silverlight technology generated quite a buzz, which was soon destroyed (at least among the OSS crowd) by talk of patents and litigation.

I tend to use Ruby on Linux, but life's too short to get your head stuck up the ass of single tool or technology. There are good smart people in Redmond doing good smart things, and I want to stay on top of it. The creepy posturing of Microsoft, though, is making things hard.
Left by James Britt on Jun 08, 2007 11:39 AM

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