No doubt, it's big news that Microsoft is going to be at LinuxWorld this year. As reported by The Register:

Microsoft is to exhibit at LinuxWorld Expo this August, and it appears that the company wants to be nice. Yesterday, Linux Today spotted the Beast's presence on the Expo exhibitor list, and after publicising this was contacted by an apparently kinder, gentler Microsoft.

I really hope that the Open Source "movement" can get over itself and actually talk to Microsoft rather than simply stopping by their booth to poke fun at Windows and make joke about how scared billg must be of the almighty Linux.

Look at it this way, with Microsoft at the show, LinuxWorld is certain to attract a larger than normal crowd.

Microsoft is not the enemy

As Adam Goodman has so often pointed out to me and others, Microsoft is a fact of life. They're in the business of building software and selling, just like a lot of other big companies (Oracle, SAP, etc). They're affected by the changing landscape as much as every other company. And you know what, they're a very, very smart company. But they're also very concerned about Open Source.

Why are they coming?

Why not? They're trying to figure out how to deal with Open Source. As a smart company, they're attacking the problem for multiple angles--often at the same time. They've run advertisements in Linux Magazine, attacked the GPL, appeared at the Open Source Convention, and so on. Little that they've tried so far has worked. But they're not quitting. They rarely do. They're used to wearing down their opponents until they give up or go out of business.

The Open Source movement, as we all know, is quite different. Microsoft has never really faced a challenge like this before. There is no company to buy or put out of business. They're battling a large volunteer army.

The point is that Microsoft probably still doesn't quite "get" Open Source, so they're doing everything they can to learn about it. Their shareholders would expect no less. That's why they're coming to LinuxWorld.

What should we do?

Nothing. Treat them as you would any other company seeking to learn more about Open Source. If you really believe that Microsoft is capable of destroying Open Source, think again. Despite the jokes of world domination, Open Source has never been about winning anything. It's about building great software and a great community. I don't think that attacking Microsoft helps do either of those.

Microsoft is coming to LinuxWorld. So what? No, it's more a matter of "it's about time!" They've supposedly been a leader in software innovation all these years, but they've been notably absent from one of the more important conferences year after year. It's good to see them getting involved.

Posted by jzawodn at July 04, 2002 09:23 PM

Reader Comments
# Bob said:

Couldn't agree with you more!

on July 7, 2002 08:53 PM
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