Microsoft's CodePlex: Open, Meet Proprietary - InformationWeek

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9/10/2009
05:27 PM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Microsoft's CodePlex: Open, Meet Proprietary

What's this? Microsoft forming its own open source foundation? Apparently, yes.

What's this? Microsoft forming its own open source foundation? Apparently, yes.

CodePlex -- not to be confused with Microsoft's code repository site of the almost-same name -- has been created with the mission of "aiming to bring open source and commercial software developers together in a place where they can collaborate."

I don't take this to mean Microsoft is becoming an "open source company". Certainly not in the same sense as Sun or Alfresco or the Mozilla Foundation. They are, and for a good long time will remain, a for-profit company that markets a proprietary platform. But why should they (or any other commercial software maker) limit themselves?

I also don't take this to mean Microsoft is going to make peace with Linux any time soon either. They're going to consider Linux a competitor, and behave accordingly (and they already are doing that). No illusions there.

But Linux isn't the be-all and end-all of open source, and the vast majority of open source software for end users (rather than servers) not only runs on Windows but is run on Windows. They'd be foolish to not try and keep moving in that direction as much as their own business model permits.

So: good luck to them, but like Microsoft's other open source plays, it won't be an overnight success story. They may have to do a lot more than just create a shared space to get people to use it.

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