Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Microsoft opens kimono to show athletic supporter with iron-clad cup

The "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mood at Microsoft has gotten more of an open source flavor. Soon, developers (and other interested parties) will see more source code under the .NET and Visual Studio 2008 covers. This is interesting.

But by pulling back the kimono, Microsoft has only shown an iron-clad cup over the family jewels. Look but don't touch. No chance of legally changing the code, or redistributing it, only learn and learn well. Sorta open source.

It's a pretty big deal, I guess. I shows that even Microsoft recognizes that certain elements of the open source credo make sense, if not enough cents. The mantra of open source is killing software and has no role in the real world -- well, I doubt we'll seeing much more of that.

It's like George Bush saying he's no longer against raising taxes, but has no intention of actually doing it. It's the thought that counts!

Is this a slippery slope beyond the FUD factor, however? Will such code exposure lead to outright dancing in the moonlight someday? How many products will they give the peak-a-boo treatment too? When will such openness become a security ... err, legal, risk?

Well hackers and competitors already get a lot of gropes at the code, anyway. This just gives the honest people a thrill. Or maybe there's more to the gesture. Could this be a set-up that anyone who looks at the code and comes up with way to skirt using the Windows runtime when they enjoy the splendors of the development environment?

I expect that with such access to the goodies that more folks will want to develop around the framework and tools. And while that inevitably leads to more sales of the runtime, the decoupling of the pre-production and the post-production continues. This can only hasten the trend.

One has to wonder how Microsoft's lawyers will interpret the code "advances" over time.