Bruce Perens: Microsoft and Apache - What's the Angle?
I missed this, but apparently Microsoft has made a $100k/year donation to the Apache Foundation to become a Platinum Sponsor.
As Perens points out, this doesn't get them any technical advantage; the Apache license is basically the BSD license, and they can afford to hire whatever developers they can attract (not that all would want to go to Microsoft, but it's fair to assume that there are enough competent programmers out there who would like to work for them).
So it's purely a political gambit; Microsoft can dress up as "Open Source participants" when talking to governments about copyright, patent law, DRM, etc.
According to Perens, this sponsorship is the best boost that Free/Open Source software could get; Microsoft, the most vocal rival, are now joining an Open Source project.
Whatever the effect of Microsoft's participation, their recent actions provide the last shot of credibility that open source will ever need. Even the most strident objectors have had to join - or follow SCO into ignomy. Not because anyone forced Microsoft, but because a poorly-funded group with little central leadership and no employer in common out-competed them.
If we can get them deeply involved in some properly "viral" GPL projects, that would really be the ultimate!
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