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Microsoft’s first open source project April 30, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Open Source, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.

For the past five or six months I have read Robert Scoble's blog, the Scobleizer. He has quite a large following as there aren't too many high profile Microsoft employees blogging. For the most part, I find that he generally strikes a good balance between honesty and sticking to the party line (the Microsoft corporate party, if you know what I mean).

This weekend I read this post about the Windows Installer Xml (WiX) toolset, Microsoft's first open source software project that was given to the user community this year under the Common Public License. I find this move to be very interesting.

I am not sure if Scoble is acting like a member of the public relations or marketing departments at Microsoft, or just highlighting something that Microsoft has done to help the software development community. I guess I am a little cynical, but it seems like this is a strategic move by Microsoft to gain favor from open source developers and users. After all, they are now an open source company, right?

Okay, that's a little harsh. But, they have consistently spoken out against open source operating systems and applications over the years because it is seriously eroding their market share and profits. It's even been reported that Steve Balmer, Microsoft's CEO has thrown temper tantrums over open source software. And, he spoke out against it here, here, and even called it a cancer here. So, have they really 'seen the light' and decided to become the new Google (where programmers are encouraged to contribute to open source projects)? I think not.

On the other hand, if this project truly is being done after hours and if it was all done without the help or support of the management at Microsoft, then I suppose it could be a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, they will see the positive effects of this project and consider moving other projects into the world of open source licensing.

If you want to see the WiX development team, you might want to check out the video posted here.



1. DrBacchus - May 1, 2006

They’ve gotten one thing right, certainly – a complete inability to describe what their project does. Clearly, they are well on their way to understanding Open Source.

Seriously, though, it sounds a little bit like an RPM packager using XML. Not exactly cutting edge innovation. I would have thought that they could find something slightly more interesting to open source.

2. Matsu - May 1, 2006

DrBacchus – didn’t you see that it’s used widely all throughout Microsoft? I guess if they like it, it must be good! Or, put another way, if it’s good enough for Microsoft it must be good enough for open source.

Stay tuned. Rumor has it that another open source project will be launched before they release Vista. But, that’s just a rumor.

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