An aspect of the open source software nirvana has been the end of Microsoft’s dominance. Well, anyone who sees Linux, OpenOffice or another OSS project/product as the death nail in Microsoft’s coffin is not living in reality. It pains me to say this; it really does.

When you see Microsoft borrowing ideas from the OSS movement, it’s probably best stop smelling the roses and pay attention. For instance, Microsoft’s Sam Ramji has an interesting post on how OSS has influenced Windows Server 2008. Six areas Microsoft has learned from include:

  • Modular architectures
  • Programming language agnostic
  • Feedback-driven development
  • Built-for-purpose systems
  • Sysadmins who write code
  • Standards-based communication

Sam writes:

“Overall, we’ve learned and continue to learn from open source development principles. These are making their way into the mindset, development practices, and ultimately into the products we bring to market. As all of the different organizations in IT continue to evolve, we’ll learn from each others’ best practices and make increasingly better software. As in science, this incremental improvement will move all of us forward.”

InfoWorld’s product review of Windows Server 2008 scored it an 8.5/10 and described it as an essential upgrade:

“Microsoft’s slimmer and stronger server OS, bolstered by virtualization, networking, and security advances, is an upgrade that IT can’t refuse, a 200-pound gorilla that eats commercial Linux”

Throw eggs at me if you like. But this should scare any OSS proponent. It seems like the folks at Redmond have been busy while the OSS movement has been prematurely readying Microsoft’s eulogy.

I hope I’m wrong. But Microsoft simply appears to be meeting the challenge of OSS better than OSS appears to be meeting the challenge of displacing Microsoft.

PS: The term ‘Freetards’ is used with attribution to FSJ.