A quiet revolution took place at Linuxworld this morning when Microsoft's Bill Hilf delivered the company's first keynote ever at world's premier open source event.
Microsoft has had a booth at the show floor in the past, and last year at Linuxworld San Francisco Hilf presented at a session. But never before did the company deliver a keynote.
The fireworks were limited. Hilf discussed his work at the Linux and Unix interoperability lab that he heads up. Microsoft there tests a slew of applications to ensure they work well with Windows and other Microsoft products. That's certainly important work, but other than the official unveiling of the Port 25 website, there was little that we hadn't heard before
Most importantly, Hilf called for standards and peaceful co-existence:
"I'm proud to see the evolution away of the myopic thinking that there is only one tool or one model to solve the problem. I'm really proud to see the evolution that the industry is recognizing that commercial and open source software can and will exist together. That's a maturation of what is happening in our industry," Hilf said.
Those words might sound cynical to those trying to compete with Microsoft. The company for instance is ruthlessly battling the state of Massachusetts for its plan to replace Microsoft Office with an office suite that supports the Open Document Format – the war already has forced CIO Peter Quinn to step down.
Instead of adopting the open standard, Microsoft is holding on to its proprietary format. The company has its reasons, but in the end most people are convinced that Microsoft is protecting its Microsoft Office revenues more than anything else.
How mature is that?
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