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Brief thoughts on Microsoft + Apache Foundation

I’m late with this (typical these days), but at OSCON a couple weeks ago Microsoft announced they’re supporting the Apache Foundation . Bruce Perens has an editorial in Datamation about what the angle may be. Bruce posits that the primary motivation is publicity. That Microsoft has realized open source is here to stay and sees the Apache license as the lesser of a crowd of evils. That all makes perfect sense to me.

I have to admit, however, that my first thought to hearing the news was “who cares?” I’ve realized lately that Microsoft has become completely irrelevant to my day to day life1_. We don’t use Windows on our servers at work. I don’t run Windows on my work (Ubuntu) or personal (Mac OS X) laptop. I don’t use Microsoft Office on either machine. The people at work who use Windows (a minority) are pretty much on their own. And when I heard Microsoft had released a new version of their Office CC licensing plugin (as noted in the CC blog ) my response was an enthusiastic “Eh, ok; good for them.” So from my [probably myopic] perspective, Microsoft is last year’s news, a has been, and Apple is the corporate asshole du jour.

So while I’d like to think I’m right and that this is just a corporate behemoth in its death throes, Bruce is probably right; it’s probably too early to count them out.

UPDATE Another perspective on the announcements from Michael Tiemann of the OSI board.