Meet Microsoft’s Open Source Chief
At first glance, you might think the headline to this blog entry is an oxymoron. In reality, Microsoft certainly does have an open source chief (Sam Ramji). And in some cases, Microsoft is downright happy to support open source. Skeptical? Allow The VAR Guy to explain.
As Matt Asay points out in his Cnet Blog:
“Sam Ramji just got a promotion: Sam will now be running Microsoft’s worldwide open-source and Linux team (roughly 120 people and counting).”
Is that a thankless job or a strategic job? The VAR Guy things the answer is “both.” Sure, some open source pundits question Microsoft’s every move. But Asay, whom I respect, has solid things to say about Ramji:
“Sam’s promotion is good for Microsoft. It’s also good for open source, as I see him as a credible, earnest advocate for open source within Microsoft. He has earned his stripes within commercial and community-based open-source projects. I’ve heard some of open source’s oldest advocates praise his name.”
For Microsoft, supporting open source requires a delicate balance. Alas, The VAR Guy doesn’t expect Microsoft to ever port its server applications (SQL Server, Exchange Server, etc.) or Office desktop franchise to Linux.
Still, Microsoft knows it needs to support open source applications on Windows Server and Windows Vista. Ramji could certainly help those open source ISV relationships. And perhaps — fingers crossed — he can convince Microsoft not to destroy Yahoo’s open source email platform (Zimbra) if the Microsoft-Yahoo combo ever becomes a reality.
The VAR Guy is an open source fan, but even he knows Microsoft isn’t all evil. Somehow, the open source legions forgot that Microsoft helped to free us from proprietary mainframes and complex, pricey Unix systems.
Keep an open mind as Microsoft works to certify more open source applications for Windows Server. And keep tabs on Ramji. If he’s the real deal — as Asay suggests — the open source community does have a good listener within Microsoft.
- April 3, 2008: Microsoft Certifying Open Source Applications for Windows Server
- February 1, 2008: Zimbra Proponents Fear Proposed Microsoft-Yahoo Combo