The FOSS (Free/Open Source Software) Community knows, thanks to leaked Microsoft internal documents, that since about 1998 Microsoft has been in a sort of war against them. Because of this, it is not surprising that the FOSS community has looked at Microsoft with suspicion and has vilified it to no end. But, is Microsoft really evil?
The reality is that Microsoft is just a company. It is a company that was at the right place at the right time when the PC was created and this brought a lot of success. Of course, there was a lot of hard work and good talent involved. In some respects, Microsoft may have even been a positive force in the world, since it was instrumental in bringing down the price of computing at a time in which this was very expensive. However, with that success came a lot of power.
As we all know, power can be a good thing, when used wisely and benevolently, or can be a bad thing, when used shortsightedly an selfishly. Unfortunately, corporations are, by their very nature, selfish and shortsighted. I am not saying that all people inside of Microsoft are bad people. I am sure that, for the most part, most people at Microsoft are just your average, mostly honest, hardworking people. But, it is not in the best interest of “the company” to be generous and meek. So, management has sometimes seen fit to use their power in ways that benefit “the company” at the expense of every one else.
The idea of open source windows has been talked about over and over again, but what hooked me to this article is the neutral tone towards microsoft which I have, to my recollection, never heard of before coming from the hardcore activist side. Not even the Open-source camp (let alone from Stallman’s side).