Weblog:   The Human Face of Microsoft
Subject:   demonized?
Date:   2003-02-16 11:30:29
From:   mentata
I agree it is a noble cause to bring developers from both sides together. When I got a posting on O'Reilly for a Java example I wrote, I didn't expect it to end up on the ondotnet home page, but in the end that fact pleased me. Coders of all walks are craftsmen with the shared goal of creating software solutions, and I welcome the dialogue.

However, I object to defending Microsoft by implying the organization has been unfairly slandered. People like myself have very objective reasons for eschewing their products and directions. By and large, the barriers to synergy aren't being erected by programmers from either camp, but are inserted methodically by the top of the Microsoft corporate structure. David Stutz clearly had the insights to be a bridge between worlds, but he is leaving because there is apparently no room for that perspective in the narrow confines of Microsoft strategy.

Somebody once created something of monumental value to the world and gave it away freely, putting the benefit of all mankind above his own personal gain. It was a profoundly beautiful act, and has culminated in an unparallelled positive shift in our industry. Then a human face of Microsoft very publicly called it cancer. Now you tell me who's doing the demonizing.

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  • Tim O'Reilly photo demonized?
    2003-03-01 12:08:21  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    Listen, I'm the first to call Microsoft on their shenanigans. I've been doing it for years. And like a lot of other folks, I gave them sh*t for their inflammatory comments about Linux and open source. But they've come a long way since then, they've tried to retract or apologize for those comments. I'm not saying that they are uniformly nice guys, nor that they aren't fierce competitors, but I am saying that there are a lot of people in the OSS community that wants Microsoft to die -- so why shouldn't they fight back? The best way to encourage them to be less hostile themselves is to be less hostile to them. That doesn't mean letting them get away with stuff, any more than Gandhi let the British get away with stuff in his fight for Indian independence. But he didn't fight back on their terms. He won by calling out the humanity in the British, not by fighting fire with fire. Make your enemy better, not worse, and you eventually win.

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