Ballmer on Open Source

I just read the quote below out of an article on Globe & Email.

“Technology innovation has happened much, much more from commercial software developers than from open source,” he said, adding that big companies also have marketing muscle and resources to support their products. “Who’s going to stand up and support open source? At least, with us, it’s clear who you have to come and pound down on. There’s a clear line of responsibility.”

Personally – I think that Microsoft needs to be very careful about how general they get with these comments. A great deal of the software used by .NET developers every day is open source. Its about customer expectations. When I use an open source tool like NAnt to build my applications I know that its not going to be bug free – hell, I might even need to patch the source code myself (and have – frequently). That software meets my expectations.

I think what Microsoft needs to do is encourage their customers to evaluate all the options out there, but first, take the time to set what their expectations on their software are. Its only once you set those expectations that Microsoft can come in and talk about their support levels.

Look – I’m not bashing Microsoft here, I’m just disappointed when I read these quotes.


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