As if programmers didn't have enough to be leery of the new Microsoft openness approach is quite unsettling. Just when we were positive and secure in the belief that MS would be the last kid on the block to share, they create Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.. Of course we are very aware of the term 'curve ball' but visions of corporate maneuvers to increase market share also start to come into focus. Is this for real or is MS just playing the game long enough to learn the strategies of open source and then use that information to hook open source software development into its vast world of code darkness? Could the open source community be tricked by this sudden change in strategy by MS and start depending on this trojan horse. Or, is it possible that the minds at Microsoft realized that true advancement of programming technology is dependent on open source?
No matter what the reason, Microsoft is suddenly sharing. Its latest gift is entity framework and while not a unique idea or library it is a great contribution to the future web. If the hand offs from MS continue, and coders start depending on a base of code presented by MS, there is a danger in future coding being bound at the hands of the folks in Redmond. Maybe I'm just being overly paranoid. I do remember an emerging Microsoft that started off fairly loose with its code until a large community became dependant. Then all of the sudden the doors shut and folks where bound by upgrades, updates, and 3rd party reliance.
If Microsoft has realized the importance of open source to technology advancement then kudos to them. I would advise caution though in becoming reliant on this as programming continues to evolve. We need to fervently defend the position that open access to code libraries that we depend on is the only reliable path going forward. We should never build on code that may be whisked away in future upgrades or updates. Pay attention to licenses on any libraries or programs we may build on or connect to.
If Microsoft continues to open up code bases and information it can excelerate an already rapidly advancing web experience. This will be due to the fact that the code is open for contributors, testing, and integration, into the world of programming.
by Jim Atkins "thedosmann"