Open Ballot: Is it time to start trusting Microsoft?


Few people reading this site will claim to be supporters of the Redmond behemoth, but arguably, Microsoft has changed in recent years. The poor reception of Windows Vista, the advancement of Linux in the server space, and the birth of Android and iOS have made Microsoft vulnerable. In many areas, they're the underdog now. And then we have the news that a Microsoft coder made the most changes to Linux 3.0, albeit primarily to support the company's Hyper-V virtualisation interface.

So as we roll up our sleeves for the next podcast, we want your opinions: can we start trusting Microsoft more? Has the company changed - is it competing more fairly than in the past? Or is the Redmond giant's heart still the same, and we should be cautious more than ever of embrace, extend and extinguish? Let us know if the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our podcast. Even if you happen to be Steve Ballmer.

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Your comments

Absolutely not

Until Microsoft opens their code, there's no reason to trust them as far as Steve Ballmer can throw a chair.


This talk of 'trusting' Microsoft is so infantile.

It's not you mate who's asking you to lend him 20 quid. It's a for profit proprietary software company who's interests diverge radically from free software almost all of the time.

The only thing we should 'trust' it to do is to grab as much as the market as it can.

To quote Ronald Reagan-- Trust but Verify

1. Gates and Ballmer still own a controling interest of MS voting stock. In other words all Gates and Ballmer have to do is snap their fingers and every open source advocate at MS is out. So the question is really "Is it time to trust G&B?" Is it?

2. For a long time the corporate culture at MS has been to utterly destroy abtny competition, even by violating the law. Corporate cultures are highly entrenched, but at MS they are really entrenched. Just ask Ray Ozzie.

3. Logitech, Stack, Lotus, Novell were companies that at one point said "it's time to trust MS". How did it work out for them? Those who say trust MS meet Ben Franklin's criteria for insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

4. What part of "embrace" don't you understand?

5. Recent MS patent lawsuits against and the Nokia deal show exactly how much MS can be trusted.

6. The reason that MS has been one of the biggest contributors is that it's original code sucked and was not being integrated into the mainline kernel. MS has been submitting code patches like crazy to fix this problem. Aside from the question of accepting code that isn't written up to snuff in the first place, unlike other patchs which benefit users of the submitted package but also other users,this only benefits only MS users. MS shouldn't be faulted for donating code that onlyu benefits their users, but it shouldn't be credited either.

7. The recent version of MS we have seen is one that is under close scrutiny by the DoJ and US Courts. As scrutiny diminshes ( which it will as the consent decree expires ), you can't expect MS to be more well behaved.

Whatever overtures to Linux MS makes whould be welcomed, but treated the same way that the lion who sleeps with the lamb is. That is to say the lamb should always have one eye open and be ready to run at a moments notice.

NO. It is not time to start trusting Microsoft.

Microsoft is only interested in owning as much progress as it can. To the detriment of every body apart from Microsoft share holders.


Microsoft has, and will continue to do whatever it is they can to crush/extort Linux (patents are their weapons of choice their days. Well, patents and FUD). If they had their way Linux would no longer exist, along with all other Open Source/Free/Libre software. Any time a Microsoft booster says "Microsoft loves open source", tell them you'll believe it when Microsoft releases every single line of Windows code under the GPL (version 3, gotta be version 3). Just like that'll never happen, Microsoft will never be a friend to FLOSS. Those who have been foolish enough to think otherwise have paid the price (Novel is a recent enough example), so let's not forget what Microsoft is; an enemy, no matter how it chooses to pretend otherwise.

Trust - no. Use - Yes

We only enhance our position when we are able to interface and better use MS systems. Most Penguins don't get that USERS want to USE their machine, not learn what makes it work. That is what sells software. We could care less how smart you are. We want reliability, and interoperability. Whoever gives it to us, we'll go there. Make up your mind. Want to have a toy, keep doing what you're doing and forget trying to kill MS. Realise that MS is out to kill all competitors - including you.


I'm sure the wine team would have something to say about this, what with the copious amount of guesswork I see on some of their bug reports.

NO The primary purpose of


The primary purpose of all commercial operations (including Microsoft) is to make a profit for their shareholders. Therefore they should not be trusted contributing to free software. If they do make contributions it will not be for altruistic reasons, but they can see some financial gain for themselves in the future.


I think we should embrace the love in our heart and trust the good will of
Microsoft so we can all work to a happier future! :-)

Hyper-V-Support is their interest

In virtualization world Microsoft does not play a big role. For them there is no other option to adapt to what is already established.

On the other hand - whereever Microsoft has the biggest market share - they do everything to lock out the others.

I don't want to lock anybody out of my heart and want everybody to be happy, but it is hard for me to trust them (fully) when I suffer so much from their current market behavior.

There is the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice, shame on me"...

Trust Microsoft ?

NOT NOW!NOT EVER! Microsoft has evolved in terms of PR to recently appear inclusive,cooperative and offer the appearance of an Organisation learning the usefulness of pooling expertise to mutual benefit.
It is however, Patently Clear that Microsoft will never empathise with the Profound ethos of Linux as to do so it would have to reinvent itself from its very beginnings.

The answer is obvious .....

Just ask the Wing Commander. He seems to have summed things up pretty well on another podcast coming out of the UK, so he probably could give you the benefit of his "experience" here too.
But if he is busy flying his toilet seat somewhere, I guess that as long as you keep in mind that Microsoft = company with shareholders who want even more money than they have already, you won't go far wrong.
There is probably quite a bit of it under the Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich, not to far from here......
kind regards aus der Mittleschweiz

Trust is such a strong word

As has been posted already, Microsoft is a commercial company that has as its mandate one thing: To make money. It is to provide a ROI for the investors. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. So that means when it comes time to do something that may be bad for FOSS in general, and Linux specifically, it's time to consider the source. That's why, for example, I'm glad both US and European governments stepped with the patents that Novell sold to the consortium that Microsoft is part of.

Maybe a better phrase (from the Cold War): Trust but Verify.


"And then we have the news that a Microsoft coder made the most changes to Linux 3.0"

I'm afraid this is a complete non-statistic used to support/talk up a non-story. They have only done this to support their own virtualisation technology, and it's not as if virtualisation is the most important element of their business anyway. If we were talking about office apps or about the desktop they would give their competitors nothing whatever. I'm no Google lover either, but the Android tax tells us the truth about MS.

Your "story" talks about the "poor reception of Windows Vista" - given the complete hegemony of Windows desktops (certainly here in the UK) four years on, I find it hard to accept that the Vista debacle has left MS in any way "vulnerable". Vista was diabolical when first released, yet arguably the FOSS desktop missed its greatest opportunity then to compete.

MS are formidable and dangerous opponents, and may become more dangerous in areas (eg. Android) where they feel that they are genuinely threatened. Nothing has changed.

trusting Microsoft?




I wonder...

You think Steve Ballmer would step into the path of a speeding truck to save another individual? How about to save the world? Probably not. Just sayin.

The size of the stack!

The sheer thickness of the stack of papers that was the D.O.J.s findings against Microsoft in the anti-trust suit should answer your question about whether to trust Microsoft or not. What was it two inches thick?

Trust Microsoft Corporation?

If we trust Microsoft now, then we're letting the wolf into the chicken coop. Microsoft hasn't changed, and it won't change in our lifetime or in our children's lifetime. The reason is that corporations can be likened to single and unique, individual persons; They have their own personalities, idiosyncrasies and ethical dispositions. Unlike people, however, corporations are capable of living well past 100 years.

My advice: I would be suspicious of any Microsoft employee who "contributes" code to a Linux project. Additionally, I wouldn't share a letterhead with Microsoft.

People forget that Microsoft

People forget that Microsoft was adjudicated a monopoly. Once, They are only good to Linux when it is convenient and the government is not looking. I hope Novell wins their suit about Wordperfect and etc. Then the fun begins. Remember Sco!!

The wolf is already in the chicken coop and we need to escort their posterior out. It should be part of the gpl that people who contribute to linux also declare whether they have a conflict of interest with a proprietary entity. Something that should of be done long ago. With the new MS hardware setup to exclude linux from losesdoze machines. Screw them. Glad I have kept a lot of my old equipment. No one will tell me what software I can or cannot put on my computer. "Give me software or give me death!"

Like the Godfather,

Like the Godfather, Microsoft keeps it's friends close and it's enemies closer.

No, but..

I firmly believe that Microsoft, as any other big corporation, is in the game only for the money. But not trusting and hating Microsoft are two different things. I certainly don't hate them. As for trust, well, I trust their products and their development tools enough to invest my reputation and effort into developing commercial software for Windows on .NET.

On a side note, I've been betrayed by Olmypus who stopped manufacturing Four Thirds cameras just when I invested nearly $2000 into photographics equipment. I hope I don't get betrayed by Microsoft in a similar fashion.

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