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Microsoft, You're Driving Open Source Advocates Nuts!

Who would have thought? Microsoft integrates OpenPegasus open source software into System Center Operations Manager to extend management to Linux and Unix systems. Plus, Microsoft's adding connectors to managed Novell SUSE, HP-UX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Sun Solaris boxes. OpenPegasus is published under the MIT open source license, a much less restrictive license than the popularly used GPL.

Frankly, I'm still in shock. I would have never guessed we'd see such an announcement from Microsoft. Yes, it's significant that they will manage non-Windows operating systems. That, I think, was inevitable. But using open source software in such a public way to do it is a shocker.

I'm sure this is going to raise a ruckus among open source advocates who don't agree with commercial "exploitation" of open source developers' work by using open source in commercial products. In most cases it's a philosophical argument and not a literal argument about what licenses do and don't let you do. And when Microsoft uses open source in their products, I expect the backlash will be fast and loud.

But lets face it, if Microsoft follows the provisions of an open source license then they have every right to use it in their products. It doesn't matter whether Microsoft is the 800 lb. gorilla or a new market entrant. They get to play by the same rules. Like or not, that's the way it works, and the way it should work.

I'd argue Microsoft's use of open source software in their products is good for open source overall. As long as Microsoft isn't bullying to overshadow, takeover or close down the project, their use of the software is a good thing. It validates the open source project is fundamentally sound, sound enough to build their product on.

I know many will disagree with me but this could be very good for the future of open source.

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