Microsoft Cozies Up To Open Source

Scott Guthrie announced Microsoft Visual Studio would begin shipping with open source library jQuery. The jQuery library searches and performs commands on elements within HTML, using a very short and easy program to syntax structure. JQuery is open source, dual licensed under the GPL and MIT licenses. JQuery will ship under the MIT license. What's the big deal? First, the functions jQuery performs was a priority item on the Microsoft road map for ASP.NET AJAX. Rather than building it, the Microsoft team wisely opted to include the open source jQuery library, rather than recreating the wheel and building a duplicate, proprietary version of the same functionality themselves.

Kudos to Scott and Microsoft on multiple fronts. JQuery is a very widely used library. It's one piece of code Java developers writing code in .Net will already know. It also saves Microsoft from spending the time and resources to go out and recreate the same thing again. And most importantly, this could signal a change in what has a been a pretty unfriendly stance towards including outside Microsoft open source software in their development environment.

Maybe it's a one-time event, something we're unlikely to see again for a long, long time. Or maybe Microsoft is slowly turning over a new leaf, being much more open about open source when it comes to developers' needs. I see it as a trial balloon by Microsoft. JQuery's authors are all for Microsoft doing this and it's a popularly used library. If developers see the move as one that helps them, then everything's "all good." If there's a backlash, which there doesn't seem to be, Microsoft can back off and try again another day.

The inclusion of jQuery is a good trial balloon, something to run up the flag pole and see the developer community's reaction. No harm, nor foul so far.

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