Microsoft goes open source to fight AIDS, where will it all lead?

Microsoft will share the source code for four tools that researchers hope will help find a cure for AIDs, reports. Microsoft got involved in writing code for aids research when its programmers realized that that machine-learning technology, like spam filtering, would be great for vaccine research, the company says.

The move is commendable, yet it points out what can only be called Microsoft’s conflicted relationship with open source code. The set of tools development by Microsoft is available for download from Microsoft’s CodePlex site , the host web site at the center of Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative. A lot of .Net code is hosted and shared on the site, and other interesting tools, such as SharePoint, which adds a graphical editor for the SharePointXml 2003 and 2007 sites.

How, or even if, Microsoft will eventually resolve its love/hate relationship with open source is hard to see. Maybe Microsoft will win, and proprietary software will always rule. Maybe it will lose and become nothing more than a footnote in history. Maybe the two will learn to coexist. From the viewpoint of the world in 2007, with open source now relied upon in most enterprise shops, looks like open source is gaining the upper hand.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.