Microsoft and the GNU/Linux and open source world may seem to be at peace, but deep tensions persist between Linux fans and the closed-source company.
Are Microsoft's recent moves in the Linux and open source space good for the channel? It would seem so. But in a sign that all is not as peachy as it appears, some open source advocates are now attacking Microsoft for charges of exploiting GNU/Linux in an attempt to gain more partnerships while giving little back.
In many ways, Microsoft's declaration that it "loves Linux" seems good for businesses. By open sourcing the code of some Microsoft products, adding GNU/Linux options to the Azure cloud and now bringing SQL Server to Linux, the company has created far more integration options than it provided previously.
Want to use a Linux environment but a Microsoft database for your cloud service? You can now do that. Looking to integrate Microsoft code into your product? You can do that, too, at least in certain cases.
But not all strands of the open source community are welcoming the open source-Microsoft rapprochement. Christine Hall at FOSS Force filed an analysis this week in which she wrote that Microsoft's moves "are based solely on greed" and represent a "one-way street" to drive more business for Microsoft.
Similarly, Roy Schestowitz, one of the staunchest of the younger new generation of open source acolytes, writes that Microsoft has "blackmailed Linux."
At first glance, criticisms like these may seem merely to reflect deep-seated misgivings toward Microsoft on the part of open source fans who represent the more ideological part of the open source community. It would be easy to write them off as radical viewpoints with little mainstream significance.
But that would be a mistake. The lingering lack of trust between some quarters of the open source world and Microsoft has real implications for the way the channel can make use of Microsoft's new Linux-friendly products. It means organizations that currently use open source environments will not be as likely as Microsoft would like to adopt the Microsoft solutions that can now run on said environments. It also means there may be less collaboration between open source coders and companies, of the sort that can bring new innovations for the reseller market, than there would be if there existed more genuine trust.
To put it simply: Peace is profitable, and peace is what the Linux community and Microsoft might seem to have finally achieved. But if you dig below the surface, you find that deep tensions still exist. Solutions that integrate Microsoft and open source products, and partnerships between Redmond and open source companies, may not begin proliferating as much as recent headlines would suggest.