Sebastopol, CA--Microsoft Senior Vice President Craig Mundie set off a far-reaching debate recently when he introduced Microsoft's Shared Source program, which blends access to source code with the preservation of strong intellectual property rights by software developers, and contrasted Shared Source to Open Source and the GNU Public License.
There's been a strong response from the open source and free software communities, accusing Microsoft of trying to co-opt the momentum of open source with a program that offers superficial similarities, but few of the real benefits. Microsoft counters that they are trying to find a balance between the needs of commercial developers and the lessons learned from the open source movement.
"We think that this is a debate worth having," says Tim O'Reilly. "Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein's book 'Republic.com' makes the case that when people talk only to those who already agree with them, their views become more extreme, but when they engage with those of opposite views, both sides move towards the middle. The best way for the open source community to change Microsoft's business practices is to engage them in serious conversation, not just criticize them from a distance."
At the O'Reilly Open Source Convention on July 26th, Craig Mundie will discuss ways in which Shared Source differs from Open Source, and why Microsoft believes that the Shared Source Philosophy supports a strong software business case for commercial software developers and their customers.
Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann will then make the case for open source. His speech will be followed by a panel discussion with Tiemann, Mundie, and other experts on intellectual property and the software industry. The panel will be moderated by Tim O'Reilly.
About the O'Reilly Open Source Convention:The 3rd annual O'Reilly Open Source Convention will be held July 23-27, 2001, at the Waterfront Sheraton Hotel and Marina in San Diego, California. This year's expanded convention includes over 250 sessions in 14 tracks on key open source technologies such as Perl, Apache, XML, Python, PHP, MySQL, Linux, and many more. The convention will attract over 2000 hardcore system administrators, programmers, and Web developers, who join the leaders of the critical open source technologies to learn how to understand, code, and manage these powerful tools. Held in conjunction with the Open Source Convention, the O'Reilly Summit on Open Source Strategies, organized by O'Reilly Research, brings together technology leaders from open source companies along with executives (CTOs, CIOs, CEOs) from leading companies that use open source software for strategic advantage. For more information see: http://conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/
More details on Craig Mundie's speech.
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