[Linux-aus] If you could ask Microsoft a question...

Sridhar Dhanapalan sridhar at dhanapalan.com
Sun Jan 13 10:10:48 UTC 2008

On Sun, 13 Jan 2008, Jeff Waugh <jdub at perkypants.org> wrote:
> Sridhar,
> There's really only one benchmark that matters here, and it applies to all
> speakers at SLUG anyway: "Will your be presentation be about Open Source?",
> and I know the committee would rationally apply this benchmark regardless
> of who the presenter might be.
> If they're prepared to come in good faith to talk about Open Source (and
> yes naysayers, they do have quite a bit to talk about!), then rock on. Pity
> that Sam won't be there -- hopefully someone else from their Open Source
> team can be, as opposed to the local non-tech randoms and product
> evangelists usually doing this kind of stuff.

We have explained our position very clearly, and have been assured that they 
are coming to talk about open source and interoperability (which by its 
nature will bleed a bit into their own products). We have stipulated that 
this must be a Q&A session led by our community, and they have agreed. We 
might give them a short period at the beginning to set the tone, but we are 
not interested in product demonstrations or monologues. We want to pose to 
them the hard questions, and see how they respond.

Microsoft need to justify the resources they are putting into this. If all 
they do is anger us, what's the point? I don't think they're stupid, but they 
certainly have a different perspective on things. Whether they can 
effectively communicate their viewpoint to us is another matter, and the onus 
is completely on them to do so.

At the end of the day, I see this as a case of "know your enemy". Or, put 
differently, "keep your friends close... and your enemies closer".

If nothing comes of this in the longer term, who really cares? At the very 
least we had a chance to grill them. It's fun sport :)

"Openness to me means that anything can be cloned... no patents... no IP that 
stands in the way of somebody creating something that's compatible but 
better. And the beauty of that is that it forces you to keep prices extremely 
low and listen to the customer feedback about how you can do better" - Bill 
Gates, 1996
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