Microsoft revising its attitude toward open source

When Microsoft completed its acquisition of San Francisco-based startup Powerset in July, it acquired more than just search-engine technology. In the HBase component of Powerset's product, Microsoft also acquired open-source code that is actively being redistributed back into the Apache Software Foundation's Hadoop project.

The scenario of having open-source technology in a product is a first for Microsoft, which to date has had only proprietary technology in its software, said Robert Duffner, a senior director in Microsoft's Platform Strategy Group.

Letting the acquired technology exist as it is, and letting the former Powerset employees continue to contribute code to Hadoop, represents a shift in mindset and strategy at the company to be more friendly toward open-source technology and realize that "innovation occurs across a wide variety of technologies," he said.

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The scenario of having open-source technology in a product is a first for Microsoft, which to date has had only proprietary technology in its software
Not quite true, there, Mr. Duffner. Windows has long incorporated other BSD-licensed technologies such as TCPIP and FTP.

You can tell that tools like ftp, ping, pathping, netstat, etc. are based on the bsd-licensed technologies for the unix style command switches they support. Of course they made changes to it but left it intact for the most part. Most other Windows command line utility programs use the / for switches instead of -.

One of my favorite things to show Windows users back in the day was the "help" feature available at the commandline. Then do a "help ftp" and it says there is no help for that, to use "ftp /?" instead. And, of course, that failed to work, as it uses "-?" as the switch to help.