It's an essential element in open source history. Microsoft hates us. Microsoft wants to destroy us. It's either us or them.
This is, in part, projection from an attitude often expressed by CEO Steve Ballmer and others at Microsoft associated with him. Ballmer remembers when Microsoft was the small, struggling operator constantly engaged in life-or-death struggles with rivals. Visicalc. Novell. IBM. The list goes on. These were manichean struggles, Microsoft history goes, all-or-nothing affairs which Microsoft had to win if it wanted to find its place in the sun.
But Microsoft has changed in the last decade. Slowly, hesitatingly, in a very off-and-on way, Microsoft has sought to reach out to open source and get some of its mojo working for it. In response open source advocates who remember the “old” Microsoft hate the company with a passion.
Microsoft's latest move to embrace open source is to hire Gianugo Rabellino as senior director, open source communities. Gianugo's open source credentials are impeccable. He's vice president the Apache XML project and founded his own open source business, SourceSense. As he noted on his blog, Boldly Open, he's been “paying his bills with open source for 18 years now.”
What does this mean for you? It means if you're a Windows shop, you need not be closed to open source. There are tons of great open source projects, under Windows, you can use and support with enthusiasm.
And if you're not a Windows shop, then feel free to grab your pitchfork and head over to Larry's place. He'll gladly play French Taunter with you.