Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, Open Source, Yaawn.

I’ve been meaning to write something about the recent announcements by Microsoft, Adobe, etc. Mark Pilgrim’s post is more entertaining than anything I would have written, and I’m having too much fun with code these days to blog a lot. My personal twist would have been less vitriolic, and more aloof.

In brief, my twist is:

Microsoft has so many bright engineers (Jim Hugunin and John Lam for two), but it feels as though the corporation is still clueless about the web. One detects more and more fear. (I guess that’s why they want to buy Y!). Most interesting thing about Silverlight/DLR is that they’re shipping what seems to be a .NET runtime for the Mac. Having Python in web content is nice, but until they have the platform ubiquity that Flash has, it’s hard to see it really changing The Web As We Know It. (Also, “Microsoft Permissive License”? Ha!).

The smarter contingent within Adobe is changing the company culture in impressive ways, but it’ll take a while for them to win back users who have developed Microsoft-like hate for the market-destroying behaviors of the behemoth. I haven’t kept up with the most recent round of arguments around Flash open-sourcing (as others have pointed out, until Flash is open sourced, the license around the rest of the bits don’t matter so much)

I’m surprised that Mark needs to emote so much on the topic. I’d think that he knows that his standards, open-source approach has not only the moral high ground and technical righteousness, but also seems to be winning the long-term battles. I’m glad he writes like that because that makes him more fun to read, but it all seems like a tempest in a teapot of media reactions and media plays.

The people on the ground, to a first order, don’t seem to care about what the Big Guys are doing. They’re too busy building systems that work, browsers that work, JavaScript libraries that work, web application frameworks that work, protocols that work, none of which part of a giant strategy, and many of them succeeding quite well at changing the world.

The authors aren’t always getting the wealth that flows from these changes, but that’s equally true within corporations, and, from a world-changing perspective, not all that important.

Back to the code.


  1. ‘“Microsoft Permissive License”? Ha!)’

    I have no love of Microsoft business practises in general, but…

    Hiring developers like Jim Hugunin and John Lam certianly seems to be changing things. The permissive license is based on John’s original open source license for IronPython – and *seems* to be a genuine open source license.

    Do you have any *specific* objections to the license, or just a general hatred for anything with the word Microsoft in it? 😉

    Personally I love the idea of being able to do client-side progrmming in Python rather than Javascrip, and don’t see SilverLight as much more than a better way of writing AJAX applications.

    The way web applications are written *needs* to evolve. Even if Flex/SilverLight aren’t the destination – they seem to be raising the game.


  2. Fuzzyman: I just find the name of the license laughable, that’s all. Permissive seems so loaded.

    I don’t actually have hatred for Microsoft at all. They’re so big, it’s hard to have only one opinion of them. But hatred isn’t one of them.


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