Scobleizer Kim turns Microsoft toward open source? The Scobleizer says, somwhat tongue in cheek,

Kim Cameron, what are you doing (he just announced that he got Microsoft’s InfoCards working on WordPress and PHP and is having a conversation with lots of people in the community)? You trying to ruin Microsoft’s reputation? By listening to folks like Marc Canter?

I left this comment.

Here's a radical idea, specifically about InfoCards but applicable to anywhere MS is involved in trying to set standards. Take a leaf out of Google's book and LibJingle. Sponsor and fund a few open source programmers to produce open source libraries in all the major platforms that might implement InfoCards. Some people (Marc!) seem to think that it's not Microsoft's problem and *we* need to do the work. But actually Microsoft needs widespread implementation if InfoCards isn't going to be something that's used by Microsoft properties only. And what better way to get that widespread implementation than to seed the community with tools that they can use.

There's a tricky line here for MS to walk. Supporting other platforms may bite into your own platform sales. But lack of support of other platforms may limit the success of your global initiatives. Can you look past the first to see the benefits of the second?

I've recently had an email conversation on this subject with a Microsoft person. He raises the issue with directly funding implementations, in that there's a risk of it tainting the open-ness of the protocol if all the work appears to be from Microsoft. But isn't this to completely misunderstand the nature of open source work? Even if MS fund the work, if it's open source, it's open source. Others will build on it. More importantly others *can* build on it.

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[ 13-Feb-06 10:15am ] [ , ]