There’s an interesting commentary on The Inquirer today, positing the theory that Microsoft’s recent overtures towards open source are a sign of fear. It starts off discussing recent moves by Redmond to have its “shared-source” licenses approved by the OSI. Interesting stuff, especially the illustrations of how Microsoft’s licences are inherently incompatible with both the letter and spirit of open source.

Then the author delves into the ODF/OOXML debacle and Microsoft’s attempts to hang onto proprietary control over the file format in which people store their personal and business data. I mean, if you can’t access your data without using software from Microsoft, who really owns that data? You or Microsoft? And if Microsoft decides not to support that format in future, where does that leave you and your data?

Interestingly, he stayed away from the other file format argument currently on the go: the one over a successor to jpg. Arstechnica has a good piece on the current state of this game here that ends with: “Redmond has also stated it will offer a royalty-free grant for its patents that are required to implement the new standard.”

Errr … Right! As our intrepid columnist notes in his piece: “The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft.”

Quite. But who are you sonny? Your byline is Egan Orion and Google finds a singer, song-writer by that name. Google also discovers the name is an anagram of Oregonian, that the afore-mentioned artiste has a blog called, the laughing penguin and just happens to be based in Seattle, Washington.

Now it starts to make sense. I mean, if you’re an open source advocate who just happens to live in Microsoft’s backyard, it would probably be desirable to retain a certain amount of anonymity. I mean, you never know when Steve Balmer will come knocking with chair in hand.

😉

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