Vice president of products
Urlocker: I'm not sure what you're referring to here. I think there's probably the same amount of competition and dissent in open source projects as in any other complex software project, particularly with regard to projects that involve participation with people coming from multiple different companies. It just happens that some of this takes place in public so it's more visible.
Vice president of open source and standards
Sutor: I think within many proprietary software companies and behind closed doors, there has been a fair amount of controversy, competition, and dissent. Open source people just get to air their "dirty laundry" in public. I don't necessarily expect more of this, but I think that the value of transparency in knowing how decisions are made and who influences them outweighs any attempt to curtail public and noisy discussion. I don't think it damages the long-term goals of open source, but how people behave in such discussions goes a long way to establishing their reputations, which may affect their personal long-term goals.
Senior director of platform technology
Ramji: We’ve made so much progress in terms of opening the channels of dialogue between the OS community, partners, vendors, and customers. Dissonance won’t help anyone progress and innovate. One of the biggest misconceptions that we continue to battle is that we compete with open source. Microsoft does not compete with open source. We have over 70,000 commercial software companies as Microsoft partners, and we compete with a relatively small number of commercial organizations. For example, when we did the deal with JBoss, we found that half of their users were running on Windows. After the deal, we sold more Windows server licenses. So if you want to look at this from a competitive standpoint, our work with JBoss essentially helped our Windows server business grow.
As for the overall conversations in the various communities -- I think we progress as an industry and as a species though honest conversations and a process of “creative destruction.” Dissent coupled with rational discourse leads us to new ideas and solutions. Choice and independent thinking are hallmarks of the most successful open source projects, and I can’t see how you would remove this characteristic and still see the communities grow and evolve.