Microsoft’s Leaked Open Source Memo

The document was presented at a Microsoft internal Linux Strategic Review held at the Microsoft offices in Berlin during Sept. 2002. The memo was leaked to Eric Raymond, an open source advocate and author of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar“.

Writes InfoWorld about the memo:

“The overall tone of the memorandum is very defensive,” Eric Raymond said in advising open source advocates on his conclusions to the survey. It’s “not quite panicky, but the researchers are not able to name any argument with the open source community that their own figures show them to be winning. In fact, their figures indicate that we are winning. It looks like all we have to do is stay the course.”

The memo describes the results of a telephone survey of developers; system, network and database administrators; and business executives who make decisions on IT spending. The project was developed to provide a greater understanding of how key “audiences” perceive open source, Linux, shared source and general public licenses, and which messages will be effective with each audience, an executive summary of the memo said. The survey was conducted in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden and Japan.

The researchers who conducted the survey found that familiarity and favorability for open source software (OSS) and Linux was high across geographies and audiences. They also found that respondents cited open source software’s “low total cost of ownership” (TCO) as one of the best reasons to support OSS, but because it is an “alternative to Microsoft” was second. Forty percent of all respondents felt that a low TCO was the best reason to support OSS and one-third of all respondents cited “an alternative to Microsoft” as one of the best reasons to support OSS.

Additional Comments: NYT and

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.