[FoRK] Atom vs. JSON? Re: Microsoft gets a new religion: VisualStudio Core, aka Atom

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sun May 3 12:13:10 PDT 2015

> On May 3, 2015, at 10:51 AM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Revisionism?  What are some other significant examples of Microsoft adopting and repackaging similar open technology solutions for key things?
> Other than Node and some Javascript libraries, and C++ libraries in a roundabout way, it is hard to think of good examples.

You are ignoring the most important part of this: shrink-wrap and enterprise license sales are slowly going away. Everything is moving to the cloud. Microsoft repackages open source technologies liberally, especially data and analytics infrastructure, but primarily for the cloud. Open source is their cloud strategy, not their license strategy.

All the major cloud providers package open source technologies in such a way that they can reimplement large chunks of it with closed source versions. The “Hadoop” you get in the cloud is not the Hadoop you download from Apache even though it may start that way. The cloud makes it easy to look like open source without actually being open source.

I’ve mentioned it before here but a lot of open source software is slowly being killed by the cloud because cloud providers generate a lot of margin on TCO arbitrage. Most open source infrastructure software is badly architected and poorly implemented because so much of it started with the design of one person trying to solve a problem they were not experts at solving, which has punishing TCO implications at scale. So companies reimplement their own vastly more efficient versions of open source with a large disincentive toward open sourcing those reimplementations.

If open source wants to remain relevant in the cloud, large swaths of it needs to seriously level-up its engineering game. The open source ecosystems that are being liberally adopted “as-is” in major cloud infrastructures are the handful where the quality is high enough that improvements from reimplementation would be marginal (e.g. PostgreSQL or LLVM).

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