Open Ballot: Is it time to start trusting Microsoft?


Few people reading this site will claim to be supporters of the Redmond behemoth, but arguably, Microsoft has changed in recent years. The poor reception of Windows Vista, the advancement of Linux in the server space, and the birth of Android and iOS have made Microsoft vulnerable. In many areas, they're the underdog now. And then we have the news that a Microsoft coder made the most changes to Linux 3.0, albeit primarily to support the company's Hyper-V virtualisation interface.

So as we roll up our sleeves for the next podcast, we want your opinions: can we start trusting Microsoft more? Has the company changed - is it competing more fairly than in the past? Or is the Redmond giant's heart still the same, and we should be cautious more than ever of embrace, extend and extinguish? Let us know if the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our podcast. Even if you happen to be Steve Ballmer.

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Your comments

No way!

Remember, pigs still don't fly.

welcome contributions, but not trust

MS are a big corporation with a weakening desktop monopoly and shareholders to please. Hopefully they are now seeing that working with linux and other FOSS projects brings them a competitive advantage and helps them improve and gain adoption of their own products.

That's what is going on here and I think it's a good thing but no, I wouldn't trust microsoft. I'm sure the "stamp out linux" feeling still exists in some parts of the company.

Also, I think this contribution isn't as significant technically as has been suggested in most blogs.


...and I don't mean that as a populist MS-Bashing. Microsoft is a big company that has the duty to further the shareholders' interests. If it is in their interest, they will support open source software, if not, they will let the hellhounds of their legal department loose on us because we dare to use patented methods like "starting an application by clicking on it" in Linux...

This is the same for other companies as well, and at the moment MS surely appears nicer than Apple or Oracle, but that could always change. And we should also not forget that MS is huge - while some engineers might enjoy playing with Linux in HyperV, there will be other departments that still believe in Ballmer's cancer analogy.

Many Headed Hydra

Having been to a few FLOSS/Tech events (LugRadio, OggCamp, GTUG.. etc.) I am always slightly irritated by how nice the MS people are... in a good way of course! They are always eloquent, friendly and happy to use company money to sponsor the beers etc.

We may disagree on certain areas but generally we are all techie folk who get along. The problem is MS the corporate entity with share holders, on a whim, can decide it's more cost effective to sue a particular FLOSS project out of the water.

The folk at MS, engineers etc. may be great, Mono seems to get on well with them as does the Samba team, but look at the Android tax. It's a company. The only thing it cares about is making money, so there can't really be trust in a situation like that no matter how nice certain teams are inside of it.


Under no circumstances should we start trusting them, they are still trying to use their patent portfolio to extract money from companies making Android phones.

No where near yet

Microsoft have spent 10 years (there abouts) calling Linux a cancer, "dispelling" the Linux myth, embracing extending and extinguishing. So they've done a few good things recently, the way I see it, they've got about 10 years worth of good intention to give before we can start trusting them!

Remember, they ain't in it for the love

but of course

One can always trust M$ to do what they think is best for their pockets. Just don't believe that they love you for your good looks, because if you do you will get your face smashed...


Nope, not yet

A few good deeds doesn't show that company mentality has changed. I may reconsider the trust when they start using true GNU-type free source licenses in their "open source" projects and really start publishing open specifications to their products.

I don't think this will happen, so the answer will probably stay at NO ...


As soon as Android started consuming the market, MS had their dogs out, sniffing around the code and looking for possible IP violations. Now their goons are seeking "protection money" from handset manufacturers using Android on their phones, not unlike a two-bit crime boss.

MS may be sniffing around Linux, but it is to further their own closed-source virtualisation products and no doubt to build a list of IP violations to strengthen their protection racket.

Do I trust MS? Not as far as I could throw Steve Ballmer.

trust microsoft ?

wharfff wharfff wharfff !

cool, I needed a good laugh today ! thank you Tuxradar


I see no reason to trust any big corporation. But that doesn't mean I wont use their stuff when it is the best alternative to me at the given time. I don't trust Google to not give out my data, but I still use it. I don't trust Facebook(and apps) not to sell my data, but I use them. I don't trust Linux to get big enough to have high spec games ported to it, but I use it.


The word VACUUM and m$ft should be spelled the same way,
because they both SUCK!

Forgot to add

And as for the "They are only doing it for their own selfish reasons". So f'ing what? In case you haven't noticed everything done in open source is done with a selfish motive. Without them we would hardly see as much progress that has happened in the last 20 years.
Are people really so delusional that they think a company like Redhat patches something for the love of it? I promise you not even Linus himself patches something he doesn't use.

So if everyone only patches programs they use themselves, and only patch because something doesn't work to their liking how is it not selfish(don't get me wrong it is still a good thing)? So for the love of all that is holy pleas get of you're high horse and realize that everything that drives the world forward is the selfishness of someone who thinks something isn't good enough as it is.

You could argue that people involved in things like the Red cross or Save the Children do things just for helping people in need. You would still of course be wrong as nothing would ever happen if it didn't give the donor/volunteer that good feeling that they did something to better the world in the end of the day.

They can be trusted.... Sort of.

Microsoft can be trusted to do one thing: whatever it takes to make money. For years they accomplished it by simply exercising its monopoly on the desktop space. There are too many avenues open for this to work anymore, so they have to find new strategies, mainly patent trolling and the appearance of integration and cooperation with competitors.

Its a mater of democracy not trust.

In a society, those who have power if they try to make it exclusive it leads to dictatorship. This is the case of companies like Microsoft an Apple.
These companies are powerful and wealthy and they want to remain that way.
I don't Like Microsoft but some of its products are great. This is the area that Microsoft or other should focus on. They should try to win the users not destroy the competition.
Until They do something about their corporate mentality, They cannot be trusted.
Being are weak an miserable doesn't make them trust worthy.

A fable

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

The problem is not the company (sort of), it's the model

The model of having a big monopoly is evil by itself. Every company that reaches that position doesn't deserve our trust. No company with over some thousand employees deserve no trust from our side for one simple reason: They won't trust you. They will limit your rights because they won't trust that you won't use their product in the way they meant to.
And if you are thinking in Google... I think we should be careful with them, I give them credit for being a friendly company until now, but from my point of view is that there hasn't been a real conflict between their business model and their users interests (apart from privacy concerns on GMail, Streetview, etc.). We'll see what happens then...

Who or What is Microsoft Now

We all know the comments the Steve Ballmer has made, that is no secret. But what has he said lately that has been really bad? Yes he will "dog" Linux a little from time to time, as a CEO that is part of his job. Microsoft has NOT gone after Mono like all the Mono bashers said they would. They even put stuff in the Kernel last year (or was it the year before). Yes they put it in the Kernel for there benefit but is that not why we put stuff in the Kernel for our benefit?
I think we should all do as the old saying goes - forgive Microsoft but NEVER forget.
And no I do not use Windows or Mac.

Trust Microsoft? Not likely.

There's very little cumulative evidence Microsoft has 'changed' in any significant way. Big business only focuses on monetary gain, with consumers being fodder for its own self interests. Microsoft is one of the alpha dogs when it comes to that kind of corporate ethic. Putting any trust in Microsoft is going down a dangerous path.

Depends on who you talk to

The people that actually work on Microsoft technology are more likely to see the benefits and advantages of open source whether or not they agree with it. Chances are, they re not hostile (it is, after all, just technology and technology is good).

The managers are likely more opinionated and less likely to be swayed by anything they either don't understand, or feels is "against them". They are usually the biggest drinkers of kool-aid in a company (in part because they have more benefits and more to loose if they DON'T support the company).

Managers also have more influence to push their Philosophical beliefs (coupled with kool-aid drinking can be not a pretty site, but is just what the company wants).

The top level echelon (executive) partakes of the kool-aid on a regular basis ("Give me a double! On the rocks!!"). So I guess the higher up the ranks, the more is consumed. It's not necessarily a bad thing because who wants a top level executive becoming more focused on what some other company is doing to the point of if he/she doesn't get their way they immediately jump ship!?

Executives usually focus on the Philosophy of Business (what makes a return, positions itself in the market, counters competitors, raises stock prices (& options ;) ), etc.).

-> Microsoft, the company, is in it to make money. Nothing wrong with that. I'd rather invest in a company making money.
-> Executives have to lead the company towards this goal.
-> Managers have to do the dirty work for the Executives but has more time for their own agendas.
-> The Grunts do the work of Managers, but usually are the ones who actually LIKE technology (let alone understand it). Ultimately, though, they only have partial say to the direction and openness of the product.


Microsoft's ideology is diametrically opposed to that embodied in the Free Software movement. One is about owning, controlling and profiteering from doing so, and the other is about sharing, collaborating and (using the word carefully) 'democratising'.

Regardless of current practises these two approaches have different and, to a great extent, mutually exclusive reasons for existing.

Its not that simple

As many have pointed out, Microsoft is a big company. It is not really a single entity. Some parts will be more friendly than others. I don't think we need to trust them. We accept things they give and thank them for it. We praise them when they do good. We criticise the negative things they are still doing (Like collecting taxes on Android phones)...

They haven't got it.....

They don't get that people want good software yet, look we don't need another office yet until there's something new in it! don't release windows whatever until it's usable etc...

don't even think they're gonna jump to a Red Hat mentality almost overnight, it's just not going to happen...

...trusting them.... yeah as much as i would trust my 4 year old with a brush of gloss red in my living room.

they just don't understand and i can't see they ever will.

they're the dinosaur that doesn't understand the meteor just hit.

Trusting the cowards?

I don't think so... they're not brave enough to go after Apple and their iOS... they're not brave enough to go after the MAKERS of Android, namely Google.

But they're sure brave enough to go after those making handsets that can run Android.

With a bit of hardware poking and code-sniffing, you can make Android run on an iPhone. Will MicroSoft send their lawyers against Apple then, for making an "Android compatible" handset?

For some reason I don't think so. And for some reason, I thus think the "Android tax" is illegal, and is only put into motion because the hardware manufacturers are too scared to refuse.

On the top of me head, I can't rememberis MS is going after Research in Motion (RIM, who makes the Blackberry phones), but I'm sure they're thinking about it if they don't already.

This alone, makes me think that I'ld rather trust a Taipan snake. At least you KNOW the taipan will lounge, and you KNOW it's deadly poisonous. But MS? No way.



MS to make more money off of Linux

Microsoft's main goal is to make money. I don't think they can be trusted, they'll only do what profits them. They already make $15 per Android device.

RE Trusting the cowards?

To add to Doctor Mindwiped's post, they're taking the same tactic that patent troll Lodsys is taking - going after the "little guy" rather than taking on the mother ship. With Lodsys it was the app developers, with MS it's the handset makers. Scumbags.

i trust them to act in there nature (unlike redhat/canonical/..)

Me, I'm dishonest. And a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're gonna do something incredibly stupid.

-jack sparrow

Some change is not enough change

Hell no! You're not supposed to let the donkey eat teh carrot.

I'd rather...

...stop trusting Linux than start trusting MS. :P


Is it April 1 already? Or has TuxRadar been hacked?

@completely stunned

Hacked! By Microsoft.. The B*st*rds their even editing swear words out look.

Microsoft has a consistent history of NOT being trust-worthy

Uhm TuxRadar, Microsoft has changed in recent years??? I find that incredibly hard to accept. Examples such as Vista's poor adoption or the prevalence of Linux in the server space are hardly a basis indicating MS is all that vulnerable. MS still dominates the consumer computer market and maintains a firm grip on the corporate tech infrastructure. The fact is, there are still billions and billions of dollars pouring into the accounting department at Redmond every year. Sales of Windows and MS Office continue on and on, the per unit licensing on Active Directory charges alone rivals most third-world nations' GDP. And while all this is going on, MS still continues it's under-the-table patent trolling and FUD propagation. I find any kind of pity-poor-Microsoft talk to be quite misleading.


I'd like to see Microsoft produce a GNU/Linux-based distro and release it under the GPL. If it's any good, then I think they deserve my attention, but trust is earned, not given or bought.

Given the various problems with Windows (viruses, defragged hard-drives) and the good stuff too (decent hardware drivers, games etc), maybe a version of Windows based on GNU/Linux base would be an interesting fusion.

The Enemy of my Enemy

Microsoft's recent retreat from attacking Linux is a direct result of their concern over Apple's break-neck growing pace. As an ally of freedom and choice, I would take Microsoft's heavy-handed monopolistic tactics over Apple's downright authoritarian rule any day of the week. Microsoft shouldn't be trusted to keep any interest but their own, but in this rare case our interests align in the form of a mutual anxiety over Apple, and whenever Microsoft manages to hurt Apple we should consider it a win for us as well.

Just asking the question suggests No

When people are trusted, the question doesn't have to be asked. I don't rule out a time when the behaviour of MS as a company may earn them trust but I don't see it happening in this decade, perhaps in the next if they have consistently demonstrated they can be trusted. Microsoft....hmmmm....


If you want me to elaborate further, I say **** 'em

Trust Microsoft??

I think you can trust no one, especially not a company like Microsoft (the same holds true for Facebook, Dropbox, Skype, Google, Apple, etc.) They screwed up in the past (and merrily continue at doing just that), so there is no reason to hope for any improvement. BTW: that guy's contribution to the kernel wasn't so disinterested after all, it improved interaction between the Linux kernel and Microsoft's own proprietary virtualization solution. That makes perfect business sense to me, doesn't it?

You didn't take cash to ask this did you?

I'm going to assume because you guys are Brits that your question here shows lack of understanding of this uniquely American crime syndicate we call Microsoft--and not outright bribery.
Besides their aggravating, broken products consuming the productivity of billions, Microsoft profit goes to supporting worldwide eugenics campaigns through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
So either wake the hell up or I guess take your meds and keep asking stupid questions.

Don't trust them but don't

Don't trust them but don't mindlessly bash them in every way possible.

Tread carefully

The question is not really whether Microsoft can be trusted so much as whether Microsoft can be worked with.

It is true that Microsoft still dominates the desktop (and the laptop for that matter). However, the future is probably be going to be more about the smart phone and the tablet where Microsoft trails significantly.

If Microsoft are going to be genuine big players in the future they are going to have to work with Linux (the kernel, Android, Google Chrome OS, perhaps other distros too).

Things are going to be very different. Trust? Probably not. Work with? Certainly.

In one word...



I still haven't forgiven them for sending the trojan horse that is Stephen Elop to kill Meego!!!! ARGHHHH!!!

Trust is such a strong word...

I don't think trust is warranted, in the same way we trust RedHat or Google to generally act in the community's best interests.

However, as more of the original Microsoft execs cycle out and get replaced by young blood, I think we'll increasingly see Microsoft acting like the Free Software community would like.

When you say Microsoft, you mean Klingons


When I try to answer this question I feel like Kirk in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. During the events of the movie, the Klingons seemed to be changing, they stopped being enemies of the United Federation of Planets and started to be allies. But if you asked Captain Kirk, he would answer you that the only good Klingon is the dead Klingon. Too many years fighting klingons to accept easily that they are trustable.

I feel the same about Microsoft. The part of my brain that is Picard tells me that we have to hope the best, but the Kirk in me shouts "No way!".


Watch yer backs...

Trust is earned, not bought with a few lines of code.
The bigger Linux gets the more companies the Micro$oft cartel will lean on for there extortion money.

I believe any business with

I believe any business with as much power and influence as Microsoft has, can NOT be trusted. Skynet from Terminator? VIKI from I, Robot? I think I've made my point!

And I agree with Javier!

And I agree with Javier!

There are benefits

The popular opinion here is pretty obvious, I personally would never trust M$ however the Linux platform has so much to benefit from M$ interest (and also lose). Think of all the hardware/software vendors that currently only support M$/Apple. If M$ invested more in Linux we might get more corporate contributions to projects like WINE etc.

However trusting someone != leaving yourself wide open to them. You can trust M$ to do certain things like kernel updates but not managing the entire project (They may steal it).

However I must say if I EVER see a M$ Office Linux edition I might die....

What is the matter with you

What is the matter with you people? they JUST took 20 years to make a "stable" O.S. and 15 years to make an acceptable browser.

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