PHPUK 2009 Part 2: Contention and Clarity

The Microsoft talk could have been the most contentious presentation for many reasons. Are they moving in on our turf? What will the big bullies do if we let them into the playground? Actually the talk was only marred by three things, two of which could hardly be laid at Hank Jannsen’s door:

microsoft talk audience php uk 2009
microsoft talk audience php uk 2009

1) the audience hardly filled the room in contrast to the growing mob across the hall
2) word has just got out that someone had either kidnapped (or treated as swag) the phpwomen elephpant (thanks to @akrabat for the missing poster)
3) coming from the open source world himself and only been an MS employee for 2½ years, you could see Hank almost visably straining at the leash when forced to say: “there are some things I am not allowed to talk about”.

I felt really sorry for Hank, due to billing he was made to feel second best (though I’m sure we would have been a hard crowd at any time) and he almost seemed cast out by his original community (is that what he gets for defecting?). Despite that he give an informative talk, defended his group very well and gave an idea of real involvement. Looking back I’m sure his witty slide about working with the community complete with image from inside the Borg ship was presented with a sense of irony, but sadly moved on so quickly I couldn’t get a snapshot.

mission statement slide: make microsoft the best choice platform for open source - communities, development, deployment
mission statement slide

So my impression is that microsoft has created a group almost buffered from both sides to join in with the open source community and with php in particular. They appear to be giving a lot of input in a short amount of time. Being #2 contributor may seem amazing but these developers are working full time on it and may well be playing catchup. Time will tell if they continue to maintain and support all this code. I am also concerned that there are things being developed that Hank obviously finds exciting but cannot talk about. This suggests that patents are involved and we know where that has taken Microsoft in the past and most lately up against TomTom. I will be interested to note under what licences code has been offered and how that will impact on the Microsoft open source code I would use. Will this slow take up?

Given the number of hands wanting an free MSDN licence it seems that cost rather than copyright may be a bigger barrier to take up. Yes we know that Microsoft’s mission is to be the biggest platform in the open source community – they openly said so, does that make their code all bad?

They need a careful eye and careful independent thought but then isn’t that something open source is about?

[edit feb2015 – these links may be broken for the next few days…]
Links to other parts:
Part 1: Cutting edge and Community
Part 3: Comedy and Closing