I read a story this morning over at Infoworld.com that shocked me a bit. Neil McAllister discusses how proprietary software companies, like Microsoft, criticize open source projects by saying that, "They don't innovate, they copy." Is that really the consensus for an entire software realm that brought us the world wide web, TCP/IP, sendmail, DNS, DHCP, Perl, PHP, Apache, HTML and basically everything else that we use on the Internet today? Is that really the stance they want to take?
Neil also gives us seven major open source projects that are not knockoffs of Microsoft's knockoffs.
But, instead of focusing entirely on his article, I'd like to focus on the "missed it by a mile" target of companies, like Microsoft, that spout such nonsense.
As for knockoffs, who better than Microsoft to point that fickle finger?
I'm still shocked that IBM and Apple haven't sued the pants off of Microsoft for their obvious plagiarism of those companies' products and innovations.
From DOS to Windows to their GUI designs, icons, menus, .NET and program names, they (Microsoft) are the ones who play the knockoff card. And, they play it in spades.
Here is a list of Microsoft products and the originals:
- Windows (The Name) - X Window
- Windows - OS2 and Mac
- Explorer Interface - Mac
- MS Office - Lotus and Framework
- SQL Server - Sybase
- Exchange Server - Domino
- Internet Explorer - Mosaic
- MS DOS - CP/M and IBM PC DOS
- C# - Java
- NetBIOS/LanManager - IBM's NetBIOS/LanManager
Do you still want to talk about knockoffs and lack of innovation?
The world enjoys a free Internet, thanks to the innovations and donations of hundreds of thousands of hours and dollars from regular people like you and me. If a company like Microsoft owned the Internet, or the protocols and applications that make it work, it would be a different world.
There would be no innovation.
There would be no creativity.
There would only be Microsoft.
It would be like one of those science fiction movies where one huge company controls everything: dark, corrupt and oppressive.
Is that painting too bleak a picture for you?
Well, it's bleak.
To Neil: I applaud your article to bring these things to light.
To Microsoft: When I see some real innovation from you, instead of knockoffs, I'll listen.
I'm not a Microsoft hater until it comes to statements like this (That open source software isn't innovative).
What do you think of open source innovation? Knockoffs or true innovations?