[MUD-Dev] Tim O'Reilly's "Open Letter to Microsoft"

ApplePiMan at aol.com ApplePiMan at aol.com
Wed Nov 4 21:12:46 CET 1998

Sorry this is a bit long, but AFAIK it's not yet on the Web (I get many 
press releases directly). It's a response to the "Halloween Document."


>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 1998
>CONTACT: Sara Winge, 707/829-0515 x285, sara at oreilly.com
>Tim O'Reilly, President and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., responds to 
>the "Halloween Document", an internal Microsoft memorandum analyzing Open 
>Source software and its potential impact for Microsoft. The memo, posted on 
>the Internet by Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond two days ago, is at:
>An Open Letter to Microsoft
>In the already infamous "Halloween Document", you laid out a strategy for 
>competing with the Open Source movement. You say:
>"OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications 
>because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By 
>extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS 
>projects entry into the market."
>The point that you seem to miss is that it is these simple, commoditized 
>protocols and a culture of building freely on the work of others that 
>brought us the explosion of innovation known as the Internet. And while the 
>Internet has opened new areas of competition for Microsoft, it has also 
>opened up enormous opportunities.
>I'm not just talking about new information businesses like Expedia. You 
>have only to look at your two major breadwinners, the Windows operating 
>system and the Office application suite, to see the positive impact of Open 
>Source on your bottom line. Internet-enabling Windows and Office has been 
>the major source of new features that make it worthwhile for customers to 
>buy new systems or upgrade their applications. Lacking the Internet, you 
>would have had to rely on such dubious innovations as Microsoft Bob to 
>drive upgrade revenue. And now you want to undermine Open Source? Try to be 
>The collaborative, massively distributed development process behind the 
>Internet and Open Source projects is not your enemy. It is your friend, the 
>source of basic research that you can turn into your next generation of 
>At bottom, the Open Source movement is an expression of the Western 
>academic tradition, innovation and discovery through the free exchange of 
>ideas. You rig that system at your peril. You have only to look at the 
>stagnation of Soviet science and industry under a centralized autocratic 
>system, versus the innovation that happened in our free markets, to see 
>what fate you have in store for yourselves if you succeed.
>Microsoft is too smart a company to sacrifice long-term vitality for 
>short-term advantage. Instead of trying to crush Open Source, you should 
>follow the lead of companies like O'Reilly, IBM and Silicon Graphics, who 
>are supporting various Open Source communities while finding ways to build 
>commercial added-value products on the open platforms these communities 
>-- Tim O'Reilly
>   President and CEO, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
>O'Reilly & Associates is recognized worldwide for its definitive books on 
>open source software, the Internet, UNIX, programming, and Windows NT. From 
>their pioneering bestseller "The Whole Internet User's Guide & Catalog" 
>(the book that introduced the Internet to the public) to GNN (the first 
>Internet portal and commercial website) to WebSite (the first web server 
>software for desktop PCs), O'Reilly has been at the forefront of Internet 
>development. Building on its expertise, O'Reilly has also produced 
>award-winning Internet software and innovative web-based courses. The 
>company's active support of open source software extends beyond its 
>publishing program. O'Reilly has taken the lead in promoting and 
>legitimizing open source software by hosting the historic April, 1998 Open 
>Source Summit and producing Open Source Development Day and an annual Perl 

Rick Buck, President and CEO  <mailto:rlb at big-i.com>
Beyond Infinity Games, Inc.
See you in The Metaverse! <http://www.big-i.com>

More information about the mud-dev-archive mailing list