Microsoft and the Open Source prediction

A long time ago, in a blog far, far away a prediction was made. Microsoft would be writing programs for Linux in 2004. Maybe today we’re one step closer to that vision.

Microsoft released the source code for the Windows Installer XML (WiX) developer tool to SourceForge under the IBM Common Public License or CPL. The WiX project is the first Shared Source Initiative to go “public” on Source Forge rather than a Microsoft site. It is also the first to use an externally created Open Source license. Microsoft supports the idea that a software developer should be free to choose how they license their work and for the goals of WiX, the CPL was the right fit. This does open up the creation of MSI type install packages and possibly will bridge the problem of cross-platform tools that need to install on Linux, Windows, and Mac. All someone has to do now is write an MSI installer for the “other” platforms and they’ll be a tool to build the installation package from a single XML file spec. Nice and slick and makes for installing software a breeze (especially if you count the cost of a package like Wise or InstallShield that Open Source projects can’t afford).

An interesting quote from the lead developer, Rob Mensching’s blog: “Today, via WiX on SourceForge, you get to see the results of many people’s efforts to improve Microsoft from the inside out. I’m not exactly sure what is going to happen next but I’m sure there are quite a few people who are interested to see where this leads.”

Much more detailed information available at MSDN.