MTS07 - the First Speaker, Bill Hilf

Just stream of consciousness notes during the presentation…

Bill Hilf, General Manager Platform Strategy MS Corp.

Talking mostly about open source software. He’s putting a lot of stress on not being an apologist. Ouch - bad blue pill joke. “I guess you could say I took the blue pill and joined IBM”.

Microsoft is the “most manically self-critical company” spending 58 minutes of an hour meeting talking about “how we suck”.

He constantly is defending the “Linux is un-American” comments and claims them as “the gum on [his] shoes”.

The two secrets to Microsoft: Write a piece of software that can run on 100’s of millions of hardware, and software that can run 100’s of millions of programs using a common API.” Response from the crowd: “that’s called Java”. :-)

He’s really pushing SugarCRM as a good opensource relationship with MS and open source.

Port 25 is the place to get info on MS opensource. CodePlex is their OSS portal (i.e., Sourceforge). CodePlex allows any time of software regardless of license.

“Coopetition…” Cooperation and Competition. Must be the internal replacement to Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. Recommends Blue Ocean Stragety.

“One of the mythologies of open source companies is that it’s just about services” (paraphrase). The idea is to differentiate your product to make money.

Six lessons:

  1. Patience is key
  2. Learn what you can handle
  3. Invest in friends and skilled allies
  4. Identify goals and sitable targets
  5. The right place at the right time (find your own pace)
  6. Use all resources - “Play long, play hard, and use as many sources as you see fit”

All of these are straight out of the strategy book for World of Warcraft. His email is billhilf@ - if you can’t figure out the rest, you shouldn’t be reading this :-)

He keeps mentioning SugarCRM and PHP - as two different things. That’s good for Sugar that they’ve got themselves defined outside of the context of the language.

During the QA:

“I don’t care… I don’t even know what Java is” - a quote from the head of an ER at one of the local hospitals in Redmond. That’s the lesson, people don’t care what technology powers software, so long as it works.

Whats the difference between SF and CodePlex? SF has to be under an OSI license. MS wanted to provide a license-agnostic MS community.

Speculation on OSI licensing - would they consider it? Absolutely, we just have to work it out. He has a hard time with the ideology of open source separate of the software. “We don’t believe in all of them”… Guess no GNU/Windows anytime soon… :-)

Thoughts on GPLv3 - “It’s hard to talk about GPLv3 because it’s constantly in flux.”

Why didn’t you use the ODF instead of doing your own with OpenXML? It’s not a “save as” text standard. His claim is that they’re different technically in that Microsoft Office uses OpenXML in a different way than serializing data to the disk.

“You want the competition - the VHS versus Betamax, the HDDVD from Blueray.” From the crowd: “Nobody with have a brain will believe that comment coming from you.”

Closing Notes:
He was good. The OpenXML is a touchy issue for sure. I may expand these once I get more time…