According to a AP release “Microsoft giving away developer software” Microsoft is letting students download their development studio and server applications for free. Is it a strategic move attempting to position themselves against the trend of web developers going with the free open source LAMP stack or an additional choice for web developers, as Bill Gates explains in the article.
“Gates said students will want to try Microsoft’s tools because they’re more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language used to make complex Web sites.”
Will this have an impact on the open source movement? Would this simply expand the options available for development. Once the application is developed could it be distributed under an open source license, or would the embedded Microsoft technologies pose a stumbling block. According to a Computer world.com article: Analysis: Popularity of open-source, Adobe tools on campus prods Microsoft’s giveaway to students. the free software is intended for educational purposes, and not for commercial software development or software-for-hire basis. The article goes on to quote Joe Wilson, Microsoft’s senior director of academic initiatives for developer and platform evangelism.” But Microsoft has no plans to enforce those terms, Wilson said.” Would this pose a threat to open source development platforms such as JavaBean from Sun or IBM supported Eclipse. Time will tell.