Okay, so I read on Slashdot (is a link really necessary?) that Microsoft has put up a program called FlexWiki under an Open Source license… a real OSI-approved license, not just some evil license that they’re calling Open Source.
Well, you don’t see that every day, so I head over to the site to check it out. Now, if you’re not familiar with Wikis the concept is that (by default) anyone can edit them. Helps for all kinds of projects to allow open editing, and most Wiki software has version control built in so the community can roll back or remove changes that are detrimental.
I note this because people have been busy defacing the FlexWiki site with “Fuck Microsoft” images and so on.
Okay, I’m no big fan of Microsoft, and if you want to put a “Fuck Microsoft” tag or image on your own site, go for it. It’s not particularly profound commentary, but you do what you want with your own space. But this is just childish and, quite frankly, asinine. Here Microsoft does a Good Thing ™ and people have to go and use it as an opportunity to be rude. Jeez, people.
Look, when Microsoft actually does a bona fide good deed, be nice. Be gracious, and say “hey, thanks!” Even if you’re not the least bit interested in FlexWiki, the folks in Redmond have contributed a nice little project that’s worthwhile to everybody. While Microsoft isn’t exactly the cuddly-wuddly company that wants to play nice, they did something good here and the rest of the world that’s sitting on the fence about this radical “Open Source” thing isn’t going to see this as a good sign that the Open Source Community is really ready for prime time.
Of course, it’s not “the community” at large that’s responsible for this — but just as Steve Ballmer makes Microsoft look bad when he mouths off about the GPL == cancer, this doesn’t do much to make us look like good guys. Worse, when Microsoft does something that can be seen as a modest move towards embracing Open Source, someone decides they need to crap all over it and make a jerk of themselves.