Greg Papadopoulos on “collaborating” with Microsoft

Greg Papadopoulos (Sun’s CTO) recently posted a blog entry to tell us, a year after, what’s it’s been like working with Microsoft. For those who forgot, a year ago Microsoft sent a $2 billion check to Sun to settle some legal disputes and turn Sun into a technical partner. So what kind of technical partnership is that? Well, according to Greg they’ve been making “some real architectural progress”. And he gives us four examples: WS-Addressing, WS-Management, WS-Eventing, WS-MetadataExchange. The funny thing is that for each one of these specifications Microsoft had written and publicized the specification before Sun became a partner and just put out a slightly updated version with Sun and other companies added as authors. Go ahead and check for yourself:

  • WS-Addressing: the “before Sun” version (March 2004) and the “after Sun” version (August 2004)
  • WS-Management: the “before Sun” version was called WMX but I can’t find a URI for it, only an overview document so on this one you’re on your own to find the “before Sun” document to compare (hint: call Microsoft, not Sun for this doc). Here is the “after Sun” version (October 2004)
  • WS-Eventing: the “before Sun” version (January 2004) and the “after Sun” version (August 2004)
  • WS-MetadataExchange: the “before Sun” version (March 2004) and the “after Sun” version (September 2004)

There might be a lot of in-depth technical collaboration going on between Sun and Microsoft that we are not allowed to see, but the only examples Greg has for us in his “one year later” piece make it sound a lot more like a business deal than technical collaboration. Maybe they have the CTO write about it because the CFO doesn’t have a blog?

In that same piece, Greg also tells us that “the ‘interoperate’ message is louder than even the ‘standardize’ one”. This is probably why 3 of the 4 specs he brings up are proprietary specs. This explains a lot about what to expect from Sun in terms of standard support. I agreed when Sun used to say that standards are the best way to provide specifications that can be safely implemented, including by small companies and open-source projects (in financial terms, legal terms and control terms) and that this is a key promise of Web services. Simon Phipps (Sun’s chief technology evangelist) explained it well. But this was in year 1BC (Before Check). How things change.

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