Two of Microsoft’s licenses, Microsoft Public License and Microsoft Reciprocal License, were approved by the OSI. As Matt Assay says, this is the right way for Microsoft to enter the open source world.
Microsoft has not been in the good books of the open source community, with the patent FUD and especially in the OOXML case. There are more instances when Microsoft has seemed to use open source only for its own interest – like the .Net peek holes and Steve Ballmer’s wish to dominate open source. Microsoft has hardly encouraged open source activity that happens outside of it.
And it is no wonder that this feeling has carried over. Dana Blankenhorn has questioned if approving these licenses will do good. And I am sure many are going to feel the same way – skeptical. It sure is confusing to see Microsoft trying to participate in as well as struggle with open source. Perhaps, as Russ Nelson says, open source is both its enemy and salvation. I hope it does build a strong open source strategy, the flux wil not serve well. After all open source is not about licenses, it is about participation, support and community.