I recently came across John Brodkin’s Microsoft: ‘We love open source’ article on InfoWorld. John’s excellent article probes the long and complex relationship between Microsoft and the “open source community”. While reading John’s article and reflecting on some parallel themes in my MicrOSoft series of posts, I found myself thinking of Bill Murray’s character in the iconic Groundhog Day film and it’s tagline: “ He’s having the [worst] day of his life… over, and over…”
In the film, Bill Murray plays Phil Connor, a Pittsburgh TV weatherman assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, who finds himself living the same day over and over again. After indulging himself with impunity and then attempting suicide, Phil decides to use the time to become a better person. The “spell” ends when he finally wins the heart of Rita (the TV station’s new producer).
Microsoft’s relationship with the open source software community has some striking parallels with the plot of this film. In particular, while I believe that the company is sincere about its love of open source and is honestly working to improve itself in this area, it is pretty clear “MicrOSoft is having the worst day of [its] life… over, and over…” I really wonder what it will take to break this spell!