Microsoft invites Mozilla over

Microsoft has invited Mozilla developers over to Redmond so that the open source team can have discussions to ensure that the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird mail client work smoothly with Vista.

The invitation is to a four-day event that will be held in Redmond every week until December 2006. Microsoft provides secure office space for four people, hardware, VPN access, and 1:1 access to product team developers and support staff.

The invite came from Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft’s Open Source Software Lab that was inaugurated earlier this year with the specific remit of integrating open source projects into Microsoft products. Normally the Lab works with open source projects in large commercial organisations.

Given that Firefox’s market share is is over 20 per cent in Europe and well into double figures in the rest of the world, it behoves Microsoft to ensure that as many key applications as possible work seamlessly with Vista, in case compatibility issues prevent users from upgrading.

The invitation was made public in Ramji’s blog because, in his words, he ‘sent this invitation to s…@mozilla.org as well, but in case their

spam filters are set to block @microsoft.com email addresses’ he posted in the blog as well.

Explaining the invitation, Ramji writes ‘as part of my mission as an advocate for open source applications on Windows, I’ve gotten spaces set aside at the Windows Vista Readiness ISV Lab. In the past the company has only invited commercial software developers to these labs. I’m committed to evolving our thinking beyond commercial companies to include open source projects, so I went to the non-trivial effort of getting slots for non-commercial open source projects’.

Mike Beltzner whose title is Phenomenologist at the Mozilla Corporation replied ‘Yes, we’d definitely be interested in getting some 1:1 support,’ although the Mozilla projects such as Firefox 2 and Thunderbird 2 are already being tested on Vista.

Opera developer David Storey gives us an insight of what is in store. ‘A highlight was meeting up with the IE team over coffee and then lunch. Maybe people will want me to say they are satan embodied, but they are great guys and really do care about standards. We all got on like a house on fire,’ he enthused. ‘We even got as much pop, and ice cream as we could eat and drink.’

You sure you know what was in that pop David?

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