OSDL turns down Microsoft's study offer

At LinuxWorld Conference & Expo this August, Microsoft approached the Open Source Development Labs about conducting a jointly funded research study to compare and contrast Windows and Linux. OSDL's head turned Microsoft down flat. In a recent statement, OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) CEO Stuart Cohen said that he had nixed the offer from Microsoft. "As far as working with Microsoft on a study, I explained that Microsoft could probably find one negative line on Linux in a 100-page research report that it would spend $10 million marketing while ignoring the other 99 pages," he said. "Why would OSDL want to participate in that?" When the story that Microsoft's Martin Taylor, the architect of Microsoft's anti-Linux "Get the Facts" campaign and the Redmond, Wash., software firm's general manager of platform strategy, proposed to Cohen that the two join forces on a co-sponsored study, many found it hard to believe. The OSDL, employer of Linus Torvalds, Linux's founder, is a leading pro-Linux organization. Its membership list is a who's who of Linux companies such as Red Hat Inc., Novell Inc. and Turbolinux. Others doubted that Microsoft could be serious since the two had dynamically opposed positions on the merits and flaws of the operating systems. Taylor said he sent Cohen, at OSDL's Beaverton, Ore., headquarters, an Email ahead of the annual LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, suggesting the idea and asking for a meeting. The two then met at LinuxWorld and discussed the idea and how it would work it broad terms, but there was no agreement of any sort, The OSDL leadership, at first, had little to say about the matter. "Stuart Cohen did receive a request from Martin Taylor at Microsoft before Linux World. In part, Martin said he was interested in talking with Stuart about joint research opportunities on some of the issues in the market. Stuart agreed to meet with Martin and they did meet," was all a spokesperson said. Recently, however, in the statement from OSDL, Cohen was more explicit. Martin proposed that our meeting stay confidential in order to be as productive as possible, and I agreed," said Cohen. "When reporters contacted me about the meeting, I first asked Martin how he wanted us to respond to questions about a confidential conversation. He said he's looking into how the press was notified, and he promised to get back to me," Cohen said. Meanwhile, the study is off.

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