Microsoft still has a ways to go in convincing larger portions of the open source community that it means no harm, according to van Dam. Microsoft still has an uneasy relationship with Linux, of course, and van Dam says there is still reluctance among open source advocates to partner with Microsoft.
"It has to wear off over time," he says. "It is something you cannot change by flipping a switch. It will require a couple more years."
But van Dam says his community of PHP developers has, in general, welcomed Microsoft's contributions. The user group even held a contest in which PHP developers were invited to create applications for Windows.
"The PHP community welcomes everyone," he says. "We don't care who you are, what your background is. In that perspective, we made the people from Microsoft feel right at home. They came to listen to us. They wanted to know why we haven't developed applications for the Windows platform. And they really listened and said, 'Hey, we need to do something about this.'"
Van Dam adds, "It's truly amazing to see that Microsoft now has learned the value of open source, knowing that open source is here to stay. Instead of fighting it with all their power and marketing, they actually embrace it, and I think that's a very good thing."
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