It’s coming up on the 17th anniversary of the release of the Halloween Documents, a tranche of internal Microsoft documents leaked to open source advocate Eric Raymond back in October 1998.

These documents really are a fascinating read given the rise of open source over the last few years in particular.  Here are a few snippets which I found really interesting.  Again this is October 1998:

  • OSS [Open Source Software] poses a direct, short-term revenue and platform threat to Microsoft, particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.
  • Recent case studies (the Internet) provide very dramatic evidence … that commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by OSS projects.
  • OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.
  • The ability of the OSS process to collect and harness the collective IQ of thousands of individuals across the Internet is simply amazing. More importantly, OSS evangelization scales with the size of the Internet much faster than our own evangelization efforts appear to scale.

These are amazing testimonials to open source and to the Linux environment!  Kudos to the authors.

The full table of contents of these documents are available here.