Microsoft's Nervous Tic...er ehm...Twitch
Dan Farber writes in Between the Lines about Microsoft's new software development metaphor, the Twitch Cycle.
Short Twitch (6-9 months)
Medium Twitch (12-24 months?)
Long Twitch (3-4 years)
We just can’t make our customers wait three or four years for things [Longhorn/Vista] that should have been on more interim cycles. We try to orchestrate ourselves, so that we have innovations coming on all three of those cycle paths.With major open source development projects on a "release early and often" cycle path and projects like Ubuntu bringing out a new version every six months -- in April and October -- like, on a Swiss train schedule, Microsoft appears to be taking on board the lessons of Open Source & Free Software's collaborative development successes.
I've been arguing recently (to deaf ears) that if Microsoft wants to be an open source company, it will need to go all the way and generate sincere and passionate communities. They will only be able to do this if Ballmer and Gates retire early because the sine qua non, the mortar, of community is trust.