I think that Sam’s Exhibit A does a good job of showing that Microsoft is trying to pursue a better relationship with open source developers (and the community at large.) Clearly, Sam has done a great job of getting the message out and building great relationships – I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Microsoft as a whole has made that same progress, though. In this community, the action of individuals is often worth more, and Sam is encumbered by a great deal of baggage (some old and some new…)
Regarding Exhibit B, I think that’s something for Microsoft to be proud of, for sure, but it could also be argued that it’s more indicative of Microsoft’s well-documented successes elsewhere. I’d imagine that the Sugar folks offer support for Windows because Microsoft owns a substantial chunk of the server market. It’s an effective product strategy – Microsoft’s success in the server market makes it hard for commercial open source vendors to ignore them – but is that really based on community goodwill?
For Exhibit C, I’d like to get a bit more specific on the numbers. Approximately 40,000 of those 77,000 projects that run on Windows have categorized themselves as “OS Independent (Written in an interpreted language)” or “OS Portable (Source code to work with many OS platforms)”. I’d imagine that includes mostly Java/Perl/Python/PHP stuff. That leaves about 37,000 projects that are specifically designed to work on Windows.
Still, that’s a lot. However, I would assert that the large number of projects has to do with the ubiquitousness of Microsoft’s platforms, good opportunities for developers to innovate on them, and Microsoft’s success in marketing to developers in general. It is, however, very true that open source and the Microsoft stack are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the open source community is very active on Microsoft platforms, but to consider this activity a sign of progress for Microsoft’s efforts with the open source community may be somewhat misleading.
(Incidentally, I think it’s great that Microsoft is motivated to get a better name for themselves in the open source community, but I think they’re at the beginning of a very long road. I wish them the very best, and am always available to help if there’s anything I can do!)