VB6: Not so open source

Earlier today, a rather surprising tweet hit, being retweeted at least 80 times, including by a few rather influential people in the .NET world:

Needless to say, that’s not an announcement that anybody was expecting, but given the talk going on at the time – and the high-profile people talking about it, there wasn’t much reason to doubt. Announcing a product that has been dead for years is going open source would certainly be a strategy shift for Microsoft, but does it make any sense? Kevin Dente of Herding Code fame certainly thought that Microsoft had better things to release:

Shortly after the initial tweet, Doug Seven, the Director of Product Management, Visual Studio Tools & Languages, replied asking Roy Osherove (the original poster) to email him. Hmm, it’s starting to smell like something odd is going on. A couple of hours later, Doug set the story straight:

To which, Roy then tried to unset:

It’s worth pointing out that Roy Osherove currently has a full ten-times the followers that Doug Seven has, meaning his altered retweet was seen by more people (at least initially). For several hours word was going around, and accepted by a number of people who thought Microsoft was actually going to open the code to VB6 (including journalists who were too busy writing articles to do any fact checking) – all based on one person who made it all up.

Lesson here: be careful about what you re-tweet, it’s easy to endorse a lie as several people unwittingly did today (@blowdart summed it rather well).