Microsoft has called for the Australian Government's agencies to engage with "all forms" of software development communities - be they proprietary or open source - in response to official moves in Canberra to embrace open source alternatives.
In a letter to Special Minister of State Gary Gray released on Monday (pdf), the software giant welcomed the Federal Government's newly revised open source policy, which required agencies to consider open source in IT procurements.
Microsoft's director of corporate affairs Simon Edwards applauded the policy's emphasis on total cost of ownership, describing its value for money requirement as "both sensible and pragmatic".
Noting that "a substantial body" of open source development occurred on Microsoft's platform, Edwards called for a broader mandate for agencies to participate in software development communities "regardless of a development or licensing model".
"The development pathway of proprietary software, as is true for open source software, is enhanced through engagement with and feedback from users," he wrote.
"Your support for such engagements between representatives of AGIMO, Agencies and proprietary and open source software communities would be most welcome."
Microsoft also offered to contribute to the development of a Federal Guide to Open Source Software, noting that its experience as a vendor to Government could be of some value to AGIMO's review.
"We appreciate many of the difficulties parties face in settling standard contractual matters such as ownership, liability and warranties and would be pleased to offer this experience to AGIMO in the event they are consulting with sectors of industry on the Guide," Edwards wrote.