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Former Microsoft exec joins open-source project
Contributed by: mankool, at 11/17/2004 01:16:00 PM.

A former Microsoft executive who helped shape the company's initial response to Linux has joined a company selling open-source media software.

CAC Media, a New York-based company that sells software and services for set-top boxes and other media devices, told CNET News.com that it has hired Nat Brown as its chief technical officer.

Brown worked with Microsoft from 1990 to 1999, during which time he helped create the COM+ communications protocol, contributed to development of the DirectX graphics library and helped guide initial plans for the Xbox game console.

He was also one of the main contributors to the infamous "Halloween memo," in which Microsoft first documented concerns about open-source software as a competitive threat.

Brown said the memo, chiefly written by engineer Vinod Valloppillil, partly reflected his admiration of open-source methods.

"There were a lot of us that talked about open-source casually in e-mail, and the memo synthesized a lot of those discussions," he said. "My thought was that there's this beautiful thing with open-source where, as a developer, there's a very low barrier to entry. The flexibility that gives you is really incredible."

Brown said that when he decided to return to work after a few years to concentrate on his family, it was natural for him to look at open-source companies.

"I knew I wanted to get back into something and do it with a smaller company," he said. "I'd been talking with Microsoft about going back to work on the Windows infrastructure. But the company is just very, very big, and the opportunity to have (an) impact and really execute on your ideas is very limited."

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