A couple of days ago, in a publicly available invitation, Microsoft offered help to Mozilla, (who oversee development of the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client) to ensure compatibility between their products, and Windows Vista.

The article goes on to say that "Microsoft is committed to evolving our thinking beyond commercial companies to include open-source projects".  Personally, I believe this is a great move from Microsoft.  We accept that not everyone wants to use Internet Explorer, and at the same time, we know that choice is important, so if people want to use other browsers, we want to ensure those browsers work with our software and systems.  The article states "it remains to be seen whether Mozilla and the open-source community will respond positively" yet, on the 24th August, Mozillla accepted the invitation.

Mozilla have already been doing some testing on Vista, and have been working to ensure that they take advantage of the new 'Default Program' infrastructure in Vista.  Default Program is a new feature Microsoft has added to Vista to avoid the problem of applications taking over common functions, such as playing music or browsing the Web, from each other. Rather than letting competing applications fight, it will give the user a single interface for deciding which programs should do which jobs.  I believe this a great addition to Vista, and really simplifies the task of deciding what programs you want to perform specific tasks.

In the Default Programs window, you can either set all the defaults for a program, i.e. for Windows Media Player 11, you can use the program to open all file types and protocols that it can actually open, or alternatively, you can go into selecting the individual defaults that the program should open.  If need be, you can override the Default Program for a particular file type, by right-clicking on the file in question, and selecting 'Open with' and selecting your program appropriately.

As an interesting final point...

"Both Microsoft and Mozilla appear keen to bury the idea that the two are warring tribes when it comes to open source. This recent move by Microsoft to openly welcome Mozilla and its browser, even though Firefox is the principle competition for its own Internet Explorer, appears to be part of a new trend for the company"

Speaking of browsers, Microsoft has just released the RC1 of IE7, which you can download from here.