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Leon, I can answer your question now…


About a month ago I was at CinArc. During the break Leon asked me what Microsoft was doing about open source, and when were we going to change our business model to adapt or compete. He wasn’t picking a fight, he honestly wanted to know if MS recognized this new aspect of the market (not really new at this point, but anyway), and were we going to engage at this level, if not embrace it.

I didn’t have an answer at the time. Not because I missed the ‘Annual Evil Empire Planning Meeting’ (I am still waiting to get invited to that meeting), but because I was so new, and am really not part of that part of the organization. I recently attended a session where Sam Ramji explained Microsoft strategies for working with open source, and the open source community. I was very pleased with what I head. I shows that we are embracing this model, and the people who believe in it.

There have been some amazing announcements about how we are supporting and engaging the open source community.

Our message: We are committed to making Windows the best platform to run Open Source applications on. That’s it.

Our actions and commitments are our proof. And these are just the start.

- The Open Specification Promise: We have put many, many protocols based on Microsoft’s patents into the OSP, with a promise that developers have a right to use them without any fear from any patent claims from Microsoft. Per the site that defines the promise: “be used for free, easily, now and forever.” Developers can use these protocols in any way, and for any use, even commercial. Our promise is also more broad, and more flexible than other promises. There have been clarifications on our promise so that developers really understand what our commitment is.

- PHP ADOdb patch: ADOdb is a very popular data access framework for PHP. Microsoft is contributing a patch that enables ADOdb to access SQL Server through the native drivers in PHP. I was very proud when I was told by Sam about Microsoft’s first real contribution to the open source community. He promises there will be much more. From the plans I heard about, I believe him. Sam’s team has tested more than 100 PHP applications on IIS, and they worked without any changes.

- Sponsor of Apache Software Foundation – We have sponsored the ASF so that they can continue their operations. This shows that we believe in their way. Does this spell the end of IIS? NOOOO! We will continue investments into IIS, which is currently the fastest platform for running PHP applications.

- FastCGI/IIS7 – FastCGI is a component for IIS7 that serves up PHP content. There is an article on how to install it, and how to configure IIS to host PHP.

- Over 5000 projects on CodePlex. Over 300 with MSFT engineers contributing (yes that can be more, and should be, and will be!)


There are plenty of other announcements that we aren’t ready to go public with yet.

The message is clear. We want our platform to be the best for you, regardless of what tools and frameworks you use to change the world. We are working hard to make this happen, and are actively embracing the open source world. It takes time to turn a battleship though, but I have met the people leading this charge, and I have faith they will do it. It will take more than just this small team. All of us need to work hard to understand the open source community, from their perspective, and learn how we can work together.

fallenrogue said...
8/24/2008 04:56:00 PM  

Why Thank you for answering the question for me, Brian. I never mind waiting a few weeks for a fully realized response! :)

One thought, I know you guys have probably thought of this and we may have talked about it before, but what about the notion of an award or public recognition for various OSS projects online? Kind of like the Apple Design awards (even though those are commercial and OSS) or the MVP program at MS but recognizing outstanding contribution to the community through software groups instead of individuals?

It's just a thought but seeing MS get behind OSS is one big piece; an even bigger piece is getting more developers interested in contributing to OSS in the first place.

Thanks again, you're the man. :)

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