Advocates Welcome Microsoft Overtures
Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer of Iona Technologies, based in Waltham, Mass., said, "its a good sign that Microsoft is trying to reach out to the open-source community and start to take more of an active role. Microsoft is obviously concerned with the impact of open source on its operating system and office businesses, and has taken a number of steps in the past to engage with open-source communities." However, "Id say a lot of suspicion remains in the open-source community about Microsofts motives, and anti-Microsoft sentiments are a frequent source of motivation for open-source folks," Newcomer said."However, Microsoft is above all a practical and market-driven company that obviously recognizes it needs to do more to provide the kinds of benefits their customers see in open source, and an OSI-approved license would seem like a very positive step for themassuming they can get it, of course," Newcomer said. Microsofts move "is a welcome step," said Simon Phipps, chief open-source officer at Sun Microsystems, headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. "I hope they engage with the community to correct defects in their license if and when they are identified on the mailing list, like all other companies submitting licenses," Phipps said. Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of products at open source database giant MySQL, headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, said, "Its great that Microsoft is working closely with the OSI to support unfettered access to source code with an OSI-compliant open-source license. Microsoft has made many good contributions to open source and this should pave the way for even more. Its good to see Microsoft working with such open-source products, including PHP, MySQL, SugarCRM, JBoss and others." Moreover, Urlocker said, "Its clear that there are many Windows users who are operating in a mixed-environment in which open source is part of their overall IT strategy." Hilf said his team is working to deliver the architecture of participation. "Were creating the DNA inside Microsoft to interact with open source," he said. Hilf gave a brief history of Microsofts experience with open source, including the release of the Shared Source CLR (Common Language Runtime) code-named Rotor, and the opening of the open-source software labs. To read about Microsofts patent agreement with Linspire, click here. "Back in those days, when we were talking about open source, people were terrified," Hilf said. "One guy asked me if it was OK to look at a Linux Web site." Then Microsoft created its CodePlex community site, began a collaboration with JBoss and more recently delivered IronPython, IronRuby and the Dynamic Language Runtime, "all under very liberal licenses." Moreover, Hilf said there are more than 1,800 CodePlex projects, more than 77,000 Microsoft-related SourceForge projects, 1 million lines of open-source-related code on the Microsoft Developer Network and 558 Shared Source Licenses, as well as open-source efforts in Microsoft Research. Microsoft has a strategy of "Community, Collaboration and Code" when it comes to interacting with open source, Hilf said. "Code is the most important element." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Click here to read about Microsofts delivery of the first source code for IronRuby, its implementation of the Ruby development language.