Open Source from Microsoft

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-06-02 Print this article Print

?"> Microsoft officials themselves also have been dropping hints about doing more open-source projects. In fact, Jason Matusow, the director of Microsofts Shared Source program, has been using his Weblog recently to start trying to catalog the myriad Microsoft shared- and open-sourced projects that are below the radar. Hundreds of such Microsoft projects could be scattered across the Web, by company officials estimates. Some live on GotDotNet Workspaces, Microsofts alternative to the SourceForge code repository. Others are private projects developed by Microsoft employees in their off hours. And still others are projects that Microsoft acquired when hiring new employees—such as IronPython, a .Net implementation of the Python language developed by Jim Hugunin, who is now a Microsoft employee.
Matusow recently said to expect to see Microsoft highlight more of these hidden shared- and open-source projects. At the same time, there could be a flood of additional, new Microsoft shared-source and open-source projects, Matusow said, if Microsoft is successful in its quest to create simplified licenses.
He said such licenses would enable employees to more quickly and easily seek and obtain shared- and/or open-source software licenses for new projects. Microsoft would like to make these available as templates, Matusow said. While Matusow wouldnt specify a timetable for release of these kinds of templates, but he said to expect this space to get very interesting in "the coming ten months." In Microsoft parlance, "shared source" covers a lot of ground—17 different code-sharing programs, to be exact. Microsofts shared-source umbrella covers everything from the source code for three products (WiX, FlexWiki and Active Template Library) that it offers under bona fide open-source licenses to the companys Government Source Licensing Program. This past spring, Microsoft broadened its shared-source initiative to include seven more Central and Eastern European countries. In reality, additional Microsoft shared-source projects exist beyond those highlighted on the companys shared-source page. Josh Ledgard, a program manager on Microsofts Visual Studio community team, blogged earlier this year about a few of the less-celebrated Microsoft source-sharing projects. Among the under-the-radar shared- or open-source projects that Ledgard highlighted are:
  • The VBCommenter PowerToy;
  • Visual Studio.Net Academic Tools (including Assignment Manager Server, Assignment Manager Faculty Client and Assignment Manager Student Client); and
  • Various Windows forms controls (such as ColorPicker.NET) Ledgard said he thinks "there are a TON more projects scattered across the Internet beyond samples that Microsoft employees have made available, but its difficult to find them." He called for his compatriots to make their shared- and open-source projects more easily discoverable, as Microsoft archrival Google did earlier this year by consolidating its projects in a single repository of open-source developer tools. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

    Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

    He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

    He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

    He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

    He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

    He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

    His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

    For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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