Microsoft Marches Out New Shared Source Project

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-11-02 Print this article Print

Business Portal Lite enables access to Microsoft's Solomon ERP system through Safari, Firefox, Mozilla and other non-Windows browsers.

NEWTON, Mass.—Microsoft Corp. announced a new shared source project on Wednesday that enables multiple browsers to be used as a thin-client interface connecting the Microsoft Business Solutions Portal server and the Solomon ERP system. Jason Matusow, director of Microsofts shared source program, announced at the Open Source Business Conference here the project, Business Portal Lite. The code comes from the Microsoft Business Solutions Solomon team, and the portal provides time, expense approval, alerts, and project profitability tracking and reviewing functionality. The advantage to using the Lite solution is that you can access the Microsoft Solomon back end through Safari, Firefox, Mozilla and other non-Windows browsers, said Matusow, who also wrote about the news on his blog. "This is compelling and of interest for those in this community and space, but not to the broad public," he said. "It also meets the goal of an interesting community project, and we are taking submissions back from the community."
The Solomon group has more than 600 certified partners servicing more than 15,000 customers, and this release enables the certified partner community to build a common set of technologies for servicing customers heterogeneous environments, he said.
The code is available under the Microsoft Permissive License, one of the three new template shared source licenses that will be used for all shared source projects going forward. Click here to read about Microsofts meeting with the Open Source Initiative to discuss the possibility of submitting its licenses for approval. In his keynote address titled "Share the Love," Matusow said the commercialization of open-source software is making that software less open: It brings with it a level of lock-down as the vendors move to differentiate themselves and add value. Linux and open source have brought product competition, which is healthy for the market, and open source does provide value and "companies like Microsoft had better wake up and take notice of this," he said. Shared source comprises more than 80 releases covering a number of projects and under a variety of licenses. There are now more than 600 non-Microsoft projects and more than 2 million developers around this, he said. "Open source is the same thing as proprietary code in that it belongs to the author, who can choose how to license it," Matusow said. Turning to the growth in the number of shared source licenses, Matusow talked about the fact that Microsoft has moved back to a template-type model and has decided to offer just three of these from the more than 10 shared source licenses that existed before. Source code licensing is complicated and code licensed under one type of reciprocal license is not compatible with any code licensed under another reciprocal license, he said. Open source, and software development in general, is about lots and lots of different communities and, while there are some at Microsoft, "we still have plenty to learn about in this space," Matusow concluded. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views 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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