Microsoft Port 25 Site Gives View into Open-Source Lab

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-04-06 Print this article Print

The new Web site, announced at LinuxWorld, holds blogs from Microsoft staffers and provides a place for the open-source community to submit project suggestions.

BOSTON—Microsoft has launched a new Web site called Port 25 that is designed to give a birds-eye view of its internal open-source software laboratory and elicit feedback and ideas about how it can work better with the open-source community. Bill Hilf, Microsofts director for platform technology strategy, used his keynote address, titled "Interoperability: Dealing with the Diversity and Heterogeneity of Todays IT Marketplace," at the LinuxWorld Boston conference here on April 6, to announce Port 25, which is named for the router port number that corporations use for Internet e-mail. "While this is essentially the Web site for Microsofts Open Source Software Lab and will contain blogs from me and other staffers, it is also a site where people can submit suggestions for projects they would like to see us engage with the open-source community around," Hilf said.
Click here to read more about what else Microsofts Hilf covered in his LinuxWorld keynote address.
The site, which went live April 6, includes articles like "A Look Inside Microsofts Open Source Software Lab" and "Managing the Lab: SMS and our mixed environment." Some of the labs work has been fairly controversial, such as its challenge to Linuxs legacy claims; its view that the complexity of the patching and updating experience is affected more by the number of patches than by the vendor; and its commitment to integration work with the open-source community. Hilfs responsibilities at Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., have increased significantly from the time when he was brought in to set up and run the Linux Lab. In December 2005 he took over responsibility for the Shared Source program from Jason Matusow, who became director of Corporate Standards Affairs for the software giant. Hilf has also assumed many of the responsibilities held by his former boss, Martin Taylor, who was recently appointed one of Microsofts corporate vice presidents when the software giant restructured its Windows division. (Taylor was also responsible for leading Microsofts controversial "Get the Facts" anti-Linux research campaign.) Asked by eWEEK how he was able to manage all of this additional responsibility while still concentrating on the technical work of the Linux Lab, Hilf said he had delegated the Linux Lab role to Sam Ramji, who previously spent time at BEA Systems and as director of engineering for Ofoto, and has been appointed director of the Open Source Software Lab. But the Lab has also lost some key people. This February, Daniel Robbins, the founder of Gentoo Linux and its former chief architect, left his position at the Lab because he wanted to be more involved in product development. 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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