Microsoft Port 25 Site Gives View into Open-Source Lab

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.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick 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.

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