FlexWiki: Microsofts Third Open Software Project
Late Monday evening, SourceForge posted information on Microsofts FlexWiki code to its software repository.
FlexWiki is an experimental collaboration tool based on WikiWiki, which is a tool for collaborating on common Web pages.
The Redmond, Wash., software vendor
According to the FlexWiki Web site, FlexWiki was originally named SharpWiki, and was created by David Ornstein. Ornstein is currently a lead program manager with Microsofts digital documents group, which is part of the Windows team.
Microsoft also hired at the end of 2003 the inventor of the Wiki concept, Ward Cunningham. Cunningham is an architect in Microsofts Prescriptive Architecture Guidance group.
According to the FlexWiki site, Microsoft has been working to transition the FlexWiki code from its own alternative to SourceForge, known as GotDotNet Workspaces, to SourceForge for the past few months.
Contributors to Microsofts source-code repository for all projectsnot just FlexWikihave logged numerous and repeated complaints about GotDotNet Workspaces performance and its versioning-control mechanism.
Microsoft has been working to release an overhauled version of the Workspaces site. On Aug. 23, Microsoft officials posted to the site a notice that the company had resolved a number of these performance and control issues.
Neither Microsoft nor SourceForge officials were willing to comment on this story by press time.
But on Tuesday morning, Jason Matusow, director of Microsofts shared-source program, was willing to share some information on Microsofts latest shared-source play.
Unlike its previous two open-source contributions (Windows Installer XML and Windows Template Library), FlexWiki is an appliction, not a development tool, Matusow pointed out. As a result, Microsoft is anticipating "learning about collaborative development at a truly different level," as a result of its FlexWiki submission, he said.
At the same time, "there are many groups inside Microsoft using FlexWiki, as its a good tool for sharing information," Matusow said.
Matusow also offered a different take on why Microsoft opted to move FlexWiki from GotDotNet Workspaces to SourceForge. "We just wanted it (FlexWiki) to be higher profile," Matusow said.
Since the start of 2004, Microsoft has released two projects into open source under the Common Public License, and has chosen SourceForge as the vehicle for making the code available.
The first two projects were Windows Installer XML and Windows Template Library. Microsoft and SourceForge reported this summer that the two Microsoft projects were among the top percentage of SourceForge downloads for 2004.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include Microsofts comments.
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