What Software Will Microsoft Open-Source Next?
Industry watchers have speculated on these questions since Microsoft released its Windows Installer XML (WiX) and Windows template-library components under the CPL (Common Public License)a bona fide open-source licenseearlier this year.
Microsoft opted to release WiX and the template library via the OSDN (Open Source Development Network) SourceForge repository. And the company is gearing up to do the same again, it seems, possibly by the time the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo kicks off the first week of August, according to a published report.
Read a Microsoft Blog on why the company went with the CPL and SourceForge.
When asked whether Microsoft will release more of its technologies on SourceForge at the upcoming trade show, a Microsoft spokesman said the company had "nothing official to announce at this time." But he added the Redmond software maker is continuing to talk to OSDN.
A spokeswoman representing OSDN also declined to comment, but did not deny that Microsoft is talking with OSDN about making more of its technologies available under an open-source license on SourceForge.
So whats likely to be next? Neither Microsoft nor OSDN would name specific products. But in June, Microsoft officials stated publicly that Microsoft had more technologies ready to distribute under some kind of open-source licenseand not just development tools.
While no ones expecting Microsoft to make its Windows or Office crown jewels available via open source, industry observers said the company could opt to release pieces of its core products in this way.
The most likely candidates would be Microsoft technologies with "non-recoverable market share that are under great competitive pressure," said one developer who formerly worked at Microsoft, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Possible targets, according to the developer:
"At Microsoft, theres a total fixation on losing market share," the developer said. SourceSafe, Visual Studio and IIS are all in heated battles with their open-source competitors, he said. In the case of IIS, Microsoft already has fallen behind, in terms of market share, he pointed out.
Sources close to Microsoft noted there has been talk about open sourcing parts of IIS, as this "would make sense" for the company and help address the competitive threat posed by Apache.
Microsofts IIS was recently implicated in a widespread Internet browser attack that stole user passwords and financial data.
Other rumors circulated that Microsoft might opt to open-source the CLR (Common Language Runtime) component of the .Net Framework. Microsoft officials have not denied these rumors, but have that the company currently makes the CLR available via its own Shared Source licensing program.