In a blog post April 28, Josh Holmes, a user experience architect evangelist at Microsoft, said Microsoft has signed a contributor agreement to work with the Joomla PHP-based open-source CMS. And one of the big takeaways from the agreement is that it further establishes Microsoft's willingness to put support behind efforts governed by the GNU GPL (General Public License).
""However, the thing that's really exciting to me is that what it means is that the Microsoft legal department has signed off on writing GPL'd code under the right circumstances. That's awesome! It's a clear demonstration of how far Microsoft has come in its commitment to OSS projects. Now, I've got my own issues with the GPL as I think that it strips the consumer of all of their rights but that's for a different discussion.""
This is not the first time Microsoft has thrown its weight behind GPL-backed code. In July 2009, the company announced that it had "released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree."
In an interview on the Microsoft PressPass site, Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center, said:
""Today we're releasing Linux device driver code to the Linux kernel community. This is a significant milestone because it's the first time we've released code directly to the Linux community. Additionally significant is that we are releasing the code under the GPLv2 license, which is the Linux community's preferred license.""
And a year prior to that, in July 2008, Microsoft announced that for the first time the company would be submitting a patch to a GPL2-based project, ADOdb. ADOdb is a PHP project that is a data access layer that many PHP applications use.
Of Microsoft's Joomla news, Holmes said, "Obviously it means that Microsoft employees can contribute to Joomla. That's exciting all by itself as Joomla is the second-largest PHP application in the world. In fact, that's already happened in conjunction with the signing, as Ruslan Yakushev and Don Raman have already contributed code to add WinCache support to Joomla."
On the Joomla Community Portal site, Sam Moffatt noted that Microsoft code is in the Joomla 1.6 trunk, adding:
""It has taken me a while to write this post, as I'm not even sure what I want to put in-beyond my profound excitement. Yes, it's a big deal to have a major company contributing to the code base. And yes, the fact that it's Microsoft contributing to a GPL project is big news. But, in a lot of ways this is just part of a natural progression related to a lot of work that has been going on for a long time with Joomla!. More important, really, is what this means for how people can use Joomla!.""
Microsoft has its own open-source CMS project under development, the Orchard project. Indeed, Microsoft has several hundred open-source and community source projects hosted on its CodePlex site. Holmes said there are more than 400 open-source projects that Microsoft is participating in.