Microsoft Invades Open-Source Show

A number of Microsoft officials will participate in this week's O'Reilly Open Source Convention, which is bringing together the leaders of more than nine open-source technologies.

As Microsoft Corp. continues to try and better gauge the attraction of open-source technologies to its customers and developers, a number of its officials will be attending this weeks OReilly Open Source Convention (Oscon) in Portland, Ore.

The convention brings together the leaders of more than nine open-source technologies, and sessions will cover everything from Apache, Java, MySQL and Perl to XML and products and services.

Keynote speakers include Mitch Kapor, the founder of the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF); Paul Buck, director of IBMs Eclipse Development; and Miguel de Icaza, the founder and leader of the GNOME Foundation.

Jason Matusow, manager of Microsofts Shared Source Initiative, told eWEEK on Monday that the Redmond, Wash., software companys specific goal at the conference is "participation."

"We have been at Oscon for the past two years participating on panels and providing technical sessions," he said.

"Ultimately, just like at LinuxWorld, many of the Oscon participants this year are also at times working on Microsoft technologies. So, there is something we can learn relative to whats happening in the open-source community in terms of what developers are interested in and developing and making sure we understand where those touch-points are where the technologies may either be in parallel or directly imposed in some places. We wanted to understand how those things work and what those touch-points are," he said.

Matusow will be taking part in a panel discussion at Oscon on the relationship between business and development models and how those two elements interact today. He will be specifically discussing Microsofts Shared Source perspective.

"The traditional commercial software vendors are all providing source code now in various ways, and there are essentially lessons learned from open source. At the same time, the traditional open-source companies are also learning lessons from the successful business models of commercial software vendors. Our shared-source program exists at the crossroad of these business and development models, and thats what Ill be looking at," he said.

Peter Drayton, a program manager in Microsofts Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) team, is also heading to the conference. Microsoft has offered a shared-source version of CLI, which is also known by the code name "Rotor."

CLI is a set of specs that describe the components at the heart of Microsofts .Net Framework. It encompasses an execution engine, the platform portability layer and the class libraries as well as compilers, various tests and utility programs.

Drayton is going to talk at Oscon about what Rotor is, why Microsoft did it and what people have been doing with it. While it is aimed at the academic and research sectors, "there is a fairly high overlap between people interested in research and people interested in open source," Drayton said.

"So, part of Rotors core audience has an intersection or overlap with the kind of people who attend Oscon. With Rotor we were really going after the people doing virtual machine and programming language research," he said.

Current projects using Rotor range from technology research to teaching people how to work on distributed systems, Drayton said.