.NET Foundation Names New Executive Director

The .NET Foundation, which is tasked with overseeing the open-sourcing of .NET, has named a new executive director.

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The .NET Foundation has named Martin Woodward executive director of the organization overseeing the open-sourcing of the .NET Framework.

Woodward, currently principal program manager for Open Source, Cross-Platform Development and Git at Microsoft, will remain an employee of at the company, where he has been involved in the open-source world for some time.

Woodward came from the Microsoft MVP community, where he worked on Eclipse, Java, Unix and Mac tooling for Team Foundation Server, bringing this functionality to Microsoft's Developer Division, said Jay Schmelzer in a blog post. Schmelzer is president of the .NET Foundation and also a director of program management at Microsoft.

Woodward helped drive the introduction of Git to Microsoft and ensured it was done in collaboration with the open-source community, Schmelzer said.

"Behind the scenes, Martin lent his expertise to several Microsoft open-source initiatives that you're familiar with, including some of the projects brought into the .NET Foundation," he said. "Additionally, he has been part of a cross-company effort to improve the internal processes and tooling at Microsoft, enabling the company to do more in the open-source space."

Microsoft said collaboration with the open-source community on the .NET effort has been very positive. "While Microsoft has used its full engineering teams, including the Core CLR, Core Framework, ASP.NET, F# and Roslyn Compiler teams, working in the open on GitHub, more than 60 percent of pull requests approved for those repositories are coming from outside of Microsoft," Schmelzer said.

The scale of activity the foundation has been facing got to be too much for the "team effort" approach the foundation's board had been taking, he said. Thus the board brought in Woodward to oversee the organization and foster continued innovation of the .NET open-source ecosystem.

Microsoft announced the launch of the .NET Foundation around this time last year at its Build 2014 conference. The motive was to create an independent .NET Foundation to foster open development and collaboration around the Microsoft .NET development framework. Then, at the end of February, the foundation announced its Advisory Council, a group of nine leaders to help steward the future of .NET as an open-source community.

The advisory council members are as follows:

  • Shaun Walker, software architect. He is an ex-project leader for DotNetNuke open-source product and ecosystem.
  • Immo Landwerth, senior engineer from the Microsoft .NET Framework team helping to lead open-source initiatives.
  • JB Evain, founder and project leader at SyntaxTree open-source projects. Senior software engineer at Microsoft.
  • Daniel Roth, senior engineer from the Microsoft ASP.NET Framework team helping lead open-source initiatives.
  • Bill Wagner, Humanitarian Toolbox contributor, author and speaker for .NET technologies. C# MVP and regional director for the .NET Framework.
  • Phil Haack, engineering manager at GitHub with significant open-source contributions and experience.
  • Mirco (meebey) Bauer, co-founder of Debian Mono Group, GNOME foundation member. CTO at GSD Software Design GmbH.
  • Marcus Wendt, project leader on Composite C1 OSS project and active speaker on .NET technologies.
  • Dominick Baier, project leader on ThinkTecture projects in .NET Foundation.

Meanwhile, in a separate blog post about why Microsoft runs an open-source program, Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of Open-Source Communities at Microsoft Open Technologies, said that over the last five years, he has worked to scale Microsoft's open-source strategy slowly.

"We decided to eat the whale one bite at a time and focus on the one thing that matters in open source: participate and let code do the talking," Rabellino said. "Start with creating, document and systematize later: data first, structure next."

Rabellino added that Microsoft is focusing on scaling its open-source strategy in three key areas: informing, connecting with, and supporting its developer ranks about open-source technologies, tools, practices and more.

"The key in changing Microsoft as a company has been finding the right mix of bottom-up engineering and top-down executive support, focusing relentlessly on well-known open-source best practices: code talks, release early and often, iterate on feedback," Rabellino said. "With that in mind, we are continuously evolving an open-source program that will help Microsoft to go beyond learning bare mechanics to fully internalize the spirit of open source."