Microsoft Extends Commitment to Open Source

Microsoft continues to express its commitment to open-source software, most recently at EclipseCon and the Open Source Business Conference.

Microsoft continues to express its commitment to open-source software, most recently at EclipseCon and the Open Source Business Conference.

At EclipseCon, held March 22 to 25, Microsoft joined Tasktop Technologies, which it described in an October announcement as "a leading Eclipse-based solution provider," to present the first results of their "joint project to enhance the overall developer experience of Eclipse on Windows 7," which the companies announced Oct. 28, 2009, at Eclipse Summit Europe in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The open-source project is "designed to foster interoperability and make Eclipse a first-class tool on the Microsoft platform," Microsoft said, and to "help developers using the Eclipse platform take advantage of the new features in Windows 7 and Window Server 2008 R2."

Moreover, Microsoft and Tasktop are sharing these results with the broader community by contributing updates to "the next release (3.6) of the Eclipse Integrated Development Tool (IDE)," Vijay Rajagopalan, a Microsoft principal architect, wrote in a blog post about Microsoft's participation at EclipseCon. Rajagopalan said of the effort:

""Microsoft is providing funding, technical & architectural assistance and Tasktop is implementing and contributing code. The goal is to improve Eclipse to take advantage of new features in Windows 7. This will empower Eclipse developers to be productive and have a compelling experience developing applications using Eclipse on Windows 7. For this first phase, we have been focusing on the user interface components to allow Eclipse developers to take advantage of the new user interface features offered by Windows 7, directly from the Eclipse IDE and from any desktop applications built on top of the Eclipse platform.""

Rajagopalan added:

""The collaboration between Microsoft, the Eclipse Foundation, and the Eclipse community may seem unusual for some people. But let's be pragmatic, our mutual customers, partners and developers want greater choice and opportunities. We do believe that improving interoperability between our technologies is actually helping all parties.""

In addition to the update on its work with Tasktop, Microsoft also announced updates to two technologies it has developed with Soyatec, a Paris-based IT solutions provider: an update to Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse, which includes "many bug fixes and compatibility with the latest Windows Azure SDK [software development kit] (Version 1.1)" and the news that the next release of Eclipse Tools for Silverlight (eclipse4SL) for Mac and Windows is planned for spring 2010, Rajagopalan said.

Meanwhile, at the OSBC show held March 17 to 18, Brian Goldfarb, Microsoft's director of product management for Developer Platforms, took part in a panel called, "The Web Is the Platform." Goldfarb followed that up with an interview on Microsoft's Port 25 blog for the open-source community at Microsoft.

On the issue of Microsoft's commitment to open source, Goldfarb said:

""Open Source is one of many business models that surround the creation of software. At Microsoft, while not always clear in the past, we are completely committed to open source as one way to address the needs of our customers, while advancing both the broader ecosystem of partners and developers and our business.""

Added Goldfarb to his tale of how commitment to open source has evolved at Microsoft:

""Microsoft's change in how it approaches open source began pretty significantly about seven years ago when I joined the company. One of my primary focuses was on helping bring a strong shift in the way Microsoft thinks about, participates in, and works with open source communities.Today, this takes the shape of open source projects, code contributions, financial contributions, and other ways with a strong focus on being compatible with existing open source communities. From my team alone, we've made a number of investments in open source in the last year: These include contributions to the jQuery JavaScript Library, the Silverlight Media Framework (SMF), the Silverlight Analytics Framework (SAF), the Silverlight Control Toolkit, the AJAX Control Toolkit, and Project Orchard.In addition to projects and code, we also worked closely with open source application communities like DotNetNuke, Drupal, WordPress and others via our work on the Windows Web App Gallery. Microsoft is delivering advertising to help increase the size of the ecosystem for these applications on Windows Server and IIS. This is great because it drives more opportunities for the ecosystems around these applications to service customers and monetize and it helps drive increased use of Windows-this effort has driven over 1.5-million application installations!""