Today Microsoft launched its new open source web site. Starting in 2001, we began thinking long and hard about open source from the perspective of it as a dev model, a business model, a licensing model, and a philosophical approach to software. Like anything - you look at it through your own perspective and we realized that there were things we agreed with and others that we did not.
Working with developer communities was something that we had done for a long time, and fairly well. But there was clearly so much more to learn and opportunities for us to experiment with different approaches. Looking back on it, it seems a bit odd that we chose to tackle the hardest problem first - Windows source code - rather than the edge cases with tools and resources. But, that is the benefit of hindsight talking. For 6 years we have been sharing source code, kicking off projects, experimenting with licensing models, funding projects, contributing to projects, taking contributions from others, launching tools (GDN Workspaces -painful- and then Codeplex), and establishing collaboration relationships with OSS companies. In that time, we also formed an OSS lab at Microsoft that has done some great work and continues to build bridges between OSS projects and MS dev teams.
Now, they have launched www.microsoft.com/opensource. This will be the place where information about the various activities is aggregated. Other resources that have been spun-up over the years still exist:
· Port 25 – Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft
· Codeplex – Microsoft’s open source project hosting site
· Shared Source – Microsoft’s set of programs for sharing source code with customers, partners, governments, researchers, etc.
· Microsoft Open Source ISV Forum – offer for OSS ISVs through Microsoft Partner Program
I am sure the launch of this site will kick-off a whole new round of discussion about MS and open source - but that is exactly what it is supposed to be about. The conversation continues.