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Microsoft Open Source Software Lab at EclipseCon 2008

521 At EclipseCon 2008, Sam Ramji of Microsoft Open Source Lab presented the Keynote on Day 2. Check out Port 25 for more about the Microsoft OSS Lab.

The slides showed Sam's title as "Director, Platform Technology Strategy"

I have to say that the Keynote was not very good. Of course, to be fair to Sam, he did not have a lot to work with. It's clear that Microsoft is not spending what they should spend on interacting with the Open Source community. Their budget is only $5M annually for his group (see below).

I liked Sam. He's gotta be frustrated at Microsoft. Again, to be fair, Sam has been at this for the last 3 years, so he has had adequate time to effect change. And, I think he has. But, still, my take away was that Microsoft is really only giving Open Source a passing glance. As we suspected. Now well confirmed.

Sam outlined some of the current projects and ways that Microsoft is interacting with the OSS community:

  • Linux hypervisor (Xen) interoperability with Microsoft hypervisor (HyperV)
  • WS-Management collaboration
  • Mozilla - Open Source Firefox plugin for Windows Media Player 11
  • Apache Software Foundation - Tuning apache on Windows Server
  • Helping CollabNET with Subversion on Windows.
  • Getting MySQL to run better on Windows Server
  • Getting PHP to run better on Windows Server
  • Samba - Providing support and license modifications to enable Samba development
  • Higgins & CardSpace work
  • SWT on Windows Presentation Framework (for native Windows Vista controls written in Java).

A couple of the Q&A Questions:

  • When will Microsoft become a member of the Eclipse Foundation? Response was, literally, a joke: "I thought we were doing that when we acquired you"? Ha. Ha. Ha. (Ugh). Nothing more added.
  • What other Eclipse projects look good? Response was perhaps something where Eclipse could author Silverlight apps. There are others, but not willing to discuss them with us.
  • Will Microsoft have Eclipse committers to do the SWT/WPF integration? Response is no. Microsoft would work with the committers and provide support and resources.
  • I asked a question about the Microsoft OSS Lab budget now, and how it will grow in the future (given that Microsoft revenue is currently $50B). Response was that the Lab alone has a budget of $5M, but they work across the company to assess the strategy and work with the OSS organizations. So, the Microsoft OSS Lab is a change agent. Sam followed up with a shameless plug. The Lab's resources will increase if we tell Microsoft that their work is valuable.
  • Why did Microsoft define new Open Source licenses instead of using current ones, like EPL? Response was that Microsoft is positive on Open Source. Made that clear with their Codeplex initiative (which nobody in the audience knew about). Microsoft wanted explicit treatment of how patents and intellectual property is handled.

There was very little "strategy" discussed in the keynote presentation. Lots of words, not much action. Nothing at all in the way of a Roadmap for the future. I think Sam missed an opportunity here.


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