There’s been a lot written about whether or not Microsoft is doing enough to support Open Source Projects on its platform. In the past, Microsoft’s report card in this area was not one to take home to mom.
Lately though, there’s been a lot of improvement, with initiatives like CodePlex as well as the many projects that Microsoft has opened up and moved over there. Many have expressed that there’s more that Microsoft can do and I for one believe that Microsoft is starting to listen.
If not Microsoft, at least Sam Ramji of Port 25 is. He’s effectively the Director of Open Source at Microsoft, though his official title is Director of Platform Technology Strategy.
Several members of the .NET open source community have been bouncing ideas around with Sam looking for ways for Microsoft to support these communities. I think we’ll see some big things come out of that, but it won’t happen overnight.
Meanwhile, as we wait for Microsoft to hammer out the details for potentially larger initiatives (with the help of the community), how can we as a community start supporting open source projects ourselves? How about an Open Source Incubator?
Like a good agile developer, the first iteration of the idea will start very small as a means to test the waters. Will developers participate? Will companies support this? Who knows? Let’s find out!
What’s In It For Me?
So far, Microsoft, via Sam, has agreed to support this effort (so far) with some MSDN licenses and MaximumASP has agreed to offer hosting (details being hashed out as we speak).
At the moment, this is a relatively informal idea, but if it catches on, we hope that more companies will want to support it (cheap publicity!) and we’ll have a successful model of not only how Microsoft can support the community, but how the community can support itself.
What about existing Open Source projects in need of licenses?
Good question! At the moment, this is a relatively informal experiment. If it works out, we’ll probably want to support both existing and new projects. An incubator doesn’t have to be just for new projects, does it?
If that answer doesn’t work for you, try reading the comments of Rob’s post. Maybe you can smooth talk Sam into giving your worthy project a license.