Feeds

Can Microsoft 'do' open source by 2015?

Consistency and commitment needed

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The recently appointed head of Microsoft's global Linux and open source team hopes the company will have a clear and comprehensible open source strategy by 2015.

Sam Ramji wants people to clearly understand what projects the company is contributing to, and what code Microsoft is making available - along with the terms - on a routine basis.

It seems Ramji is talking about people both inside and outside Microsoft knowing what’s going on.

"We don't have hard rules... right now, it's still careful judgment case by case. By 2015, I think it would be set up," he told Reg Dev, just before his promotion.

"It'll be understood, woven in to the fabric and in product-development cycles, so it's well understood: 'Here is the parts of our product that will be open source.”

Sam Ramji

Ramji: no hard rules

That would be a major improvement on today. To the outside observer, Microsoft is operating in its support of open source on a case-by-case basis. It sponsors a show here but not there - in March it sponsored the Open Source Business Conference, for example, but not EclipseCon.

It is working selectively with open source projects. At EclipseCon, Ramji announced Microsoft will offer the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit project "direct" support from its engineering teams and open source software lab. But it's not actually joining anything at Eclipse.

The company has taken to publishing huge tracts of technical information in an apparent rush of "openness". Six hundred thousand pages of documentation for its implementation of Extensible Application Markup Language were released this spring under its Open Specification Promise, and the company also released 30,000 pages on its Windows APIs and protocols.

The documentation, though, sits out there like a rights and royalties landmine waiting to go off. It is unclear what royalties accompany the documents. Developers we’ve spoken to - Zend Technologies’ co-founder and chief technology officer Andi Gutmans and MuleSource chief exec Dave Rosenberg to name two - are concerned that individuals might be forced into paying Microsoft for inadvertently using techniques that happen to be already “owned” by Microsoft and are listed in these documents.

Clearly, much refinement is needed here.

Will Microsoft release more code? Will it stop flirting with open source projects, and actually commit full-time? And what about the big two: open sourcing Windows and Office, and actually releasing its code under independent licensing rather than licenses devised by Microsoft?

Ramji said Microsoft is looking at whether the AJAX SDK and the sample kit should be opened. He's "not closing off" possibilities when it comes to Eclipse. And Microsoft is in "on-going dialog" with community members over making it easier to find the royalties in its documents.

These are hardly commitments of the solid or major variety.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.