Microsoft's open source glasnost

Microsoft funds CodePlex Foundation, echoes IBM's 2001 creation of Eclipse

Last week Microsoft announced its intent to fund a new open source foundation to the tune of $1 million. The goal of the foundation is to encourage participation in open source community projects.The CodePlex Foundation will be a not-for-profit extension of Microsoft's CodePlex web site and includes Microsoft directors, as well as outside directors Miguel de Icaza from Novell and an advisory board with Larry Augustin, Stephen Walli, and others.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Microsoft funds effort for open source dialogue | Stay up to speed with the open source community via InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]

Sam Ramji, currently Microsoft's director of platform strategy, will act as an interim president of the foundation for the first 100 days. Ramji has been a successful advocate for open source at Microsoft, and this news is a significant finale to his announced departure from Microsoft later this month. No doubt it took a lot of time, effort, and patience from Ramji and others at Microsoft to get this foundation established.

While the initial charter of the CodePlex Foundation is still somewhat vague, it has the potential to have a significant effect. IBM's Eclipse project started from modest roots but ultimately had a huge impact on open source tooling and is arguably one of the most successful open source foundations.

What do you think? Is there a need for a foundation that focuses on open source best practices? How should Microsoft's involvement be balanced with those of other organizations? Let's give Microsoft and the CodePlex Foundation the benefit of the doubt over the next few months to see what directions they take.

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