Microsoft Friday said it was contributing $100,000 in sponsorship money to the Apache Software Foundation in what the software giant called an endorsement of "the Apache Way" and made its first code contribution to an Apache project.
Microsoft also said it was contributing a patch to ADOdb, a data access layer for PHP that is used by many applications. The code contribution to the PHP community was a first for Microsoft.
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In addition, the company moved 100 protocols from its Communications Protocol Program to its Open Specification Promise to ensure they could be used without the fear of patent infringement.
The nonprofit Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is a group of developers that create and develop open source projects, such as the Apache Web server and the Axis Web services framework.
Microsoft has supported ASF efforts in the past including Apache POI, Apache Axis2 and Jakarta.
"PHP is a popular language," said Sam Ramji, who runs the Open Source Software Lab for Microsoft and is its director of open source technology strategy. He said nearly 80 percent of PHP projects are developed on Windows but that 80 percent are deployed on Linux. "If we create great PHP support and we create excitement among PHP developers then there is opportunity for Windows Servers," Ramji said.
Microsoft supports PHP in its IIS Web server technology built into Windows Server.
Ramji had to guide changes in thinking within Microsoft to make the PHP code contribution - most notably working through licensing issues with the Free Software Foundation's LGPL - in order to contribute the patch.
"We are passionate about this and with great support from our legal team we found a way to do it," he said.
But he was quick to add that the move did not have any bearing on the long-term future of IIS as Microsoft's strategic Web server technology.
Ramji said the ADOdb patch enables support for SQL Server through a new "native driver for PHP" that was built by Microsoft's SQL Server team.
The company's $100,000 donation bought Microsoft an annual Platinum sponsorship of ASF. The only other Platinum sponsors are Google and Yahoo.
"The collection of sponsors that we have allow us to provide the supporting infrastructure to our community so they can focus on writing high quality code and make it available to everyone," said Jim Jagielski, chairman of the ASF.
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