Links: 2004-08-30

Microsoft Engagement with Open Source Projects

Josh Ledgard Program Manager working with the Visual Studio – Community Team at MSFT has a great post regarding the broader collaboration between Microsoft and the vast open source community (via /.).

“It should be easy for teams here at Microsoft to develop extensions to their platforms and potentially pieces of the platforms with customers in an open/transparent fashion. What better way (especially for teams that make tools for developers) to form real connections with developers than working with them collaboratively on real technical challenges?”

“Working with customers on actual source code forms a stronger connection than simply answering their questions in the newsgroups. You get to see, in a more real way, how customers work with code and where holes in your platform exist since you are effectively dogfooding.”

“Engaging the “open source crowd” is something that we have historically neglected.”

Josh is looking for suggestions and as Anil points out, the Slashdotters’ comments are surprisingly constructive.

For example…

Jonathan Wilson writes: “In terms of what I would like to see Open, one big thing would be the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library and associated components.”

sandman writes: “Build tools, in general will probably get a good reaction to being opened source. Also the user communtity for those tools is the communitity which can do the most with them.”

Plus, many comments regarding the open sourcing of IE.

Personally, I’d like to see InfoPath as an OSS project or at least open the file format and allow the client to be freely downloaded or packaged with Windows like IE is today. (e.g. HTML is the open file format for IE and the client is a free download.)

FeedBurner and Me

I decided to consolidate many of my XML feeds using the excellent FeedBurner service. The process was very simple using Matt’s straight forward tips on redirecting existing feeds to FeedBurner.

In addition, I opted to use FeedBurner’s Link Splicer to include daily dumps of my bookmarks into my main feed. So if you’re reading this via a news aggregator you’ll notice the post flow increase.

Over the past six or so months, I’ve found it to be faster to post quick annotations using my right-click context menu hack (shameless plug). So much of what I formally posted in my main blog now gets tagged and shared with This is especially useful when I’m short on time.

Let me know if you’d rather have a separate blog-only feed option.

BTW, Due to DoS attacks I had to disable commenting and trackbacks on this site (again). So, send comments via email.

Photo Collection Manager with Content-Based Search

Sometimes I like to quickly troll the raw link feed from because you never know what gems you might find.

For instance, I caught a link to imgSeek, which is a photo collection manager with content-based search. Basically this means queries can be express as a rough sketch or you can start with a single image and find similar images in your collection. For example, select a sunset as your starting image and imgSeek will find images with alike characteristics. Very cool!

Best of all… imgSeek is Open Source Software written in Python.

Binaries are available for Linux and OS X. imgSeek will run under Windows, but there’s a licensing issue with one of imgSeek’s libraries (QT 3.x), which prevents the author from distributing a Windows native binary for the time being. I’m sure that’ll be worked out soon, but in the meantime I’ll be checking it out under Debian.