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.)