Microsoft Contributing More to OSS

image I’m all excited – Microsoft has signed the Joomla! Contributor Agreement. You can read about that on the official Joomla! blog – Microsoft signs the Joomla! Contributor Agreement.

There’s a couple of fairly momentous things about that statement.

Obviously it means that Microsoft employees can contribute to Joomla!. That’s exciting all by itself as Joomla! is the second largest PHP application in the world. In fact, that’s already happened in conjunction with the signing as Ruslan Yakushev and Don Raman have already contributed code to add WinCache support to Joomla! Read all about the fantastic performance gains that you can get in Don’s post here – http://blogs.iis.net/donraman/archive/2010/03/05/performance-improvement-in-joomla-using-wincache-user-cache.aspx.

However, the thing that’s really exciting to me is that what it means is that the Microsoft legal department has signed off on writing GPL’d code under the right circumstances. That’s awesome! It’s a clear demonstration of how far Microsoft has come in it’s commitment to OSS projects. Now, I’ve got my own issues with the GPL as I think that it strips the consumer of all of their rights but that’s for a different discussion.

At this point we have a ton of great OSS work going on.

IronRuby is actually accepting contributions back.

Microsoft has contributed 20k lines of code to the Linux Kernel

There’s the CodePlex.com OSS project hosting.

In fact, there’s a list of over 400 projects that Microsoft is participating in actively at http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/directory.aspx.

And that list is not all inclusive as the SQL Server team has contributed code to a lot of different projects including PHPBB.

It’s a fun time to be working at Microsoft as we are in a transformational period finding the right balance between OSS and proprietary code, between selling stuff in boxes to finding interesting ways to monetize online beyond just ad sales and much more.