Co-founder and current board chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, Jam Jagielski, has been appointed to the permanent board of the Microsoft-sponsored CodePlex Foundation.
Joining Jagielski on the permanent board will be interim board president and ex-Microsoft employee Sam Ramji as well as Microsoft employees Tony Hey and Stephanie Davies Boesch. The fifth board seat will remain open while the foundation tries to find a non-Microsoft corporate sponsor.
"CodePlex has a unique opportunity to further increase the importance and acceptance of open source, especially within environments which have, up to now, been resistant to it," Jagielski said in a statement on CodePlex's website.
Upon its creation by Microsoft last year, CodePlex was given the task to increase communication between open-source and commercial companies under an interim board consisting of Ramji; Boesch; Microsoft employees Bill Staples and D. Britton Johnston; Miguel de Icaza, founder of GNOME and Mono projects and Novell vice president; and Shaun Walker, co-founder of DotNetNuke.
The composition of the interim board drew criticism from the open source and free software communities, and I cannot see this new permanent board changing much of that criticism. As good an appointment as Jagielski is, the fact remains that there still exists a majority of current and ex-Microsoft employees on the board.
Despite Ramji no longer being with the Redmond giant, he was a senior director of platform strategy and highly involved with its forays into the open source community — it's unlikely that Ramji's and Redmond's views on CodePlex and open source differ by any great degree.
A couple more people with the qualifications and independence of Jagielski need to be added to the CodePlex board to deflect the criticism aimed at it. It's not hard to imagine a situation where Jagielski is railroaded by the Ramji/Microsoft majority — keeping de Icaza and Walker on the board would help alleviate this impression.
It will be interesting to see where the foundation goes from here in filling the vacant sponsor seat and expanding the currently quite paltry collection of projects under its umbrella.