Microsoft founds, funds a new open-source foundation

Summary:A new, non-profit open-source foundation -- one dedicated to increasing the participation of commercial-source vendors in the open-source world -- is being unveiled on September 10. Microsoft is providing the initial funding and is a founding member of the new group, known as the CodePlex Foundation.

A new, non-profit open-source foundation -- one dedicated to increasing the participation of commercial-source vendors in the open-source world -- is being unveiled on September 10. Microsoft is providing the initial funding and is a founding member of the new group, known as the CodePlex Foundation.

Sam Ramji [below]-- Microsoft's Senior Director of Platform Strategy and the company's main point man on open-source issues -- will be the interim president of the Foundation, according to a press advisory sent to members of the media today. I'd assume this would mean Ramji is leaving Microsoft, but when I asked Microsoft whether this was the case, company officials declined to comment.

Sam Ramji (Photograph copyright James Duncan Davidson)

Update: Ramji is, indeed, leaving Microsoft, as of September 25. Ramji is moving back to California for personal reasons and taking a job with an unnamed cloud-infrastructure startup, he said during a conference call today. He will serve as the interim board president of the CodePlex Foundation until a full-time replacement is found.  Meanwhile, Microsoft is "actively recruiting" someone to take his post at the company, Ramji said.

Other interim board members of the new foundation are primarily from Microsoft, at this point. They include Bill Staples, General Manager of the Web Platform and Tools Engineering teams ; Stephanie Boesch, a Microsoft Program Manager for the .Net Framework; Miguel de Icaza, Vice President of Developer Platform at Novell ; Britt Johnston, a Microsoft Product Unit Manager for Data and Modeling; and Shaun Walker, Co-founder and Chief Architect of DotNetNuke.

According to a press release, the CodePlex Foundation will be license- and project-agnostic. The group is pitching itself being complementary to other open-source foundations, rather than a rival to them.

While the CodePlex Foundation shares a similar name with Microsoft's source-code repository-hosting site, CodePlex.org, the two are not merging. According to a FAQ on the Foundation's site:

Microsoft's "CodePlex.com launched in June of 2006 out of a need for a project hosting site that operated in a way that other forges didn't – with features and structures that appealed to commercial software developers. The next chapter in solving for this challenge is the CodePlex Foundation (Codeplex.org). The Foundation is solving similar challenges; ultimately aiming to bring open source and commercial software developers together in a place where they can collaborate. This is absolutely independent from the project hosting site, but it is essentially trying to support the same mission."

The new foundation is planning to share more details about its charter, structure and other matters later this afternoon.

What more do you want to know about this new group?

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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