Like Dana, I was surprised to hear of Microsoft's decision to become a platinum sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation, announced at OSCON late last week.
It wasn't the only announcement. The Redmond, Wash based Windows giant also shared that it would make a contribution to the PHP community's ADOdb project -- which will expand support for Microsoft SQL Server. This will enable customers to deploy more PHP applications on Microsoft's database. What else? Microsoft pledged to extend its Open Specification promise to open up more than 150 additional protocols in Windows Server, the .NET framework and other products.
Microsoft also announced a series of IronRuby updates. These include plans to ship the Ruby libraries implemented in the Ruby programming language with the IronRuby distribution and participate in the RubySpec project.
It's not clear if Microsoft would have taken these steps if chairman and co-founder Bill Gates was still around. Nevertheless, there's no doubt that Microsoft's increasing participation in such projects is a big win for the open source community and for its customers.