The Codeplex Foundation has appointed a technical director -- one whose name should be familiar to many of those at Microsoft and in the open-source community.
Stephen Walli is the "new guy" with the Microsoft-funded open-source foundation. Walli most recently was Vice President of open-source development strategy for Optaros. He also was co-founder of Softway Systems (the company that did the Interix Unix/Linux hosting environment for Windows). Microsoft bought Softway back in 1999. Walli also served as a Microsoft Business Development Manager for the Platforms team, where he helped formulate the Redmondians' open-source engagement strategy.
"I don't consider that I've gone back to work with Microsoft" with this new job, Walli said. "The CodePlex Foundation is its own entity, even though Microsoft was a founding sponsor."
Walli said his first order of business with the Foundation will be to make sure the organization has its IT management and process management policies in place for the existing projects which the group already has accepted. He also will be working with Executive Director Paula Hunter to seek additional sponsors for the Foundation besides Microsoft, he said.
"Some foundations, historically, are very project-centric," Walli said, citing the Apache Foundation as an example. "Others are more business-centric, like the Linux Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation." But the CodePlex Foundation is designed to be technology- and licensing-agnostic, Walli said.
Microsoft announced the creation of the CodePlex Foundation last September, with a mission of increasing the participation of commercial-source vendors in the open-source world. In a recent interview with TechFlash, Hunter noted that one of the primary reasons Microsoft decided to create and fund the CodePlex Foundation was "to reduce the barriers to their employees in being able to participate in open-source projects."
The Foundation is administering a handful of projects already, including the CoApp open-source package-management system and the Orchard content management system, both developed by Microsoft employees.