Microsoft founds, funds a new open-source foundation

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,, the two are not merging. According to a FAQ on the Foundation's site:

Microsoft's " 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 ( 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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Thank You M.J.

    I just read this with extreme interest. Thank you for the post and sharing this information.

    "My first thought..If you cannot beat them, join them"
    • But... Folks will avoid this until MSFT stops their patent FUD Campaign...

      To CC: They're not trying to "join them".

      To MSFT: If ya got the patents, show them in specificity. That is ... "put up or shut up".

      Till then, don't try to "join" ("befriend") the community. No one will trust ya.

      Basic Logic
  • Open MS Office

    Let me know when they put the source for Excel up there...
    • RE: Microsoft founds, funds a new open-source foundation


      You can see accordingly a lot of motives for <a href="">xanax online</a> in the direction of not approve and you.
  • The power of Open Source

    Years ago Bill Gates himself criticized Open Source and the GPL (Gnu Public License). Yet, Microsoft has finally realized the importance and power of open source software model. However, I wouldn't hold my breath. Microsoft has released source code in the past, and there were restrictions. Microsoft likes to do things its own way rather than adhering to standards that already exist. The GPL has been around since the 1980s. It would be beneficial for them to license source under the GPL, which I'm sure they will never do.
    • GPL has a very narrow definition of "freedom"

      Microsofts own MS-PL (Microsoft permissive license) is also an OSI approved open source license. Along with license types such as MIT, Apache and Mozilla it is a lot more "free" than GPL. Free as most of us would understand the term.

      GPL is an ideological project. "Free" in GPL sense is "set all software free". Hence, GPL includes the "viral" element which is *not* the most of the other license types.

      You can use MS-PL (or MIT or Apache) for virtually *any* purpose, change it and redistribute and - yes - even *sell* it.

      The difference is that GPL requires you to give back the changes you make if you choose to redistribute in whole or as part of your product.

      The other licenses are more permissive (and hence more "free"). GPL is more restrictive because it has an ideological goal of forcing *all* software to be "set free".
      • You can sell GPL software too. Don't be silly.

        [i]The other licenses are more permissive (and hence more "free").[/i]

        And yet a lot of people have [b]freely[/b] chosen to release their software under the GPL instead. Funny, that...

        If you don't like the GPL then don't use it for your software.
  • We should all shun this 'foundation'

    M$ dirty tricks won't work this time.
    The only real software foundation is FSF, and people know it!
    Linux Geek
    • Free us from ideologically infested viral licenses

      GPL is too radical and ideologically infested.

      There are many alternatives which do not come
      with the restrictions that GPL does.

      GPL is totalitarian the way communism was.
      "There can be only one system, nobody can own
      anything". It is doomed to failure. Pragmatism
      will prevail.

      Some products will *not* be made in a GPL-only
      world. Just like the command economy of the
      former Soviet failed, a GPL ecosystem will
      • Enough already with the "Communism" rubbish

        The GPL prevents other people from stealing your hard work and making it proprietary. If you don't like the license then you are free not to use the code.

        The GPL also means that you don't end up as free labor for proprietary companies, because the proprietary companies must "pay you" by sharing with you the software changes that they make.

        Simple, really. And as for your "GPL will fail" nonsense, I would say that GPL software is currently doing very well indeed, thank you.
        • re:Enough already with the "Communism" rubbish

          Why don't you something usefull for a change. Get some data and find out how many programmers will be employed ( you know, making money, putting food on the table, stock sharing, etc.) in a GPL world versus a proprietary one?

          I am telling you to do it since you seem to believe that working and getting paid is bad.

          The only free labor, as you mentioned, are those people working on free projects that stay up all night long coding and going to work 8 hours the next day to make ends meet.

          Like the person before said, Communism did not work, and expecting all your software for free will not work either. You people are so cheap!
          • The GPL is not "communism"

            If someone told you that it was then that person [i][b]lied[/b][/i] to you.

            [i]I am telling you to do it since you seem to believe that working and getting paid is bad.[/i]

            [b]Rubbish.[/b] You seem to be laboring under the delusion that everything must someday be GPL, which is [u]utterly ridiculous[/u] because people must [i]choose[/i] to release their code under the GPL. And if you don't want to write GPL code then you don't. But if you do want to then you can.

            What [i]on Earth[/i] is your problem with that?
    • Your right, nothing like the freedom of one choice!

      Perhaps your afraid of the alternative innovations this group will come up with. Yay to Microsoft for seeding this group and finally seeing that technology has become a combine of for-profit business products and creative individual collaborators sharing their code across the world.
    • Wouldn't touch anything tainted with "Microsoft"

      with a barge pole..........
      Ole Man
  • RE: Microsoft founds, funds a new open-source foundation

    This is a scam. The purpose is for MS to obtain new programming techniques and new product ideas. MS has seldom developed new concepts in computing, but it has done a very good job of implementing new ideas that other folks have created. MS management realizes that is is ossified and is looking to break out of its hide-bound structure with new ideas. Its just trying to do so clandestinely. The foundation's purpose is to suck in developers cheaply. MS will thentry to steal the creative ideas before they become open-source licensed. If they can't, they will just tie the little guys up in lawsuits until they are bankrupt. Meanwhile MS will use the money they make from the purloined ideas to more aggressively pursue lawsuits.
    • RE: Microsoft founds, funds a new open-source foundation

      In what world do you live in? Tell me a new innovation that has come out, not out open source, but out of the free software movement.

      I left open source out because open source projects, many times, are collaboration of open source and proprietary companies. Look at how Open Office got started. Sun developed it, open sourced it, and still pays for 99.9 of all the programmers.
      And yes, Open Office is not innovation, is a copy of MS Office.
      • Well, there's...

        Apache, Perl, Python, TCP/IP (and the other protocols), HTML, IRC, the whole GNU stack, anything BSD, and one or more file systems. There's also a fair bit of innovative FOSS stuff floating around the world of microscopy and molecular thingies, not to mention there's such as GRASS with GIS stuff. There's a lot of innovative stuff out there, but you have to look past what Microsoft does to see it.
  • Taking their eye off the ball.

    There are glaring errors and omissions in the core Microsoft products, making them unsuitable or barely suitable for serious use. Why are MS choosing instead to do other things?
    • Because they need more things they can't do properly...

      I'm not the first to admit "nobody's perfect", but MS's track record is consistently worse than its competitors... they have little choice but to expand, dilettante as they are...
  • All part of the plan...

    My rep and I are in total agreement that this is merely a trojan horse to silently kill off the few remaining open source adherents. Once these green screeners see the raw and unbridled power of .NET and Windows7, they will migrate to Windows at which point Microsoft can close down CodePlex and make everything closed source again. A true win-win for all.
    Mike Cox