Microsoft creates open source foundation

Microsoft creates open source foundation

Summary: Microsoft has created the non-profit CodePlex Foundation to target increased communication between open source communities and software companies.

TOPICS: Open Source, Browser

Microsoft has created the non-profit CodePlex Foundation to target increased communication between open source communities and software companies.

Citing an under representation of commercial software companies and their employees in open source, the CodePlex Foundation aims to work with particular projects to bridge the gap between open source and commercial worlds.

The Redmond giant has contributed US$1 million to the Foundation and filled out out its board and advisory panel with many Microsoft staffers.

Unlike other open source foundations, such as the Mozilla Foundation and GNOME Foundation, the Foundation said on its web site that it intends to address on the full spectrum on software projects.


This is an unexpected and interesting move from Redmond. Don't think that this is completely like other open source foundations that you may be used to though.

Take this line from the Codeplex Foundation FAQ: "We wanted a foundation that addresses a full spectrum of software projects, and does so with the licensing and intellectual property needs of commercial software companies in mind."

Add to this that the About page states that companies will contribute code, not patents and that is what I think will stop the existing open source community from going anywhere near the CodePlex Foundation.

I can't see any patent-encumbered CodePlex project being accepted into, or contributing code into, any large existing open source project while still having the patent spectre looming overhead — it's something that the open source community has tried to avoid whenever possible.

But this is probably not that audience that the Foundation is aiming for — it's more likely to target purely Microsoft companies/developers and attempt to get them to open up a little. Allowing these companies to keep their patents will make it easier for them to engage in the Microsoft ecosystem but not in the wider open source world.

Topics: Open Source, Browser


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • CodeFlex or CodePlex

    Here's a perPLEXing question: is Chris Duckett just taking the "P"out of the CodePlex foundation, or does he genuinely believe that Microsoft are FLEXing their corporate muscles by building a bridge between them and the opensource community?
  • CodeFlex or CodePlex

    Hmmm... Just a typo or an Intentional pun Mr Duckett?
  • Subconscious unintentional hilarity?

    I wish I had a better explanation than typo, but unfortunately that's what it was.
  • I wish I was.. but I'm not buying!

    Don't get me wrong here, Microsoft has got an immense development capability and is a leader in some fields of the industry...

    However I can only think this is another attempt to blur the water and confuse people as to what the company has ultimately been aiming for - commercial/proprietary applications based on unilateral decisions and designs.

    Let's face it;
    - $1 millions is not much considering the broad range of action for the foundation
    - all (but 2) board & staff members on Microsoft's payroll? Unbiased & objective decisions and actions not likely to be the norm..

    I think Microsoft will require a much more transparent attitude to get into real open-source development. Not that they can't.. but they're are surely not used to it!

    On the flip side, I do believe Microsoft could have a valuable input on the management side of things. The guidance and support they could provide to open source projects could be quite valuable.
  • Code Harvesting Foundation

    Anyone remember Microsoft teaming up with IBM in the development of OS/2? You would think after being stung so badly over the introduction of DOS that IBM would have learned the lesson, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

    I suggested that everyone else learn that lesson FAST!