Open source development is becoming a mainstream IT strategy, but IT departments are looking for a model to turn that strategy into reality. OpenCurve's mission is to provide that strategy and create that reality.
The CodePlex Foundation, originally created to support Microsoft's CodePlex code site, has been renamed the OuterCurve Foundation to help make its mission clearer.
The mission is to unlock the value in corporate code vaults, building a museum of projects with complete development and documentation support.
Since its launch a year ago, the foundation has developed a governance model, hired key staff, and elected an independent board. The board also created a process for accepting projects, and has brought in nine to date.
Paula Hunter is executive director of the foundation, which is based in Wakefield, Mass. but incorporated in Washington state. She made the announcement in conjunction with the Open World Forum meetings in Paris, which will be covered extensively by ZDNet Open Source.
Before we both headed east, Hunter discussed the effort with ZDNet.
"People thought we owned Codeplex and we never had a legal relationship. It's Microsoft's forge. The foundation was a separate entity whose mission was enabling the exchange of code and creating open source communities. We're not a forge, our projects can use any forge."
So is this more like Eclipse or Apache? "What distinguishes us from Eclipse and Apache is that we're license agnostic and platform agnostic. We are also not imposing a strict development methodology. We're providing guidelines, we're showing what the process should be, but we're not dictating." To date six projects have been approved under the new guidelines.
This does not mean OuterCurve will just be a collection of random projects. "We created a museum model. We have galleries, which are sponsored. Galleries are collections of projects centered around some theme – like the .ASP .NET gallery or the systems infrastructure and integration gallery.
"The gallery manager is the person to connect with initially," if you're interested in launching a project under the OuterCurve structure. Over time the hope is that gallery managers will be seen as leaders within their fields. (Programming frogs will become development princes?)
The foundation will hold all IP rights, and provide infrastructure back-up, "like getting co-sign certificates, or helping get money together for documentation," Hunter explained.
By providing structure and support for corporate-backed code, OuterCurve hopes to coax more of this code out of corporate vaults and transform it into open source projects that will have a wide following, Hunter said.
It's a point Sam Ramji, the former Microsoft employee who still serves as the President of Outercurve's board, said in a variety of ways when I interviewed him over the last two years. Open source development is becoming a mainstream IT strategy, but IT departments are looking for a model to turn that strategy into reality.
OpenCurve's mission is to provide that strategy and create that reality.