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Where Microsoft fits in the open source world

Brian Goldfarb is director of Developer Platform and Tools at Microsoft. In a recent email interview, he talked about Microsoft's evolving strategy on open source and contributions the company has made to the open source community.


How has Microsoft's current position on open source evolved over the past few years?
Our open source strategy has evolved based on many factors. These include increased technical experience and dialogue with customers, open source companies and open source communities. Many of our customers are operating heterogeneous IT environments with commercial proprietary software, commercial open source software and community-based open source software working side-by-side. As open source has increasingly become part of our DNA, we have a better appreciation today for how the open source development model can be useful for our own software development, as well as the potential for Microsoft technologies to be great platforms for open source applications. What are two or three of the most significant OSS collaborations and communities Microsoft has been involved with?
Microsoft is working with the PHP Community to improve the PHP on Windows performance, stability and feature set. In addition, Microsoft is providing the PHP developer community with SDKs and code samples to enable better interoperability between PHP Web applications and Microsoft technologies.

At OSCON 2009 in July, Microsoft contributed 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux kernel, which will enhance the performance of Linux on Hyper-V.

Hadoop is an Apache Software Foundation project and a Java software framework for highly distributed systems, and HBase is an open source, column-oriented distributed database, also written in Java. Microsoft's Powerset team contributes to and utilizes the HBase project, an extension of Hadoop.

To be clear, there's no question that we believe Windows is the best software development platform in the world, however, we live in a mixed source world. Customers run diverse applications in a variety of environments, and while Windows meets many of their requirements, there are instances when open source might provide a reasonable alternative. With that in mind, it is incumbent upon Microsoft to provide our customers with the best experience as possible, including better interoperability and joint Windows/open source solutions. What does Microsoft think of DotNetNuke and Silverstripe and how do those communities benefit all .NET developers?
Open source is one of many models that surround the creation of software. At Microsoft, we are completely committed to open source as one way to address the needs of our customers, while advancing both the broader ecosystem of partners and developers and our business. Communities such as DotNetNuke and Silverstripe provide great opportunities to advance .NET technologies, and drive innovation in the marketplace. Talk about the release of the ASP.NET MVC source code and the intention of doing so?
ASP.NET MVC provides a free, fully supported framework that enables developers to quickly build standards-based, SEO-friendly websites by offering complete control over the HTML and URL, and it makes sense to share our knowledge with the community and benefit from the smart feedback they offer. Again, we believe contribution and co-development are natural progressions of participating in open source communities and so it made sense to also offer the ASP.NET MVC source code to the community.

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