Very cool news. Today Microsoft announce the creation of the CodePlex foundation. That's CodePlex.org.
It's amazing the amount of work that goes into something like this. I was in on a lot of very boring (but important) legal conference calls with a lot of folks from within Microsoft but it was fascinating in its own legal way. There's a lot of people who want to see this work and really be something special.
CodePlex.org is different from CodePlex.com, of course. The CodePlex foundation is a 501(c)(6) organization, separate from Microsoft. It's created to help commercial software developers use Open Source software.
Here's the best part:
"The Foundation has no pre-suppositions about particular projects, platforms, or open source licenses."
This isn't the "Visual Studio Foundation" or the ".NET Foundation" or the "MS-PL Foundation." This is on purpose. Over the next few months we'll start hearing about how Projects can get involved and align themselves with the CodePlex foundation.
When I was working with Corillian/CheckFree, it was a challenge to get Open Source software used on big proprietary projects. There was fear and confusion at all levels. We eventually got it done, and there's open source software from then-Corillian running at large banks and small credit unions all over the world. in my opinion, if CodePlex.org succeeds, open source software will be used by more professional software developers.
Here's the interim board of directors and board of advisors. You can see it skews Microsoft initially, but that'll change in the first 100 days when we find permanent members. If you want to get involved, do!
Board of Directors
From the site:
Sam Ramji will serve as interim President of the Foundation. He will be supported by an interim Board of Directors, whose other members are Bill Staples, Stephanie Boesch, Miguel de Icaza, Britt Johnston, and Shaun Walker. Mr. Ramji and the interim Board will immediately begin a search for a permanent Executive Director, who will manage the day-today operations of the Foundation, as well as a permanent Board of Directors and a Board of Advisors.
For the policy wonks, here's the foundation's bylaws (PDF) for you to peruse. This is important also, from the FAQ:
Q: What is the difference between the CodePlex Foundation and CodePlex.com?
CodePlex Foundation is an extension of the CodePlex brand established by Codplex.com. Codeplex.com has not only built a strong community, with more than 10,000 projects now hosted on the site, but has steadily built a recognized brand. CodePlex.com 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 (Codeplex.org). 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. It is just solving a different part of the challenge, a part that Codeplex.com isn't designed to solve.
I'm on the Advisory board, which is cool, along with other folks whose names I hope you recognize and respect as non-evil. If you're not familiar with the names, I've added my own mini-bio for each. Any errors are mine.
- Larry Augustin, SugarCRM - Larry was the chairman of VA Software now called SourceForge, Inc.
- Sara Ford, Microsoft - Sara runs CodePlex.com and has been an advocate of .NET open source for years.
- Aaron Fulkerson, MindTouch - Fulkerson is currently Founder and CEO at Open Source and collaborative network company MindTouch.
- Robert Gobeille, Hewlett-Packard - Bob is the lead architect of the FOSSology project, tools to facilitate the study and analysis of free and open source software.
- Phil Haack, Microsoft - Phil runs SubText, a .NET open source blogging engine, and he succeeded in releasing Microsoft's ASP.NET MVC under the MS-PL Open Source license.
- Scott Hanselman, Microsoft - This is me. I've worked on DasBlog as well as a number of smaller open source projects. I used to be the Chief Architect at Corillian, a leading retail online financial service firm, where we used a great deal of open source .NET software in our systems.
- John Lam, Microsoft - John is known for a lot of things, not the least of which his work on IronRuby, an Open Source .NET implementation of Ruby on the CLR.
- Jim Newkirk, Microsoft - Jim is one of the co-authors of NUnit and also XUnit.NET, both unit-testing frameworks for .NET.
- Monty O'Kelley, Microsoft - Monty has worked on partnerships between Microsoft and Novell as well as advocating to make Linux virtualize better on Hyper-V
- Stephen Walli - Stephen consults on software and open source strategy. He worked on the Interix environment to re-host UNIX apps on Windows NT, utilizing lots of open source software across a number of licenses.
- Monty Widenius, Monty Program AB - Monty is the main author of the original MySQL database and a founder of the MySQL AB Company.
As a long time Open Source guy myself, I promise that I'll fight the good fight and continue to nudge things in the right direction.