Microsoft Creates "Open Source Community Lead" Position
Microsoft has tapped Garrett Serack as their new Open Source Community Lead. In an attempt to move the company towards open source, Microsoft has charged him with "building and connecting Open Source Communities around Microsoft Platforms".
In the past Microsoft has had a rather antagonistic position in regards to open source. Points of contention include the business model, wherein Microsoft prefers to sell software while open source proponents sell services around the software. Another is the GPL, a type of open source license that is especially incompatible with closed source licenses.
Recently Microsoft has been experimenting heavily with open source in its developer line. Products under open source agreements include much of AJAX for ASP.NET, including the entire control library, IronPython, IronRuby, and the Dynamic Language Runtime.
Apparently Microsoft thinks these experiments have been successful, as they are now starting to push other products to be more open source friendly. Don't expect this to occur overnight however, as Microsoft is a large company with lots of independent teams.
The "NUnit debacle" has so many facets it is hard to comment on. On one hand you have people complaining that Microsoft shipped its own MSTest instead of NUnit. On the other hand Microsoft shipped Enterprise Library with unit tests writen for both NUnit and MSTest. Then there is the red herring, TestDriven.NET, which isn't really about NUnit at all but often gets lumped into it.
Why MS cannot have contributions even in OSS projects that are not bundled with their products is beyond me to understand. If a copyright problem surfaces, you remove the code and get on with it. Every OSS project lives with that risk.
If MS would think that building an OSS community is important enough, they'd find a way. They don't have a record of shying away from legal risk after all. So what conclusions are left? Either it's not important enough to ignore their lawyers veto, or their real agenda is about admitting that the legal risk of OSS is not that big after all.
Ralph Winzinger Nov 25, 2014