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Posted by Kerry GodesSenior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations
Open Door Policy is a new series on the Openness blog that profiles industry thought leaders and individuals within Microsoft who are leading efforts to collaborate more openly, promoting interoperability and making it easier to develop and manage mixed IT environments.
The first annual Outercurve Open Source Conference and Hackathon is taking place in downtown Bellevue this week. We took the opportunity to speak with Sam Ramji, Outercurve Foundation board president and former Microsoft open source strategist.
Read on to learn more about Sam’s perspectives on how collaborating more openly can drive innovation and help to solve real world problems.
Hi Sam, please tell us about the Outercurve Foundation and your role with it.The Outercurve Foundation, or Outercurve.org, is a not-for-profit open source software foundation. Outercurve is focused on open source governance, for the sake of more successful open source projects on all platforms. I’ve had the privilege to serve as the President of the Board of Directors for the last three years. Because Outercurve is a not-for-profit foundation, it’s all volunteer. My full-time - my day job, as it were - is as the Strategy Officer of a startup called Apigee, which is an API platform company based in Silicon Valley.
And where were you before that? I led open source strategy across Microsoft - I took over open source technical strategy in 2006, and open source market strategy in early 2008, which was a pretty extraordinary role, because we were able to work directly with Bill Gates on technology strategy and had a field organization spanning 80 countries. We worked on open source interoperability and with a range of open source technology projects to help them either run extremely efficiently on top of Microsoft platforms, especially Windows Server, or to improve interoperability between Windows and Linux.
That was before it was really publicized that Microsoft was moving in a more open direction.That’s right. We were doing open source at Microsoft back when that was innovative and scary. [chuckles] My manager and predecessor in the role was Bill Hilf, who’s now the GM of Product Management for Windows Azure. Our purpose was to solve big problems, and that’s always scary – it challenged the way Microsoft did business. Bill is a great leader and was willing to take on the way things were.
What's the scope of this week’s Outercurve Open Source Software Conference?The conference itself is focused on bringing together the community of developers who work on projects that they’ve chosen to host with Outercurve.org. There are some very, very well-known projects like NuGet, Orchard, and WiX, which have tens of millions of downloads, hundreds of contributors, and thousands to millions of users. All of those project leads and contributors are getting together to share notes, talk about what’s working, and how to improve things. There are also lots of people who are aren’t working directly on those projects who want to learn about how to do more open source development, how to create and manage projects and, frequently, how to work with Microsoft’s open source teams.
This week the Windows Azure team released WebMatrix 3, the current version of the popular free web development tool, which includes support for popular open source apps and the ability to publish your site to the Cloud using Windows Azure Web Sites.