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by Claudio Caldato on December 15, 2010 08:00am
As you know, Microsoft is committed to interoperability, and the IE team has previously blogged about and provided developer previews and samples showing "Same Markup" - the same HTML, CSS, and script working across browsers - in action.
Today, as part of the interoperability bridges work we do on this team, we're making available a new Firefox add-on that enables Firefox users on Windows to play H.264-encoded video on HTML5 by using the built-in capabilities found in Windows 7.
Microsoft has already been offering for several years now the extremely popular Windows Media Player plug-in for Firefox, which is downloaded by millions of people a month who want to watch Windows Media content.
This new plug-in, known as the HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in, is available for download here at no cost. It extends the functionality of the earlier plug-in for Firefox, and enables web pages that that offer video in the H.264 format using standard W3C HTML5 to work in Firefox on Windows. Because H.264 video on the web is so prevalent, this interoperability bridge is important for Firefox users who are Windows customers.
H.264 is a widely-used industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. This standardization allows users to easily take what they've recorded on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support, such as on a PC with Windows 7.
H.264 is also a very well established and widely supported video compression format, developed for use in high definition systems such as HDTV, Blu-ray and HD DVD as well as low resolution portable devices. It also offers better quality at lower file sizes than both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 ASP (DivX or XviD).
The HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in continues to offer our customers value and choice, since those who have Windows 7 and are using Firefox will now be able to watch H.264 content through the plug-in.
Microsoft is already deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C as we believe that HTML5 will be important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design.
Principal Program Manager, Interoperability Strategy Team
by Peter Galli on November 22, 2010 01:45pm
Microsoft Canada has used the launch of its new localized Port 25 site with a nine part video series documenting the teachings of The Yorkville Media Centre, commonly known as the YMC.
Julia Stowell, the Community Manager for Microsoft Canada, reports that over a period of nine weeks, participants embark on a journey of learning how to build a website, along with course materials, which will equip each student with the ability to teach their own “YMC” type of class - to their own communities, friends, and whoever else will listen.
The class project is to build an enhanced YMC site that will promote community building and sharing. Look for a new video each week here and follow along with the YMC family. The new YMC site will launch in January of 2011. You’ll be able to find all the resources including student discussion, links to technologies used, and session presentations.
You can read Julia's full blog post here.
by Andrew Gordon on November 17, 2010 02:45pm
The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation at Otago Polytechnic, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Microsoft have worked together to develop an open source extension for Microsoft Word. The extension, written in C#, allows learning material developed in Microsoft Office to be saved directly to MediaWiki based repositories such as WikiEducator.
The free tool can be downloaded here and, once installed, adds a "MediaWiki" option to the standard ‘Save As' functionality in Microsoft Word. The source code, which provides a reference for others interested in adding custom ‘Save As' functionality to Microsoft Office, is available under the OSI approved Apache 2.0 license and can be downloaded here.
Peter Harrison, Vice President of the New Zealand Open Source Society, welcomed this release. "The Internet provides humanity with an unequalled opportunity to leverage our communication technology to educate people across the globe. Through collaborative technologies such as Wiki, people can work together to create rich common resources that are open to all. By enabling users to export their content from Word into MediaWiki, Microsoft are encouraging the availability of a far wider range of educational resources online," he said.
This project demonstrates the open, extensible and interoperable nature of the Microsoft Office suite suite the underlying Windows operating system, and further demonstrates the increasing connection between open source development and the Microsoft platform.
This project is complementary to Microsoft's continued investment in innovation in education through programs such as Partners in Learning (PIL). More information about PIL can be found here.
You can also find more information about Microsoft's Openness collaborations here.
by Andrew Gordon on November 16, 2010 01:15pm
A large amount of the innovation in the software world is happening on the web and in the cloud, and in addition to that, we are seeing increased awareness and acceptance of open source software on the Microsoft Windows platforms.
Microsoft's Certified for Windows programs are well known for indicating software and hardware products that have been thoroughly tested to work well on Microsoft Windows and as of today, SilverStripe CMS is the first Open Source web application to complete the comprehensive testing necessary to achieve "Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2" status.
Sigurd Magnusson, the co-founder of the Silverstripe.org project and business relationship manager for SilverStripe.com says that the Windows Server certification highlights the fact that its product development has been done to Microsoft best practices and that an independent certification partner rigorously tested its software.
"We're proud because all of the people who have been asking for our software to run on Windows now know that it runs really well. It's also pleasing to be a global milestone in corporate IT accepting and embracing open source software," he said.
This is also a highpoint for Microsoft Windows in our ongoing efforts to provide a truly open platform that provides the broadest set of choices for everyone. This reflects the broader landscape of Open Source and Microsoft being implemented together in enterprise customer environments, and we hope this will encourage other high quality Open Source products to work towards Windows Server 2008 R2 Certification so as to underline their enterprise credibility.
A more detailed case study can be found here. Details on Microsoft's certification programs can be found here.
by Peter Galli on November 10, 2010 01:53pm
My colleague Nik Garkusha, the Open Source strategy lead for Microsoft Canada, just posted a blog about their work to integrate the Drupal Open Source Content Management System with the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), Microsoft's Open Source solution for Open Data catalogues.
It's a great blog and so I'm posting it here in full.
Over the last few months our Openness Lab at Microsoft Canada has been working with David Eaves, Drupal developer experts Raised Eyebrow and his volunteer team on the next version of dataDOTgc.ca. Our objective: add a way to store, browse & access data sets via APIs. Our approach: integrate Open Source CMS platform Drupal with Microsoft's Open Source solution for Open Data catalogues: Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) .
DataDotGC.ca is a citizen-led open government data portal for Canada, built in Drupal and using CKAN (the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) for cataloguing the data (more on the original development here). The original v1 version did not store any datasets (only linked to them), but that capability was desired for v2, so David and his team decided to see how Microsoft's OGDI could provide that capability.
OGDI is an open-source solution to load and store open data; it uses Windows Azure cloud-based platform and includes a Data Service and a Data Browser provides an easy way to access, browse & filter datasets.
So, we decided to put the two together: Drupal + OGDI = DataDOTgc.ca (v2) !!
First, we created an OGDI instance for DataDOTgc.ca, by downloading OGDI v2 latest code from Codeplex, then building, configuring & deploying to Azure. See the videos on how-to do it here. Technically, we only needed OGDI's Data Service component, which outputs XML of the data, which means we could could then read the XML of the data sets from Drupal. But, to get started we played around by loading data from the City of Edmonton's open data catalogue data.edmonton.ca which also uses OGDI. Still, for dataDOTgc.ca we went ahead and deployed the full OGDI package
Second, we asked for some expert help from Colin at Raised Eyebrow Studios in Vancouver, who wrote some nifty code to parse the XML produced by OGDI's data service, and bring it in a nicely-formatted JQuery table right into Drupal. The code was packaged up into an OGDI Field Module, which adds a CCK field to any content type, and accepts a valid URL to a OGDI dataset as input, and outputs a slick, themed scrollable, filterable, sortable, searchable table and a map displaying that data.
The end-result is having a method of displaying data stored in OGDI instances on Drupal-powered websites. In the case of DataDOTgc.ca we could now enable loading the data using OGDI Data Loader to store a data set, like this one, and have it into appear in DataDOTgc here: http://www.datadotgc.ca/dataset/emitter_facility_data The nice thing is that we can also integrate any other OGDI-based dataset, like the one for Edmonton Historical Buildings just as easily into DataDOTgc just like this.
This project is just another demonstration of the power of mixed environments, Azure cloud & integrating open source and Microsoft solutions.
by Peter Galli on November 09, 2010 11:15am
In case you missed it last week, Microsoft has made the version 2.0 of the F# compiler and core libraries available under the Apache 2.0 license to help education and tool development.
The source code is published as part of the F# PowerPack CodePlex project, which now includes libraries, tools and the compiler/library source code drops. F# is a functional programming language.
The code was previously made available under a Microsoft shared-source license, and the binary versions have been available for downloading at no cost, either as a stand-alone package or as a plug-in to Visual Studio.
This release changes all that and the development team is now moving to a "code drop" model, where new versions of compiler library code will be released along with new releases of the language itself as part of the F# PowerPack.
In a blog post announcing all this, Don Syme, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research and the person who developed and maintains the code, says this release reinforces the commitment Microsoft is making to F#, including F# in Visual Studio.
"The real focus of F# is a quality experience of functional programming in Visual Studio, and that is what our team are driven to achieve and what we live for. To augment this, we are glad to be able to provide a compiler/library source drop, and are excited about the role this can play for education and tool development," he says.
by Peter Galli on November 02, 2010 08:30am
At the annual ZendCon 2010 in Santa Clara, CA today, Zend Technologies announced general availability of Zend Framework 1.11, the latest release of its PHP application framework, which adds support for mobile application development and now includes the open source Simple Cloud API, allowing PHP developers to build portable cloud applications.
The Zend Framework is a PHP application framework with more than 15 million downloads and over 500 contributors, including Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Adobe and Google.
According to Zend's announcement, Zend Framework 1.11 gives developers access to the first deliverables for the Simple Cloud API project, including:
Windows Azure access from the Simple Cloud API is made possible by the Windows Azure SDK for PHP, a project sponsored by Microsoft and developed by RealDolmen. This is yet another example of Microsoft's continuous commitment to the openness of Windows Azure Platform by working with larger open source community.
For its part, Microsoft is pleased to see the role this project is playing in "driving adoption among PHP developers for cloud computing platforms, and hope that many of these developers will be encouraged to use Windows Azure," says Jean Paoli, General Manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft Corp.
"The Simple Cloud API is an important catalyst for open and interoperable cloud computing, and Microsoft has an ongoing investment in the Simple Cloud API project, together with Zend and other contributors," Paoli says.
by Peter Galli on October 28, 2010 12:00pm
The Microsoft Interoperability Technical Strategy team today used the Professional Developers Conference 2010 (PDC 10) on campus in Redmond to announce a new set of tools based on Eclipse and updated client libraries for Windows Azure.
This means that customers can now choose to upload the Java environment of their choice and run it on Windows Azure, which is an an Open Platform that provides language choice such as C#, PHP or Java.
The Interop team announced:
In addition, Vijay Rajagopalan, the Principal Architect for Microsoft's Interoperability Strategy team, is also demoing a preview of the Windows Azure tools for Eclipse/Java, during his session: "Open in the cloud: Windows Azure and Java" today from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Pacific Time. You can watch the session here.
He has also recorded an on-demand session, titled "Developing PHP Applications on the Windows Azure Platform," in which he demos the latest version of the Windows Azure and PHP tools and SDK.
"I'm excited about all that we announced today and look forward to updating you on lots of exciting things moving forward. Stay tuned as we will follow up shortly with more technical articles and tutorials detailing scenarios using Windows Azure with PHP and Java. As always, do give us your feedback here," Rajagopalan said in his Interoperability blog.
by Peter Galli on October 22, 2010 08:00am
Microsoft today announced a partnership with Cloud.com to provide support for our Windows Server Hyper-V virtualization stack to the OpenStack project, an open source cloud computing platform. In order to get more information on this partnership, I asked Ted MacLean, the general manager for Microsoft's Open Solutions Group, a few questions.
Peter: What is Microsoft announcing today around Openstack?
Ted: Today we announced an open source cloud collaboration that may surprise some people, but not our customers and partners who have relied on our interoperability solutions over the past few years. Today Microsoft announced that it has partnered with Cloud.com to provide integration and support of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to the OpenStack project, an open source cloud infrastructure platform. The Hyper-V addition provides enterprise customers running a mix of Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies greater flexibility when using OpenStack. Until today, OpenStack only supported several open source virtualization products.
Peter: Why did Microsoft decide to participate in Openstack?
Ted: We understand how customers today are multi-sourcing solutions within their IT infrastructure. Support for Windows Server Hyper-V on OpenStack reinforces Microsoft's commitment to delivering choice and flexibility to customers in the cloud. Giving customers the option to use Microsoft's enterprise-ready virtualization platform, Windows Server R2 Hyper-V, when they deploy OpenStack as their cloud solution is win for all. Microsoft is committed to meet the interoperability needs for our customers running mixed source environments on Windows Azure and on partner clouds. Now that OpenStack is open to Windows' Hyper-V, customers can realize the benefits of our enterprise-ready virtualization platform if they choose to deploy OpenStack as their cloud solution.
Peter: This project is a collaboration between Microsoft and Cloud.com. Tell me how that works.
Ted: As part of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide architectural and technical guidance to Cloud.com. In turn, Cloud.com will develop the code to support OpenStack on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. The Cloud.com team has been great to work with. Once completed, the project code will be checked into the public code repository here.
Peter: How does this participation fit into the growing list of Microsoft contributions to, and participation in, open source projects?
Ted: Microsoft's support for the OpenStack project underscores our commitment to providing customers with technologies that promotes interoperability and openness. The cloud is accelerating the need for us to interoperate with other vendor technologies and open source software. You can find more information on the various OSS projects that Microsoft is participating in here.
by Peter Galli on October 12, 2010 02:35pm
The Microsoft Interoperability Technical Strategy team is shipping a new Community Technology Preview of the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse for PHP, which gives PHP developers using Eclipse the tools they need to create and deploy web applications targeting Windows Azure.
This news follows on the announcement a few weeks ago of a series of new and updated tools/SDK for PHP developers targeting Windows Azure,which included the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse/PHP.
This CTP update refines the new features we announced in the upcoming version 2, which should be ready next month, and includes the ability for developers to do one-click deployment of PHP Applications from Eclipse directly to Windows Azure; to use Windows Azure Diagnostics; the integration of the Open Source AppFabric SDK for PHP Developers; support for Multiple Web Roles and Worker Roles; and support of Windows Azure Drive for PHP developers.
For more information, you can read the full post on the Interoperability Blog, and take a look at Brian Swan's comprehensive tutorial called Using the Windows Azure Tools For Eclipse with PHP, where he shows developers how to take advantage of Windows Azure using these tools.
by Sandy Gupta on September 14, 2010 10:30am
I was in Beijing this summer to represent Microsoft at the 5th annual Open Source China Open Source World Summit, sponsored by the China Open Source Promotion Union (COPU).
Led by conference chairman, Dr. Lu Shouqun, there were a series of 20 minute back-to-back keynote addresses by representatives of commercial and academic institutes. The speakers included representatives from Apache Software Foundation, Linux Foundation, CS2C, Red Flag, etc., and they provided the perspective of the opportunities and challenges in China with respect to open source. It was clear that the intersection of open source and cloud was on the mind of many of all participants.
For many customers, cloud means the ability to build/run new generation of scalable applications and lowering their capital expenditure at the same time. They expect the cloud to be a highly scalable and available platform to develop/run these applications that help differentiate their solutions from their competitors.
The benefit of open source to cloud can come in few different ways: from the ability to use the language runtimes and tools of their choice and familiarity - PHP, Java, Ruby, Mono, Eclipse, etc - to the open source SDKs from cloud vendors that provide sample codes which can help developers simplify their ramp up into PaaS clouds like Windows Azure.
The Azure Interop SDK and Solution Accelerators do exactly that: they make it simple for .Net, Tomcat/Java, PHP, Ruby, MySQL, etc. developers to move their applications to Windows Azure using sample codes and language/tools of their choice.
Red Hat announced last week that they are working on wrapper for storage API for Microsoft Azure as part of their DeltaCloud initiative. This is yet another example of how open source can be used to enable developers and customers to ramp up on Windows Azure like PaaS Cloud.
The intersection of open source and cloud will continue to be an interesting discussion as developers and customers adopt cloud as the platform to develop their new generation applications.
by Peter Galli on September 13, 2010 05:38pm
Jean Paoli, the General Manager for Interoperability Strategy here at Microsoft, has just announced the appointment of a new addition to his team, welcoming Gianugo Rabellino as the Senior Director engaged directly with the broader open source world.
"In his role, Gianugo will work to foster relationships with the open source communities worldwide. I expect he will be a tremendous resource in helping identify ways open source communities and Microsoft can better work together and to help Microsoft product teams with their open source strategies," Paoli said in a blog post announcing the appointment. Read the full blog post here.
Gianugo has been a well-known figure in open source communities for years, serving as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sourcesense and Vice President of the Apache XML Project Management Committee. He has a deep understanding of open source technologies and platforms and, when he joins Microsoft this coming month, will bring his wealth of experience and knowledge to a group of passionate and committed individuals who share his same enthusiasm for interoperability and openness between Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms, Paoli said.
by Peter Galli on August 31, 2010 08:54am
Microsoft is participating at VMworld in San Francisco again this week, where we have a booth and where we will be talking about and showing customers how to move to the agile, responsive world of cloud computing and Microsoft's solution, Windows Azure, which is an open platform on which applications written in .NET, PHP, or Java can run.
You may be wondering why Microsoft is participating at VMworld, but the answer is really simple: a large number of our customers are attending the show who run Windows Server, Microsoft server applications, such as Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, as well as Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 and Microsoft Office.
It is also important for customers to understand that virtualization is no longer the final destination, but rather a stepping stone toward the more agile, responsive world of open cloud computing, which is creating a transformative change and opportunity for customers and partners.
Microsoft's desktop and datacenter virtualization solutions let customers extend their existing investments, and build and manage public and private cloud solutions on their terms, and Microsoft partners have the best opportunity to profit by delivering server and desktop virtualization solutions, while helping customers adopt cloud computing.
As such, you may have seen our Open Letter in today's edition of USA Today, from Brad Anderson, a Corporate Vice President in Microsoft's Server & Tools Business, which reminds customers that with the arrival of cloud computing, VMware cannot provide them with the breadth of technology, flexibility or scale that they will need to build a complete cloud computing environment.
"Virtualization clearly played a role in enabling the move toward IT services by simplifying the deployment and management of desktops and datacenters, which is why we made virtualization part of Windows Server. However, virtualization represents only a stepping stone towards cloud computing," he said.
Windows Azure also lets organizations migrate legacy applications and roll out new programs written in .NET, Java, Ruby-on-Rails, PHP and Eclipse across multiple datacenters so they are accessible at scale from almost anywhere, Anderson said.
He also noted that Microsoft's server virtualization solution is approximately one-third the cost of a comparable solution from VMware, and that a recent Microsoft study of 150 large companies showed those running Microsoft virtualization spent 24% less on IT labor, on an ongoing basis.
"Most importantly, as you build out the next generation of your IT environment, we can provide you with scalable world-wide public cloud computing services that VMware does not offer," Anderson said in the letter.
Other top Microsoft executives have also reiterated the company's commitment to Windows Azure, Microsoft's open cloud offering. Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie told attendees at the company's Professional Developers Conference 2009 in Los Angeles last November that Windows Azure supports any kind of Windows code and programming model, and any kind of multi-role, multi-tier service design pattern, supporting extremely flexible binding and arbitrary relationships between roles.
"Because you wanted it, we've broadened far beyond just the .NET programming model, and the Web role, worker role service design pattern. We added support for FastCGI, enabling high scale Web apps to be written in any of a variety of programming languages ... You'll see PHP apps under MySQL," he said at the time.
Microsoft has also enabled .NET full trust and native code applications on Windows Azure. This functionality allowed developers to spawn xcopy deployable processes and, as a result, Java applications can now be packaged and run.
As an open platform, the Windows Azure platform allows developers to use multiples languages and development tools to build applications. With its standards-based and interoperable approach, the Windows Azure platform supports multiple Internet protocols including HTTP, XML, SOAP and REST.
Late last year Microsoft introduced the open source PHP SDK for Windows Azure, which focuses on REST and provides PHP classes for Windows Azure blobs, tables and queue, helper classes for HTTP transport, AuthN/AuthZ, REST and error management, as well as manageability, instrumentation and logging support.
Bob Muglia, the President of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, also noted in his keynote at PDC 2009 that Microsoft is converging on a common developer platform for both servers and services, that will enable developers to continue using familiar .NET Framework and Visual Studio tools and technologies, as well as third party tools such as Eclipse, to create and monetize applications that run on the server and as services in the cloud.
Muglia also announced the company's plan to offer Windows Server Virtual Machine support on Windows Azure, enabling customers to more easily support virtualized infrastructure across the continuum of on premises and cloud computing.
In addition, Muglia announced the new release of ASP.NET MVC beta 2, a free, fully-supported framework that enables developers to rapidly build standards-based Web applications through rich AJAX integration and enhanced extensibility.
The Windows Azure team also recently posted a new video to MSDN on how to create and run a Java application in Windows Azure. In the video, Scott Golightly creates a simple Java application that runs under Apache Tomcat, and then shows how that can be packaged up and deployed to the Windows Azure development fabric.
by Peter Galli on August 09, 2010 12:15pm
As Microsoft continues to broaden and extend its virtualization offerings, I'd like to share with you an email that Gordon McDowall, a Linux Infrastructure manager for Fasthosts Internet Limited, shared with us about his experience with Hyper-V:
Hi, my name is Gordon McDowall, I am a Linux Infrastructure manager for Fasthosts Internet Limited, a large hosting service provider based in the UK offering services such as Windows and Linux based web hosting, database hosting, email hosting, connectivity services and dedicated server hosting.
Recently Fasthosts has expanded into the Virtual server market, and this expansion has been based on a system built on Microsoft Hyper-V technology. Initially the offering was for Windows 2008 only, but we have recently released some Linux offerings on the Hyper-V infrastructure already put in place for the Windows Virtual Servers.
This ability to offer Microsoft and Linux VPS servers on the same underlying platform makes administration easier and reduces infrastructure and support costs as our solution runs on a highly redundant Dell blade platform with SAN backends offering up storage to the blades via iSCSI.
Coming from a Linux background, I had some skepticism of how Microsoft could integrate Linux operating systems into the Hyper-V hypervisor. This initial skepticism was quickly quashed after a few discussions with some Microsoft Linux Developers and Microsoft's head of development.
It was very easy to see just how seriously they were taking this project and how knowledgeable they were about the Linux operating system. Working so closely with a company like Microsoft in a pioneering project like this has been very exciting and they have been incredibly supportive (even though coming from a Linux background it pains me to admit it!)
Having worked with the Linux Integration Components for a few months now, right from RC1, I have found them easy to work with and very reliable, each time an update has been released the improvement to performance has been very noticeable with our Linux VPS platform running on a par with the Microsoft VPS and on a par with many dedicated servers on dedicated physical hardware.
The Linux VPS servers with the Linux Hyper-V integration components installed have flown through our QA process with nothing at all being flagged by the QA department.
Initial customer uptake and feedback on the Linux VPS product has been very positive. So far so good...
by Peter Galli on July 29, 2010 05:02pm
Microsoft hit another milestone today in providing a comprehensive virtualization platform to its customers with the release of the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services for Linux Version 2.1.
The news was announced on Microsoft's Virtualization Team Blog, and you can read the full post here. The drivers can be downloaded here.
This version of the Integration Services for Hyper-V supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5.
The 2.1 release includes driver support for synthetic devices, Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V, Timesync, Integrated Shutdown, Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support, Heartbeat and Pluggable Time Source.