by Sam Ramji on March 19, 2008 02:22pm


I’m writing this from EclipseCon in Santa Clara, California, where I’m going to announce the beginning of Microsoft’s collaborative work with the Eclipse Foundation.

This started about a year ago when I met Mike Milinkovich at an open source event (the Open Source Software Think Tank 2007) where we were seated at the same table, and assigned to discuss “key issues inhibiting the growth of open source”. We found we had pretty similar ways of looking at problems – I found Mike to be very pragmatic and straightforward in his thinking. That discussion led to a conversation about what we could do to help Eclipse developers building software for Windows.

At the same time, the CardSpace team at Microsoft was already working actively with the Higgins Project to establish a secure, interoperable framework for user identity on the web – an architecture known as the Identity Metasystem. Since the inception of Higgins, the CardSpace team has worked very closely with the Higgins team, providing them the protocol documentation they needed to be able to build an identity selector that is interoperable with CardSpace, as well as placing those protocol specifications under the OSP so that they knew that it was safe to do so. We share a commitment to building a user-centric, privacy-preserving, secure, easy-to-use identity layer for the Internet.

Currently, Higgins, Microsoft, and dozens of other companies and projects are in the midst of the third OSIS-sponsored user-centric identity interop, where we all try our code together, providing the data needed to improve both our implementations and the interoperability between them.

Among a range of other opportunities (which we’re still working on), we discovered that Steve Northover (the SWT team lead) had gotten requests to make it easy for Java developers to write applications that look and feel like native Windows Vista. He and a small group of developers built out a prototype that enables SWT to use Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). We’re committing to improve this technology with direct support from our engineering teams and the Open Source Software Lab, with the goal of a first-class authoring experience for Java developers.

This is exciting to me – as a Java developer in my prior life (as well as the first technical marketing manager for BEA’s WebLogic Workshop, now Apache Beehive) it just makes sense to enable Java on Windows. We started a collaborative effort with JBoss two years ago that continues to this day. At the end of the day, it’s all about the developer. There will be more to come from the conversations that Eclipse and Microsoft have begun, and I look forward to announcing those in the future as we have demonstrable technology results.

Cheers,
Sam