by Sam Ramji on April 29, 2008 05:59pm

I have the privilege of interacting almost every day with technical and business experts who are creating the future of software—including both core engineering teams at Microsoft and thought leaders across a broad spectrum of open source communities. Especially in the last few months, I’ve been able to take more time to articulate where I think this is going – such as writing how open source has influenced Windows Server 2008 and participating in Infoworld’s roundtable on the state of open source.

I think that many people are seeing that the interrelationship between Microsoft and open source is being changed fundamentally (and for mutual benefit).

Today, Bob Muglia and Brad Anderson announced that System Center will have the ability to deliver automated management across heterogeneous IT environments, such as UNIX and Linux. What I see as a best practice for commercial and community engagement with open source technology plays a big part in this.

Specifically, Microsoft will deliver an agent infrastructure and management packs (MPs) for monitoring Linux and UNIX platforms for System Center Operations Manager 2007. Early partners like Xandros and Quest are delivering cross-platform MPs for MySQL and Apache, and Oracle, respectively. Microsoft and Novell are collaborating on the SUSE Linux Enterprise MP.

The agent infrastructure Microsoft is building to interoperate with UNIX and Linux is built leveraging industry standards and open source such as WS-Management and OpenPegasus. Pegasus is an open-source implementation of the DMTF CIM and WBEM standards coded in C++, designed to be portable, and licensed under an MIT license, and work is underway to integrate with the newly DMTF ratified WS-Management standard. Pegasus already ships as part of major Linux and UNIX distros.

It simply makes great technical and business sense to cooperate with the OpenPegasus community to build upon an industry-standards based, cross-platform technology. Just as important, however, is preserving the virtuous cycle of contribution, benefit, and subsequent contribution: Microsoft is joining the OpenPegasus Steering Committee. The agent technology—being built will be contributed back to the community under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL), an OSI approved open source license.

I greatly appreciate Allen Brown's positive comments (Allen is the President and CEO for The Open Group) and the support and education we’ve received from the sponsors and maintainers of Pegasus. He said:

“We are pleased to have Microsoft join the OpenPegasus Steering Committee and welcome their commitment as a positive step for the global open source development community. Since The Open Group initiated the OpenPegasus project seven years ago, it has been deployed across a wide range of IT platforms worldwide. We look forward to Microsoft’s active participation in the continuing development of the project.”

Today’s announcement and the business and technical decisions made by the System Center team are a great example of the fact that commercial innovation, industry partnerships, and open source participation can all work together to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. My enthusiasm and excitement—and my applause for the System Center team, partners like Xandros, Quest, and Novell, and the OpenPegasus community—is tempered solely by my conviction this is not the only or last example of the best of Microsoft, partners, and open source growing together. This is a great day – and there are more great days to come.