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by Bryan Kirschner on October 14, 2008 06:57pm
It is just two months since Microsoft finalized the acquisition of Powerset, a San Francisco-based search and natural language company. Powerset's goals are to "change the way humans interact with computers through language"- improving search by indexing Web pages based on the meaning expressed in them rather than just the literal words.
Collaboration between the Powerset team and their new colleagues in Live Search has already resulted in some integration projects: Freebase Answers, improved captions for Wikipedia results, and new related searches using the Factz engine.
The application of Powerset's technology to Live Search will enable Live Search to more quickly surface the most relevant information, resulting in improvements to the end-user experience. The Powerset acquisition is an important part of Live Search's strategy, and HBase is key to Powerset's ongoing success and will also open more opportunities for other Live Search projects as well as for the broader community to move the whole web forward.
But what's especially notable is that the Powerset team has resumed contributions to HBase, an open-source, column-oriented, distributed database written in Java. The contributions relate to infrastructural storage technology enabling large scale data processing.
HBase, which is an important component of Powerset's development, is developed as part of the Apache Software Foundation's Hadoop project, and runs on top of the Hadoop Distributed File System, providing BigTable-type capabilities. (HBase initially started as a contribution to Hadoop before becoming a full sub-project of Hadoop in January 2008.)
For the past year and a half, Powerset has sponsored two full-time developers to work on HBase; Michael Stack and Jim Kellerman are also on the Hadoop Project Management Committee. Through the continued work of these developers, Microsoft will help improve HBase, which receives significant lift from the active community that supports the project.
Technology companies and communities have always collaborated (see this great research overview). There are some great examples in the past of Microsoft being a creative, agile leader - one of my favorites being the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Program, which had its origin in organic, outside-in cooperation:
"Way back in the dark ages, Microsoft provided a great deal of technical support on CompuServe. The CompuServe FoxPro forum was extremely busy and Calvin Hsia, then an independent developer, now Developer Lead on the Fox team, created what we called "Calvin's List." It was a listing of the number of postings by person, including info on both messages sent and received. ...As the story goes, some of the Microsoft people jumped on Calvin's List as a way to identify high contributors, and thus was born the MVP program."
But if you look at how open source in particular has changed the industry from 1998 onward, as other vendors figured out ways to interact with open source, we simply haven't been the first, the fastest, or the most creative.
That history is a fact of life. But so are the implications from studying what has happened as firms and communities find ways to work together (I have a small quibble with the choice of title but not with the main point of A man on the inside: Unlocking communities as complementary assets - a "woman on the inside" would be just as effective...).
The conclusion is unambiguous: there are mutual opportunities that come from openness to working together. We're just scratching the surface on the range of opportunities for Microsoft to participate in and contribute to open source communities in ways that are good for customers, good for communities - and good for business.
The next ten years of software will also be a time of growth and change, where both open source and Microsoft communities will grow together, so it is exciting to see contribution to HBase join contribution to ADOdb, a popular data access layer for PHP used by many applications (this was Microsoft's first code contribution to PHP projects, but not the last), and OpenPegasus, an important part of System Center's new cross-platform approach.
But it is not unexpected-and others will follow.
by Peter Galli on October 20, 2008 05:05pm
The AJAXWorld Conference and Expo got underway in San Jose today, under the broad theme of "Rich Web Technologies for Enterprise Web 2.0 & Social Web."
Scott Guthrie, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, delivered the keynote address today, while Brad Abrams, the Product Unit Manager for the AppFx team here at Microsoft, will also be presenting a couple of sessions over the next few days.
Attendees will also get to see how JQuery interoperability and usage is now on the same page with ASP.NET Ajax, as well as demos of the cross-browser, cross-platform Silverlight plug-in, which works on Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, and on both Macs and Windows machines.
Abrams tells me he also plans to show off a couple of Silverlight sites running on Linux with the Novell Moonlight implementation of Silverlight, as well as a demo of its Silverlight tools for Eclipse, which underscores how developers can use the tools they want to leverage Silverlight.
He has also posted a lot more detail on his talk, which was titled "Building a Great Ajax application from Scratch," in this blog post.
Also, Bryan Kirschner of the platform strategy group, will be delivering a keynote address on how Microsoft participates in a world of choice at GOSCON, the Government Open Source Conference, in Portland tomorrow.
In addition, two other colleagues from Microsoft will also be participating. Stuart McKee, the National Technology Office for the U.S., will be on the Government Open Collaboratives Panel with Brian, and Kathleen Connor from Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, will also be speaking.
by Sam Ramji on October 27, 2008 09:00am
Today at PDC in Los Angeles, Ray Ozzie unveiled the Azure Services Platform, which will enable developers to build the next generation of applications - spanning all the way from the cloud to the enterprise data center. My team's focus has been on making sure that this platform treats open source development technologies as first-class citizens.
A key components of the Azure Services Platform is Windows Azure, an infrastructure that provides core capabilities such as virtualized computation, scalable storage, and automated service management. Developers will be able to build or extend parts or complete service-based applications using Live Services, .Net Services and SQL Services.
They will also be able to choose from a range of open source development tools and technologies, and be able to access Azure services using a variety of common internet standards, including HTTP, REST, WS* and Atom.
The Azure platform's goal is to support all developers and their choice of IDE, language and technology. We are also providing programmable components that can be consumed by other applications, and Microsoft is funding and sponsoring open source software development kits to enable Java and Ruby developers to take advantage of Azure.
This is significant as this is the first time we are delivering cross-platform software development kits at the same time as Microsoft Developer Network software development kits.
We are also funding these open source projects, under the BSD licensing model, in collaboration with Thoughtworks Inc. and Schakra Inc., and they will be run on open source portals RubyForge and SourceForge.
Much of this interoperability work was undertaken by Jean Paoli, the General Manager for Interoperability Strategy, and his team, including Vijay Rajagopalan, the Principal Architect for Interoperability Strategy, so a big thanks is due to them on this front.
In addition, as part of Microsoft's commitment to openness and working with open source communities, I asked the Open Source Technology Center (led by Tom Hanrahan) to come up with some specific examples that show how open source communities can access Windows Azure.
This work has allowed us to deliver several ‘proofs of concept' which show open source developers that they can create applications that run as services and have access to services in the cloud. These ‘proofs of concept' demonstrate that:
Specific to Gallery, we've done two simple things: we created wrappers to convert the Windows Azure API to PHP objects, and we created a Windows Azure subclass inherited from the Windows NT Platform class. The net of all this is that, with a small amount of code, we were able to connect one of the top PHP application to Windows Azure, specifically, photo images stored as BLOBs in the cloud.
Finally, Microsoft is also going to publish the "M" language specification, including MSchema, MGrammar and MGraph, under the Open Specification Promise. This will facilitate the interoperability of the "Oslo" declarative modeling language, codenamed "M," with prominent industry standards such as WS* specifications, XML formats, industry protocols and security standards.
Stay tuned, because there's more to come.
by Peter Galli on October 27, 2008 04:58pm
More good news coming out of PDC today! Windows Live ID is publicly committing to support the OpenID digital identity framework with the announcement of the public availability of a Community Technology Preview of the Windows Live ID OpenID Provider.
This means that Windows Live ID accounts will be able to be used to sign in to any OpenID Web site. The Windows Live ID OpenID Provider (OP) enables anyone with a Windows Live ID account to set up an OpenID alias and to use that alias for identification at an increasing number of OpenID 2.0 relying party sites-for example: Plaxo, Pibb, StackOverflow.com and Wikispaces.
Also, in his blog earler today about the Azure Services Platform, Sam Ramji talked about how, as part of Microsoft's commitment to openness and working with open source communities, he asked the Open Source Technology Center (led by Tom Hanrahan) to come up with some specific examples that show how open source communities can access Windows Azure.
This work has resulted in several ‘proofs of concept' which show open source developers that they can create applications that run as services and have access to services in the cloud. These ‘proofs of concept' demonstrate that:
by Peter Galli on October 13, 2008 12:18pm
When I began reporting on Microsoft for eWeek (part of the Ziff Davis Enterprise stable of publications) in 2000, I never imagined that I would one day end up working for the software giant. And, to be quite honest, for the longest time I really did not want to, as the Microsoft that was then is not the same company that exists today.
So, fast forward to 2008 and my decision to work here as the Open Source Community Manager. Lots of people have asked me if this was a difficult decision to make, but it really wasn't, and there's one primary reason for that: I truly believe I can be an agent of change at this point in Microsoft's history.
The Microsoft of 2008 is nothing like the Microsoft of 2000, and will most likely look incredibly different by 2015. Driving the current wave of change is its focus on openness, interoperability, collaboration - with open source communities and others - cloud computing, and software plus services.
The first chapters of Microsoft's open source playbook are also only just being written, and the way in which the company works and does business with the Linux and open source communities will look very different in five to 10 years and, hopefully, I will have played a role in helping drive and shape that change.
I look forward to building off the momentum that has already been established: as a result of the technical collaboration and customer patent indemnity deal with Novell, enterprise customers can now run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in a virtualized environment on top of Windows Server 2007, and visa-versa, which is no small accomplishment.
Also, under the terms of that agreement, Microsoft agreed to distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support. Who ever thought they'd see that day?
This year alone, Microsoft became a platinum-level sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation; it started contributing code not only to ADOdb, a popular data access layer for PHP used by many applications, but also to OpenPegasus, an important part of System Center's new cross-platform approach.
These moves follow the establishment of Codeplex, the Interoperability Customer Executive Council, the Interoperability Vendor Alliance, the alliances with Sun and Novell, as well as the patent cross-licensing deals with Xandros, TurboLinux and others.
We have also created community, as there are currently more than 6,000 projects on CodePlex, Microsoft's open source project hosting web site; and we have just crossed the 100,000 registered user mark. What's even more significant is that some 400 of these are Microsoft projects; the rest are community owned.
Do we have more to do? Absolutely. But this is only the start of that journey, and I take heart from how far Microsoft has come in a relatively short time with regard to its willingness to reach out to, and work with, open source players across the spectrum.
At the same time, I realize that we still have a long way to go with regard to building more bridges, relationships, community, and interoperability with others. I do not say any of this lightly, having observed the good, the bad and the ugly while following Microsoft's every move for the past eight years.
I documented Microsoft's transition from being incredibly hostile - and fearful - of the competitive threat posed by Linux, particularly on the server side, to the awareness that, again, this was a space in which it could co-operate and aggressively compete.
There were a few staffers who pioneered this internal change in thinking and perception: Martin Taylor, who launched the controversial Get The Facts campaign; Bill Hilf, who was given a space on the Redmond campus with nothing but a pipe coming through the wall and tasked with building Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab - and who is now the General Manager of Windows Server marketing and platform strategy - and Bob Muglia, Microsoft's Senior Vice President for Server and Tools, who was behind the company's decision to start building bridges with the open source community.
I look forward to working with folk like Bill Hilf, Bob Muglia, my immediate manager Robert Duffner, and Sam Ramji, the senior director of platform strategy, all of whom I have known and respected - well, mostly - for many years, to help shape the Microsoft of the future.
by Sam Ramji on October 24, 2008 06:00am
We've been working with a range of open source projects in the last few years, and each one has taught us something - both what to do more of, and what to change. One of the things we've learned in listening to very specific customer needs, is that there is an emerging pattern of shared software development that will drive changes in how companies buy vs. build software.
Messaging (and I mean enterprise messaging, rather than email) is an area that is of keen interest to customers like JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse. As they run their businesses on real-time messaging, they need to be deep experts, and drive changes in their messaging platforms to fit their business. Along with companies like Cisco, Novell, iMatix, RabbitMQ, WSO2, and Red Hat, these industry leaders have built a standard for ubiquitous messaging: AMQP.
The Advanced Message Queueing Protocol is an open specification supported by open source communities and currently implemented by Apache QPID, RabbitMQ, and OpenAMQ. The contributors established the AMQP Working Group as a body to manage the process of developing the specification.
It's my pleasure to announce that Microsoft has been invited to join the AMQP working group by the six founding members. We have committed to participate in the development of the specification and are keenly interested in the developing need for interoperability in enterprise messaging.
While message-based transports with security and transactional integrity are a vital infrastructure component throughout financial institutions, the AMQP specification and related implementations may also provide greater interoperability for a number of other vertical scenarios, including insurance and healthcare. AMQP specifies a wire-level protocol (think of a transport like TCP or HTTP) and FIX, FpML, SOAP, and other messages can be sent of AMQP in LAN and WAN environments.
I think it's particularly interesting to see this trend of industry-specific shared software and protocols. In the case of AMQP, the known implementations are open source (using MPL, BSD, GPLv3, and Apache licenses). In a sense the customer/end-user organizations involved in AMQP - competitors in their core business - are choosing to act as a technology keiretsu within a highly competitive industry.
Our work in AMQP will be consistent with the commitment to openness outlined in July. The AMQP Working Group requires a limited royalty-free patent licensing commitment from its members and, as a participant, we have agreed to grant royalty-free patent licenses on specified terms to implementers of the specification.
The AMQP Working Group is also not a formal standards-setting organization like ISO or a standards consortium such as the IETF, OASIS or the W3C, but rather a group of companies and organizations that have come together to develop a specification to improve interoperability for messaging solutions. Microsoft will help, as appropriate, the Working Group to take the AMQP standard specification to another standards-setting organization, should it decide to do so at a later stage.
So, in short, we hope to contribute to the development of the AMQP specification in ways that will promote interoperability for existing and new implementations.
by Peter Galli on October 28, 2008 05:22pm
There was lots of news announced at PDC here in Los Angeles on Tuesday. From the first public demo of Windows 7, to how Microsoft is extending Office to the browser, to the release of the Silverlight Toolkit, and much, much more.
Rather than bore you all with too many facts and details, I thought I would simply provide a set of links to resources where you can get more information about all this news. I'll keep updating these as I find more useful links.
Extending Office to the Web:
Windows Server 2008 R2:
Steve Ballmer's Executive Email:
by Peter Galli on October 27, 2008 05:50pm
It's all about developers, all the time - well, at least for the next week here in Los Angeles at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference.
The first day of the show started off with an opening keynote by Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who welcomed the more than six thousand attendees, thanking them for their commitment to the company and for all their hard work, saying that "without you, there would be no Microsoft."
He also pointed out that, although there had never been more platform choices for developers than are available today, Microsoft's platforms remained the most compelling for a number of reasons.
These included the fact that the company always builds its own key applications to ensure that its platform works well, end-to-end, for its customers; that, because of the scope of Microsoft's reach, its key platforms have a good chance of reaching critical mass, providing a stable foundation for developers; and that the company never loses sight of the fact that its partners have to be successful in order for it to thrive and flourish.
There is also new value to be had for users, developers and businesses, through the combination of the best of software with the best services, Ozzie said, before announcing the Azure Services Platform, which he described as a new service in the cloud and a new Windows offering at the Web-tier level. "Think about this as Windows in the cloud."
In a white paper, which can be downloaded here, titled "Introducing the Azure Services Platform," author Dave Chappell notes that in the Community Technology Preview version of Windows Azure, which was made available to PDC attendees today, developers can create .NET-based software such as ASP.NET applications and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services.
To do this, they can use C# and other .NET languages, along with traditional development tools such as Visual Studio 2008. And while many developers are likely to use this initial version of Windows Azure to create Web applications, the platform also supports background processes that run independently - it's not solely a Web platform, Chappell says in the paper.
Both Windows Azure applications and on-premises applications can access the Windows Azure storage service, and both do it in the same way: using a RESTful approach. The underlying data store is not Microsoft SQL Server, however. In fact, Windows Azure storage isn't a relational system, and its query language isn't SQL. Because it's primarily designed to support applications built on Windows Azure, it provides simpler, more scalable kinds of storage. Accordingly, it allows storing binary large objects (blobs), provides queues for communication between components of Windows Azure applications, and even offers a form of tables with a straightforward query language, Chappell says.
Azure will compete with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as a scalable hosting environment on which developers can build and host their applications. The systems currently being built for cloud-based computing are also setting the stage for the next 50 years, and developers should expect to see more Microsoft applications coming to Windows Azure as the system scales out.
So, for now, the new platform has Windows Azure at the center, with Live Services, .Net Services, SQL Services, SharePoint Services and Dynamics CRM Services above it.
And, as Sam Ramji said in his blog post, the Azure platform's goal is to support all developers and their choice of IDE, language and technology. Microsoft is providing programmable components that can be consumed by other applications, and Microsoft is funding and sponsoring open source software development kits to enable Java and Ruby developers to take advantage of Azure. This is significant as this is the first time the company is delivering cross-platform software development kits at the same time as Microsoft Developer Network software development kits.
Microsoft is also funding these open source projects, under the BSD licensing model, in collaboration with Thoughtworks Inc. and Schakra Inc., and they will be run on open source portals RubyForge and SourceForge.
Amitabh Srivastaba, the Corporate Vice President of Cloud Infrastructure Services, told attendees that Windows Azure was a scalable hosting environment for developers to deploy their applications to the cloud, and would use multiple layers of security, including an optimized hypervisor and hypervisor enforced isolation.
Windows Azure also separates the applications from the underlying operating system so that both are managed separately. In fact, at the heart of Windows Azure, is a fabric controller, which manages the lifecycle of a service, from deployment to upgrade and configuration changes. The fabric controller views the entire datacenter as fabric or shared hardware resources that can be managed and shared with all the services that run there.
So, in short, the fabric controller maintains the health of the service. "When you want to change your service, you specify the desired M state, and the fabric controller very carefully makes the necessary changes. The fabric controller manages services, not just servers.This is a crucial point because this allows us to automate the lifecycles of a service," Srivastaba said.
Also, Windows Azure, leveraging the vast computing power available in Microsoft's datacenters across the world, will help reduce upfront capital costs, as well as management and operational costs, Bob Muglia, the senior Vice President for Server and Tools, told attendees, before likening the significance of the launch of Azure to that of Windows NT in 1992.
The Azure software is also at an early stage and will probably change as a result of direct feedback from developers, and Microsoft will be unlocking more and more of the platform's underlying services to developers over time.
When it is released commercially, the Windows Azure business model will treat costs primarily as a function of two key factors: application resource consumption and the specific service level provided.
Ozzie will be back on the keynote stage Tuesday to talk about Windows 7, developing for Windows and the Web, and the services built to bridge the Web, the PC, and the phone, and a world of devices. He will be joined by Steven Sinofsky, the Senior Vice President for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group; Scott Guthrie, the Corporate Vice President of the .NET Developer Division; and David Treadwell, the Corporate Vice President for Live Platform Services.
by Sam Ramji on October 16, 2008 04:20pm
It has been a month or so since the Codeplex announcement of server support for SVNBridge, which enables TortoiseSVN to talk to Team Foundation Server, and the team is looking for feedback now this has been out for a while. I also recently interviewed Codeplex's Sara Ford on this, and wanted to share her responses with you.
Sam Ramji: So, Sara - this has been a top request for some time. What are the most interesting comments you've received requesting this feature?
Sara Ford: There have been countless requests and comments for this feature, but one of the more memorable ones when we first announced the SVNBridge project last year is "It's so crazy it just might work," was one.
Many of our users view CodePlex, when compared to other open source hosting sites, as Team Foundation Server (TFS) versus Subversion (SVN). Now, our users can use either TFS or SVN clients against any of our projects. It's like soccer fans and American football fans are unexpectedly findings themselves in the same arena, conversing for the first time.
Sam Ramji: What made it hard to deliver this feature?
Sara Ford: When we first started investigating this, we were skeptical that it could be done, since TortoiseSVN and Team Explorer are so different. But once we began comparing the protocols used for Subversion and Team Foundation Server, we were surprised by how much of it could easily be translated. So a lot of things started working quickly, but there were a couple of areas that didn't map directly, and those represented the bulk of the effort to get all the kinks worked out.
Sam Ramji: What can Subversion fans expect next from Codeplex?
Sara Ford: Well, as always, we look at the features users have voted the highest on the CodePlex Issue Tracker. Now that we're closing our number one most requested feature, we're asking our Subversion fans to visit our Issue Tracker and start voting for what they want to see next!
Sam Ramji: It's interesting that now we have Subversion support in Visual Studio through the AnkhSVN project, and SvnBridge support from Codeplex on the server side. You can probably do round trips via SVN from Visual Studio to Codeplex. Interesting? Or just plain strange?
Sara Ford: VisualSVN and AnkhSVN are both popular plug-ins for Visual Studio that provide integrated IDE support for Subversion, and several users have mentioned they've tried them against CodePlex and they work great! We really like the idea of providing the broadest support for different clients and tools, so users can pick the tools they prefer.
by Bryan Kirschner on October 14, 2008 08:35pm
Last year, we sponsored GOSON 2007, the Government Open Source Conference, and we're sponsoring it again this year. I will also be presenting a keynote address on how Microsoft participates in a world of choice.
I'm personally also excited that Brian Behlendorf (one of the co-founders of Apache) will be on a panel-and, like Sam, I have profound respect for The Apache Way.
What's also gratifying is the fact that two other colleagues from Microsoft will also be participating. Stuart McKee, the National Technology Office for the U.S., will be on the Government Open Collaboratives Panel with Brian, and Kathleen Connor from Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, will be speaking.
As I've said many times before in my blog posts, success for our team is not about controlling all things open source at Microsoft. Rather, it's about encouraging, enabling, and advising (if they need it) others across Microsoft on how to constructively engage with open source (like this...I need this. You need this. I'm not sure why, but I am confident we all do. This started as the work of one super creative guy, and kudos for the team for releasing it under the MS-PL).
I love this intro to Paul Taylor's GOSCON keynote, where he says governments have a "second chance" at realizing the "promise of e-government"-and that "some of what comes next will be home grown, some will be off the shelf, some will be community built and some will come from where we least expect it."
The least expected is what we're all about.
by Bryan Kirschner on October 28, 2008 01:33pm
The city of Matsue, Japan is using Ruby to promote regional economic development. One of the unexpected highlights of the recent GOSCON, was a gentleman from Matsue coming up to me after I had given my talk about open source and Microsoft and saying "I am using IronRuby. I love it."
It was a nice moment because - even in the best of times - public sector IT typically has resource constraints that make it tough for them to think aspirationally about technology. And right now isn't the best of times.
But if you step out of the current challenges for a moment, it was a reminder that whether you're a developer at Microsoft or at the Census Bureau, you have the potential to contribute to something people would love. (Why do people at the north end of my zip code take 5 minutes longer to get work? On a percentage of the mean basis, that's huge. Does the disruption of the grid by the lake have that much of an impact? Yes, I am a long-time GIS nerd. Ironically, there is a nerd GIS - although, sadly, it is an acronym and not a density plot of nerds per square mile...).
On a more practical level, "open government collaboratives" was a theme of the conference. This is a consortium-based approach to development -f or example, multiple cities cooperating to develop a web toolkit for libraries. (Brian Prentice and Andrea Di Maio at Gartner call this "community source.") The good news is that both open source and Microsoft can play useful - and complementary - roles in this.
Open source has demonstrated a set of practices, and open source communities have developed a pool of technologies - Plone, for example, was a popular CMS that government collaboratives customized.
I wound up speaking to a couple folks about things like enabling single-sign on with Active Directory into their Plone-based systems. This is exactly what Sam Ramji describes (in graphic detail) as our open source strategy: as the application ecosystem (including open source applications) on Windows grows, products like Active Directory become more relevant. (In the case of Active Directory, and System Center, those applications don't need to be on Windows.)
I started my talk with two simple declarative statements: open source is neither a fad, nor a magic bullet. Microsoft products are neither a fad, nor a magic bullet (mildly interesting diff for a slow day: live google).
More importantly, over and over again, this was the right starting point for a face-to-face conversation with the IT managers attending GOSCON. For most, this is where they are as well - considering all the tools in the toolbox, trying to determine the "best tool for the job." That can be challenging, but it's a bilateral, constructive challenge we can work together on-to find a solution set that developers and users will love.
by hjanssen on October 28, 2008 11:25am
Today is Tuesday - That must mean I am in Mainz. I am on day 12 of my European trip. I was in Rome and Amsterdam last week.
In Rome I attended the Moodle conference, which was pretty cool. It was put on by Roma Tre and was one of many destinations in which Moodle held conferences this past month. I went to talk to Martin Dougiamas, Helen Foster and Petr Skoda as part of our ongoing quest to get PHP on Windows to be the best experience possible.
The deployment numbers that Martin showed in his presentation are quite impressive! I have been digging around for his presentation to give these numbers, but I can't find them. I am sure that Martin must have posted his presentation somewhere, I just have not found it yet. :)
But the intention was to start a working relationship with the Moodle community, and this was a great start. One of the most interesting presentations was from the Italian Airforce, who described their experiences in finding better educational tools to train their personnel, and settled on Moodle to be a large part of that. It is always interesting to have a General in the audience.
It is really amazing to see how and where Moodle is used. It is a testament to the intention of Moodle and Martin and the Moodle community that is has become so popular.
The other thing I did was meet with a lot of open source influential's/Government/CTO/Journalists etc. Microsoft Rome asked me to give a bunch of presentations and interviews, which I love to do, but it turned into a 17 hour-long gauntlet. And I just want to go on record and say that I cannot be held accountable for what I talked about the last 4 or so hours of that day. It became a little blurry at that point. :)
The bad thing about these trips is that I am away from home for a long period of time. The really good thing about doing these trips is that I get to meet so many people. It is really cool to see the faces and have the dialogues when I talk about what Microsoft is doing in the OS world. By far it is very positive.
But I get the biggest bang for the buck when we have discussions on what people do, and want, from the OS and from Microsoft. We have been doing more and more in the OS world, but unless we work closely with the community we have no idea if we are on the right track.
One of the questions I asked in Rome in a meeting with government officials and OS influential's was ‘what does open source mean to you?' There were many responses, and most of them followed the same line. Some of the common responses where: sharing knowledge, collaboration, personal recognition, information that is easy to get to, allocation of rights, intend to make communications possible.
Well, for the next few days I will be at the IPC in Mainz. So I will blog more tomorrow. There are a lot of things we are doing right now, so I have a lot of content :)
by Peter Galli on October 24, 2008 05:03pm
Getting external feedback is always a good thing, and something that Microsoft has been trying to do a lot more of, particularly with regard to its focus on openness and interoperability with various open source communities.
So it was with great interest that I read the trip report for the CIFS Conference and AD Plugfest, by Andrew Bartlett of the Samba Team, which is a candid assessment of the great challenges, successes and frustrations that are part and parcel of such complex arrangements.
But all that has been achieved so far is in large measure due to the passion, commitment, dedication and tenacity of the Samba team, and their openness to working towards a shared goal. This is truly a great example of how Microsoft and those in the open source community can work productively together.
While there has been some skepticism that Microsoft's focus on interoperability is simply for compliance sake, the reality is that the work the company has been doing with Samba and others are concrete examples of our commitment to openness and to working with open source communities.
So, the background to this is that, in late 2007, the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, a non-profit organization created by the Software Freedom Law Center and Microsoft, reached an agreement that allows Samba to create, use and distribute implementation of all the protocols that allow workgroup servers to connect with Windows.
Microsoft has made protocol documentation for the Windows protocol programs available online and for download from MSDN, and developers are not required to execute a license or pay a royalty or other fee to have full access to this documentation.
As actions really do speak louder than words, it was gratifying to hear from Bartlett that Samba feels it has a "beachhead at Redmond, and a department committed to providing the Free Software community with answers or clarification on any reasonable interoperability question."
by hjanssen on October 29, 2008 12:38pm
Wednesday - Day two for my IPC in Mainz conference, which is a developer orientated PHP conference.
Very well attended. The most negative thing I can say about this conference is that for some unknown (but brilliant beyond my level of comprehension) reason the venue is a 30 minute cab drive from the Speaker hotel. And the shuttle provided in the morning leaves every 30 minutes, has 5 seats and has a line of 20+ people for it in the morning.
And yes, there are hotels closer by.
It is pretty cool to see how things changed in the last few years; people do not stop/point and stare anymore when they see Microsoft people walking around and actively engaging. People are happy to see us.
There are a lot sessions on a variety of topics, but I get the most out of talking to people outside of these sessions. I am starting to lose track with everybody I have talked to.
Anyhoot, I had a good conversation with Brian Akers. For those who do not know Brian, he is one of the people behind Drizzle. He gave a keynote yesterday that was extremely well attended and talked about the state of Drizzle, which is starting to become a really interesting Database.
One session that was pretty unique was Pierre Joye and Garrett Serack doing a joint session on how to build PHP on Windows. This used to require the sacrifice of your favorite item, standing on your head, facing the North and chanting to RA to get it to build.
The work we have done with the PHP community to make PHP on Windows the best possible platform in the past few months has been greatly improved and accelerated. All old libraries have been updated to their latest versions, something that had not been done in over 10 years for some of them. More importantly, these libraries are now the same versions (and thus have the same behavior) as their Linux counterpart.
Additionally the build system used was VC6, which means Visual Studio 1998!!. The build system is now VC9 or Visual studio 2008. And, depending on the speed of your machine, it builds in a few minutes. And viola, a brand new, shiny, hot from the oven, newly minted PHP.
Now we have a great place to start from, a build for Windows that we have all the code for, a build with a compiler that comes out of this century. That will leave us ready to do the next steps, optimizing PHP on Windows. And that is what we will be working on for the foreseeable future. If you can/want to please participate.
These changes are incorporated into the latest build starting with PHP 5.3. You can download this here.
If you want to check out in person what we did, and how you now can build PHP for Windows, check out this link.
BTW, Pierre and Garrett both have the misfortune to report to me at the OSTC. And yes, there are questions about their sanity
A few more days, and then back home. Where my wife, kid and dog claim they are looking forward to having me back again after 2 weeks. Off to get some rest.......
by jcannon on October 10, 2008 06:11pm
When I began my journey with technology, it was with a passion for the web. Living off a friend’s T1 line, I was hacking together HTML when Mosaic was the only show in town. I’m returning to that love of the web next week where I’ll be moving to a new position in Product Management for Windows Live social networking.
To the community: I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed learning, listening and working with you. I’ll take your wisdom with me & promise to carry the “open” flag with me wherever I go within Microsoft. You’re in good hands: effective immediately, Peter Galli, will be taking over as Open Source Community Manager on Port 25. Things have been quiet on Port 25, and Peter has great plans to shake things up …but more on that later.
See you around, -Jamie