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by anandeep on November 29, 2008 05:55pm
As I stated in my last blog, I am attending the premier Indian Open Source conference, FOSS.IN, in Bangalore. This conference had some very technical talks (which I will also blog about) but, like any other Open source conference, it was the people who were the most interesting.
There seems to be a large PHP contingent here. I met some folks from Piazza, a company that does PHP applications. Of course they asked the million dollar question - "Microsoft has an Open Source group?" But, very quickly, they soon started talking about how they could work with Microsoft technologies. They hadn't realized that we had a relationship with Zend, and that Microsoft would treat PHP as a first class language.
Once they heard about this, they excitedly started thinking of .NET applications that their customers were asking for, and how they could build them. These developers were not based in Bangalore, but in a small town in Kerala. They followed the true Open Source model of living and developing from where they wanted, and did not have to work in a large overgrown city with corporate offices. This is a BIG thing in India - and I am seeing this for the first time.
The other PHP linkage I made was with Damian Hickey, CEO of Zacware.com. Zacware is making an e-commerce server called Freeway, which is PHP based. His was more the traditional Open Source business, and his firm had already reached out to Microsoft's representative in Queensland, Australia to see how they could make this application run on Microsoft platforms.
We had a long discussion about community and how Microsoft could approach Open Source. Again, the theme of opening a two-way conversation came up. Damian's development team is in India and I was able to talk to his PHP dev lead, who was also excited to work on .NET.
I had asked one of the organizers why I hadn't heard of a well known contributor to the Linux kernel who hailed from India. I was promptly told that Balbir Singh and Ankita Garg were the two names to know. I ran into Balbir - who works for the IBM Linux Technology Center - and we had some good discussions on kernels and people we knew in common. Turns out he knows Tom Hanrahan, my current boss. (Tom, I mentioned you in my blog. I hope you are noticing for my review next year!)
I then chatted with Amit Shah from Qumranet (now Red Hat). He gave a talk in the conference on how he parleyed an interview question from Qumranet into a career in hypervisors. Again, he was keen to work with Microsoft, especially when he heard about our virtualization Interop efforts with Xen and Novell.
I also met a passionate young student, Abhishek, who very politely asked me all the tough questions about Microsoft. These involved questions on patents, open sourcing Windows, and OOXML. I answered them, presenting my own point of view. The reaction? He said he had been waiting to talk to someone from Microsoft who was so open about this stuff, even if he didn't agree with me on everything.
What did I learn about Microsofts role in Open Source in India? Our role here is to be the two way conduit, but we also need to engage the community with the same kind of passion for our own (Microsoft's) stuff that they have for Open Source. Anything less will appear fake.
More to come.
by anandeep on November 25, 2008 01:47pm
I am writing this during lunch at FOSS.IN, the most prominent Open Source conference for developers and FOSS advocates in India. FOSS.IN is in Bangalore, which is where I graduated high school. That was a long time ago - and Bangalore has been transformed from the "garden city" to the software capital of India. Lots more skyscrapers and cars on the road. And lots of software companies (including Microsoft) have development or R&D centers here.
It so happens that the venue for FOSS.IN is in the Indian Institute of Science (I.I.Sc) auditorium. I.I.Sc was right in the middle of the path I trudged from home to school, walking 12 miles uphill both ways (or so it seemed). I have seen the Indian cricket team there, when they were visiting the old auditorium. The new auditorium on the same site is nothing like the old one, it's actually pretty nice. I don't think they would allow me to perform the amateur play that I was forced into by my high school drama teacher at the venue any more!
The conference is all volunteer organized and does not have the polished feel of a larger conference in the US. I think this actually works in the favor of the conference organizers because people seem to interact more with one other than tends to happen at other conferences I have been to stateside.
But I have actually been disappointed that I have not seen more Open Source contributors from India gain prominence. That is kind of sad, since we have one of the (if not the) largest pool of software engineers in the world. So, I am keen to talk to the people involved and see what is happening around Open Source development in India.
There are a large number of people attending - my estimate is between 300 and 400 - with just three vendors: Sun, Noikia and VMWare(?).
So far I have attended the keynote by Harald Welte on how Embedded Linux was not taking the right path and why. I also attended a session that went through an "interview question" that was given to KVM contributor Amit Shah to solve by Qumranet prior to bringing him on board. It was to facilitate the migration of guests from an Intel based architecture host to an AMD based architecture host. The talk was fascinating.
I am starting to mingle and will have a number of stories from interacting with the people at the conference. So, more to come later.
by Bryan Kirschner on November 24, 2008 02:47pm
I was recently at Harvard for two events. The first, which I'll talk about in this blog, was part of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard lunch series.
Mario Madden and I were invited to speak at a session called "Microsoft and Open Source: Opportunity or Threat?" You can watch the whole thing online at the link - and David Weinberger liveblogged as well.
The focus of the whole thing was, to quote Karim Lakhani, our host, a "vigorous discussion." So we had about 15 minutes to give an up-front presentation about our thoughts on the "opportunity or threat" issue.
The rest of the time was open discussion. So I do recommend checking out the webcast-it's tough to do the discussion justice second hand. I will call out a couple things that won't show up in the recording.
First, Harvard really is an important source of expertise on open source. There's a whole bunch of research that's certainly been valuable to me (on developer and corporate motivations, for example). There are also people like Margo Seltzer (the former CTO of Sleepycat) who I got to meet at the second event, which I'll talk about in my next blog.
Second, the whole OSS Lab at Microsoft community has emphasized the importance of dialogue for as long as we've been around. This event drove that home once again. Some folks followed up verbally or in mail to semi-apologize for it being a bit of a challenging environment for us.
But I didn't think it was challenging: if a question is difficult to answer because someone is working hard at making it difficult for me to answer, I'm not too keen on that. But if a question is difficult to answer because the answer is something we haven't thought about (and maybe should) or it's just a tough problem...if the questioner is willing to help me be smarter about figuring out a good answer, well, bring it on, as they say.
David Weinberger actually raised a point like this when we talked about Microsoft-released projects and contributions(from his blog):
Q: [David] Are 500 contributions a lot? Compared to the number of patents? Products? A: [Bryan] We'll measure success when every product group considers open source. Q: [Karim] IBM says they have 1,000 developers working on Linux, etc. Do you have any number you can point to that's similar? A: No.
I added we don't have a KLOC or person hours target...should we?
Third, just for the record, here, I said think open source and Microsoft represents a mutual opportunity (...check out the podcast for all the reasons why.) But that brings me to the one thing that most sticks in my mind. A CS professor who attended told us she waited until the recording was finished because she didn't want to be rude-but that to her, we were talking about our open source strategy as if it was something new and innovative.
But from her perspective, she said she's been doing software development a long time, and this sounds just like what Microsoft did in the late 1980's, when being open to developers is what made early Microsoft products interesting to her as a developer. So (to paraphrase): not to be rude, but why do you think this is cool?
This was funny because (as I replied) I absolutely agree with her. Our open source strategy took a lot of learning about how open source has changed the landscape, and what it has brought that's new and different, but the fundamental principle remains the same: openness to third-party developers is a powerful and enduring principle.
And it is part of Microsoft's DNA, as we sometimes say ("...the engineering relationship is getting back to the way it used to be in 1994-1997, which is a great relief to us," [Jeremy] Allison, said recently about Samba and Microsoft).
At one time, Microsoft was perceived to be a leader in openness through free SDKs and extensive APIs, active developer communities, published object models (wow, now you can call the Excel object model from the Powershell scripting language...) , and more.
For a number of (in my opinion) remediable reasons, from the time open source started to capture the popular imagination till today, Microsoft has not been perceived as a leader. But I don't see any reason why we can't reach the point where the best things Microsoft has brought to users and developers and the best things open source has brought to users and developers will be decidedly better together. I think there are some arguable examples already (XNA is high on my list: traditional coding contests plus easy paths to write and sell games, plus a growing open source community).
The other event at Harvard was a business focused Open Source CEO Summit...which I'll talk about in my next blog.
by Peter Galli on November 18, 2008 10:16pm
It is two years this month since Microsoft and Novell struck their ground-breaking technical collaboration agreement, a move that has effectively ensured greater interoperability between Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
This technical collaboration has already resulted in a number of milestones, including two new offerings announced today: the availability in the first half of 2009 of an Advanced Management Pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, and a free beta download of Novell's Moonlight, a rich media application.
Some analysts, vendors and enterprises have said the company that develops effective cross-platform management tools will have an advantage and strategic differentiator over its competitors who do not. Microsoft is already doing that.
The Microsoft Operations Manger 2007 Cross Platform Extensions enable the assessment and management of Windows and Linux servers from a single, unified console, eliminating the costs and complexities of having multiple management consoles. The Advanced Management Pack extends this Linux monitoring capability.
Also, given the current tough economic environment, this solution helps reduce training costs since staff only need to be trained on one management tool for both Windows and Linux environments.
Attendees at the Microsoft TechEd EMEA conference in Barcelona earlier this month got to see a technical preview of the Advanced Management Pack, whose release will coincide with that of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.
A beta of Novell's Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft Silverlight, will also be released going forward as an open source plug-in for the Firefox web browser. Moonlight brings Linux-based users the same high-definition media capabilities currently available for the Windows and Apple environments.
So, expect to see a lot more solutions in the next year that promote interoperability and help ease customer pain-points across their heterogeneous environments.
by Peter Galli on November 10, 2008 04:55pm
Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have signed a search distribution deal under which the MSN Toolbar, which is powered by Microsoft Live Search, will be available to U.S.-based Internet Explorer users when they download the Java Runtime Environment.
The agreement, which is effective today, means that Internet Explorer users downloading Sun's JRE will have the option of downloading the MSN Toolbar, giving them one-click access to Live Search and direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.
Java is already found on 91 percent of Internet-connected PCs worldwide, while the Java Runtime Environment is one of the highest-volume consumer downloads on the Web. There are also some 6.5 million Java software developers and more than 800 million Java desktop users across the globe.
Given the enormous diversity of Java-based Web applications that are downloaded every month, the deal should help drive exposure to, and usage of, Live Search.
It is also being reported today that Google has dropped StarOffice from its Google Pack of free software, though this has not been confirmed by the company as yet. But this makes sense since Google probably wants people to use its own free online office suite.
by Kamaljit Bath on November 10, 2008 03:24pm
This is Kamaljit Bath, and I am in the Big Easy to experience my first Apache Conference! I am a Principal Program Manager in the Interoperability Technical Strategy Team at Microsoft. We have been doing a lot of great interoperability work and have done quite a few Open Source projects to build bridging solutions etc., but this is the first time I am attending ApacheCon. This is a learning experience for me.
Microsoft is certainly interested in expanding interoperability between Open Source solutions and Microsoft technologies, and is working with individuals and communities for that purpose. I think this is great because it will enable choice of solutions and create strong partnerships to promote growth for everyone in the industry.
ApacheCon has been quite an experience for me so far. I have seen the energy and high quality decision making. It is amazing how people from many different backgrounds can come together and accomplish so much in so little time.
I have also met some very interesting people and some that I have wanted to meet for a long time. Meeting motivated and driven people is what I like the most about conferences. I have learnt a lot from this experience and I will take back great memories from this trip.
In his keynote today Sam Ramji, the Senior Director for Platform Strategy at Microsoft, gave an update on the many interoperability and Open Source projects that Microsoft is engaged in. I am sure that some of this was news to many of the attendees, but hopefully it gave them an idea of the breadth of work that Microsoft is doing in this area.
Sam covered a lot of things, including our participation in Apache QPID project; the release of the 'Oslo-M' language under the Open Source Promise; participation in the Apache HBase project; and support for the new Stonehenge proposal by WSO2.
Sam also covered many other open source projects that Microsoft has used to build bridging technologies, while my manager, Jean Paoli, has covered these in detail in his blog.
Sam is a well known figure in these avenues and needs no introduction - he has been representing Microsoft at many of these conferences.
But it is also important to have a more grass-root level developer and architecture presence from Microsoft, and we are now moving in that direction. Hopefully, we will see an increased Microsoft presence at such events.
Microsoft is also supportive of the new Apache incubation proposal - Stonehenge - that was proposed by WSO2. It will focus on building a set of sample applications based on approved W3C and OASIS standard protocols with goal of proving interoperability between different implementations on various platforms.
I think these sample applications will provide developers a great starting place for their tasks by providing best practice guidelines and reference implementations on various platforms. They will also help find potential interoperability problems and hopefully develop into a great community to discuss the architecture of multi-tier SOA apps. We look forward to working with WS02 on the scope of this project, and having discussions with the community.
These are exciting times for the software industry and we are seeing the co-existence of commercial and open source software and coming together of various forces to create solutions for the new heterogeneous IT environment.
Onwards, with great faith and hope!
by anandeep on November 07, 2008 10:54am
Whenever people get to know that I work in the Open Source Lab at Microsoft, there are a few knee jerk questions they always have. The most common one is: "Microsoft has an Open Source Lab?", while another question often asked is: "So when is Microsoft actually going to be part of an Open Source project and actually participate?"
This question does not, of course, refer to our Codeplex projects, which are aplenty and Open Source, but rather about participating in an ongoing project that is not under Microsoft's umbrella. Something that organizations with strong Open Source credentials are behind: Mozilla, Perl, Linux, Apache, Samba, PHP, Eclipse ... you know, the usual suspects.
Fundamentally, as a developer, the answer I (truthfully!) gave: that we worked with all those communities and had actually done some important work with them, was not soul satisfying. You know as developers that one needs to jump in with both feet and actually stand up and be counted as being part of a project.
Given the kind of work we had been doing in changing realities both at Microsoft and in Open Source communities, I knew that it was just a matter of time before that happened. (My colleague Hank Janssen hates the word perception, and I would have used it here just to aggravate him, but that would not capture what I wanted to say. Darn!).
Well, that day is arrived - and I am excited beyond words to say that we (as Microsoft) will be participating in the Apache QPID project. This was announced by Sam Ramji today during his keynote address at the Apache Conference in New Orleans.
Apache QPID is middleware for message passing and is based on the AMQP standard. I will be the point person for our lab's participation in Apache QPID. Actually I should say "what used to be our lab" and which now has truly become the Open Source Technology Center at Microsoft.
In a previous life, I was with a small start up that did secure Web Services management. This was when the SOAP protocol sent unreliable, in-the-clear over the wire messages, and what we did was make SOAP a secure, guaranteed once and once only protocol between two Web Services end points without requiring any changes to web or application servers. That gave me some understanding of the complexities of message passing. Add the complexity of time constrained responses, huge volumes of data and interoperability between disparate systems and the technical problem becomes real juicy!
I often used to wonder why there weren't more successful Open Source messaging systems, since the primary message passing systems in use were proprietary and weren't built for interoperability. Imagine my surprise and joy when Tom Hanrahan (da boss) told me that Microsoft was joining AMQP and was considering participating in the Apache QPID project. I jumped on the opportunity to be involved with the project.
I want to reiterate that we will follow Open Source principles in being part of the Apache QPID project, and not antagonize people through typical big company execution. This means the following things to me:
This all means that we will be slower of the mark than we would, say in one of our internal projects - but we would like to get it right.
For now I am going to download QPID and run it in the lab. Look, listen and linger in the forums, read the documentation, run the test suites, play around with APIs and learn how the joint runs (so to speak).
Looking forward to seeing you all there.
by Paul Long on November 07, 2008 10:49am
Today I am excited to announce that the development of protocol parsers for Microsoft Network Monitor is moving into an open source model, hosted on CodePlex. This site will host development of parsers for public protocols and for protocols described in our Open Protocol Specifications for Windows.
Network Monitor is a free protocol analyzer and network sniffer. It allows you to capture and view network traffic in a format that is easier for humans to read. It is often used as a troubleshooting/development tool or to validate that a protocol is behaving as you expect.
We've started the ball rolling by releasing an updated parser package and creating a source tree on Codeplex. While this process will take time, we hope to have all bugs filed on the site within a few months, as well as having all parser development taking place directly on CodePlex.
Every month we'll post a new installer package that Netmon users will be able to install, so as to benefit from the latest changes.
As we continue to evolve, we hope that the community will get involved by filing bugs and suggestions, contributing code and new parsers, and helping us improve how information like summaries and field descriptions are displayed.
At some point we also anticipate that some of our committed users will manage subsets of the parsers.
We are also really excited about the impact of making our parsers open source. The force of the community should help us keep up with the quickly changing world of new protocols and updated documentation.
If you want to contribute, please join the community on CodePlex and start giving us feedback.
For historic background, Network Monitor 3 was a complete re-write of the Network Monitor program that previously shipped in Windows Server and SMS.
One of the major design changes is that the parsers - code that describes how network packets are decoded - are written in a custom language and included with the product.
Most industry protocol analyzers include parsers as static compiled code, or DLLs, which make them harder to update and maintain. By contrast, because the Netmon parsers are run within our execution environment, they can provide a layer of protection against overruns and therefore help protect the user from poorly written code which can expose security vulnerabilities.
At the same time that Network Monitor 3 was being developed in 2004, the product teams were in the process of creating the documents for the Microsoft Open Protocols.
So, at that point, we were able to partner with our document writers and get parsers written for these open protocol specifications for Windows. Not only did this help us verify the documentation, but it also provides a strong base of parsers for Network Monitor that makes troubleshooting network traffic very transparent.
For the latest version of Network Monitor, visit our download page.
For more information and tips on using Network Monitor go to our blog.
Thanks and enjoy!
by Jean Paoli on November 07, 2008 01:21am
Interoperability has always been a focus area at Microsoft. Being a platform company, Microsoft has engaged in interoperability at many levels - product features, participation in standardization bodies, publishing many technologies under open licenses and working closely with customers, governments and partners to understand the heterogeneous IT landscape and discuss practical interoperability solutions.
Earlier this year, these activities were formalized under the Interoperability Principles for all of our high-volume products.
I am the General Manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft, and I have worked across the company on many interop initiatives. I am happy to see many interop projects now coming out of Microsoft and, personally, having many of them based on XML makes me doubly happy.
My team has built several bridging technologies and solutions for many of our products to enable interoperability. These are being run as open source projects and released under a broad BSD license so that our customers and partners can use them in many open and broad scenarios.
Interoperability has been getting enhanced attention at a lot of conferences lately and Microsoft has also upped its participation at many open source conferences such as OSCON, the Eclipse Conference and ApacheCon.
At Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference last month, the interoperability story was part of almost every announcement and keynote address. As Sam Ramji writes in his latest blog, Microsoft is also participating at ApacheCon and highlighting the interoperability work we are doing. These are indeed exciting times!
On the interoperability front, my team has been working with the WSO2 since the TechEd 2007 Conference to demonstrate interoperability using our StockTrader reference application.
This week, the WSO2 proposed a new Apache incubation project, known as Stonehenge, to further this work. The aim of this project is to set up sample applications to demonstrate interoperability with multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols. We look forward to working with WS02 on the scope of this project, and having discussions with the community.
I also want to highlight some open source interoperability projects that my team has been working on with third parties, companies and members of the community at large, which may be very relevant to the readers of this blog.
Eclipse Tools for Silverlight
Eclipse4sl allows Java developers to develop code for the Silverlight platform within the Eclipse development environment, and contains both an advanced project system for creating Silverlight applications and media experiences as well as a compiler for packaging Silverlight applications for deployment.
Interoperability with the Azure Services platform
Announced at PDC recently, the Azure Services Platform is an internet-scale cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers. It provides an operating system and a set of developer services which can be used individually or together. Microsoft .NET Services is a key component of the Azure Services Platform that offers a set of Microsoft-hosted, highly scalable, developer-oriented services that provide the key building blocks, like, Access Control, Service Bus, and Workflow service.
The Azure Services Platform, built from the ground up to be consistent with Microsoft's commitment to openness and interoperability and in that spirit, we have built two cross-platform SDKs for .NET services - for Java and Ruby.
Information Cards Interoperability
Windows CardSpace is Microsoft implementation of Information Cards on the Windows platform. Information cards are a core part of Identity Metasystem and help both site owners and visitors to manage, control, and exchange digital identities more safely and consistently.
We have also built four open source projects that help Web developers support information cards on diverse platforms:
The goal of this project is to provide translators to allow for interoperability between applications based on ODF (OpenDocument) standard and Office Open XML standard. The translator is based on XSLT transformations between two XML formats, along with some pre- and post-processing, and is available on Sourceforge under a BSD-like license.
The goal of this project is to provide translators to allow for interoperability between applications based on UOF (Uniform Office Format) standard and Office Open XML standard.
UOF is an emerging standard, which is being developed by the Chinese Office Software Work Group (COSWG), led by the China Electronics Standard Institute (CESI), the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), major suppliers of Chinese office software suites, and other academic institutions.The translator is based on XSLT transformations between two XML formats, along with some pre- and post-processing. It is available at SourceForge under a BSD-like license
I would like to hear your comments and feedback on these projects and also welcome open engagement on what Microsoft should be doing for interoperability. Tell us what other interoperability scenarios we should be looking to address.
I also want to thank the multiple third party companies and the community members we cooperate with, as well as the members of my team: Vijay Rajagopalan, Sumit Chawla, Kamaljit Bath, Claudio Caldato, Jean-Christophe Cimetiere and many others for working on these projects and building technical solutions for interoperability with key Microsoft products and technologies.
by Sam Ramji on November 06, 2008 02:49am
I delivered the keynote at ApacheCon in New Orleans today, where I talked about some of the new milestones we have chalked up on the journey inside Microsoft towards greater participation and growth with open source communities, and our strategy of "architecting for participation."
This strategy focuses on four significant themes: community; contribution; partnerships; and choice. Microsoft believes that the next ten years of software will be a time of growth and change where both open source and Microsoft communities will grow together.
We also believe that in an increasingly interconnected world, where more people have a greater opportunity to use more technology to do more things than ever before. We support those choices and are expanding interoperability between open source technologies and Microsoft technologies.
So, on the interoperability front, we have been working with the WS02 since our TechEd 2007 Conference, to demonstrate interoperability using our StockTrader reference application. Today, the WS02 announced they would build an open source version of the sample application under "Project Stonehenge," which hs been proposed as a new Apache incubation project.
WS02 will use the project to set up sample applications that demonstrate seamless interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies, using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols.
My team has been working closely with that of Jean Paoli, the General Manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft, whose team is driving much of this interoperability work. You can read more about all this in Jean's blog post.
Microsoft has also decided to move the development of protocol parsers for Microsoft Network Monitor - a free protocol analyzer and network sniffer - to an open source model, on CodePlex, which will host the development of parsers for public protocols and for protocols described in our Open Protocol Specifications for Windows.
An updated parser package has been released and a source tree created on Codeplex. We want Netmon to be the best-of-breed tool for network monitoring at Microsoft, not just for Windows.
Microsoft also recently joined the AMQP Working Group as a participant, with the goal of contributing towards the development of the specification and to enable greater customer choice in the marketplace.
At the request of community members, we have now committed to participate in the Apache Qpid project, a widely adopted open source implementation of the AMQP specification that addresses the customer need for choice and improved messaging interoperability.
Our customers are telling us that they would like to see the Apache Qpid project extended to interoperate with Windows, so the next few months of participation will be focused on understanding the community's effort to build Windows based AMQP software.
Participation will give us the opportunity to learn from other project participants, so that we can be in a position to consider making a valuable contribution. But it is important to note that the Apache Qpid project is just one of many AMQP specification implementations, and we are open to supporting additional projects.
You can read an interesting technical research paper from Ohio State University analyzing the performance of the Qpid implementation of AMQP here.
Microsoft also announced, at PDC 2008, our commitment to include "Oslo" - an upcoming set of technologies for modeling - in the Open Specification Promise. This will ensure that the "Oslo" declarative modeling language, codenamed "M", is interoperable with prominent industry standards such as WS* specifications, XML formats, industry protocols, and security standards.
Two of the core focuses for Oslo are integration and interoperability. As such, it will integrate with next-gen Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Visual Studio and BizTalk Sever. We also plan to work with partners and the industry, so as to make Oslo interoperable with important standards and industry protocols.
One of the key ways we think customers will achieve customization for their platforms is through the use of textual and visual DSLs, which can be written uniquely by the developer for vertical industries and specific domains, or they can use pre-existing DSLs in these same scenarios.
The hope is that we will establish a broad and open ecosystem around "M" that will enable customers to bring the power of model-driven applications and systems to their heterogeneous environments.
Finally, on the Live Search front, the Powerset team recently resumed its participation with HBase, which is elated to infrastructural storage technology enabling large scale data processing.
The HBase project receives significant lift from the active community that supports the project, and Powerset's continued participation on HBase could allow us to accelerate the integration of Powerset's technology into Live Search, resulting in improvements to the end-user experience.
So, stay posted. There's a lot more to come!
by Peter Galli on November 04, 2008 03:49pm
The extremely popular and well attended Web 2.0 Summit starts in San Francisco today, where Microsoft officially launched its global BizSpark program, designed to help startups grow into successful businesses through software support, a vibrant global ecosystem that delivers superior business advantage, and opportunities for visibility through a new online database, the BizSparkDB.
BizSpark is available globally to privately held startups that are building a software-based product or service, that have been in business less than three years, and have less than $1 million in revenue.
It also provides startups with software, support and visibility early in their life cycle when those resources are most needed and least affordable. As such, Microsoft has decided that the $100 program fee will be made payable when the company leaves the program rather than upfront when joining.
Under the program, startups will receive speedy, easy access to Microsoft's current full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products. They can use these immediately to develop and bring innovative and interoperable solutions to market with no upfront costs and minimal requirements.
Startups will also receive professional support from Microsoft and BizSpark Network Partners around the world. Network Partners are incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters who are vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship.
BizSpark members will also be informed about those programs of particular interest to startups, including the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Microsoft Web Application Installer.
These offerings make it easier for developers to bring PHP and .NET Web applications to market faster, with a streamlined download, install and configure experience, as well as design and development integration and pre-packaged open source applications that run well on the Microsoft Web Platform.
BizSpark members will also get access to the community technology preview of the Azure Services Platform, which was announced last month at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
Azure is a new computing platform that will help developers build the next generation of applications, spanning all the way from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter, while delivering new experiences across the PC, Web and phone.
They will also get access to the community technical preview of the Live Framework, a simple, open and interoperable framework for developers to access and consume Live Services, a set of building blocks within the Azure Services Platform for handling user data and application resources, which includes Live Mesh technologies for synchronizing users' data and extending Web applications across multiple devices.
The BizSpark program is a really positive move, since most startups pretty much always needs help, even in the best of times. In times of economic hardship, they need all the help they can get, so they can deliver on their promise of great software innovation and job creation. Microsoft is doing its part to make sure that happens.
by hanrahat on November 04, 2008 11:32am
At last week's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, product previews and announcements, particularly of Windows Azure, Windows 7 and Visual Studio Team System 2010, generated a lot of buzz. Throughout the week, an important undercurrent to that story was Microsoft's engagement with the open source community and its support for open source developers.
Certainly one of the open source highlights for the week was Miguel de Icaza's presentation, "Mono and .Net." In spite of arriving on time for the session, I wound up viewing it from the second overflow room. Miguel talked about innovations on which the Mono community has focused recently, including their embedded C# compiler. His game demos of the technology were fun and amazing to watch. You can see them for yourself here.
Members of my team spent the month leading up to the conference developing three demonstrations of Windows Azure's ability to support open source developers and open source applications. We ran all three at the Open Source pedestal in the Microsoft booth and each was highlighted in a session during the conference.
One of the demos shows how developers can use Eclipse to create applications and deploy them as Azure services. It relies on an Eclipse community plug-in "Emonics" for displaying C# syntax and a "proof-of-concept" Azure plug-in we created for building and deploying the application. This demo was highlighted in Steve Marx's presentation, "Developing and Deploying Your First Cloud Service," which you can find here.
The second demo shows how an open source application can access services from Azure. In this one, we chose the popular PHP application Gallery and show how it can store, retrieve and modify photos as binary large objects (BLOBs) in the cloud. To produce this demo we wrote two small modules, one to create wrappers that represent the BLOB REST API as PHP objects and another to create an Azure subclass with inheritance from the Windows NT Platform class.
We created the third demo to illustrate how an open source developer can use OpenID to authenticate users from an Azure service. For this one, we modified a demo blog service (based on BlogEngine.net) and gave users the option of authenticating through either OpenID or Live ID.
Both the Gallery and OpenID demos were highlighted in Daniel Wang and Stefan Schackow's presentation, "Cloud Computing: Programming in the Cloud." You can find Daniel and Stefan's presentation here.
The excitement that PDC produced was remarkable. I moved through a steady stream of developers for four days, all of us sustained it seems by tables of fruit, powerbars and various forms of chocolate. I enjoyed meeting and talking with many of the attendees and as always appreciate how much I learn in those conversations.
I want to thank Steve Marx, Daniel Wang and Stefan Schackow for sharing the stage with us. Kudos to Hank Janssen, Anandeep Pannu, Garrett Serack and Joel Penner for creating the Azure demonstrations we used throughout the week. And a tip of my hat to Miguel for making the week so fun.