Does Microsoft contribute to Open Source projects?


This blog post is the last in a series of six blog posts highlighting various aspects of Microsoft’s open source strategy. MSC13_RyanA_Cole_02

Previous posts in this series have explained the open approach Microsoft takes on cloud and how Microsoft is using and publishing open source software related to its products and services. This post looks into Microsoft’s involvement with open source communities.


Working to secure the Core Internet Infrastructure

We all remember the Heartbleed and Shellshock, Open SSL and Bash shell bugs that shook the foundations of Internet. Microsoft Azure was affected as well as many of our customers rely on running Linux on Azure virtual machines (VM’s). Also the VMDepot community VM image repository was affected. Due to numerous contributors withdrawing their images for patching, the number of available imaged dropped from 1000+ to 500+.

Right after the Heartbleed was announced, Jim Zemlin of Linux Foundation conceived the idea of Core Infrastructure Initiative that gained initial support from Microsoft and twelve other companies. Each supporter has pledged to donate $100 000 a year for the next three years to fund for full time developers, reviews, security audits and test infrastructure for open source software critical for the Internet infrastructure.

At the time of this writing, the number of available images in VMDepot repository has bounced back to over 1300 images.


Working with Apache Foundation to drive interoperability

Another major cooperation with open source community has been with the Apache Foundation that Microsoft has been sponsoring since 2008. The relationship started via working with Apache POI (Java libraries for processing Office documents), Apache Axis2 Web Services Engine, and Jakarta projects by providing technical support and interoperability testing work.


Enabling Open Source developers on Windows

We’ve also been working recently with several open source development frameworks and libraries to enable the developers with expertize on those libraries to also target Windows.

Cinder, which is a growing programming library for creative coding in C++ and used for design engineering, has just been brought to Windows Store apps by MS Open Tech.

For game developers, Cocos2DX and Ogre3D, which already supported Windows Phone 8, now fully support Windows Store apps. Porting a Cocos2D or Ogre3D game to Windows devices is now as simple as a copy paste of your code into a Visual Studio project for Windows Store or for Windows Phone. Also Box2D and Bullet are other great gaming libraries joining the Windows Store apps party!

OpenCV, popular computer vision and machine learning framework, can now be used in Windows Store applications as well.


About the writer: Pasi Mäkinen, Open Source Lead, Microsoft Western Europe, is working with customers and partners to drive open source based workloads on Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Contact at or follow at Twitter @pasimak. Check the rest of the Openness story at: Find fresh and upcoming webinars on Open Source and Azure here:


To read the other blog posts in this series, please click the links:

Microsoft has open approach to cloud

Providing Trusted Open Cloud

Support for Open Source technologies on Azure

How Microsoft is using Open Source Software?

Why Microsoft is publishing Open Source?

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