Hello World

For the past four years, my wife has wondered if I might not be the brightest bulb in the marquee as I have traveled the world representing Microsoft at open source conferences and events. Yet, as the Director of Shared Source for Microsoft, I have found the interaction with the open source community to be far more productive than combative.


In the early days of our Shared Source Initiative (SSI) there was far more controversy than there is today surrounding our releasing of source code. At this point, we have 17 official SSI offerings that reach more than 1,500,000 developers. Of the 17 offering, 12 have derivative rights associated with them and some are posted under OSI-approved licenses.


Our intent has never been to open source Microsoft. Rather, we have focused on listening to our customers’ requests and understanding what it means to share intellectual property assets broadly. Given that there are >55 OSI-approved open source licenses, we have never felt constrained in how we can approach the licensing of source code.


Open source presents an interesting development methodology, a convoluted world of source code licenses and a complicated business model. It is many things to many people—this is no different within Microsoft. Open source products and technologies compete with our products and technologies, which clouds the picture for many people, both internally and externally. Open source, as a development model, is flawed for the production of certain classes of software but compelling for others. Some Microsoft groups have chosen to use OSS components within their products (Services for Unix); others participate in OSS projects directly (Microsoft Research).


This does not make us either for or against open source. We are “for” Microsoft’s customers and partners. We are “for” understanding better ways to engage with various communities. We are “for” driving value for our shareholders.


For years, many in the OSS community have asked me to blog to give insight into how we approach OSS and Shared Source. I look forward to the response from the community on what I blog. As issues arise in the OSS world related to Microsoft I will be happy to comment. Also, I’ll keep you apprised on what is happening in Shared Source as we continue to expand the initiative.


Hello world.




This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Comments (15)

  1. bao says:

    Welcome to blogging 🙂 It’d be interesting if you could list those 17 SSI offerings; the only one I know off the top of my head is WiX, so it’d be neat to see what the other ones are.

  2. Jason says:

    Bao –

    I will be writing about this shortly – but there are programs that cover Windows, .NET technologies, developer tools, embedded stuff etc. http://www.microsoft.com/sharedsource – lots there.


  3. Welcome to blogging, its really good stuff. Anyway, what are your plans for Shared Source and the Longhorn Wave?

  4. Imagine a blog entry where after an email and phone call later, the Directory of the Shared Source Initiative is now blogging.

  5. welcome Jason. this is going to be fun. "brightest bulb in the *marquee*" – thats a new one isnt it? your wife has a nice turn of phrase

  6. Welcome Jason 🙂

    Here are your blog relayed on a French MPV Blog 🙂


    That Happiness !!!

  7. More Open Than Open and all for the development community

  8. Last week, I was engaged in an email conversation about Microsoft’s support (along with HP) for the free source SharePoint content migration tools on GotDotNet (http://www.gotdotnet.com/Workspaces/winforms/fileshare.aspx?id=6996fb17-2a54-4607-983b-35c7697baa53).

    There is a vibrant commercial SharePoint content and portal migration tools market that includes ISVs like Tzunami, Casahl, Metalogix and ourselves (Parallelspace Corporation) to name a few.

    Given a) Microsoft competes daily against open source versions of Microsoft Office, operating systems and other applications and b) when a vibrant ISV market already exists for a particular software category, (when or) should Microsoft engage (or continue to engage) in free source activities in direct competition with its partners (harming the very partners who are commited and loyal to the Microsoft platform)?

    (Definition: to engage in free source activities = create, maintain, promote, and/or extend a free source effort.)

  9. 1. What is Microsoft’s corporate policy regarding the use of company resources for engaging in public free source activities? …where "engaging" might be defined as creating, maintaining, promoting and/or extending a free source project.

    2. Is there a required submission and approval process for Microsoft employees wishing to engage in public free source activities? At what level in the organization is approval required before a Microsoft employee can engage in free source activities? Is there a Microsoft corporate list of the free source projects the company supports?

    3. When a vibrant, committed, loyal Microsoft commercial ISV community exists for a particular software product category, when does it make sense for Microsoft to engage (or continue to engage) in free source activities that competes with Microsoft’s commercial ISV partners?

    4. When speaking with other Microsoft partners and customers, are Microsoft employees expected/trained to recommend a Microsoft commercial ISV partner product, a Microsoft free source project or both? …or are they left to recommend the one that comes to mind first?