Microsoft’s 7 Best Efforts in Open Source in 2010

2010 was a busy year for the Open Source team at Microsoft. The year was spent working to debunk the Evil Empire associations, showing our support for open source communities big & small, and improving interoperability. In the spirit of list season, here are Microsoft’s 7 best efforts to bridge the gap between OSS and Microsoft technologies:

1. Windows Live +

What happened: Windows Live partnered with to replace Windows Live Spaces with the brilliant blogging tools of WordPress.

Why it’s awesome: WordPress is now an integral part of the Windows Live experience: it’s Windows Live’s primary blogging tool and has the ability to connect and share via MSN Messenger. Spaces had about 30 million users who are in the process of migrating to WordPress and joining the community. While Spaces was a useful blogging tool, the consensus seems to be that it wasn’t as powerful as other available alternatives. Now former Spaces users are fully outfitted with the robust goodness of WordPress.

2. CoApp

What happened: Garrett Serack has been busy hacking away at The Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform (erm, CoApp), a package management system that will make working with OSS & Windows a breeze.

Why it’s awesome: CoApp’s goal is to create an open source ecosystem on Windows by filling the technological holes that currently make working jointly with Windows and OSS technologies a healthy challenge. For more info, check out the project wiki.

3. Open Data Initiative

What happened: The push for availability of information has never been so prevalent as in 2010. Microsoft’s been right onboard with the Open Data Protocol, the Open Government Data Initiative, and several side projects.

Why it’s awesome: The Open Data Protocol is a web protocol released under the Open Specification Promise that is being used to dig up and free data from databases, file systems, CMSs, and web sites. The Open Government Data Initiative (while not Wikileaks) provides solutions for governments who are trying to move towards openness (see: Edmonton). In Canada, open source team member Nik Garkusha has been working with open data advocate David Eaves to see that Open Data & Open Gov become a reality for Canadian citizens.

4. SQL Server 2.0 Driver for PHP

What happened: An updated SQL Server driver for PHP was released.

Why it’s awesome: PHP can interact with SQL Server more efficiently than ever before, so PHP devs have the opportunity to use SQL Server with dramatically less hair-pulling.

5. Make Web Not War

What happened: MWNW is a Canadian cross-platform conference that brings open source communitites from across the country together.

Why it’s awesome: As Angie Byron pointed out, open source communities are constantly busy with their projects, making it difficult to see what’s happening on a broader scale. MWNW was an awesome event experience that gave geeks the opportunity to meet each other IRL and check out the cool projects being produced in our home and native land.

6. Windows Azure

What happened: “Cloud-crazy” is the way I’ve heard the tech scene described through the end of 2010. With the shift to the cloud, Microsoft provided its own cloud computing solution, Windows Azure, and it’s pretty friendly to open source applications and developers.

Why it’s awesome: Azure aims to make development easy by providing heaps of choices, so everything can be built to the developer’s heart’s desire. Compatibility with PHP, Ruby, and Java have been built into Azure from its inception, ensuring each of these languages is a first-class citizen on the platform.

7. WebMatrix/Web Platform Installer

What happened: These tools are meant to improve the experience of working with Microsoft and OSS technologies. Web Platform Installer (a package manager for the Windows stack) was replaced by the end of the year by WebMatrix (a tool for creating websites from scratch or by using existing open source options like WordPress).

Why it’s awesome: The Web Platform Installer gave Windows users the opportunity to run open source software, generating tons of new users for popular open source applications like Drupal and WordPress. It’s great to see that opening the availability of open source apps helped generate users for ImpressCMS, a local Canadian open source project. WebMatrix has the functionality of the Web Platform Installer and more: it’s a one-stop-shop for making new websites.  For more information, check out Scott Guthrie’s blog post.

There we have it: Microsoft’s best efforts in open source in 2010. If any milestones were missed, please feel free to leave a comment!

Photo Cred: Lincolnian’s Flickr photostream