Opening closed minds to open source
For example, in 1999, ActiveState announced that Microsoft was funding a three-year initiative to enhance and extend the popular open source programming language, Perl--a technology so pervasive that it has been referred to as "the duct-tape of the Internet." Microsoft could no longer ignore support requests from customers running UNIX who wanted interoperability across platforms. Helping open source Perl grow on Windows helps Microsoft sell more copies of Windows. Moreover, as others have pointed out, Microsoft Windows itself makes use of many other open source technologies, such as Kerberos security.
Once a company has decided to adopt an open source development strategy, planning and implementing the open source release is the next challenge. Proper planning, guidelines and grassroots publicity can often make all the difference in how successful an open source project is, particularly in terms of creating a community of developers and users.
We realize that not all companies are ready to make the leap into developing open source software themselves. In fact, many of our customers have come to us asking for help in how to learn from and leverage open source best practices, collaborative tools and methodologies. SourceForge OnSite, an enterprise-class collaborative development solution, takes the best of the standard open source development toolset available on SourceForge.net and makes it easy for companies to use internally, most often for proprietary software development.
Apparently Microsoft, with its "shared source" strategy, is just now beginning to acknowledge that it may have a thing or two to learn from the open source collaborative development model. (This comes as no surprise to me, given that SourceForge.net currently supports more than 9,000 open source software projects for Microsoft platforms!)
On behalf of Open Source Development Network (OSDN), I welcome not only Microsoft developers, but also Microsoft managers, to continue to explore all that open source and OSDN have to offer. If Microsoft is interested in contributing to open source software projects, we're more than happy to show Microsoft the way.