by Sam Ramji on July 25, 2008 06:16am

I’m writing this from Portland, Oregon where one of the world’s largest Open Source conferences is taking place: OSCON.  This year’s event is focused on a theme of “ten years of open source,” referring to 1998 as the year that Eric S. Raymond, Danese Cooper, et al coined the term.  The Day 1 keynote theme was the past, Day 2’s theme was the present, and Day 3 (today) is focused on the future.

In my keynote address this morning I’m announcing three areas of contribution:

PHP on IIS + SQL:  Microsoft is contributing a patch to ADOdb, a popular data access layer for PHP used by many applications.  The patch enables support for SQL Server through the new “native driver for PHP” built by the SQL Server team.  ADOdb is licensed under the LGPL and BSD.  This is our first code contribution to PHP community projects but will not be the last.

We have tested over 100 community PHP applications and found them to run on IIS with no changes required.  Hank Janssen and Garrett Serack of the Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft have been championing this work from the beginning, and I thank them for it.

Open Specification Promise:  Microsoft is putting a wide range of protocols that were formerly in the Communications Protocol Program under the Open Specification Promise (OSP).  This guarantees their freedom from any patent claims from Microsoft now or in the future, and includes both Microsoft-developed and industry-developed protocols.

We have established a clarification to the OSP that guarantees developer rights to build software of any kind and for any purpose using these specifications, including commercial use.

I am grateful to Andy Oliver, the creator and maintainer of Apache POI, for contacting me back in June with a hope that Microsoft could supply the necessary rights for POI.  These include: rights for Office Binary document formats; Open XML; and the right to intentionally subset, have partial implementations, or defects in implementation of these specification.  Andy offered his thoughts here.

Apache Software Foundation: Microsoft is becoming a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).  This sponsorship will enable the ASF to pay administrators and other support staff so that ASF developers can focus on writing great software.

Jim Jagielski, Chairman of the ASF, had this to say about the sponsorship:

"We thank Microsoft for their generous sponsorship that goes towards supporting The Apache Software Foundation and the over 60 top level projects in use and development within the ASF," said ASF Chairman Jim Jagielski. "The ASF Sponsorship program is an excellent way for companies and organizations to show their commitment and enthusiasm towards the ASF and The Apache Way, and helps to ensure that highly innovative, freely-available and community-based/consensus-developed software can continue to flourish and thrive within one of the most successful and respected communities in Open Source. Microsoft's sponsorship makes it clear that Microsoft 'gets it' regarding the ASF."

It’s critical to understand two things about our sponsorship of the ASF: what it is, and what it is not.

It is not a move away from IIS as Microsoft’s strategic web server technology.  We have invested significantly in refactoring and adding new, state-of-the-art features to IIS, including support for PHP.  We will continue to invest in IIS for the long term and are currently under way with development of IIS 8.

It is a strong endorsement of The Apache Way, and opens a new chapter in our relationship with the ASF.  We have worked with Apache POI, Apache Axis2, Jakarta, and other projects in the last year, and we will continue our technical support and interoperability testing work for this open source software.

I offer my personal thanks in the learning process that has led to today’s announcements to Allison Randall, Jeremy Allison, Andrew Tridgell, Mike Schroepfer, Andi Gutmans, Wez Furlong, Andy Oliver, Jim Jagielski, Brian Behlendorf, Cliff Schmidt, Sally Khudairi, Gianugo Rabellino, and Justin Erenkrantz.