Open source at Microsoft: The next chapter for Microsoft Open Technologies

JeanPaoliThree years ago, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) was founded as an innovative startup subsidiary within Microsoft. The goal of the organization was to accelerate Microsoft’s open collaboration with the industry by delivering critical interoperable technologies in partnership with open source and open standards communities. Today, MS Open Tech has reached its key goals, and open source technologies and engineering practices are rapidly becoming mainstream across Microsoft. It’s now time for MS Open Tech to rejoin Microsoft Corp, and help the company take its next steps in deepening its engagement with open source and open standards.

During its operation, MS Open Tech has helped connect Microsoft with a number of open source communities. MS Open Tech’s projects have made it easier for Linux, Java, and other developers to use Azure, through SDKs, tools plug-ins, and integration with technologies such as Chef, Puppet, and Docker. We’ve helped bring Microsoft’s services and APIs to iOS and Android. We’ve contributed to open source projects such as Apache Cordova, Cocos2d-x, OpenJDK, and dash.js. We’ve brought Office 365 to the Moodle learning platform. And we’ve helped connect the Open Web by collaborating with the industry on standards for HTML5, HTTP/2, and WebRTC/ORTC.

At the same time, open source has become a key part of Microsoft’s culture. Microsoft’ investments in open source ecosystems and non-Microsoft technologies are stronger than ever, and as we build applications, services, and tools for other platforms, our engineers are more involved in open source projects every day. Today, Microsoft engineers participate in nearly 2,000 open source projects on GitHub and CodePlex combined. Through open source collaborations, Microsoft has brought first-class support for Linux to Azure, worked with Docker to integrate it with Azure and Windows, built Azure HDInsight on Apache Hadoop and Linux, and delivered developer tools for Android and iOS, and for Node.js and Python. And Microsoft is actively building open source communities of its own. Through the .NET Foundation, Microsoft has open sourced .NET, and dozens of .NET-based projects, and is bringing them to platforms such as Linux. We’ve built a strong open source community around TypeScript, and partnered with projects such as Angular and Ember to bring it to new audiences of developers. We’ve open sourced technologies such as WinJS and the Windows Driver Frameworks. And we’ve recently acquired Revolution Analytics, a leader in open source technology for data.

Moving Forward

As MS Open Tech rejoins Microsoft, team members will play a broader role in the open advocacy mission with teams across the company, including the creation of the Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office. The Programs Office will scale the learnings and practices in working with open source and open standards that have been developed in MS Open Tech across the whole company.

Additionally, the Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office will provide tools and services to help Microsoft teams and engineers engage directly with open source communities, create successful Microsoft open source projects, and streamline the process of accepting community contributions into Microsoft open source projects.

MS Open Tech accomplished a lot in the past three years and I am personally proud to see how MS Open Tech has been embraced as an integral part of Microsoft’s openness efforts. From my days working on creating XML 1.0, it has always been my goal, with many colleagues across the company, to see Microsoft engage in and be a partner in the world of open source and open standards. It is heartening for me to see how our collective efforts are becoming a reality, as a culture of open development is shaping how technology is built at Microsoft.

Jean Paoli, President, Microsoft Open Technologies

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