Microsoft Inches Closer to Open Source

Microsoft wants more open source software to run on Windows. Microsoft also
wants its own Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved license. Perhaps they
really can get along.

On the software side, Microsoft today announced a partnership with
source solution vendor SpikeSource
to eventually certify all of SpikeSource’s
SpikeIgnited solutions on the Microsoft Windows platform.

The move could make dozens of popular open source solutions available to
Windows users in a fully supported manner. SpikeSource solutions include the
gambit of content management, CRM and collaboration solutions. The first
SpikeIgnited solution being made Windows-certified is the Drupal
content management solution. Throughout the second half of 2007, SpikeSource
plans on rolling out additional offerings.

SpikeSource noted that there are many challenges associated with
getting solutions originally running on Linux to run and be supported on

“Some challenges are specific to the OS; for example, management and
monitoring functionality needed to change to take advantage of Windows
Services, WMI and other Windows administrative features,” Dominic Sartorio
director of product management of SpikeSource, told

“There are also interoperability issues, such as single sign-on. We needed to
make adjustments to work well with ActiveDirectory instead of OpenLDAP, for

The partnership with Microsoft will help, though, in making it all work.
Sartorio added that Microsoft’s interoperability lab has been very
supportive, freeing up resources as needed to provide guidance and point
SpikeSource to the right tools.

The new partnership with SpikeSource does not, however, include any Microsoft
indemnification component to this collaborative effort. Microsoft has
alleged that open source software infringes more than 235 Microsoft patents.

A Microsoft spokesperson explained that SpikeSource is overseeing the certification. Customers of Windows-certified
products from SpikeSource receive support, updates and maintenance for the
SpikeIgnited solution, including middleware and application software.
SpikeSource partners receive training on SpikeIgnited solutions while the
Windows operating system is sold and supported by Microsoft.

The partnership also does not have any direct financial component. The
Microsoft spokesperson noted that the agreement is for certification and
collaboration to bring new open source applications to market on the
Microsoft Windows platform. It does not include monetary investment on the
part of either company.

Microsoft today also launched a new site intended to provide even more information about Microsoft’s open
source plans.

Among those plans, according to the Microsoft spokesperson, is the intention
by Microsoft to submit the Microsoft Shared Source licenses to the OSI for approval. Such an approval would mean that the
Microsoft licenses would be considered to be bona fide open source.

Shared Source Licenses
were simplified in 2005 down to three core
licenses: The Permissive License (Ms-PL), The Community License (Ms-CL) and
the Reference License (Ms-RL). At the time they were originally released,
Microsoft earned rare praise from the open source community.

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