I just finished watching Microsoft's 2014 //build/ Conference's Day 1 Keynote. As expected there were a lot of announcements, not all of them surprises. But there were two anouncements that I found particularly interesting. IMHO, these two announcements exemplify just how far Microsoft has come since it released its first Open Source project almost exactly 10 years ago.
The WiX Toolset was Microsoft's first Open Source project released back in April, 2004. Being first meant we were guinea pigs for a number of new legal and business processes. By 2009 Microsoft had learned a lot about these processes and created the Outercurve Foundation to encapsulate them. Today the WiX toolset finally moves from Microsoft to join Outercurve. Why now? What changes? Let's see if I can answer those questions.
It was almost ten years ago that I started a little project inside the firewalls of Microsoft called the WiX toolset. I called it a "Community Source" project because inside Microsoft the words "Open Source" only had negative connotations. I never would have guessed that 5 years later I would help reshape Microsoft's approach to Open Source by releasing my little project. Now 5 more years later, Microsoft takes another big step and contributes to the most famous Open Source project of all, Linux.
Last week I met with some PMs that work on the east coast. They fly over to the west coast to visit the Microsoft mothership every couple months. Our meeting was one of many face to face meetings they try to squish into a single week before flying home.
This is just a flippant thought so don't read to much into it but I found it amusing enough that I thought I'd share. Last week there was much discussion about Sun buying MySQL. While everyone was discussing what this meant for Sun and MySQL and the "Open Source Business Model", I was trying to figure out why this deal felt unusual yet familiar to me.
Tonight is a momentous night for the volunteers who work on the WiX toolset. It was three years ago today that we released the WiX toolset to the world.
A week ago at almost this same time in the morning, I was crafting my rebuttal to Stuart Yeates's blog entry titled "What is open source anyway?". A few days later, Jenny was catching up on her blog reading (which I think only includes my blog) and said to me, "Wow, you were really harsh on Stuart." Her reaction surprised me so I went back and reread my rebuttal. I decided Jenny was right.
While I was cleaning out some of the the latest weekly releases of the WiX toolset, I browsed around for the recent stuff talking about WiX. In my search, I came across this blog entry titled "What is open source anyway?" by Stuart Yeates. Go read it completely cause I'm going to chop it up here.
I just got back from a successful trip to San Francisco and I'm very glad to be home again. However, I really wish I could attend the Open Source Business Conference 2004 in downtown San Francisco. It'd be really interesting to listen to speakers address the issue I've highlighted from their introduction.