CodePlex Foundation

Just read that Microsoft has formed a new foundation called CodePlex foundation, presumably to spinoff their Code plex site and allow it to stand separately from Microsoft. The mission appears to be to allow an easier avenue for developers working for proprietary software companies to contribute to open source projects.

Monty has some details about this on his blog The CodePlex Foundation: Why is Microsoft founding it?.

The line up of people they have on their advisory board (including Monty) and board of directors is interesting CodePlex About. I'm particularly happy that Miguel De Icaza is on the board since he is one of my favorite people and I believe shares my pragmatic ideals on the synergy between open source and non-open source software. I wonder what it takes to get on this board. It would be really nice if someone in the PostgreSQL community were on this board just to ensure the needs of the PostgreSQL community (especially our growing number of windows users) is well represented.

As to the argument of Monty's that software for sell is dying, not sure I quite agree though haven't given it much thought. Certainly I would like to think that service for sell is rising since that's the business we are in and enjoy most. One thing I believe is that software is getting more complicated and people expect more. With that said even as a company that sells software, you would be foolish not to try to leverage on the open source software out there that fits nicely into your codebase. You just won't be able to compete even with the sole proprietor next door who is with it.

Microsoft reinventing itself

First I would first like to give this caveat that yes I am a pro Microsofter. Always was, and really can't see myself changing. Over the years I have seen myself change along with the face of Microsoft. I no longer use just Microsoft products, but partake too of all the good things that the world has to offer, much of which thank goodness is free in the sense of not costing as well as not having restrictive uses, and fitting often more nicely with our clients codebase and general requirements than closed source software.

I have observed over the years, that Microsoft has been embracing PHP and basically trying to make the world forget about ASP. This all seemed puzzling to me at first and then realized it makes perfect logistical sense. ASP is a dead product and even as the owner of said dead product, you want to get your customer off of it as quickly as possible so you don't have to waste money supporting it. That is why the PostgreSQL and other communities push people to upgrade. All those die-hard ASP fans hated ASP.NET. ASP.NET was too complicated for their needs. Ironically the transition for many people from ASP to PHP was a much easier one than from ASP to ASP.NET. PHP also had the advantage of running pretty consistently on Linux as it did on Windows. Work still needs to be done to allow ASP.NET that luxury. I happen to like both for very different reasons and workflows.

Last week I noticed what appears to be an acceleration in whatever company Microsoft is turning into. I wanted to try out the new SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services by downloading the free SQL server 2008 Express with Advanced Services. Last time I downloaded it the install of SQL Server 2008 express was a bit painful, but this time I spent a lot of time puzzled. You see I had to download this thing called a Web Platform Installer. It recognized the dependencies I was missing and dowloaded it for me. What puzzled me however were these screens.

The strange thing is that a lot of the PHP side of products are MySQL centric and don't even work with SQL Server to my knowledge and much of it doesn't work with PostgreSQL (except for Moodle, Gallery, the variant of Drupal they packaged Acquia Drupal - claims to only support MySQL. What happened to plain Drupal that supports PostgreSQL). So on the one hand I was glad that Microsoft was embracing open source and on the other hand I was irritated by the choice of offerings. I'm not sure if I can blame Microsoft for the lack of applications I can actually use. I'm sure a poll was done and this is what people commonly use and being customer centric as they are that is what they put out.