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Microsoft Open Source News

Is the CodePlex Foundation Truly Independent Now? 123

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-is-that-again dept.
Glyn Moody writes "Microsoft created its CodePlex, 'an online collaborative software development portal,' four years ago, as the latest in a string of attempts to play nicely with open source. Well, maybe not: Microsoft saw the open source software projects it hosted there as reflecting 'the open community-building spirit of Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative.' In September last year, it tried again, launching the CodePlex Foundation, 'a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects,' and not to be confused with CodePlex.com, 'a Microsoft owned and staffed forge that encourages the development of open source software based on Microsoft technology.' The only problem is that all the funding for the CodePlex Foundation still comes from Microsoft. But the new Technical Director of the CodePlex Foundation, Stephen Walli, thinks it can become truly independent of Microsoft, open to all companies to create open source software for any platform using only OSI-approved licenses. Will the CodePlex Foundation take its place alongside existing foundations addressing this sector, like Apache and Eclipse, but complementary to them? Or is it forever doomed to be ignored by the open source world because of its origins?"
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Is the CodePlex Foundation Truly Independent Now?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Codeplex was created to undermine the open source and more particularly the free software movement. Well, they launched their Tet offensive and it was massively funded, but it failed.

    They'll have to try something else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by binarylarry (1338699)

      Yep, "in a string of attempts to play nicely with open source" sounds like "in a string of attempts to nicely play open source" but it's not really the same thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      exactly. We still see it today, if it runs on Windows and something else which Microsoft sees as a threat, then it is a threat to Windows and a threat to Microsoft. Codeplex was designed so Windows developers who liked the idea of collaborating with other developers on projects had an option other than going out to the cross platform, or even Linux only, forges. Provide a place for the Windows developers to look first in hopes they'll stay there and not wander out into learning how the other half lives and
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I had actually forgotten that codeplex even existed until seeing it mentioned here on Slashdot today. Basically, codeplex is a home for Windows zealots who kind of like the idea of open source and want to dabble in it but refuse to leave the comforting confines of their OS of choice. So now, they have somewhere to hang out. It serves MS's purposes as it gives them something to hopefully take a little of the wind out of the sails of cross-platform real open source development. Personally, I think it a bit

        • by Anpheus (908711)

          A lot of Microsoft's open source projects, including projects like MEF, build on Mono and were subtly patched but not announced to be fixed as such. So they aren't "announcing to the world" that it works on Mono, but their developers are making sure it's compatible.

          Besides, what does it matter which platform your software layer resides on? If you think it's absurd to build OSS on proprietary software, then I suppose you only write software and packages for the most free distro, depending on your definition

        • by wtbname (926051)

          I had actually forgotten that SourceForge even existed until seeing it mentioned here on Slashdot today. Basically, SourceForge is a home for Open Source/*nix/FS zealots who kind of like the idea of open source and want to dabble in it but refuse to leave the comforting confines of their OS of choice. So now, they have somewhere to hang out. It serves the zealot's purposes as it gives them something to hopefully take a little of the wind out of the sails of the Windows stack of software. Personally, I think

    • by Anpheus (908711)

      Err? I didn't recall seeing anything even close to what you describe.

      As far as I can tell, they're just trying to foster open source development on Windows because it's a developer issue. Some developers prefer and only engage in open source development, causing them to gravitate to Linux, BSD, etc. Microsoft hates losing developers, because users, slowly but surely, follow them and where the good applications are.

      It's not a grand "Tet offensive". And it was anything but massively funded.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:27AM (#32664756)

    They could endow a trust fund for SourceForget.net. And if they had ideas for a better forge, they could make code submissions to SourceForge.net.

    • by Giometrix (932993)
      "They could endow a trust fund for SourceForget.net. And if they had ideas for a better forge, they could make code submissions to SourceForge.net."

      Why? Why can there only be one open source code repository?

      Further, ultimately, as a developer, do you even care what repository the code comes from? I just google what I need, and wherever I land, I land.
      • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:42AM (#32664918)

        Why? Why can there only be one open source code repository?

        I'm not saying there should only be one public forge. I'm just saying that would be one way for MS to get away from people's distrust in anything they back. Because I think most people would trust SF.net to not be corrupted the kind of thing I proposed.

        Further, ultimately, as a developer, do you even care what repository the code comes from?

        No. But as a project contributor, maybe. If this was the MS of the 1990's, I wouldn't trust a forge they owned one tiny bit - there would almost certainly be a trap hidden in the legalese. Nowadays, I'm not sure.

        But here's another way to look at it: aside from branding, what might MS's motives be for setting this thing up? Based on their past actions, it's pretty clear that they're not angels.

      • Right... I don't like SourceForge at all. Much prefer Launchpad or Google Code.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kikito (971480)

      Sourceforge's engine is closed source.

      I asked.

      You can't make "code submissions" to it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        they opened it a while ago
        http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/01/14/1223213

        and closed it again after some time.
        I think an open source community driven competitor started using that code and then got killed or something, can't remember for sure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by guruevi (827432)

      The thing with Microsoft is that nothing you create based on their 'technologies' can truly be open. The Shared Source license is likewise not a very 'open' or 'free' (both in speech and in beer) license. The problem with Microsoft is that they have used their financial and patent weight against open source in the past and will probably continue doing so. If Microsoft really want, they can revoke all their permissions and promises at any point in time and all projects based on the Shared Source License woul

    • by westlake (615356)
      They could endow a trust fund for SourceForget.net

      I wish I could simply forget SourceForge.net

    • by discord5 (798235)

      SourceForget.net

      What a splendid idea. A source revision control system hooked up straight to /dev/null, with a webinterface. FUND IT!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So could Google - but no one seems to be bitching about Google Code.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by oakgrove (845019)

        So could Google - but no one seems to be bitching about Google Code.

        Google [google.com] has been a [android.com] great [chromium.org] friend [google.com] of open source. They have earned and continue to earn a great deal of trust and respect from the open source and free software community.

        Compare [theregister.co.uk] to the current CEO of Microsoft and I think it will be clearer why Microsoft needs to do more.

      • So could Google - but no one seems to be bitching about Google Code.

        I dunno, just about every non-Google project I've seen initially on Google Code has moved off of it to GitHub or someplace else in a fairly short time, usually after some complaints about it.

        Though the complaints have been about Google reinventing the wheel and not doing it particularly well from the perspective of the projects involved, rather than about any presumed nefarious motives, most likely because Google, unlike MS, doesn't have a

    • SourceForget?

      Is that a typo or a commentary on the quality of SourceForge?

    • And if they had ideas for a better forge, they could make code submissions to SourceForge.net.

      CodePlex uses TFS for source control. It makes sense for projects that are already centered around MS tech in other ways, and especially if developers use VS, but I somehow doubt that SourceForge would appreciate that.

      By the way, it's interesting how the article is about CodePlex Foundation, while most comments are about CodePlex - which is a different thing (yeah, I know, the naming is confusing as hell).

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:29AM (#32664782) Journal

    An organization that wants to make open source products based off Microsoft will only get more Open Source Cred if they separate from Microsoft?

    It seems like Microsoft is stuck in a position to make no concession. You don't like Microsoft. You'd like it a bit more if it were friendlier to Open Source. Microsoft starts an Open Source Initiative. It doesn't quite live up to Expectations. Now, the only way this new initiative can redeem itself is to become independent of Microsoft.

    Wouldn't then Microsoft NOT have an open source initiative, and put them back at square one? Does becoming independent of Microsoft allow them to better work on Microsoft code?

    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:36AM (#32664854)

      Microsoft eventually wants .NET to be competitive with the Java platform.

      They know that Java has a massive, massive advantage in terms of OSS 3rd party library availability. As mentioned in the article, this comes from high profile Java OSS projects like Apache's Jakarta, Eclipse and others.

      So Codeplex is their attempt at getting a similar ball rolling for .NET. We'll see if it succeeds, I doubt it will catch on in a similar fashion though, .NET is doomed to niche Microsoft operating systems.

      • Microsoft eventually wants .NET to be competitive with the Java platform.

        I'm curious by what standard you think it isn't. Certainly each has its advantages and disadvantages, and there's a lot of work for both out there.

        But that being said, as someone who's spent years developing professionally with each, I'd say the list in your .sig is largely slanted/inaccurate/dubious, so, maybe you're just a guy who really likes Java.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by binarylarry (1338699)

          I'm biased as fuck.

          But I don't think that takes away from the fact that .NET adoption is 1/10 that of Java or less nor from the fact that .NET OSS adoption is probably less than 1/10th the size of Java's.

          Nor the fact that it's in Microsoft's interest to do so, nor the fact that this is probably an attempt to change that.

          Nors for everybody!

          • Every time this comes up in discussion I actually wonder to myself who is actually using Java, where do these statistics come from?

            I have had good exposure to two fairly large UK web design/development and bespoke software markets in the UK (South West/West/Bristol and South East/East/London/Anglia) and I have to say its all either PHP, Python or Perl, or its .Net. Out of all of our actual competitors, not one is offering Java as a platform.

            I think the statistics being used by people like yourselve
          • I'm biased as fuck.

            Fair enough. I respect you for not having any illusions about that.

            I don't know that I'd say .NET adoption is 1/10 of Java's -- in some markets (e.g. phones), definitely, and in the open source world, probably, but in general that doesn't jive with what I've seen in the market. But then, the work I mostly do is of the "writing custom apps (sometimes web, sometimes console, sometimes services, etc.) for business" and I don't have great knowledge of adoption outside of that space.

            If nothi

          • 101 Reasons why Java is better than .NET - http://helpdesk-software.ws/it/29-04-2004.htm [helpdesk-software.ws]

            This article is completely outdated. A signature like this makes it hard to take you seriously.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:27PM (#32666436)

          Show me the .Net for Solaris, Linux or Mac.

    • by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:50AM (#32665008) Homepage

      Microsoft's unfriendliness to Open Source has very little to do with them releasing any, or hosting code repositories.

      The unfriendliness is expressed in terms of vague threats using software patents, attempts to derail implementation in various places, suspicious licensing deals like with Novell and so on.

      All that has to go for me to start changing my mind. Until that happens, I'm not touching CodePlex with a 10 foot pole, and consider it completely irrelevant at best, and some sort of trap at worst.

  • It's A Trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twmcneil (942300) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:40AM (#32664898)
    While it's easy to find any number of lazy, greedy jerks who simply want to to profit unjustly off the honest work of open source developers, MS is not in that category. MS wants to kill open source utterly and completely. Do not ever forget that.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes knife the baby and cut off the oxygen supply for the next generation.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RaceProUK (1137575)
      I doubt it - MS still makes the majority of their profit on Windows and Office. Keeping devs tied to Windows keeps that lucrative stream going, regardless of whether those devs are writing OSS.
      • by oakgrove (845019)
        No. MS might want a little good PR to rub off by encouraging a little open source development here and there but if suddenly all third party windows software went open source overnight, they would have a conniption. If that happened, how much trouble would it be to just port that software to $PLATFORM_OF_CHOICE and leave Windows?
  • lets get it straight ; open source was created by and developed around open source software. open communities. independent. we were here first, and we are many. we dont like closed or semi closed source stuff. we especially dont like corporations which try to 'close' the 'open' by mimicking 'open', so that they can profit. we wont play along. if we dont play along, it wont succeed. and for us to play along, you need to be really open. cydonia over. * ppkhhhhhhhh *
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      FYI, apostraphes aren't just for quoting words for no apparent reason, they're also used in contractions.

  • Firefox (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @10:46AM (#32664966)
    Maybe they should start with a proper website that works on non-MSIE browsers.
    • I know I will probably get flamed for this, but as someone who just developed some .NET projects (it was the right tool for the job), I did so using Firefox almost exclusively for testing. Note that every component used was a straight .NET component, no third party anything. One day I fired up IE 8 just to see what it looked like. There were things broke all over IE that "just worked" in Firefox (w/ the .net plugin).

      On top of all the broken things in IE...the most annoying thing about IE is that links are t

  • by kikito (971480)

    After a cursory look it seems like an foundation more interested on marketing and policies than in code. I actually had to look hard in order to find the project list.

    Am I right to assume that there are only 6 projects?

    Seriously, six?

    Meh. Call me when they have 600.

    (Goes back to github).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Uh, no 16021 projects. And this was with one click from the homepage - "Project Directory" - funny about how obvious links make sense.

      >more interested on marketing and policies than in code
      Really? From your 1 second glance at the homepage? Unless you have 99% vision loss, you are a troll - or illiterate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kikito (971480)

        From the article:

        "... Not to be confused with Codeplex.com"

        I think we both have been looking to different sites. Sure, codeplex.com has lots of projects. But this article is not about it.

        Also, FYI: I happen to have suffered eye surgery. As a result, my vision is better than average.

  • I have 5 mod points, but when I select a moderation, say, "Insightful", nothing happens. It just sits there.

    This has been going on for a couple days, ever since I got this batch of mod points. Can someone explain?
    • by kikito (971480)

      Javascript deactivated? Overzealous firewall?

      • by ChipMonk (711367)
        I have NoScript, but all scripts here are enabled. And moderations used to work fine. It's only this last batch.

        Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:1.9.2.3) Gecko/20100402 Firefox/3.6.3
      • by ChipMonk (711367)
        Never mind. Seems to be working now... (*grr*)
  • My answer is (B) it forever doomed to be ignored by the open source world because of its origins. And that is my final answer.
  • Codeplex is utterly GPL unfriendly, i would say GPL hostile. Its also nothing more than a way to steer open source towards being something you build with Microsofts closed technologies. Its not even stealthy in that regard.

    I say fuck Microsoft until they prove they can cooperate. Why give them free ammo for absolutely nothing?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RaceProUK (1137575)

      From http://www.codeplex.org/About2/FAQ/Mission.aspx [codeplex.org] (emphasis mine):

      The Foundation has no pre-suppositions about particular projects, platforms, or open source licenses.

      Doesn't sound hostile to the GPL to me.

      • CodePlex (http://codeplex.com) hosts over 4500 projects [codeplex.com] licensed under GPLv2 or LGPL (the majority of which are under GPL). Ironically, one of those projects is a Linux distro [codeplex.com].

        CodePlex Foundation - a different thing (http://codeplex.org) - doesn't mention GPL at all [google.com] on the website - which, admittedly, raises a brow for an OSS-centric organization - but I still don't see how it makes it "GPL hostile". It looks more like an awkward silence to me.

        • Does it mention any other OSS licences? It'd seem a bit one-sided if it was only the GPL /.ers were worried about, given that the various BSD, MPL, MIT, Apache, etc. licences are fairly widely used.
          • It does mention BSD several times in project listings (i.e. there are projects released under it there), but that's it.

            By the way, since I posted the comment, the website does mention GPL now, in a new post to the CodePlex Foundation blog [codeplex.org]:

            The CodePlex Foundation is completely free and open source software license agnostic. The Foundation is also technology agnostic. If you want to use AGPL or GPLv3 or BSD or EPL, the Foundation has no opinion and will happily support your project or gallery. If you want to

  • It can't work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @11:34AM (#32665618)
    There is too much distrust on both sides. MS has screwed over and back stabbed so many "partners" and viciously attacked Open Source for years. The Open Source community hates them and they know it. There's too much animosity to be bridged by these vague attempts at reaching out to the OSS community. It would take a massive turn around in policy....something like porting Office and Exchange to linux to actually make any real impression.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @11:35AM (#32665628)

    Why I don't like MS Hosting FOSS Projects ... a few reasons.
    1) Microsoft has always looked towards the bottom line first and community second.
    2) Microsoft doesn't really want any competition in platforms, so anything written that runs on many different platforms will "never behave as well" (performance, threading, resources, etc) as a 100% native application.
    3) When Microsoft does attempt to get onboard with a standard app/tool/protocol, they always extend it in a proprietary way. Sometimes they make it better than it was, but since nobody else is allowed to also get those extensions, it doesn't do any good for the original community. Just look at LDAP/Active Directory.
    4) Microsoft has had 30+ years to select, port and deliver a good cross platform scripting language, but they have not done so. I would love to have a native-from-Microsoft pre-installed version of Perl on every MS-Windows platform. Still they release wsh, cmd, bat and other similar crap. Where's the MS-Python or MS-Perl or MS-Php? Oh, because those are true FOSS projects, MS can't bastardize them. It doesn't matter how much more productive scripting would be. We know other commercial vendors that include these tools with the OS. Why won't Microsoft?

    If you want a new idea to flourish, you need these things:
    - small group of _believers_ that work on it for passion, not money
    - complete openness in the results - source code in this case
    - competition - another real player to battle against who also has complete openness in their code. It is NOT cheating to look at the competition's work.

    Examples include the robot soccer team competition where at the end of every competition, all software for every team is shared so the level of play the following year will be elevated for all teams. Basically, the best software for last year is the starting point for all teams in the next competition.

    Just a few thoughts.

  • NDA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:08PM (#32667120) Homepage Journal

    I remember back when the Shared Source Initiative was announced, I looked into in, and found that actually seeing any of the source code required signing an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). I closed those windows and forgot about it.

    So are there NDAs required by any of the various CodePlex things? Or are there other equivalent "agreements" that have other euphemistic names? That would tell us a lot about their actual intentions.

    I've written a lot of software that's secret, proprietary, whatever. The companies that hired me paid me pretty well for the software. But if I'm to get involved in something that I think is going to be shared publicly among a crowd of developers, and then discover that it's actually owned and controlled by the web site's owners, I'm going to feel rather double-crossed. I'd rather know beforehand, so I can avoid wasting my time just to donate code to such organizations.

    Another variant of this problem existed on AT&T's Sys/V. I did some development in which some of the machines that I tested the code on ran Sys/V. I found that the binaries always contained an AT&T copyright notice. This was obviously because the binaries linked in the AT&T libc and other libraries. So I refused to distribute binaries for Sys/V, on the grounds that doing so might legally constitute signing my copyright to AT&T. I know of a number of companies that abandoned Sys/V after I pointed this out to them (and their lawyers agreed).

    There a lot of tricky ways to lose control of your code to big corporations, and Microsoft has a bit of a rep for tricks like this. So it'd be nice to know up front whether a new repository holds such threats.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      So are there NDAs required by any of the various CodePlex things? Or are there other equivalent "agreements" that have other euphemistic names? That would tell us a lot about their actual intentions.

      I wouldn't be able to say anything about CodePlex Foundation, but then I don't know what you would do there in the first place.

      As for CodePlex - no, you don't need any NDAs. It's really just your typical project hosting website, except that it's targeted at the audience that uses MS development technologies (though doesn't exclude other stuff [codeplex.com]).

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