Microsoft Unveils Open-Source Site

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Yep, you read that headline right. A few years ago, emphatic promotional efforts around open source emanating from Redmond, Wash., would have been unthinkable. Yet last week, there it was: Port 25, a new Microsoft Web site aimed at publicizing the company’s commitment to open-source techniques and technologies.


For example, Port 25 plugs interoperability between Windows and rival operating systems such as Linux and Unix through articles and blogs. As one can imagine, this prompted a flood of replies on the site by visitors, some in the Microsoft camp and some from the open-source community. Although there were certainly more than a few catcalls, there were also several messages expressing support—if mixed with a little skepticism—from people on both sides of the divide.


The Port 25 initiative is being sponsored by Microsoft’s Open Source Software Lab and includes bloggers such as Kishi Malhotra, a project manager at the Lab, and Bill Hilf, who used to be a Linux whiz at IBM but went over to the “dark side” when he joined Microsoft as general manager of platform technology strategy. (Incidentally, the head shot next to his blog is of him in a Star Wars storm trooper outfit.)


I could tell you more about Port 25, but I’ll let Hilf’s blog do the talking on this one. “What will you find here?” he wrote. “This will be the place we not only blog, but also where we put analysis from our OSS labs and also where we discuss and show other parts of Microsoft that we think are just plain cool or interesting. I think what you’ll see here over time is how a bunch of open source guys inside Microsoft think, as well as people and technologies inside Redmond that we think other folks like us would find interesting as well. So, there will be much more to discuss, debate and learn from together — but for now, Port 25 is open.”


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