New Shared Source Release - MBS Solomon

Once again my friend Matt Asay is putting on a strong show at OSBC East. The OSBC conferences have been interesting to me because of their focus on those that are building businesses around OSS. In my keynote on Wed. this week I will be taking a look at our lessons learned from OSS and will play with the Kraus’ long tail theory a bit.

I will also be announcing the first foray into Shared Source from our Dynamics folks. News first- then my take on it.

The News

The Microsoft Business Solutions Solomon team is posting the source code to their Business Portal Lite technology which enables multiple browsers to be used as a thin-client interface connecting the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal and the Solomon ERP system. The portal provides time, expense approval, alerts and project profitability tracking and reviewing functionality. The advantage to using the Lite solution is that you can access the Microsoft Solomon back-end through Safari, Firefox, Mozilla and other non-Windows browsers.

The Solomon group has a strong community of partners and customers right now, with more than 600 certified partners servicing more than 15,000 customers. This release enables the certified partner community to build a common set of technologies allowing them to service customers’ heterogeneous environments.

We have a few partners and a customer already lined up for the pilot – Altara, Queue Associates, and Omnicom Group.

The code is available under the Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL) announced last week at EuroOSCON.

My Take

Microsoft has built its business on its ability to create economic opportunity for its partners. Our services, software, and hardware partners number in the hundreds of thousands of companies. The release of the Business Portal Lite project is one more step in this line of thinking, and another great example that there are lessons to be learned from the OSS dev/business models.

Because this source release, and community development effort are targeted at a specific set of partners – this will be a “walled garden” project. The project on GotDotNet Workspaces will primarily be for certified partners but if there are customers interested in participating they will do so as an invitee by their integration partner. The source license will provide those partners with the ability to take the code and do what they wish with it – but the core project with the MS lead will remain on the GDN site.

To me, this project provides us with a great learning opportunity to understand the reaches of a limited group working towards a common goal within the context of a collaborative development project. David Dennis and Ed Hughes from the Microsoft side will be working closely with the Solomon partner community to gather feedback on the pilot and look for new ways to continue evolving that community. I want to wish them the best of luck on a great new project.

As usual, more information is available here –