Open Source Community Participation at Think Tank Paris and Open World Forum

I recently returned from Paris, where I attended both the annual Open Source Think Tank and Open World Forum events. It was really great getting to chat with some of the folks representing the myriad of businesses that have sprung up around Open Source solutions, and having some in-depth discussions about broad industry trends.

The Open Source Think Tank is pretty much a unique event in that it gives attendees the opportunity to examine open source and cloud evolution through detailed analysis and discussions of specific industry related case studies, as well as panels, presentations and networking opportunities with a collaborative group of folks from across the industry.

For its part Open World Forum brings together hundreds of decision-makers, developers and users from across the world to discuss Open technological, business and societal initiatives to help shape the digital future

I was happy to be able to participate in a number of panel discussions at both events. At the Think Tank, I got to brainstorm on the topic of “Open Source Ethos as an Agent of Change," which essentially looked at how closed source companies use the open source ethos to energize their companies and change how they relate to their customers, partners and employees. I was joined by Erynn Petersen of AOL and Gil Yehuda of Yahoo, and a lively conversation ensued.

From a Microsoft perspective I pointed out how we recognize the value of openness in working with a diverse array of OSS communities to help developers, customers and partners succeed in today's heterogeneous IT environments.

I noted that we now have a better appreciation for how the open source development model can be useful for our own software development as well as the potential for Microsoft technologies to be great platforms for open source applications. I also briefly talked about our increased investments in standards, interoperability and integration with Open Source Software.

The second Think Tank discussion revolved around Open Source, Open Systems and Open Standards and what that means today. Larry Augustin from SugarCRM and Yahoo's Gil Yehuda also participated, and a lively discussion ensued, a lot of which was way off topic :-)

I referenced how Microsoft supports thousands of standards in its products and that we actively participate in more than 150 standards organizations and over 350 working groups worldwide. However, it is important to realize that while standards are an important tool to help facilitate interoperability, they do not guarantee that: technical strategies, standards use and ongoing collaboration are all required.


I also noted that the Cloud was the new frontier in this space, and how Cloud Platforms support interoperability through their support of standards. Microsoft last year outlined four foundational interoperability elements of a cloud platform: Data Portability, Standards, Ease of Migration and Deployment and Developer Choice.


“Open Source Ethos as an Agent of Change" was also the focus of a discussion between AOL's Erynn Petersen and myself at Open World Forum, which was moderated again by Andrew Aitken of the Olliance Group, a company in the Black Duck Software stable.


I shared with the audience how Open Source thinking and participation is taking place across many teams, groups and divisions at Microsoft, talked about the Outercurve Foundation and CodePlex, our open source forge, as well as the many Web properties devoted to Interoperability, Open Source Community and Openness.


I, along with my colleagues Craig Kitterman - who also participated in a panel discussion and gave a technical session - and Alfonso Castro, who delivered the Microsoft OWF keynote, talked to Romain Gueugneau, a journalist with leading French business publication Les Echos. You can read his article, in French, here.


Our participation in these events like these not only complements our existing and ongoing broad engagement with OSS communities, but is vital to ensure we keep abreast of the broad industry developments so as to best meet the needs of developers, customers and partners. It also allows us to remain closely connected to our friends from communities like PhP, Node.js, Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress, while making new ones.