The census began earlier this year as an effort to quantify how much open source enterprises are using, as well as which open source programs are being used most often. CIO.com blogger and Navica CEO Bernard Golden said, at the time:
Companies have often felt, "Well, in the absence of data, we're reluctant to go forward." So this will give them much more information about what peer organizations are doing and what other companies like them are using in terms of products and amounts of open source and things like that. It will give them a higher comfort level.
PCWorld.com reports the census has so far uncovered more than 220,000 different open source packages. However, only 1,300 machines had been scanned as of July 12. The 451 Group's Jay Lyman suggests Microsoft's involvement in the census may drive interest from larger companies.
Lyman also notes open sourcers shouldn't be quick to assign ill motives to Microsoft's lastest move toward open source. PCWorld.com quotes him this way:
[T]here's no question those guys are smart with what they're doing with open source. They definitely have changed. Is it genuine? Some of it is and some of it may be less so.
In addition to senior director of platform strategy Sam Ramji, who is spearheading Microsoft's open source efforts, the company recently hired community development enthusiast Lauren Cooney, a former IBM employee, to focus on open source community development. According to eWEEK, Cooney "looks forward to helping Microsoft continue to open up."