Building Open Source Trust One Step at a Time


It's funny, but "open source" and "burgeoning" are not exactly words I would have expected to see in the same sentence with "Microsoft" even last year. But that's exactly how writer David Worthington described Sam Ramji's take on open source at Microsoft -- burgeoning.


In an interview published Wednesday in SD Times, Ramji explains that Microsoft is involved in open source when it makes sense to improve Microsoft's products or to expand interoperability. In large part, then, product groups drive Microsoft's open source involvement.


Beyond that, though, Ramji also notes that his team and others who are working with open source are also talking up open source within the company. He says:

...Someone on a team will get e-mail from someone saying, "Hey, I heard we're changing our approach." We get the word out with blogging, by holding internal events and by talking publicly. There are open-source days at Microsoft and e-mail trails inside the company. There is an open-source alias [for employees to learn about open source] and connect with others in the company that were with open-source projects and companies before they came to Microsoft, or part of the change that has been happening over past few years.

He also understands that Microsoft will have to continue to build trust among those in the open source world, as things have not always been friendly between the two camps. But Ramji says that "marketing to a market of markets" doesn't make sense. That's why the company is working to build trust first in the open source communities in which it is involved. He says, "We expect to be judged on our actions."