Microsoft Starts Open Source Foundation--Ramji Said to Be Leaving

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 10, 2009

Microsoft has co-founded and launched its new CodePlex Foundation, which it will supply the initial funding for, and is focused on open source. According to the foundation's site, the non-profit organization will be "providing a forum in which best practices and shared understanding can be established by a broad group of participants, both software companies and open source communities."

Sam Ramji (shown), senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft, and a noted open source advocate, announced the initiative and appears to be currently leading it. However, OStatic has heard reports that Ramji is leaving Microsoft, although there are also reports that he is only moving from Microsoft to preside over the new foundation. At the time of this writing, there is no confirmation from Microsoft on that point, but we have reached out to Sam and company spokespeople, and will update. Here are more details.

Microsoft's CodePlex site has been existence for some time, and is the company's repository for shared open source code and hosted projects, including 10,000 currently hosted ones. The CodePlex Foundation is intended to "complement existing open source foundations and organizations," according to Microsoft. Both software companies and open source communities are invited to participate in its efforts, and there is a FAQ, including information on relationhips, here.

The FAQ says this:

"We believe that commercial software companies and the developers that work for them under-participate in open source projects. Some of the reasons are cultural, some have to do with differing software development methodologies, and some have to do with differing views about intellectual property...our expectation is that we can have the greatest impact on projects where the software industry as a whole would benefit from closer collaboration between software companies and open source communities."

Sam Ramji is cited as Interim President of the foundation, as it takes shape, but OStatic has heard that Ramji is leaving Microsoft. We're currently trying to make contact to see if that just means he is leaving for full-time responsibilities at the foundation or leaving altogether.

Ramji joined Microsoft with a specific charter to change its cultural stance toward open source a little over a year ago, and discussed his goals with OStatic here. If he is leaving the company, it could markedly affect Microsoft's open source initiatives and policies. We will follow up on that when get confirmation.