Update: More Details On Microsoft-Funded CodePlex Foundation, Ramji Leaving
As we mentioned we would do earlier today, we followed up with Microsoft's senior director of platform strategy, and its effective chief of open source strategy, Sam Ramji, on plans for the CodePlex Foundation. He also weighed in on his own plans. Ramji, whose tenure at Microsoft has been widely followed by and influential toward the open source community, has confirmed that he is leaving the company at the end of September, for a new position in Silicon Valley. He remains the current Interim President of the CodePlex Foundation, though, and told us more about his intentions for it and the foundation's future.
"I will be leaving Microsoft at the end of September for a similar position at a cloud infrastructure startup in Silicon Valley," Ramji said. He started with Microsoft in early 2008, and has been behind many of the company's open source-related initiatives since then.
As Interim President of the CodePlex Foundation, Ramji stresses that the foundation, Microsoft itself, and the CodePlex hosting site are three different, though related things. The initial funding for the foundation comes from Microsoft, for the foundation's first year.
Ramji says the foundation will focus on guidelines for software companies and how to work with the world of open source. "We plan to gather best practices for how software companies that have worked with, and work on, open source projects can do so optimally," he said. "Some projects don't have any practices around license agreements, while some have rigorous practices," he cited as an example of the underlying problems.
The CodePlex Foundation will support a range of copyright licenses, and a range of open source technologies, Ramji said. He also noted that Microsoft itself has wrestled with some of the very questions the foundation is designed to answer. "How do we manage contributions as a publicly held company that has a range of patents?" he asked.
"Many companies under-participate in open source projects, based on the amount of value that they are getting out of the projects, so there is disparity there," Ramji noted. He also emphasized that the foundation will concentrate on being industry-focused, and not just focused on Microsoft's goals.
We wish Sam well in his next position, and no doubt Microsoft will have to make some adjustments in finding a new open source czar.