Microsoft cozies up to open source, donates $100,000 to Apache

As part of a renewed embrace of open source, Microsoft will contribute $100,000 annually to join the Apache Software Foundation, as well as pledging new protocols to the Open Specfication Promise and contributing a patch for ADOdb.

The annual investment in Apache will bring the company on board as a "Platinum" sponsor, the foundation's highest level. At that level, it joins competitors Yahoo and Google in supporting the effort.

Microsoft cautioned any speculation that the move meant the company was moving away from its own IIS Web server platform. Instead, it says the donation is meant to signify an endorsement of the foundation's work in open source.

Facing increasing pressure from its competitors as well as regulators, the Redmond company has been adopting a more open development policy as of late. Of course, many of its initiatives are criticized by those who say Microsoft is just putting on a show. But Apache sounded a positive note about the contribution.

"We thank Microsoft for their generous sponsorship that goes towards supporting The Apache Software Foundation and the over 60 top level projects in use and development within the ASF," said ASF Chairman Jim Jagielski in a statement. "Microsoft's sponsorship makes it clear that Microsoft 'gets it' regarding the ASF."

In addition to the $100,000 donation, several protocols that were in Microsoft's Communications Protocol Program have now been placed under the Open Specification Promise (OSP). This will ensure that companies working with technologies under that document can do so free of the threat from patent litigation.

Microsoft has also contributed a patch to ADOdb, which is used in PHP installations. With this patch, the company's SQL Server will now support this technology natively. "This is our first code contribution to PHP community projects but will not be the last," Microsoft platform strategy director Sam Ramji said.

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