Microsoft Popular with Some in Open Source Crowd

Despite its denunciation of Linux, the Redmond giant has thousands of fans of its 'Shared Source Initiative' at SourceForge.net.
Like a scene straight out of Sally Fields' 1985 Oscar acceptance speech, Microsoft is awed with the response it is getting to its contributions to the open source community.

''You like me, you really like me.''

The proof lies within the latest download numbers from SourceForge.net, a repository of open source code and applications. The subsidiary of VA Software released a statement Thursday saying that Microsoft's two (and only) contributions are in the top five percent of the more than 80,000 active projects at the site.

''We're not surprised to see this level of interest in the Microsoft projects,'' Patrick McGovern, director at SourceForge.net said. ''More than a quarter of the projects on SourceForge.net are Windows-related, and anything that makes developing for that platform easier is very attractive to our users. We're pleased that Microsoft has been testing the Open Source waters with an Open Source license on our site, and, judging by user response for the first three months, we look forward to hosting even more projects from Microsoft as they reach out to the Open Source community.''

Microsoft's two projects -- the Windows installer XML (WiX) and Windows C++ Template Library (WTL) -- were released under the company's ''Shared Source Initiative'', a program that gives access to the Windows source code to certain customers, partners, developers and academics. Last week, Microsoft extended the existing program to its group of dedicated volunteers, its Most Valuable Professionals.

''We chose to host the Shared Source WiX and WTL projects on SourceForge.net because it is home to a strong community of Windows developers and has a great tradition of collaborative development,'' Jason Matusow, director of Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative said in a statement. ''Through the WiX and WTL offerings, we are applying lessons learned over the past three years on the Shared Source Initiative and engaging more closely with the developer community.''

In the few months since their release, both contributions have been a big hit with open source developers. WiX, which builds installation packages for Windows products was posted on SourceForge.net in April, and has received nearly 100,000 downloads in the first 100 days of its posting.

The WTL, a five-year-old program that lets developers create graphic interfaces for Windows programs, is also in its third month of posting, and has received 19,000 downloads. Both projects are available now under the Common Public License.

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