DotNetNuke has long occupied a rather uncomfortable position in the Microsoft ecosystem. When the project was started in late 2002, 'open source' on the Microsoft platform was a completely foreign concept; an oxymoron which often elicited blank stares or negative reactions from all types of stakeholders including both developers within the Microsoft ecosystem as well as open source idealists on non-Microsoft platforms. Over the years, as education and acceptance of open source has increased within the IT industry, so has the popularity and adoption of DotNetNuke. After 7 years and over 6 million downloads, I am very proud to be able to say that DotNetNuke thrived on the early adversity it faced and has successfully grown into the largest, most active open source project native to the Microsoft platform. With all that in mind, I am very excited to be a part of some ground-breaking news...
Today Microsoft announced that it is sponsoring a non-profit open source foundation, the CodePlex Foundation, whose mission is to “enable the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communities”. Personally, I am proud to reveal that I was asked to participate as a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation; a role which I gratefully accepted. I am joining fellow Board members Sam Ramji, Bill Staples, Stephanie Boesch, and Britt Johnston from Microsoft, and open source veteran Miguel de Icaza from Novell(Mono).
As a pioneer of open source native to the Microsoft platform, I have been both a vocal proponent as well as a vocal critic of Microsoft's stance on open source over the years. This has been a very delicate balancing act to manage in terms of being true to open source philosophy and ideals but also sensitive to the fact that Microsoft can be a very influential partner.
I found it quite fascinating recently when I read Chris Anderson's best-selling book "FREE - The Future of a Radical Price" where he devotes a detailed case study in Chapter 7 to Microsoft's historical strategies for dealing with the open source movement. He breaks it down into a series of stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance; and his narrative provides some good insight into Microsoft's early hesitations towards open source which definitely matched my own observations of how Microsoft has been forced to evolve and adapt over time. I believe we are firmly in the Acceptance stage at this point and the sponsoring of the CodePlex Foundation represents an even deeper level commitment to coexistence and collaboration with open source communities.
Also joining the Advisory Board for the CodePlex Foundation is another familiar face from the DotNetNuke ( and broader open source ) ecosystem. Larry Augustin, current CEO of SugarCRM, and member of the Board of Directors for DotNetNuke Corporation will be able to draw on his vast open source experience with a variety of organizations and provide valuable guidance to the CodePlex Foundation as it begins the next step of its journey.