Open Source Day at Microsoft

by jcannon on April 01, 2008 08:16pm

Last Friday, March 28th, 2008 was Microsoft's first company-wide Open Source Day. This was a significant event and milestone in the company's move towards openness and was made freely available to any employee interested in attending. Packed full of panels and presentations by leaders in open source technology and programs at Microsoft, including a few industry folks, the discussion was open and uninhibited (subtitled : "Everything you wanted to know about open source and Microsoft, but were afraid to ask.")

The event itself was held at the Microsoft Conference Center on the Redmond campus....the same facilities we use for executive discussions with visiting customers and dignitaries. The space itself represents our largest and most sophisticated meeting center- and it was used at capacity to host a cross-section of business, marketing, legal and engineering employees throughout the day. Who would imagine this was happening only four floors below the same building complex that houses Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer's offices....

Mario is blogging more deeply on this later in the week. However, I wanted to share some pictures I snapped during the event which I thought those outside the company might find interesting.

The above slide, titled, "Why go open?" was presented by Raven Zachary of the 451Group. Raven, the first speaker of the day, was presenting his perspective on the trends and issues facing the open source industry. This slide in particular focused on the "why" of going open....You may not be able to read the fine details, but it illustrates primary reasons why software companies choose open source business models. In order: competitive forces, first-mover advantage, customer demand, improved distribution, commercial barriers, community model and internal resource constraints.

Not the first topic one might expect Microsoft to lead the day's discussion with. But this was a different day and it lead with bold statements to challenge the wisdom of this crowd.

This picture is my favorite. For those unfamiliar with the weather of the Pacific Northwest, you know that snow is seldom seen, especially this late in the season. However, Friday saw a squall come through Redmond...and while not sticking, certainly causing a whiteout and dangerous road conditions. 

Why is this my favorite? When someone came up & asked what was going on in the Conference Center, pointing to the Open Source poster on the wall, I said, "Didn't you hear? Hell has frozen over?" 🙂

Till next time,
- Jamie

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