Microsoft opens up Sandcastle, this time with source code

Microsoft failed to fully open source Sandcastle during its first attempt. It's doing better now, evidencing real desire to play by open source's rules.

A month ago, Microsoft was called out on releasing Sandcastle as open source... without the source . Sam Ramji, Senior Director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft and one of its key open-source advocates, immediately pulled the project from Microsoft's CodePlex open-source hosting site .

One month later, Sandcastle is back up, and is fully "dressed" in open-source code. What might have passed as a simple mistake for another company was pounced on by me and others. Sam, for his part, explains that Microsoft can't afford to be treated like "another company" when it comes to open source:

Some people felt it was draconian to pull the project from CodePlex, others thought that didn't go far enough; some were upset because they loved the project and couldn't find it; some thought we were holding ourselves to a higher standard than necessary. I believe that as we continue to build our practices across the company to participate in open source development, we must strive to achieve the highest possible standards.

Some won't believe Sam on this, but I do. He, Bill Hilf, Robert Duffner, and others at Microsoft are actively trying to help the company do right by open source. I'm not naive enough to think that they'll achieve their goals anytime soon, but it's important to recognize that they're not attempting to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. These guys believe the open-source ethos.

The question is, will it be enough?

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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