Working in the open source scene for the past has opened my eyes on various new aspects of successful software development. One of the most important factors - and something typically missing from non-open source development is the emphasis on community. Stefan Mazzocchi, Apache Cocoon “inventor” and long-time Apache individual, often likes to make the sometimes drastic sounding statement that code is in fact uninmportant when it comes to success or failure of open source projects. He likes to state that “it’s all about community”. Althought this orientation towards the people, as opposed to the code, does seem to contradict typical software development - it does hold true that the Cocoon project (for example) is still going very strong (even after over three years) and “flame wars” are few and far between (although all the more surprising when they do come).
I’ve never known Microsoft to be particularly strong followers of this strategy - although there have been rumblings that even in Seattle, the word is out on communities. And then today I stumble over a job opportunity with Microsoft Germany with the following paragraph:
The success of the Open Source movement has shown the power communities can have. This is a new position created to lead the charge in EMEA to regaining the hearts and minds of the broad mass of IT enthusiasts.
The purpose is to positively influence our customer satisfaction and advocacy through the development of managed and unmanaged communities.
Read the whole thing here.
Another sign that, behind the scenes, Microsoft is indeed watching the open source movement. Very closely.
Can Microsoft adopt the open source strategy for communities? What will their version look like?