Ryan Paul at Ars Technica reports a shocker – Microsoft has signed up as a $100,000 per year sponsor of the Apache Foundation which produces their number one Web server competitor.
Today at the OSCON open source software convention, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) got an unexpected new sponsor: Microsoft. The Redmond software giant, which will contribute $100,000 annually to the ASF, joins Google and Yahoo as a platinum sponsor of Apache development.
The ASF is a nonprofit group that exerts loose organizational guidance role over a sprawling ecosystem of autonomously managed software projects, including the Apache web server and a host of libraries, frameworks, toolkits, and programs. The culture of the ASF is built upon what they call the "Apache Way," a philosophy of consensus-based collaborative stewardship and volunteerism.
I spoke with Apache Software Foundation (ASF) president Justin Erenkrantz, who views Microsoft’s sponsorship of Apache as a step forward for interoperability. He believes that this move is based on a legitimate desire by Microsoft to foster collaborative development of Apache technologies that implement Microsoft standards. In particular, he points out an ASF project called Apache POI which offers native Java libraries for reading and writing Microsoft Office file formats.
Erenkrantz told me that Microsoft has been moving in this direction for quite some time. The company recently invited several Apache contributors to visit its Redmond headquarters for informal interoperability talks. Microsoft’s recognition of the role that open source software will play in enterprise infrastructure comes directly from the top, he says, and isn’t just confined to rogue elements within the company.
It’s critical to understand two things about our sponsorship of the ASF: what it is, and what it is not.
It is not a move away from IIS as Microsoft’s strategic web server technology. We have invested significantly in refactoring and adding new, state-of-the-art features to IIS, including support for PHP. We will continue to invest in IIS for the long term and are currently under way with development of IIS 8.
It is a strong endorsement of The Apache Way, and opens a new chapter in our relationship with the ASF. We have worked with Apache POI, Apache Axis2, Jakarta, and other projects in the last year, and we will continue our technical support and interoperability testing work for this open source software.
I’m sure there will still be a certain amount of suspicion of Microsoft’s motives but customer demand for interoperability makes strange bedfellows and the lack thereof in Microsoft server products is always a prime competitor talking point.
A variety of Microsoft news items that didn’t find a post of their own this week:
Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet reports that newly appointed Microsoft SVP Jon DeVaan is wasting no time reorganizing the Windows Core Operating System Division for building the successor to Vista (codenamed “Fiji”). The changes don’t take effect until Vista gets out the door though.
In other personnel news, Rick Devenuti, senior vice president of Microsoft Services and IT, is retiring. Devenuti oversaw Microsoft’s managed services effort. Also WSO2 hires mash-up master from Microsoft. The master is Jonathan Marsh and WSO2 is a startup founded by ex-IBMer Sanjiva Weerawarana that sells support and products for the Apache Axis Web services tools.
Steve Ballmer’s Business Week interview also produced the revelation that Microsoft is not losing money on each Zune sold although he would have liked it better if Apple had kept the price of the comparable iPod at $299. This is directly contrary to previous Microsoft statements.
Microsoft’s Internet Protocol television (IPTV) efforts received a big boost from hardware vendors Tuesday, after Cisco, Motorola, Philips and Tatung all announced new set-top boxes that support Microsoft IPTV Edition software.
Some Belgian newspapers not only don’t want to be indexed by Google, they’re complaining to MSN too. I’m being facetious, of course. What they really want is a cut off the top. In other legal news, Microsoft is trying to get the lead opposition lawyer in the Iowa antitrust cased removed.
The Microsoft OpenDocument Format plugin for Microsoft Word will be released October 23. You’ll recall that this saves Microsoft’s bacon with some customers demanding open document formatting standards.
Microsoft continues to offer more assistance for businesses willing to build infrastructure with Microsoft Office as a front end:
With the release of Office Business Applications (OBA) Reference Application Pack (RAP) this week, Microsoft in essence is acknowledging that they are on to something big in the enterprise market.
Microsoft is calling this the second generation of OBA and is in response to wide acceptance of the first generation.
Like Duet, a product partnership with SAP that offers up the Office suite of products as a standard interface for SAP backend applications, OBA RAP will do the same, but this time not tied to any vendor’s backend system.
Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, said that OBA is significant because Office is certainly one of the better interfaces around for knowledge workers.
The release of the OBA reference for building the front end to a supply chain management system will demonstrate that a company can build a procurement process with a combination of Outlook, Word, and Excel and do everything they want, said Greenbaum.
Windows CE is wide open to attack compared to desktop Windows according to a security researcher at Kaspersky Labs. Bound to happen.
Netcraft’s June 2006 Web Server Survey:
Microsoft continues to gain share in the web server market, chipping away at Apache’s commanding lead. The number of hostnames on Windows servers grew by 4.5 million, giving Microsoft 29.7% market share, a gain of 4.25% for the month. Apache had a decline of 429K hostnames, and loses 3.5% to 61.25%.
Apache’s lead over Microsoft, which stood at 48.2% in March, has been narrowed to 31.5%, a shift of 16.7% in just three months.
The largest movement of sites from Apache to IIS was once again at Go Daddy, with over 1.6M hostnames moving from Apache to IIS this month. While those parked domains were a major factor in Microsoft’s gains, Windows also saw solid growth in active sites, hostnames that contain content and likely to represent developed web sites.
More details by following the link. We’ve mentioned the GoDaddy deal previously.
There are now more than 80 million web sites on the Internet, as the April 2006 survey received responses from 80,655,992 sites, an increase of 3.1 million hostnames from March 2006. The web has doubled in size in the past three years, as the survey hit the 40 million mark in April 2003.
This month’s survey brings one of the largest one-month swings in the history of the web server market, as Microsoft gains 4.7 percent share while Apache loses 5.9 percent. The shift is driven by changes at domain registrar Go Daddy, which has just migrated more than 3.5 million hostnames from Linux to Windows. Go Daddy, which had been the world’s largest Linux host, is now the world’s largest Windows Server 2003 host, as measured by hostnames. The company said it will shift a total of 4.4 million hostnames to Windows Server 2003.
Technology trends among registrars have a large impact on web server market share, as each registrar hosts large numbers of parked domains. Microsoft’s last major upward surge in market share in 2001-02 was boosted by migrations at Register.com and VeriSign. Go Daddy is the second huge registrar to shift its sites to Windows Server 2003, following the lead of enom. Among other major registrars, 1&1 Internet, Dotster and Register.com host on Linux, while Network Solutions uses Solaris.
More details by following the link and in the original press release announcing the hosting change for GoDaddy’s parked domains.