Microsoft adds to open efforts

Microsoft, the company least-likely to be associated with open source software, has made good on earlier promises to contribute to open source projects.

The company first started its slow move to acceptance of open source in March and April of 2008 when the company announced a series of interoperability plans. Among these were document interoperability commitments which were largely overshadowed by a vicious document format fight over OOXML and the OpenDocument Format. 

In July 2008 Microsoft announced it was willing to put some money behind open source software by agreeing to become a platinum sponsor of the Apache Foundation – the foundation behind the most popular, open source, web server. The annual $100 000 sponsorship is paltry in terms of Microsoft’s worth but it was a step few could find fault with.

It was a year later that Microsoft made its first open source-licensed software release. In fact there were two pieces of software: 20 000 lines of Hyper-V code for the Linux kernel and a Moodle plugin – both under the GNU GPL2 licence.

Now Microsoft has made good on a previous commitment to contribute code towards the popular JQuery Javascript library, a piece of software widely used to add interactive features to websites.

Microsoft’s first contribution is a globalisation plugin. The plugin includes globalisation information for more than 350 cultures, Scott Guthrie, a corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Developer Division, said in a blog post.

Using the library developers can parse and format numbers, currencies and date for a range of different cultures when using JavaScript. This would include displaying the correct currency symbol, re-formatting dates to be in line with local custom and translating dates into local languages.

Guthrie has also posted a number of examples of the new plugin in action on his blog.

It’s slow going but the company once viewed as enemy number one for open source software is slowing warming to this new world.

Microsoft globalisation plugin for JQuery << discuss in the forums

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Microsoft adds to open efforts