CodePlex Gets Organized

When it comes to building a non-profit open source foundation, it takes time to get things together. That's certainly the case with the Microsoft-sponsored CodePlex Foundation, which today named four people to its permanent board of directors.

The CodePlex Foundation started in September of 2009with an interim board of directors, but is now moving ahead to the next stage of its evolution as it aims to expand beyond its status as a Microsoft organ into an organization with broader open source participation.

"A permanent board of directors ensures continuity. In the first six months there was an understanding that the board was interim," Paula Hunter, executive director of the CodePlex Foundation, told InternetNews.com. "It's now nice to know that that there are people I'll be working with over the next year to three years, depending on the term they choose to serve. This is one of the important milestones that we needed to achieve."

CodePlex's new permanent board includes Jim Jagielski, who also chairs the board of the Apache Software Foundation, and Tony Hey, Microsoft's corporate vice president of external research. Stephanie Davies Boesch, director of program management of .NET Framework at Microsoft and Sam Ramji, vice president of Sonoa Systems, who had both served on the board on an interim basis, will now be permanent members.

Ramji, a former Microsoft employee, previously served as the interim executive director of the CodePlex Foundation, but was replaced last month by Hunter, who now takes the position full-time.

While the new CodePlex Board is made up of mostly current or former Microsoft employees, Jagielski is an exception. Microsoft is also a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation, though Hunter was quick to note that the sponsorship had nothing to do with Jagielski's appointment to the CodePlex Board.

One of her highest priorities as head of the project is to expand CodePlex's sponsorship beyond Microsoft, she said.

Another key goal on Hunter's agenda for the CodePlex Foundation is to bring in more non-Microsoft projects into the organization. Currently, CodePlex only counts one non-Microsoft project that is part of the CodePlex Foundation. Hunter said the first step she will take to expand participation will be to hire a technical director.

"The technical director will be responsible for working with the community and identifying projects that are complementary to CodePlex Foundation," Hunter said. "I would hope to see that staffing decision to be made within the next week."

While Hunter is new to the CodePlex Foundation, she's not new to the open source world. She previously served as the business development director for the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) which was the predecessor organization to the Linux Foundation. Hunter sees the CodePlex Foundation as an evolution of what the OSDL once was.

"The OSDL really was focused on Linux," Hunter said. "I see CodePlex as the next generation open source foundation in that we're no longer worried about the operating system level, we're worried about the next level -- all the technologies that will enable commercial and open source developers to expand open source where it makes sense."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the network for technology professionals.



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