Microsoft OpenSource Platform Project

Is this project for real? Have you even heard of this?

In the July 2010 Linux Pro Magazine I noticed a news article about a new Microsoft Open Source project; Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform (CoApp). As stated on the project website:

CoApp aims to create a vibrant Open Source ecosystem on Windows by providing the technologies needed to build a complete community-driven Package Management System, along with tools to enable developers to take advantage of features of the Windows platform.

Basically, the idea is to allow open source developers and users to better take advantage of the Windows operating system by creating a set of tools that behave similar to what is on Linux and UNIX machines (for a more in depth analysis feel free to visit the site). My focus on this blog is not on the actual project but in the way that the project is being managed, promoted, and run as I find some aspects of the project very different than a normal open source project.

There is a Getting Started section on the website that directs users interested to sign up for the Wiki as well as the mailing lists which is pretty standard for most projects. However, the website itself is a Wiki which does not show all the comments and information on the site unless the user registers. I consider this to be a significant issue as a majority of people in the open source community are not in favor of registering for general websites. Hiding information without registration is not what I would consider a friendly open community.

The project really gets interesting when looking at the FAQ at http://coapp.org/CoApp_FAQ. I have read many FAQs in my day, but never have I seen such a question as this:

Q: LA LA LA LA LA I’m not listening. Most open source projects can’t afford a code signing certificate!

A: Stop that. I’ve already told you that it will not be an issue. Signing Code is not optional.

Wow, talk about being user friendly and inviting, this Q&A just makes me want to go right out and start working on this project. This question is written with the knowledge that possible participants will obviously not support this effort. I am also still searching the site to find out who owns the source code written and what license the software will be placed under, a basic concept in open source projects.

So, does this seem like a project that Microsoft is really behind? It doesn't seem very open source friendly to me and inviting to a larger community of developers. What are your thoughts?

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