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Microsoft Says “Make Web Not War”

Looking to build ties with open source developers, the company launches an OSS marketplace.

At MIX09 last week, the lead on Microsoft’s Web Platform Team, Lauren Cooney, announced the launch of Microsoft’s Windows Web App Gallery. What is it exactly? It’s a marketplace for popular open source apps with the ability to one-click install an OSS application on a Windows-based server.

The app gallery is one component of Microsoft’s Web Platform strategy, which, in addition to the marketplace, includes the one-click installer for app gallery, the .NET framework, developer tools, and SQL Server Express edition. The tagline for this initiative? Make Web Not War.

If you’re a software developer there’s also the option to add your project to the app gallery. Once a project is a part of the marketplace, you won’t find a direct link to the source code for it (something, one assumes, that could easily be added) but it does provide an interesting distribution channel for software developers.

While not everyone’s going to buy into it, it’s a pretty smart method of injecting themselves into the open source ecosystem.

Recently, I was talking with some writers and editors in the tech trade about how SourceForge could use an update; that it has become unwieldy, and possible unusable, for a greater part of the computing population. I also wrote about about how open source projects could improve their chances in competing in proprietary software by focusing on the problems the software solved and improving project page usability. And now here comes Microsoft and essentially puts a giant install button on WordPress.

Does Microsoft have the right idea? Would something like this work in the Linux world?

There’s CPAN for Perl. There’s PECL for PHP. There are app repositories for all the major Linux distributions. If someone could figure out how to make it work across multiple distros, would a one-click application marketplace for the Linux platform fly?

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