Q: OK, I've read the Mission Statement. But what, exactly, is the Outercurve Foundation going to do?

We believe that commercial software companies and the developers that work for them under-participate in open source projects. Some of the reasons are cultural, some have to do with differing software development methodologies, and some have to do with differing views about copyrights and patents. In general, we are working to close these gaps. Specifically we aim to work with particular projects that can serve as best practice exemplars of how commercial software companies and open source communities can effectively collaborate.

Q: What kinds of open source projects will the Foundation focus on?

The Foundation has no pre-suppositions about particular projects, platforms, or open source licenses. Our expectation is that we can have the greatest impact on projects where the software industry as a whole would benefit from closer collaboration between software companies and open source communities.

Q: Why is it a business organization? Instead of a charitable non-profit?

The Outercurve Foundation has been granted non-profit status based on section 501(c)6 of IRS regulations.

Q: Why is Microsoft involved in the creation of an open source foundation?

Microsoft has an evolving engagement with open source, as demonstrated by its sponsorship of the Apache Software Foundation, contributions to the PHP Community, participation in Apache projects including the Hadoop project and the Qpid project, and participation in various community events such as OSCON, EclipseCon, PyCon, and the Moodle Conference. As an additional proof point of Microsoft's understanding that they needed to be more involved, at OSCON 2009 in July, Microsoft contributed 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux kernel. The Outercurve Foundation is another step in this evolution.