In early November (November 16th-19th, 2010) Microsoft hosted “Jump In Camp” not too far from the main Microsoft campus in Seattle. From all accounts, it was a rousing good time. Jump In Camp seems to be equal parts training and coding with Microsoft talking (and listening) about MSSQL Server and then the participants using what they learned to develop PHP code that works with MSSQL Server or extend existing projects to support MSSQL.
Open source is all about sharing and helping out, so it was clear from speaking to people like Josh why this particular group of staff inside Microsoft were able to genuinely represent their monolithic corporation to a group of open source developers. There might still be no Linux driver for SQL Server, but Microsoft has good people making steps in the right direction.
I’ve written several blog posts on my personal blog about Microsoft’s efforts to reach out to the Open Source community and the PHP community specifically. I’ve moved from “cautiously optimistic” to “openly happy” at their efforts. Jump In Camp is just one more sign that they are making a genuine effort to make PHP a first class citizen on Windows. I used to say that their efforts were thanks to a few people like Josh Holmes and Karri Dunn. However, the more people I meet in their Interop Group the more I realize that their is a quiet movement in Microsoft to change the corporate attitude. People like Ashay Chaudhary, Ruslan Yakushev, Jas Sandhu, Brian Swan, Mark Brown and a host of others are working not only from the marketing side of Microsoft but also from the technical side to really reach out, connect and contribute.
If you are interested in what went on at Jump In Camp and want a glimpse into what Microsoft is doing, check out Julian’s blog post. It’s a short but very interesting read.
(Seriously, how can a blog post that mentions both Paul Reinheimer and African djembe drums not be interesting?)