Microsoft has signed the JCA (Joomla! Contributor Agreement), and we've got some of their code in the Joomla! 1.6 trunk. There, I said it. It feels like it should be so much more doesn't it? Don't worry, I won't end the blog post there.
It has taken me a while to write this post, as I'm not even sure what I want to put in – beyond my profound excitement. Yes, it's a big deal to have a major company contributing to the codebase. And yes, the fact that it's Microsoft contributing to a GPL project is big news. But, in a lot of ways this is just part of a natural progression related to a lot of work that has been going on for a long time with Joomla!. More important, really, is what this means for how people can use Joomla!.
So quickly a bit of history. I've been working (along with Louis and Mark, and various other people over the years) with Microsoft for a while now to get different things up and running. This has been fun. We've managed to get Joomla!'s package on Web Platform Installer, and it now has more than 32,000 downloads. We've also been working on making Joomla! run better on IIS. Microsoft has helped here by providing test environments (with a lot of us being Mac users, IIS testing isn't the first thing that comes to mind or the easiest thing to do). With the release of 1.5.16, we'll have solved some long term bugs with IIS compatibility and be able to provide support for IIS on the same level as we have for Apache. We've long had lots of IIS based users, but have never before felt we could state that we supported the IIS server. We're pleased that Microsoft will work with us to address any engineering issues that could emerge in the future.
So at a high level, what does this mean for Joomla! and the community? New code contributors are always welcome, of course, especially when they can bring new expertise. In terms of Joomla! usage, supporting IIS means opening a whole new territory of possibilities including in many enterprises. And, more generally, we're happy to see Microsoft as a contributor to the GPL world. Wouldn't it be great if this is the start of constructive engagement between Microsoft and the Free and Open Source Software world?
For Joomla! 1.6, Don from the IIS team has generously donated some code to get WinCache integration for Joomla! 1.6 included. This code is sitting in trunk right now and will be released together with the rest of 1.6, however you don't have to wait to try it out. There is a blog available that explains how to get this up and running with Joomla! 1.5.
Hopefully this is the start of a long-term, fruitful development on a platform that hasn't received as much attention from us as others.