Microsoft: Partners That Write Code For Open Source Projects Can Be MVPs

Microsoft has stepped up its participation in the open source community in recent years, and now it's planning to give special recognition to developer partners that work on open source projects.

In a blog post Thursday, Scott Hanselman, principal program manager lead in Microsoft's Developer Division, said Microsoft is planning changes to its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award to recognize partners that make significant contributions to open source projects.

The MVP award for developers includes a free one-year Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscription, which is priced at $13,299 annually. MVP partners in general also get direct interaction with Microsoft product teams, advance notice of coming products, and attendance at Microsoft's annual MVP Summit, among other benefits. Microsoft has around 3,800 MVP partners worldwide.

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Morten Nielsen, a Microsoft Silverlight MVP and .NET developer based in Redlands, Calif., told CRN he's happy to see Microsoft recognizing partners' contributions to open source projects.

"Some Microsoft partners are building amazing open source software that everyone uses, and now they're getting recognized for that," Nielsen said. "Microsoft didn't previously consider that as part of partners' efforts, but now there's an acknowledgment that there are many open source projects that are helping to drive the Microsoft platform."

Previously, Microsoft granted MVP status only to partners who frequently gave public speeches, wrote books and blog posts, and moderated online forums and user groups, among other activities.

"The idea behind these awards has been to give some recognition to folks that have volunteered their time to write books, create documentation, run user groups, and generally spread the word as advocates for the development platform," Hanselman said in the blog post.

In the blog post, Hanselman quoted an internal Microsoft email that explains the company's rationale behind changing the way it recognizes MVP partners.

"As we move forward, we will change the MVP guidelines to recognize open source activities with the same weight as other community activities. We need to send a clear message that a healthy .NET ecosystem, including open source impact, is good for all stakeholders," Microsoft said in the email.

Hanselman said Microsoft will start considering open source partners in its next MVP cycle, which beings April 1.

Microsoft has also been active in integrating open source with its development tools, S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said in a separate Thursday blog post.

This includes native support for Git source control in Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server, and the recent preview release of Visual Studio support for Node.js, he said.

"Take a look at what we've been doing over the last year, and stay tuned for what is to come in the next year. I think you'll see a really strong level of openness and engagement with open source," Somasegar said in the blog post.