What’s Microsoft Offering Open Source On February 27?

First Scoble writes about something so amazing from Microsoft it makes him cry and will be world changing. Then Long Zheng spots the above page via an email pitch linking to opensourcehero that redirects here.

What open source something will Microsoft forge on February 27 that will be world changing and make Scoble cry? I read Scoble’s post again (either I didn’t read it all the first time, or he has since added to it) and pulled out some more clues:

  • Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay both work on the Next Media team at Microsoft. The team does the following:

    Microsoft Next Media Research group focuses on exploring what new consumer media experiences are possible with the growth in computing power, connectivity and storage in a compelling, elegant and transparent way in the 3 to 10 year timeframe. The group envisions consumer information and entertainment experiences not available today and builds or combines technologies from other Microsoft Research groups and crafts intuitive user interfaces and compelling scenarios to deliver that experience. Rather than focus on old media or new media, the group attempts to develop working prototypes of the Next forms of media possible from new convergent technologies, hence the name.

  • Scoble said there isn’t a business model with what ever this is, supporting the tie in with the open source announcement the same day
  • Scoble again: “Could they have done this at a Silicon Valley startup? I doubt it. Venture Capitalists won’t see enough business value in what they are doing.” Which means it’s not a product that will sell, more likely an interface or way of doing something, and again, likely to be released open source
  • Scoble: “If I told you today what they were doing, without showing you the video we’ll have up on March 3, you’d tell me “that’s lame Scoble.” It’s 100% involved visually, and likely interface related.
  • Scoble: “Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, was the first to tell me about,” ActiveWords knows about it, and is an interface improvement provider.
  • Scoble: “In Wong and Fey’s work you’ll see techniques that lots of startups are using and, even, that the Google Map team is using,” got to be visual, possibly 3D.
  • commenter on Scoble’s blog:

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with what Robert is talking about, but its interesting to note Wong and Fay worked on this:

    The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) project is designed to be an extensible learning and exploration environment which integrates hyperlinked rich media narrative with a seamless multiple survey virtual sky to enable guided and unguided exploration of the universe.

In my earlier post on Scoble crying I guessed Silverlight or online Office. It might be something powered by Silverlight, but I’m now changing my predictions. It’s either an amazing online astronomy program, or it’s heavily interface related to I don’t know what. Guesses given where Fey and Curtis work: media management in images, audio and video.

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20 Fantastic Open Source Downloads

They’re free, but that doesn’t mean these apps aren’t powerful. Created by folks who welcome help and improvements to their work, many of these programs are superior to packaged software.

The very earliest days of the PC revolution were soaked in idealism. People shared their knowledge with one another freely; the very idea of charging for software was an anathema. The early days of the Internet had a similar rosy view of the world.

Today, of course, all that has changed. But there are still plenty of idealists out there, sharing their work with the world freely, and asking others to work cooperatively with them. That’s the underlying idea behind the Open Source movement. People create software, and allow others to download and use it freely, and let them modify it as well.

This idealism can create great software. That’s where Firefox got its start, for example. But there’s plenty of great, free Open Source software beyond Firefox. I’ve rounded up 20 of my top Open Source favorites. Their sophistication and power will surprise you; you’ll find everything from a universal instant messaging program to powerful multimedia and graphics tools, security software, and beyond. The programs show that Open Source adherents aren’t wild-eyed zealots–they produce plenty of great software.

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Mozilla introduces new Weave online service

Mozilla Labs launched a new online service called Weave yesterday. The idea behind Weave is that all your personal information such as bookmarks, passwords and are synced to your Mozilla account via Firefox.

Mozilla Weave logo

As Mozilla Labs GM Chris Beard describes in this post, the goals of Weave are to:

  • provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
  • ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
  • provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties
  • respect individual privacy (e.g. client-side encryption by default with the ability to delegate access rights)
  • leverage existing open standards and propose new ones as needed
  • build a extensible architecture like Firefox

While it’s interesting to see Mozilla moving into services, I am not sure if this matters yet.