theopensourcecensuslogo Microsoft sponsors The Open Source Census The Open Source Census, a global project that counts the number of installations for each open source software package, has announced on Monday that it will now be sponsored by Microsoft.

Sam Ramji, Microsoft’s senior director of platform strategy, said:

The company’s customers, partners and developers are working in increasingly heterogeneous environments, so participation in projects such as the census is relevant to the ecosystem in which Microsoft operates

microsoftlogo thumb Microsoft sponsors The Open Source Census It is considered to be the latest gesture by the software giant towards open-source community. Prior to this they were not regarded positively in the open source community because of their actions i.e. claiming that open-source software violated more than 200 of their patents last year. However things are certainly changing now as Microsoft has realised the situation.

Other than Microsoft, ActiveState, EnterpriseDB, Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab and OSAlalt.com, which offers a tool from OpenLogic, have also joined the endeavour. The tool can be used to scan computers and mark installed open-source code after which the scanned data can be moved in anonymous form to the OSC’s database.

Jay Lyman, an analyst with from The 451 Group said:

I’ve met with Sam and there’s no question those guys are smart with what they’re doing with open source.

They definitely have changed. Is it genuine? Some of it is and some of it may be less so.

Microsoft’s involvement could help the census gain interest from larger enterprises but at the same time, it may also draw ire from Microsoft’s many critics.

The 451 Group is narrowly observing the progress of Census in order to see if it can handle enough data so that they can provide a representative sample.

The theme from all accounts is that open-source usage is wildly underestimated, maybe we’ll get a better sense of that

added Lyman.

Now the contributors are eligible to get their hands on repots that summarizes their own use, relative data based on similar companies’ outcome and untraceable data aggregated to any company is also publicly available.

According to The Open Source Census, over 220,000 open-source packages or installations have been found during the two months since it was launched. As of June 12, 13,00 machines had been scanned (Are they really going the right way?).