Personal Blog of Shaun Walker


.NET Foundation Advisory Council Announced

By Shaun Walker on 2/24/2015
.NET FoundationNearly a year ago at the BUILD conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the formation of the .NET Foundation, an independent 501(C)(6) corporation that is chartered to foster open development and collaboration around the growing collection of open source technologies for .NET. This announcement may have come as a surprise to many industry observers; however, the reality is that Microsoft had been steadily deepening its open source focus and commitment for years and the creation of a dedicated Foundation was the next natural step in its evolution.  

Following the announcement, Microsoft reached out to many of the open source leaders within the .NET ecosystem to collect feedback and guidance on how to best serve the needs of the community. Keith Yedlin (@keithyedlin), Group Program Manager at Microsoft, was responsible for this outreach effort and it is through these early conversations with Keith that I became very interested in the long term goals and vision of the Foundation. These conversations led to a dinner meeting in downtown San Francisco with Beth Massi (@BethMassi), Senior Program Manager and community champion for .NET developers. Beth and I had a great conversation about community management, some of the challenges of open source in the .NET ecosystem, and the opportunities where the Foundation could step up and play a vital role in serving the needs of the community.  

These conversations led to an introduction to Jay Schmelzer (@JaySchmelzer), Director of Program Management on the Visual Studio Team at Microsoft and founding Board Member of the .NET Foundation. Jay and I engaged in a number of very productive discussions related to the Foundation and eventually he asked if I would be interested in helping draft a proposal for an official Advisory Council for the Foundation. I worked on this proposal during the summer of 2014 and it is important for me to acknowledge Keith Yedlin's participation as well, as his experience in setting up the Foundation and prior outreach efforts proved to be extremely valuable in ensuring the broad voice of the community was represented in the Advisory Council proposal. I would also like to thank Doug Mahugh (@dmahugh), Lead Technical Evangelist at MS Open Tech, and Ross Gardler (@rgardler), Senior Technology Evangelist at MS Open Tech and Director and President of the Apache Software Foundation for their collaboration in reviewing the draft proposal. The Advisory Council proposal was published for public review in October.  

In November 2014, Microsoft shocked the world yet again by announcing that they were open sourcing the full server-side .NET Core stack under a standard MIT license. Not only did they choose to release the code under a very permissive license, but they also provided a patent promise to ensure that the technology would get maximum adoption. They even went so far as to host the open source project on Github. And although it may not have been obvious to most people, the .NET Foundation played a critical role in these announcements, as it became the official steward for all of the IP that Microsoft chose to release under open source licenses.

The heightened interest in open source within the Microsoft ecosystem resulted in the .NET Foundation Board of Directors deciding to extend the public review for the Advisory Council proposal in December. This was to ensure they were fully aware of the needs and concerns of the community and had an opportunity to consider all of the feedback. Keith Yedlin took a sabbatical from Microsoft so Varun Gupta, Senior Program Manager on the .NET Framework Team, stepped in to facilitate interactions with the community and get the Advisory Council proposal over the finish line.

Well I am very honored to report that the .NET Foundation Advisory Council was officially announced yesterday, and that I was chosen to serve as the initial Chairman! The full Advisory Council nominated by the .NET Foundation Board of Directors and representing a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skills from around the globe, are outlined below:


Shaun Walker (@sbwalker) - Entrepreneur and creator of DotNetNuke open source product and ecosystem.

Microsoft Representatives

Immo Landwerth (@terrajobst) – Senior Engineer from Microsoft .NET Framework team helping lead open source initiatives.
JB Evain (@jbevain) – Founder and Project Leader at SyntaxTree open source projects. Senior Software engineer at Microsoft.
Daniel Roth (@danroth27O) – Senior Engineer from Microsoft ASP.NET Framework team helping lead open source initiatives.

Community Representatives

Bill Wagner (@billwagner) – Humanitarian Toolbox contributor, author and speaker for .NET technologies. C# MVP, and Regional Director for .NET Framework.
Phil Haack (@haacked) – Engineering Manager at GitHub with significant open source contributions and experience.
Mirco 'meebey' Bauer (@meebey) – Co-founder of Debian Mono Group, GNOME foundation member. CTO at GSD Software Design GmbH.
Marcus Wendt (@CompositeC1) - Project Leader on Composite C1 OSS project and active speaker on .NET technologies.
Dominick Baier (@leastprivilege) – Project Leader on ThinkTecture projects in .NET Foundation.

The .NET Foundation Advisory Council is a collection of individuals who bring unique knowledge and skills which complement the knowledge and skills of the formal Board of Directors in order to more effectively govern the organization. In addition, the .NET Foundation Advisory Council provides formal and visible relationships with individuals who have particularly strong community status, are leaders in the community, and are people with highly respected skills in certain areas.

The .NET Foundation Advisory Council is essential to the long term health and success of the .NET Foundation:

  • Because of its close affiliation to Microsoft, the .NET Foundation has a long term goal to establish its own credibility through independence and impartiality. The majority of seats on the Advisory Council are held by external community members which helps achieve this goal.
  • The Board of Directors of the .NET Foundation do not have the capacity on their own to fulfill all of its operational obligations. Additional resources are required and the Advisory Council will assist in this capacity.
  • The .NET Foundation requires high profile individuals to evangelize the benefits of open source in the .NET ecosystem. In addition, high profile members of the .NET community have a desire to contribute to the .NET ecosystem in a public and visible manner. The Advisory Council provides a mechanism to formalize this symbiotic relationship.
  • The .NET Foundation would like to provide stewardship, education, and leadership to open source .NET projects of all size, popularity, and stature. The Advisory Council brings a wealth of practical experience, wisdom, and business acumen to the table to assist in the pursuit of this goal.
  • The .NET Foundation needs a way to allow community stakeholders to provide feedback and guidance on its value proposition, governance model, and to weigh in on key decisions affecting its direction and operation. The Advisory Council will serve as a proxy for community feedback.
  • The .NET Foundation will be expected from time to time to be a final point of escalation and act as an arbitrator, assisting the Board of Directors in resolving conflicts within the open source .NET ecosystem. The Advisory Council can be utilized to help the Foundation deal decisively and impartially with these sensitive community issues.

I would like to congratulate the other founding members of the .NET Foundation Advisory Council and I look forward to working with them to make the .NET Foundation a success.

2 comment(s) so far...

Congratulations, and well deserved! I am expecting a great benefit for the future of .Net from the cocentrated knowledge and experience of all members of this Institution!

Congratulations Shaun!

Shaun Walker has 25+ years professional experience in architecting and implementing enterprise software solutions for private and public organizations. Shaun is the original creator of Oqtane and DotNetNuke, web application frameworks which have cultivated the largest and most successful Open Source community projects native to the Microsoft platform. He was one of the original founders of DNN Corp, a commercial software company providing products, services, and technical support for DotNetNuke, which raised 3 rounds of venture capital from top tier Silicon Valley investors. Based on his significant community contributions he has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) as well as an ASPInsider for over 10 consecutive years. He was recognized by Business In Vancouver as a leading entrepreneur in their Forty Under 40 business awards, was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Outercurve Foundation, and is currently the Chair of the Project Committee for Microsoft's .NET Foundation. Shaun is currently a Technical Director and Enterprise Guildmaster at Cognizant Softvision.