At its Build developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the launch of the .NET Foundation. This new independent foundation around the .NET framework, which forms the core of Microsoft’s developer ecosystem, will form the umbrella for all of the parts of .NET Microsoft has already open sourced and will release under an open source license (most likely Apache 2.0) in the future.

In total, the .NET foundation will start with 24 .NET open source projects that it will take under its stewardship. Those include the .NET Compiler Platform (previously known under the codename “Roslyn”) and all of the ASP.NET open source projects. In addition, it will also work on Xamarin‘s MimeKit and Mailkit libraries.

With this, the .NET team will also start taking contributions back from the community. While the source code for parts of the .NET project were already available, Microsoft wasn’t really involving the community and other open-source .NET projects yet.

The .NET community is very large and according to Microsoft’s count, there are over 1.8 billion active .NET installs today, making it the most popular app framework available today. The new foundation will only strengthen this ecosystem. “We want it to be open, so our customers can see the vibrant community,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the Developer Division Soma Somasegar said.

Microsoft hopes that openness will encourage its customers, partners and the broader developer community to participate in more .NET-related open source projects. The Foundation also expects this move will foster more innovation in the .NET space by encouraging developers to build solutions that leverage the platform and extend it to other platforms as well.

The Foundation will have a three-people board for now. Those will include a representative from MS Open Tech, Microsoft’s wholly owned subsidiary that focuses on bridging the divide between Microsoft and the open-source community, a member of the .NET team and Xamerin’s Miguel de Icaza.

IBM is updating its Bluemix portfolio of cloud services to help companies save time in deploying new applications by using these new programming methodologies.

At its annual Innovate developer conference, IBM is launching a number of new Bluemix services to support development practices such as devops, which shortens development time by having software developers work more closely with system administrators and other IT operations staff, and agile programming, which speeds the development process through rapid iterations of applications based on immediate customer feedback.

Within many industries, companies are now competing with one another through their customer-facing applications, making speedy software development a necessity.

In February, the company introduced its Bluemix set of PaaS (platform-as-a-service) offerings to aid in software delivery.

Bluemix provides a way for developers to readily assemble different cloud-based functionalities, both from IBM and others, into services. Such functionality does or shortly will include planning and collaboration tools, mobile device management, source code management, and ways to quickly move a service or application into production.

IBM is preparing its services so its customers can use a mixture of on-premise and cloud resources, an approach known as the hybrid cloud. Sales of hybrid cloud systems and services are expected to reach US$79 billion by 2018, according to IT research firm Research and Markets.

The new Bluemix services include:

-- AppScan, which allows the developer to test the security of an application in multiple environments;

-- Embeddable Reporting, a set of services to build advanced analytics to reveal how a mobile app is being used by customers;

-- Workflow, a set of components to orchestrate cloud services, which can modify workflows based on their behavior; and

-- Continuous Delivery Pipeline, a set of services to allow organizations to manage multiple application releases.

The company will also unveil a set of continuous testing, release and deployment packages -- covering mobile devices and mainframes -- as well as a set of packages for business planning and collaborative development.

In addition to the new service offerings, the company has also unveiled a few early users of Bluemix services at the conference.