Likening its organisational plan to a museum featuring different galleries of interest, the Microsoft-backed CodePlex Foundation for open source projects this week is talking up its project submission guidelines, which were released last week.

Guidelines include allowing commercial sponsorship of project "galleries," with the foundation focused on being "commercial friendly."

"We will operate much like [how] a museum has galleries," said Sam Ramji, president of the foundation board of directors. The foundation plans to begin accepting projects this month and has already had some project submissions.

Other guidelines include requiring that each project have a mentor and a strong project team. Projects must use an open source friendly licence. Project best practices will be maintained by the central foundation. New projects can be accepted even if they have overlapping functionality with another project. The foundation will provide mechanisms for code security,

"The core mechanism of the foundation is that we exist to provide a legal framework for open source projects much like other open source foundations," with an intent to make it easy for corporations to contribute to open source projects, Ramji said.

Formation of the foundation was announced in September. Microsoft provided $1 million (£600,000) in initial funding.

CodePlex differs from other open source foundations in that it is specifically dedicated to connecting corporate software developers with open source community projects, Ramji said. "No other foundation is dedicated specifically to increasing contributions from corporations to community projects," he said.

Although there are 350,000 open source rojects worldwide, the flow of contributions from corporations to open source projects actually is small, said Ramji.

Now vice president of strategy at cloud infrastructure startup Sonoa Systems, Ramji  recently left his position as senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft, where he was in charge of worldwide Linux and open source strategy.