Friday, October 5th 2007

Microsoft Releases .NET Source Code

Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET has always been an industry leader in providing a programming and debugging environment for numerous languages including Visual C++, C++/#, J/J#, Visual Basic, and many more. However, despite the general good sentiment about the product, Microsoft was often criticized for not revealing the source code to its libraries. Now Microsoft is taking steps towards open sourcing its code and finally is letting developers peek under the hood as it releases the source code to various .NET component libraries. The initial release will contain source code for the .NET Base Class Libraries (System, System.IO, System.Collections, System.Configuration, System.Threading, System.Net, System.Security, System.Runtime, System.Text, etc), ASP.NET (System.Web), Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms), ADO.NET (System.Data), XML (System.Xml), and WPF (System.Windows). Later Microsoft will release the source code for other remaining libraries as well, including WCF, Workflow, and LINQ. The move is detailed on the blog of Scott Gu, a Microsoft employee.Source: DailyTech
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5 Comments on Microsoft Releases .NET Source Code

Though this is useful for Windows programmers, it's not true "open source" (allowing editing and distribution), as most people think of it.

I'd ove to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt (they are slowly mending their ways), but it's going to take time for them build up trust again in most peoples' eyes. The comments on DailyTech talk about that -- who says that this isn't some elaborate way to threaten developers (like the Mono guys) at a later date?
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To correct the original post: the Microsoft blogger's name is Scott Guthrie, ScottGu is his username ;).

Now Microsoft is taking steps towards open sourcing its code...
Emphasis added by me. Scott Guthrie's blog post does not mention the term "open source" anywhere, merely that the source will be released; there is no mention as yet of the license it will be released under, but I imagine it will be fairly restrictive.

Additionally, I don't see why this is such a major thing...]Reflector has been around since .NET 1.1 and allows you to view the source code of any assembly by decompiling the MSIL back to your preferred language (C#, VB.NET, etc.). Not only that, there are plugins that can then dump the decompiled source to disk - so if you really need to debug a third-party assembly, there's nothing stopping you. (Obviously this doesn't hold true for assemblies placed in the GAC or those with Strong Names.)

The real benefit of this release, IMO, will be the ability to step through the actual MS source code, as well as being able to see the comments written by MS developers. This should really improve my productivity as a .NET dev :).
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Bird of Prey
Why would MS do this, now of all times?
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We are doing Visual Basic coding in college at the moment and it's sooo boring.

I haven't even learnt anything yet to be honest.. it's just following tutorials made by the teacher.
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WarEagleAU said:
Why would MS do this, now of all times?
Sorry for this late post in an old thread (been gone the last few days, but I felt the need to respond), but it's called Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish.

Now, imagine that on the scale of the entire open source community. Yeah, they're that ambitious.
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