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Alin Irimie

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Microsoft to Open Source the .NET Micro Framework

They are making it available under the Apache 2.0 license

Microsoft Developer

Today, at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference (PDC) here Los Angeles, Microsoft announced not only the release of version 4.0 of the.NET Micro Framework, but also that they are open sourcing the product and making it available under the Apache 2.0 license, which is already being used by the community within the embedded space.

The .NET Micro Framework, a development and execution environment for resource-constrained devices, was initially developed inside the Microsoft Startup Business Accelerator, but recently moved to the Developer Division so as to be more closely aligned with the overall direction of Microsoft development efforts.

The result of this is that the .NET Micro Framework has become a seamless development experience, bringing a single programming model and tool chain for the breadth of developer solutions, all the way from small intelligent devices, to servers and the cloud. There are also no more time-limited versions.

Including the source code for almost all of the product also ensures that developers now also get access to the Base Class Libraries that were implemented for .NET Micro Framework and the CLR code itself.

However, both the TCP/IP stack and Cryptography libraries are not included in the source code. Program Manager Colin Miller explained this was because the TCP/IP stack is third party software that Microsoft licenses from EBSNet, so they don’t have the rights to distribute that source code. If someone needs to access the source code for the TCP/IP stack, they can contact EBSNet directly.

As for the Cyptography libraries, they are not included in source code because they are used outside of the scope of the .NET Micro Framework.  Customers who need to have access to the code in the cryptography functions will find that these libraries can be replaced, Miller said.

Microsoft intends to remain actively involved in its ongoing development, working alongside the community. While the license will allow customers to take the code and make specialized versions to fit their needs, customers told us they wanted Microsoft to stay involved to avoid any possible fragmentation of the platform.

Microsoft is also in the process of forming a community of interested and involved members to help shape the future direction of the product. There will be a core technology team that is composed of Microsoft and external partners, and people will be encouraged to propose projects, which will be vetted before they are accepted. The site will also support people building extensions that exist alongside the platform rather than being integrated into it.

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Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.