Microsoft's .NET Micro Framework open sourced
Microsoft has presented version 4.0 of its .NET Micro Framework at the Professional Developer Conference (PDC). The framework is being released as open source software under the Apache 2.0 licence. .NET Micro Framework, an offshoot of the standard .NET Framework, should allow developers to use .NET and Visual Studio as options for the development of applications for devices with limited memory and processing power, such as set-top boxes and car entertainment systems. In contrast to the company's own 'Microsoft Public Licence' (Ms-PL), used by the projects on Microsoft's Codeplex shared source project portal, the Apache licence is a widely-used open source licence within the embedded field.
The TCP/IP and cryptographic stacks in .NET Framework are excluded from the open source package, as they are proprietary components belonging to EBSNet. According to an announcement by Peter Galli, Microsoft's Senior Open Source Community Manager, developers interested in the code can, however, contact the embedded specialists directly. He also notes that the cryptographic package can be replaced.
Microsoft is planning to remain actively involved in developing the framework. In doing so, Galli adds, the company is looking to meet the needs of customers who fear fragmentation of the platform. According to Galli, Microsoft is also in the process of forming an open source community to develop the framework.