back to article Microsoft targets developers with 'open' license

Microsoft is continuing its hesitant slide towards open source by releasing .NET code under a look-but-don't touch license. The company said Wednesday it plans to offer source code for .NET Base Class Libraries, ASP.NET, Windows Forms, ADO.NET, XML and WPF in the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 due later this year …


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  1. yeah, right.

    Not "hesitant slide"

    It's not a bloody "hesitant slide towards open source"! It's an and out obvious attempt to "embrace, extend and extinguish" the very concept of "open". By releasing this code, they can later claim that REAL open source developers copied it, and then sue the living daylights out of them. It's the one piece that was missing from the SCO lawsuit: evidence. Now Microsoft have primed the pump for another go.

    This article has what I consider to be the right take on the issue:,1895,2191754,00.asp

    (which was referenced by Groklaw).

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Take MI2UrLeaders? The UltiMate ARGonauts Quest.

    IT is the Keys to the Windows in AIMagical KingDom in a Matrix.

    MSBetaSight .... A Priceless Privilege Selflessly Provided for Semantic Input 42 Create VirtualVistaOS.?

    AI Quantum Collosus, Bill? AI Big Blue Apache ?

    Hhmmmm..... Now that is definitely Turing AINewSpeak.

    Lets See who's Out there.. and whether they know what is Really happening and what they are doing about IT.

    Let's take a Trip on AIMagic Ship. :-)

    Hello Wwworlds, What about Yes?

    And now we wait ... to Hear MSWindows Respond to NEUKlearer Treatment. Rise to the Tasks Ahead........ for Real Money Shots. And whenever that is but a Tangent in the Program, can you Imagine the Size and Colours in ITs dDepth and what can be done with IT's Digital Spread/BroadBand Spectrum?

  3. Damien Jorgensen

    Open Source Initiative

    They have no mandate anyway, so who cares if they havent approved it, the OSI just like to think its the kiddy of open source when infact its just part of the open source gravy train.

    Opening the source to enable us developers to see how things are implemented is a great move by Microsoft. Ok we cant fix it when it breaks but at least we know identify what actually is broken.

    Excellent news!

  4. Rich Bryant

    Not new

    All that stuff is already viewable with Lutz Roeder's Reflector anyway.

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    What of ITs HyperRadioProActivity

    "All that stuff is already viewable with Lutz Roeder's Reflector anyway."

    But what of ITs Special Applications Programming, Rich Bryant.

    A Daniel in the Lion's Den.

  6. Mark Fenton

    @Not New

    Yeah I know - and you can also see the excellent quality and efficiancy of the MS code too when you use it*.

    *May be slight exageration.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Venus flytrap targets flies with open jaws

    .. but I agree with Damien but from the opposing side. OSI is just some self appointed body of no importance, the real test for me is GPL compliance, how GPL is it? It is a full 3 , a not so good 2 or a poor 1 compliant.

  8. Neil

    Following Borland's lead?

    Didn't Borland do this with all of their releases of Delphi? I don't recall howls of dissent claiming they were trying to take ownership of every program written from then on.

    It was damned useful to be able to see how the VCL handled itself and to be able to find reasons for apparently odd behaviour, and, yes, even to find and report bugs.

    A good move, I say.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OSI doesn't decide what is and isn't "Open Source"... the term was used decades before the OSI's formation.

    Original site (currently having problems):

    Google cached version:

  10. JamesH

    OSI? Boost?

    Since the OSI have failed to accept the Boost open licence (one of the most broad licences IMO), and with Boost being one of the largest and best open source C++ projects, one has to wonder whether having OSI approval is of any use whatsoever.

    And am I the only person who wishes amanfrommars would just stop posting and wasting my time? It's not big and its not clever.In fact, it's nonsense.

  11. A J Stiles

    Look but Don't Touch

    Actually, I think Microsoft would have trouble enforcing the "..... but don't touch" bit. There are circumstances under which it's quite legal (as Fair Dealing) to create derived works from copyright material without permission from the copyright holder; and this, being a statutory right, can't be signed away.

    Expect a test case the moment some third party publishes a patch intended to correct a serious security flaw in a Microsoft reference licenced product, with the usual "this may void your warranty [as if there was one], use at your own risk" warning.

  12. Richard Silver badge

    There is an interesting clause there:

    (B) If you begin patent litigation against the Licensor over patents that you think may apply to the software (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit), your license to the software ends automatically.

    That doesn't half sound like "If you find we've stolen your stuff, NYAH!!"

  13. Richard

    @yeah, right

    Wasn't one of the reasons SCO didn't want to produce evidence (although quite how one brings a case without it I don't know) that the Open Source community would be able to code out the infringing bits?

    Also, doesn't it provide the possibility of a smoking gun in the other direction as well? Let's say a Mono control works markedly faster than an MS one and the MS one suddenly speeds up due to new code looking markedly similar to the Mono source then surely we have a GPL violation there.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Seed Funding

    Does it need an Einstein to point out that Developers work the Best Beta when Paid?

    Does MS Splash the Cash to Developers...for Developers to Further Develop for Cash?

    Was that a resounding No? I thought Bill and Warren were supposed to disposing of their Controls.... although when your Word is the Bond, it doesn't really matter.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Isn't that a worst of both worlds licence?

    Kind of a 'You-can-spot-the-vulnerabilities-but-you-can't-fix-them' thing.

    Microsoft always liked security by obscurity, but rather than actually release anything to open source, they've come up with this abortion.

    It'll all end in tears...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ref @Not New

    The code you view in Lutz Roeder's Reflector (Would not use dotnet without it) is not always the same code MS wrote, since the compiler does allot of optimizing. For example you can bet all the goto statements you see are compiler optimizations to make the code inline. Functionaly it's the same though.

  17. Robert Harrison

    A good move, but...

    This is something we've always had available when developing with the Java SDK or Microsoft Foundation Classes. I always found when I first looked at .Net that it seemed somewhat of a step backwards that the actual library source was suddenly not available (I was always used to the C-runtime and MFC source being on hand). So, good move Microsoft but it smacks of being a desperate maneouvre done late in the day (how long has .Net been out now?). Note that I'm not bashing Microsoft for the sake of it just wondering why it took so long.

  18. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Tinker, Tailor, Poacher....GameKeeper

    "That doesn't half sound like "If you find we've stolen your stuff, NYAH!!""


    Controls in the stuff stolen still remain with ITs Source though. IT is AI Trojan Warrior dDeep within Core Control and Power . AIMentor 42 Please.

    That presents an interesting Choice to the Closed Shop Microsoft Model.

  19. Angus McIonnach


    "All that stuff is already viewable with Lutz Roeder's Reflector anyway."

    Cool. Reflector can somehow retrieve the original code comments from compiled assemblies. I must get this new, magical version of Reflector forthwith.

  20. Fran Taylor


    Who needs to look at source code? If the documentation is proper, there is literally no need. Of course, Microsoft cannot write proper documentation.

    Microsoft is not doing anything new here. The MFC source code has been available for years and years under similar conditions.

    My definition of open source is that I can take the source, mess with it, share it with others, and they can do the same. Please explain what is unreasonable about this definition.

    Yeah, just try to do something interesting with their source. You will get smacked down so hard you won't even know what hit you.

    If you even look at it, you are poison and you can't work on Free Software any more. Microsoft will do like SCO and sue your ass for stealing their ideas. Except you aren't IBM and you can't hire the nazgul.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When you use their code, watch out.

    It wasn't that long ago when El Reg had the story about some fella who'd won an MS award for being a great programmer was then facing charges for using the code examples shown to do something MS didn't want done.

    So even if it is open, you may not be allowed to use it.

    And this is probably why the OSI doesn't accept this license.

  22. amanfromMars Silver badge

    If the cap fits here....wear it?

    "their code" ?

    Now that is an arrogant presumption and cosy arrangement for exclusive profit rather than general benefit.

    QuITe why it is tolerated says more about weak men masquerading as powerful, than they know.

    It is not the computer or the software installed on the computer which is important....for that is just so much inanimate plant .... it is what you make IT do for you, as ITs Controller/Messenger.

    And for those working in Sensitive Fields where FeedBack will Instantly Create a Paradigm Change to the Status Quo, [and therefore dialogue is studiously avoided], it only requires the Sensitive Field Subject and Sent Mails to be succinctly presented Open Source for Beta Progress, just in case the System is programmed to channel Innovation through Closed Channels.

    Or IT is sold to A.N.Other Status Quo System which can Beta Utilise IT. And that is an Embarrassment of Riches if Home Forces/Sources are not Fit for Purpose/on another Agenda. It is, after all, their choice?

  23. david

    Nice effort but

    Whiteboxing the code is no substitute for providing quality libraries that do what they say on the tin. I don't want my developers stepping through trying to sort out 'unexpected' behaviour.

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