Posts Tagged ‘open source’

Microsoft puts .NET Framework’s source code on a glass box.

// October 3rd, 2007 // 2 Comments » // .net, microsoft, open source

Open Source has been gaining momentum for several years now. The movement has even been called the largest disrupter that the software industry has ever had. And now the movement has taken Microsoft to a place nobody ever thought it would get. Microsoft is releasing the .Net Framework’s source code using a Reference License.

What this license means is that you can read the code, but not modify it. A lot of people have written about Microsoft’s license not being open source, and it is not. This is like having the code in a clear glass box, as opposed to being a completely black box.

A lot of Open Sourcers might feel offended by this, since they want everything to be open for modification and extension. Then, Why would Microsoft cleared the .Net Framework’s source code to be available publicly? I have a few hypothesis of my own:

1) Viral Effect: Now with this license, you are able to look at the .Net Code without even working on it. This means that you have been infected. And even if you try to avoid it, you will be pushed to see the code when the debugger in Visual Studio 2008 takes you. Yes, with the new version of Visual Studio, you will be taken to the source code if some problem occurs. This of course is good for people that don’t plan to contribute to Mono; but if you do plan to contribute to Mono, you have a problem.

You can see in the Mono Contributing page the following note:
“If you have looked at Microsoft’s implementation of .NET or their shared source code, you will not be able to contribute to Mono.”

This note is only intended to protect the Mono project from possible code violations. The problem now is that the number of people that will be excluded by that note is going to be up after Visual Studio 2008 is released.

This doesn’t mean that Microsoft is after Mono, for all I know they might be protected from this kind of situation; but still, I haven’t seen that note disappear since the Novell/Microsoft deal.

So in other words, Microsoft is using Open Source’s own weapon to at least make it harder for Open Source to succeed, and that is through Licenses.

2) Copyright Protection: I know it sounds weird but having the code publicly available makes it easier to protect it, because since everybody can see it, it can be easily compared.

3) Debugger Integration: This is the objective that the initial announcement provided when explaining why they released the code. And it is a real good one, I might add. Development is simplified when people understand what is happening. And knowing how things work helps in avoiding stupid problems.

I think that after all Microsoft is trying to fulfill developers needs. The ability to see the source code has been a request of windows developers for quite some time. Now it is a reality, but at what cost?

UPDATE:

Great Open Source oportunity: Java EE

// December 29th, 2006 // Comments Off on Great Open Source oportunity: Java EE // Java, software development

Now that Java is going open source, there is a big opportunity for open source software developers to scale Java and compete with .Net in the enterprise arena. I think Java can really benefit from the open source community.

The first thing to do is to incorporate an open source replacement for JEE which is utterly complex, and it is also committing suicide [1][2]. A good idea would be to use the Spring Framework and Hibernate to begin with, which are really stable and robust frameworks; and work from there.

I really would like Java to survive and shine, it is a beautiful language (not as beautiful as C#) afterall.

In my case, I am completly in love with C#, and if, for any reason, I move back to linux, it would be through Mono; which is a robust and flexible implementation of the .Net framework for Linux, Windows and MacOS.

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[1] Seeley, Rich. “Analysts see Java EE dying in an SOA world”.
2006 SearchWebServices.com. December 29th, 2006.
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[2] Patrizio, Andy. “Is Java EE’s Complexity Its Worst Enemy?”.
2006 SearchWebServices.com. December 29th, 2006.
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