.Net is opening up!

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With the final release of Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft is going to make the source for much of the .NET framework available.  It will be under the Microsoft Reference Licence.

So what is included in this?  The set of libraries initially includes  the Base Class Libraries (System namespace, IO, Text, Collections, CodeDom, Regular Expressions, etc), ASP.NET, WinForms, and WPF .  Microsoft will add to this list as time goes on.

There are two ways people will access the source code:

1) They will download a package with all the source, and then they will be able to install and browse locally

2) VS 2008 integration will enable developers to debug from their own source code into the .NET Framework source code.  We'll provide symbols for our source on an internet-accessible source-server; to enable this experience, the developer needs to set up the URI for the server.  This second option is really cool, and enables a kick-ass developer experience.

So why care?  This will aid in debugging and seeing how stuff works!  No longer do you need to reflect out the source code, instead, you can step through it and see where stuff is failing.

Scott Guthrie has more information on this story.



The Discussion

  • User profile image

    With CTP releases we could find MS's bugs for them.  With .NET opening up we can now even fix their bugs for them.

    If that is what they have in mind I can only expect the Visual Studio SPLC to decrease and bugs to increase.

    This doesn't sound good to me...

  • User profile image

    Microsoft Reference License?

    Yeah, I'm sure it's _real_ open.

  • User profile image

    It may be a good idea. One of the discussions we always have with people working under linux is updates-to-fix bugs. In closed packages or even in development environments where you can´t access information and the information or tools are used as given, we are not able to modify or improve a functionality. Even when we are coding something really generic (like composite controls for generator solutions like codesmith-nettiers) we have to use reflection and that is not a very good aproach, although it is the only one available for strongly typed classes. We´ll have to wait and see...

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