Microsoft Releases .NET Source Code Under Reference License

Lora Bentley

Well, it's not open source, but as eWEEK writer Darryl K. Taft puts it, Microsoft's move to reveal its .NET source code is a step toward greater transparency.


On Wednesday, Redmond released the reference source code for the .NET framework under the Microsoft Reference License, eWEEK reports. The license allows developers to view the code, but does not allow modification or distribution. Twenty-Six New York's Andrew Brust calls the release "a great gesture of respect." He notes:

This will help developers and make them feel more secure," Brust said. "When developers can see what the underlying framework code is doing, they can debug more effectively. When developers know what the underlying code is doing, they feel better. All developers like to know what's going on under the hood...It's an agnostic mindset. Seeing is believing...

On the debugging angle, .NET coders who are debugging their applications will be able to debug into .NET code as well as their own source code using Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008, according to eWEEK:

Microsoft will provide developers with the ability to download and browse the source code with the .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 release later this year.

Brust says the move may also aid Microsoft in stemming criticism from the open source community:

Microsoft's Reference License won't let people change the code, but they can easily verify its quality. They can also catch any gaps in quality, and that deterrence effect will add credibility to .NET.

Something tells me a reference release won't be enough to silence the critics.

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