Microsoft opening up .Net Framework libraries

By releasing the libraries under its Reference License and Shared Source Initiative, Microsoft has made the .Net source code viewable but unmodifiable

"Just on the surface, it doesn't hurt anything," said Greg DeMichillie, analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

"What would have been a groundbreaking move seven or eight years ago now in the world of open source is not all that earth-shattering," DeMichillie said.

The final release of Visual Studio 2008, which is due later this year, will support the ability to configure the debugger to dynamically download the .Net Framework debugger symbols and corresponding source code from a Web server hosted by Microsoft, said Guthrie. Symbols will be downloadable in one swoop or manually retrieved on demand.

Visual Studio 2008 also will include support to automatically retrieve .Net Framework source files on demand from Microsoft. This means source code for the ASP.Net GridView and BaseDataBoundControl classes cited by Microsoft do not have to be already installed on the machine before the debugger is started.

More information on the Microsoft Reference License can be found here.

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