Microsoft shares code for .Net tools

Microsoft said Wednesday it will release the source code for its set of tools that will allow customers to build Web services and other applications based on its .Net initiative as part of its recently announced shared source program.

Microsoft will work with Corel to build a noncommercial version of its C# programming language and the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). Both are key technologies Microsoft has built for .Net. Corel will work with Microsoft, which invested $US135 million in the Canadian company in October, to create shared versions of the technologies to run on the Windows operating system and the FreeBSD operating system. FreeBSD is an open source version of Unix.

Microsoft's C# programming language is a new Java-like language. It was released with Microsoft's set of development tools, Visual Studio.Net -- a graphical developer's environment that allows programs to be written in more than 23 programming languages. The Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) is also included in Visual Studio.Net to allow developers to write applications in C# and run them on any operating system.

Hoping to make the two technologies open standards, Microsoft presented C# and CLI to a standards body last year.

Microsoft will make the code available for academic, research, debugging and learning purposes, the company said. The code will be published under Microsoft's shared source license, which allows certain corporate and academic partners to view Microsoft's code. Microsoft senior vice president Craig Mundie announced the shared source philosophy last month during a speech at New York University.

Offering a shared source version of C# and CLI is a demonstration of the company's commitment to open standards in .Net and will allow Web services built on the technology to interoperate with competing operating systems, Microsoft said. Microsoft has focused its efforts on a number of open standards in .Net, including XML (Extensible Markup Language) and UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration) -- a directory for companies to post information and Web services, which has been called the "Yellow Pages" of the Internet.

While Microsoft has embraced these open standards and its shared source philosophy, it has come out strongly against open source, where source code is freely shared and published.

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