Rick Talks Dreamspark

Rick Segal talks Dreamspark over here


DreamSpark: A Great Program for Students and You

Students. They are the best investment in time, money, and resources you can make when it comes to making the world a better place and, in more practical terms, getting great minds working on business problems. Your business problems.

Microsoft has announced a super program (DreamSpark) whereby students can get a full set of developer products at no charge.

From the original announcement:

The Microsoft DreamSpark program, available at http://channel8.msdn.com, launched in 10 11 countries - Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. , Canada and the U.S. For more information on the products and how the program will expand to high school students, please visit PressPass for more details.

Products: Students will be able to download any of the following software products via Channel 8:

Microsoft developer tools· Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition· Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition· XNA Game Studio 2.0· 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club
Microsoft designer tools Expression Studio, including:· Expression Web· Expression Blend· Expression Design· Expression Media
Microsoft platform resources· SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition· Windows Server, Standard Edition

Canada is right there with an announcement here. Kudos to Daniel Shaprio and my buddy Mark Relph for getting this into Canada.  And kudos to Microsoft for getting this program going especially the migration to high school students.

From that announcement:

"The program will expand in the next six months to college students in many more countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Microsoft DreamSpark will be expanded to include high school students by late 2008.  Upon launch, students with a valid ISIC (International Student ID Card) will be accepted.  These cards can be obtained at 132 ISIC offices across Canada. Students can find a nearby location at www.isic.org. We will be rolling out a number of other verification means over the next 12 months."

Why you should care

  • Many (many!) anti-Microsoft people will say this is a response to "free" everything available on the Internet.  My response? So what.  Outside of our echo chamber, things like this are important because we need to make learning technology as friction free as possible.  I'm delighted that potentially hundreds of bright minds will be working on games, new web sites, services, etc.  They are thinking of things to do with all of this technology you and I don't even know about.
  • This is your future employee/team resource pool and they are getting trained/excited on somebody else's dime.  MSFT people, cover your eyes for a minute.  If  you want to engage a bunch of students on some projects, they can sign up for this program, get the tools for free, work on it, and you aren't paying for developer tools.  There is an approximately zero chance the licensing cops will come at you.  If there is something you want to commercialize, simply use the properly licensed tools you already have via the MSDN subscription and Bob's yer uncle.  In short, this is a very good program that your company/start-up and that local educational institution can use to get more talent into the workforce; your workforce.

The download details on DreamSpark can be found on Channel8 is here.

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