Update on the transition

2 weeks ago now, we announced several changes - that the product was moving into Developer Division and that we were changing our business model to include access to the code. Unfortunately, we created some confusion and concern by only providing the broadest overview of our direction without any additional detail.  My intention had been to provide that overview as soon as we knew it and to follow-up quickly with more detail.  Microsoft is a big company as you know and there is alot more complexity to making this scale of changes than you might think.  As a result, we are not ready with the deatils as quickly as I wanted.  I am writing today to keep you posted on progress.

The move does not require any additional detail.  We are in our new home and already starting to explore the synergies with work being done elsewhere on the team.  This will be a great move for the Micro Framework.  One concern that has been raised is that we will not maintain one of the key values of the Micro Framework - its integration with Visual Studio.  I can assure you that now that we are in the same orgnaization, there will be if anything a tighter bond.  For example, whenVS 2008 came out, we didn't ship a platform compatible with that until 9 months later.  I dont think we will be able to get away with that in the future. 🙂

In terms of the availabiity of the source code and integration of community contributions, we are working down that road.  There are licensing decisions, processes to set up, code to review, and much more.  While I am not in a position to definitively describe the finished product yet, let me share my objectives in the planning.  Microsoft will continue to maintain a development staff and do development.  We are continuing to do that now.  There are frankly some 'uber' features that will be hard for anyone else to do - at least for some time.  At the same time, we will make the source code for the platform available on the broadest license that we can.  We will also define, as Lorenzo mentioned earlier, a mechanism for the community to contribute back that is well managed to insure continued quality of the codebase. Finally, we have significant demand for Microsoft support for the product so we will define the access to support going forward that will work for our customers. 

I wish I could be more definitive at this point but bear with me.  The plan is to clearly define what we can/will do on the Microsoft side and then interate with the community on some how the whole process works.  The goal of all this is to make the Micro Framework more broadly accessible so that we can focus on our goals of changing embedded development.   In the mean time, 3.0 is still available as before.

Colin Miller

Product Unit Manager 


Comments (11)

  1. Ray M. says:

    The problem still is you are communicating with your customers through blogs and what not. I did quite a rant in the newsgroups on how poorly ms communicates with ‘us’ customers. I hoped MS would atleast get a hint of our frustrations, yet shortly after I get an automated email that my partner account has been ‘frozen’ (could be legit perhaps you’re moving the mf stuff somewhere else, could be a mistake in te system I don’t know nobody told us) emailed the only contact I still had with the team (warren) which never got back at me.

    What do we need to do to get the idea though to MS that we are paying customers who chose to use the MF because it was a project MS was behind ,we payed a reasonable chunk of cash,invested quite some time into it and most of us have bosses for which ‘some guy on the internet wrote on his blog that…’ is not nearly good enough. I can tell you that informing your boss with "Sorry, I have no more information for you,we have to wait till that guy decides to blog again, I really hope he does soon but honestly I don’t know" goes over *really* well.

    You should have a list of all customers that ever licensed the porting kit, honestly write us an email that we can show our bosses to inform them whats going on and what this means in short and long term for the investmens done by your partners . Most of us have done quite an investment into the MF I think we deserve something better then just a post on ‘some guys blog’.

    Most embarasing question I had to answer recently was ‘So the thing you convinced us to spend a ton of money on they are now planning to give away for free? Yes, thats what it looks like at the moment….’

    Personally I’d like to thank you for trying to get the little information you have out to us but I’m growing more frustrated with MS as a company as this whole ‘transition’ thing moves along.

    Like I said before we’re customers, we’re not *that* scary! Really email us! We promise we won’t bite! Or not too hard anyway 😉

  2. Peter M says:

    I’ve been looking at the micro framework with interest for a while but right now we’re leaving it alone until the transition settles down – I don’t want to get stuck like Ray M. with other people asking me why we started with something that had so much uncertainty.

  3. Steve M says:

    As the president of my company, my concerns are not exactly the same as Ray’s, but they are certainly in the same vane.  I have a host of products/projects in the works that are all based on MF.  In fact, my intention was to move 100% of my development efforts to C# and .NET/.NETMF.  I have a customer right now evaluation our water AMR solution based on MF, and if they truly want to fast track a license and product development, I am screwed right now.  I don’t have time to change to another technology and I am not comfortable licensing what I have until I know exactly what is going on with .NETMF.

    I definitely agree with Ray’s comments related to being paying customers for the porting kit.  I paid for mine last year.  I was more than a little disappointed when I realized that it was being offered for free now, and even more concerned when I found out that the whole technology is going to be available under some type of Open Source license.  I was hoping that a small group of companies could capitalize on early-adopter status and make it to market before the club grew considerably.  I paid for that privilege, or so I thought.

    Please understand that I don’t mean to complain.  I just want you guys to understand how the decisions you make, including how, what, and when to communicate with us, affect our companies.  I know that we are small and not likely to generate the kinds of revenues for Microsoft that you hoped, but there are a lot of us out here and my guess is that we represent the largest part of your customer base to date.

  4. Jan Kučera says:

    Glad to hear these news. Maybe you could also include the .NET Micro Framework SDK as a component of the Visual Studio. Not only this could bring MF to more people, but I think it would bring some confidence back.

  5. Roy says:

    I see the MF support ARM9,so i buy a ARM9 board :2440,but i don’t know how the board to run the MF,what can i do???

  6. Nuno says:

    "Most embarasing question I had to answer recently was ‘So the thing you convinced us to spend a ton of money on they are now planning to give away for free? Yes, thats what it looks like at the moment….’"

    LOLOLOLOLOL, man you are dealing with MICROSOFT!!!, if they release the entire code base for free, it will give microframework a chance, a tiny one, but one chance.

    In the embedded world, a closed system its not viable, at least for serious work….

  7. VG says:

    Pretty quiet out here recently …

  8. Greg says:

    Can the core common parts of the .NET BCL be open sourced?  Well known things like File I/O, socket handling, type conversion, etc are unlikely to have anything unknown to developers familiar with other platforms (e.g., CRT for C++).

  9. Richard says:

    I started working with Net MF, because of it’s low profile way of using just the c# code i was used to for programming desktop applications, only now target embedded devices, without having to have too much knowledge of everything that’s going on beneath.

    With this whole new transition thing, i’m kind-of affraid that this advantage is going to disappear, and that i have to have in-depth knowledge now of the CLR/HAL and what more, before i can get to the actual application coding…

    Is my fear recognized?

  10. Petit à petit, le .NET MicroFramework va devenir Open Source. C’est ce qu’annonçait Colin Miller, la

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