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.
Product Unit Manager