Lots to report here.
First, the pre-release of version 4.0 has gone out to our hardware partners last week. They get a little jump on it so that they can have harwdare to support the broader beta. If you would like more information on that program – please ‘Ask Colin’. The open Beta will be coming next month with the final release of 4.0 in the fall. There are some great new features in it for those who missed earlier descriptions. There are performance improvements in the graphics as well as extensions like multi-touch. There is native HTTP and HTTPS. There is watchdog and power management support. There is arbitrary display size. And much more.
Second, we are making progress on our license. It will take the form of a broad license with little constraint on derivative works. The final license will be either a standard open source license or a close derivative of one. The goal will be to enable partners to take the MF code and create whatever derivative works that they need for their purposes. At the same time there is valid concern for the proliferation of derivatives so there will continue to be a core implementation that is managed by a core technology team staffed from within Microsoft as well as from the community. This core implemenation will move forward through major and minor versions just like any existing product. The only difference is that the code will be available and contributions are encouraged. The contributions will be reviewed and tested before being integrated and made available to the public. Support for this core version of the runtime will be available through Microsoft Product Support. Of course, changes that happen at the porting layers will not be closely managed. We will also have a ‘market place’ where vendors can post information about add-ons and extensions that are available. We are working on the web site to support all this. We have the framework for the web site done and are working on filling it out.
I’d love to hear your questions, thoughts, and concerns as we move to finalizing our open source plans. I believe that we can make this a great ‘win’ for everyone but of course, the nature of a community effort is that we need your help and engagement to make it work best. So let us hear from you.