Becomes ASP NET Open Source

Microsoft: .NET becomes completely open source

As part of its online conference connect (); announced on Wednesday that the entire .NET framework will be available as open source software under the MIT license in the future. So far the development platform has the status "Shared Source". This means that the complete source code is visible and can also be used for debugging in Visual Studio (available since Visual Studio 2008).

The shared source license only allowed changes to the source code for own experimental purposes and not for distribution. For this reason, the company Xamarin has not been able to access the Microsoft source code for the .NET implementation Mono, which is largely operated by it, and the frameworks based on it for cross-platform app development, but had to re-implement the .NET framework functions and thereby pay close attention to the functional equivalence.

Common code base with Mono

With today's announcement, Microsoft now allows the source code to be reused - also for commercial products. The source code is managed by the .NET Foundation, which was established in spring. On this basis, Microsoft plans to work with Xamarin to further develop the code base of the new .NET Core Framework in the future, i.e. increasingly to transfer parts of the monolithic implementations of .NET Framework 4.x and Mono into the modular .NET Core Framework.

The .NET post-implementation Mono was first announced at the O'Reilly conference in July 2001, at that time as an open source project by the Ximian company under the direction of Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. Ximian was acquired by Novell in 2003. Following the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate, the Mono development department was formed under the leadership of Friedman and de Icaza into the new company Xamarin - based on the previous company name.

Microsoft has always been sympathetic to the Mono project. After the group initially only tolerated the post-implementation of its .NET Framework, there was an active collaboration in September 2007 as part of the Moonlight project, an implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight for other operating systems. The public cooperation was intensified at the BUILD conference in April 2014.

Community participation for the .NET Core Framework

Contributions from other developers to .NET should also be possible in the future. However, Microsoft wants to limit the acceptance of pull requests to the new modular .NET Core Framework 5.0. According to Microsoft, the traditional, around 200 MByte .NET Framework, the upcoming version of which will be 4.6, is not suitable for community participation, as there are many complex dependencies on the operating system and between the various libraries.

For the .NET Core Framework, Microsoft wants to continue what was already started with ASP.NET 5.0 under the code name "ASP.NET vNext" in May 2014: The complete source code is hosted on the GitHub service. The self-initiated source code portal CodePlex should no longer be used for this, as GitHub has a higher level of acceptance in the open source community. Anyone interested can take a look at the minutes of the design meetings and comment on them. The task and bug list is just as public as the complete version history.

Suddenly open source

Microsoft is taking another step towards becoming an open source company. In April 2014 Microsoft had already declared the next versions of the programming languages ​​C # (Version 6.0) and Visual Basic (Version 2015) as well as the associated .NET compiler platform "Roslyn" to be an open source project. The open source projects also include the F # and TypeScript languages.

While open source used to be a sign that Microsoft had lost interest in the further development of a project, the group has already shown in numerous examples in recent years that it regards open source as part of its commercial strategy. Techniques such as the ASP.NET MVC web framework and the object-relational Mapper Entity Framework have long been subject to an open source license. Nevertheless, Microsoft has retained project management and is providing the development team. For the contributions from the community, quality assurance is carried out according to the same standards as for contributions from Microsoft developers. Microsoft also offers full technical support for these projects. Microsoft will now transfer this procedure, including the continuation of support, to the complete .NET Framework.

For the innovations announced at the connect (); conference, see also on heise Developer:

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