O’Reilly Network: Microsoft Plans Shared Source .NET. Specifically, Microsoft says it has been working with the ECMA standards body and will release ECMA versions of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), a C# compiler, and an ECMAscript compiler.
Fascinating — this will take some time to grok.
On its face, this is progress. Real progress.
Microsoft’s loathing of the GPL never blinded the company’s increasing recognition of the genuine value of the process by which open source and free software come into being — a community effort that is orthogonal to Microsoft’s way of doing things. That the company has even dipped a toe into the word of software barn-raisings is a healthy step.
Naturally, there will be a million and one questions. Such as:
How far will Microsoft take this? Will its own license, still undisclosed, be sufficiently more restrictive that it renders the initial claims meaningless? Favoring FreeBSD makes sense from a non-GPL licensing standpoint, and could be a fascinating opening into the Apple OS X world. To what extent is this a ploy aimed mostly at killing Java?
My guess on the last of those is that Java is a target — probably the main one. (Hat-tip to Robert Scoble for spotting it first.) Certaintly this will put more pressure on Sun and Java advocates.
As I said, fascinating….