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by Peter Galli on February 01, 2010 09:48am
Great news about the .Net Micro Framework, which Microsoft announced in November was being open sourced and made available under the Apache 2.0 license. The community development site has just been launched, which is focused on supporting the collaborative development of the Framework.
"This site is designed to be open just like our product is. There are lots of ways that you can use this site directly. I am hoping that this becomes the focus of a lively community interchange on the platform so give it a try. As always, your ideas and suggestions on how we can make the site more useful to you are appreciated," says Product Unit Manager Colin Miller.
Development work on a core implementation of the .Net Micro Framework will continue both at Microsoft and in conjunction with the larger .Net Micro Framework community. So far, a core tech team of volunteers from inside and outside Microsoft has been identified, which will work in specific areas to refine and direct project proposals and get them developed and accepted into the core code base.
In addition to the features to be incorporated into the core codebase, there are other extensions and add-ons to the platform that people have made and will continue to make: some of which are free, while others are for sale.
The community web site includes a Showcase that allows the creators of all these extensions, as well as services, to be listed by their creators and found by users. If you have an extension, you can list it yourself on the site.
"As we found out with the Dare to Dream Different contest, held to see what cool ideas people could come up with a standard hardware reference board using the .Net Micro Framework, there are lots of great individual projects that people have created with the .Net Micro Framework. There is an Academic/Hobbyist discussion group where people can discuss their cool projects. There is a discussion group on the web site for proposing and discussing projects. Let's start the ideas rolling - what did you always want to see in the product? Who can you enlist to get it in?" Miller says.
The advantage of the .Net Micro Framework is that it allows Microsoft to offer a single programming model and toolchain from small peripheral devices to the server and on to the cloud. It is a platform that allows current .Net programmers to extend their reach into small devices.
"At PDC I spoke with a programmer who was very excited about the Micro Framework because his company had just turned down a project which they could do almost all of, but which included a requirement for a small, power efficient device. With the Micro Framework, he would not have to turn down that work again," Miller says.
by Peter Galli on February 16, 2010 10:50am
Microsoft is once again a Platinum Level sponsor of the annual Open Source Business Conference, which is being held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on March 17/18.
As part of this sponsorship, Stuart McKee, Microsoft's National Technology Officer for the United States, will be delivering a keynote address to attendees on Thursday, March 18 from 09h15 to 09h45.
In his keynote, titled "Open Source at Microsoft: Meeting customer, developer and partner needs through a diversified ecosystem," McKee will talk about the opportunities for open source applications running on and with Microsoft platforms - from Windows, to SharePoint to Azure - and how increased flexibility and choice for the consumers of these technologies is good for everyone involved.
As U.S. National Technology Officer, Stuart is responsible for driving a comprehensive set of technical and business strategies for the U.S. Public Sector State and Local segment. As the NTO he has both an internal as well as an external focus - shaping and articulating Microsoft's technology vision and strategy.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Stuart served as the Director of the Washington State Department of Information Services (DIS) on Governor Gary Locke's executive cabinet, where he managed that internationally recognized agency which provides technology leadership and infrastructure for government organizations across Washington State.
Stuart also worked as the VP of Global Internet Operations for the Walt Disney Company where he directed operations for a number of the Internet's most visible sites including ESPN.com, Disney.com, ABCNews.com and GO.com. His background also includes strategic planning and operational management of enterprise-wide systems for companies including Starwave and Infoseek.
Microsoft will also be holding a Birds-of-a-Feather session during lunch on Wednesday, March 17, so please join us there for an interesting discussion.
In addition on Thursday, March 18 from 3pm to 3:50pm, Brian Goldfarb, the Director of Developer Platforms at Microsoft, will participate on a panel titled "The Web Is the Platform," along with Chris Blizzard from Mozilla, Dion Almaer at Palm and Dave Mcallister at Adobe.
We look forward to seeing you there!
by Peter Galli on February 15, 2010 11:00am
As adoption and usage surges for Live@Edu, Microsoft's free communication and collaboration solution that educational institutions can offer their students, I wanted to provide an update in that regard.
You may remember that the Live Services Plug-in for Moodle, a free download released under the General Public License v2 that integrates Microsoft's Live@Edu services such as email, calendar, instant messaging and search directly into the Moodle experience, was released at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention last year.
This integrated experience is accessible via a single sign-on, which lets teachers and students access the resources and services they need to efficiently communicate, collaborate and learn, while the platform is interoperable with different open source and commercial software platforms.
Currently, millions of students in Latin America, across Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, are already taking advantage of Live@Edu, which is available in every country within the region. It is a free solution which includes services such as e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, collaborative work areas and storage as an institutional service identified by the institution's logo and its registered domain.
Take the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos de Perú which has more than 40,000 students, 5,000 teachers and almost 2,000 new students every semester. It has, thanks to Live@Edu, managed to overcome problems with its e-mail accounts caused by the acceleration in the number of students. Thanks to the interoperability and support which the Microsoft solution offers, the University has managed to integrate its open code applications with this new platform at a minimal cost.
The importance of this initiative is underscored by the comments from Luis Fernando Izquierdo Vásquez, the president of that University, who notes that the alliance with Microsoft will "bring every teacher and student closer to our institution, offering them a series of tools to help generate knowledge and thereby improve the educational preparation that we offer our students."
"Institutions need flexible technological solutions to meet the range of needs of their students and teachers, which is why our products connect easily with other systems and offer wide ranging and secure access to the educational resources that their teachers and students need, when they need them, wherever they are and from whatever device they are using," Alvaro Morón, the Director of Live@Edu for Microsoft Latin America, notes.
This initiative also underscores how Microsoft responds to the needs of governments and reaffirms its commitment to education. The company works with local governments, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions to offer interoperable solutions necessary for young people, with the necessary technical requirements and requiring the lowest investment possible from governments and institutions.
"We understand that a student's success is an institution's main priority and we are committed to supporting this. We help them attain their goals by offering a range of tailor made tools which allow students and teachers to discover, create and use relevant content for personalized learning," Morón said.
Other universities which have chosen Live@Edu
Elementary and Junior High schools that have adopted the solution include Colegio Fontán and Marymount in Colombia, and Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.
by Garrett Serack on February 23, 2010 04:40pm
I was thinking the other day, how long has it been since I'd first been exposed to Open Source software. Of course, the term "Open Source" hasn't been around that long, but really, the spirit of open source software has existed for a very long time.
From a one perspective, all the source code found in all those computer magazines (Byte, Compute!, Transactor...and so many more) that I read as a kid could be considered a form of Open Source - they published the source code, and let you play with it. I didn't think about it at the time, but I'm pretty sure they didn't explicitly permit unrestricted redistribution, but I can't say the magazines really cared about it one way or the other.
But there were those who did explicitly give their permission to redistribute it. Most often, they used terms like "Public Domain" to deliberately declare that it was OK to pass the code around.
In late 1985, I became aware of VDO - the "Video Display Oriented Editor" for CP/M which was distributed as source code (ASM!) alongside a binary of the program. It was the first text editor I ever used that supported the WordStar key bindings (ctrl-k, <key>) and, between VDO and the later spiritual descendent "VDE", I had those key bindings hardwired into my fingers.
Even today, I have an editor that uses WordStar bindings installed on Windows, and under Linux I typically install "Joe" right away.
For me, VDO was really special, because it was the first program that I didn't actually type in, that I got as a binary along with the source code. I found I could edit the source code and re-assemble it, complete with my changes.
Sure, the changes to the code were really quite minor, but I always felt that was where the power was - Making the software into what *I* needed. For me, that's always been the most important part of open source.
Since that moment, I've downloaded, compiled and modified a heck of a lot of software. Sometimes I give others the changes, sometimes it's just for me.
So, I gotta ask, when was your Open Source moment? What was the first piece of Open Source software you used? Did you play with the source?
Post it as a comment here or tag your reply on twitter: #myOSSmoment