.NET open-sourcing: A Microsoft decision over three years in the making

.NET open-sourcing: A Microsoft decision over three years in the making

While it might seem that a lot has happened since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft's new CEO earlier this year, including the open-sourcing of the .NET frameworks, it's really the result of a process several years in the making. Mary J. Foley elaborates on ZDNET:

Somasegar said management was aware that Microsoft hadn't embraced open source in needed ways. The thinking was that Microsoft should start out by open-sourcing higher levels of the .Net Framework at first, and then consider gradually move down the stack. But there were debates about whether Microsoft should actually take contributions from the community, as is expected under most, if not all, open source licenses -- or simply make the code available for viewing but not modification.

If you're into .NET or open source software it's worth a read.


Reader comments

.NET open-sourcing: A Microsoft decision over three years in the making


Yeah defiantly true but that's why things change lol he's like old people make the new technology for us and don't like us using it lol

You're not a Microsoft employee, much less an executive there, so you know nothing about what's going on inside so I'll just chuck your comment to simple ignorance.

Um, Ballmer is the one who approved Office for iPad years ago too. All the current changes have been in the works for a long time, well before Satya.


You know nothing.



So, since I know absolute squat about business, I must know absolutely nothing, correct?


My interests are in European and Canadian politics, and technogy.. not business. Math and Science as well but I suspect you don't care as according to you everyone needs to know about business to know things.

this was probably in the works long before Satya took over.  i suspect a lot of what going to happen in the next year was set in place months ago. 

We wont see anything from Satya until next year or the year after. Everything being announced and shown now were all decided by and done under Ballmer.

While what you say is absolutely true, the market/tech bloggers don't seem to think that way. All this really reflects very positively for Satya Nadella - which really helps Microsoft establish that they are taking a whole new path to openness, innovation and active response what the users/developers request. Everybody wins!

Agree! It seems that Ballmer was a hard ball dictator. Satya seems more layback, relax and knows what he wants. He sure is pointing MSFT on the right direction.

Again, all of this was likely decided and executed under Ballmer. A decision like this doesn't go from no chance to reality in a month

Again It never executed under Ballmer. The choice was there under Ballmer. But Ballmer never pulled the trigger. +1 to Satya.

The trigger isn't pulled yet. But this is what I like about Nadella, he's at least communicating. Ballmer played crap too close to his chest. You couldn't plan for sh*t because you didn't know what was being worked on. What would arrive this year or three years from now or got dropped entirely. Seems like Satya opened up the projects book and decided we should know what's cooking and I love it.

And you think Satya would have been able to do that without the goundwork laid down during the Ballmer time. And speaking of Ballmer, his time was occupied for over a year with Windows 8.1 Update 1, Windows Phone 8.1, XBox One, and the acquisiton of Nokia. Everything else probably took second fiddle to those - and rightly so. Satya is able to deal with the other things because all the important ones are already mainly out of the way. There's a reason you're not CEO and never will be - it's revealed by your comment.

Like Presidents of a Nation CEO are presented with many choices. Great CEO's like Great Presidents of a Nation filter out only the best decisions and bring forth the great ones. Again +1 to Satya.

ever consider that the trigger was pulled and they were waiting for Build to announce it?

Yes! I'm so glad that Satya Nadella became CEO. If not for him, Windows Phone 8.1 wouldn't exist. Steve Ballmer would have never allowed it. /s

What the hell are you saying man, are you crazy? Ballmer was an awesome CEO and he took all the decisions and he's the reason why Windows Phone 8.1 exists.
Satya was the reason why it's late because his team was lazy implementing enterprise features in this update. /s

Thanks! And thank you for trying to talk some sense but I think we're wasting our time.

This is an awesome development though and I hope this increases developer interest several times over.

Sataya took over like 3 weeks ago. Nothing you saw at build was because of Sataya. This was all started months if not years before Sataya even was considered to be CEO of Microsoft. Of course, Sataya will get all the credit. It's just like every president gets the credit or blame for the economy even though often he had nothing to do with it.

I think the major changes that will happen in a few years were all planned by Ballmer. He just knew that he didn't have the right background to apply these decisions.

It is true that this took years, the reality is different now and Satya has made the transition more pleased to developers. Remember guys, Satya itself is a developer, so he know what the community wants.

Wait after more than a year before you start bannering that. By then, every Satya decision would have been based purely on initiatives done under his time. Presently, all decisions are based on work done before his time.

If it works, take credit. If it doesn't blame the last guy. The US President has been doing that for six years and everyone buys into it. It can work for Satya too.

And Windows Explorer has issues. She can't get pregnant. Every now and then there are COM Surrogates in the task manager. :S They aren't normally very good. I hope Cortana isn't like Explorer.

So by way of an actual helpful answer, .NET is an extensive collection of libraries built for C#, VB and C++, primarily (but not limited to) working with Windows and Microsoft products. They're built in a way that when you know .NET for one language, you can easily transfer your knowledge to the other languages because they follow the same naming structure.

Almost all Windows desktop software runs on .NET, as does anything on any other Microsoft product like Windows Phone, Xbox, WinRT, etc.

well I hate to be "that guy" but WinRT is not .NET techincally. While it supports the .NET CLR model of managed apps which can call into its APIs without dealing with the COM mess, WinRT itself is based on the Sinfosky days where COM and c++ were making a huge comeback.

Off course a lot of .NET devs were upset about this because few have the time to go back to the days of C++ and COM mess of win32 and many asked if .NET was dead.

I still can't say for sure it isn't. I guess if we see .NET 6 on the horizon I will say it may be safe. However the WinRt design, which I'm convinced the current leadership would not go for as it was basically Sinfosky tryign to re-defined the developer story closer to what the windows team wanted (COM/C++), still there. This is a problem because that man's legacy of division remains.

MSFT took some steps to help this at build with their loopback calls and broker components but you see, these are bridges across the ocean this man created. What developers wanted was full .NET and WPF for windows 8 and instead what they got as an inmature COM based API which doesn't even support the full .NET class library capabilities. 

Ultimately we'll have to deal with what I call the "Sin"-nofsky like having two async patterns, one born in .net one born in winRT. WinRT components, and .Net components. etc. A lot of converter and glue code to make it all seem organized but as soon as you start to deviate from their sprescribed little scenarios you'll hit the COM wall. ugh. What a missed chance.    

Rene references a good piece by Ms. Foley and all I see are ignorant remarks made by those who really want to have a popularity discussion regarding Satya Nadella or Steve Balmer. It doesn't seem as though people like these would have a clue what the .net framework is or what possible effect open-sourcing it might have.

This is probably one reason Ballmer agreed to step down. A new MS is hard if he's still there because people will always associate him with the old MS. So MS likely had several things ready to go, but Ballmer and Nadella already planned and agreed they would all be implemented after the transition to give him some good press.

I fear open source .net means that Microsoft doesn't consider it strategic any more and that could mean "de-emphasizing" it like they did to Silverlight.

Doubtful. And Silverlight isn't going away anytime soon. Instead, all XAML-based products (the multiple Silverlights, WPF, etc.) are slowly being merged.

Silverlight isn't "going away" till 2021, but there is no new development of ANY cross platform framework (other than html) and most developers have stopped work on it.

You can't even RUN a Silverlight app from win 8 IE (non desktop).

*I'm* still doing SL, but that doesn't mean it isn't dead, nor that.net won't follow it.

actually silverlight "not going away" doesn't mean it is a viable platform. if your boss asks you about creating an HTML app or a silverlight app are you seriously going to say silverlight even if it hasn't "gone away"?

fast forward to today. If MSFT basically starts to put .net in the back burner, why would you develop for it? Unless you have an application lifecycle that is so short and inmunte to trends that it doesn't matter, most system architects will be very careful as they should be since betting on technology dead ends is a developer's nightmare.

Stop making claims on him. He's an American. Being born in a country doesn't change anything. Besides, that only echoes how broken our own system is. Would he have been able to rise to that rank had he remained here?

I Hate AngularJS, which seems to be the trend in Open Source development. I believe Google has copied MS on this one.

The only thing Satya has done was bring out a iPad on stage, mostly the glee is from Ballmer being gone..... I can hear a echo, Ding Dong the witch is dead.

it's true but i really liked ballmer, everything about him i liked, drive, passion, skills, sales ability, knowing his limitations in terms of public perception etc etc.

I don't care about open or closed source but I think it is a positive developement as long as it doesn't mean they will kill off .net. I think MSFT has been sending mixed signals and some employees have come out and said .net isn'st dead. Yet I'm not buying it. Until we don't have a vice president or CEO level employee make a clear statement followed by a roadmap, I'm not going to bet on .NET.

history tells us silverlight was "all in" even as they were sending mixed signals. then it was "all out".

It is pretty funny that people seem to think that the new developments at Microsoft reflect some new direction taken by Mr. Nadella.  All of these new announcements reflect initiatives that have been in the pipeline for some time, there is no way that it is possible for these to be post-Ballmer only initiatives.  There simply has not been time enough for that.