Saturday, August 7, 2010

Microsoft OPEN.NET

Late last week we learned that Microsoft is de-funding the Iron projects (IronRuby, IronPython). Many have suggested that the community should take over the projects, but without access to the DLR, CLR and the compilers success would be limited.

However if Microsoft opened up the DLR, CLR and compilers for what I'm going to call "Open .NET", we in the community could make some interesting things happen on .NET.

I know it sounds crazy to open source the .NET platform, but I don't understand what competitive advantage Microsoft maintain by keeping it closed.

I want to mention a couple advantages they would gain by opening it up.

Allowing the community to create libraries and offer bug patches to the CLR, DLR and compiler we (the community) would feel involvement in the platform. This involvement would translate to more community created libraries and solutions.

Microsoft wouldn't have to create tools and libraries that already exist (ala MsTest) and focus their efforts on expanding the platform.

I'm not proposing that all products and innovation that is created by Microsoft shall be Open. They can build new technology within and around the open platform and release those changes to the community core projects after the product announcements.

Create native extensions for Windows that increased performance and scalability. Create products that only run on IIS or SharePoint. Microsoft's current "enterprise" customers would continue to use the proprietary and supported versions of the compilers and runtime.

Without an "Open.NET" Platform, projects like IronRuby and IronPython are not feasible outside of Microsoft. This innovation while secondary to Microsoft's corporate strategy is important to many of us in the community.

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