I read today about Microsoft releasing the source code of the .Net class libraries and i have to say that it is an excellent move on their part. In an earlier post, i argued why i think that all frameworks should be open sourced and i still believe that. In fact, it is because of this that i started cutting down on using .Net programming for any of my work.
One thing to note is that the source code was not released under an open source license, it was released under what they called a reference license. And while i strongly believe in open source licensing as defined by the free software foundation, this is certainly a positive step.
I think they did this because Sun open sourced java and developers certainly recognized the genuine effort that Sun is attempting to lure developers towards the java platform.(the newer jre kernel is excellent) The difference is that Sun did it correctly and MS didn’t.
So what does this mean to me as a developer? Well, this certainly will allow me to do more work in .Net(i love C#). But i am not really sure if this will have a big impact. Developers have already started migrating 2 years ago to more dynamic and open platforms(Ruby, Python, and even Php and the more esoteric platforms) and this might be too little too late. And the mono project has been accelerating its development pace as of late and most developers who have to use .Net have been migrating to it.
MS now is facing competition on all sides when just a few years ago, nobody would dare do anything to compete with it. Now there is Adobe on the RIA front, Sun on the platform front, Google on the services front and a bunch of other smaller players(i am also sure i missed some). Adobe open sourced flex, Sun open sourced java and now….. Right, you get the point. I would even dare to say that any framework that does not go the open source path(in the terms of free software) is doomed to extinction.
Exciting times, let’s see what this will bring.