Microsoft is releasing its .Net Framework libraries under the Microsoft Reference Licence, which allows viewing of source code but not modification or redistribution.
The release lets developers better understand the inner workings of the framework's source code, Microsoft said. Microsoft's efforts fall under the company's Shared Source initiative, which allows for sharing of source code.; Shared Source has been viewed as Microsoft's answer to open source.
Also, Microsoft will allow .Net Framework developers to debug .Net Framework source code in the upcoming Visual Studio 2008 developer tool set.
"One of the things my team has been working to enable has been the ability for .Net developers to download and browse the source code of the .Net Framework libraries and to easily enable debugging support in them," said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, general manager in the Microsoft Developer Division, in his blog.
"Today I'm excited to announce that we'll be providing this with the .Net 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 release later this year," he said.
The initiative begins with offering source code with source file components for the following technologies:
- Net Base Class Libraries (including System, System.IO, System.Collections, System.Configuration, System.Threading, System.Net, System.Security, System.Runtime, and System.Text).
- ASP.Net (System.Web).
- Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms).
- ADO.NET (System.Data).
- XML (System.Xml).
- Windows Presentation Foundation (System.Windows).
"We'll then be adding more libraries in the months ahead, including Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow, and LINQ (Language Integrated Query)," Guthrie said.