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Microsoft Makes ASP.NET Technologies Open Source

Xamarin's Miguel de Icaza gives his thoughts on the announcement

Scott Guthrie, vice president of Microsoft's Server & Tools Business division, has announced that Microsoft is now open sourcing several of its ASP.NET technologies, which include ASP.NET Web API and ASP.NET Web Pages (Razor). The source code for these technologies is available under an Apache 2.0 license. Additionally, Microsoft will host the code repositories on Codeplex, which includes Git support. According to Guthrie, this decision will lead to better development collaboration within the community. Here's an excerpt of Guthrie's statement:

I’m very excited to announce today that we will also release the source code for ASP.NET Web API and ASP.NET Web Pages (aka Razor) under an open source license (Apache 2.0), and that we will increase the development transparency of all three projects by hosting their code repositories on CodePlex (using the new Git support announced last week). Doing so will enable a more open development model where everyone in the community will be able to engage and provide feedback on code checkins, bug-fixes, new feature development, and build and test the products on a daily basis using the most up-to-date version of the source code and tests.

Although Microsoft had already made ASP.NET MVC open source through its MS-PL open-source license in 2009, the license restricts developers from making contributions. With this announcement, developers now have the ability to contribute to the project, as well as integrate the source code into third-party products.

"The big problem that Microsoft had is that they only got a fraction of the benefits from open sourcing their code previously. There was no way for third parties to contribute improvements back. For the first time, ASP.NET MVC projects can be considered complete open-source projects. The source is available for free, anybody can use it, and they can contribute back" said Miguel de Icaza, chief technology officer of Xamarin, a provider of platforms for mobile application development, and founder of Mono and GNOME projects. De Icaza was the first contributor to this project since the announcement had been made.

Related: Exploring ASP.NET: ASP.NET Grab Bag

Although Microsoft has previously made Windows Azure SDK available as an open-source technology, the announcement came as a surprise for much of the community. "Nobody thought this would ever happen. It's a great first step, and I think the news has been universally well received," said De Icaza.

He thinks that Microsoft's decision was motivated to leverage the benefits of a community that's driven by open source. "The world has moved into a more egalitarian type of process, where everybody can contribute and try out new ideas. These ideas become valuable and can get merged into the main product. Microsoft was basically missing out on all of this." said De Icaza.

De Icaza said Xamarin has already begun to leverage the newly-released source code into its offerings, as well as incorporating Razor into its mobile solutions.

What do you think about Microsoft's announcement? Do you have any plans to get involved with the newly released source code? I would love to hear your thoughts; feel free to contribute to the discussion on Twitter at either @blair_greenwood or @DevProConnect.

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