Microsoft announced yesterday that it will open up the Windows source code to a select group of Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), Windows enthusiasts who support Microsoft products in Usenet newsgroups, on the Web, and through email and other outlets. The source-code access is part of the MVP Source Licensing Program (MVPSLP), a new addition to Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative source-licensing program. The company says eligible MVPs will be able to view the Windows source code, gain a better understanding of how the OS works, and therefore acquire a new perspective that will help them help others.
"I'm a huge fan of the MVPs," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of Microsoft's Platforms Group. "They do a great deal to help Microsoft customers. Giving them access to one of our most valuable assets, Windows source code, is a testimonial to how much we value this dedicated group of people. Giving them access to the source code will help MVPs do even more for technical communities around the world and will thus strengthen support for everyone using the Windows platform."
Microsoft's MVP program rewards individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft products; many MVPs spend a great deal of time helping other people understand the products. Microsoft started the program in the early 1990s but briefly canceled it last year. After receiving many complaints, Microsoft recanted and renewed the MVP program, improving it so that a more diverse group of people from a variety of countries could participate. Today's program includes more than 1800 MVPs in 55 countries and spans 20 languages and more than 70 Microsoft technologies.