Regular readers here have probably guessed why Microsoft decided to open source .NET Micro under the Apache 2.0 license.
Makers of embedded devices have been moving strongly into open source, especially Linux, and Microsoft was at great risk of being left behind. The announcement was made at the companys Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles.
The news comes against the backdrop of falling market share for Windows Mobile, and increasing market share for Microsoft open source, as revealed in the latest Black Duck figures. Theyre not being nice here, theyre being practical.
Here is how Microsoft community development manager Peter Galli put it on his blog:
The result of this is that the .NET Micro Framework has become a seamless development experience, bringing a single programming model and tool chain for the breadth of developer solutions, all the way from small intelligent devices, to servers and the cloud. There are also no more time-limited versions.
Note that Microsoft is not open sourcing the TCP/IP stack that .NET Micro links to. Thats someone elses. But the news will let developers create Internet-linked device networks using .NET. It gives Microsoft an in to a technology open source, and Linux, were threatening to run away with.