Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 83 - Microsoft to release .NET Framework Libraries Source

October 3, '07 Comments [22] Posted in Learning .NET | Microsoft | Podcast
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2swan-asa3 Yes, you read that correctly. Microsoft is releasing the source code to a bunch of .NET Framework Libraries under the "Microsoft Reference License." This means you can view the source for reference, but not for recompilation, etc.

This is a lot like Symbol Servers, which I've talked about on the blog before, but this'll be a "Public Source Server" (Source Servers are an old concept, but rare to see in the wild) so that you be a able to debug seamlessly between your code and the Framework's code.

In my first "scoop" in my new job at Microsoft, I've already got a show ready for you, recorded last week! See, I told you I'd take care of you. 

This show is actually an interview with Shawn Burke the mastermind behind this move who posted his intent to make this happen on his personal blog in 2005! His current job is being in charge of the Ajax Toolkit, but he's been working on this source code release idea for years - plural.

Support for this new public Microsoft .NET Source Server feature will be in Visual Studio 2008 when it comes out later this year. It'll be a simple setup process and you'll be on your way to "Stepping Into" the code.

We talk on the podcast about the differences between using Reflector to look at source and looking at the source itself. We ask Shawn about Source Servers vs. Symbol Servers, and how Microsoft is going to size their network to support the demand.

dlprocess_thumb

As soon as I have details on how this configuration process will work, I'll let you know. I suspect it'll be very similar to the way Symbol and Source Servers work today in Visual Studio.

Enjoy!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007 5:07:14 PM UTC
Your sentence trailed off at the end of the second paragraph:
"(Source Servers are an old concept, but rare to see in the wild) so that you"

Presumably something along the lines of 'so that you can grab the sourcecode yourself.'?

And re: the general topic, sweet! I've used things like lutz's reflector etc to poke around before, but authentic official sourcecode will be nice. There'll be copious comments right? I better listen to the cast before I ask all the questions you no doubt answer in it.

-Colin
Colin
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 5:50:26 PM UTC
Colin, I believe what Scott meant to say was:

a "Public Source Server" (Source Servers are an old concept, but rare to see in the wild) so that you [The remainder of this paragraph has been censored by Pointy Haired Boss # 43, Scott Hanselman, please report to Human Resources in Bldg 42 immediately].
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 5:58:00 PM UTC
Hey Scott,

Now that you have access to the big brains at Microsoft, could you ask Scott Burke or Scott Guthrie how this will affect Mono development, if at all? I know that it's released under the MS-RL, but with recent deals with Novell you never know.

At the minimum i'm sure that Mono development will go a more quickly.
Darren Kopp
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 5:59:43 PM UTC
This is great! I can't wait to get to work with it!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 6:19:26 PM UTC
Support for this new public Microsoft .NET Source Server feature will be in Visual Studio 2008 when it comes out later this year


VS2008 is going to be released this calendar year then!
Marcos
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 6:24:16 PM UTC
To be clear, and quoting from ScottGu on another blog:

One point of clarrification - we announced the launch date not the release date.

We typically release products several weeks/months before we "launch" them. You'll be able to buy the final release of VS 2008 and start using it before we hold the launch event.

Thanks, Scott
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 6:42:56 PM UTC
Scott can you send me the Source to Vista? K thanks! ;)

Eric Malamisura
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 6:47:09 PM UTC
Heh. On its way. RAR ok?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 7:13:14 PM UTC
Some source code would be great! We have spent endless hours with reflector and would love some comments and proper variable names.
Thomas
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 8:24:05 PM UTC
Hey Now Scott,
This was great show, I heard it today & read ScottGu's Blog. This is got to be a good direction for the .NET framework. I also liked your post on @Outlook organization.
Hanselminutes Fan,
Catto
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 8:44:12 PM UTC
This is great!
JC
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 11:36:37 PM UTC
Small tip: make sure you don't pre-post any other major announcements on the hanselminutes.com site. For whatever reason, we're all able to see upcoming Hanselminutes shows (e.g. you don't have any in the pipe, but check out Joel Oleson's not-yet-published RunAs Radio episode: http://www.runasradio.com/default.aspx?showNum=27 )--so in theory, we could get a 'sneak peek' and leak the news early.

Anyway, just FYI.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007 11:43:28 PM UTC
Heh. I plugged that leak two weeks ago on the Hanselminutes.com codebase. I'll plug the others.
Thursday, October 04, 2007 8:42:58 AM UTC
Well, we have rotor and reflector, but having debug support now, is rather nice. But the nicest thing is the fact that Microsoft is changing towards open source.

I feel now that open source software is like a wife that has no everyday secrets towards you creating the premises for a long healthy marriage. And having said that did anyone ever had the feeling that they are being cheated by close source software? I certainly did.
Pop Cataln
Thursday, October 04, 2007 9:06:30 AM UTC
oh, please replace 'open source' with 'visible source' in my previous post, I don't want any confusions.
Pop Cataln
Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:38:43 PM UTC
So what is soooo great ? Reflector from microsoft ? :-\
akeru
Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:15:29 PM UTC
But the nicest thing is the fact that Microsoft is changing towards open source.

You are dead wrong if you believe that.
LukeB
Thursday, October 04, 2007 4:39:47 PM UTC
Not saying I would do it, but what prevents someone (besides the license) from making some changes to the code and recompiling a new version of the framework for themselves? On another note, I gotta think custom control development gets a lot easier.
Friday, October 05, 2007 3:17:52 PM UTC
As an aside, you need to name the whole process "Source Opened" as opossed to "Open Source". Remember the copyleft thing years ago, this good work needs a name that rubs in the oposite.
Kudos
Rajiv Das
Saturday, October 06, 2007 5:24:24 PM UTC
"Source Opened" ? no what about "you can send us your fix for free to help us sell our products" name :)
akeru
Monday, October 15, 2007 8:13:33 AM UTC
What does the MRL add to simply relying on copyright? Borland used to release the source to the VCL with the pro editions of the development tools and they only required copyright law - not some strange licence that expires under odd conditions. This will be a big boost to third party integration.
Thursday, November 22, 2007 11:12:15 PM UTC
Hey Scott,

Now that you have access to the big brains at Microsoft, could you ask Scott Burke or Scott Guthrie how this will affect Mono development, if at all? I know that it's released under the MS-RL, but with recent deals with Novell you never know.

At the minimum i'm sure that Mono development will go a more quickly.


I notice this question hasn't been answered by anyone yet and it's an important one. If Microsoft makes the source visible, that has major consquences for licensing, copyright and patenting issues.

As it is right now, Mono won't accept contributions from anyone who's seen the source or even used Reflector to look at the decompiled code in .Net in order to avoid IP cross-contamination. If everyone who has a copy of VS2008 is suddenly exposed to .Net source - that's going to instantly render a lot of people invalid as Mono contributors.

Paradoxically, Microsoft themselves seem to be turning to Mono as a solution for Linux/Mac cross compatibility, so one would think that this shows they want to encourage Mono's development.

I know the MS-RefL explicitly grants patent protection to viewers (in exchange for reciprocal patent protection), but how far will this go? What if I see something in a class that's a clever solution for my own problem - use it or reinvent the wheel?

When I first heard of the .Net source rollout, I was very excited - now, to be honest, I'm rather dreading it.

Some clarification on the legal repercussions of this rollout would be very much appreciated so we know where we stand and what the risks of exposing ourselves to the source are.

Thanks.
Jeff Lewis
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.