Microsoft is considering opening up more of its source code to aid developers, but internal strife may prevent it from going ahead.
At issue is the source code to Windows Forms - part of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Developers use it to build client applications, and possession of the source code can help them resolve problems, gain a clearer idea of what the program is doing and, if necessary, tweak the code for their own purposes.
Shawn Burke, a manager on the Windows Forms team, wrote in a posting on his Web log last week that he wanted to make the code available but there were issues to resolve. These issues include intellectual property rights and scrubbing the code of inappropriate comments. Also, not everybody at Microsoft backs the idea, he wrote.
Many developers commenting on Burke's Web log said they are eager to see the code. However, it is far from certain that the Windows Forms code will be made available, said development manager Christopher Flores on Monday at VSLive.
"Shawn started a lively discussion. Certainly there are people inside of Microsoft discussing the pros and cons of doing this, but as far as I know, today, we have no plans to share the Windows Forms code," Flores said.
Meanwhile, speaking to developers at the VSLive conference in San Francisco yesterday, Microsoft development manager Soma Somasegar said he wants to work closely with external developers for the benefit of the end user. "I really want to think about you as an extension to my product development organisation so that together you and us, as a product group, can combine forces and help develop and deliver the right products for our customers," he said in a keynote address.
Somasegar wants to make available every software build that Microsoft compiles and involve developers in just about all decisions he makes regarding products that come out of the developer division, such as Visual Studio and the .Net Framework.
"Last year, with the release of community technology previews, we took a huge step forward in transparency, and that was only the first step," Somasegar said. "Every build that comes out of the main build lab, I want to be able share with you. Every spec or specific document that I like, I want to be able to share with you. Every feature decision that I make, I want to be able to get your input and involve you in the process."