Monday, March 28, 2005

Shared Source Initiative?

I first heard about Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative on a couple of blogs a while back. Sorry, I can’t remember for sure which ones. Anyway I did some reading on the Shared Source home page, and I was mainly confused by what I was reading. Well tonight I was at my local DNUG (Dot Net User Group) meeting, and I asked the Microsoft speaker what it was. Basically here is how he put it:

The Shared Source Initiative is Microsoft’s version of Open Source because with Open Source you have the community contribute back to the original product and make changes. Microsoft will give out the code and let you modify it, but will not let you contribute it back to the main product.

This makes sense because Microsoft is a business, and even if someone can make a good improvement to software that Microsoft has; it is still possible that someone will go in and mess things up. This is to protect Microsoft, and to allow people to expand off of Microsoft’s ideas.

Take iBuySpy for example. This project didn’t turn out to be such a hot item, but it led to DotNetNuke which is a huge project about to go into its third release. Basically iBuySpy is something Microsoft put out (I think) and the community made something better out of it; basically using Microsoft’s innovations.

There are several tiers to Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative to understand and agree to. I plan to read through them and get an understanding of what they require. Then I plan on posting a general synopsis of it.


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