Open Source Microsoft

More changes at Redmond this week – after making up with Sun over Java, Microsoft have made their first ever open source contribution.

Yesterday they posted the source code to their Windows Installer XML (WiX) package (a tool for developers building Windows installers from XML source code), to SourceForge. They included complete source for the compiler, linker, library tool and decompiler.

Contributer Rob Mensching said in his posting “With this release developers outside Microsoft can take advantage of the same toolset being used today to create the installation packages for products like Microsoft Office, Microsoft SQL Server, and many others.”
He went on to add in his MSDN blog: “Back in 1999 and 2000, I did not feel that many people inside Microsoft understood what the Open Source community was really about and I wanted to improve that understanding by providing an example.”

Providing a Windows installer is a shrewd move for Microsoft as it will give developers the tools to make more Windows applications – plus being a utility program it won’t cannibalise MS’s core business.

We hope that this is just the first in many releases under the Common Public License, and look forward to seeing more tools and utilities being released soon.

WiX at SourceForge

Rob Mensching’s blog

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?