Microsoft still open sources more technologies than many think

Don't look now, but Microsoft is continuing to open source many of its own technologies, even though it is still competing with Linux and Android vendors.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Every once in a while, it's good to remember that Microsoft is a big company full of individuals with many different priorities, view points and strategies -- especially when it comes to open source.

While the company continues to pursue Android developers for alleged IP violations with one hand, it also is attempting to meet developers where they are by supporting open-source tools and technologies. 

Just last week, Microsoft released an alpha version of a Node.js plug-in for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013. The week before, members of the ASP.Net team at Microsoft talked up some of their projects in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).

In the Reddit, the ASP.Net team participants noted that many of them have been at Microsoft five years or less. But "(s)ince then we've open sourced 90% of ASP.NET, MVC, Web API, all of Entity Framework, SignalR, VS Web Essentials, yada yada yada. We also have all the Azure SDK stuff open sourced on GitHub as well."

Scott Hanselman, one of the team members who took part in the Reddit AMA, noted on his blog that Node Tools for Visual Studio "is open source from the start, and has taken contributions from the very start. It supports Editing, Intellisense, Profiling, npm, Debugging both locally and remotely (while running the server on Windows/MacOS/Linux), as well publishing to Azure Web Sites and Cloud Service."

Microsoft had been working with Joyent since 2011 to get Node.js to work on Windows and Azure. Node is a tool/framework that uses JavaScript as its scripting engine.

Hanselman also shared last week a slide that showed off a "partial list" of open-sourced technologies are part of Visual Studio 2013. It's quite the list.

There are even more Microsoft technologies, especially in the app-development and web-development space, available under open-source licenses these days. TypeScript, Microsoft's "superset" of JavaScript, is available under the Apache 2.0 license. HDInsight for Windows Azure is "100 percent Apache Hadoop." The Softies recently allowed projects hosted on CodePlex to include those under a GPLv3 license.

Yes, Microsoft is continuing to offload some of its home-grown projects developed under open-source licenses to the Outercurve Foundation. But it's worth remembering not everyone in Redmond believes "open source" and "Microsoft" are mutually exclusive terms.

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