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Microsoft to open source 'Orleans' in early 2015

Microsoft will release its .NET-based programming model Orleans early next year, offering developers new tools to simplify the development of distributed application for the cloud.

Microsoft has announced it will open source Orleans, its distributed cloud-programming model best known for being used on Halo 4.

Orleans, a project from Microsoft's eXtreme Computing Group, has been simmering away for several years now and has been occasionally demoed to developers.

The programming model gained some attention last year after the eXtreme Computing Group revealed it deployed Orleans for Microsoft's Halo 4 team. According to the Orleans team, the programming model has now been used in production within Microsoft for nearly three years as part of Halo Reach and Halo 4 backend services.

At Microsoft's annual Build conference earlier this year, the company unveiled a public preview of Orleans and detailed how the Halo 4 team had used it to build cloud services that support the game in Azure.

Now the group is taking what it calls the "next logical step" and plans to release Orleans code under an MIT license by early 2015.

"Since the release of the Project 'Orleans' Public Preview at //build/ 2014 we have received a lot of positive feedback from the community. We took your suggestions and fixed a number of issues that you reported in the Refresh release in September," the Orleans team noted in a recent update.

"Now we decided to take the next logical step, and do the thing many of you have been asking for - to open-source 'Orleans'. The preparation work has already commenced, and we expect to be ready in early 2015."

The soon-to-be-released code is a set of .NET libraries and tools that make it simple to develop scaleable distributed applications. The applications can be built by non-expert programmers, according to Microsoft.

Accordingto the company, Orleans "offers a simple programming model build around grains, a unit of computation with private and shared state that communicates exclusively by sending messages to other grains and receiving and replying to requests from clients. Combine with the Orleans runtime, which provides functionality commonly used in this type of system, Orleans raises the level of abstraction and helps developers build scalable correct Cloud applications."

The release of Orleans follows Microsoft's recent move to open source the full server-side .NET core stack and port the core server-side .NET runtime so that it runs across Windows, Linux, and Mac.

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