With this version of the product, we are including source code for almost all of the components under the Apache 2.0 license. This will allow you to debug through the full stack and make whatever specialized changes you need for your specific application. It also means that if you want to run .NET Micro Framework on a processor architecture that is not already supported, you don’t have to wait for Microsoft to build and release the porting kit built with the right tool chain – you can do that yourself.
Together with this release the started the Open Source step:
We want to make sure that people can adapt the product to their needs but at the same time, how do we make sure that there is a core implementation that continues to be sponsored by Microsoft and adheres to the original goals of a high quality platform for small embedded devices. We decided to develop what we are calling the Community Development Model. In this model, there will be a codebase that is shared by the Microsoft and external developers from which we will release versions just like any product team.
There will be a core technology team that is made up of both Microsoft and external participants who will be the gatekeepers of code that goes into the product. The Microsoft engineers will continue to focus on some of the things that only they can do – deep coordination with the rest of the .NET team and collaboration with other Microsoft product teams and some of the more elemental architectural changes. For external developers, we are throwing the door open for you to propose projects that you would like to take on. (I have some ideas already if you need some.) These will be evaluated by the core tech team which will also insure that the result meets the needed quality metrics.
We are developing a web site to manage this community interaction (http://www.netmf.com). The site will be up in about a week with the initial ideas of how we see this community working but like with any community endeavor, we expect that this process will change and refine with your input so please let us hear from you.
And the best thing for going towards production step:
It’s all still free. We announced the removal of the ‘per unit’ royalties from the runtime distribution licenses and the fees for the porting kit last Spring. We continue to follow that path. There will be no fees from Microsoft associated with the use of the platform.