REDMOND, Wash., March 15, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Shared Source Initiative has reached a milestone of 1 million participants. Microsoft is sharing source code with customers, governments, partners, academics and individuals through Shared Source programs. The continued growth of Shared Source offerings represents Microsoft’s commitment to increase the transparency of its source code and give those who would benefit from code access the ability to build on and benefit from Microsoft®
innovations. The Shared Source programs, launched in May 2001, support existing customers, encourage new development, support teaching and research, and create new business opportunities.
“Three years ago Microsoft committed to provide customers and industry partners more background and information with respect to the design and implementation of our products by providing source code access through our Shared Source Initiative. We are continually adding new source code offerings to Shared Source. Crossing the 1-million-participants mark confirms that we’re delivering value to the community,” said Craig Mundie, chief technology officer and senior vice president for advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft. “As a commercial company, our business model is based on selling software, but at the same time, we recognize that source code access can increase the trust some customers place in our company and our products. Through the Shared Source Initiative, we have found a unique balance that both meets the needs of our customers and protects our most valuable assets.”
Microsoft began sharing Windows®
source code with academics in 1991, but in 2001 the Shared Source Initiative was established to address broader customer interest and formalize a program to allow access to a spectrum of Microsoft technologies ranging from Microsoft .NET technologies to embedded operating systems. Over the past three years, Shared Source has grown to include more development and infrastructure technologies, most of which are licensed to allow developers in any country to see, modify and redistribute changes to the source code.
As a participant in the Windows Enterprise Source Licensing Program, the Swiss-based financial services company UBS AG has access to source code for all released versions, service packs and betas of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 code base. With operations in over 50 countries worldwide, UBS has found access to source code is valuable for testing and debugging the applications that run on its internal networks. As one of the worlds leading providers of wealth management services and one of the largest asset managers globally, UBS is extremely concerned with the security of its internal systems.
“Much of our work involves debugging applications, said Boris Basura, a systems engineer and associate director at UBS. Sometimes it is difficult to find the bug, or you have a strange behavior and you dont know where it comes from. It saves a lot of time if you can reference the source code to find out what the issue is. Otherwise, you would spend time in trial and error before you found the answer.”
Each source-licensing program under the Shared Source Initiative is tailored to the needs of a particular Microsoft constituent community and can be applied as a model for increasing code transparency throughout commercial software. As experts in the Windows platform, Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are a diverse group of people from around the world who have two things in common: great expertise in one or more Microsoft products, and a willingness to share their expertise and their experiences with peers. The MVP Source Licensing Program was designed with that community’s unique needs for source-code access in mind. Raising the level of self-support the community can find inspires greater community participation and provides a stronger feedback loop to Microsoft. MVPs help shape product development and research and provide a valuable link through which Microsoft can listen to customers.
“The MVP Source Licensing Program benefits the community by giving the MVPs a resource to understand exactly what is happening in Microsoft’s source code. Code access is very useful in answering technical questions, some of which would be impossible to do definitively without source access. You can actually see how the code works,” said Phil Webster, Microsoft MVP and founder of cSwing LLC. “Through the Shared Source Initiative, MVPs are provided access to information that is otherwise hard to obtain.”
The Windows CE Shared Source Premium Licensing Program (CEP) is available to companies that bring Windows CE-based devices and solutions to market. Launched in April 2003, the CEP is the first Windows CE program under the Shared Source Initiative to offer original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), silicon vendors and systems integrators full access to Windows CE source code. Full access to the source code and rights to modify and ship the code commercially enable licensees to build on top of the rich Windows CE foundation to create new and innovative devices. Shared Source Premium code empowers licensees to optimize and differentiate software and hardware for Windows CE. All licensees can modify the code, and OEMs can now commercially distribute those modifications in Windows CE-based devices.
“The Shared Source program has certainly strengthened our relationship with Microsoft, but more importantly, it enables us to help our customers engage with Microsoft,” said Jack Browne, vice president of Worldwide Sales at MIPS Technologies Inc. “Our customer relationships are stronger as a result, and our customers’ partnerships with Microsoft are stronger, too. It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Currently Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows CE 3.0, Windows CE .NET, the C#/CLI Implementations, as well as components of ASP.NET and Visual Studio®
.NET have source code available through the Shared Source Initiative. The Shared Source Initiative is an ongoing, evolving framework that will, over time, support additional source-access programs for many of Microsoft’s valued partners and constituent communities.
Additional information about this news will soon be available on Microsoft’s PressPass Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.asp. Additional information about the Shared Source Initiative is available at http://www.microsoft.com/sharedsource/ .
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