Yesterday, at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference (PDC) at Los Angeles, Microsoft announced not only the release of version 4.0 of the.NET Micro Framework, but also their stratergies towards open sourcing the product and making it available under the Apache 2.0 license, which is already being used by the community within the embedded space.
The .NET Micro Framework is an innovative development and execution environment for resource-constrained devices. It brings the same modern computing models that have proven to increase productivity on the desktop to small, intelligent devices.
In solutions where small devices are integrated with other devices and even the cloud, you can now use the same programming skills and code throughout the solution. Its fully integrated Visual Studio experience brings a reliable and productive development system to the embedded world.
The result of this is that the .NET Micro Framework has become a seamless development experience, bringing a single programming model and tool chain for the breadth of developer solutions, all the way from small intelligent devices, to servers and the cloud. There are also no more time-limited versions. Including the source code for almost all of the product also ensures that developers now also get access to the Base Class Libraries that were implemented for .NET Micro Framework and the CLR code itself. However, both the TCP/IP stack and Cryptography libraries are not included in the source code.
The TCP/IP stack is third party software that Microsoft licenses from EBSNet, so it does not have the rights to distribute that source code. If someone needs to access the source code for the TCP/IP stack, they can contact EBSNet directly. As for the Cyptography libraries, they are not included in source code because they are used outside of the scope of the .NET Micro Framework. Customers who need to have access to the code in the cryptography functions will find that these libraries can be replaced.
Microsoft is also in the process of forming a Community of interested and involved members to help shape the future direction of the product. There will be a core technology team that is composed of Microsoft and external partners, and people will be encouraged to propose projects, which will be vetted before they are accepted.
You can find more information this framework and download the SDK here