Yes, Microsoft Just Joined the Linux Foundation

Paul Ballard

17 Nov , 2016  

Microsoft’s commitment to open-source reached a new high Wednesday when the company announced it’s joining the Linux Foundation.

The company that once sought to build a wall around its proprietary software kingdom will now join corporations like Intel, Huawei and Samsung as high-paying Platinum Level members of the foundation, according to TechCrunch. The Linux Foundation supports the scaling of open-source projects including Node.Js, drawing on the 25-year history of the most popular open-source operating system.

Microsoft has been cozying up to the Linux community under CEO Satya Nadella, surprising developers by adding Linux command lines to Windows 10 and bringing SQL Server to Linux. Redmond has also open-sourced Visual Studio Code and the entire Xamarin SDK, among other company resources.

As Microsoft shifts its focus to the cloud, company leaders have realized that shared software development is the key to success in that arena.

“As a cloud platform company we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, said in announcing the Linux Foundation membership.

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin noted Microsoft’s evolution on open source: “Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open source technology,” Zemlin said.… Read more

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Microsoft Open-Sources Azure Container Services Engine

Paul Ballard

8 Nov , 2016  

Microsoft on Monday announced a number of updates to Azure Container Services that it says will make the container service more open and flexible.

First up: The Kubernetes cloud orchestrator is now available in preview for Azure Container Services. This gives ACS customers a choice of orchestration technologies, with support for DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes.

Microsoft is also open-sourcing the engine it uses to create Azure Container Service deployments, with the code available on GitHub. “This new open source project…will allow us to share with the community how we deploy DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes and collaborate on best practices for orchestrating containers on Azure, both public and on Azure Stack,” reads a Microsoft blog post.

“Furthermore, with the ACS Engine, you can modify and customize deployments of the service beyond what is possible today. Finally, with your help, we can take contributions from the community and improve the service running in Azure.”

Containerization is becoming increasingly popular as a virtualization technology for businesses. Microsoft has also promised to unveil a new integration of Visual Studio and Azure Container Services for developers. Set to drop November 14, the new experience will allow developers to “easily set up continuous integration and deployment of multicontainer Linux applications using Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and the open source Visual Studio Code,” according to Microsoft.… Read more

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LinkedIn Exec: Microsoft Acquisition Won’t Slow Open-Sourcing

Paul Ballard

10 Aug , 2016  

With Microsoft’s announcement in June that it will spend $26 billion to acquire LinkedIn, some developers might wonder whether the social network will continue its longstanding practicing of open-sourcing much of its technology.

If Vice President of Engineering Igor Perisic has anything to say about it, the answer looks like a resounding yes. In an interview with eWeek, Perisic outlined what he saw as the benefits of LinkedIn’s open-sourcing, including sharpening the skills of the company’s own engineers.

“I believe that fundamentally engineers are made better by contributing to open-source projects than just doing things internally,” Perisic told eWeek.

Perisic added that he thought LinkedIn could educate Microsoft a bit on interacting with the developer community.

“I actually think this is a place where we can help Microsoft because their attention to open-source was a little bit later than ours and we can share some of the processes that we have around open-source to encourage individuals to contribute,” Perisic said.

Open-source projects that have come out of LinkedIn include messaging system Kafka; stream-processing framework Samza; Voldemort, a distributed key-value storage system; and Dr. Elephant, which identifies inefficiencies in Hadoop code.

Among the lessons Perisic says the company has learned along the way: Make sure you’re producing good code that is well-documented and doesn’t duplicate an existing open-source project.… Read more

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Microsoft Open-Sources Xamarin SDK, Adds New Developer Tools

Paul Ballard

27 Apr , 2016  

Microsoft today announced that it has open-sourced the Xamarin SDK for iOS, Android and Mac, making good on a promise it made during Build 2016.

The source code released to the .NET Foundation under the MIT license includes native API bindings for all three platforms, command line tools and Xamarin.Forms, the company’s cross-platform UI framework.

Developers who want to contribute to these projects can get cracking right away by visiting Xamarin’s open source page.

Microsoft made the announcement at Xamarin’s Evolve 2016 developer conference, where it also revealed a number of improvements to Xamarin and Visual Studio that will support better cross-platform development.

Updates to Visual Studio will make it easier for C# developers to create native iOS apps. Developers running Visual Studio on Windows will be able to simulate and interact with their iOS apps without leaving Visual Studio, even deploying and debugging them on iOS devices plugged into their Windows machines.

Xamarin Studio 6 for Mac has a new dark theme and now uses Roslyn, Microsoft’s open source compiler, providing a more consistent environment for developers who switch back and forth between Windows and OS X. Xamarin.Forms also got a number of new features, including real-time previewing of Xamarin.Forms XAML source from within the IDE.… Read more

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How To,News

How to Build a Microsoft Band App When You Don’t Have a Band

Paul Ballard

8 Jan , 2016  

Want to try your hand at building apps for Microsoft Band, but don’t actually own the device? Or perhaps you just don’t want to worry about keeping your Band nearby or charged up.

Two Microsoft developers in the UK have created code that mimics the official Microsoft Band SDK, allowing them to generate band data without using actual bands. “More importantly, it has allowed us to prototype an app which consumes data from more than one band easily,” writes developer Peter Daukintis.

Check out the Fake Band source code on Github. Daukintis’ blog post contains some more detailed instructions (and a call for others to contribute). The library is also available as a nuget package here.

H/t to the Microsoft UK Faculty blog for first posting this. If you try it, let us know in the comments how it goes.… Read more

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Apple Makes Swift Open Source – But Not For The App Store

Paul Ballard

3 Dec , 2015  

It’s not too often that we hear about open source projects from Apple, but today they have announced that they are open sourcing the Swift programming language.  The version released today will work on Linux Ubuntu as well as OSX.  Will this eventually mean Swift for Windows or Android?

Apple will still be leading the development of Swift however and apps built with the open source version of Swift won’t be deployable to the App Store.  That will require the developer to use the commercial version of Swift that will lag behind the latest release of the open source project, and of course pay the developer fees to Apple.

The source code for Swift is available now on Github and Apple is looking to build an online community for Swift developers at that will include feedback mechanisms, a blog, and page with links to documentation.  The primary page for that site makes some bold statements about the adoption of Swift.

After Apple unveiled the Swift programming language, it quickly became one of the fastest growing languages in history. Swift makes it easy to write software that is incredibly fast and safe by design. Now that Swift is open source, you can help make the best general purpose programming language available everywhere.  

Read more

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Microsoft Releases MSBuild as Open Source on GitHub

Paul Ballard

18 Mar , 2015  

Microsoft has announced the availability of the the MSBuild tool source code on GitHub as part of their dotnetConf online virtual conference.

Microsoft has added another key tool to their .NET Foundation Open Source library with the release of MSBuild on GitHub.  MSBuild is the build system used by Visual Studio, TFS, and Visual Studio Online and is now available for Windows with Linux and OS/X versions coming soon.

The MSBuild sources we’re publishing today are closely aligned with the version we will ship with Visual Studio 2015. You may notice a few differences as this is our first attempt at a standalone build, but you should see those discrepancies reduced over time. And keep in mind that for now, you’ll need to have Visual Studio 2015 installed in order to build the first time.  — .NET Framework Blog

You can get the source code on GitHub here, and for more information and announcements check out dotnetConf on Channel 9 going on right now.

 … Read more

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Interview with Matthew Gertz

Paul Ballard

23 Feb , 2015   Video

Kathleen Dollard talks to Matthew Gertz, Principal Development Manager of Visual Studio Managed Languages at Microsoft about how they are becoming more transparent, ways in which the open source developer community helps Microsoft make better products, and the future of Roslyn.

 … Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Software Development Guidelines to Live By

Tony Sneed

19 Feb , 2015  

Not too long ago I posted a tweet that immediately went viral. (OK, it’s all relative – to me 66 retweets and 120 favorites is viral.)  It referred to Microsoft’s Engineering Guidelines for contributing to its open-source repository on GitHub for the next version of its web development platform, ASP.NET 5.


You may be familiar with other C# Coding Guidelines.  And generally I’m a huge fan of picking a set of guidelines, making necessary adjustments, and sticking to them as a team.  But what I appreciate about the ASP.NET 5 guidelines is that they not only cover coding guidelines, but also include other vital aspects of software development, such as source code management, product planning and issue tracking.

One of the first things listed is the guidelines for submitting pull requests and a description of how they are reviewed and approved (using an emoticon!).  Their Git branching strategy is also described, as well as the solution and project folder structure and the assembly naming pattern.  It’s notable that xUnit is used for all testing and is indicative that xUnit has now supplanted both MSTest and NUnit as the preeminent testing platform.  (In other words, just use it.)  It’s also worth noting that to use xUnit you no longer need to install a Visual Studio extension – adding the xUnit NuGet package is all you need to do for tests to show up in the Visual Studio Test Explorer. … Read more

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Interview with John Robbins

Paul Ballard

18 Feb , 2015   Video

In this video we interview John Robbins about a new and open Microsoft, the potential of Roslyn, and how debugging has changed over the years.

John Robbins is a cofounder of Wintellect, where he heads up the consulting and debugging services side of the business. He also travels the world teaching his Mastering .NET Debugging and Mastering Windows Debugging courses so that developers everywhere can learn the techniques he uses to solve the nastiest software problems known to man. As one of the world’s recognized authorities on debugging, John takes an evil delight in finding and fixing impossible bugs in other people’s programs.… Read more

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