Microsoft Developer Division General Manager Scott Guthrie today revealed the roadmap for a series of additional Web development products that build on top of last week’s RTM of Visual Studio and .NET FX 3.5. In outline form with liberal quoting from Guthrie, it looks like the following:
Speaking of Microsoft acquisitions, a graphic reminder that they don’t always turn out to be super successful is that Microsoft this week also announced the retirement of FoxPro which they acquired in 1992 for $173M:
We have been asked about our plans for a new version of VFP. We are announcing today that there will be no VFP 10. VFP9 will continue to be supported according to our existing policy with support through 2015 (http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=7992). We will be releasing SP2 for Visual FoxPro 9 this summer as planned, providing fixes and additional support for Windows Vista.
Additionally, as you know, we’ve been working on a project codenamed Sedna for the past year or so. Sedna is built using the extensibility model of VFP9 and provides a number of new features including enhanced connectivity to SQL Server, integration with parts of the .NET framework, support for search using Windows Desktop Search and Windows Vista as well as enhanced access to VFP data from Visual Studio.
To reiterate, today we are announcing that we are not planning on releasing a VFP 10 and will be releasing the completed Sedna work on CodePlex at no charge. The components written as part of Sedna will be placed in the community for further enhancement as part of our shared source initiative. You can expect to see the Sedna code on CodePlex sometime before the end of summer 2007.
FoxPro (actually Fox Software) has had a storied role in PC software history, but a despite a loyal following, it was clearly being eclipsed by Microsoft’s other tooling. See Robert Shelton’s blog and Alan Griver’s blog for informal tributes and nostalgia from within Microsoft.
As promised back in September when Windows CE 6.0 was released to manufacturing (RTM), yesterday was the day for the formal launch event:
Craig Mundie, Microsoft Corp. chief research and strategy officer, announced the availability of Windows Embedded CE 6.0, the latest version of the company’s industry-leading software toolkit used to build real-time operating systems for devices such as Internet protocol (IP) set-top-boxes, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), wireless projectors, and a variety of industrial automation, consumer electronics and medical devices.
In conjunction with the 10-year anniversary of Windows Embedded, 100 percent of the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 kernel is now available through the Microsoft® Shared Source program, an overall increase of 56 percent from previous versions of Windows Embedded CE. The Shared Source program provides full source-code access for modification and redistribution by device-makers (subject to the terms of a license agreement), who are under no obligation to share their final designs with Microsoft or others. Although the Windows operating system is a general-purpose computing platform designed for creating a consistent experience, Windows Embedded CE 6.0 is a tool kit device-makers use for building customized operating system images for a variety of non-desktop devices. By providing access to certain parts of the Windows Embedded CE source code, such as the file system, device drivers and other core components, embedded developers are able to choose the code they need, compile it, and build their own, unique operating systems, quickly bringing their devices to market.
Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition is also shipping as part of Windows Embedded CE 6.0. This marks another first for Microsoft; Platform Builder, an embedded-specific integrated development environment, will now be included as a powerful plug-in for Visual Studio 2005 Professional. This brings the entire development chain together in one, easy-to-use tool, from device to applications, shrinking time to market for device development.
Hit the link for the enhancements in CE 6.0 and as implied above, the importance of Windows CE is less for itself than as a base for device specific customizations from 3rd parties and Microsoft itself like the upcoming Windows Mobile Crossbow.
As for the complete sharing of source code with 3rd parties, that seems to have been a surprise for everyone including parts of Microsoft:
The 100% sharing campaign may actually come as a surprise to Microsoft’s own support staff, which this morning released instructions regarding how to tell whether a portion of CE 6.0 is shared or not. With today’s news, which BetaNews confirmed, there is no “not.”
However, not all of Embedded CE’s source code will be licensed for free. A significant portion of it will be free to those who have already purchased and licensed Embedded CE “in the box.” The remainder of the code will be licensed under Microsoft’s existing “Premium Shared Source Program” terms, specifically to “qualified OEMs and partners.”
As the spokesperson told us today, although the fees have not yet been disclosed, Microsoft will consider this program a legitimate source of revenue.
The fact that at least those who can afford it can see everything that Microsoft put into Windows Embedded CE 6.0, will be of interest to those who responded to the news of its impending release last May with questions about its relative interoperability, especially in the face of rising competition from Linux and embedded UNIX. Operating systems based on industry standards, some have argued, are more prone to being shared under open-source licenses, which lends greatly to their inherent interoperability.
In this space (or more correctly, collection of spaces) Microsoft has to compete with other proprietary operating systems as well as open source and in the scramble for share, Microsoft has to do what it takes to attract device vendors:
However, Hardy Poppinga, product manager for Microsoft’s mobile and embedded division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told ZDNet UK that the new “shared source” initiative was in itself the division’s “most significant announcement for years”.
According to Poppinga, Microsoft is opening up the code in response to the wishes of its partners, but he conceded that a “more competitive market” had also necessitated the move.
That’s certainly a refreshing difference from other markets.
“Brace for impact!”: Microsoft Warns Employees of Likely Antitrust Fine
John Dvorak: Why Microsoft won’t buy Yahoo: “Sometimes you have to laugh out loud when a report comes out with analysis and suggestions that are so far out in left field that they can only be categorized as completely insane.” I felt bad that I didn’t have time to say something snarky about last week’s rumor, but I feel much better after reading Dvorak.
Microsoft Faces Class Action Suit: Lawsuit alleges that Windows Genuine Advantage antipiracy tool violates consumer protection laws. Unfortunately predictable. Also predictable is a worm pretending to be a WGA tester.
MobiTV does Windows Mobile: MobiTV Enables Consumers to Watch Live and Made-for-Mobile Television Content on Windows Mobile Powered Devices
Microsoft launches CodePlex shared source project site: We mentioned it back in May when the beta test started.
A blast from the past: Microsoft says Go antitrust suit dismissed.