Steve Ballmer may regard Microsoft’s robotics efforts as merely cute, but the team continues to beaver on and today announced the general availability of Microsoft Robotics Developer 2008:
At the RoboDevelopment Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, Calif., Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 (Microsoft RDS), the newest version of its robotics programming platform. Microsoft RDS includes a simple programming model to support building asynchronous applications, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools to aid in application development, and tutorials and sample code to help developers get started.
This is Microsoft’s third major release of Microsoft RDS and builds upon its previous versions, which have received support throughout the robotics community, from students to researchers and commercial developers. More than 250,000 copies of Microsoft RDS have been downloaded and more than 60 hardware and software companies support or use the platform as a part of their products.
Hit the link for a list of enhancements in the new version, but the bigger news is likely in the licensing terms:
The new release also offers improved licensing options by replacing its formal noncommercial and commercial licenses with three editions: a Standard Edition for professional developers, an Academic Edition for students and educational researchers, and an Express Edition for hobbyists and casual users. While with previous versions, the user was allowed to distribute only 200 copies of the Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) and Decentralized Software Services (DSS) runtimes, each license of the new Standard and Academic editions permits the user to distribute an unlimited number of copies of the CCR and DSS runtimes. Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 Standard Edition is available for $499.95 (U.S.) and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/robotics, or from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing program starting in February 2009.
Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 Express Edition is free and downloadable at the same site, while the Academic Edition is the same as the Standard Edition, but subject to academic usage restrictions and distributed through Microsoft’s academic channels.