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Microsoft To Open Up .NET Micro Framework

Microsoft has restructured its .NET Micro Framework (MF) team and plans to eventually open up the .NET MF source code for community development.

The restructuring consists of moving the .NET MF team over to the developer division of Microsoft's Server and Tools Division, according to a team blog announcement. The move will align the .NET MF team "with the rest of the .NET groups and tools in building the uniform programming model from the sensors to servers," the blog explained.

The .NET MF is used for small devices such as Microsoft Smart Watches and TV set-top boxes using a Motorola processor.

The restructuring involved an undisclosed number of job cuts among the team. It was part of Microsoft's broad termination plan in which the company cut thousands of jobs, as described on Tuesday.

The details of the restructuring were first reported by veteran Microsoft watcher, Mary-Jo Foley, on Wednesday. A company spokesperson described the business-model changes to Foley as follows:

  • "Microsoft will eliminate the royalties from the distribution of the .NET Micro Framework product and make the porting kit available at no cost.
  • Microsoft also intends to give customers and the community access to the source code."

No other details were available from Microsoft at press time, although Microsoft released a statement by e-mail clarifying how community support may be enabled.

"We are reviewing all of the .NET Micro Framework with the hopes of delivering all of it into the community as source code," the statement read. "Customers today are asking for support for specific hardware and protocols and in the current model we are not able to accommodate those requests. Opening the source code to the community will remove the bottleneck and gives customers the flexibility they have been asking for."

Plans for the Windows Embedded team to go bowling during Tech-Ed appear to be still on the table.

Microsoft's .NET MF is a common language runtime for small devices that are not supported by Microsoft's .NET Compact Framework or Windows CE. The framework doesn't support a real-time operating system but instead enables memory garbage collection. Processors supported by .NET MF include ARM7 and ARM9, as well as ADI's Blackfin. Programming is currently done in C# using Microsoft Visual Studio only.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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