As Microsoft continues to set into motion efforts to open-source significant portions of its .NET development stack, the .NET Foundation is moving in lock step and is adding a new governance model along with a number of new project contributions.
The foundation announced that in addition to the .NET Foundation board of directors, an advisory council is being established to ensure that the general community is involved and informed of decisions about the future direction and health of the .NET ecosystem. Individuals interested in helping to guide governance of this process are invited to join the .NET Foundation advisory council. You can join the discussion on the forum and send advisory council nominations here.
"Microsoft is making headlines for its decision to open source its popular .NET development stack, which will now be maintained under the stewardship of the .NET Foundation," said Gianugo Rabellino, a .NET Foundation board member and senior director of open-source communities at Microsoft Open Technologies. "This should be welcome news to the millions of developers who use .NET to build high quality applications and services that can scale from needs of individual developers to large enterprises."
The .NET Foundation is an independent organization whose goal is to foster open development and collaboration around the growing collection of open-source technologies for .NET, Microsoft's comprehensive development framework, reads a description of the foundation on its Website. It serves as a forum for commercial and community developers alike to strengthen the future of the .NET ecosystem by promoting openness, community participation and rapid innovation.
Microsoft decided to take its wildly popular .NET framework cross-platform to Linux and the Mac, and to expand on its moves to open-source the .NET technology. Microsoft initially announced plans to open-source key components of .NET at its Build 2014 event earlier this year in San Francisco. Now the company is pledging to open-source the full server-side .NET Core stack.
Microsoft announced these and other significant moves with its core Visual Studio toolset, along with new capabilities for Visual Studio Online, Windows Azure and more, at the company's Microsoft Connect(); event in New York City on Nov. 12.
"It's been over 12 years since we launched .NET, and it's been wildly successful," S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, told eWEEK. "We have over 6 million developers building .NET applications, ranging from mission-critical workloads in an enterprise to anything and everything else. Just in the last year, we've seen 1.8 billion installs of .NET."
Visual Studio and .NET have been two bedrocks of the Microsoft developer ecosystem for more than a decade, Somasegar said in a blog post. With over 1.8 billion installations of .NET and over 7 million downloads of Visual Studio 2013 in just the last year, Visual Studio and .NET are enabling millions of developers to build some of today's most important software and services powering businesses, apps and sites, he noted.
Microsoft said the full server-side .NET Core stack will be open-sourced, from ASP.NET 5 down to the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Base Class Libraries, and the open-source .NET will be expanded to run on Linux and Mac OS X in addition to Windows.
"We are super-excited about this because this is a huge step forward for us," Somasegar said. "More importantly, I think it's a great step forward for our existing .NET developers to think about a broader set of opportunities and reaching a broader set of platforms and a broader set of customers. Moreover, there are a number of people who are excited about the benefits of .NET and what .NET can do for them, but they had felt constrained in the past that they couldn't use it on Linux or something else. We feel it is goodness for our existing guys and for net new guys."
Meanwhile, the .NET Foundation has added several new projects to its collection. The .NET Foundation initially took stewardship of 24 .NET open-source projects, including the .NET Compiler Platform "Roslyn" and the ASP.NET family of open-source projects. Xamarin also contributed six unique projects to the Foundation, including a couple of open-source email libraries.
In recent months, several additional projects have been added to the .NET Foundation roster, bringing the number to more than 30, including Thinktecture's IdentityServer and IdentityManager, Orchard and several projects from the Outercurve Foundation, among them Nuget, Kudu and the ASP.Net Ajax Library, Rabellino said. "Moving forward, we will continue working with the Outercurve Foundation to migrate relevant .NET projects to the .NET Foundation," he said.
"The foundation is a natural progression in our evolution as a community focused .NET framework," said Ylan Kunstler, an Orchard project steering committee member and founder of the Orchard Harvest global conferences, in a statement. "We recognize that without a community Orchard would not have found the success and wide adoption it has today. The .NET foundation is built on those principles and we couldn't be more pleased to be a founding member project of this organization."