Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday will announce that it is giving its Most Valued Professionals access to the more than 100 million aggregate lines of Windows source code, which includes all versions, service packs and betas of the Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 products.
MVPs, who are chosen for having a "unique set of expertise and passion" around Microsoft technologies and who are recognized for their contributions to online and technical communities, already have access to the source code components for Windows CE .Net, ASP.Net, Visual Studio .Net, and Passport Manager.
Microsofts Shared Source Initiative was first reported by eWEEK in March 2001, and the Redmond, Wash., software titan has been expanding it since then.
Jason Matusow, manager of Microsofts Shared Source Program, confirmed to eWEEK on Tuesday that the MVPs are now an extension of the communities for Windows source code.
"The core reasons for doing this are the fundamental strength and ties of the MVPs to the broader Windows platform community and the new level of expertise this will give them," Matusow said. "They will also be able to improve their feedback to us because their understanding will be at a deeper level.
"Also, the trust in Windows will be improved, and they will be experts in the communities unlike ever before," he said.
The MVPs had been very vocal about having access to the Windows source code, he said, adding that Microsoft had held a beta release cycle around this earlier this year. Of the hundreds who applied, 31 were accepted and 27 actually signed up to get their hands on the code, far more than among enterprise customers who are eligible to receive it.
"With enterprise customers it is critical that the option to have the code is there, rather than actually needing or wanting to do so," Matusow said. "Thats the difference between them and the MVP community. To be eligible for the Windows code, MVPs must maintain their status as a Windows Server System, Windows or Visual developer MVP and they must reside in an eligible country."
Some 1,200 of Microsofts MVPs will be eligible for the Windows source code, and Microsoft expects about 20 percent of them to take advantage of the offer, which would be a higher number than for any of its other programs, he said.
Asked by eWEEK if there are any plans to share additional source code with the MVPs or other groups, Matusow said that is always a possibility and is something Microsoft continues to look at and listen to feedback about.