Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday evening will announce that it will, for the first time, give OEMs, vendors and systems integrators full access to the source code for Windows CE as well as the rights to modify and ship the code commercially in CE-based devices.
The move will allow licensees to create new devices by building on top of the Windows CE code base, a real-time operating system for rapidly building the next generation of 32-bit connected, Windows-powered smart mobile and small footprint devices.
It will also further expand Microsofts Shared Source Initiative, which was first reported by eWEEK in March 2001. This latest component of the initiative will be known as the Windows CE Shared Source Premium Licensing Program or CEP and builds on the existing Windows CE Shared Source Licensing Program, which allows developers, researchers, students and other interested parties to use the code for any noncommercial purpose.
Customers can also use the source code to develop, debug and support their own commercial software and hardware for the Windows CE platform.
Through its Shared Source Initiative, Microsoft has already made available some source code for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows CE 3.0, Windows CE .Net, Microsoft Passport Manager, and components of Visual Studio .Net and ASP.Net.
Some commentators have also noted that Microsofts recent "ASP .Net Starter Kit License" seems to be inching closer—at least in spirit—to the open-source GNU General Public License (GPL).