Microsoft Adds New .NET Repository to GitHub

Microsoft upped the ante on its effort to open-source .NET, delivering a core runtime repository on GitHub and setting a new .NET conference.

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Microsoft is taking more steps toward open sourcing, making its .NET core runtime repository available on GitHub. The company also announced its 2015 virtual online conference for .NET developers.

The moves follow Microsoft's announced plans to open-source the .NET Core server stack and take the technology cross-platform to Linux and Mac OS. Microsoft made this announcement at its Connect(); 2014 event in New York where it opened the project on GitHub with a repository containing the foundational libraries that make up the .NET Core development stack.

"We got the initial framework out there, and people were asking when are the lower- level runtime features going to show up," said Jay Schmelzer, director of program management in Microsoft's Developer Division.

Today's release of the core runtime repository contains the .NET garbage collector, the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler and the execution engine.

"Unlike the framework [repository] where we started with individual libraries and started adding to the set, this will be the complete Windows implementation of the core runtime," Schmelzer said.

Schmelzer said Microsoft took a different approach with this release.

“We wanted it to be useful to people and we wanted customers to be able to build things and run them on it. So we needed to complete the Windows stack. The beginnings of the Linux-specific abstraction layers will be there, but that's also where the Mono community is anxious to contribute some of their learnings into that codebase. And we expect to see more interactions with the Mono folks at the lower runtime layer."

Microsoft also said it will hold a two-day virtual online .NET event known as dotnetConf 2015. The conference will take place on March 18 and 19.

Schmelzer said dotnetConf content will be provided by a mix of .NET community experts, including Microsoft product team members from across the full range of the core stack as well as Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and more.

"We'll be talking about runtime, core framework, languages, and ASP.NET 5 as the main topics there," Schmelzer said. "We also expect that event is where we'll spend some more time on the cross-platform nature of the core framework and runtime."

Schmelzer said his team gets lots of requests from developers that want to get better acquainted with .NET, to hone their skills and to get a time frame on how the cross-platform push and open-sourcing of the framework is progressing. The dotnetConf will be a resource for developers with those concerns, he said.

In December, Microsoft said the full server-side .NET Core stack would 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.

“There are two things we will do,” said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division. “One is we are going to take .NET cross-platform to Linux and the Mac. And hand-in-hand with that we’re going to open source the entire .NET stack, particularly the server-side .NET stack.”

Microsoft initially announced plans to open-source key components of .NET at its Build 2014 event last year in San Francisco.