Microsoft Corp. has expanded the Source Licensing Program under which its Most Valued Professionals get access to the source code for the Windows operating system.
The Redmond, Wash., company said on Monday that all the MVPs within the Microsoft platforms community and living within the 27 eligible countries worldwide will now be able to access Windows source code at no cost.
The source code provided under the program covers Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and future versions of Windows operating systems, including all released versions, service packs, betas and subsequent releases.
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.
This latest move expands on Microsofts announcement last October that some MVPs living in certain countries and working in the Microsoft platforms community can access Windows source code at no cost.
“This provides a great opportunity for these individuals to differentiate themselves professionally as Windows platforms experts. Today, Microsoft is expanding the eligibility of the MVP SLP to all MVPs living in eligible countries,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told eWEEK.
MVPs have become one of the most active participants in the Shared Source program, and the move now allows an even larger community of MVPs to offer quality help for people developing, deploying and securing Windows environments, she said.
Microsoft also allows MVPs to participate in the Windows CE Shared Source Premium Derivatives Licensing Program, but the company modified the program eligibility criteria a few weeks ago when Windows CE 5.0 was launched to allow any MVP to apply for participation in the CE program.
Earlier this year, Microsoft also released the source code for its Windows Template Library under the open-source Common Public License and posted it on SourceForge, the open-source code repository. The Windows Template Library (WTL) is a library for developing Windows applications and user interface components. It also extends the Active Template Library (ATL) and provides a set of classes for controls, dialogs, frame windows, GDI objects and more.
That move followed Microsofts decision the month before to make available on SourceForge an internally developed product called the Windows Installer XML.
Microsoft has also not ruled out giving its MVPs access to the source code for its Office productivity suite. Earlier this year Jason Matusow, manager of Microsofts Shared Source Program, told eWEEK that giving access to the Office source code is “ultimately a possibility if MVPs come to us and say they want and need it.”
“A lot of the MVPs are focused on the desktop and productivity applications, so we are willing to walk down that path and look at what that would look like. But its not available today,” he said.