Feeds

MS expands WinCE 5.0 'shared' source licence

Commercial code derivatives can stay closed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft will begin shipping the latest version of Windows CE, version 5.0, on 9 July, the company said today.

And in a bid to better position its embedded OS against open source alternatives - "eliminate many of the barriers to entry found in traditional embedded development", as Microsoft puts it - the software behemoth said it will expand the terms of its WinCE source-code sharing licence programme.

The new licence will allow all developers to ship commercial products derived from changes they have made to the WinCE source code and - crucially - keep their code to themselves.

Essentially, Microsoft is offering a 'cake and eat it too' alternative to the GPL, which mandates that code derived from source material issued under the licence must likewise be made available to all and sundry. This kind of enforced sharing has caused concern among some manufacturers who would like to use an open source OS, like Linux, as the basis for future products but are wary of releasing their own version of the software back to the open source community and to their competitors.

Microsoft's WinCE 5.0 "shared source" licence allows them an alternative option: to leverage shared source code, but keep the results proprietary.

"We believe that the ability to ship commercial derivatives, with no obligation to share customisations, will greatly appeal to device makers - all of whom want to maintain the rights to their competitive advantage," said Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate VP of Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Division.

Not that this is a great innovation of Microsoft's part - the FreeBSD licence has essentially done this sort of thing for years, recognising that not every line of source code a developer comes up with has a place in the public domain.

And Microsoft still requires anyone wanting to ship WinCE-derived code commercially to buy a run-time licence before they do so.

WinCE 5.0's formal release follows the shipment of a Technology Preview Kit in March 2004. Previously known by its codename, 'Macallan', version 5.0 run on a "dramatically increased" range of processors, including ARM, MIPS, x86 and SuperH platforms - though that doesn't necessarily mean future Windows Mobile offerings will. In addition, Microsoft is touting improved security and multimedia features.

The OS will ship with the maximum level of security enabled, forcing OEMs to reduce the level of protection on a design-by-design basis, rather than encouraging them to raise it if they think it necessary. The real-time OS will also feature Windows Error Reporting, enabling devices to report glitches to the manufacturer, for a faster turnaround of bug-fixes, which can be delivered across the network.

WinCE 5.0 will also feature Direct3D Mobile, a COM-based version of Windows XP's DirectX multimedia API. Direct3D will work with Wireless MMX, the Pentium-derived multimedia instructions Intel is building into its latest XScale CPU, the PXA270. It is also expected to offer DirectDraw for 2D graphics and DirectShow for camera and video digitisation support, which will be included in the Windows Mobile product line. ®

Related stories

MS readies WinCE 5.0 preview
Psion revives Netbook but drops EPOC for WinCE
Why Pocket PC isn't WinCE - Microsoft
Microsoft licenses WinCE source code for commercial use
Windows CE to outship PCs in five years researcher

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?