Feeds

Microsoft: keep your sticky mitts off our language runtime

DLR stays closed, IronPython to accept donations

Boost IT visibility and business value

It's official: Microsoft will not accept any external code contributions to its planned Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), which will run Microsoft's new scripting languages for the web and Silverlight content on .NET

Microsoft will, though, continue to accept source-code contributions to its slowly emerging implementation of Ruby for .NET, IronRuby. Contributions are helping to build IronRuby and shepherd the language towards the first-full release.

The Register has learned, meanwhile, that Microsoft will start accepting external contributions to its other great scripting language project, putting Python on .NET - IronPython - in the "near future". The promise by Microsoft IronRuby lead John Lam comes nearly a year after the topic was first raised.

The reason Microsoft decided to leave the DLR closed, despite taking contributions to the languages that will run inside it, is to protect itself from unwanted licenses and IP claims.

The DLR will enable dynamic-language applications and media designed for the web or Silverlight to be built and delivered in IronRuby and IronPython inside Microsoft's .NET Framework. The DLR will provide a shared a sandboxed security model and browser integration. This will allow developers to use these languages inside the same programming environment and runtime as Microsoft other languages.

Early versions of the DLR, announced in May 2007, have been available under Microsoft's Public License (MS-PL), which the company says is "BSD-like".

While the DLR has not exactly been open so far, the official policy emerged following an internal debate over what code Microsoft can accept.

Last week, Jimmy Schementi, DLR program manager, told a TechEd session on Microsoft and open source: "The languages were very confused about should we accept contributions or not... now we have that line defined, everything else is fair game."

He added: "In the future if there's part of the DLR we want to make open source that will probably allow contributions."

Microsoft is keeping the DLR closed because it will go into the next version of the .NET Framework, expected around the same time as Visual Studio 10. Microsoft had committed to release DLR 1.0 by the end of 2008.

Closing off the DLR will potentially prevent unwanted and unaccounted IP from creeping into the code. This could have posed two distinct problems for Microsoft.

The company could have left itself, and customers, open to IP claims from disgruntled code authors.

Also, Microsoft does not want code that's distributed under copyleft licenses, such as GPL, creeping in. This could compromise its ability to redistribute - and thereby monetize - Windows-based products that ship with any tainted DLR code. A copyleft license would compel Microsoft to ship the product source code and contribute changes back to the community. This is not a typical business model for Microsoft.

As it currently stands, IronRuby does not ship in the box with Visual Studio. Instead, users must download the language once they have Visual Studio and require it. "The experience for end users is that IronRuby will be a trivial / transparent download when they use a feature that will optionally require IronRuby," Lam said in an email.®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.