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Microsoft gives F# an Apache 2.0 boost with code drop

Visual Studio programming language now (slightly more) freed up

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Microsoft’s shy and retiring approach to its respected F# language has disappointed some developers, but yesterday it got a gentle bump in the right direction with the company announcing a code drop under the Apache 2.0 licence.

The software vendor slotted its new F# language into Visual Studio 2010 in March this year.

Now the language’s top dog designer Don Syme has released F# compiler source software as a code drop under the free Apache 2.0 licence.

“We have a clear vision for F#, indeed a ground-breaking one, and are investing in it,” said Syme in a blog post.

“To augment this, we are glad to be able to provide a compiler/library source drop, and are excited about the role this can play for education and tool development.”

He said the source code was published as part of the language’s PowerPack codeplex project, which is also under the Apache 2.0 licence.

“The F# PowerPack now includes libraries, tools and the compiler/library source code drops,” Syme said.

Originally, Microsoft’s F# source code was available with several versions of the compiler under the company’s MS Research Shared Source Licence Agreement. In effect, coders could only create non-commercial derivative works using that licence.

With the source code drop under Apache 2.0, the software can now be used for commercial work. That said, the code itself remains limited, as programmers cannot access the main trunk, thereby preventing them from fiddling with the guts of the software.

“As this release is a code drop, it does not contain binaries. This means you still get F# from fsharp.net, so the place to “get” F# doesn’t change with this release,” said Syme.

Programmers can tickle the code's armpits, if not its underbelly, here. ®

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