Microsoft Offers Up .NET Framework to Open Source
by Chris Stone
Historic changes in society sometimes begin with a concession. Last week, Microsoft announced it will make available as open source code its server-side .NET stack and core runtime frameworks. Like the fall of the Berlin Wall, we will look back on this as a moment to remember. At Acquia, our mission is to make the enterprise more resilient and reliable through open source software. We’re pleased to see the old closed world opening and will work with our customers to extend their .NET services to all platforms. Thanks to Satya and Scott at Microsoft for realizing this and making it a reality. I backed the MONO project for years, an open source project based on the .NET framework. Congratulations to Miguel de Icaza for sticking with it.
Microsoft now becomes a formidable new competitor on the client-side with its announcement that it will make .NET available for Linux and Mac OS development. On the server side, where integration of diverse technologies is inevitable, the availability of open .NET is a progressive, if belated, move that I welcome. It ends a 25-year struggle between the forces of proprietary systems against the open source community.
The announcement also introduces a raft of opportunity and challenges that Acquia is prepared to address with our open source Drupal stack and Acquia services that can extend the Microsoft infrastructure at our clients’ data centers to create dynamic personalized experiences on the web and for mobile clients. Every expansion of competition on the client will increase the complexity of back-end systems, making more powerful experiences available to the consumer across all their devices.
Acquia Drupal is a robust back-end foundation for web services that can already co-exist with .NET. Now that we and other developers will be able to get into and work with the source in .NET, we expect, if Microsoft delivers on its promises, to be able to improve the repurposing of massive enterprise systems that have lived behind a well-guarded wall. As we demonstrated last week with our partner, the Government of Australia, a broad range of transactional, information and human services can be transformed with Acquia Drupal and Acquia Cloud.
“A platform for a country” is an awesome responsibility. At Acquia, we’re already delivering on that promise. Microsoft has long focused on putting a PC on every desk and in every home, though it came with a proprietary tax that prevented as much innovation as it facilitated in many cases. Now that the Wall is down and the free citizenry can rush into the breach in the tightly controlled environment of Windows and .NET, we’ll be diligent in holding our friends at Microsoft to their word. All that while we continue to push the boundaries of open source.