Microsoft will take its first step toward a true open source-like OS when it releases Windows CE 5.0 to the public July 9. However, it will not end the licensing program for the mobile OS, there will still be a $3 license fee for every device using Windows CE code. Microsoft has been expanding the scope of its Shared Source Initiative (SSI) for the past few years in response to criticism that it was too closed when it came to allowing third-party developers to create applications based on the Windows OS.
This year, the company has been championing a more transparent environment to allow those third-party developers, saying there is a great deal to learn from community involvement, which is something they learned from watching the open source movement, mainly its OS competition — Linux.
John Starkweather, a product manager in Microsoft’s mobile and embedded devices group, said opening up Windows CE to everyone to create applications for embedded devices is Microsoft’s first foray in letting the world create applications, tinker with the code and release a product without reporting back to the company. “If I’m an OEM and my staunchest competitor is the competitor across the pond, I don’t want my competitor to know what the secret sauce is in the product,” said Starkweather. “That’s mine and I’m going to keep that.” Continue >>