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Rebel code could scupper Microsoft's global plans

发布时间:2019-03-06 12:08:01来源:未知点击:

By Will Knight Linux software maker Ximian has released tools that will help other open source programmers start cloning the infrastructure behind Microsoft’s .NET initiative. The source code for the project, dubbed Mono, has been made available to download for free at the company’s web site from 9 July. Ximian currently develops a desktop interface and applications for Linux, the free computer operating system that is a rival to Microsoft’s Windows platform. Microsoft’s .NET brand covers a set of tools that will be used over the next few years to make software applications that will work on different platforms and to create internet services. The underlying framework will carry out tasks on a computer system in a similar way to a computer’s normal operating system. The system will translate commands between foreign programs and hardware platforms. However, there is no guarantee that Microsoft will design its tools to work well on competing platforms such as Linux. Even if it does, some believe that using .NET may force developers to tie their applications into a range of Microsoft-owned services and products. Miguel De Icaza, chief technology officer of Ximian, says that if Linux programmers work now to create their own set of .NET-compatible tools, this could ensure the system cannot be totally controlled by Microsoft and would open it up to Linux users. Microsoft has released sufficient details of .NET to allow programmers to create their own version that is compatible with the original. “In five years, if everything runs on .Net, you could take every executable and run it on Linux,” he says. “We will be cloning the .NET development platform because it is a great platform to build on.” De Icaza hopes to attract the open source software community to the project. These programmers advocate sharing computer code freely. Mono consists of a number of free tools including a Linux compiler for Microsoft’s C# programming language, an implementation of .NET programming libraries and tools for making code portable to different platforms. Tools from a popular Linux user interface called Gnome will be used in conjunction with Mono to create graphical user interfaces. The project has the backing of some well-known open source experts. “Momentum has been building in the open source community to extend the .NET development framework to new platforms without the strings of Microsoft’s shared source program,” said Bruce Perens, strategic advisor to the Hewlett Packard Linux Systems Operation. “With this announcement by Ximian, we can expect a groundswell of support from open source developers to build a true, no strings attached, cross-platform implementation.” Although Ximian’s ambitious project is designed to steal some of Microsoft’s thunder, some experts are concerned that it could be playing into the software giant’s hands. Dan Kuznetsky, an analyst for IDC, says that Microsoft is used to dealing with this sort of competition. “This could just feed Microsoft’s plans to get its arms around the internet,” he says. “It could even create an entry for Microsoft into open source software.” De Icaza says it is too early to start worrying about Microsoft hijacking their efforts. He says that the project will be able to adapt if this starts to happen. “It is an exciting project, and we can always take it in new directions,