Saturday, October 25, 2003

MVPs get source code access.

MVPs get source code access

The word is finally out. This is a fantastic idea - giving some of the folks that support the OS access to the code. There is some good news and bad news of course.

First, there is a very tight NDA in place. Even so, I can only imagine how hard the MVP team at MS must have argued with the lawyers to let individuals, vs companies, to have access to the source. When MS provides source accesss to companies, the normal license calls for an unlimited liability. With individuals, e.g. MVPs, this simply would not work for obvious reasons. It will be interesting to see what happens on this front.

Thus far there have only been a handful of MVPs who have it. Only MVPs who are "up to date and ho are in a few restricted groups will get it. So it's not all of the 2000 or so MVPs who will get it, and it's not a gift for life!

And not all the code is there. Most of the 3rd party drivers are missing, as are some large chunks of the security code, and some stuff that MS feels is IPR-intensive. That makes sense, although it does restrict MVPs from looking at some of the more interesting areas of the source tree! The access license is also pretty restricted. The licenseee can't compile or build anything, you can't use it to create a derivitive product, and you can't talk much about what you actually see.

And did I mention that even though there's stuff missing, the source tree is big. Very, very big. Humooungouse in fact. When I was working on the resource kit team, I had source code access which I put to good use. The source tree is huge, complex and confusing to the new user. You could tell that the source code tree grew, versus having been designed as it currently exists. New (to the team) developers quickly find their way around (as developers tend to do). But for the casual lay user, it is tough to get into it.

As an MVP, I can see that the access could be interesting and fun. I've got enough background to at least look up the DNS stuff (I think). Whether I can really read the code to the level I'd like is a much different story.

This is cool.

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