Although the first Microsoft open-source project started about more than 10 years ago, many people (open source developers) still see Microsoft as a “closed” source corporation. What most of them don’t know that “Microsoft has changed,” it became much more open to other communities, developers, and projects. It already took significant and considerable steps to prove its commitment to open source.

In this post series, I’ll demonstrate how Microsoft took the best ways to be more open, through building and delivering free open source projects, providing support and pushing forward open source communities as well as developers. And finally adopting other third-party open-source products and integrating and providing support through its platform.

Microsoft open source projects

Building its own open-source projects, was really a significant milestone to Microsoft. Some of those projects are old; some of them were just recently released. Some started as separate projects then were transferred after its success to the .NET framework. What they all have in common is that all are already proven, wildly adopted, and used by developers, communities as well as enterprises.

The following is a brief list of open source projects that Microsoft has released. I come across some of those that I remember:

Silverlight Analysis Framework

Extensible Web Analytics Framework for Microsoft Silverlight Applications (released at MIX10, See a video of the framework presentation), and it was directly adopted by and integrated with Google analytics.


Introduced at MIX10, the Open Data Protocol is an open protocol for sharing data that enables a new level of data integration and interoperability across a broad range of clients, servers, services, and tools.


Microsoft Managed Extensibility framework, started a separate open-source project about two years ago by Microsoft to provide extensibility for applications (add-in/plug-in framework). Now, it’s a key part of the .NET 4.0 framework and is currently used by Visual Studio 2010 for plug-ins.


It’s a free and fully supported framework for building web applications that use the model-view-controller pattern. It also started as a separate open-source project by Microsoft, was lead by Phill Haacked, and version 2 now is built -in the .NET 4.0 framework.

The .NET Micro Framework

The .NET Micro Framework is .NET for small and resource-constrained devices, was first released as an open-source project at PDC09, and is currently used in more than 1.5 million devices, for more details watch this session.

Microsoft Enterprise Library

This is a set of tools and programming libraries for the Microsoft .NET Framework. Since 2005 It provides an API to facilitate best practices in core areas of programming, including data access, security, logging, exception handling, and others. It’s one of the favorite libraries for professionals.

Well, the list is much more longer. For other open-source projects by Microsoft, click here.

Later in the post that follows, I’ll go through more steps, details, and showcases where open source was all about what Microsoft aims to go.