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Microsoft Open Sources F#

by Abel Avram on Nov 05, 2010 |

Don Syme has announced the release of the F# compiler source code as a code drop under Apache 2.0

Don Syme, a Principal Researcher for Microsoft and currently involved in designing and implementing F#, has announced the release of the F# compiler and core library source code under the Apache 2.0 license. The code comes as a code drop included with other tools and libraries contained by the F# Power Pack and hosted on CodePlex.

The source code of the compiler was already available with previous F# releases but under Microsoft Research Shared Source License Agreement, allowing users to create derivative works but only for non-commercial purposes. The important change is that the source code is now under Apache 2.0, allowing commercial use of the software. But since it is a code drop, the users won’t have access to the main trunk, so they cannot enhance it, fix it, determine its future. Microsoft will continue to exercise full control over their releases.

Syme mentioned they will make available future F# code drops along with Visual Studio releases:

After some discussion, we’ve decided to do this via a “code drop” model, where we make available versions of the compiler+library code logically matching each release of the F# language itself. In the F# team, releases of F# are matched to coincide with releases of Visual Studio itself …

We expect to make matching code drops if/when service pack(s) of Visual Studio 2010 are released, though sometimes it may take a while for us to get that out the door.

One possible scenario of using the F# source code is to port it to the JVM. Another development to watch is to see where the Mono team is going to take it. Miguel de Icaza showed his interest in seeing F# open sourced under MS-PL.

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Its too late Microsoft... by nav g

I think the decision of open sourcing the language and the tools should have been done 15 years back. Its too late now I feel. Anyways Good luck for the new initative.


Naveen Gayar
Secunderabad

Interesting, but ultimately sad by Nicholas Cloud

The "code drop" model has the style, but not substance, of open source software. It should really be called "read-only source software".

Port to JVM may have to wait till JVM supports Tail Calls by Faisal Waris

JVM's lack of support for tail-call optimization will be a hinderance.

This is already an issue with Scala where it pervents certain types of compositional scenarios. The Scala compiler converts tail calls to loops but that does not work for all types of scenarios.

Re: Its too late Microsoft... by Dan Tines

I think the decision of open sourcing the language and the tools should have been done 15 years back. Its too late now I feel. Anyways Good luck for the new initative.


Naveen Gayar
Secunderabad


Yeah....actually I feel that F# should have been open sourced 25 years ago...</rollseyes>

Re: Its too late Microsoft... by Luis Espinal

I think the decision of open sourcing the language and the tools should have been done 15 years back. Its too late now I feel. Anyways Good luck for the new initative.


Naveen Gayar
Secunderabad


Yeah....actually I feel that F# should have been open sourced 25 years ago...</rollseyes>


Time machines are all the rage :)

Re: Interesting, but ultimately sad by Zhao Jeffrey

The "code drop" model has the style, but not substance, of open source software. It should really be called "read-only source software".


Well, it uses Apache 2.0 so you can fork the code and rewrite in your own way - it's not "read-only".

Re: Interesting, but ultimately sad by Nicholas Cloud

True, but forking has some significant disadvantages.

"Forks are considered an expression of the freedom made available by free and open source software software, but a weakness since they duplicate development efforts and can confuse users over which forked package to use. Developers have the option to collaborate and pool resources with free and open source software software, but it is not ensured by free software licenses, only by a commitment to cooperation. Eric Raymond, in his seminal essay 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar', stated in 1997 that 'The most important characteristic of a fork is that it spawns competing projects that cannot later exchange code, splitting the potential developer community.'"

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fork_(software_development)

Re: Interesting, but ultimately sad by gaurav saxena

I think this is a good initiative as we all talk about software code available free as air. This will help in learning how they have implemented the functional aspect in .net. Which will provide as a guideline to others.
I like the way which microsoft is heading.

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