RealTime IT News

Microsoft Opens Source Code Further

Despite its much-popularized mistrust of the open source model, Microsoft Corp. inched another step in that direction Thursday with an expansion of its Shared Source Initiative, a program which gives access to the Windows source code to certain customers, partners, developers and academics.

Microsoft's latest move makes systems integrators -- like Compaq Global Services or Avande Inc. -- eligible for the program through the Systems Integrator Source Licensing Program (SISLP).

The Redmond software juggernaut characterizes the program as "a balanced approach that makes source code more broadly available while preserving the intellectual property rights that sustain a strong software business."

While a far cry from actually open sourcing Windows code, the SISLP stands to make the jobs of systems integrators that deliver Windows-based solutions and Windows support services much easier. With access to the Windows source code, Microsoft said systems integrators will be able to offer deep security analysis and privacy verification, rapidly troubleshoot customer issues and offer performance tuning for custom applications running on Windows.

"This program gives Compaq Global Services the ability to expand significantly the depth of expertise we bring to our clients," said Rick Fricchione, vice president, Enterprise Ready Microsoft, Compaq Global Services. "We will be able to provide quicker time to resolution for our support and systems integration services, as well as improve our capabilities globally to offer a better experience and satisfaction for implementing Windows-based technology mission-critical solutions."

Ashish Kumar, chief technology officer of Avande, a systems integrator that specializes in delivering Microsoft enterprise solutions to Global 2,000 customers, added, "With this increased access, our Windows-based solutions will be stronger and more secure, and our ability to integrate those solutions into existing systems means we can most readily provide customers with a truly connected, cohesive computing environment."

Microsoft said it will initially make the SISLP available to about 150 systems integrators in more than 30 countries at no additional fee. Gold Support Services Certified Partners, or systems integrators with more than 1,500 seats of Windows with a Microsoft Premier Support Agreement (level A or B) are eligible for the program. Microsoft said it expects participants will eventually include a mix of traditional systems integrators that deliver Windows-based solutions and companies that are providing ongoing Windows support services.

"Empowering systems integrators with better knowledge of, and access to, Windows source code will enable them to deliver higher-valued services to our customers," said Craig Mundie, senior vice president, chief technical offer of advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft. "By sharing our source code responsibly with our partners, we are committing our most valuable intellectual property to the belief that a vibrant and integrated software ecosystem is critical to the future of our global economy and IT performance."