Microsoft launches first "Shared Platforms" program

Microsoft today launched a further expansion of its Shared Source initiative: a "Shared Platforms" initiative which allows, for the first time, the "non-commercial" sharing of Windows CE .NET "platforms" and "runtimes." Previously, only CE .NET sources could be shared. The earlier sharing program, via the Shared Source License for Microsoft Windows CE .NET, does not permit the sharing of binary (executable) image files. In contrast, the new Shared Platforms program allows complete, executable modified OS images to be shared.

The new program was actually unveiled by Bill Gates last month as part of his WinHEC keynote; but at that time it was upstaged by the much heralded announcement of $3 pricing for Windows CE .NET "core" licensing.

We spoke with a member of Microsoft's embedded group to clarify a few key terms used in the description of the company's new Shared Platforms initiative.

"Platform" (also referred to as "device platform"), our source explained, refers to "the collection of files that are combined to create the binary runtime image," while "runtime" (also referred to as "device runtime") is "the binary file that is deployed on the device" (i.e., the OS image).

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