Windows Live Writer gets open sourced and forked; reborn as Open Live Writer

Windows Live Writer is a blogging tool that Microsoft originally released back in 2006, and it still remains popular today, despite the last major update arriving in 2012, followed by a final, minor update in early 2014.

Its continued popularity led to growing calls for the software to be open sourced, to allow its user community to take over its development. Earlier this year, Microsoft's Scott Hanselman delivered some good news on that front, saying: "We are going to open-source Windows Live Writer." Now, Hanselman has revealed that those plans have become a reality, as he announced on his blog:

Today is the day. An independent group of volunteers within Microsoft has successfully open sourced and forked Windows Live Writer. The fork is called Open Live Writer (also known as OLW) and it is part of the .NET Foundation and managed by this group of volunteers.

Today's release of Open Live Writer is designated version 0.5, and by Hanselman's own admission, you will need to "put up with some bugs" if you're planning to install it in its current form. He recommends that those users who aren't willing to deal with those bugs should stick with Windows Live Writer 2012, which can still be downloaded from Microsoft.

Additionally, Open Live Writer doesn't include everything that was available in its predecessor:

Here's some of the added features, the removed features, the stuff that doesn't work, and our plans for the future:

  • REMOVED: Spell Checking. The implementation was super old and used a 3rd party spell checker we didn't have a license to include an open source release. Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8. Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won't have spell check.
  • REMOVED: The Blog This API. It was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff.
  • REMOVED: The "Albums" feature. It uploaded photos to OneDrive but depended on a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger and we couldn't easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project.
  • ADDING VERY SOON: Google runs the excellent Blogger blog service. We've worked with the Blogger Team within Google on this project, and they've been kind enough to keep an older authentication endpoint running for many months while we work on Open Live Writer. Soon, Google and Blogger will finally shut down this older authentication system. Blogger will use the more modern OAuth 2 and Open Live Writer will be updated to support OAuth 2. Windows Live Writer will never support this new OAuth 2 authentication system, so if you use Blogger, you'll need to use Open Live Writer.
  • BROKEN/KNOWN ISSUES: We are actively working on supporting Plugins. We have an plan in place and we are looking for your feedback on the most popular plugins that you want brought over from the Windows Live Writer ecosystem.

Hanselman also emphasizes that "Open Live Writer is no longer a Microsoft project, so while we will do our best to support you, let's all try to support one another!"

You can view the future roadmap for OLW on GitHub, and be sure to check out the full blog post for more details on today's announcement.

Download: Open Live Writer

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