Open Source License For System.Web.Mvc mvc, 0 comments suggest edit

First let me begin by assuring you, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

2871423645_2f690a0c61Exciting news! Scott Guthrie announced today that we have released the source code for ASP.NET MVC 1.0 under the Ms-PL license, an OSI approved Open Source license with all the rights that license entails.

You can download the Ms-PL licensed source package from the download details page here. Just scroll down and look for the file named My baby is growing up!

A big thanks must go out to everyone involved in making this happen and to those who approved it. It’s truly a team effort. When I joined Microsoft, I remember walking into ScottGu’s office to try and plant the seed for releasing ASP.NET MVC under the Ms-PL license. I came in armed with reasons why we should, but found him to be immediately receptive, if not already thinking along those lines. In fact, a lot of people such as Brian Goldfarb, my management chain, our LCA contact, etc… were completely on board, which was unexpected (though maybe it should not have been) and encouraging to me.

However, there’s agreement to do something and the actual doing. It still a lot of people to do the leg-work to make it happen. I personally was kept me very busy in the days leading up to the official RTM release. Let’s just say I feel like I’m one course away from getting a law degree.

I know one of the first questions some of you will ask is will we accept source code contributions (I’ve already seen the question on Twitter :). Unfortunately, at this time the answer is no, we do not accept patches. Please don’t let that stop you from contributing in other ways. The terms of the license do mean we need to stay on our toes to keep putting out compelling releases and we will work hard not to disappoint.

Personally (and this is totally my own opinion), I’d like to reach the point where we could accept patches. There are many hurdles in the way, but if you went back in time several years and told people that Microsoft would release several open source projects (Ajax Control Toolkit, MEF, DLR, IronPython and IronRuby, etc….) you’d have been laughed back to the present. Perhaps if we could travel to the future a few years, we’ll see a completely different landscape from today.

However, it is a complex issue and I don’t want to downplay that, but there are many of us who are looking for novel solutions and trying to push things forward. I really think in the long run, it is good for us and four our customers, otherwise we wouldn’t care.

But coming back to the present, I’m extremely pleased with where we are now and look forward to what will happen in the future. Someone once expressed disappointment that my involvement in open source projects seriously declined after joining Microsoft. It was my hope at the time that by the time it released, it would be clear that technically, I had been working on OSS. :)

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25 responses

  1. Avatar for Jahedur Rahman
    Jahedur Rahman April 1st, 2009

    Great News :)
    Hope to see "Classic ASP.Net" also to be open sourced. Hah :)

  2. Avatar for Ryan Rivest
    Ryan Rivest April 1st, 2009

    Very cool.. Good to see your team being so transparent. Is the 1.0 source going to be published on codeplex with updated MvcFutures bits?

  3. Avatar for Ryan Rivest
    Ryan Rivest April 1st, 2009

    Nevermind above, I just noticed it's already there! ;)

  4. Avatar for Khaja Minhajuddin
    Khaja Minhajuddin April 1st, 2009

    You are "The Man" Phil. What you guys are doing is just awesome.

  5. Avatar for Moim
    Moim April 1st, 2009

    This is great!

  6. Avatar for Shiju Varghese
    Shiju Varghese April 1st, 2009

    This is really a great move from Microsoft.

  7. Avatar for Martin Woodward
    Martin Woodward April 1st, 2009

    Good news Phil, looking forward to the day when the project is accepting patches and doing all it's development on the public facing CodePlex box - but baby steps.. Great to hear the boat is slowly being
    BTW - The license on the CodePlex project is still saying MS Source rather than MS-PL. Might be worth changing that to avoid confusion.
    Thanks for all the hard work from you and the team and congratulations on the release.

  8. Avatar for Nik Radford
    Nik Radford April 1st, 2009

    I'm glad you hadn't posted this yesterday as I wouldn't of believed you :P

  9. Avatar for Piers Lawson
    Piers Lawson April 1st, 2009

    Good news on the open sourcing, for both ASP.Net MVC and Microsoft. Perhaps I can build my RESTful web service extensions into the core MVC more tightly.

  10. Avatar for venjiang
    venjiang April 1st, 2009


  11. Avatar for Jeff Atwood
    Jeff Atwood April 1st, 2009

    Great work, and as usual you guys in devdiv are one of the best examples of Microsoft getting it right.

  12. Avatar for zihotki
    zihotki April 1st, 2009

    Really, Phil, You are The Man! Thanks for all! What about launching a fan club? :)

  13. Avatar for JAMES BOND
    JAMES BOND April 1st, 2009


  14. Avatar for Ernst Naezer
    Ernst Naezer April 1st, 2009

    Hi Phil,
    first of all, congrats, this is great news :)
    Are the test cases also going to be released?

  15. Avatar for haacked
    haacked April 1st, 2009

    @Martin - The CodePlex project is for all incubation projects on ASP.NET, so the license on that is not changing right now.
    To get the Ms-PL source for ASP.NET MVC, you'll have to go to
    The license is in the zip download.

  16. Avatar for RussellH
    RussellH April 1st, 2009

    Great to have the source code. Thank you so much for making this possible.
    You mentioned something about validation and exception handling in MvcFutures in an earlier blog. Do you still plan to blog about that?

  17. Avatar for haacked
    haacked April 1st, 2009

    @RusselH, yeah, I'm working on it. I've been extremely busy lately, but hope to have something up soon. Sorry.

  18. Avatar for Pratik Paranjape
    Pratik Paranjape April 1st, 2009

    Sorry, forgot to congratulate you guys!!!
    Great job, keep pushing.... :) Thanks.

  19. Avatar for cowgaR
    cowgaR April 2nd, 2009

    congratulation...and many thanks, it has been a long road but it has payed off, world is changing or is it just MS? ;p
    now, RoR lovers (and ASP.NET MVC "haters"), one argument less ;)

  20. Avatar for chris patterson
    chris patterson April 2nd, 2009

    awesome news.

  21. Avatar for W. Squire
    W. Squire April 2nd, 2009

    WHY? Why is this good? Look, I know that more people can get access and contribute and all that... but ultimately this means unlimited competition for MS MVC and no direct revenue streams. It also means there will be no hard tie-ins to other MS products that might disclose IP. I see this as a much weaker committment to MVC by MS than if they'd kept it internal. They aren't releasing their Forms technology, are they? Why keep Forms internal and let the whole world have free access to MVC? How would you describe the difference in committment from MS? How would you explain the expected payback for MVC and Forms?

  22. Avatar for @W.Squire
    @W.Squire April 2nd, 2009

    It also means there will be no hard tie-ins to other MS products that might disclose IP.

    Why would this prohibit tie-ins? All it would need is that your tie-ins are separate assemblies with a different license, and they're to be called from within the MVC core. I think that's only a good thing, because I don't WANT to have to deploy all those nice extra features, I'll deploy that extra assembly when I need it ;-)
    Don't forget, MVC has a lot of points where you can hook in your own implementation of the interface. Which means it won't be hard to hook one of your tie-ins to the right spot.
    About the revenue streams... C# or .NET as such isn't making any direct money, is it? Making the .NET platform stronger is the key here, because whichever way you look at it, most .NET projects run on microsoft stacks. Which means revenue. So getting more adoption of the framework is good!

  23. Avatar for David Nelson
    David Nelson April 2nd, 2009

    "How would you explain the expected payback for MVC and Forms?"
    "...most .NET projects run on microsoft stacks"
    This is the key point. The value proposition to Microsoft for the .NET platform has never actually been the platform itself; after all, you have always been able to install the framework for free. The value is in increasing the dependency on Microsoft tools and systems, which are the real revenue generators.
    Making MVC open source increases the chances that some development shops, who might otherwise have passed on it (and gone with non-Microsoft open source technologies instead), will end up adopting it. This means more licenses for Visual Studio and other associated tools, more demand for Windows web servers, more books bought from Microsoft Press, more training from Microsoft and its training partners, etc. Just because you don't have to pay for the technology directly doesn't mean that it doesn't have value to Microsoft, and doesn't mean that they are any less committed to it than they are to any other part of the framework (which is all free).

  24. Avatar for Mortal Creations Web Developme
    Mortal Creations Web Developme April 3rd, 2009

    Wow! I gotta say - Microsoft, specifically the .Net group, has really come around. It looks like you guys finally recognized what your primary focus should be and how to get it out there.
    Thanks guys, you guys are really changing the face of Microsoft and taking it in the right direction.

  25. Avatar for Thomas
    Thomas April 5th, 2009

    Phil, thanks for your engagement and thanks for the great MVC framework. My first thoughts were "hm, do we need that? no, I don't think so". That was a year ago. Now, after more than 6 months working with MVC in daily business since the Beta, I would say that MVC will be the more driven lane on the ASP.NET highway to future ;-).
    But of course, there are some points I was annoyed to, for example the stupid simple ModelState bug I reported when RC1 was the latest release, and which has not been solved with the final release :-( ( A MVP colleague was just joking by saxing I should fix that by myself and contribute it ... I just smiled ;-).
    But I see you're on a very good way. Keep on doing so!
    Best regards from Germany,