Microsoft announced that they are going to share more of the source code of Windows CE, in order to allow others to make changes in the source, compile the code for use in commercial products, and not having to share their changes with Microsoft or anybody else.
"The option to ship derivatives of Windows CE will give device makers another opportunity to innovate, thus we will see a further expansion of the types of devices that are powered by Windows CE," Starkweather said.
The expanded source licensing for Windows CE will come with Windows CE 5.0, scheduled to be released to manufacturing on 9 July. General availability should follow shortly thereafter.
More than 2.5m lines of code will be available for Windows CE 5.0, including the kernel, user interface, hardware drivers and entworking stack. Microsoft will also make about 2m lines of code available from Windows CE 4.2, which users were allowed to use only for reference and debugging purposes.
The expanded source code licensing with Windows CE 5.0 comes in addition to the Windows CE Shared Source Premium program that Microsoft launched last year. Under that program, licensees can get almost all of the CE source code and make modifications to it, but they are required to share their changes with Microsoft, Starkweather said.
Additionally, the Shared Source Premium program was limited to a small group of chip makers and device makers in a limited number of countries. With Windows CE 5.0, any licensee in any country will be able to access the source code, Starkweather said.
The Windows CE Shared Source Premium program will continue, and Microsoft may expand it to include some additional companies, Starkweather said.