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Microsoft dips toe in shared source

The software giant's business-applications group experiments with code sharing with a group of 600 Solomon partners.

NEWTON, Mass.--Microsoft's business applications division made a foray into code sharing on Tuesday.

The Microsoft Business Solutions-Solomon group said it intends to post the source code to its Portal Lite software under the Microsoft Permissive License on the GotDotNet Web site.

The software lets people access Solomon ERP applications from multiple browsers, including Safari, Firefox and Mozilla. It is the first product that Microsoft Dynamics, the company's business applications brand, has released as part of Microsoft's Shared Source initiative.

Jason Matusow, director of Microsoft's Shared Source program, announced the project at the Open Source Business Conference on Tuesday. He said it was part of the company's ongoing effort to replicate the advantages of the open-source development model.

Portal Lite will appeal to a relatively small audience of about 600 Microsoft business-applications partners, but Matusow expected the software to be popular with that audience.

"For those in community it's interesting. For the broader community, it's probably not that compelling," Matusow said. "But for those 600 partners, it's going to let them communally develop this technology in order to serve the customer base."

Matusow said the core project will continue to be developed and led by a Microsoft employee. He said the company hopes this project will lend insight to how the shared-source model works when releasing code to a limited number of people.

"Microsoft still has plenty of room to grow in this space, a lot of learning to do," he said.