At the Build 2014 conference today, Microsoft Corp. announced it is creating an independent .NET Foundation to foster open development and collaboration around the growing collection of open source technologies for .NET. It will serve as a forum for commercial and community developers alike to strengthen the future of the .NET ecosystem by promoting openness, community participation and rapid innovation.

Technology leader Xamarin also announced its support (blog/press release) for the .NET Foundation today. Microsoft will encourage further feedback and direct participation of the community so .NET continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of its broad customer base including enterprises, partners, individual developers and open source communities. As a first step, the .NET Foundation welcomes feedback on how best to frame the organization for those building .NET applications across the diverse world of connected devices and services.

The .NET Foundation will start with 24 .NET open source projects under its stewardship. Some of the more noteworthy projects that will be hosted by the .NET Foundation include the newly announced.NET Compiler Platform (“Roslyn”) as well as the ASP.NET family of open source projects, both open sourced by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech). Xamarin will contribute six of its projects including its open source email libraries: MimeKit and MailKit.

Many of the .NET developer technologies are already open source for areas such as Web apps, cloud apps, services and partner cross platform apps. In addition, the .NET Foundation includes new open source offerings that augment the existing .NET open source ecosystem such as the newly announced .NET Compiler Platform (“Roslyn”). These projects will be actively developed and fully supported by MS Open Tech, while their addition to the .NET Foundation will increase the level of transparency and community contributions.

For two years, the community has provided feedback to the ASP.NET Web developer tools including ASP.NET MVC, Web API, Web Pages (aka Razor), and Entity Framework open sourced by Microsoft. Developers outside Microsoft are continually monitoring the code on CodePlex, and providing feedback on code check-ins, bug fixes, and new feature development.

As S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corp. Developer Division said, “The formation of an independent .NET Foundation with the open source community is one more way for us to support the collaborative and inventive spirit we see from developers. We’ve already seen how opening the development process to the community, in ASP.NET for example, has allowed .NET to innovate faster.”

“The .NET Foundation will help accelerate the adoption of .NET across every platform and computing form factor—servers, mobile devices and desktops,” said Miguel de Icaza, cofounder and CTO of Xamarin, and founding member of the .NET Foundation board. “We look forward to working with Microsoft and the entire .NET developer community to increase the rate of innovation.”

“We’re seeing the value and innovation being realized by our customers when the broader development community collaborates on our developer tools,” said Jay Schmelzer, partner director program manager

of .NET for the Microsoft Developer Division. “The .NET Foundation will support the long-term optimization of .NET for enterprise scenarios in an increasingly diverse IT ecosystem.”

“Community engagement through open source foundations has proven to nurture and advance core technologies that the IT industry relies upon,” said Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of open source communities for Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. “Developers everywhere are innovating rapidly with the inherent power and flexibility of .NET, so it will be exciting to see how the future takes shape with the industry’s participation in open development projects at the .NET Foundation.”

.NET represents one of the largest communities of professional developers at over six million strong. .NET enables the rapid development of applications across devices and services, with elegant, simpler code, and the high quality and scalability required by any organization -- from individual developers to large enterprises -- and continues to attract support from the developer community.

Community participants welcomed the news of the .NET Foundation at Build 2014:

“In the past years, open source has gained in importance within Microsoft and I couldn’t be happier to see that happening,” said Laurent Bugnion, senior director, IdentityMine Europe. “My open source project MVVM Light has benefitted a lot from interactions with the Microsoft teams. It is very exciting and encouraging to see this new concerted effort in the .NET Foundation to support and promote open source projects.”

Umbraco Founder Niels Hartvig said, "At Umbraco we're thrilled to see what Microsoft is doing for open source with the .NET Foundation. It's great news for the industry in general and amazing news for anyone involved in .NET open source projects."

"It's great to see Microsoft making open source a first class citizen in the .NET space,” added Morten Christensen from Umbraco. “With the introduction of the .NET Foundation Microsoft is showing that they take open source serious and are supporting the community in ways not seen before."

"Open source in .NET has huge potential. To date, we as a community have produced some amazing software, but there is still so much possibility ahead, particularly if we are able to collaborate and grow together. The .NET Foundation represents this chance; together we can create a community that is both united and driven. Together, let’s make the next generation of .NET innovation an open source one," said Anthony van der Hoorn, co-founder of Glimpse.

"Open source is a huge deal to the health of every developer community - getting developers involved and building things together makes for better products and better developers, and I'm super excited to see Microsoft expanding their support of open source projects," said Paul Betts with GitHub.

"As one of the developers of Caliburn Micro it's exciting to hear about the new improvements Microsoft is bringing with their support of open source projects. Increased access, support and visibility will help in a number of ways to showcase our project to the .NET community. I can't wait to see what's next," said Nigel Sampson, founder of Compiled Experience.