Microsoft's Teamprise acquisition means nothing for open development

Microsoft's purchase of Teamprise add-on does not bring cross-platform development to Visual Studio, MVP says.

Despite a misleading press release, Microsoft's purchase of the Teamprise toolset means almost nothing for Visual Studio and doesn't make Visual Studio a tool for cross-platform support. Microsoft is taking over the previous add-on product Teamprise which works with Team Foundation Server.

TFS is a server-based source control/tracking product. It is a product under the "Visual Studio" family umbrella, but is not Visual Studio. Teamprise is an add-on product that enables users to access TFS from any machine that runs a Java Runtime Environment. It also has a plug-in that lets it run on the Eclipse IDE.

I had a moment of excitement when I read announcement which carried a headline, "Microsoft Acquires Teamprise Assets, Provides Cross-Platform Support for Visual Studio."

A quick skim of the rest of the release, (in which Microsoft said things like " ... we’re taking a step forward on this journey, providing customers with a viable cross-platform development solution that will help produce business results more quickly.”) and I said, wow! I sent out an excited tweet that said Microsoft was making Visual Studio a cross platform development tool. But I was duped.

Didn't last long. I was quickly set straight by a fellow blogger and Twitter friend, Joel "Jaykul" Bennett, a Microsoft PowerShell MVP who blogs at http://HuddledMasses.org. (follow him @Jaykul).

Here's the convesation:

Me: The press release definitely sounded like Microsoft was trying to say that Visual Studio would be a go-to product to build applications that will run on multiple operating systems. But that's misleading?

Jaykul: What they're really doing is buying Teamprise, and promising to continue shipping and supporting their tools. Namely, the cross-platform Team Foundation Server clients.  They have an Eclipse plugin, a standalone version of that plugin, and command-line tools.

The announcement actually says that they "enable developers using the Eclipse IDE or operating on multiple operating systems, including Unix, Linux and Mac OS X, to build applications with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server." The important part of that is Team Foundation Server. This has NOTHING to do with Visual Studio.

TFS is a sever product. In a sense, it's like Exchange or SQL Server or SharePoint: it runs on Windows, but you can access it from any platform that has a compatible client. It's fundamentally **NOT** tied to Visual Studio, except that at certain SKUs, your Visual Studio + MSDN subscription includes a license to run a copy of Team Foundation Server for a few developers.

Me: Seems like Microsoft wants us to believe that this will make it easier to integrate .Net with Java ... is that so?

Jaykul: Not at all. Neither Teamprise nor TFS has nothing to do with .Net, and nothing of Microsoft's will be any more cross-platform than ever before. They're simply going to take over development and support of the Teamprise client tools. You won't be able to do anything with Visual Studio that you couldn't before. They're not supporting Mono, or any sort of development on Linux ... except in the sense that Linux or Mac developers (whether they work in Java, Mono, or C/C++) will now have a Microsoft-supported *client* if they choose to use Microsoft's TFS instead of Git, CVS, SVN, etc.

Of course, TFS is more than just source control, but it still only runs on Windows Server, it's just that now the cross-platform clients are officially Microsoft supported.

(Me, as an aside: Novell isstill tasked with Mono ... Novell just released a Mono-based plug-in for Visual Studio, for that rare breed of programmer that uses Visual Studio on a Windows machine to design Linux, Mac or Unix apps.)

Me: Last week, Microsoft announced support for the Eclipse IDE on Windows 7, at least as far as letting Eclipse developers write code for Windows, Azure and Silverlight. Any thoughts on that?

Jaykul: Well, I assume you're referring to the Soyatec stuff? That was mostly a rehash of stuff they originally announced a long time ago. For instance, eclipse4SL was announced way back in April and they've been saying from the start that "unlike Google Apps," you would be able to code on the Azure cloud platform using PHP, Java, or .Net -- so it makes sense they would go to Soyatec (who obviously has experience working with the Eclipse platform) to get tooling for those.

I'm really only slightly impressed that Microsoft has embraced PHP on Windows (although to some extent, it's a no-brainer move, since *so

much* of the web is running on PHP-based platforms like nuke, WordPress, Joomla, etc).

Ultimately, all of these announcements are about allowing developers on Linux and Mac to use WINDOWS SERVERS -- clearly Microsoft feels they've won the desktop war (you'll note there's no move here to further support for Mono or to port WPF to Linux or Mac, or even to support Silverlight on Linux -- they're leaving that to lag further and further behind), and is now moving to challenge the use of "light" Linux to serve up web apps, server clouds, and teamwork/collaboration/and source-control servers.

Me: Would anyone besides die hard VB/VS programmers be interested in this news from Microsoft?

Jaykul: The people interested in this are the (very few?) Linux developers who are in shops where the majority of the infrastructure is Microsoft products who want to use a single teamwork/collaboration/source control server to support both groups.  With this move, TFS is now better integrated into Eclipse and Visual Studio than any other source control client (because most of them aren't well integrated to Visual Studio).

Thanks, Jaykul!

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