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Yesterday during Microsoft's Build Conference, the Redmond-based company took to the stage to announce that it is releasing its Roslyn .Net compiler platform to an open source development model. The project is now public on Codeplex, and can be forked, modified, or improved upon by anyone.
I know that most of you are asking "What is Roslyn," and that is a very good question for those who are not savvy on the development world. Roslyn is a set of APIs Microsoft created to help developers better interface .NET with their apps, websites, and other coding adventures. It is comprised of c#, VB.Net, and other compilers that are written in the languages themselves. This makes them available to traditional command-line interfaces.
Companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google have the task of operating and maintaining some of the biggest websites on the internet, and due to not only the amount of content they host, but the massive number of user accounts they must keep up and online at all times requires a massive database. These three companies have teamed up to create the perfect database designed to scale to massive proportions.
Facebook along host one of the largest MySQL database deployments ever built and as the service continues to grow, a vanilla distribution of Oracle's MySQL was just not cutting it, so Facebook teamed up with Google, LinkedIn and Twitter to develop a MySQL alternative, WebScaleSQL, that was both scalable and robust enough to keep the social networking empires running for the foreseeable future. WsSQL is built with collaboration in mind and speed in mind, and allows database engineers from different companies to work together to create the best database possible.
Microsoft has the most popular operating system in the world, granted a lot of people hate it. If you look back at the history of the computer world, Microsoft has been around almost as long as the PC has been around. Before Windows, Microsoft had MS-DOS.
If you were around in the early days of computing, you might have even spent time using that OS. Microsoft has announced that it has put the source code for MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0 online for the first time. The source code is being offered in cooperation with the Computer History Museum in an effort "to help future generations of technologists better understand the roots of personal computing."
Along with the source code for MS-DOS, Microsoft is also putting the code for Word for Windows 1.1a online. That was one of the first word processing programs that Microsoft offered. Microsoft announced that the code was going on line via a blog post written by Roy Levin.
During Game Developer's Conference, Microsoft was showing off DirectX 12. One of the notable features is the low-level access which will help to efficiently utilize the processing power of the end-user's CPU.
What's now being revealed is that certain features of the upcoming graphics API will require the new generation of video cards. Previously it was mentioned in NVIDIA's press release that slightly older and current generation video cards will work with DX 12.
GDC 2014 - Microsoft has announced DirectX 12 with some of its closest partners, NVIDIA, AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, showing off the new DirectX gaming API at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today.
DirectX 12 will deliver some major improvements for developers to all of Microsoft's platforms: Xbox One, Windows Mobile, and of course, PC. The new gaming API will enhance graphics efficiency for modern games as it allows developers to spread tasks across multi-core CPUs, all the while reducing CPU bottlenecks that usually reduce performance, even sucking performance away from what a powerful GPU would usually deliver.
We will see "closer to the metal" access to developers, something that AMD's Mantle technology does, and to showcase this, the Redmond-based software giant teamed up with Forza Motorsport 5 developer Turn 10 Studios to show off a version of the game running on DirectX 12. The demo used a PC powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Black, running at 1080p and a silky smooth locked 60FPS.
Until now, developing with Unreal Engine was an expensive affair, easily costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for some developers. Well, Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 4 is taking a very different approach.
The maker of Unreal has introduced a new model that costs just $19 per month, and a 5% cut of any gross revenue made from a commercial product. What this means for most, is that anyone can get into working with Unreal Engine 4 because of the low costs, but if you make money with your game, you'll owe Epic Games a 5% cut of it.
Tim Sweeney, Epic Games' founder, when showing off a demo called Tappy Chicken, said: "It's not a shooter engine anymore, it's for whatever you want to build."
One of the cool things about Mac computers for people that can't go without a Windows PC is that the Mac can run Windows as well. This is thanks to compatible hardware and a bit of software called Boot Camp. That software lets you dual boot into OS X or Windows.
In the past Boot Camp has supported older versions of Windows including XP and Windows 7. Users of the new Mac Pro that launched late last year have been stripped of the ability to use Windows 7. The Mac Pro now only supports Windows 8 and higher.
That is irritating if you have your eyes on a new Mac Pro and needed Windows on it. You will need to buy a new version of Windows rather than using the older version you might have lying around the house or office.
Apparently, the older versions of Boot Camp still support older versions of Windows. However, the move to supporting only Windows 8 in the new Mac Pro is a clear indication that you will need Windows 8 on new Mac computers unveiled from now on.
A little over 10 years ago, Microsoft released its revolutionary note-taking program, OneNote, and today the service is hitting a new mile stone. Today Microsoft announced that it has released the Mac version of OneNote and is offering it to all Mac users for free. OneNote for Mac features the same interface and functionality as its Windows counterpart, but the programs UI design is just a little different to better align with other Microsoft programs featured on Mac.
Microsoft has also released the Windows, Web, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone versions of the application for free as well in hopes of becoming the number one note taking app in the world. There will be a premium version that offers integration with SharePoint and Outlook though, but all of the software's core features are free. Additionally, Microsoft has released a new cloud API that will enable developers to integrate OneNote into their apps easily.
Microsoft has been offering its online version of Office called Office 365 for a while. Microsoft first envisioned this as a way to get people to pay for constantly updated productivity programs rather than buying a copy of Office once and never upgrading.
Microsoft announced this week that it was cutting the price of Office 365 for individual users. That subscription is called Office 365 Personal. Currently Microsoft Office 365 Premium for households sells for $9.99 monthly and lets users access the service on up to five computers.
Some people don't have that many computers or that money people needing access. Office 365 Personal will cost a bit less at $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually for one user. Office 365 Home Premium is getting a name change to Office 365 Home.
Valve has just released the source to ToGL, which is its translation layer to support a subset of the Direct3D 9 API on OpenGL systems. ToGL works with Valve's own Source engine, so this could be an interesting thing going into 2014.
ToGL doesn't support the full Direct3D 9c API, but instead an undefined "limited subset" that is focused on specific requirements of Source. ToGL can also support shader programs from Direct3D's HLSL bytecode to OpenGL's GLSL. As it stands, Valve's ToGL isn't useful to most, with its reference files not included in the package.
What ToGL will be useful for, is when developers want to migrate Direct3D engines to run on the open-source OpenGL API. This could be interesting as we move into the year, with SteamOS being based on Linux, so an open-source API like OpenGL and a translator could shift quite a few games under Direct3D over to OpenGL.