Microsoft was forced to issue a warning yesterday stating that a time bomb bug in the latest version of its Visual Studio .Net developer tool would cause the product to expire at the end of the month.
Attendees at last month's TechEd developer conference received a notice on Thursday from Microsoft's developer branch, informing users of the Visual Studio .Net beta 2 design environment that it would expire on 31 July.
The toolset is used to build XML-based applications and web services around the foundation of the .Net platform.
The company was quick to point out that it is only the development tool itself that will expire, and not any code or applications already developed by its users.
Currently Microsoft is handing out bug-free versions of Visual Studio .Net under the promise that all developers who sign up for the product will receive a replacement before the month ends.
During a keynote at the developer conference, Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, said the company plans to have the final version of Visual Studio .Net completed by the year's end.
But an announcement expected on Monday could undermine Microsoft's hopes of taking control with its .Net strategy.
Ximian, the company responsible for the Gnome user interface for Linux, is about to announce an open source initiative dubbed "Mono", which is supposedly set in direct opposition to .Net.
Sources familiar with the strategy have pegged Mono as an open source, software as a service, project.
The strategy carries some weight, as Ximian was responsible for the May release of Soup, an XML-based data transfer protocol derived from Soap, the simple object access protocol originally championed by Microsoft.
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