Microsoft probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of open source software. But in recent years the company has become a major player in the space. The Windows Subsystem for Linux lets you run some Linux software in Windows 10. Microsoft has released the source code for some old products including MS-DOS and Word for Windows. And Microsoft bought GitHub last year.

So what’s next?

Windows Calculator, apparently.

Microsoft has open sourced its calculator app. It’s available on GitHub under an MIT License.

While a calculator app might not be that exciting, the way Microsoft is turning a core product into an open source project is rather surprising.

The company isn’t just releasing the source code for obsolete software this time around. Windows Calculator is under active development, and anyone can now contribute to future development of the program.

In addition to the source code, Microsoft is making the build system, unit tests, and product roadmap available.

Among other things, this allows users to report or even repair bugs, suggest new features, and learn how Microsoft uses some of its own technologies in its own apps.

Of course one of the first things folks started to do is investigate the data Microsoft collects from users.

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8 replies on “Microsoft’s latest open source product is… Windows Calculator”

  1. It’s both Open Source and also under a generous MIT license. I think it’s the license on an actively developed program that causes me to raise an eyebrow here. When they originally released the early (unmaintained) DOS versions, it was under a more restrictive use case (though they changed it to MIT later on).

    I’m curious what their thinking was regarding this, what the meetings entailed (fly on the wall stuff…). Accepting input and performing calculations are the basics of programming 101 – so, tbh, this sorta’ feels like being tossed a bone…

    Is this a goodwill gesture or a way to help nullify some of the criticisms in regard to user privacy (under the cloak of a closed OS and framework)?

    1. For one, I see MathML support is already on the agenda of features to be added on the GitHub. I think they are planning on extremely souping up the Calculator app to a full-featured powerhouse for the people who need it or would appreciate it.

  2. I am all for open sourcing software, but on the surface of this it doesn’t seem very useful. Pretty much every device these days comes with a calculator already.

    1. Imagine if a full-featured graphing calculator gets put into this. On the upside, if they can make this a full-blown TI-89 killer just from user contributions, I am all for it.

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