Ben Lower of Microsoft's Kinect for Windows (K4W) team reports that the company is releasing samples of the code under an Apache 2.0 open source license.
According to the new blog, there are four reasons as to why Microsoft is taking this route, one of which is to receive community feedback so that the team can better understand what needs to be improved. This will be done via CodePlex's built-in feedback and discussion tools.
"We’re releasing all the samples so that you can take the code and reuse, remix, etc.," he said. "Also, we’re using a Git repository so it’s easy clone & fork if you want."
So far Microsoft has uploaded 22 unique samples in C#, C++, and Visual Basic including code for face tracking, the skeletal viewer and slideshow gestures. Codeplex will allow Microsoft to update these samples more quickly compared to the Developer Toolkit releases.
"CodePlex also has a 'Subscribe' feature that enables you to follow the project and get notified when something changes, a bug gets fixed, someone says something smart in the discussions, etc.," he added.
Microsoft will continue to release sample applications as part of the K4W Developer Toolkit (opens in new tab). However, that’s a large download and install that can be cumbersome for those who want to quickly view or access code on the web, Lower said.
After stating that it would never offer support for K4W, Microsoft launched a non-commercial SDK for the Windows platform in June 2011. Then in May 2012 the company actually released a version of the device for the PC platform, a motion sensor that's fine-tuned for a desktop environment. Even more, it can be used to navigate through Windows 8 when a touch-based screen isn't available.
In addition to releasing the Kinect code, Microsoft has also launched a new blog dedicated to the open-source Kinect project. It will focus on going behind the scenes with the K4W engineering team, and go deeper into the technology and APIs. The team will also share tips and tricks, and provide other tidbits of information relevant to those building K4W applications.
"We have ideas in mind for future posts but would love to hear from you to understand what topics would be most useful to you," Lower said.