Microsoft Giving Away Developer Software to Students

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Stu Hicks, one of OhioLINK's systems engineers, told the OhioLINK staff last night about a new program at Microsoft called DreamSpark. Through this program, post-secondary students around the world who are attending accredited schools or universities can download some of Microsoft's big developer and designer tools free of charge. At the time and place this post is being written, the list of software is:

  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Developers Edition
  • Expression Studio
  • XNA Game Studio
  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
  • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual J# 2005 Express Edition
  • Virtual PC 2007

Eligibility is determined by either a Shibboleth or a Windows CardSpace identity provider on the student's campus. One must link a Windows Live ID account with that campus identity provider and renew that eligibility about once every 12 months. They are using Shibboleth for what it was designed for; it is actually nice to see Microsoft recognize that only a true/false response from the campus is required to determine eligibility and that no personally-identifying attributes are passed from the campus to the Microsoft server to make this happen. There are FAQs for students and for higher education administrators.

The blog post announcing the program has an video interview with Bill Gates, but unfortunately one needs Microsoft's Flash alternative called Silverlight to watch it.