OS architecture geeks and hackers will find this latest move by industry veteran QNX Software Systems remarkable. Yesterday they published the source code to the company's crown jewels, the Neutrino Microkernel. More than simply publishing the source code, however, they are opening up the development process as well, allowing the QNX community to participate in the process. Not open source, their hybrid development process is an intriguing take on source code licensing which offers three different licenses depending on each development need — a partner license, a commercial license, and a non-commercial license. As a user of the source code, you have the option to either contribute your code back to the community, or keep it proprietary as well.
For more information, OS News has published an interview with CEO Dan Dodge, and there's a fairly active thread on Slashdot as well. Some critics have complained that the model is a much more akin to Microsoft's community development process than "open source". However, Microsoft has not yet published the source code the Windows kernel. For companies that rely on the QNX platform to run their mission critical systems, this is a very big deal.
In addition to publishing the kernel source, QNX also made their award winning development suite, QNX Momentics, available for download. Free.
It's a good day to be a real time OS developer.