Thursday, 04 September 2008 12:55

Microsoft slips free development tools to students

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A program to put Microsoft's developer and design tools into the hands of students has been extended to cover Australian universities and TAFE colleges.

The idea behind the DreamSpark program is to give students access to Microsoft's professional development software at the same price they would pay for open source alternatives - $0.

According to Norbert Haehnel, director of Microsoft Australia's developer and platform group, DreamSpark was designed to provide a helping hand for students as they pursued their career aspirations.

The tools covered by the program are Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 Professional Edition, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition, Expression Studio, and XNA Game Studio.

Although the products are "the complete and full professional grade versions," the DreamSpark licence only covers "non-commercial use to support and advance your learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities."

Students can prove their eligibility for the program through the Meta Access Management System operated by Macquarie University, or by using a current International Student Identity Card.

Participants must re-verify their student status annually.

DreamSpark, launched in February this year,  is available to more than 35 million students in various countries, and expansion of the program could increase that to one billion during the coming year.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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