Microsoft has announced that it is to release the back-end software that powers the multiplayer portion of its Halo franchise under a permissive open-source licence in the near future.

Dubbed Project Orleans, the software is the creation of Microsoft's eXtreme Computing Group and is used to develop and deploy large-scale back-end services on the company's Azure cloud computing platform. These services have been used to drive several of the company's own products, most notably the back-end statistics server for the Halo series of games - which was required to scale to many millions of simultaneous players without skipping a beat.

'Since the release of the Project “Orleans” Public Preview at Build 2014 we have received a lot of positive feedback from the community,' the team behind the software claimed in the announcement, referring to the Project Orlean's presentation at Microsoft's regular developer event earlier this year. 'We took your suggestions and fixed a number of issues that you reported in the Refresh release in September.

'Now we decided to take the next logical step, and do the thing many of you have been asking for – to open-source “Orleans”. The preparation work has already commenced, and we expect to be ready in early 2015. The code will be released by Microsoft Research under an MIT license and published on GitHub. We hope this will enable direct contribution by the community to the project. We thought we would share the decision to open-source “Orleans” ahead of the actual availability of the code, so that you can plan accordingly.
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The MIT Licence is one of the more permissive open source/free software licences around, allowing the recipient to do almost anything with the software so long as the original copyright and licence are included intact.

No firm timescale has been offered for the software's open-source release, beyond 'early 2015.'
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