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Microsoft sparks creativity with DreamSpark student developer program

In mid-February, Microsoft announced it was launching a free giveaway program to college and university students around the world. Called DreamSpark, the program requires students and administrators to verify their enrollment at any accredited college or university (which institutions may do by creating a database connector using Microsoft CardSpace or the Open Source Shibboleth identity services).

By signing up for a Windows Live ID, then verifying student (or administrator) status, qualified individuals become eligible to download any or all of the following items:

Microsoft Developer Tools

  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0, plus 12 months free membership in the XNA Creators Club Online

Microsoft Languages

  • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition

Microsoft Designer Tools (Expression Studio)

  • Expression Web
  • Expression Blend
  • Expression Design
  • Expression Media

Microsoft Platform Resources

  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
  • Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

Folks, that’s a lot of software: well over $10,000 worth at current full retail prices. In fact, DreamSpark may have the unintended but happy consequence of sending lots of budding MS developers back to the college or university of their choice (if only as part-time students) just to qualify for access to this treasure trove of free software.

For more information, please check out the Microsoft DreamSpark home page. You’ll also find Miel Van Opstal’s February 18, 2008 blog “DreamSpark:Free Toys For Students” a useful source of additional information on and insight into this program.

Author Bio
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail etittel@techtarget.com with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!

This was first published in March 2008

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