Free software from Microsoft? No way! Wrong! Last night Microsoft launched DreamSpark. From the Channel 8 program homepage:

DreamSpark is simple, it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and design tools at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on your career.

Who can get this right now?

We are kicking this off in 11 countries/regions, giving DreamSpark to millions of students in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. If you are not residing in one of the countries listed keep checking back, we will be adding more countries throughout the year.

I am certainly proud of the program and of the great work Joe Wilson, Bruce Curling and many others on the Academic Team at Microsoft have done. You can imagine this was no easy task. But it is worth every minute and dime it took to make it happen. Yesterday I had the opportunity to interview a candidate for my open evangelist position for HPC. He's a non-Windows, non-Microsoft person and the first thing he said was: "You should make all software available for free to academia. This is how you win the hearts and minds of the next generation." Nice way to start an interview. But he's right and I knew we would announce DreamSpark later in the day.