It’s official: Microsoft opens Kinect development libraries to hackers, as long as they use Windows
Well, it seems that Microsoft has finally understood what the age-old saying of 'if you can't beat them, join them' means. Apparently, the software giant has decided that the hacker community could prove to be a valuable resource and has thus released a full SDK for the Kinect motion controller for the aforementioned community to play around with. Interestingly, this sudden turn of events comes exactly three months after the Redmond giant claimed that it had 'intentionally' left the Kinect's interface open for precisely the same reason.
Remember how we spoke about how the average Joe might soon be able to to look forward to the day where just about everything in our come could be operated with the humble Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360? Well, it seems that that day might just be around the corner after all, thanks to a certain act of charity from the likes of the Redmond giant. No, it is not because they are about to start shipping free Kinects to every single hacker who wants to tinker around with the device (though that would be very nice indeed).
Rather, it is the fact that Microsoft appears to have finally recognized that the hacker community could prove to be an extremely valuable asset in helping to promote the Kinect as a versatile device that has the potential to change the way we interact with our daily electronic devices. To that end, the Redmond giant has gone ahead and done the unexpected: the company has just announced in a press release that a complete, non-commercial SDK for the Kinect will be made available as a free download for hackers who wish to get more out of the device.
According to the press release, the non-commercial SDK will contain all the bits and pieces needed to exercise complete control over the Kinect, and is aimed at igniting "further creativity in an already vibrant ecosystem of enthusiasts".
But of course, as is always the case the Microsoft, there will always be a few certain 'conditions' that need to be met in order for users and developers to enjoy the benefits of its charitable act. While Microsoft has not disclosed the terms of the developer license agreement for the non-commercial Kinect SDK, the press release seems to suggest that the SDK is not cross-platform compatible and must be installed on a Windows-powered system.
And we all know what that means, don't we? Yup, it seems like OS X and Linux users will have to resort to reverse-engineering the Windows-only development libraries in order to set up their own development environment for the Kinect. Well, that's only fair: after all, Microsoft has to look out for its own ecosystem, doesn't it?