DreamSpark is an awesome new program for students that Microsoft announced today. I wish they offered something like this while I was still a student. Heck, this might even be enough to sway some folks into going back to school for a semester or two! Here’s the description from Channel 8:
For once, something that sounds too good to be true really is this good and really is true. Starting today (or soon in some areas), students worldwide will be able to download our professional development and design tools for free! It’s called DreamSpark and it is upon us.
Nathan Weinberg sums it up nicely:
We’re talking over $2,000 in free software, just for being a college student. We’re talking a huge gift to students, letting classes teach this stuff without software costs, lettings students develop software without these costs, and letting any student pick up some stuff to play around with without a monetary commitment.
It’s important to stress that these are the professional versions of the software. You get Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition and Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, for instance. You could quite conceivably start a company while in school using Microsoft technologies and not pay a cent.
Pretty darn cool!
The program is currently available in eleven countries: Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. I suspect the only reason China is on that list is because so many people there get pirated versions anyway.
Microsoft has always been really proactive about courting students. Other programs include Academic Alliance, Microsoft Student Partners, and the Imagine Cup.
Read: Channel 8 (includes a video introduction with Bill Gates)
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If you’re not a student, you can also get a free version of SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition by attending the Heroes Happen Here launch events in the US.
Microsoft 2008 Joint Launch Team