I have spoken about Microsoft Research projects in the past. These research projects are some very interesting work that MS is doing internally and making available externally as alpha or beta distributions. Not at all like Open Source, but still allowing accessibility to a wider audience.
Now word has come out about a new "portal" to allow access to those research projects that are of interest to developers. This new portal is called the Microsoft MSDN DevLabs and can be found here:
And more information about the rationale behind this portal can be found here:
As of this writing, there are only four projects listed on the portal. I am not quite sure how they draw the line between what research project is of interest to developers and what is not. For example, why is SmallBasic on DevLabs and not F# which I personally feel should have more interest to our community? Perhaps it may be related to how close to being released a particular project may be.
Having said that, the Microsoft MSDN DevLabs Portal is something you should checkout now and keep on your radar for the future.