.NET Application Foundation?…….

Stefan Demetz wants Microsoft to create an Apache Foundation like organization for .NET developers. Here are a few observations (and my personal opinion) regarding the .NET community:

  • Personal opinion: Microsoft should be a supporter and active participant in the .NET community. Microsoft should NOT be the community. That said, you obvioiusly can’t please everyone – people complain that Microsoft is too involved but they also complain when they feel Microsoft isn’t engaged enough. We have to work to find the happy medium (I think that will involve a constant feedback/reaction mechanism).
  • Personal observation: The number of developers in the .NET community that want to code for free is much smaller proportionally when compared to those in the OSS world. An Apache Foundation like org for .NET would be neat but you have to have the developers. I know there are successful and useful OSS .NET projects like the nfoo series and DotNetNuke but that doesn’t mean that something like an Apache Foundation like org is going to be a success.
  • Personal opinion: I don’t think we need another Apache Foundation like org. There is nothing that prevents .NET OSS projects from utilizing the Apache Foundation as is. In fact, I’ve seen Apache Foundation members post on the blogs that anyone (including .NET folks) is welcome to propose a project to Apache Foundation. Between the Apache Foundation and the less restrictive SourceForge, I guess I’m of the opinion that the resources are out there but developers have to want to write code for free (that is what I think is missing).
  • Personal observation: The major difference between the .NET community and the OSS community is that .NET developers, in general, are more interested in writing, coding, etc. for money than they are for the love of the technology. I’m not saying that there aren’t folks in the .NET community that code, etc. for the love of the technology – they are the minority, however. On the other hand, I think the developers in the OSS community tend to fall in the “code for love“ bucket more often than not. I’m not saying that this observation is good or bad; it is simply what I see/hear when talking to developers.

What do you all think?

Comments (17)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lazycoder weblog » Live to code vs. coding for a living

  2. Scott says:

    My pingback has HTML encoding issues<grin/>

  3. I completely agree on all points.

    Particularly your last point of money vs. love. It’s definitely a big different with the MS community. I used to do OSS projects in Java, PHP, etc… (in a previous life) and have found that OSS projects in .NET to be negligible. nGallery is great, and I’ve got a few really great team members, and people really use the heck out of it, but I get very little feedback, comments, suggestions, etc… from the community. It’s frustrating at times.

    Anyways, I ramble. Great post, Alex!


  4. Alex Lowe says:

    Oh yeah, I should have mentioned in my post that I LOVE nGallery (http://www.ngallery.org) and that I use it as the gallery software of choice for my kid’s website (what an endorsement =)!

  5. Jeff says:

    I agree about the money thing. I think that MS people have been pointing that out to forum trolls for years now. I don’t want to work for free unless it’s out of love for something. I’m building stuff for clients in part for the challenge, but mostly because living my J-Pizzie lifestyle is expensive.

    "But Jeff, you give away forum software!"

    Yeah, I do. You know why? Because Microsoft put out their own for free and there are a boat load of free apps for other platforms as well. I can’t sell it. I might as well give it away.

    I also agree with Jason regarding feedback. I don’t get much for my forums but yet they’re downloaded thousands of times a month. It’s way cool that a guy wrote an Access data layer for it, but that’s really the extent of the love I’ve had.

    At the end of the day, you have to ask if open source solutions deliver quality solutions in a reasonable amount of time. Looking at how the MS platform has blown so far past PHP, I’d say that having a driving company behind it that must make quarterly earnings reports is much better for making something happen.

  6. In the bag tonight: Less bitch’n and whin’n. Counts:Blogging: 8; Dev: 22; Otherwise: 8; SQL: 5; WILY: 8. Line of the night:

  7. I code for love AND money. I have an OSS .NET project, JPEGHammer, which Omar Shahine (an MS employee) has basically run further with than I ever have had(made) time to imagine.

    I firmly believe in paid hobbies, and if the quality of the .NET platform lets me get much higher value out of an application with the same personal time invested, why not try to recoup that?

    The Java community is not much different: sure, there’s plenty of free Java code, but the majority of OSS projects tend to be play-toy, half-baked ideas written in old-school, unmanaged C and C++. This is not to say that .NET and Java OSS projects aren’t also half-baked, but we’re cooking at a slightly higher temperature ;).

  8. Drifting Soul... says:

    Few observations:

    1. It isn’t written anywhere that free software doesn’t make money. Few free cms software likes of PHPNuke has afforded many a source of income over past few years. Making money is in the art of being able to sell.

    2. Jeff: Microsoft gave away forum software therefore you can’t sell yours? OpenOffice gives away a complete office solution compatible with Microsoft Office. Should Microsoft throw the towel? Here is a list of some .NET forum software that are selling:



    3. Isn’t coding for love of money not showing your passion for coding?

    4. Usually only people who are toying with products and/or in very early prototype state use free software. When you run a business, usually support is the most important thing. So, when I build and give away free software, I am usually lining up my future business. Of the people that really end up becoming a business and my solution has solved their problem, they will enventually seek my consulting. Example: Redhat is/was giving away linux. My company pays for 1000’s of support license for linux to Redhat.


  9. Alex Lowe says:


    I would certainly agree with you that folks can and are making money on free software. However, those folks make up a very small percentage of those making money on software in general. I’m sure that some of this is driven from the fact that OSS is not pervasive in many organizations. I would still say that while it may be working for some, it is not a proven business model – yet.

    No, coding for love of money is exactly what I’m talking about. Coding for love of money is showing your passion for money. Coding is simply a means to an end in that case.

    Your company is paying thousands of dollars in support for Redhat Linux because Redhat did not having success actually selling the software. If they could, they would sell the software and provide support as it is needed. I think this is more of an example where the profit model around OSS is evolving such that companies don’t go out of business.

  10. What exactly is INETA if it is not something like Apache?

    I am asking from a complete source of ignorance.

  11. Stefan Demetz wants Microsoft to create an Apache Foundation like organization for .NET developers . Here are a few observations (and my personal opinion) regarding the .NET community: Personal opinion: Microsoft should be a supporter and active participan