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Open Source .NET Code? Here is My Cynical Reaction...

Kevin Hoffman's Blog

Before I start my conspiracy-theory induced rant, I want to say this first:

The ability that I will have to debug code within Visual Studio 2008 will be unprecedented. Why? Because now instead of having to use third party tools to dissasemble Microsoft libraries so that I can get a deep stack trace and figure out exactly where something blew up so I can find out what information I passed incorrectly, or what edge case I didn't know about - now that source code will appear automatically within Visual Studio 2008, on-demand, when the error occurs. This is fantastic, and has long been one of my pet peeves of writing code on the .NET Framework.

Now for the rant:

Anybody who thinks that Microsoft is doing this out of the goodness of their heart is delusional. Microsoft may be responsible for some of the coolest development stuff to ever surface on this planet (.NET included, especially some of the new data stuff like Astoria/EDM), but that doesn't mean their motives are pure of heart. They don't have to be. The game is all about making money, and destroying the competition any way possible.

Let's take a look at some interesting facts that might tilt you toward my cynical way of thinking:

Now, if you are a die-hard cynic like myself, you're thinking that this is a brilliant strategic maneuver by Microsoft. At first, Microsoft is going to shut up a lot of whining Open Source people who claim that MS is just a big closed system. At First. If you ask me, the real reason for them releasing this source code is to make it more difficult for the mono project to create replicas of WPF, WinForms, and ASP.NET. With the source code available for all to see, it is far easier for Microsoft lawyers who might potentially engage in law suits in the future to claim that the people working on the Mono project stole their WPF code or their WinForms or ASP.NET code from the public BCL instead of building it on their own.

If you asked me what's the #1 reason why I insist on running all my back-end production code on Windows Server 2003, the answer is simple: .NET. I can run my ASP.NET code on it, I can run all my other .NET code on it. Period. What if, let's just say, Mono suddenly became as feature-complete as the regular .NET Framework. You think Microsoft wants to start losing server business (where it makes all of its real money...) because a bunch of .NET developers decided to run Linux .NET instead of Windows .NET?

You might be thinking I'm on crack, but I'm on crack like a fox. Trust me, this public BCL stuff is a strategic chess move by Microsoft and nothing more.

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