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Salon: All hail .Net!

Feb 14, 2002, 18:01 (86 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Wright)

[ Thanks to Doug Bostrom for this link. ]

"The heritage argument is a holdover of the almost viral opinion in the community that Microsoft is the antichrist. If enough people state that opinion loudly enough, you can bet hard cash that the number of voices will grow, in some cases based on their heartfelt opinion but sometimes, sadly, based on the fact that it's a cool thing to say. However, the release of the .Net architecture and tools shows a Microsoft that has returned to its highly innovative roots. The .Net framework provides a programming interface for the new millennium that works the way programmers today want to work. The open-source and free software movement itself is waking up to that fact in spectacular fashion.

The specifications behind the .Net framework and its various component tools have all been published. Ximian, coordinator of the GNOME Linux user interface project, has embraced .Net with open arms as a result. Ximian developers are currently working flat out on Mono, a free implementation of the .Net framework and its C# language for use on Linux and Mac OS X. They fully appreciate that for all Microsoft's image problems, .Net and the fundamental concepts surrounding it are a major step forward for software development as a whole, and a stunning leap forward for realizing the true potential of the Internet as a means of communicating and sharing information. When this work is complete there will be no mainstream desktop operating system unable to run .Net applications. As a point of fact, Mac OS X already has Web-service support built into AppleScript.

There has also been considerable criticism in the past surrounding the security and privacy issues that arise from the use of Web services such as Passport and the rest of the Hailstorm family. These complaints are understandable -- there have been quite sizable holes exposed in Microsoft's software in recent years, so to have a central database such as that used by Passport could be asking for trouble. But there is nothing in the .Net architecture that says a user absolutely must use Passport to run a .Net application. Similarly, the model of development advocated by Microsoft is one whereby users choose just how much or how little personal information to divulge to the system and the businesses they choose to interact with."

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