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Community Column: What Does .NET on Linux Mean to Us?

Mar 15, 2001, 09:06 (65 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Kuykendall)

Opinions expressed by contributors to Linux Today's 'Community Column' are not necessarily those of LinuxToday's staff or management.

By Dan Kuykendall,
phpGroupWare Project Leader
OGS Project Leader

I dont think it means much to the community at all. If anything, it might be used against us, and make us lazy. Let's not let that happen!

As far as I can tell from all my investigations of Microsoft's .NET, most of which by the pro-Microsoft developers in my office, the only thing of true value to the open source/free software community is SOAP. The rest is all server-side code for processing requests. So I don't see much value to us in what they are doing.

However, there is a threat involved in what they are doing. Since none of that server-side stuff will be open in any way, we will simply be users. On top of that, the Linux versions of these services will be feature-incomplete so as to "encourage" users to switch to the fully-featured services that will run on the W2K .NET services.

This is the problem for us. If we use their services, it could have the effect of limiting our focus in developing open versions of the useful ones. We need to stop poo-pooing .NET because it's a Microsoft initiative. It's actually a useful stratagy for deploying distributed applications, and in fact it's not Microsoft's idea. As usual, they are merely marketing it better than those in the past (I still hear faint echos of "The network IS the computer").

Rather than getting excited about Microsoft bringing their .NET services to us, we need to bring the fight to them. It will be better for us to focus on developing the service processing code in our familiar and favorite languages that are so popular in our community and borrow interesting ideas from Microsoft, as well as doing our best to duplicate/support any worth while service specs they develop. Having our own version of these services in our own languages will allow the dynamics of this community to beat out the commercial competition.

Finally, we need work together. For example, we need all those interested in building groupware services (Evolution, OpenOffice, pphGroupWare, GNU GLUE), to all get behind the OGS Project to build a single standard for everyone to use. This does not limit choice, but instead increases choice. If all of the various service specs that get drafted are brought in the open and can get as much concensus as possible, then the better we will be able to compete.

We have a great opportunity to beat the commercial world at something they are just starting with, and we on the other hand are old hack at. So lets show ourselves and our talents.

Seek3r (aka Dan Kuykendall)
Open Source Advocate
phpGroupWare Project Leader (www.phpgroupware.org)
OGS Project Leader (www.ogsproject.org)

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