Seducted by the evil empire?

August 29th, 2008

So kevin states – leaving out the names – that a bunch of core .net talent is being hired by MS so the projects will eventually die, and that was the main MS goal. Ludicrous. The conspiracy theory keeps on and on.

I’d like to offer another perspective, from someone deeply involved with OSS since 2002. It’s not easy to have a regular job and dedicate a chunk of spare time to create code and have absolutely no financial compensation. Ok, it’s your decision, you’re passionate about it. I know I am. I had a java full time job and spent evenings and weekends creating and trashing IoC container code in .net in my quest for an extensible design. Eventually that lead to Windsor and the MicroKernel.

In October 2006 I dared to start a company completely related to Castle, offering training, consultancy and development. Do you think I got rich? Do you think I made enough money to keep me going? Think twice.

The company is well now, but that’s more due to a shift to the financial market and products than anything else. We were getting gigs due to our speed and quality, and our clients didn’t give a s… what we were using to get it done. Castle, and any other OSS involvement, would only lead me to the path of starvation. That’s why I completely sympathize with Zed Shaw’s Rails is a Ghetto rant. People want too much: they want bugless code, they want perfect documentation, and yet they don’t want to pay a penny for any of that, nor contribute.

That’s not only on .net by the way, that’s a general developer’s position on libraries/frameworks. There are two possible escapes: if you focus on the mid tier and talk directly to CTOs (like JBoss and MySql do), or you focus on productivity tools (like JetBrain does). Otherwise, you’re doomed.

Lutz decided to sell Reflector. Man, I couldn’t be happier for him. Imagine the countless nights and weekends he had spent on that. After eight years he got some compensation. And that’s unfair? If you think so, try to live from OSS and let me know in an year or two if you have the same opinion.

Categories: Castle, OSS | Top Of Page | 6 Comments » |

6 Responses to “Seducted by the evil empire?”

Eric Hauser Says:

No disagreement with you on your post, but Interface21 is a great example of that you forgot. Similar path — Spring Framework was open source IoC container and stack, they started a consulting business, and now have moved to middleware because that is the only way to make real money and grow the business.

Louis Says:

I agree. MS gets beat up a lot in ways that make no sense.

After all what is the alternative? Should they only hire people nobody has heard of to the recreate the tools and products that are being used in the real world? People would be yelling about using their advantage to squash real open source projects with their inferior alternatives.

Or should MS avoid making these type of products at all? “Here’s the clr and an ide, the community can provide the rest.” That makes even less sense, and people would be back to complaining the MS dev platform out-of-the-box is junk compared to what you can put together with freely available software.

I’m glad MS is getting people who love to make development tools to do that as their full time job. It’s not like their going to turn around and start charging extra for libraries like asp.net mvc or linq to sql, and the more top-notch talent they have working on them the better the results will be.

Chad Myers Says:

@hammett: I think it’s great you’re working on the MEF team, especially with @gblock! I think it’s good that Lutz was able to cash out like he did. Do I wish he would’ve kept maintaining it like always? Sure. But I certainly don’t begrudge him his well-earned due. Somehow, the .NET world will survive without him working on Reflector! hahaha

Anyhow, don’t listen to all the complainers. People don’t like change and they’ll complain about any of it.

Sneal Says:

And I bet Lutz still would have made more money per hour working at McDonald’s than he did on Reflector. Yet, everyone who programs in .NET uses it.

Andreas Says:

Personally I think that MS should sponsor the OSS community with hard cash. Let projects live on their own and don’t be so obsessed with getting the MS logo on the box. I donate to OSS from time to time and I dont have that much money like MS anyway.

Steve Says:

You’ve done an incredible job. If it means much, Castle was one of the very first OSS projects I came to and it opened my eyes to a whole world of .net coding possibilities. DI, IOC, ORM, Monorail, etc… fantastic stuff.

I just hope your happy in your new position and can continue to write good code :)

“Personally I think that MS should sponsor the OSS community with hard cash. Let projects live on their own and don’t be so obsessed with getting the MS logo on the box. I donate to OSS from time to time and I dont have that much money like MS anyway.”

Even if they just had some sort of ‘recommended software’ site that we could point clients/bosses to and say ‘look, see – even Microsoft recommends using Windsor, Spring, NInject, etc..’ as an IOC outside of *cough* Unity (sorry, had to say that).

I have used articles on MSDN (ie. Ayende’s article that shows Windsor) to pass along to coworkers, etc… ‘hey, it’s on msdn, it must be good right!’ ;)

ie, I was blogging about some jQuery stuff and my friend sent me an IM saying ‘I wish I could use jQuery, but my client won’t let us use open source at all’ – I was like why??? But, I bet if MS recommended jQuery as a first class javascript library, maybe it would help.

Sorry, different topic but yes, it would help if MS recognized or did something to promote OSS – the OSS community does a tremendous job of promoting the benefits of .NET

Again though – enjoy what you do, and take care of yourself – it’s admirable that you have done as much as you have – and many are thankful for it!

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