Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Opening Up .Net to Everyone

Posted by Jerry Asher on
I'm really pleased to hear that Ximian is working on Mono, and I think they will be very successful.

One. Microsoft has submitted C#, and the Common Language Infrastructure to ECMA. If it is accepted, then while Microsoft may boast of being the reference platform, and while they may boast for awhile of being the highest performing platform, that move will make it harder for them to make nonconforming, inoperable changes to the specs.

Two. The CLI and CLR is basically a whole new operating system platform. It's neither WIN32 nor Linux. It is probably WIN32 biased. But it's not WIN32. So there is a relatively level playing field (modulo dollars, developers, testers, and partners)

Three. Microsoft has claimed that they want to see .NET spread to other machines. There have even been sightings of Microsoft's efforts to target Linux itself as a .NET base. (See excerpt below.)

Four. Ximian is the right organization to do this. I would never have thought GNOME or Bonobo would have ever been successful. Build a high performance CORBA system from scratch and open source? No way. Way. Folks love it. And coming from COM, DCOM, J++ and SOAP, much of .NET is about building a remote distributed computing architecture. In fact, the basic C# compiler takes source and turns it not into machine instructions but into a very enhanced IDL which gets compiled at the last minute for the specific platform.

I'll go so far as to claim that a .NET port is easier to put together than GCC, the C runtime, and CORBA, because after all, "we've" done this once already, and very successfully too.

I guess these days the two big market share C compilers are Visual C and GCC. Big market share and also good reputations for reliability, stability and high performing C code. (Is this right?) But that certainly wasn't always the case. For many years, gcc was thought to be buggy and produced slow code. I think there's a very strong chance that within a few years, an opensource C# and CLR will be known as the best performing implementation.

Five. Samba is a good example of this process. Samba may have started in a bedroom, but these days it's supported/funded/developed by VA Linux, HP, IBM, and at times, even Microsoft. Should these companies decide that an opensource .NET is a good thing, I would look to see them join up with Ximian in this effort. Already IBM does GNOME.

This is from Scobleizer, an expansion from Clemens Vasters, about the Visual Studio.NET help menu.

(a) Go to the "Help" menu, select "Edit Filters"
(b) In "List of Available Attributes and their Values" expand "Target Operating System (TargetOS)

Epiphany time! They were setting up the market. Building expectations. Forcing you to look one way, while they do the trick where you aren't looking.


> The "Target Operating System (TargetOS)" list is:
> Linux (kbLinux)
> Windows (Windows)
> Macintosh (kbMAC)
> Windows CE (WinCE)

All you marketing wannabees better study this. It's genius.

Let's say you're a company. You have a product coming out. How do you ensure that every press person will write about your new product coming out? That's right. Misdirection.

I'm pretty sure Microsoft will announce soon that it'll ship the .NET runtimes on Unix. (Update: Microsoft did make an announcement on Wednesday. See for the news). 

The problem is, how do you get everyone to pay attention? And, how do you get everyone to notice that they aren't supporting the GPL? And, how do you not look like you're attacking Java and Sun? (Which are the true targets of the .NET platform).

That's right. You have your executives go on a speaking tour. Attack away. Make it sound like Linux is going to ruin Microsoft.

Then, weeks later, provide the answer.

It is a strategy that guarantees every press person will write about it. And most "stories" will sound "suprised" that Microsoft is now putting .NET onto Linux and Unix. And, because Microsoft focused so much attention on the GPL, it'll counteract the truth, which is that .NET is aimed at making Java irrelevant to the marketplace.

Look, it's already working. Now Microsoft gets to go to the O'Reilly Open Source conference and they get to announce this strategy on stage. I've got to step back and say "I'm not worthy." Marketing mastery at work.