.NET Community doesn't get it

I was in Dubai last week where I’ve met Kevin Jackson who is an active committer and PMC member of the Apache ANT project. When I mentioned him that I worked with .NET in the past and didn’t enjoyed it because of the lack of community, he told me an interesting story about NDOC that summarized the whole situation.

NDOC is one of the greatest open source projects in .NET and is used to generate documentation from the code. Some time ago Kevin Downs the author of the NDOC announced that the project is dead and he won’t work on it anymore. As he mentioned in his mail to the NDOC mailing list, there are couple of reasons that lead to his decision. But the most important one in my point of view is that there is a lack of contributon from the .NET developer community to the project. I mean it’s a very popular project which is used in almost every .NET project but strangely noone thinks of doing any contribution. On the other hand Microsoft has started a similar project called SandCastle to generate docs. It’s obvious that .NET community will switch to SandCastle when it’s finished and stop using of NDOC. Considering all of these noone can expect the motivation needed to continue the project from the author.

Suppose you’ve created a nice open source tool for .NET and just like in NDOC case Microsoft comes up with a similar solution, at that time all the work you’ve spent for the community will be a waste of time because it’s obvious people will start using the MS’s productions. This is one of the significant reasons preventing people from stepping up and creating projects for .NET.

This example summarizes the huge difference between the .NET community(if such a thing exists) and JAVA community. Open source in JAVA is driven by volunteers and the support from the community is great. An example from me will be the contributions I’ve received for my personal open source stuff like JSF Chart Creator from Brazil, Australia and etc. This is the main thing, .NET developers just don’t get it because their community is not driven by them but just by Microsoft.

3 Responses to .NET Community doesn't get it

  1. chris says:

    I have not read any of your other posts, but I think you have an animosity towards .Net and their supporters, and tried to apply an example where it barely fits.

    The failure of NDOC only illustrates issues of Open-Source development on a project that is very closely related to an existing MS product. That is a very thin slice of the overall .Net user-base. That project was doomed by a lack of cooperation/communication from MS, not because the “.NET Community doesn’t get it.” There is some very fine open-source development going strong else where. Developers, regardless of language preference, need to look down the road and answer the question “should I invest the time to build this?” and not just “can I build this.”

    For the record, I am not a MS supporter. In fact, I do both Java and C#.Net development, and the .Net framework is one of the only MS products that I don’t despise. I just think that you were trying a bit to hard to reach across and slap the people standing on the other side of the fence.

  2. Andrew says:

    To the above poster: why not slap them? They’re on the DARK SIDE!

  3. javi moreno says:

    I love your columns, but I can think about a couple of java projects with the same problem you are describing. Logj4 comes quickly to my mind, for example.

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