back to article Microsoft's .NET Foundation under fire as resigning board member questions its role

The role of Microsoft's .NET Foundation, set up for the governance and support of open-source .NET and related projects, has been questioned by a former board member who resigned in frustration. Rodney Littles II is a software engineer at Megsoft Consulting and core maintainer of an open-source project, ReactiveUI, which is a …

  1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    Having been a .Net developer for years, this (sadly typical) behaviour by Micros~1 is the sort of thing that makes me want to go learn something else and get clear of the MS "ecosystem" altogether.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      If you can, do it!

      If you can't, then take comfort in knowing you can shift to Java from .NET fairly seamlessly when Microsoft does start rolling around in their own feces.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        I wouldn't necessarily rate Oracle better than Microsoft in this regard, or in any regard.

        1. tekHedd

          "Wouldn't rate Oracle better..."

          Oracle's push to take control of Java and turn it into a corporate asset was just the inspiration Java developers needed to open it up. Working daily with both Java and ".NET" CLR projects, I would trade all my .NET assets for equivalent Java assets in a second, if I had the option.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As my late uncle used to say: " The great thing about walking, is when you get tired of it, you can always run instead"

      3. deathchurch

        Moving to java, what a joker you are. If you want to go back in time and have slow performance go ahead…

    2. Abominator

      Totally. Their up and coming changes to Visual Studio licensing means I plan to get the whole firm off Visual Studio in the next 18 months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe drop Windows too while you are at it.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      (Disclaimer: everything I say in this post is simply my opinion, and I have no proof of any of it)

      I avoided ".Not" from the beginning. I thought MFC did whatever I needed for Windosws (and still think so), though I might consider re-writing my own TINY version of their framework for any future things.

      From the article: I watched Microsoft kill an Open Source Project

      I do not believe they are *KILLING* it, per se. Holding onto the reigns tightly might be more like it. They are quite used to having dominance over the ".Not" stuff and do not easily relinquish power nor control. They *FEAR* (the reason control freaks control) that their tech will proceed in a direction that they do not like, and therfore MUST wield a heavy hand. Frequently. At least, that's how *I* see it.

      From their perspective, it's justifiable.

      I think we can look more closely at WHY they made it open source in the first place: because of LINUX. And yet I do not see ".Not" on Linux being "a thing" (in any significant amount) any time soon.

      How long has MONO been around? Yes, THAT long (15+ years). And the complaints were DEAFENING when Mono was suddenly part of gnome for Debian's package system, because of ONE application (that nobody used) called "Tomboy". Later it was (thankfully) REMOVED from the top-level package. I do not believe that there are ANY open source projects requiring Mono or ".Not core" (or whatever they're calling now) that are either ESSENTIAL or do NOT have native language equivalents (for example I use KeePassXC).

      So, with the general 'need' to somehow "Embrace Extend Extinguish" Linux Desktops (and make them all like "WIndows II", as in the roman numeral 2, a hint to the retro flattiness and overly large controls, as Windows 2.x was), they need to steer the project in a direction that meets their "needs". Otherwise, they do not care if it fails. At least, that is how *I* see it.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      Python is not that hard or so I have heard.

    5. J27

      I'm with you, as a mainly .NET-focused developer for many years it's blatantly obvious that the ecosystem is still very Microsoft-focused. This was a key reason for my teaching myself Node.JS so I'd have something else to fall back on.

  2. gerryg

    The ghost of DoubleStack called...

    You were warned, Bob Cratchit, you were warned

  3. Tom Chiverton 1

    "Are you here to enforce Microsoft's will on .NET Open Source or"

    There is no "or".

    1. J27

      Microsoft IS .NET

  4. Greybearded old scrote

    Oh really

    Sorry, but did he expect any different? Not just because it's MS, any corporate sponsored foundation is going to be just the same.

    I'm sure I remember similar reports from Javaworld.

  5. Simian Surprise

    > The license changed and that's the reason the foundation can no longer help? It doesn't make any sense to me.

    I'm actually with MSFT/.NET Foundation on this one... Changing your license to a non-open-source one would get *me* to stop wanting to support your project were I on the board of a foundation meant to promote open-source software.

    And no, the RPL is proprietary source-available software pretending to be open source. Part of the definition (OSI) of an OSS license is that "7) [it does] not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business..."

    So yeah, plenty of good criticisms, not this one, though.

    1. Warm Braw

      The Foundation says it exists to promote a commercially friendly open-source ecosystem.

      That's always going to be a problem because there is necessarily going to be commercial tension between Microsoft (a vast commercial enterprise) and small-scale open-source developers trying to stake a claim in the same territory. Particularly if they're looking for financial "benefits" to get a leg up.

      I'm afraid it's simply in the nature of open-source software that unless your contribution is of critical economic benefit to a commercial undertaking, you need to seek your reward in Heaven.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        the better OSS model is to offer paid support for those who want it. That seems to be THE most (long term) successful model for things that businesses rely on. For wide release, it varies.

        However, projects that turn the users into "the commodity" are likely to (eventually) collapse upon themselves, and the charitable/non-profit ones are in danger of hostile takeovers by wealthy donors with an agenda (nudge nudge wink wink, maybe like the ".Net Foundation" ???) ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Always struck me that identity server got too successful and (probably quite rightly much like redis wanted some of the returns others were making off of their code) decided to cash in, as soon as features got moved into commercial stacks and meant that upgrading to v4 meant loosing features present in v3 and buying into the policy server commercial add on and bunch of other chod i started looking for alternatives, its still pretty decent just not as good as it was

  6. pip25


    To anyone who thinks Microsoft can stop "being Microsoft" about open source, which sadly enough included me until now.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Sobering

      Sadly, Microsoft never did stop being Microsoft. They laughed when other big corporations pretended to "not be evil", they tried it for a while with the open source act, but now with other corps like facebook and amazon seemingly trying to out-evil them, they have thrown off that garb - They are the OG of 'evilcorp' - they have been Evil since before it was cool, and now they are proud of it.

      Microsoft only pretended to "stop being Microsoft" about open source in the first and second E's of their tried and tested EEE strategy: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

      MS embraced Java in the 90s, but realised it needed a Java of its own, so extended it to form .NET and has nearly succeeded in eradicating Java. They made it nice and open to get all of the wide-eyed young developers on board. But they extinguished the open source flame.. So now YOU have been embraced, your knowledge extended with what is now microsoft-proprietary information.. They have pulled the rug out from under you, and unless you find another platform you will only be furthering their cause.

      It was the same deal with GitHub.. Microsoft: We love open source! That's why we bought GitHub! Now all you lovely open-sourcers are working for Microsoft, contributing code into our new OpenAI code-generator that we just bought and is now anything but open and (we hope) will one day make people like you redundant.. What do you mean you don't want to work for Microsoft for no money and you want a real job?? Well perhaps we should remind you that we own LinkedIn too. Bwahaha >:]

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        Re: Sobering

        > and unless you find another platform you will only be furthering their cause.

        Oh and before you jump to Node.js, guess who bought NPM last year..

  7. Steve Channell

    Funding is the key

    The problem for any small developer in this space is that most users will always choose the MS option. NHibernate is one of a number of adequate ORM tools, but most people will just use Entity Framework.

    This guy develops a UI framework (maybe with the thought of monitizing it at some time), but can't compete with the MS UI stack, and can't use board membership to get a better billing.

    The answer is for MS to do something like "Google summer of code" and pay develops to develop interesting tools

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: Funding is the key

      This is it. MS consistently cannibalise the wider ecosystem that people don't want to invest time in it. See also App Get (

      1. Cybersaber

        Re: Funding is the key

        AppGet Alamo -RememberHistory

    2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: Funding is the key

      The problem is that developing and maintaining a software product is extremely expensive. Most open-source developers suffer from a nervous breakdown due to all the nagging and feature requests from the "community."

      It's no wonder many of them abandon their projects after a while. It's therefore much more prudent to just use Microsoft's ORM product.

  8. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Can't entirely agree

    If I had an open source project (and I do) I'd certainly want to keep control over it and not let "the community" take it on a path that I wouldn't want or support. Microsoft is obviously keeping a close tab on its IP even though it's open-source and I'm fine with that. I'd stand to lose more if Microsoft became disenchanted with it and stopped allocating resources for it.

    And the AppGet spat isn't really all that surprising or even immoral. The author was simply being naive and shouldn't have spilled his secrets to Microsoft. I'd have offered to sell it to them and if not I'd keep my lips sealed.

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: Can't entirely agree

      Astonishing that you think that extending the hiring process to someone to manipulate them is not immoral.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Can't entirely agree

        It's a kind of immorality that's (unfortunately) common business practice and as such isn't illegal.

        Go see the film "The Social Network" which illustrates how Zuckerberg conned the Winklevoss brothers out of their social network idea.

        Maybe it's immoral, but he's a billionaire and you and me aren't. So who cares?

        I learned a long time ago that you can only be a successful businessman by being ruthless and immoral. I refused to go that route and he I am, still working my ass off every day.

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: Can't entirely agree

          I watched The Social Network and it showed them saying "copy this existing face book software, but for Harvard".

          As to its immorality - glad we agree now.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Can't entirely agree

        It may be, but this case isn't as clear as some others. Microsoft was going to make a program with the same goal, and they could easily have some devs read the source, which was freely available, and get ideas that way. They weren't using the hiring process to sneak secret information about how the code worked out of the guy, because that information was already public. They got his hopes up about a job and then didn't give him one, but that's not really the same.

        In addition, it's a lesson that we have all learned and tell to others: businesses aren't your friend. In an interview, provide information to prove you can do the job, but don't hand over important stuff if you want to keep that secret. Even after you get a job, don't give them stuff if you want it to be secret. Even if they promise you they'll do so, get a contract reviewed by someone knowledgeable beforehand. If they decide they don't want you anymore, they'll send you away, so no need to show them more loyalty than they're showing you.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: Can't entirely agree

          I can't really comment on the actual AppGet spat since I wasn't there, but I can imagine Microsoft engineers wanted some additional information which wasn't in the source code.

        2. CRConrad

          Re: "have some devs read the source"

          they could easily have some devs read the source, which was freely available, and get ideas that way.
          Not quite, not just like that; that's not how that works. Having those same devs then implement the same thing would be copyright infringement.

          They'd have to have a second team of devs to create their own implementation, and the first team -- who had read the original source code of AppGet -- could only transfer the ideas, but none of the actual code, behind the app to the other team that implemented their own (WinGet?) version -- and they'd have to make sure they'd be able to prove that this was how it went down. (This is called a "Chinese Wall".) That's not all that easy to do.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: "have some devs read the source"

            It wouldn't be for two reasons. The first reason is that reading the code and writing something else doesn't automatically mean copyright infringement. It's only copyright if they reuse the code, which is admittedly easier to do unintentionally if you've read the original. When the clean room implementation is done, it's usually because there's a more restrictive licensing agreement in place, for example where a company could read the source but is forbidden from competing or designing a compatible version. Breaking such an agreement does require the separation you described.

            In AppGet's case, it's even more clear. The reason is that AppGet uses the Apache 2.0 license (source). That's a permissive license. If Microsoft wanted to use this, they could have taken it, changed the name, and added anything they wanted. All they would have to do is refer to the developer and include the license. They do that all the time. It still isn't copyright violation because the license states that anyone who wants gets the right to use, create derivative works from, and distribute the code or its compiled result.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't entirely agree

      Sounds to me like you are not, in your heart, an open source developer. You sound like someone who wants to write software, and have other people use and help improve your software for free. And there's nothing really wrong with that.

      But what an free/open source developer should understand is that, when you assign software an open-source license, you are setting the code free. You no longer have sole control of its fate, but open that fate up to the whims of the community.

      If someone wants to fork your project, it's because you're a bad steward in their eyes. And that's good, because maybe you *are* a bad steward and don't realise it yet. It means that the software can grow and improve and thrive without being tied to the motives and ego of a single person or group. *That* is what it means for software to be free and open.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Can't entirely agree

        Every open-source developer who created the project keeps control through the pull-request mechanism.

        I don't want people to work on my software for free, I merely distribute the code for others to look at and to fork it if they really feel the need to. And if someone comes along with a great PR which extends my project in a way that pleases me I accept it.

        If they come up with constructive ideas I *may* accept them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't entirely agree

          > Every open-source developer who created the project keeps control through the pull-request mechanism.

          That's merely a limitation of how GitHub/GitLab/etc. handle forks (and is a disservice to open-source software IMO). Centralised control is not an intrinsic property of either open-source software or Git, and is arguably antithetical to both.

          1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

            Re: Can't entirely agree

            Linus Torvalds uses Git in a similar way since he only accepts PR's from trusted sources, which is logically similar to a PR.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Par for the course

    I've never believed Microsoft's uncharacteristic enthusiasm for Linux and Open Source was anything else than a way to infiltrate the ecosystem and fragment it into easily assimilated parts. This particular story is yet another piece of evidence that keeps me from changing that opinion.

    One only has to look at the sorry state of Teams for Linux for the perfect illustration of what Microsoft really thinks about Linux and open source. The Linux release is massively behind in features compared to the Windows and even MacOS versions of Teams. Microsoft's only advice when you find out that important features are still missing from the Linux version is: "Use the Windows version".

    Honestly, nothing at all has changed since the days of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. The old dog that is Microsoft has learned no new tricks.

  10. Claverhouse Silver badge

    The Dog Returns To Its Vomit

    ...finding out all the details of an existing open-source project called AppGet by dangling the prospect of a job at Microsoft for its creator, but then in effect killing that open-source project though borrowing many of its ideas.


    Whoever would have expected that out of the blue ? ! !

  11. Adrian 4

    MS untrustworthy

    Film at 11.

  12. gedw99

    I was s c# dev for about 10 years and jumped to golang 5 years ago.

    This story reminds me why

    For dotnet there is blazer.

    For golang there is Gioui.

    Gioui moves fast and involves everyone in decisions and moves forward quickly.

    Take 1 sec to install.

    Compiles to web, mobile, desktop, Apple TV.

    Lots of open and commercial projects built on top of it with many of the core GiOUI team working on both.

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