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Recently, there was an interesting exchange on the ALT.NET Yahoo group regarding a real fundamental issue regarding the OSS world and their relationship with Microsoft.  Phil Haack noted the exchange between Oren Eini, aka Ayende, and Brad Wilson which is a great post.

For those that are lazy, what all happened?
Brad: If you're simply angry because we had the audacity to make our own object factory with DI, then I can't help you; the fact that P&P did ObjectBuilder does not invalidate any other object factory and/or DI container.

Ayende: No, it doesn't. But it is a waste of time and effort.

Brad: In all seriousness: why should you care if I waste my time?

Ayende's response boils down to Microsoft duplicating the efforts of the open source community and sometimes not getting it right.  He sees it as a rejection of the community as a whole, especially of those who only will accept tools that are made by Microsoft.

But why did this post happen anyways?  Like Phil, I agree with Ayende's arguments that it does seem that Microsoft does take community efforts and builds less than stellar implementations (MSTest versus MBUnit/NUnit or NDoc versus Sandcastle among the many).

To me it's about competition.  It's healthy especially within the community.  For example, Ayende sees that NMock doesn't suit his needs, builds Rhino Mocks.  Well, there are missing pieces in that implementation, so I can run with some of the ideas and come up with one that supports concrete classes and statics.

Yes, there will be those types who only accept tools provided by Microsoft, but indeed that's their loss.  I would love to see Microsoft embrace the community, help extend it, but not necessarily take ownership thereof.  Many in the industry I bet would love to collaborate to help extend the Microsoft products.

Choice and competition are good things! Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 5:31 PM Microsoft | Back to top


Comments on this post: Microsoft and the community duplication of effort?

# re: Microsoft and the community duplication of effort?
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I personally do not think it is a big deal that MS decides to re-implement functionality that open source projects already implemented. I would not take this as MS rejecting the OSS community but rather as a complement to the community and recognition that it provides valuable tools and ideas. I also see it as MS committing to keeping the .net framework relevant.

Good, bad or indifferent, there are companies that implement policies that either do not allow the use of open source projects or require you to jump through legal hoops to use them. In those situations it is very helpful to have open source ideas (like unit testing) folded into the framework or toolset.

I think Rhino Mocks is the best thing since sliced bread and Ayende deserves a lot of credit for his ideas. With that being said If MS decided to "duplicate" that functionality and fold it into the framework I would likely use that instead. I do not see that as "a rejection of the community as a whole" but rather as taking the path of least resistance, because it means it's one less thing that I have to maintain. Would I rip Rhino out of all my existing projects? Probably not, but anything new I would default to using MSMocks, unless MSMocks truly is "less than stellar".

Also, if it is okay for people, like Ayende, to compete with other open source projects, like NMock, then why is it wrong from MS to compete with them also? If MS's projects are more useful, easier to use or have more features why shouldn't MS have the ability to compete? After all "choice and competition are good things!". And if they are "less than stellar" then the community should reject them and continue to use the OSS projects. If I decide to use MS's implementation just because it's from MS, well then like Brad said, "Why should you care if I waste my time?". I personally would not do that but it is a valid question.
Left by Aaron Carlson on Dec 05, 2007 8:37 PM

# re: Microsoft and the community duplication of effort?
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Well, in terms of support, many see Microsoft and see that they have instant support, whereas with a community effort, the perception just isn't there for many businesses for better or for worse.

Many people would rather work with Microsoft to have their products better integrated into Visual Studio and the whole array of tools to get better exposure, and I don't blame them. I would love to see Port 25 reach out to them, and I hope it might happen.
Left by Matthew Podwysocki on Dec 05, 2007 11:23 PM

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