OdeToCode IC Logo

Microsoft versus Open Source Software - ALT.NET notes

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

At the Seattle alt.net conference, I co-sponsored a session with Justin Angel. The topic was "Choosing Microsoft versus Mature Open Source Alternatives". We wanted to hear the rationale people were using when making choices, like:

LINQ to SQL or Castle Active Record

Entity Framework or NHibernate

Subversion and assorted tools or Team Foundation Server

Not once do I remember price being a factor. Most of the fishbowl conversation revolved around risk. There are risks that technical people don't like, and risks that business people don't like. I tried to take all the major topics mentioned and fit them into the following table.

Choose Microsoft

Choose OSS

Business Risks

License issues

Lack of formal support

Hard to hire experts

Technical Risks

V1 and V2 won't always work

Waiting on bug fixes


Small communities

Lack of training material

Quick summary - Microsoft is a safe choice from the business perspective, but MSFT products can create an uphill struggle for developers. Brad Abrams and ScottGu both popped into the fishbowl to talk about Microsoft's change of direction in building closed source frameworks with "big bang" releases. ScottGu also reminded us that patent trolls create problems for everyone in the ecosystem.

ALT.NET Trivia

How much ALT.NET can you fit in a Hyundai?

According to Hertz, the Hyundai Elantra will accommodate 5 people and 3 pieces of luggage.

The Elantra I drove into Redmond accommodated 5 people (me, Jeremy Miller, Udi Dahan, Steven "I Love The Back Middle Seat" Harman, and Ayende), 6 pieces of luggage, and 3, maybe 4 laptop bags. It was tight. 

Who said developers can't optimize for space anymore?