Monday, December 11, 2006

Hooray for Open Source!

Jeremy and Ayende (and probably others by now) have been considering the Microsoft attitude to Open Source.
I can see why companies don't like GPL, but it can turn out to be a good thing.
The very fact that Linksys decided to use Debian Linux kernel for their NSLU2 device, and were obliged by the GPL to release (bits of) their code, has meant that a whole community has sprung up around it (http://www.nslu2-linux.org/), who figured out how to run Debian on it, which has resulted in their product being used as a lightweight, low-cost, server. (yeah, 32MB ram and 266Mhz is hardly going to win any performance awards, but for ~£40 + cost of storage device, what do you expect?) [Edit: Thanks to Øyvind Repvik for setting me straight on this]
Jeremy makes the point about Agile development in .Net only being possible with open source tools tools. I don't think that this is just related to OSS. In the places that I've worked (my view of the 'Microsoft world'), people don't seem to want to know about something unless it comes from Microsoft. (The only notable exception is the miles of sub-standard code that's been copy-pasted from the code project).
Agile? Not until MS announced they'd been dabbling with SCRUM.
Unit Testing? Not really, and still not very much (too much poorly written code based on sample provided by Microsoft).
IoC/Dependancy Injection? Despite working with numerous "plug-in" frameworks, based on DLLs, then COM, and now .Net, people still don't see the benefit of taking it that one step further and creating all of their code based around this model.
In my view, the problem in the .Net world is that there are too many .Net developers. Many of these have come to it from VB and from ASP, and have little experience of rich OO architecture, and many wouldn't know a proxy from an abstract factory.
What happened to the Visual C++ developers? Most of the Visual C++ programmers I know are still developing in unmanaged C++, claiming the performance of .Net prevents them from moving.
To be honest, I've been trying to plot ways of leaving .Net, and moving to RoR or Java, as a way to escape the crippling laziness/poor practised that I consistently experience in Microsoft based developments. I'm fed up with having to teach people about loose coupling, dependencies, and other really basic stuff - the kind of things that other development communities seem to have tackled years ago, and from which they are now reaping the benefits.

2 comments:

Øyvind Repvik said...

The very fact that Linksys decided to use Debian for their NSLU2 device has meant that a whole community has sprung up around it (http://www.nslu2-linux.org/), and has resulted in their product being used as a lightweight, low-cost, server.
Linksys never shipped the NSLU2 with Debian. They shipped it with a custom linux based off an ancient kernel. The community got a recent kernel running on the device, figured out how to change the endianness of the device, and made it possible to run Debian on the NSLU2.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to mention - Drupal is another blossoming open source community building a tight, clean, abstract PHP code framework that rivals .NET.