.Net is Open Source. Why do I care?

If you're a .Net developer and an Open Source enthusiast, these past couple of weeks have been really exciting for you. .Net CLR and core libraries have been relicensed under the MIT license, and they've announced a forthcoming .Net CoreRT that will be truly cross platform: Windows, Linux, OSX. All these projects have been moved under the .Net Foundation with a patent promise and code hosted on Github. This is real Open Source, not just an Open Source component that you can only run on a closed platform; you can run commercially supported .Net on a fully open stack. That is awesome!

I've tried telling some folks at work about it and got a lukewarm shrug from everyone, that gives me the sense that people don't understand what this means. Lets say you're starting an ecommerce business and you need to get your site up quickly; you’re going to need a web framework that’s designed for productivity and ideally use a language that’s taught in colleges. ASP.Net is certainly one of your best options. Let's say you also have a fantastic design team and Oprah makes an off-hand remark about you’re site, suddenly you’re famous and the site tips over. No problem, you’re ops guy just pushed your app to a few more Docker deployments and is throwing some more VMs at your Redis cache. He clicks a few buttons on the Azure portal and you’re back up and deployed on 5 continents. That is also awesome!

Lets say for arguments sake that you’re not the latest hot start-up, maybe you’re just one person who codes in their spare time, maybe you really enjoy Open Source and online community, maybe you also write a lot of C# at work (my hand is still up). The .Net community is welcoming new members with some great projects; my new favorite is OmniSharp. This has the aim of bringing tooling for .Net development to any editor: Emacs, Vim, SublimeText, Brackets and is up on Github. There is ASP.Net project provisioning through Yeomen. Visual Studio (and by proxy Windows) is no longer required for effective C# development. This is for the hobbyist too.

Microsoft is betting that you’ll use Azure for your cloud deployments and don’t need to coerce people into buying Windows to keep the lights on. You'll use their service and whatever platform/OS you like best, everyone wins. ASP.Net will be fully supported on Linux. I'm sorry I keep bringing that up but Linux was my first love, then my Wife and then .Net (this is chronological order, I’m not making a value judgement); so I find it amazing that this is finally happening. Microsoft, big bad Microsoft, is now making chocolate that’s compatible with my open source peanut butter, and it tastes pretty good.