Is it time for a .NET track at OSCON?

by Kevin Shockey

Last Friday after Miguel de Icaza's closing keynote, Joseph Hill, who co-presented "Cross Platform Deployment With Mono" with me, met an independent .NET consultant who had a great suggestion: "Why not add a .NET track to the O'Reilly Open Source Convention?"

For Joseph and me, the timing of this question couldn't have been better. Throughout the convention we had been commenting that there wasn't much representation from the Mono community. Besides our session and the BOF that we sponsored, the only other Mono-related activity was the "Mono Bootcamp" by the authors of "Mono: A Developer's Notebook", Edd Dumbill and Niel Bornstein.

This has been stuck in my mind, since leaving Portland, and today curiousity got the better of me. So, to better understand the use of .NET and C# in the open source community, I did some research. During our collaboration, Joseph had been telling me about a few of the more well known projects like NHibernate, NUnit, Blogx, mojoportal, Muine, Blam, F-Spot, nGallery, and ASP.NET Forums - so I knew that there had to be more out there. Although, Miguel talked about a few of the key Mono-based open source projects during his keynote, specifically Beagle and iFolder he didn't even scratch the surface.

What I found after searching SourceForge and NovellForge is a thriving and growing community of .NET related open source projects. From just the Trove Foundry in SourceForge, there are over 2,600 projects for C# and about another 100 for ASP.NET. To browse those listings refer to:

Additional projects can be found by simply searching SourceForge for .NET. Besides SourceForge, there are also more projects projects based specifically on Mono at the Novell Forge Mono Community

One obvious observation is that some of the more popular Java open source projects are now appearing for the .NET community. Examples of these include:

Besides these projects I found a wide variety of projects covering many popular types of software. In fact, I think that the .NET open source community is significantly more mature and active then I ever imagined. So, I'm not sure what the process involves, but I'd definitely like to suggest to the O'Reilly Open Source Convention organizers that it might be time to move .NET open source out of the emerging topics into its own track.

Would you be interested in presenting or seeing more sessions on .NET open source at OSCON?


2005-08-16 10:51:22
Presenting at OSCON
[Disclamer: I’m founder of a .NET open source project - the open source web development framework; umbraco]

Yes, I think it's a really good idea. It seems really weird that there's no room for open source projects in general at OSCON. There are a great number of open source .NET projects out there, but a lot of them lives in a sort of vacuum.

You’re not in the good house in the open world (good house as O’Reilly), and are approached with quite a scepticism in the traditional Microsoft world. And if you’re going for one of the traditional open source licenses like the GPL, Microsoft won’t even mention you on its .net sites like ASP.NET.

We choose ASP.NET and c# as a platform because we really thought it was the platform we loved, just like others choose Python or Ruby. We believe on the same dreams and share many of the same thoughts as Ruby lovers, but not being a LAMP project closes the OSCON door.

This is really sad, because even though we also go to conferences like PDC, our hearts are closer to the participants of OSCON.

So open the door – there’s a lot of great open source projects in the .NET world – also original ones not originating in the java world…

Niels Hartvig