[linux-elitists] DOTGNU

Jason Spence thalakan@lightconsulting.com
Sat Dec 22 18:29:46 PST 2001

On Sat, Dec 22, 2001 at 03:56:41PM -0800, Rick Moen developed
a new theory of relativity and: 
> begin Don Marti Uses GIFs on the Sly quotation:
> > Some of these might make interesting free software projects for
> > some people.  I still don't know what problem each part is supposed
> > to solve, though.
> Silly editor, it's not supposed to solve problems:  It's an end in
> itself.  It's intended to suck everyone into the loving embrace of the
> impending .NET world.  The problems and their prescribed solutions will 
> be issued to you as you need them.

Actually, that's what most people predict will happen if Microsoft
implements this idea.  .NET is a good idea, but if not done in a
decentralized manner it could be a problem.

I like to use my Fedex tracker as an example.  It's a little perl
script that watches the Fedex site for updates to a given tracking
number.  But how do you interface with something like that?  For
example, what if I was just some guy who wanted to interface with that
bit of code so that when an update happens it will page me?  There is
no universal standard for that sort of thing yet.  We have RPC,
MS-RPC, RSS, XML, etc etc, but nothing that is supported on every
platform worldwide.

The answer is .NET, or something like it.  Little platform-independent
applets that talk using a very simple protocol that anyone can
implement in about 2-3 hours plus the time it takes to write whatever
system glue is necessary.  What I want is a Java-like set of core
libraries which are completely language-independent and you link in
using -lclr or "use GNU::CLR;" and allows you to call my Fedex watcher
with 3 lines of setup code and 1 line of code to get the most recent
event on that tracking number.

The problem is that Microsoft is planning on using this wonderful open
platform to create very closed, proprietary services like Passport and
the integration technology with BizTalk Server.  Just because the
platform is open doesn't mean access to certain services (or even the
DTDs necessary to figure out how to access them) need to be open.  All
this other stuff about how this is going to be a universally supported
platform is just lip service.  None of the stuff you read in the .NET
books on the shelves works on a non-Microsoft platform today, and will
never work on a non-Microsoft platform if they have their way.

Forget .NET.  Put your resources into GNU Enterprise and Mono.  .NET
doesn't work now, and GNU Enterprise / Mono doesn't work now, but if I
had to choose a 1.0 release to slog through deployment of, I'd choose
the vendor that doesn't have an incentive to ream me monthly for crap
I don't need.

Monthly subscription charges for Passport are going to happen if
Microsoft gets their way.  If I had stock in Microsoft, I'd make damn
sure that they secured that revenue stream.  But I don't have stock in
Microsoft, and I don't want that to happen because I don't trust any
company that much.  You know what I want?  I want a Federal Department
of Network Services that provides a core set of services that are
guaranteed not to change for 15 years.  RFC822 is going to be around
for at least that long.  LDAP/X.500 will probably be too.  I want to
be able to keep all that crap on a server in my city that is run by
elected individuals under the umbrella of my city council and audited
monthly by a Federal agency for security and reliability.  I want them
to provide me with a LDAP node for keeping Passport-like data and
SSL-IMAP access to an email address.  If I have to trust somebody with
my data, I want at least have a vote in who that person is.  

 - Jason

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