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Microsoft Programming

The Longhorn Dream Reborn 254

gbjbaanb writes "Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET. Cue howls of outrage from .NET developers everywhere, but here Ars Technica describes what's more likely to have been going on and why Microsoft is finally getting its act together for developers."
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The Longhorn Dream Reborn

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  • by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:05PM (#36548556) Homepage

    If anything, we should be surprised that anyone's surprised. Whether or not TFA's theory is true, one thing is absolutely clear: .NET, like any Microsoft technology, has an expiration date.

    Anyone remember COM, VBX, and other MS-Windows technologies of yesteryear? Or the Visual Basic debacle of more recent vintage. For as long as I can remember, there's been a steady churn of Microsoft technologies, coming and going.

    Microsoft makes a lot of money from selling its development tools, documentation, etc... to its developer base. Microsoft simply runs the whole show. They are in full control, and call all the shots. And they understand perfectly well that if they keep the same technology platform in place, over time, they lose a good chunk of their revenue stream. That's why they have to obsolete their technology platforms, time and time again. They need revenue. It makes perfect sense. If you are a Microsoft Windows developer, one of your primary job functions is to generate revenue to Microsoft. Perhaps not from you, directly; maybe from your company. Whoever pays the bills for Visual Studio, MSDN, and all the other development tools. Maybe it's not you, personally, but it's going to be someone, that's for sure.

    So, perhaps this is the death knell for .NET. Perhaps not. If not this time, maybe next year. But it's inevitable. It's a certainty. If you are a .NET developer, your skills will be obsolete. If you were a COM developer, or a VB6 developer, your skills became obsolete a long time. I see no reason why .NET developers will escape the same fate. It's only a matter of time, but that's ok: all you have to do is invest some time and money to retrain yourself on the replacement Microsoft Windows technology, whatever it's going to be, when its time comes. But, it'll come.

    Originally I came from a Unix background. Many, many moons ago I explored the possibility of boning up on the MS-Windows ways of doing things. But, after a bit of some exploratory peeks and pokes, this became painfully clear to me; that whatever I learned, all of it was going go to waste, in its due time. And that was pretty much the end of my venture into the Windows landscape.

    Well, I'm happy to report that read(2), write(2), and all the other syscalls that make up POSIX, and its derivatives, still work the same as they did decades ago. Everything I have learned, as the sands of time have rolled on and on, I still put to good use today, and I make a pretty good living using them. Nothing has gone to waste. Honestly, this is more than I could say for my peers who practice their craft on MS-Windows. A lot -- not everything but a lot -- they learned decades ago is now completely and totally worthless to them, and to anyone else.

    So, whether Windows 8 is Longhorn reborn, as TFA says, or not, one thing can be said for certain. .NET is dead. It's just a matter of time. Good luck learning its eventual replacement. Of course, you understand that it'll be dead too, some years after that, of course; just keep that in mind, as you make your long term plans.

  • Re:So then, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:06PM (#36548572)

    They're not dropping Silverlight or .NET. Try to pay attention. Nobody with any sense ever thought they were going to, but the usual suspects took every opportunity to make a "Durr hurr, Microsoft screwing over developers" thing out of it when there was no indication whatsoever this would happen.

    Nobody sane wants to develop large applications in fucking native JS and HTML5, and Microsoft knows that.

  • PulseAudio - indeed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:08PM (#36548598) Homepage Journal
    im somewhat of an audophile, and despite i have been using windows xp with extra software like srs audio sandbox (cryztalizes and clears sounds) and a good sound card (original x-fi x-treme music, from the production batch which got the good chips) with crystallizer and so on, on top of an altec lansing fx6021 speaker set (in-concert array microdrives totaling 12, crystal clear) for a long time,

    i was dumbstruck with the audio quality pulseaudio + x-fi x-treme music + audacious media player with crystallizer plugin gave, when i switched to linux.

    now im switching to linux every time i want to listen to music in high quality.
  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <(ku.oc.draregdivad) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:27PM (#36548844) Homepage

    Fortunately, free software means that Windows developers can use Win32 approximately forever! On WINE.

    I have a theory: like backups, no-one ever really gets the idea of free software until the lack of it has bitten them in the arse, good and hard.

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:32PM (#36548914)
    I have a client that has been dragging their feet about leaving their VB6 codebase running on an Access DB and migrating to .NET on MS SQL. Last week one of them saw the Microsoft announcement about 'HTML5 & JavaScript' and now they're afraid transitioning to .NET will be a dead end. Now they want to wait to see how Windows 8 will run their VB6/Access code. They have a lot of time invested in Office 2003 macros & Access code modules, but their DB is nearing the 2GB Access limit and their programmer is retiring in 6 - 12 months. They'll be running XP, Office 2003 & VB6 until they have no other options.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:05PM (#36549206) Homepage Journal
    Your confusing implementation with interface. read and write's implementation has kept up with the times while maintaining the same interface. So to the programmer it doesn't matter if you are doing a read on a floppy or a wide scale distributed file system via the FUSE interface*, logically it's all the same. Furthermore, although the read and write interfaces haven't changed, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from developing new interfaces that run on top of these functions.

    Now compare that to Microsoft who constantly deprecates interfaces which means no new features are ever back ported, doesn't release new dev tools that are compatible with the old interfaces etc. There's a huge difference.

    * logically it doesn't matter, though obviously the more the programmer knows about whats going on in the black box the better.
  • by bmajik ( 96670 ) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday June 24, 2011 @02:49AM (#36552068) Homepage Journal

    I am a Microsoft employee in DevDiv.

    (PS: Buy Visual Studio LightSwitch when it comes out! It rocks!)

    I will not comment on the accuracy of what is in the ars article, other than to say: I know the answers to some of the questions they are worried about, and the answers do not worry me and shouldn't worry you either (unless you're a competing non-MS technology, perhaps :))

    Regarding your post: I don't see how you'd conclude that .net is going anywhere from the article you supposedly read.

    First and foremost, you would need to be specific about what you mean by ".net" for your statement to even make sense. Are you claiming that C#, the language, is on an EOL path? Or the .NET runtime will no longer be a supported way of writing userland apps?

    Your claim that we intentionally obsolete developer technologies as some sort of money making scheme is hillarious. Have you worked in the commercial software industry before? Let me explain how it works.

    1) we spend a ginormous amount of money paying engineers to make something that we hope developers use.
    2) we figure out if its something we can even charge money for, or if we need to give it away so more people will develop for our huge money making platforms (Windows, SQL, Office, Sharepoint)
    3) when we have something we can give away / sell for a pittance, we start doing so
    4) this is when we might actually start getting money for our efforts.

    Now then, if our strategy was to make money at any cost, you'd think that we'd fire all of the engineers and keep selling licenses at the same price indefinitely.

    But as you've noted, our engineering staff moves on to new things and eventually the old things get phased out.

    We don't start working on new platforms because we need to figure out how to get more money out of existing customers. We work on new platforms because we think they'll be better than the old ones; that customers will like them more; that they'll provide more value to everyone. There are all kinds of features and products we'd LIKE to put out there in the real world but they all cost us more money to do. And as you've noted, everything we release causes someone to get upset if we want to stop supporting years later. For every one of these developer technologies we ship, we end up supporting it for years after we're not selling it (and thus not getting new revenue). Our support life cycle is a hell of a lot longer than Apples, or any of the for-pay Linux distros, for instance.

    Finally, regarding what a huge revenue stream deveopers tools are for us... I've never come across anyone in Windows or Office who is worried their project is going to be killed and their staff moved onto a _real_ money making project like the F# compiler :)

    Sure, DevDiv does great revenue compared to a lot of entire companies. But look who we're competing against. I'm not sure we've ever sold 300 million seats ever, counting everything we do. Windows does that _every release_.

    (nothing against the F# compiler guys. I just picked something :))

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe