This is *MY* theory. Enjoy.
The term ALT.Net has been gaining a lot of momentum. There is even a conference. A while back Scott Hanselman raised the question Is Microsoft losing the Alpha Geeks? This generated lot of debate. If you have been listening to Hanselminutes regularly, you know that Scott is a pragmatic guy. He criticizes when criticism is due but never bashes anything. He is not a zealot. In recent episodes he has raised the issue of ALT.Net more than once and also, as a part of the “Be a Better Developer in 6 months” program, will be teaching himself Ruby and Ruby on Rails. So you get a feeling that Scott, the alpha developer he is, was slowly drifting away from Microsoft.
Now, if you listen to this episode of Hanselminutes, where Scott interviews David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) and Martin Fowler at the Rails Conference, you hear the passionate voice of DHH and the mature voice of Martin. Couple of times DHH expresses his displeasure at the way Microsoft is doing things. Mind you, he does not bash anything. That is a great trait. You talk about the shortcomings, have opinions, but don’t just dismiss anything and everything MS as BS.
If you listen carefully, you can sense Scott being very cautious when talking about Microsoft. He says Microsoft has been, indirectly paying his mortgage. I identify myself as a .Net Web Developer and I don’t apologize for that. Like Scott, I too have benefited from using Microsoft Technologies. Yes, there are short comings, things can be better, but then I am not a basher. I am looking at and trying to indulge in alternatives. But then I am just another 5:01 Developer.
Back to the conspiracy. The ALT.Net movement is kinda a like a rebellion against Microsoft. How do you quell a rebellion? You take out the leaders. You convince them to come into your fold. As a first step, Microsoft decided to directly pay Scott’s mortgage and scooped him up as divulged here. Hmmm. I am happy for Scott. And wish him the best and hope he can still continue to be the independent voice and champion he has been.
All seemed to well until this was revealed. Now, now, now. I think I am on to something here. I considered Phil Haack to be a first class rebel. Maybe it’s the last name. Maybe it’s his Gravatar. Phil and friends created SubText when DasBlog was available. Then they went on to create SubSonic with NHibernate, LLBLGen and a host of other tools around. If you have not checked out Subsonic, stop everything now and check it out. It’s a cool toolset created by a bunch of smart people. I have written code generators in the past and am looking for a good DAL tool. I dug the code, discovered a few issues, submitted work items on codeplex and the fixes where rolled in by the end of the week. Wow!! Great job guys.
There you have it. First Scott, now Phil. So who’s next? All you Alt.Net folks, you have been forewarned. Watch out. Here comes Microsoft.