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.NET Outside the Box

In the Sept. 1 issue of RDN, we covered reports about Microsoft's secretive Midori project and its implications for the post-Windows landscape.

In that feature Rockford Lhotka, principal technology evangelist at Magenic Technologies and a contributor to RDN's sister publication Visual Studio Magazine, made a cogent and concise observation about the .NET Framework and its evolution. Said Lhotka:

"First we had DOS. Then we had Windows, which ran on DOS. Then we had Windows, with DOS emulated inside. Now we have .NET, which runs on Windows. It is only a matter of time before we have .NET, with Windows emulated inside."

It's a remarkable observation, really, and one that goes to the heart of Microsoft's sustained dominance in the industry. Microsoft has been able to extrapolate its core technologies, projecting them forward in a way that both preserves and extends the company's strategic advantages.

Which brings me to the question of .NET-based development. Since 2001, corporate developers have grown increasingly comfortable with and reliant on Microsoft's vision of a managed development infrastructure. But is .NET-based development poised to break out of the confines of Windows?

In just the past week or so, we've seen both the release candidate of Silverlight 2 and the final version of the open source Mono 2.0 implementation of .NET for cross-platform development. Add the Mono Project's Moonlight effort to bring the Silverlight runtime to Linux, and developers have multiple ways to bring their .NET development efforts to non-Windows audiences.

The question is, are developers using these tools, frameworks and resources to deliver software beyond the traditional .NET/Windows target? And if so, what kinds of challenges and adjustments are they making in the process?

We want to hear from you. Are you looking at Silverlight 2.0 or Mono as a way to extend your .NET development efforts beyond Windows? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/09/2008

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