Saturday, October 06, 2007

Defining Alternative

I'm down in Austin, TX for ALT.NET. It's been a great experience so far. It's a little difficult not to be star struck. For non-developers the analogy would be sneaking into a Hollywood party - look, there's Tom Cruise!

In previous posts I've lamented about the fact that at conferences the worst part is often the actual presentations. The best bits are inevitably the discussions that occur in between. The great thing about the Open Spaces format is that the whole event is basically the discussion in between part.

There was a debate at the beginning about the meaning of ALT.NET. It was fascinating to see the different opinions in the room. I must admit that I was a little surprised (and disappointed) by some of the vitriol that was expressed towards Microsoft. Thankfully this was very much in the minority. What was very encouraging however was the large presence from Redmond. The winds of change are blowing...

My take on the meaning of ALT.NET is that something that is alternative is defined by what it is isn't, not what it is. This alternative nature is characterized by the fact that the conference participants are doing things that the majority of .NET developers are not. A common trait amongst the people in the room is their open mindedness. There is more than one way to solve a given problem. They are interested in using the best tools, not the best tools from any particular vendor. These tools support their values, not the other way round.

I appreciate that the name is somewhat divisive. But I don't consider that to be a bad thing because it encourages debate.



Post a Comment

<< Home