What is ALT.NET?

I am searching for answers….what is ALT.NET anyway?  I thought I knew what this movement was all about but the more I read the posts to their mailing list I confirm I don’t.  I don’t think they do either.

Here is a quote directly from the Altdotnet.org site:

We are a self-organizing, ad-hoc community of developers bound by a desire to improve ourselves, challenge assumptions, and help each other pursue excellence in the practice of software development.

Our movement is new. The conversation just started. All are welcome to shape and form the dialog in blogs and lists and face-to-face gatherings both local and global.

My confusing comes from being a member of the ALT.NET Yahoo group, which has a clear statement as to who they are:

Spawned from the AltNetConf in Austin, TX in October, 2007. We are .Net developers looking striving to create quality software on the .Net platform.

ALT.NET – You’re the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way. – You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc. – You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc. – You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles

I have been quietly following the group for a few weeks trying to digest what is being said, trying to understand the direction.  It seems tempers and in-fighting visit the list too often.  These are the representatives of the ALT.NET, movement, if you will and they represent it poorly.

I really like the idea of the group as they state on their web site, but do they mean it.  The ALT.NET Conference held in October seemed to be a giant success with the community coming together.  What has happened since then?  I am aware of a summit, even asked if one of the web sites I write for (InfoQ.com) would like to be involved but it was never followed up upon by those at ALT.NET.  I was also asked about interviewing David Laribee, but he never followed up.  This tells tall tales to me how the organization is evolving, but not for the good.

I like what they say to be about, I really do.   I don’t attempt to provide an answer to my own question or pass judgement.  I want people who are involved to either reply with a comment or send me a private email.

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2 responses to “What is ALT.NET?

  1. ActiveEngine Sensei

    From the tone of some of their posts I, as a old school programmer and manager, would not invite many of them to join my team. “Petulant” and coddled is the word I would chose to describe some of them. I take note that they do not mention improving communication with the business community, who pays the bills. Our industry is viewed with great annoyance by many and for good reason,as we do not take strides to educate our customers as to why loosely coupled classes are a good thing, and why a design patterns can save you money in the long term in regards to maintenance.

    That said, I like the fact that the Alt.Net group wants to challenge Microsoft to flex it’s creative muscles. It is a cool thing to make jumps to different tool kits, challenge your paradigm and grow.

  2. You know, this is pretty much my feeling too. I don’t think they are really looking at improving communication to the client.

    I know many of them by the blogs they write or from the industry in general and they are a intelligent group but the approach seems to be off, seems to be misguided and without purpose.

    I joined their Yahoo list to join in but I don’t seem to fit in. My original interest was with the assumption they were challenging MS, but I don’t know if they are really doing that at this point.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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