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Channel 9

.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World

Microsoft screwed up big for customer confusion on this one.

First it was the attempt to explain the "red and green" model for compatibility in .NET 3.0.  Now, it is announcing that .NET 3.0 will not include C# or VB 3.0, but will be an "additive release".  Do you understand that?  Even with pictures, you have to wonder what they were thinking.

Everyone Microsoft is just bubbling over with support and entheusiasm.  Customers are much less so.  The general belief is that .NET is now heading down the evil Java naming path where you end up with things like Java 2 Platform SE SDK 5.0 (version 1.5).

Corrected: Even better, .NET 3.0 will be shipped with Vista.  I guess that means .NET 3.0 will mean something different on XP machines (since Vista offers capabilities which will not be backported to XP), but MS does not explain that.  How will the bits be backported?  MS does not explain that.  How will the bits be identified?  MS does not explain that.  How will Orcas affect versioning?  MS does not explain that.

Update 1: This is closer to what we should have gotten from the beginning.

Soma may be proud with his choice, but the reclamas and the "clearing the confusion" blog entries show that both the decision and its announcement were very badly done.  Never build up an accepted usage and expectation then change everything with bad explanations.  This should have been a very detailed article with a FAQ, not a short blog post.

Also, Kirk Allen Evans cannot get the name of the current products correct -- it is VB 2005, not VB.NET 2005 -- you rebranded it, remember?  (It would also be nice if he turned on comments for his post.)

Update 2: Julia Lerman does the research.  With the benefit of almost four additional months of Microsoft explanations, she describes what they tried to tell us back in June.  She convinces me even more that .NET 3.0 is a marketing ploy to make Vista sound like it was advancing the .NET Framework when it is not.  They changed the meaning of the version numbers with an extraordnarily poor and weak explanation.

Update 3: I have posted a follow-on to this topic here.

Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:57 AM Programming , The Stump | Back to top


Comments on this post: .NET Naming Debacle

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
There aren't any Vista specific parts of .NET 3.0. All of the features also work on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

.NET 3.0 is pre-installed on Vista -- which might have what led to the confusion on that point.

Hope this helps,

Scott
Left by scottgu on Jun 11, 2006 12:34 PM

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
@Scott: From my blog reading, there has been no real cogent explanation of the full implications and sequence of events. If you do not have that yet, then my comments are more correct than I thought.

When Orcas comes out, will it be .NET 3.0 also? 3.1? 3.5? If you have no answer yet, then you reinforce my contention that this event was a debacle. You established the expectation that the .NET Framework would be linked to versioning of the CLR, BCL, C#, and VB. Now you stomp on that expectation with no explanation of the implications to everyone.

Step away from the marketing and look at the customer.
Left by Mark on Jun 11, 2006 12:50 PM

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
This name change is about having one consistent name -- ".NET" -- for Microsoft's developer framework libraries.

It was specifially intended to avoid fracturing the naming going forward, which was the path that we were heading down with having two top-level developer framework brands (WinFX and .NET).

There .NET Framework Redist will (like it does today) include a set of tested runtime, frameworks, and compilers that all work together. .NET Framework 3.0 is the version that ships this fall -- and is pre-installed with Windows Vista, and available for download on XP and 2003.

.NET Framework 3.0 includes WPF, WCF, Workflow, and many other new framework libraries.

"Orcas" is the codename for the next release of Visual Studio (and won't ship this year). Once the compilers in Orcas are finished, there will be a new .NET Framework Redist that includes them (and other new framework libraries and changes). The compiler version strings will probably be synched to the same version number.

Going forward you'll be able to install a consistent .NET Redist that has everything you need (runtime, frameworks, and compilers). These redists are side-by-side compatible -- so V1.1, V2.0, V3.0, VNext can be installed safely on the same machine.
Left by scottgu on Jun 11, 2006 6:01 PM

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
Thanks Scott. I guess there is a plan, but my point remains that the announcement and description of the changes was inadequate. Something of this magnitude needed to be fully explained in detail. I'll keep the "debacle" teminology in the title since it reflects the overall confusion in the user community. Perhaps it will be better to think through future big announcements by looking back at this one.
Left by Mark on Jun 11, 2006 6:22 PM

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
Comments are turned on for my blog, I just moderate comments to greatly reduce comment spam, just like you have the captcha validation for your comments. I don't show any comments for you yet in my moderation queue.
Left by Kirk Allen Evans on Jun 11, 2006 6:43 PM

# re: .NET Naming Debacle
Requesting Gravatar...
@KAE: There is no obvious method to leave a comment on your blog. Both IE6 and IE7B2 display no method (either textboxes or a link) to post anything to your moderation queue. Maybe I am missing something...
Left by Mark on Jun 14, 2006 7:04 AM

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