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Below are some raw notes from the discussion in this session.


Main conversation topic: Why isn’t .NET used more in startups?


Ruby is used a lot instead

Ease of deployment- AppHarbor mostly solves this

Lots and lots of community support for Ruby/Sinatra

Much quicker startup for development of a project in Ruby (if you know it)

Open source projects can be updated lightning-fast (git, pull requests, project owners have high availability).  Example of chatting with project owner on IRC, getting 3 updates to the project in an hour

Ruby development seen as more efficient


IronRuby doesn’t have a large enough community, dropped by Microsoft, so there’s not a whole lot of confidence in it.

JRuby is similar to IronRuby for Java, but is actually used.  Lets you write code in Java or Ruby, whichever is easier, and interoperate.

Feeling that IronRuby could have/would have been a nice option if Microsoft had supported it well.


A lot of popular Rails frameworks/libraries (Rails, Sinatra, etc) are written by commercial companies but open sourced.  This doesn’t seem to happen on .NET as much.  .NET target audience is more large corporations, which are not generally as open source friendly.  It can be possible to convince management to be more open source friendly, but is a lot of work.


Other options for startups are Python, PHP


In Bay Area, virtually all startups are Ruby or Python, very hard to hire people to work on .NET.


Various advantages to Ruby

  • More efficient development
  • Better Community
  • Can’t fix problems in ASP.NET MVC yourself
    • Feels like you’re not a full partner
    • “We know how to develop the framework ourselves, we don’t need you”


Discussion of open source work as part of resume.  Companies represented at ALT.NET definitely look for open source work, online presence.

Laughter at example of “I want to take my career to the next level.  What certifications do you recommend?” versus “What open source projects should I contribute to?”

Discussion of developer social (“drinking”) community.  In SF, most devs know each other, go out drinking together, etc.  Silo vs communal culture.


How can the ALT.NET community grow?  How do people find out about it?

Is ALT.NET somewhat self-loathing?  There’s no ALT.Ruby (actually, enterprise ruby is the ALT.Ruby).  Is dissatisfaction with .NET, lack of pride in .NET the reason ALT.Net isn’t “advertised” too much, and doesn’t grow as much?

Startup community in Chicago is not very technical, most technical work is outsourced.  GroupOn sucks up all technical talent there.

.NET community seems fractured, seems like they “hate each other”.  .NET startup meetups would help bring the community together, share knowledge.


Lots of things you can’t do without Microsoft helping you.  Does Microsoft help startups?  They want to, but they don’t know how.  BizSpark is good for 2 years, but then you’re screwed.  AppHarbor solves the startup cost issue pretty well.

SQL Server is expensive, MS is very monolithic – hard to use something else.  Entity framework is all there is…


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