Today I came across two articles about Microsoft and the .NET platform. The first one, "Architecture astronauts take over", written by Joel Spolsky, is actually an effort to explain what Microsoft Live Mesh is all about, something I found difficult when I briefly mentioned the new Microsoft platform at launch a couple of weeks ago. Joel means that the Live Mesh is a creation of "architecture astronauts", the same people who long ago (7 years) crafted the since long forgotten "Hailstorm", an early vision of a cloud of webapps tied together with Windows Passport. Architecture astronauts are recognized in the following way, as Joel writes:
The hallmark of an architecture astronaut is that they don't solve an actual problem... they solve something that appears to be the template of a lot of problems. Or at least, they try. Since 1988 many prominent architecture astronauts have been convinced that the biggest problem to solve is synchronization.
Live Mesh is, initially at least, all about synchronization, but there is a greater vision, as Joel writes:
It's a whole goddamned architecture, with an API and developer tools and in insane diagram showing all the nifty layers of acronyms, and it seems like the chief astronauts at Microsoft literally expect this to be their gigantic platform in the sky which will take over when Windows becomes irrelevant on the desktop.
I'm sure there are other opinions on Live Mesh, this was a particularly colorful view worth mentioning, anyhow. Another note about Microsoft Live Mesh, it should not be confused with the Open Mesh, as envisioned by Marc Canter in a series of blog posts.
The other article I saw this morning was part two in a series of posts describing a Windows developer's conversion to Mac OS X. This part two is a description of the .NET platform and how it fails to attract top-level or "conscientious" developers. Two basic problems with the .NET platform is that it 1. Tries to be the single tool for all levels of developers, from the casual business analyst to the top-notch developer, and 2. The never-ending backwards compatibility to Win16 (Windows 3.1, released 1992).
Another obstacle is the vastness of the .NET platform with reportedly some whopping 39 509 types.