Last week I attended the //build conference in San Francisco. On Thursday evening, Microsoft extended an invitation to user groups around the Bay Area to come to their new open space for developers at 680 Folsom Street known as the Reactor. The party was focused on open source and community engagement and I was privileged to kick off the Lightning Talks with a short presentation about the .NET Foundation. The goal of my presentation was to promote the Foundation and try to clear up any misconceptions which may exist about its purpose or mission. I also used the opportunity to share a story about how a presentation that I did for a Bay Area user group ultimately led to the initial round of funding for DotNetNuke.
To set the stage it was important to note that there would be no need for a .NET Foundation if Microsoft had not created the .NET Framework. Since its release in 2001, the .NET Framework has had tremendous adoption - with current estimates of more than 1.8 billion active installations worldwide. There are more than 6 million professional software developers that make their living using the .NET Framework today. And based on the recent strategic announcements from Microsoft related to cross platform and multi-device support, I expect the growth of the .NET Framework will only accelerate in the coming years.
This photo of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is symbolic of the recent and profound cultural shift which has occurred within Microsoft. In Satya's short tenure as CEO we have already seen the rapid evolution of a strictly proprietary software company into an open services company that is embracing technology and devices in a way that few could have ever predicted.
The .NET Foundation was created with 3 core pillars in mind... openness, community, and innovation. Open source projects which are part of the .NET Foundation are expected to adhere to some consistent open source principles when it comes to governance and methodology.
The .NET Foundation fulfills its mission by offering a variety of valuable services to .NET open source projects. These include assistance with legal matters such as licensing, trademarks, and copyright. In addition, it provides mentorship and guidance on the best practices for managing open source projects. And it also offers support in the form of infrastructure and marketing channels to allow its open source projects to grow and flourish.
There is significant development activity across the projects that are part of the .NET Foundation. If we look at Github, which is where the majority of these projects are managed, we see 179 distinct repositories, more than 24,000 forks, 72,000 stars, and 4,200 contributors.
Shaun Walker has 25+ years professional experience in architecting and implementing enterprise software solutions for private and public organizations. Shaun is the original creator of DotNetNuke, a Web Application Framework for ASP.NET which spawned the largest and most successful Open Source community project native to the Microsoft platform. Based on his significant community contributions he has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) as well as an ASPInsider for over consecutive 10 years. He was recognized by Business In Vancouver in 2011 as a leading entrepreneur in their Forty Under 40 business awards, was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Outercurve Foundation, and is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Council for Microsoft's .NET Foundation. Shaun is currently a Practice Area Partner at Arrow Digital specializing in Innovation Technology.