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The Dot in .com Speaks Out on .NET

Microsoft has made it clear that it positions its .NET strategy at the markets currently dominated by Sun Microsystems, but until now, Sun has been relatively silent on Microsoft’s initiative.

An opinion piece on Sun’s website reveals the Unix giant’s attitude toward .NET.

The piece, written by Madhu Siddalingaiah a founding principal of consulting group SEA Corp, discusses some of the nuts and bolts of the .NET platform. It touches briefly on the topology and architecture of Microsoft’s next-generation distributed computing platform, then delves deeply in Microsoft’s C# programming language.

Siddalingaiah’s review of C# is an overwhelmingly negative comparison to Sun’s Java programming environment. Microsoft and Sun settled a court case earlier this year revolving around unauthorized changes Microsoft made to its version of Java. Some speculation suggested that C# is an attempt at Java’s functionality without Sun’s technology.

“Microsoft is spinning .NET as innovative but what they’re really doing is giving developers an updated set of handcuffs,” Siddalingaiah writes. Java offers two main attractions to developers: it was designed to work in client/server environments and it is platform independent, so most machines can run Java, despite the different operating systems. As one might expect, C# relies on Windows servers, the handcuffs that Siddalingaiah describes.

The complaint Sun had with Microsoft’s Java implementation was that it had features that were only useful on Windows machines, and the complaint Sun has with C# is the same. “The Java platform is a mature cross-platform solution with no direct ties to any underlying operating system. The same cannot be said of .NET, which is a Windows-only solution,” Siddalingaiah writes, criticizing Microsoft for making its language Windows-only for the time being.

Siddalingaiah also chides Microsoft for potential security holes. According to the essay, Sun has opened the Java source code so experts can analyze it for possible security holes. Siddalingaiah doubts that Microsoft would make a similar move. Some viruses such as the infamous ”love bug” relied on Microsoft’s Visual Basic and its integration with Microsoft’s server products. -- Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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