ALT.NET: Looks Like its Introspection Time Again!

Its time for the semi-annual “What is ALT.NET and what does it mean to me?” introspection merry-go-round.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: introspection is a healthy form of self-review and an expression of self-awareness for both people and organizations/movements/shared-value-systems/whatever ALT.NET might be.  The last time this theme surfaced (to my knowledge) was back in March of 2009 and I blogged about my thoughts at that time in this post.

Since then, my thoughts on the subject haven’t changed much; I still feel that ALT.NET exists as an effective rallying-point for a shared set of values, ideas, and approaches to software engineering in the .NET ecosystem that’s every bit as important now as it was before.  Whether we like the name or don’t, accept the history (good and bad) of the ‘movement’ or attempt to reject it, consider it a success or a failure, for better or worse its still a name and concept that I experience all the time has traction as an identifier both for those that consider themselves part of it and those that do not.

Twitter –> Blogs –> Twitter

This particular round of introspection started on Twitter and then spilled over into the blog-o-sphere where various people offered their thoughts and opinions in long-form since 140 characters just didn’t seem to cut it for them.  Comments about the comments about the blog posts then continued on Twitter for some time afterward (yes, that sounds silly to me too FWIW 🙂 )

As a point of reference, here are some links to some of those posts for the interested reader:

  • Ian Cooper wonders at length about the meaning of ALT.NET (and its purpose, goals, and possible future (ir)relevance) in a post entitled “Whither ALT.NET?”.
  • Sergio Pereira attempts to categorize the different broad types of people and their interaction styles with ALT.NET in a post entitled “On ALT.NET and Patience” that is somewhat reminiscent of what I was getting at in my post last March in that it tries to acknowledge that there are both many different kinds of people who interact with ALT.NET and thus many different experiences these people have in their interactions.
  • Derrick Bailey contributed a post, “Active vs. Activist”, to the discussion where he attempts to explore the eternal tension between the idealism of the revolutionary zeal and the pragmatism of effective leadership by comparing the canonical definitions of “Activists” rage against the machine with those that are merely “Active” in a movement.

Read the Comments!

I would encourage everyone interested to please read not only the blogs themselves but also the comments posted to them.  Whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ ALT.NET, care about its future or not, both the posts and the comments are useful as a measurement-in-time in the life (or death) of an idea and are probably worth your time to read for that reason alone.