Microsoft Shares Source Code to the .NET Framework

I saw this on Scott Guthrie's blog yesterday (I must have had a brain freeze for leaving him off my blogroll): Releasing the Source Code for the .NET Framework Libraries

This is good to see. And this is great news for software developers. For this post, let's leave out the obvious technical reasons as to why this is a good idea for .NET software developers. Releasing the .NET Framework source in and of itself is to me, maybe surprisingly, really not the biggest news. We have been able to "view" the source code for a while now (thanks Lutz!) -- although, being able to "step" into the .NET Framework code in the debugger is huge!

Let's instead focus on the business perception reasons. Microsoft has been slammed by many a person for being the 800 pound gorilla, an opportunistic monopoly, the evil empire, the company that pretends to care about software developers but doesn't, <insert your Microsoft slam here>. Many of these come from the open source community. While Microsoft isn't releasing the source to Windows or Office to the world, the .NET Framework is hardly a flash in the pan. I mean, they are integrating the .NET Framework and all of its siblings and underpinnings into many cash cows, including Windows. With this release, Microsoft is taking a huge step to fully understanding the importance of the software development community. I see this as just one of many steps that Microsoft is going to take in the future to make it real easy to have software developers target .NET, Windows and/or Microsoft technologies in their development --- one semi-bold prognostication I have (and others do too) is the *full* .NET Framework on the Mac, not just via Silverlight.

This alone won't change many of the "gorilla" perceptions that people think about Microsoft, but it's all about baby steps, and I think the baby is beginning to at least toddle around now.

Oh, and to those that think the licensing is bad....it's nothing that isn't expected. All it is really saying in a nutshell is that you can view the source code but can't modify it. That is perfectly reasonable. Microsoft is not a purely open source company, and won't be, so this licensing allows exactly what the intention of the announcement is -- for you to view the source code during your development process.

Buying a Computer: New or Used?

For the business my spouse wants to start (I am not ready to give up what type of business it is just yet), she needs a new computer. The 4 year old, first generation Intel Centrino, Dell laptop, with 512 MB RAM is just not going to cut it. We have had a lot of discussion about the brand of computer we are going to buy. We are fairly confident that we are going to settle on an Apple iMac -- while the cost may be a little bit more than a <Dell, HP, Gateway, insert your favorite vendor here> PC, the fact it can run both Windows and OS X just makes it a no brainer. And with the business my spouse wants to start I can see her switching back and forth between operating systems. And, the new and previous generation iMacs are just sweet looking and designed so efficiently!

Now that the "What type of computer are we going to get" question has been answered, we are faced with another dilemma. Should we buy new or used? The fact is, the previous generation iMacs had Intel Core 2 Duo processors in them, etc., and would serve just fine for my spouse's business. And now that the new iMacs were announced back in August, these previous generation iMacs can be found "discounted" on eBay and other sites.

I have always leaned towards never buying a used computer. I like my computers "clean as a whistle", so to speak. So buying from an individual on eBay scares me a bit. There are reputable stores, like even Apple themselves, that sell refurbished computers. And notice above I put the word discounted in quotes -- I am not 100% convinced that the value you might be able to get from a used/refurbished computer will really outweigh having the latest generation and never touched machine. The new iMacs start at only about $1200; add another 1GB of RAM and you are looking at $1300 or so. Not too bad. Amazon has a $50 rebate too.

So what is your opinion? Would you buy a used/refurbished computer? If so, from where would you buy such a computer?