How Open Source changed .NET forever

Albert Starreveld
6 min readFeb 25, 2022

Lately, things are getting confusing. There’s .NET Framework, there’s .NET Core, and there’s .NET. They’re all pretty much the same, but they are very much different.

It all began with the .NET Framework in 2002. In the past twenty years software changed our society. Individuals and businesses rely on software much more than back in 2002. Software development as a profession has changed too. The typical software development is much more eager to share the knowledge of their profession with other software developers than in 2002.

.NET development changed over the years. .NET has become a community rather than the programming language some thought it to be. .NET Framework and .NET Core/.NET are very different things.

This article describes how .NET Framework, and thus the job of the average .NET developer has evolved over the past twenty years. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane:

How the .NET Framework came to be

It all started in 2002. Before 2002 building things with a Microsoft programming language was no picnic... Instead of .NET we had Visual Basic for a programming language. It was possible to build websites with it too, that was called ASP. It worked, but PHP and Java were superior to it, and more and more developers moved away from Microsoft programming languages.

So, in 2002 Microsoft introduced the .NET Framework. A far more powerful application framework designed to be easily adopted by C++-, Java-, and Visual Basic programmers. The goal? Getting everybody back to programming Microsoft languages. And it worked.

The adoption of Open Source

When .NET Framework was first introduced in 2002, sharing ideas amongst other programmers online wasn’t an absolute no-go from a company perspective. Yes, Open Source existed back then, but most people didn’t understand the concept and thought it meant free software.

Over the years more and more Open Source projects arose. People spent their free time building things and they shared their code online. Others approached Open Source from another perspective. Some companies thought: Why pay for maintenance on software that does not give the company a competitive advantage? Let’s Open Source it, share it with other companies, and have maintenance be a collective effort. This reduces software development costs and makes software development a…

Albert Starreveld

Passionate about cloud native software development. Only by sharing knowledge and code we can take software development to the next level!