Microsoft angers the .NET open source community with a controversial decision

Microsoft has been open-source-friendly for the past ten years. At times, it even admitted that it loves Linux and the Open Source Community. Microsoft was even praised by the Linux Foundation for its cooperation with the open-source community, almost five years after it joined the foundation. The storm brewing within the.NET community Microsofts core software framework and flagship development toolkit, could bring all of this goodwill to an abrupt halt.
Many are questioning Microsoft's open-source commitment after a controversial business decision. Multiple Microsoft sources tell The Verge that the decision has angered many developers within Microsoft, but they were told to not complain.

Microsoft quietly removed Hot Reload from the upcoming release.NET 6 this Week. This feature allows developers to instantly get feedback on projects they create and to change code to see the results. This feature is a major selling point for Google's Flutter toolkit and Dart programming language, and Microsoft has been trying to catch up to bring it to.NET/Visual Studio.

Microsoft originally described Hot Reload as an ambitious project that would bring Hot Reload to as many.NET developer as possible. However, a last-minute change to the program has made it more accessible to Visual Studio developers and Windows only. Microsoft is testing near-final Release Candidate version of.NET 6, which allows developers to use Hot Reload in a variety environments and platforms using dotnet monitor, including the popular Visual Studio Code environment. A Release Candidate is generally a Microsoft version that Microsoft considers production-ready and feature-complete. People should be aware of any bugs before it is fully released.

Microsoft has made a last-minute decision to enable Hot Reload functionality through Visual Studio 2022. This will allow Microsoft to focus on providing the best user experiences. A thread on GitHub asking about the removal shows the frustration of the community, as well as comments on Hacker News or Microsofts blog post.

We are sorry for any confusion. We had to prioritise the scenarios due to the sheer number of them we have. Hot Reload will therefore not be released as a dotnet tool feature. We will double our efforts to support VS 2022, with support for VS4Mac later Dmitry Lyalin @LyalinDotCom October 21, 2021

Even more disappointing is the fact that the source code only supported it for 1-2k lines. That code was then ripped out at last minute, Phillip Carter, an ex-Microsoft employee who worked on the F# team. This is a huge backslide considering hot reload was not originally intended for Visual Studio. This is a bad sign.

According to The Verge, Julia Liuson (head of Microsoft's developer division), made the decision to delete the functionality from.NET 6. According to sources, the decision was made by business leaders. It is clear that the company believed it would go under the radar and not cause a backlash. Microsoft engineers who have been working on.NET with the open-source community for many years feel betrayed by the company's decision and fear that it will have a lasting impact on Microsofts open-source efforts.

Visual Studio is required if you want a great developer experience. This seems to be against all the cross-platform efforts of the.NET teams, according to Reilly Wood, an independent developer, who raised the issue on GitHub.

This decision comes after weeks-long unrest within the.NET community about Microsoft's involvement in.NET Foundation. It was established in 2014, when Microsoft made.NET Open Source available. It is an independent organization meant to promote open-source software development and collaboration for.NET. Resigning board member questioned recently the role of.NET Foundation, asking if it is here to enforce Microsoft's will on.NET Open Source or if its here to foster and promote a healthy community.

Microsoft also restricted and locked a pull request to disable Hot Reload functionality in.NET 6. This was done for dotnet monitor. The community was effectively prevented from commenting or rejecting any last-minute changes. Although the community has submitted its own pull request for Microsoft's changes to be reverted, it is unlikely that this will be approved.

To allow @dotnetfdn's progress, I have resigned as Executive Director. I'm still on the @dotnet team and look forward to continuing to work on my favorite platform. Claire Novotny (@clairernovotny) October 8, 2021

Claire Novotny, the executive director of the.NET Foundation, resigned recently. Others questioned the independence and privileges granted to Microsoft. The.NET 6 scandal will not end the chaos that has been brewing in the.NET community.

We reached out to Microsoft regarding the.NET 6 changes as well as the.NET Foundation. Unfortunately, the company was not able to release a statement in the time allowed for publication.

Updated at 5:18 PM ET: This article has been updated to clarify the details about Microsoft's pull request lock on GitHub.