Help us Cast a Wider .NET

Move your .NET organization further toward open source.


Help us Cast a Wider .NET – We need you!

There’s never been a better time to get involved with open source software in the .NET community.

This site – itself an open-source project – is an attempt to help .NET developers & dev shops become familiar with open source concepts to enable them to join the wider community.

The OSS Participation Maturity Model

We think that OSS participation can be (over-generally) summarized in these stages:

  • FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
  • Acceptance
  • Consumption
  • Contribution
  • Participation
  • Cultural Embrace

We suggest ways to level up yourself or your company in each section below.

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

It’s natural to be wary about introducing open-source software, especially when getting started. In this stage, developers or companies may have doubts about the stability and safety of OSS.

To Level up:

  • Did you know that Microsoft is embracing OSS in many ways, including open-sourcing many aspects of the .NET Framework? Check out opensource.microsoft.com, their GitHub organization, and the .NET Foundation for starters.
  • Understand some myths about OSS
  • Understand OSS licenses in plain English with TLDRLegal or ChooseALicense
  • Consider which licenses you’ll allow your team to use; it’s sometimes better to work with a “white list”.
  • Familiarize yourself with some of the viewpoints on OSS security. While OSS projects still have to worry about security, the popular projects usually have many sets of eyes to find & fix potential issues.

Acceptance

OK, so you’ve accepted that OSS is not a terrible idea, and that it may be good to put to use in some of your work. Maybe you’re copying and pasting some code from open-source projects or doing things in a basic way.

To Level up:

Consumption

Fantastic! You’re using open-source software regularly, and are familiar with package managers and communicating with open-source maintainers. Why not put some of your own code out into the world?

To Level up:

Contribution

Excellent – you’re embracing open-source and know how to get your code into some projects.

To Level up:

  • Create an organization for your company (with permission, of course) on a collaborative OSS platform such as GitHub
  • Consider adding some of your internal code as open-source (a piece, an internal library)
  • Consider hosting documentation, blogs, or web sites via GitHub pages or a similar service
  • As a company, consider donating funds to support those OSS projects, particularly if they’ve saved your company money or time.
  • As a company, consider making time for employees to contribute back to open source – at least the OSS projects that you use. This is another form of donation that is often more sought after than money. Help bashing bugs or contributing to releases is almost always welcome.

Participation

Great! At this stage, your company works in the open, and employees contribute back to projects on a regular basis. You may even have some of your own out there.

To Level up:

  • Avoid “not invented here” syndrome. Look to collaborate before creating your own. Your organization at this point is probably pretty well respected, and there can be a large temptation to build your own version of something. Before doing this, why not look around and see if there are opportunities for collaboration? If a similar piece of software already exists, collaboration on that project can lift up that whole community as well as your own.
  • Make the roadmap for your projects public as early as possible. Sometimes roadmaps are truly a business secret, but in open-source software we can seek to make this as rare as possible. Make users aware of your roadmap and where you see your projects going.
  • Allow the community to drive direction of the project. Consider being liberal about accepting working contributions, even those large in scope, if they fit within the overall direction of the project. Allowing a project to evolve based on the community’s needs.

Cultural Embrace

If you’ve reached this place, congratulations – it’s incredibly difficult to do. Your organization is working in the open and taking direction from the community, in the true spirit of open source.

To Level up:

  • Bring the rest of us along with you! Help others understand where they are within this model and work to move them forward. Moving others forward will help everyone.

About This Project

This site was originally conceived by Sean Killeen (GitHub | Twitter | Web) as part of a presentation he delivered at the .NET Fringe Conference in 2017.

It aspires to be a project built by the .NET community to help engage .NET developer shops and spur them toward further involvement in the open-source world.

It is very much a work in progress and we’d love your contributions. Please jump right in over on GitHub!

What’s With the Site’s Name?

The phrase “cast a wide net” generally refers to considering or involving many people or things. In fishing casting a wide net means that the net covers more area, thus increasing your chance to catch fish.

When thinking about wanting to involve as many people as possible in open-source on the .NET platform, the phrase clicked, and the site got its name.