Microsoft rolls back controversial .NET change after open source community outcry

Microsoft is reversing its decision to remove a key feature from its next .NET 6 release, after a public outcry from the open source community. Microsoft angered the open source .NET community earlier this week by removing a key part of Hot Reload in the next release of .NET 6, a feature that allows developers to modify source code while an application is running. running and immediately see the results.

It’s a feature many have been eagerly awaiting to use in Visual Studio Code and across multiple platforms, until Microsoft made the controversial last-minute decision to lock it down to Visual Studio 2022, a paid product limited to Windows. Sources at Microsoft, speaking on condition of anonymity, Recount The edge that the last-minute change was made by Julia Liuson, head of Microsoft’s developer division, and that it was a business-driven decision.

Microsoft has now reversed the change following backlash and anger within the company from many Microsoft employees. “We made a mistake in executing our decision and took longer than expected to respond to the community,” said Scott Hunter, director of program management for .NET. Microsoft has now approved the community pull request to re-enable this feature and it will be available in the final release of the .NET 6 SDK.

We asked Microsoft to comment on an executive ordering the change, but the company was unwilling to discuss the controversial decision. “We have taken steps to address the issue that some members of our OSS community have encountered,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The edge. “Hot reload capability will be in the General Availability version of the .NET 6 SDK available on November 8.”

Microsoft’s blog post does not address this controversial decision, however. Instead, it suggests that it was simply a mistake to remove the code instead of just deactivating it, and not a business decision. “In our efforts to define the scope, we ended up inadvertently removing the source code instead of just not calling that code path,” says Hunter.

Hot Reload allows developers to instantly see code changes while applications are running.

While the reversal is welcome to the .NET community, the explanation and circumstances surrounding this incident will not be easy for those who value transparency around such decisions.

“As with many businesses, we’re learning to balance the needs of the OSS community with being a corporate sponsor for .NET,” says Hunter. “Sometimes we don’t get it right. When we don’t, the best we can do is learn from our mistakes and move on.

This turbulent episode came after weeks of unrest within the .NET community over Microsoft’s involvement in the .NET foundation. The foundation was established in 2014 when Microsoft made .NET open source, and it’s supposed to be an independent organization that exists to improve open source software development and collaboration for .NET. A resigning board member recently questioned the role of the .NET Foundation, asking if it is “here to impose Microsoft’s will on .NET open source, or are you here to help foster and promote a healthy community?

A recent controversy has also led to the recent resignation of the Executive Director of the .NET Foundation, Claire Novotny, and others questioning the independence of the .NET Foundation given the special privileges of Microsoft. Microsoft has certainly damaged some of the open source work it has built on for 10 years with this turnaround, and the company still has a lot of work to do to improve relationships with the .NET community and issues related to its influence. on the Net. NET Foundation.

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