.NET Foundation Campaign: Rodney Littles, II

How did I get here?

Rodney Littles, II is a Senior Software Engineer at Megsoft Consulting. He has been tinkering with technology since childhood, which led to a career writing software. Rodney has been working on the .NET stack since .NET version 1.0. He has watched the language and framework grow and mature into one of the most enjoyable languages to work with. Over the last several years, Rodney has moved more towards mobile technologies and has delivered enterprise and SaaS mobile applications using Xamarin. During that time, Rodney was introduced to the world of .NET Open Source Software (OSS). Rodney has been one of the core maintainers of a popular .NET MVVM Framework, ReactiveUI, for the last two years. During that time he has done his best to engage with the Xamarin and .NET Open Source communities to understand the problems that exist in .NET OSS.

Why am I here?

I am here because there is a serious disconnect in the .NET ecosystem. .NET Developers shy away from Open Source projects, because they are not blessed by Microsoft. Microsoft is now open source and says they depend on a healthy community. Currently, the community I see, while better than years past, is still not healthy. Maintainers of .NET OSS that Microsoft wants to help thrive are still in rough shape. Maintainers struggle to get access to basic services, like technical writers for documentation, which may hinder their ability to seem valid to certain software shops. I think that we need to re-evaluate how we want our contributors and consumers to interact so we can build a community where Microsoft can bless projects that don't need to be part of the core framework.

As a Xamarin developer, the news of being adopted into the core framework is great! As technologies like Flutter and React are in the mobile space, and everyone is looking for the "Best Cross-Platform experience", I realize that getting .NET adoption starts with its cross-platform presence. I am positioned well to help onboard new developers into our ecosystem for a few reasons.

  1. I help maintain a framework that developers use to deliver applications with .NET, which is currently in the .NET Foundation
  2. I understand Reactive Extensions which bridges language barriers for a lot of developers
  3. I ship .NET Cross Platform applications for a living
  4. I am passionate about the state of .NET OSS

What do I want?

I struggle with setting goals in the unknown. I grew up in politics, so I know that even good-intentioned politics is flawed. I want to call these "Goals for the .NET Foundation". In reality, it's my wish list. The things I want the .NET Foundation to be seen publicly caring about and making a difference towards. Some may be attainable, some may be hopes of a dreamer. We'll find out together.

  1. An Open Source Relief Effort - I would like the .NET Foundation to provide aid to people who have good projects helping the community. This could range from documentation help up to an Open Source Mentorship/grooming program. Currently, the Foundation provides some aide, but we need more than bots and credits, some projects need help becoming more mature. We should find a way to help them, which helps the OSS community that Microsoft is so invested in.

  2. An Open Source Sponsorship Program - I want to call this Corporate sponsorship, but honestly, that isn't enough. I would love to see the companies that have big Microsoft contracts for millions of dollars a quarter in Azure spends give back to the community. I would like Microsoft to work with their legal departments and push the dogma of open source. Some of these companies have explicit policies against their employees contributing to Open Source. We know that OSS works best when we have the freedom to be creative and space to grow. If large corporations are thinning our pool of potential help, how can we grow a community?

  3. Growing the Community - I won't say silly things like "We should grow by 30%". More, I feel like we should start to work more with the community, .NET Consumers, and find out their concerns. We should understand what they value in the .NET ecosystem. We should use Foundation resources to bridge gaps between developers. With all the new tooling it is easier than ever to get started with .NET. We should be looking for an opportunity to show why the .NET Framework is a tool on which to build your home. We should be bridging the gap between the community and the ivory tower.