As soon as I heard that Microsoft were changing the name WinFX, an umbrella name for Avalon, Indigo – oh, excuse me, Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation – and Windows Workflow, to .NET Framework 3.0, I thought it was an incredibly bad idea.
The trouble is that it confuses everybody. I’ve seen people commenting that they’ll delay moving to .NET 2.0 ‘because .NET 3.0 is just around the corner.’ They then get horribly confused – and normally angry – when you tell them that the CLR, BCL, Windows Forms, ASP.NET and the language compilers are completely unchanged in ‘.NET 3.0’ from .NET 2.0.
Someone’s started a petition to name it back to WinFX. I don’t care what name it has – does it even need an umbrella name? Can we not call the three subsystems by their own names? Even better, their codenames which despite not being descriptive were at least easy to say! Do I really need to even install WCF and WF just to get a WPF application to work?
What I suspect it does mean is that versions of .NET after 3.0 simply won’t install or work on Windows before XP SP2, Server 2003 SP1, or Vista. That’s a huge compatibility loss – .NET 2.0 works right back to Windows 98 and NT 4.0. Or, if new versions of the CLR and BCL will install and work on older operating systems, they’ll have another stupid naming decision to make.
It also means that even for downlevel systems, the new installers will be even more humungous than ever for the One That Is To Come After. People still complain about the size of the Framework installer; most end users will never have a web server installed on their machine – security considerations would suggest that they shouldn’t – so why in hell does .NET Framework include and install ASP.NET on every single box? This leads to people asking about and trying to invent jerry-rigged systems to either try to link the framework into their binaries or ship only bits of the Framework. It’s a recipe for disaster come servicing time.
Please, if you value everyone’s sanity, sign this petition. It probably won’t do any good but you can at least say you spoke up against the insanity.