Should Linq To Sql Go "Open Source"?

Linq to Sql started life as:

" ...a humble Visual Studio project on my desktop machine way back in the fall of 2003..."
Matt Warren

It only reached production when ObjectSpaces failed to ship with VS2005 (it took a dependency on the ill-fated WinFS).

In November 2007, ownership of Linq 2 Sql was transferred from the C# team to the SQL Data Programmability team.

And now, microsoft are finally poised to release their long-anticipated ADO.Net Entity Framework (aka, 'EF').

Maintaining both EF and L2S involves some clear conflicts of interest.

So, here's a brief Edward De Bono style "Plus/Minus/Interesting" analysis of the question:

'should Linq to sql go open source?'


  • It could get a lot of people working on it.
  • Features could be added based directly on community need, eg.
    • mockability
    • multiple providers
    • ability to refresh portions of the model without refreshing the entire thing.
    • ...and other alleged showstoppers


  • If it doesn't get many contributions, then it could effectively kill the product, as it would be hard to move it back in-house.
  • It would probably become impossible to ship it as part of the framework, due to liability concerns.
  • Open Source is Communism ;-). (ah, kidding)


  • It could represent a hedge-bet / fallback position in case Entity Framework doesn't take off. (EF is pretty big and i'm a little worried that it won't take off).
  • With or without it being open sourced, the community (that's us!) can create awesome third party products, add-ons and scary work arounds to extend or test linq to sql

What are the chances?


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(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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