WinFX name change found irksome; petition circulates

Microsoft's recent renaming of its WinFX technology set to .Net Framework 3.0 has drawn the ire of some users, and a petition to change it back is circulating online.

As of noon Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, the "Reverse WinFX" (http://www.petitiononline.com/winfx/petition.html) petition had 346 signatures.

"This decision was made without any community feedback, which is uncharacteristic of Microsoft's recent openness to community input," the petition states. The petition refers to the new naming as Net 3.0, a shortened way of noting Net Framework 3.0.

"Not only is .Net 3.0 a misnomer, it throws a wrench in the .Net Framework, likely jamming future versions. It is also a severe inconvenience to developers, especially newcomers," according to the petition. The petition's creator was identified on the document's Web page as Rei Miyasaka, who could not be reached for comment.

"We ask that this short-sighted decision be turned around before the first release of the framework for its own sake as well as the sake of developers," the petition says.

Eight reasons are cited for objecting to the change, including an argument that .Net 3.0 is a different product from .Net and that WinFX is an API and not a platform. The petition also says WinFX is a better name and the name change is confusing.

"Please, for the framework's sake and for our sake, reverse this decision. It may be good now, but some years down the road it will be regretted," the petition concludes.

Seeking to clarify the naming convention for its developer framework, the company renamed its WinFX technologies Net Framework 3.0 this spring. Net Framework 3.0 is slated for inclusion in the upcoming Windows Vista platform. Net Framework 3.0 features the Windows Communication Foundation Web services platform, the Windows Presentation Foundation presentation layer, Windows Workflow, and Windows CardSpace for identity management.

Microsoft released a statement on Wednesday responding to the petition that emphasized that the re-branding was based on what customers wanted.

"The impetus for the re-branding was based on feedback we heard from customers. The .Net Framework is a strategic brand that has come to symbolize both managed code development and overall platform thought leadership. Microsoft has poured an incredible amount of energy into the brand over the past five years. With over 90 percent professional developer awareness and over 50 percent professional developer adoption, we must continue building on the incredible equity we've built in this brand. This decision will enable us to do that," the company said.

"Additionally, this decision will simplify our message to developers. While the WinFX brand has helped us introduce the incredible innovations within Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow, and Windows CardSpace, the brand also creates an unnatural discontinuity between previous versions of our framework and the current version.

"The complexity and ambiguity of having two top-level developer brands may lead to confusion later down the road for developers. In contrast, the .Net Framework 3.0 aptly identifies the technology for exactly what it is -- the next version of our developer framework," the company said.

Online petitions seem to be growing in popularity as a means to protest the actions of technology vendors. Recently, a petition began circulating against the use of the term, SOA 2.0 (http://www.mwdadvisors.com/resources/stop-the-madness.php). Previously, a petition (http://classicvb.org/Petition/)was begun in favor of saving the Visual Basic 6 programming language.

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Paul Krill

InfoWorld
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