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Microsoft angers the .NET open source community with a controversial decision

Microsoft has spent the past 10 years embracing open-source software and, at several points, even admitting it loves Linux and the open source community. The Linux Foundation even praised Microsoft for working with the open source community after the company joined the foundation nearly five years ago. All of this goodwill could be about to come crashing down, thanks to a storm that’s brewing in the .NET community — Microsoft’s flagship development toolkit and core software framework.

A controversial business decision inside Microsoft has left many questioning the company’s commitment to open source. Multiple sources at Microsoft tell The Verge that it has also angered lots of developers inside the company but that they’ve effectively been told not to complain.

Microsoft has quietly removed a key part of Hot Reload in the upcoming release of .NET 6 this week, a feature that essentially allows developers to get instant feedback when they’re creating a project and change code to immediately see the results. It’s a big selling point for Google’s rival Dart programming language and Flutter toolkit, and Microsoft has been playing catchup to bring it to .NET and Visual Studio.

Microsoft described its original plans as “an ambitious project to bring Hot Reload to as many .NET developers as possible,” but a last-minute change has left it mainly limited to Windows and Visual Studio developers instead of being open and available across multiple platforms. Microsoft has been testing near-final “Release Candidate” versions of .NET 6 that allowed developers to use Hot Reload across a variety of environments and platforms with dotnet watch, including the popular Visual Studio Code development environment. A Release Candidate generally means Microsoft considers it production-ready, feature-complete, and that people should just beware of bugs before it’s fully released.

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