I received an email this morning from Ira Mitchell clueing me in on a group that Freemind is helping get going called ALT.NET. The first thing I noticed was that they have a really cool Minneapolis-inspired logo for the group and then I started trying to figure out what it was all about. From the ALT.NET site:
At it's purest, the driving force behind the ALT.NET developer community may be described simply as "The pursuit of happiness." While Microsoft has provided developers with a powerful framework and a bunch of very good tools and packages to build upon, it often feels like too much effort was put into a "one-size-fits-all" design philosophy that can make it complex, tedious, or just plain impossible to do things that don't follow Microsoft's prescribed approach.
With other development platforms and languages offering so much choice (Java and it's many quality open source offerings) and elegance (Ruby on Rails with its "beautiful" code and "convention over configuration" philosophy), .NET developers longed to craft cleaner, more elegant solutions without having to leave a framework that has so much to offer.
ALT.NET is about following your own beliefs about application design, and using the .NET platform to support your ideas, rather than retro-fitting your ideas to the platform.
Sounds cool! The first meet-up is at The Bulldog NE, the same place where people meet before Ruby Users of Minnesota meetings. Check it out; the beer will be good, the food will be good and hanging out with hip people working with cool technology will be good as well.