I’m one of the organizers for the Indianapolis Alt.NET user group (giving a talk on DDD next Thursday) and one thing that I was concerned about was the name. My admonition was that it almost sounds like the Non-conformists club (everyone’s doing it). I agreed to be involved on the condition that we not turn into a monthly discussion of "here’s the coolest technology that’s not from Microsoft". It seems like I’m not the only one with this concern looking at this thread from the Alt.NET Yahoo Group. BTW if you plan to join the mailing list I suggest setting up a rule in outlook or filter in gmail (or whatever your email client of choice calls its system for auto sorting your mail for you).
Anyway, I have done the reading and know a bit of the origins of Alt.NET (it’s much better than the previous name "nHibernate Mafia"). Basically, there were a number of people who were somewhat concerned regarding the Ado.NET Entity Framework (Microsoft’s new O/RM solution), and expressed their concern stating for example that the EF does not support persistence ignorance (my take on the issue would take another blog post–already queued–to fully express). From there the idea came that as developers we should not wear blinders when selecting the components for our development stack. In other words, just because your target platform is .NET, you should not lock yourself into using technology from Microsoft exclusively. Honestly, (as the original poster of the aforementioned thread mentions) this deserves a big DUH.
To put it simply, it is a movement within the .NET development community that seeks to foster a drive toward placing identified best practices as a primary concern when making architectural decisions. If anything the "Alt" to me means an alternative to opening up your IDE and drag-n-dropping your way toward a workable "solution." Rather than the path of least resistance, try taking the road less taking. An alternate route so to speak. With that thought in mind. I propose a new Alt.NET logo.