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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

.Net for microISV / .Net penetration


I'm going to write a application, and am considering if I should develop for the .Net framework or the good old Win32.
I would like to use .Net, since I use it at my current job. But I'm worried about that many users will not have the framework installed.

Does anybody know of any recent and reliable numbers for the .Net penetration.

Does anybody use the .Net framework for a "normal" desktop application, distributed to lots of different PC's?
Karsten Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
IE 7 came up as an automatica Windows update for me the other day.

If it uses .net then that might drastically increase the # of .net framework installations. 

I don't know if IE 7 uses .net.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
This was discussed here:


The bottom line is I don't think there are any reliable figures out there. IE7 doesn't use the .NET framework as far as I'm aware, by the way.
John Conners Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I've thought about this, too, and there have been several questions about this here recently. I think perhaps the more pertinent question might be whether your potential customers have broadband. A 25-30MB download is only a minute or so for most broadband customers, so even if they don't have the framework, they can get it fairly quickly if they have broadband. Granted, a 30MB download looks more daunting than a 10MB download, but iTunes is 50MB+, and that hasn't stopped me from downloading it.
Josh Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I have a freeware app which I recently rewrote using .net 2.0 because of unicode support. When I released the new version I had dozens of emails asking if the old version was still available and even a couple of complaints !!!

Page views vs downloads has decreased from about 80% to 60%

I think a small percentage of prospective users will look for an alternative app to yours which is not dependant on the .net framework.

It depends if you your app would be easier & faster to develop with .net and if you are concerned about losing some prospective sales.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Most modern OS's (with all updates) have either 1.1 or 2.0.  A company I used to work for used a Win32 bootstrapper application to check for .net then told them where to download it if they didn't already have it, if they had it installed it would launch the .net app.

Consider time to market with .NET, it has a lot of useful libraries too.

Some people just need to get with the times... have them download .NET.
Rob Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I think it depends totally on the app.

If you are selling a major app that costs hundreds of $$ and takes a while to install at the best of times, then .NET is probably worth the hassle and while some people won't want to buy it, the tradeoff in productivity is likely worth it.

But if you are selling something that (say) arranges icons on your desktop in some unique way, and costs $29, nobody is going to want to go through the extra hassle.

As a real example, I have a nearly new XP PC and I installed a freebie accounting package on it the other day. I didn't know or care what its platform was. Turned out, it used .NET, and it took 15-20 minutes to install, with no end of steps (albeit all of them were automated, and at the end of it all, it DID work). This was a mild turn-off, for me, an IT type person. For normal people it probably would have freaked them out completely.
Greg Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
"Most modern OS's (with all updates) have either 1.1 or 2.0"

I've been searching our MacOSX and Linux installs and can't find either.
Your Mother Said It's Dinna Time
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I am sure that .Net and Delphi and all the other languages and platforms have there place. I am quandering with this hurdle to. I have delayed the launch cycle of the next version of my shareware app by almost 6 months because I have not decided on what to do since MS stripped VB6 from us. I just recently decided to go with PowerBASIC. Why? Because I am a fan of BASIC and that style of programming. SDK-style programming is new to me but I seem to have a knack for picking it up fairly easy. Don't get me wrong, I have to use C# at work and I like C# and OOP. That lends itself alright for that type of environment. For my micro-isv (shareware) I prefer PowerBASIC. Delphi is alright but I don't have the desire to plop down the cash for it nor the desire to learn something new right now.

That's just my 2 cents. Good luck in your search.

Noble Bell
Noble D. Bell Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I've been writing desktop apps since .NET 1.0 and have had 3 complaints that I can remember with only 1 person saying that they wouldn't install .NET. The other two complaints were that it was a tolerable PITA. 

I don't see it as a real problem.
Ryan Smyth Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
"Most modern OS's (with all updates) have either 1.1 or 2.0"

"I've been searching our MacOSX and Linux installs and can't find either."

Exactly.  Heehee. ;)

Back to the topic - the answer, as always, is "it depends".  It depends on your app, your target customers and what sort of infrastructure they have.

For example, if you're targeting corporate customers, I would say that they are very likely to have 1.1 or 2.0 installed.  Home users, not so much.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It probably depends more on your customer demographic. The time it takes to download the framework is pretty much the time it takes to download about 4 or 5 mp3's.

Last time I checked, people are downloading whole movies without fuss.

So if your app is worthwhile, the download could be 60MB and nobody would blink.
skc Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
PS, I saw a stat that said 55% of all internet traffic is bittorent traffic...

Let that sink in a bit.
skc Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Hmm, that's a pretty difficult choice to make.
If I go for .Net, is there any reason to choose either 2.0 instead of 3.0 or 3.5?
I guess that the big install is 2.0, adding either 3.0 or 3.5 doesn't seem to be that big a deal, compared to installing 2.0. What do you think about this?
Karsten Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Karsten - The whole .NET 3.5 runtime is a 197 MB download.  Or you can download the .NET 3.5 installer at just under 3 MB that will determine what the user needs to install.

.NET 3.5 Runtime downloade page:

I'm moving forward with 3.5 mostly because I plan on using LINQ in my application.
Grinder Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
"Some people just need to get with the times... have them download .NET."

Ha ha, that anti-customer attitude is really going to bite you over the next couple of lean years.

Remember OP, it's not just the size of the download, it's the lenghty admin-rights install process as well. This moves a 10 second download and install procedure into one that takes 15 minutes. If you can live with the high abandonment rates then fine, I prefer to take every penny.

Ultimately you need to ask yourself a simple question:

Am I choosing this language because it suits me or because it suits my customers. If the latter, then, well, I cannot help you.
Grown fat with decadence Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
> The whole .NET 3.5 runtime is a 197 MB download.

I was looking around their downloads section and couldn't find a redistributable. So I really can't argue with that. But 197 MB for a redistributable just doesn't seem right. Are you sure?
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Hi Nicholas - Here is the link for the .NET 3.5 Redistributable:


If you scroll down the page, you will see a link for the whole package:


IE explorer download dialog indicates 197 MB download.

For me, I'm not worried about the distribution size.  I'm working on a big application that will cost somewhere in the $700 range.  My competitors already have large downloads for the demos and some only ship via DVD.

The funny thing about all this is it reminds me of the old VB3-VB6 days when the C++ and Delphi developers would tell everyone how horrible VB apps were due to the runtime sizes.  Well, it all turned out just fine in the end.  (I was one of those C++ guys that thought the distribution size was a bad thing.)
Grinder Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The issue with .net is that it takes admin priveges to install.

And a paying custome may take the time to do that. My concern is *prospective* customers who hit the ".net install" point and its just a little too much of a hurdle so maybe they look at something else or say "I'll get back to this" and never do.

So, for our .net program we use the Xenocode linker.  yes, our distributable is 25MB + data files (40MB for our trial version with only part of the data). However, as pointed out, it's not the download size that'll kill you.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
2.0 and 3.0 ship with Vista. Really it comes down to your app. We used 2.0 for rfid Learning Table as most of our customers in education are now comfortable with installing .NET 2.0 on users workstations, but are less happy about 3.0 and the fact 3.0 did not have any compelling features for what we are doing now.

Daniel Dacey Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007

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