Sam Ruby writes

 Ted Leung: If I'm looking for thought leadership from the community, in the Java community, I'm looking towards the non Sun bloggers -- these are the folks doing AOP, Groovy, SGen, Prevalence, WebWork, etc. This shows the rich ecosystem that has grown up around Java. If I look at the .NET community, I pretty much look for the MS bloggers.

Let's not confuse cause and effect here.  There used to be plenty of .Net bloggers who didn't work for Microsoft. 

It seems Sam and Ted have different ideas of what thought leadership is from me. When I think of thought leadership I think of ideas that add to the pool of common practices or impact the way developers work and think. Examples of thought leadership are the ideas in the GoF's Design Patterns or the writings of Joel Spolsky.

I read a lot of blogs from Microsoft and non-Microsoft people about .NET development and I see more thought leadership from non-Microsoft people than I do from Microsoft people. What I see from Microsoft people is what I'll term accidental thought leadership. Basically if I'm the developer or PM that designed or implemented component X then it stands to reason that I'm better placed to talk about it than others. Similarly if I'm one of the folks designing or implementing future technology Y then it stands to reason I'd be the best placed to talk about Longhorn/Indigo/Avalon/WinFS/Whidbey/Yukon/etc. Also the other thing is that it more interesting to read about upcoming future technology than it is to read about how best to use existing technology which is why people tend to flock to the blogs of the folks working on future stuff and ignore the Microsoft bloggers talking about existing technologies until they need a workaround for some bug.

Personally, the only real thought leadership I've seen from the 200 or so Microsoft blogs I've read have come from folks like Erik Meijer and Don Box. I see a lot of Microsoft people blogging about SOA but to me most of them are warmed over ideas that folks like Pat Helland have been talking about for years. When I think of thought leadership in the .NET world I'm more likely to think of Sam Gentile or Clemens Vastersr than I am to think of some blue badge carrying employee at the Redmond campus.  

What I do find interesting is that a Sun employee, Simon Phipps, is actually trying to use this to score points and claim that the lack of Sun bloggers with insightful posts is due to a "wide community as you'd expect from the openness of the JCP". When Microsoft folks weren't blogging and directly interacting with our developer community people railed because they felt the company was aloof and distant from its developers. Now we try to participate more and it is a sign that “it's a closed-source dictatorship - no amount of pushing up-hill will fix that”. I guess you can't win them all. :)