I don't know if anyone missed the great push Microsoft is doing towards moving their data access stack towards a more O/R-mapping kind of solution. LINQ is part of that but also the implementations of LINQ to SQL and the latest addition the Entity Framework.
Danny Simmons, a PM on the ADO.NET team, posted earlier this week about where in the software puzzle the Entity Framework fits.
You can read his views on the matter over here: http://blogs.msdn.com/dsimmons/archive/2008/05/17/why-use-the-entity-framework.aspx
The last section of that post has stirred up quite some emotions in the .NET community and I can agree with some of the objections that have been raised, yes EF is still intrusive and yes it's data centric rather then domain centric.
But come on, would you rather that Microsoft continues down the Typed Dataset path? EF is in V1 (or well, sort of) and the team is still learning the basic principles around ORM and Domain Centric applications. Most of them have lived in the world where SQL server has been dominant. I'm just really glad that they've woken up out of the Data-centric world and have seen that there is actually a lot of other challenges around building applications that's not about storing data in a database.
I'm certain that if we continue to give valuable, sensible and sane feedback the team will continue to develop the framework in the right direction.
I also think that the effort they are doing is great, it will make the .NET community more mature when it comes to OO principles and it will drive .NET developers to start think about application/domain based views of their information. I've already gotten a lot of customers that are interested in learning ORM, some starts out by wanting to learn about EF and stays there, for some EF is an eye opener and they move on to frameworks like NHibernate et al.
This is a good thing, as in every market Microsoft heads in to, the total market share will increase.
Btw, on the note to re-use the conceptual model everywhere, One Model To Rule Them all: http://www.lowendahl.net/showShout.aspx?id=203
More links on the current EF debate:
Frans's reactions: http://weblogs.asp.net/fbouma/archive/2008/05/19/why-use-the-entity-framework-yeah-why-exactly.aspx
Jeremy Millers reactions: http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller/archive/2008/05/19/what-dan-simmons-forgot-to-tell-you-about-the-entity-framework.aspx
Greg Young's reactions: http://codebetter.com/blogs/gregyoung/archive/2008/05/19/ef-long-term-plans.aspx
Julie's reactions: http://www.thedatafarm.com/blog/2008/05/20/ResponsesToDannySimmonsQuotWhyEntityFrameworkquotPost.aspx