W3bbo said:
Three words: "Visual Studio Integration"

Oh, and "free (as in freedom) for any work"

Which cuts out a lot of those contenders.

As for Linq-to-SQL (DLinq) vs. ADO.NET Entities: I don't believe they're directly competing. DLinq is a much simpler system that generates 1:1 entity classes and not much more, which makes it perfect for simple applications, whereas ADO.NET Entities provides the power needed for more complicated things, but overkill for simpler, RAD scenarios.

On the plus side, this does mean an end to Typed Datasets. This can only be a good thing.

Quote: "but I still truly believe .NET 2.0 is still sufficient and the bigger .NET becomes, in some ways the worse it gets."

If we only had .NET 2.0 and not 3.0 what would we have done without WF,WCF,WPF ? And with the advances in 3.5 and 4.0 (particularly thinking about these technologies) just see how much easier it is to get WF & WCF to work together. Its much more productive now. Sure, for someone getting started with this, it can be daunting to think of so many different techniques to do similar things, but it gets better with experience.

IMO, the framework should grow and have even more stuff just available out of the box. With ref to the point about the plethora of access frameworks, I agree.. its confusing. But on the other hand having L2S and EF raises the bar for ISV's and other vendors to provide more value add than simple 'ORM' type functionality. Thats a commodity now.