I have been working as you mentioned, but this isn't exactly the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I've accepted a fairly low wage in exchange
for keeping in practice and because I hate commuting so much that I'll gladly accept reduced pay just to avoid having to drive in traffic (this is not
a mass-transit town I live in!). It's also pay-for-work and while the guy sending me the checks has made my life a lot more pleasant lately, it remains to be seen if the business will take off or not. Or even keep me at the break-even point.
Unfortunately, the minimum I can live on in this country is still 2-3 times the prevailing wage in India, China or the former Soviet republics. I'm simply treading water
in the hopes that someday the skills I've spent all these years perfecting will once again be considered worth something.
On C#+Java. Borland is hedging their bets. They can't compete against Microsoft directly. Microsoft owns the OS, the latest compilers (as they "improve" the languages) and the latest IDEs (as required to develop the latest Windows software). They're only slightly better off relative to Sun in the Java market. So they're making efforts to deal with the fairly common situation where the internal products are done for Windows and the Enterprise products are done in Java. It's a scheme that has so far done well for them.
Personally, I may have been hanging around the (Linux) penguins too long, but I'm just not that excited about any Windows technology post Windows NT 4. Mostly what I design and develop these days is OS-independent, and - notwithstanding the Mono effort - stuff in C# won't make my Linux servers happy, but Java will. Even ANSI C/C++ will, so a degree, but C# is a language that Microsoft invented for Microsoft Windows, and it's going to be a long time, I think, before it is anything but that.
I try to keep up on MS technology, and I'll code C# for pay. But for my own uses I'm happy sticking to Java, Perl, ANSI C++ and other portable languages. Among other things, I can't afford to spend the money it would take to upgrade from Visual Studio to .Net development. Especially since it would require hardware upgrades as well as software upgrades.
In March 2001, I would have hardly thought twice about spending $2500 (about 1.2 lakh) for the purpose of investing in job skills that I might not actually need. Today, anything over $20 I have to think twice about. Fortunately I can get all I need to run J2EE
under Linux for free.
And, as a bonus, I don't have to deal with hourly critical update alerts, spyware that installs by stealth and uses more CPU resources than my own apps, or Blue Screens of Death.