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Companies "based" upon hating Microsoft?

Hi -

Yesterday I had lunch with a couple of buds from a past client. They are Windows developers, doing shrinkwrap product development.


One topic of conversation was one of the partners of their employer. This guy is a SW engineer who has embraced open source in his business ... with a death grip.


My friends told me about network shares containing their files down for hours, because this guy installed a new patch for either Linux or some server component. *Every* product the place does that has a server aspect has to have a Linux server port in addition to an NT/2000 server version, which bogs down and holds up their development. Even if the customers and users didn't ask for it, "just in case". And I recall asking this partner about some work a while back in C++, with my past background being Visual C++ (among other platforms). NOOOOPE, had to ONLY be "GCC"! Pretty insulting tools-focus considering that I have twice this lame asses' experience.


The main point is, this partner bitches all the time about his 12-15 hour days.... spent mainly tweaking open source based tools and working around problems introduced by the usual semi documented variations in the programs. Any business direction, marketing, sales development? Nope... just hacking.


If you ask this guy - open source is GREAT, and Microsoft is EVIL, and Windows only users are lame, ignorant and stupid. His desktop is only Red Hat.


The bottom line, according to my friends, was that this guy gets nothing done because all he does is tweak his beloved open source crap. They said that approaching him on this subject was like arguing with a teen ager (the guy is in his early 30's.)


I heard that ArsDigita went down partially because it was based partly upon Greenspun's contempt for Microsoft and other closed commercial products. Or at least, that bias didn't help things any.


Anyway, interesting.

Nasty, Smelly Curmudgeon
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Not sure how much actual contempt he ended up with - one of the rumours I did here was that during the final days, ArsDigita did have a hope of partnering with Microsoft to transfer their CMS over to a windows environment - Greenspun himself for it, VC's against it. 

Who knows though.

Konrad
Saturday, June 14, 2003

I believe I've mentioned on here before that I interviewed at one job where they had SQL Server 2000 installed and running as a production platform, yet during the interview the project lead said that he planned to migrate to Oracle 9i on Linux "because of Microsoft's security issues"

I decided right then to reject any offer for the job. I did NOT want to be working for a lead whose business decisions were driven by FUD and ABM thinking.

Philo

Patrick Bateman
Saturday, June 14, 2003

what about companies based on loving microsoft even when it is not the right tool for the job. The great thing is that you are all free to do anything you want: start a company, new career, consult, complain. Human nature hasn't changed in thousands of years, deal with it.

Tom Vu
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Where I work they despise Microsoft. I don't feel as strongly about it myself, but I am getting to love open source. Even if I don't ever look at most of the source, it's reassuring to know it's there. It bothers me to think of using software when you can't possibly find out how it works.
The system administrators are very good and know Unix extremely well. I guess that's the key.

The Real PC
Saturday, June 14, 2003

"The bottom line, according to my friends, was that this guy gets nothing done because all he does is tweak his beloved open source crap."

As opposed to getting nothing done because of tweaking beloved closed source crap?  What the heck is your point?  There are bad programmers who are linux zealots and there are bad programmers who are windows zealots.

Your tone is that he is a bad programmer _because_ he is a linux zealot.  Well, that's just as silly and teenager-ish as you claim this guy to be.

Robert
Saturday, June 14, 2003

>>  As opposed to getting nothing done because of tweaking beloved closed source crap?  What the heck is your point? 

The point is that this guy turns a business decision - buy a solution that essentially works off the shelf, compared to adopting a "free" solution that costs him endless hours of tinkering (oh, but it was free!) - into a denial-filled admonition that it HAS to be effective and wonderful and good because it's open source.

>> Your tone is that he is a bad programmer _because_ he is a linux zealot.  Well, that's just as silly and teenager-ish as you claim this guy to be.

No, my 'tone' is that a business owner - who really should be doing strategically important things to run and grow his business - is continually bogged down doing hands on damage control of open source that breaks every time a patch or upgrade is applied.

The "bad programmer" rap is beside the point. I don't even know how "good" he is technically. He may be tops for all I know. The real point is that the company could be spiraling down the crapper while this guy saturates his brain and his time with repetitive admin work necessitated by "some assembly required" open source.

In other words, unwise, time wasting and self indulgent, like a teenager.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, June 14, 2003

I believe the point of this post was that focusing on technology (open or closed) as opposed to getting things done is not going to get you very far from a business standpoint.

I don't think I would want to be a business partner with the person mentioned in this story.

One Programmer's Opinion
Saturday, June 14, 2003

It sounds like someone who doesn't understand what TCO means.

Philo

Patrick Bateman
Saturday, June 14, 2003

"- is continually bogged down doing hands on damage control of open source that breaks every time a patch or upgrade is applied"

Id be interested to know what opensource programs he is using?  none of them are within a thousand miles of being that bad in my experience...
or by 'opensource programs' do you mean 'perl code d/l from a recipe website"?

FullNameRequired
Saturday, June 14, 2003

I have worked with three different web servers -- MS IIS, Apache and Tomcat. Apache and Tomcat are both open source, and both are configured by editing text files. I found the MS web server to be much more of a headache to work with. Instead of simply looking in a text file to see or change the configuration, I had to struggle through a maze of wizards. You do not have the option of editing text files, because there are none, and you are stuck with the GUI.
It's true that some open source software can be tricky to use or poorly documented. On the other hand, some of it is a breeze.
I have used the open source database MySQL and it was certainly no more trouble than MS SQL.

I think people strongly prefer whichever they are most familiar with. Unix and open source have some great advantages, and of course they have disadvantages especially for someone with inadequate experience.
Getting some great things for free, and being able to see the source code, is, well, great.

The Real PC
Saturday, June 14, 2003

"The point is that this guy turns a business decision - buy a solution that essentially works off the shelf, compared to adopting a "free" solution that costs him endless hours of tinkering (oh, but it was free!)"

You seem to be implying that solutions that "work" are not usually "free."  I would say that's a false characterization, if not entirely backwards.

I use tons of "free" software that works _better_ than "pay for" equivalents.  It costs me _less_ time.  I know because I've done it both ways.  (Of course, sometimes the reverse is true, but decreasingly, and rapidly so.)

So, maybe this guys makes such decisions based on the "freeness" alone and that is clearly a mistake, but again you seem to be implying that "you get what you pay for" and that is demonstrably false.

I think you're every bit of a windows and non-free bigot that this guy is a linux and free bigot.  Your assertion that every upgrade means regressions, for example.  That's your basic Microsoft-esque FUD.  It's bogus.  The only difference between "free" upgrades and "closed" upgrades is that, if it's really important to me, I can freakin' _see_ what the "upgrade" really is before installing it.  That can only be a better situation.

Robert
Saturday, June 14, 2003

[buy a solution that essentially works off the shelf]

You assume it works better because it's expensive. But you are ignoring the fact that open source projects are often developed by programmers for themselves and other programmers, because what they want is not available on any shelf, for any price. You are also ignoring the fact that expensive software can be full of bugs and hard to use. You probably have not used open source very much yourself or you would not be so strongly biased against it.

The Real PC
Saturday, June 14, 2003

I'm as biased against "open source for open source sake" as I am against "anything but Microsoft because it's not Microsoft" and "only Microsoft because it's Microsoft"

The best tool for the job, no matter the source. Cheaper and easier to use is better, but money invested up front can, in many cases, save money later.

Proper evaluation of technologies does not involve "who wrote it" but rather "who has the best looking sales girl"

Philo

Patrick Bateman
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Robert, on "bigotry", stick it up your wazoo with your immature trollish namecalling. Quite obviously, you're not in business nor in any kind of decision making capacity. Read the posts on total cost of ownership. That's where I was coming from.

FYI, I've used open source on several projects. I use what works and what's available. I just installed the "qmail" server (because I liked its feature set) and twiddled for weeks to get the damned thing to work on plain old Red Hat linux. I used the "P2C" (Pascal to C) translator package a while back to port a monstrous application from one of my clients to C.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, June 15, 2003

This doesn't have anything to do with open source or not. This is more like the CFO in my company popping by my office and telling me to upgrade all the NT4 and 2000 servers to 2003 because he heard such great things about it from some MS representative. (Which actually happen last week, but its never going to happen without serious testing and a few weeks running a test site in the dev labs.)

Wether it is open source or closed source you don't want the wrong people to make decisions that impact business critical issues. Upgrading the file share with an untested patch in the middle of the day is just the wrong way to go about it. Be it open source or not, you should never tinker with a working system when there isn't a really good reason to do so.

Kjartan Mannes
Sunday, June 15, 2003

>> Be it open source or not, you should never tinker with a working system when there isn't a really good reason to do so.

Thank you - that's the bottom line.

But open source presents a slightly different kind of risk than does COTS software. It presents an illusion of "total control" that is only partial and which comes at huge expense of time to anyone who wants to believe in their superman abilities. Nobody in open source wants to admit this.

And yes, Windows Update breaks things too. But that's fairly rare. And I'm not defending Windows.

However, open source presents a unique source of stability issues that COTS SW doesn't. Open source "culture" demands that you keep current with every new patch and release - yet  Linux progress itself is founded on the principle of non-binary compatibility, in contrast to (ahem) Windows. It's just 'assumed' in Linux that the user will know how to install tarballs and admin their box to put some library on it. In Windows, since the source is not available, it's demanded that a Windows 95 program (and even some Win 3.1 programs) run on Windows XP. A six year lifespan for a binary program is unheard of in open source land, but it's expected and demanded in Windows land.

And the fact that the source is 'open' induces certain people to believe that they can change things with no notice, since after all the source is included so "anyone" should "rtfm" and make it work, right?

I've descended down pitiless black holes of confusion and conflicting newsgroup advice with open source. When it works, it's great. But to get your job done, at some point you have to be satisfied and ... LEAVE IT ALONE.

Bored, Nasty, Smelly Curmudgeon
Sunday, June 15, 2003

"Quite obviously, you're not in business nor in any kind of decision making capacity."

Quite obviously - except that I am.  I'm not going to get into a slinging contest but you're completely off the mark.

"FYI, I've used open source on several projects. I use what works and what's available."

Good for you. That was not the impression you had originally left.

Robert
Sunday, June 15, 2003

What I've noticed so far is that people tend to think that open-source means "grass-roots" and COTS means "big business". Actually, anytime when large companies turn away from Microsoft into an open, free future, with open-source systems, they end up with IBM. Of course, they don't save a single buck.

So, if you don't have to count every cent you spend on software, open-source is fine. If you want to save money, spent it on the cheapest software that gets the job right - be it open- or closed software.

Johnny Bravo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Hi,

Some disclaimers first:

1) Windows pays my bills as developer.
2) I actively use Linux, even though I'm not an expert or a
    guru about it.

Now, direct to the point.

You have heard many times saying from
Microsoft detractors that MS is evil, MS is
this and MS is that.

I'm simply putting it as it is:

Microsoft can't be trusted. Why? Simply because you
can't see what is *into* their programs, because
many times MS said everything and its contrary.

"Windows will be all built around COM", that was the
claim not too many years ago. Where's that claim now?

"With Windows 98 and DirectX your gaming experience
will be the best possible", this was said in the install
process of Windows 98. What a pity they "forgot" to say
that it would crash basically every day at least three
times per day.

But let's stay apart from the statements, and let's see the
thing technically.
Twelve years of programming maybe don't make me an
expert, definitely don't make me a newbie either.

What is the problem with Microsoft Windows and
Microsoft development tools?

Let's make a simple, but meaningful example:

Visual Basic 6.

Visual Basic 6 comes with very few available
components after install. That doesn't mean
there aren't any components with Visual Basic,
just means what I said. Few components are
readily available.
This can seem little, since you can always add
other components, which are in Windows and
some are shipped with Visual Basic.
This may be ok, as long as you KNOW what to
look for. Take a programmer which never did VB,
put him in front of Visual Basic, tell him how to add components and tell him - without any further
tip -  to find the ListView.
I bet he'll need quite a noticeable amount of time
before he does. Other tools put it readily visible.

Now, do the same for the tabbed dialog.
But this time, tell him to build the tabs at
run-time and to add a ListBox on each tab.

Now he's LOST.

Why? First of all because there're TWO tabbed
dialogs available and only one allows child controls.

But even without going so far, you have to remember
that, for example, ListBoxes items are 0-based, while
collection items are 1-based.
Another example?
ListItems collection of the ListView has a "Clear"
method, which isn't in the plain "Collection" class.
I still didn't find a way to clear a collection without
disposing and recreating it in 7 months.
But maybe this is already too far, so let's speak
about variables.
Everything in Visual Basic which is not defined in a
specified type is considered a Variant.
Visual Basic allows implicit conversions, so this code:

Dim A,B,C

A = "123"
B=456
C=A+B

is perfectly *legal*.
Legality of such a piece of code is just *awful*,
terrible, horrible and tremendously insecure.

Let's now see the other side: Linux.

Linux is given to you as it is, and there're
practically no unsupported claims.
You can analyze line by line every single line of the
Operating System and customize it as you like.
Linux is way more stable than Windows, I probably
hung Linux 3 times in 5 years.
Yes, due to my inexperience I had to reinstall it
several times, but it was *my* fault, not Linux
fault.
I have to format my Windows partition at least
three times a year, to have a "clean" system.
With Linux, I just keep going.
Try to make a virus for Linux :-)

I wish Linux paid my bills, but it doesn't for now.
For now. Will it? I don't know. As long as I can
foresee the future, also Windows could die tomorrow.
Would I miss it? Probably not, except for few programs.

Now let's see the "programming" side:

Hey, there's nothing like Visual Basic, except for one,
whose homepage I don't remember.
It's on SourceForge, anyway.

So that means there's no visual programming?
Not at all. There is. Borland Kylix, which also comes in an
Open edition, and you even have a *complete*
component suite( namely, FreeClx ).
Is it usable? Yes. Does it have the same VB's
idiocy? Nope.
It's simple to learn( derived from Pascal ), easy to use and
powerful.
You might ask why I haven't switched yet.
The main reason is that actually I can't foresee a
placement for myself in the Linux world, and that
Linux shops and positions are not very common
right now.
What stops Linux shops? Customers, which are
scared of making the big step to Linux.
Why are they scared? They are scared because
most businesses can't conceive of not paying for
something.
Plus, there's the Microsoft Marketing.
Yes, the powerful and excellent Microsoft marketing
division. Open Source has no marketing guys, at
least not ones at the Microsoft levels. Why?
Because M$ has the money, the others don't.
And those who have the money and could fight,
don't because in some way are chained to Microsoft.

The original title of the post is "Companies "based" upon
hating Microsoft?", I don't agree, I think it should
more be "Companies "based" upon freeing from
Microsoft?".

But how can you  fight with a multinational world-sized
software company that says "I can help you finding
customers if you choose my products"?

My 2c,

Andrew

Andrea Raimondi
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Totally pointless. I bet I could find countless examples for any computing-related decision where it proves that "Linux is better than Windows/Open-Source is better than Microsoft-based" - or just the opposite.

Johnny Bravo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

For once I'm in agreement with Johnny here.

Win 98 SE is fairly stable; there are plenty of three and four year old installations going around without any trouble. And Win 2K Pro is as stable, or more stable than most Linux distros.

VB is a programming language and Linux is an OS - pears and oranges.

Most people don't want to go through every line of code of the OS. They want to use it. This going through everything and tweaking it instead of producing useful work is what started off the thread.

Personally I think there are three things involved here:

Open Source allows a certain type of programmer to waste his time tweaking: -- true but that is not the fault of the software and the typical Unix sysadmin is more famed for refusing to change anything younger than the planet.

Command line interfaces are more difficult to administer: -- to start with yes; the GUI is an excellent learning tool because it restricts choice, but the advantage declines with familiarity; and many Linux geeks genuinely find Windows difficult

Companies who leave MS end up with IBM and don't save a buck: -- simply not true in most cases (what's IBM got to do with web servers for example?). As for savings it all depends how much retraining you need. A large company with many Unix trained IT staff will manage the shift much better than an all MS shop. The general rule is rapid change costs money.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Well, find one please showing where Microsoft
Software can be better than Open Source software.
I backed my opinions with easily verifiable statements,
didn't I?

The problem here is not Windows in itself( well,
partly it is ) but Microsoft, its attitudes and its
behaviours.

I'm not saying Microsoft is evil and the others are all
good, each software company wants to make money.

The problem is that some software companies give
their users some "base of trust" which lacks in
Microsoft.

Are you saying you can beleive every word from
Microsoft? Where're the standards gone?

Microsoft recently got out of a committee because
they wanted the WebService thinghy done
their own way, with no compromise.

I wonder what will happen with CSharp and
dotNET.
I'm not very confident about their future, and I am
truly scared by Palladium - which sounds like something
terrible.

You say my post is totally pointless, cool, ok, show me
where I am wrong.
Pinch the pit and show me where I'm biasable.

I'm sure I don't own the Ultimate Truth, but
I am really confident that you don't, either :-)

Btw, please, try to create a web page like this:

[html]
[head]
[title] This page will crash my Windows machine [/title]
[/head]
[body]
[input type]
[/body]
[/html]

Do use the proper tags, of course, save this page in a
HTML file and then view it in Internet Explorer...
scaring, uh?

Andrew

Andrea Raimondi
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Ever heard of IBM WebSphere?

My claim that companies shifting from MS to IBM don't save any money is based on ... my ability to read newspapers, on- and offline. Also, when you have some 1.000+ seats running Windows workstations, and want to change the platform - would you try and train some 50+ employees inside your company, or rely on some small business for maintanace, or would you rather prefer the "strength and expertise" of Big Blue?

For the rest of the reply: I'm with you.

Johnny Bravo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

The latter one was for Stephen, here's another one for Andrew/Andrea:

Sorry, I won't bite the bait.

Johnny Bravo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

You haven't actually said anything that is verifiable. except for your claim that the code snippet will crash IE, which isn't true on my machine.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dear Johnny,
                    If I decide to set up my web site using Apache, PHP and SQL server I fail to see how IBM enter into it, just as if I decide to use Samba to save a fortune on W2K Server client licenses for my small business.

                    A company that changes over from using a 1000 Windows workstations to using !000 Linux ones is not going to save any money at all; that however is not how it works. Open Source software is introduced piecemeal, where it is most effective.

                      Sure plenty of firms are using IBM as a consultancy, but if they used MS software they would simply be paying IBM or another consultant.

                          Frankly Johnny, the chances of you saying anything against MS are about the same as Andreas saying anything good about it.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Hi,

Win98 SE is fairly stable as long as you
don't try Internet Sharing or some "exotic"
things.

As for the stability of Win2k, we can agree, I yet
didn't find myself in a hang not drawn by me.

Wait wait wait!!!!
Please don't twist things: I compare VB in development
with development tools for Linux, not with Linux in itself.

Yes, going with IBM is not a "save", but there's not
only IBM out there which offers Linux.

There're other successful distros, like Suse, which
perfectly fit the bill.

Plus, you have to consider several aspects:
most Admins are not expert, in both platforms.

I'm not saying there're no good admins in both
platforms, I'm simply saying that most of them are
not expert.

Linux is a bit harder to configure, I agree, but
there are TONS of howtos and manuals out there
which help in the task.

What really makes the difference for most users to
pass along from Windows to Linux is what I call
"the newbie loop".
The newbie loop is simply the loop of questions
that get asked.
In the Windows world, you'll find lots of people
answering the same basics questions, in the Linux one,
"RTFM" and "UFSE" will be the answer for most questions.

Windows does allow( and somehow encourages for )
approximation, Linux doesn't.

One of the real problems here is that most companies
don't focus part of their staff on administration
technicalities and you find yourself to struggle in
order to make a DNS server work in your domain intranet
( Windows 2K Server, 3 weeks ago ).

Plus, Microsoft Documentation lacks many times on
very important topics and each version has its own
help system, sometimes even more than one, which
doesn't help.

Linux has all the *relevant* informations and the
help system hasn't changed in ten years.

With Windows you don't know the current state of
your machine, with Linux you do.

When there're problems at boot time, Linux
makes you see exactly *what* went wrong and
often *why* just in the same moment it happens,
while with Windows you may keep using it while
important errors keep being hidden, unless you
don't go looking for the log files.
And even in the latter case, many times you'll get
cryptic errors which can't be decoded easily.

One thing I remember with Win2K Pro is that I
couldn't run it on one of my computers because of the
VIA chipset on the motherboard.
It kept showing BSOD. At last I gave up.

Andrew

Andrea Raimondi
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Johnny,

Which bait?

I'm not trying to make you fall in a trap, I am
trying to discuss - which is difficut, I acknowledge :-)

My point is fairly simple: companies are not based
upon hating Microsoft, but on freeing from its
influence.

I know the same *may* happen with IBM, but
there're plenty of *vendors* which are not IBM.
Those vendors don't really sell the OS, but more the
support, the printed manuals, the package.

Microsoft surely helped in spreading the use of
computers, but it wasn't the only one to do it.

Probably I can't say many good things about M$
because I've been using its products for a long time :-)

Plus, I noticed that nobody replied on the lack of
trust towards Microsoft... so, do u or do not beleive
every word from Microsoft?

If you can't trust your vendor, how can you feel
"safe"?

Andrew

P.S. Small clarification about my name, before someone
asks: I sign "Andrew" here and "Andrea" in my final sign
because "Andrea" is my true name, but I'm a male and my
name is usually recognized as a female name.

Andrea Raimondi
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Stephen Jones,

How did you know that snippet crashed
Internet Explorer?

I never said it did... :-)

Andrew

Andrea Raimondi
Sunday, June 15, 2003

"Frankly Johnny, the chances of you saying anything against MS are about the same as Andreas saying anything good about it."

This thread was started with some comments on a company and one of its workers, indicating that there are some massive objections against Microsoft. The other was about misconceptions with Microsoft's so-called monopoly. For both of which I supplied arguments, trying to express that I do understand that people are biased against Microsoft, but I do not understand why people seem not to be biased against e.g. IBM at all, although the same reasons would apply.

Stephen, if you were to start a thread "Why Linux File Servers are better than Windows File Servers", I might as well drop in some arguments in favor of Linux.

Johnny Bravo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Windows and its applications generally work like an appliance. Windows based applications are black boxes.  Commercial Windows programs and COTS software work for most real world applications. If they didn't, then nobody would buy them. That's the real value of Windows.

Open source applications, in most cases, DEMAND of the end user *very* strong Unix or OS level sys admin skills, the ability to understand how to rebuild applications using "make" and other tools, and the ability to "RTFM" (God how I hate that acronym when it's shoved in people's faces) as a fallback. All of these skills are required for most users to even consider using open source applications.
The open source community appears to those of us with specific real world needs to solve as a closed clique of elitists who seem to believe that a person has to literally "live" in the application's source code in order to be deemed worthy of assistance.

Example: I installed Qmail on my server recently. The 'best' manual on installation of Qmail is called "Life with QMAIL". Not "QMAIL Installation" or "QMAIL for Everyone" - but "Life with Qmail". The author apparently believes that people should "live in" the application, not merely use and control it. Words are important..


And I don't think that this attitude is singular to Qmail, it is found all over open source.  The "you must be found worthy in order for it to work for you" mentality. The "your computer desktop must be your entire life" type thinking.

On Microsoft's untrustworthiness: Yes. I suppose that they will convert everyone who uses their stuff to a subscription model eventually. But they will have to compete against "free" software in order to do it.  Based on what I have seen, it's not that much of a fight, given that an end user has to make an interest in the OS and the tools his life in order to get help and make things work. Most of us have more to do in our lives than flail around with unstable tools.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, June 15, 2003

""Life with Qmail". The author apparently believes that people should "live in" the application"

I think you should read the second word of "Life with qmail" again, it doesn't look like "in" to me.


Monday, June 16, 2003

Personally, I don't use microsoft stuff: I run /my/ business entirely on Linux. I don't necessarily do this because I dislike Microsoft. What I dislike is my inability to understand the logic behind MS applications.

I use LaTeX for typesetting. Yes, it's sometimes a pain. I spent an hour yesterday arguing with it over some formatting. On the other hand, when I find out what it's doing it does actually seem to make some sense.

Word, however, just doesn't seem to make sense to me. I'm fine defining commands in LaTeX to get text styles and then redefining them to change the styles. Text Styles in Word: when you change them, the text in the document doesn't change to match... or at least I can't get it to. And that just doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

The thing I find with UNIX apps in general, and Open Source in particular is that the more I use them, the more I can build a consistent model of their behaviour. The thing I find with MS apps is that behave in a way I can only describe as "random" and I dislike my inability to use the tools properly - it makes me feel stupid and I don't like that.

Linux does do this occaisionally -- it's not entirely free of it. I still don't understand exactly how iptables work, for example. But I know this is merely because I can't be bothered to learn the full details - I have other things to do... It's not because the behaviour of it simply isn't understandable by someone like me.

Katie Lucas
Monday, June 16, 2003


Look, this is no reason for a troll fest. I use allot of open source products where I work, I find them *VERY* useful. If you don't find it useful or productive, don't use it. If you have a choice, use what you want .Personally I use linux and *bsd, both in work and at home. I am happy with them, very happy, I find myself very productive, but that's just me. This isn't really a large issue, you will always have zelots on both sides. Just pick whatever is best for you, don't be afriad to try something new, give it a try if you have time and if it helps, use it, if it doesn't, don't. I don't see the big issue here.

fw
Monday, June 16, 2003

Katie,
  Get your case of beer for that one, red team :-)

That is exactly my problem with most MS stuff - I jsut can't figure out its logic.

regards,

treefrog
Monday, June 16, 2003

This is the old "MS is better than Linux" troll.  The problems described by the original poster would be the same in a MS only house, with few exceptions.

A several posters pointed out, the company has awful change control and system administration procedures.  That anyone would change server software in the middle of the day on a mission critical system, just "because" should be a career limiting move.

That a business decides it is worth maintaining a Linux port, and his friend disagrees, means his friend is a poor judge.  Either the company is right, and his friend does not see it, or the company is wrong and his friend continues to work for a company that makes bad business choices.

That the company also has a run-away admin, is something that is certainly a developer's right to speak about.  Complain to the admin's boss.  Tell him of the impact and explain it to your boss too.  Let them deal with stabilizing the environment and getting Al Admin back into line instead of spending company $$$ on tweaking code, on company time, that does not help the company. 

As for the remaining "Linux is hard"  "Windows is unstable" fight, it will never end.  Zealots on both side are too entrenched.  However, they will become marginalized and irrelevant. 

BigRoy
Monday, June 16, 2003

And I use Microsoft Word every day as my primary work application, and it works fine for me.  I've figured out how it works.

It certainly has its quirks, bugs, and problems, but I have no problems being productive with it.  Some folks do, and I appreciate that; I'm just saying that one can be productive in it.

Which just goes to show that an application's open/closed nature does not determine how useful it is.

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, June 16, 2003

Is Linux that difficult for mundane tasks? I've got Linux installed on the other HD and it simply installed with loads of apps and found all hardware except for the scanner and graphics tablet, which is more than I can say for any MS installation I have ever done.

I want to surf the web or use email then I just open Mozilla; if it wasn't for the fonts I wouldn't even know I was in Linux. I doubt if it would be that difficutl to write a letter or make a simple spreadsheet either.

I think too many MS people fail to remember the learning curve they had with Windows. I have probably bought over 200 computer books since I bought my first computer in Nov 1996. I didn't buy them I had suddenly decided to fall for the charms of a geekdom I had successfully avoided since the late 1960's. I bought them, and are still buying them, because I need them to do simple office tasks.

The people who complain about Linux being difficult often are simply complaining about something being different. They presume that calling disk drives by letters like 'C' or 'D' has something natural about it, instead of being a DOS convention that creates loads of problems and which we would have been much better off without. Unix wins hands down with its drive naming conventions and the fact that the directory system is independent of the physical location.

It is probably more difficult to start administering Linux because so much is done from the command line, but the varying shells allow you to do a fabulous amount of things by simply combining the commands. With MS GUI stuff you often find yourself at a dead end.

Bored Bystander is probably right about one thing. Often what you are paying for with MS is an interface that is intended to make things easier for the casual user. You should probably only install what you intend to live with, or don't need to tweak that often.

Incidentally Johnny, this thread started out as an attack on Open Source from a poster who tried to extrapolate the antics of one person to everybody, and the other thread about the Monopoly started off as somebody trying to pretend, against all evidence, that MS did not have a virtual monopoly on the desktop, and that it had never indulged in underhand commercial practises. I can't ofhand think of a single thread on this forum that started off beraiting MS.

Stephen Jones
Monday, June 16, 2003

I don't know about "attack on open source". I was characterizing the culture and way of thinking that seems to be common among many open source users and authors.

Open source itself is quite useful. The culture of many of the people using and maintaining it completely ignores the negative effects of ignoring end users.

Again - to beat a dead horse - what I observe with open source is: braindeadness about the negative effects of constant change; and the perverse multiplicity of ways to do things that just don't appear to inherently demand all that much variety.

A common way of thinking in open source land is, as I already said, that compatibility is a secondary or tertiary concern. If a new version of Linux breaks device drivers, "so what, everyone has the source code". As though end users must be C++ wizards as well.

The same friends who complained about the runaway sysadmin (who is a principal in the company he works in) described to me their experience using an open source component suite called 'Indy', which is internet controls for Delphi. An Indy upgrade was just released - bug fixes and new features. The upgrade broke *all* of their existing applications, which only used the external interface to the components. And no demos or documentation forthcoming stating how to upgrade.  (It appears that a team of Czechs who sponsor the Indy home page are trying to corner the market on consulting services for Indy, presumably to fix the stuff that they break in new releases...)

On useless multiplicity of different ways to do identical things... when I installed Qmail, I had to 'fight' the fact that my Red Hat host was preinstalled with xinetd, an internet connection supervisor that launches socket based applications on incoming connection attempts. There were like *3* posts on Google groups explaining how to configure Qmail for xinetd. NONE of them freeking worked. The instructions in the 'life with qmail' had no accounting for the presence of xinetd. xinetd documentation had nothing to say about qmail.

In the end, I got things working by ignoring the presence of xinetd and not using it for this application - except that xinetd's docs say that it "should" be used for everything having to do with process control of network servers.

And, qmail demanded its own little process supervisor to keep it running. Which itself had to be launched from the runlevel setup in Red Hat, chkconfig.

In Windows, you just install an application as a service (if it is so capable) and it bleeping RUNS AT STARTUP. What the HELL is SO HARD about that principle that packages like qmail have to dance around with 900 alternative, semi documented ways to start a freaking program at reboot? Oh, wait, I guess I need to prepare for a lengthy, pseudo-didactic professorial explanation of the merits of allowing for many ways to do one thing.

I'm not pulling this account out of my ass. I am pretty good with scripts, with improvisation, with a command line. As I wasted hour after hour with qmail, I was thinking the following: nobody who lives with this stuff day in or out must get much of anything else done.

Anyway, when open source culture loses its juvenality, I will consider it a credible foe of COTS software. Not til then.

Smelly, Disgusting Bored Bystander
Monday, June 16, 2003

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