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Respect to Eric

http://software.ericsink.com/20040621.html

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

from eric: "we are going to continue having annual revenues of several million per year."

joel, what's your numbers?

   
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

First we had the long Joel absence. Then suddenly Eric writes an article saying, very politely, that his core product is about to be obliterated by Microsoft and that he's ok about it - he believes his product.
After that Joel takes the gloves off (I'm ignoring the Firefox only article here) and clearly states his beef with Microsoft: he feels betrayed. First they trample on one of their son's products. Both he and Joel wrote thousands of words saying how great Microsoft is and even so the giant is about to squash them. Then, they destroy their ecosystem, the way the small ISV's do their living, by rewriting the whole windows API with Avalon.

What does this has to do with Respect to Eric and Joel's absence? I can't help but imagine both Eric and Joel getting together, sitting down, and after one too many bears say to each other, teary eyed, "they fugged us. real good" "yeah, they did. motherfuggers".


Hell, I might be wrong. I'm typing this on my work and I can't go to the articles to check things out. But there's definitely a lot of bitterness from Joel and Eric towards Microsoft, and if they squashed the little guys like this, it certainly makes me wonder if they don't deserve to lose those millions in lawsuits they usually lose.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"... one too many bears..." should obviously be "... one too many beers....". I don't advise people to mess with bears, they tend to be rather violent.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

And I forgot Eric's last article. *That* was a complete and utter "Fuck You, very much" to Microsoft, with all the polite words in all the right places to give a somewhat civilized facade.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I suspect that RP might be right about MS raining on Joel's parade (as well as Eric's), but if that is the explaination for Joel's recent behaviour, then the title of this thread is even more appropriate.

Respect to Eric for handling it in a sensible, grown up way, rather than the spoilt brat kind of way, like the four year old kids we all hate on planes and at restaraunts, etc.

Although I haven't looked at the new VS Team stuff too deeply, I suspect Joel's real competition is coming from Eric. We'll have to wait and see about the new Dragnet product, but it could wipe one of Joel's products out completely.

I note that it does include custom fields, which Joel has previously written about as being no use, but in fact, I would prefer to have them (as a FogBUGZ user).

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

eric will be banned from this site soon

   
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

This discussion is new to me (where have I been), but I am surprised MS didn't do this sooner. People have been equating VSS and their various other attempts at collaboration as crap, so of course they should do what they can to fill this hole.

m
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

.. i think it says something about the state of Microsoft.

now that they don't now what to do, they are going after niche marktes. This ISV business was previously regarded as peanuts; i.e. not worth bothering about.

Now they don't have much growth potential, (sort of like in Lion king, when things got tough, Scar was chasing a mouse or something).

Michael Moser
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

.. along the same line, i would not be surprised if sharepoint at some stage bother about smaller sites (not just Big Corporate Portals).

(but then, doing software for small businesses is customery proceedcake, good tactic.)

Michael Moser
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

If both Joel and Eric are tasting the sand because of big MS stepping into their playground, what to make of Eric poking Joel in the eye "en course" http://software.ericsink.com/item_10191.html . Kick'em while they're down? Nothing special here. Just another day at the office.

Come on people. This isn't playtime. It's business.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I have to agree w/ comments alluding to MS stepping on eric's and Joel's toes . . . without a doubt, they are. The toe stepping on the ISV market will only increase even further w/ respect to technologies proposed in the MBF:

(here's a decent intro from a lead dev's blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/kevin_ransom/archive/2004/02/27/81391.aspx)

If you're new to MBF . . . think "as the .NET string class is to char[] or char*, the MBF "business entity" classes are to all of us ISVs constructing our own entities" . . . it's 1-upping on the abstraction layer. Basically, our tasks become "sewing together" MS's abstractions from the MBF layer . . . this is why ObjectSpaces is delayed (although, official reasoning is for "incorporation into WinFS") . . . if you still don't follow me, put it this way; with MBF, you won't be constructing a "Customer" class again; you'll be sewing together (perhaps) a System.MBF.Customer component into your system . . .

Ultimately nothing new, though ... just seeing the world's biggest software maker completing technological advances . . . forcing all of us to 'one-up' our levels to keep up. Laggards are easily identified (they're the ones complaining) ... (For example, Eric is _not_ a laggard; the publisher of "How Microsoft Lost the API war" is).

Anon
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

dev tool division is obviously wants to add more to VS than a compiler, they don't care if it's a niche or not. they do whatever they want, and they also read too much blogs which may lead them to wrong tracks.

   
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I was completely unaware of this story but I have to say, it was inevitable.  I read Eric's article and it seems as if he and the other (what, partners? I don't know the details of the program) were really surprised that Micorsoft would do this to them.  All those stories they heard about MS fucking over people who developed for their platform was just urban legend, whining by people envious of microsofts success.

Kind of reminds me of the Saudis who are so amazed that the terrorists would break their unwritten deal with them and start attacking within the kingdom.  As Martin Sheen said in "Wall Street" (paraphrasing here) "I don't go to bed with no whore; I don't wake up with no whore".

Still, being realistic, if your goal is to use your superior software management skills to make some dough, version control software seems like kind of a dopey idea for the long term.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

You surf the wave, and sometimes the wave breaks on you.

Btw. Does nobody find it strange the Eric talks exclusively about Team Services? I'd think a new and improved VSS would have the potential to cut deeper into his business.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

And another thing, how can Microsoft lose the API war if the API is theirs? They didn't lose anything. They just changed the language in which we develop. Instead of C++ we're gonna have managed C++. The .NET runtime comes with Windows XP (I'm not sure) but it definitely will come with Longhorn. Oh, nobody's going to buy Longhorn? I never bought a copy of Windows. Every time a new Windows version comes out I have a friend of a friend do a copy for me. It's copy protected? Sorry, emule is crawling with serial numbers and whatnot to crack that copy protection.

This hit me while I was eating. Windows is de facto free. The new, easier API's will actually increase the number of Windows developers. And for performance, it will soon catch up. I doubt Microsoft simply obliterates low level languages from Windows.

The more I think of this, the more this API war seems bogus to me.



And now, having said that, Joel and Eric are some of the developers I respect the most. I admire the technological insites Joel has given us. I absolutely admire the strength they had to create a company from scratch, something that touches me very personally.
This move by Microsoft hit a little too close to home for me to feel comfortable. The browser wars were something that cropped up on a Wired article or two. Now I know what the Netscape team felt.
This move by Microsoft also did something that may have consequences later. Joel and Eric were the first ones to create a grass roots movement in favour of Microsoft. Don't give me those damn MSN blogs, these two were the original gangsters.
By hitting them, they suddenly hit a lot of other persons. Suddenly it's real. If you develop a profitable business, MS will smash you. You saw it happening to those guys who'se blog you read. Yeah, the IDF sargeant and that other fella who made a browser, or something like it.

This one was too close for comfort, BillG. Even with Philo in your ranks, you're not increasing your kharma points.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I'm not going to disrespect Joel or Eric by feeling sorry for them. They'll be on their feet, I'm sure. But let's get real here. Instead of all ohah'ing big bad Microsoft, you think another "ecosystem" is going to be any less "red in tooth and claw"?
Let's see Eric or Joel try selling into the OSS world, where evryone seems to believe it is their God given right that software should be developed as a hobby, those that don't live of grants and have the audacity to *gulp* charge money are criminals that should be excommunicated, and whose software should be cloned pixel by pixel by European college students and included in every OS distro.
Oh yeah. Eric, Joel and there employees could always live of "support". I'm sure their next releases would be intuitive to use and carefree.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

OSS pretty much sucks. Except for Linux, Samba, JBoss and a couple of other apps, the vast majority of OSS software sucks. And the movement isn't too shiny either. Constantly bickering about licenses this and licenses that, instead of focusing on something that people could use. Oh, and don't get me started on the riot that was Eric S. Raymond trying to configure CUPS.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Just me, where did you get that nickname?

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

When you first post something you’re not really giving much thought to picking a good nick, so call it a regrettable accident of history.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"Red tooth and claw".

I like it.  The ecosystem is one of carivores.  Not really what a person has in mind when someone utters the word ecosystem.  The picturesque underwater swimming of flowers, coral, clown fish -- and, (heh, heh) sharks.

Obviously Microsoft lives at the top of the food chain in this ecosystem.

Well, anyway.  The way to beat Microsoft is not to pay any attention to them, stick to your knitting, and do your best to satisfy market requirements as best you can.  If that means you're in line with Microsoft, fine.  If not, so what?

Look at perforce.  Did they ever give a rat's ass what Microsoft thought?  Not until Microsoft decided to use their product because it was the best the industry had to offer.  And in response did they pull support for Solaris, or something stupid like that to appease the emperor?  No, they just keep on keeping on.  And they have the best product out there from what I've seen with a very reasonable licensing fee.

SourceGear faces more competition from Perforce and ClearCase than anything Microsoft will offer in the next 2 years.

hoser
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Umm ... how is MS stepping into Joel's space? With FogBugz-killer or a CityDesk-killer?

Joe Grossberg
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

He feels threatened. He says so himself, Microsoft wants him to rewrite his application in a new language while they develop their own.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Joe Grossberg,

Fogbugz killer. ( I should call that "possible" Fogbugz killer.  it's still vaporware for now).

Apparently, part of the announcement was a new bug tracking system along with a source code control system.

Crimson
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I wouldn't worry too much.  It's been years since Microsoft has produced anything even marginally good.

Yet, sales effectiveness has more important than quality in the software world, so on second thought....

Bob
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"has always been more important"

Bob
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

When an 800 pound gorilla knocks gently on my door saying he's going to eat my bananas, I get dully worried.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Gorillas are mostly vegetarians from what I understand.  Its a Grizzly Bear, and no one told him that too much red meat causes heart trouble.

hoser
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I know I posted plenty of harsh comments toward Microsoft, but the turth is this market is big enough that I'm sure Source Gear will be able to pay they bills, but this will probably limit their upside.  I honestly thought that since Eric was working on MSDN, he was preping Source Gear to be sold to Microsoft.  To me it made perfect sense.

Source control is a difficult buisness. There are many well established free and commercial players.  I took a close look at Vault twice and ended up passing on it, probably because it missed our requirements in both cases. 

One was for a large 500k code base with developers spread all over the country.  The code is a multi-million dollar a year revenue generator.  For this project we had the resources to go with the mature product in the market:  Perforce. While Perforce is complicated we really had a good reasons to need the complexity and Perforce's maturity.

The second was for a small project that I mostly work on alone or with one or two other developers on occasion.  For this I ended up using Subversion.  Primarily because it is free, stable, and does just about everything I need it to do. 

To me Vault's real market is small ASP.NET shops.  Especially those who might not use source control currently, or use VSS.  Maybe Microsoft will aim too high.  Maybe their product will suck.  It is hard to say.  But the truth is they are not in the market yet..  In the meantime Vault continues to grab market share.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Market share that can be erased by the fact that the new MS products will be given with MSDN... which every MS shop already has.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Changing source control systems is difficult.  If Source Gear can grab a lot of users before uSoft's product comes out, then I think they will be in a good position.  Virtually nobody changes source control systems to save a couple thousand dollars. 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"Changing source control systems is difficult.  If Source Gear can grab a lot of users before uSoft's product comes out, then I think they will be in a good position. "

But for how long? I agree that very people are going to dump Source Gear just because MS is giving away a tool.

But on the other hand, how many companies that are entering the market are going to pay for Source Gear while there is a free alternative.

Huh?
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It isn't necessarily free: see http://blogs.msdn.com/buckh/archive/2004/06/16/157022.aspx

See also http://blogs.msdn.com/korbyp/archive/2004/06/22/162710.aspx

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"OSS pretty much sucks. Except for Linux, Samba, JBoss and a couple of other apps, the vast majority of OSS software sucks. And the movement isn't too shiny either. Constantly bickering about licenses this and licenses that, instead of focusing on something that people could use. Oh, and don't get me started on the riot that was Eric S. Raymond trying to configure CUPS."

first of all, alot of software just plain sucks, OSS or not. And as for the licensing stuff, I think that is great that there are people that actually do care what the license says than just ignoring the issue. Believe it or not, there are a huge amount of people out there that don't give s**t about licensing and trying to get out usable and easy software. As for ESR:s with with CUPS... he is an A right not a DD?

MyNameIsSecret();
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Interesting I was just reading the CUPS article by ESR.  He seems to recommend scanning the entire local subnet for printers.  This is a bad idea.  If another server is locked down (ie rejecting ping probes) it could take a very long time.  What if the printer is not on the local subnet? 

Funny thing is I was helping my neighbors set up their home network just last night.  They wanted to do something obvious.  Share printers.  The problem was it took me about an hour to figure out how to do this with XP home.  I ended up typing the cryptic \\desktop\hp 5500 after renaming the desktop machine desktop and rebooting it.  Browse didn't work. 

So I can't say that XP is much better in this respect.

But that is totally off the subject.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A friend of mine recently bought a 3M router to share his network connection. Turns out the thing also worked as a print server and it went quite smoothly. 5 computers at home, one small router sitting in the office sharing the printer 24/7.

(It's probably some Linux version inside a fancy 3M box)

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"Both he and Joel wrote thousands of words saying how great Microsoft is and even so the giant is about to squash them. Then, they destroy their ecosystem, the way the small ISV's do their living, by rewriting the whole windows API with Avalon."

A few points here:

1) And they're surprised? They actually thought Microsoft would do anything other than maximise Microsoft's revenue stream? Sheesh, just how stupid do you think Joel and Eric are? I can't believe anyone is so mindlessly idiotic that they think any large corporation would protect its competitors at its own expense.

2) Microsoft isn't rewriting, replacing or retiring the Win32 API. Joel is simply wrong on this issue. The fact that every now and again Microsoft comes out with significant new tools for developers isn't really the best indicator that MS is run by satanists.

3) Microsft is not forcing Joel to rewrite anything in their new system. They've simply pointed out that their new system has a whole pile of amazing new features that will help him (or his competitors) write a superior product. They've also pointed out that these new features are accessable from Win32 apps, but that a new product would pobably be better off using the new system from the start, rather than using the assorted interoperability layers they're providing in order to ensure a smoth upgrade path with minimal pain for ISVs.  MS has also given Joel exactly what he claimed to want - the ability to keep his current development environment and still have his applications run on Longhorn.  Is this seriously supposed to show that Microsoft is pure evil? Seriously? Wow. That's, um, well, hard to understand, really.

4) There's any number of outright illegal activities that Microsoft has engaged in. If you must criticise them, why not talk about actual laws broken and how their punishment was a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle, rather than whine that they keep writing new and better stuff? Isn't it strange how all of Microsoft's vocal defenders are silent now? Whatever happened to the all the people arguing that "it's a free market and Microsoft can do whatever they want" ?

The man is wrong - get over it
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

On the API...

Without actually having followed the Longhorn saga -- I left the Windows programming world for the greener fields of Java a number of years ago -- I can make a pretty good guess what Microsoft will do with the old base.  I think they'll just do what they did in the 7-year migration from DOS to NT: slap a compatability layer on top. Win32-on-Longhorn.  New applications run happily on the base system, legacy code runs as an unwanted stepchild, firing up a Win32 API that has been reimplemented in terms of the Longhorn host environment.

It'll be 90% effective at first, exposing all sorts of application bugs and hacks as Joel described, and it'll slide up that percentage scale until the most critical legacy applications run well enough.  At that point (maybe 3 years down the road) Microsoft will stop supporting the tools, and Win32 code will be mocked mercilessly by the users until it's all been replaced or abandoned.

Early NT arrived in 93 as I recall, Longhorn 1 perhaps 2006.  NT migration was complete when Win2000 arrived.  I'd lay money down that Longhorn will be mainstream more quickly because the better tools will facilitate both faster rewrites and new players in the markets of the slothful.  Maybe 2010.  Should be fun for you Windows people.

In a wildly outlandish predication... by 2010, I'm also expecting at least one major player to emerge in the market selling everything the average businesss user needs -- OS and office suite, etc. -- on a brand new platform radically different from Windows (and it damn well will not be Linux) with legacy Windows stuff served up as if by a terminal server.  Perhaps on an ancillary x86 on-chip core or via emulation, where Windows thinks it owns the whole box.

Bob
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

By 2010 I see OS X running on 64 bit Intel/AMD processors and everyone moving towards it.

RP
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

> I can't believe anyone is so mindlessly idiotic that they think any large corporation would protect its competitors at its own expense.

Hmm what about those Apple and Corel deals that were obviously attempts to keep their competition afloat so the could claim they didn't have an monopoly. 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"Hmm what about those Apple and Corel deals that were obviously attempts to keep their competition afloat so the could claim they didn't have an monopoly. "

Was that done to benefit Appel and Corel, or was that done to benefit Microsoft? (I'll assume you actually can work out the correct answer to this, even though you apprantly missed the important phrase "at its own expense" in the section you quoted.)

See? Corporations will happily spend money to benefit themselves - any benefit to other companies is not really the objective, though, and if you rely on your competitiors good will then you'll be in trouble the second they find a cheaper way to solve their own problem.

There's a difference between "supporting the competition to help oneself out of potentially expensive legal difficulties" and "supporting the competition at one's own expense."

As another example: the time and effort that Microsoft is spending on maintaining and supporting the Win32 API in Longhorn will benefit all software developers, including their competition, but the benefit to Microsoft (easy upgrade paths for consumers, less resistance to upgrading) will be more important, which is why they are not abandoning the Win32 API. This, however, does not mean that Microsoft will refuse to write software just because some small company is already in the market because they may see more profit for themselves if they write and sell the software.

The man is wrong - get over it
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Eric is right, he can still make good money as long as his solution is superior to what comes builtin with VS.NET 2005.

Consider: 

I know tons of developers who still use Visual Studio C++ 6.0.  These people haven't even moved up to Visual Studio .NET 2002, or 2003 let alone 2005.

Also consider:

I know tons of deveopers who buy and use Araxis Merge even though at a superficial level it does the same thing as windiff or whatever diff tool comes with their source code control system. 

VS.NET 2005 won't kill him and it won't kill Joel as long as they evolve their products and listen to their customers.

Mr. Fancypants
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

> slap a compatability layer on top.

No way that is going to happen.  The Win32 API has a lot of low level primitives that just don't make sense to reimplement.  I can't imagine writing yet another 2D toolkit like GDI.  That makes no sense.  I suspect Avalon is built on Win32 and not the otherway around. 

I suspect the application stack will look like this:

Avalon
.NET
Win32
kernel

Not

Win32
Avalon
.NET
Win32
Kernel

That just doesn't make a lot of sense.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Reading Eric's blog certainly puts a different slant on the first of his recent MSDN articles. Very interesting.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I think the stack will look something more like

                        shell
                (Avalon) ( Win32 Presentation Layer )
                  .NET            (Win32)
                    .NET kernel layer
                                kernel

There's a bunch of other building blocks that fit in there but for simplicity's sake that should cover most of it.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Avalon -> .NET -> Win32 -> kernel
Not Win32 -> Avalon -> .NET -> Win32 -> Kernel"

Nope.  A vague sense of how modern graphics systems work, and maybe ten seconds with Google shows me that's flat wrong.  Microsoft is not spending 5 years to build in terms of a 1989 notion of how to render a GUI.  Slapping some extra alpha-blending in GDI might have made the windows a bit prettier in the older systems, but GDI is still an archaic abstraction.  Avalon has a new compositing engine sitting just above the GPU like Apple's Quartz-Extreme.  As Microsoft has informed the graphics hardware engineers: "No GDI/GDI+ rendering is used.  WinFX is not built on GDI/GDI+."

Bob
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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