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Thread: Some opinions wanted (at a crossroads between Windows and Linux)

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  1. #1
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    Default Some opinions wanted (at a crossroads between Windows and Linux)

    First of all, a note: this is started with the intention that it be a sensible discussion, so flames and baits will be reported immediately.

    Also, warning: This IS A LONG POST.

    And now, to the meat of the issue:

    As some of you have known, recently because of internship commitments I have dropped Linux completely from my notebook and desktops in favor of Windows to devote time to accquainting myself with Microsoft technologies. And generally I am a fan of Microsoft software (as in I genuinely enjoy using MS software (yes, even Windows 8!) for getting work done to the point that I have invested in a Microsoft TechNet account to get complimentary access to all of Microsoft's non-developer software in return for a yearly subscription fee). To satisfy my 'build the source code yourself' cravings Visual Studio Express generally does an a-ok job for Windows applications that are open-sourced unless it makes use of GTK or Qt libraries (in which the compilation process becomes a real pain in the nuts, but I digress).

    However every so often some doubts enter my mind about the future of Microsoft in the desktop and enterprise space so I would really, really appreciate some feedback on whether I am doing the 'right thing', so to speak. For one, it is no secret that Microsoft's dominance is limited only to the desktop and notebook space; Windows Phone, as much as I enjoy using it, is never going to break past its distant third position in the smartphone space, and Windows RT is not going to improve Redmond's tablet ambitions, at least for the forseeable future. And even now there is talk that Microsoft may very well lose its desktop / notebook pie as well...

    By casting my lot with Microsoft, am I risking what would be why potential future career if I limit of learning of Linux only to the server and administration space and focusing on learning as much as I can in Microsoft land such as ASP, .NET, C#, SQL Server and Windows Server administration? Which do you think is more important: to use the tools one is comfortable with to produce the end result desired by the other party, regardless of operating system, or to spread myself out and learn both Windows and Linux tools? Is the desktop really, really dead as a work tool? I really refuse to believe in that, considering how desktops with that kind of processing power are needed to do lots grunt work that the standard consumer is not likely to ever come across in his/her life.

    Last but not least, i just have to ask; it is wrong to like Windows and Microsoft's software? As said earlier, I genuinely enjoy using Microsoft software and as such am fully willing to shell out the money for my TechNet subscription to get complimentary access to a wide range of Microsoft software products. But the vibes I'm getting from many Linux-centric forums are that it's:

    a) impossible for anybody to even like using Microsoft's software products because they are inferior to open-source ones (which I wholeheartedly disagree), and
    b) anybody who so much as says that he/she likes MS software is immediately deemed some kind of shill or mole out to discredit Linux.

    Is it really that wrong to enjoy using a system that one personally likes, and is well-supported by hardware vendors who will always be able to supply launch-day drivers for new hardware, even if those drivers are tightly locked down? What happened to the 'if you like it and are productive with it, use it' approach to computing?

    Thanks for listening.

    ** I know Im very well asking for trouble for even daring to talk about my liking of MS software in a Linux forum. But I really want the feedback and opinions.
    Last edited by Sonadow; 04-24-2013 at 09:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    However every so often some doubts enter my mind about the future of Microsoft in the desktop and enterprise space so I would really, really appreciate some feedback on whether I am doing the 'right thing', so to speak. For one, it is no secret that Microsoft's dominance is limited only to the desktop and notebook space; Windows Phone, as much as I enjoy using it, is never going to break past its distant third position in the smartphone space, and Windows RT is not going to improve Redmond's tablet ambitions, at least for the forseeable future. And even now there is talk that Microsoft may very well lose its desktop / notebook pie as well...
    I would take with a large pile of salt the idea that Microsoft will lose the desktop/notebook pie. Consider how huge it is, and how many business-critical applications run on it. It'll be going for a long time. As good as Linux and MacOS may be, they aren't going to be taking the majority spot for desktops/notebooks anytime soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    By casting my lot with Microsoft, am I risking what would be why potential future career if I limit of learning of Linux only to the server and administration space and focusing on learning as much as I can in Microsoft land such as ASP, .NET, C#, SQL Server and Windows Server administration? Which do you think is more important: to use the tools one is comfortable with to produce the end result desired by the other party, regardless of operating system, or to spread myself out and learn both Windows and Linux tools?
    If I were in your position I would take a look at Qt: the IDE (QtCreator) works on Windows, MacOS and Linux, and can produce code for those three, plus Android, iOS and Blackberry, so there should be no worries about tying yourself to an individual platform. Having said that, it won't play with the Microsoft languages. I wouldn't feel comfortable having my career rely on one company (hence I've just moved our company's development to QtCreator from Visual Studio.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    Is the desktop really, really dead as a work tool? I really refuse to believe in that, considering how desktops with that kind of processing power are needed to do lots grunt work that the standard consumer is not likely to ever come across in his/her life.
    It's not dead in the slightest. Look around your place of work: it's unlikely that anybody will give up their desktop/laptop for a tablet/other device. Typing isn't fun on a tablet. It can be done but it's a very different experience with no tactile feedback. Moving files from one place to another is intuitive with a keyboard/mouse (cut & paste or drag & drop), not so much on a non-desktop system.

    My cynical side thinks that the people suggesting that it is are the ones writing apps for tablets etc. Similar to how CryTek (the company that makes Crysis and other brilliant-looking games) say that graphics are the most important part of a modern game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    Last but not least, i just have to ask; it is wrong to like Windows and Microsoft's software?
    No. Not at all. Not even slightly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    As said earlier, I genuinely enjoy using Microsoft software and as such am fully willing to shell out the money for my TechNet subscription to get complimentary access to a wide range of Microsoft software products. But the vibes I'm getting from many Linux-centric forums are that it's:

    a) impossible for anybody to even like using Microsoft's software products because they are inferior to open-source ones (which I wholeheartedly disagree), and
    b) anybody who so much as says that he/she likes MS software is immediately deemed some kind of shill or mole out to discredit Linux.
    People that say that are morons and zealots. If you like a system and it works for you then go for it. If somebody is so wrapped up in open source ideology that they can't see that their preferred system(s) aren't perfect then they are a zealot, too blinded by their ideals to see reason, so probably not the type of person from whom you should take advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    Is it really that wrong to enjoy using a system that one personally likes, and is well-supported by hardware vendors who will always be able to supply launch-day drivers for new hardware, even if those drivers are tightly locked down? What happened to the 'if you like it and are productive with it, use it' approach to computing?
    Short answer: nope.

    I'm going to let you in on a 'secret': I actually quite like Windows 8. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have the old start menu back, but other than that it has worked flawlessly for me. The "if you like it..." approach is still there, but there are now more people with larger mouths.

    I hope this helps. I'd be happy to clarify anything if I've been unclear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    I hope this helps. I'd be happy to clarify anything if I've been unclear.
    You have been a huge help. Thank you very much for helping me to sort out my thoughts, I'm really grateful.

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    Microsoft from its appearance up to recent events has done a lot of damage to IT ecosystems to say the least. It took a lot of free will effort to fix that and their behavioural policy it did not change even to slightest degree.

    Someone who associates himself with or even likes microsoft, is someone who is greedy or ignorant, but all way egoistic.

    Microsoft is an antonym to openness, choice, fairness and honor. These polices affect the core nature of ecosystem, with money only following those who are considered to be the authority.

    The quality of tools is bound only to money amount, and microsoft has made a lot of damage and collected enough money on ignorants to secure its technical side.

    But these tools are not adantage, they stink from source.

    I stand behind my values and I will never ever tolerate anything so slimy and intolerant as microsoft. Their pointless destiny does not interest me, its their choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    You have been a huge help. Thank you very much for helping me to sort out my thoughts, I'm really grateful.
    A little bird was flying south for the winter.

    It got so cold it froze up and fell to the ground in a large field.

    While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it.

    As it lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was.

    The dung was actually thawing him out!

    He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

    A passing cat heard the little bird singing, and came to investigate.

    Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out-and then ate him.


    The morals of the story are:

    1. Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
    2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
    3.When you're in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!

    [source]
    Last edited by brosis; 04-24-2013 at 11:55 AM.

  5. #5
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    It's not wrong to like Microsoft software, but you have to understand why people have a hard time believing it. Several decades of evil business practises and lock-in are just the start of it.

    As for the risk, keeping your eggs in one basket is never good, no matter what the basket is. If I were you, I would also learn alternatives to not completely keep myself in the Microsoft universe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    It's not wrong to like Microsoft software, but you have to understand why people have a hard time believing it. Several decades of evil business practises and lock-in are just the start of it.
    I must admit that I come from a place where the culture is that if a product delivers the goods and promotes standardization by ensuring that everybody uses it, lock-in is something that should not be seen in a negative light. And generally Microsoft software does deliver the goods where it's needed for the most part. But this is just my take on it, feel free to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    As for the risk, keeping your eggs in one basket is never good, no matter what the basket is. If I were you, I would also learn alternatives to not completely keep myself in the Microsoft universe.
    Very true, and Archibald has also pointed this out. I should, and will put some attention into looking out for suitable alternatives to complement what I'm learning in the Microsoft universe. QtCreator and learning the basics of Linux administration seems like as good a place to start as any.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    First of all, a note: this is started with the intention that it be a sensible discussion, so flames and baits will be reported immediately.

    Also, warning: This IS A LONG POST.

    And now, to the meat of the issue:

    As some of you have known, recently because of internship commitments I have dropped Linux completely from my notebook and desktops in favor of Windows to devote time to accquainting myself with Microsoft technologies. And generally I am a fan of Microsoft software (as in I genuinely enjoy using MS software (yes, even Windows 8!) for getting work done to the point that I have invested in a Microsoft TechNet account to get complimentary access to all of Microsoft's non-developer software in return for a yearly subscription fee). To satisfy my 'build the source code yourself' cravings Visual Studio Express generally does an a-ok job for Windows applications that are open-sourced unless it makes use of GTK or Qt libraries (in which the compilation process becomes a real pain in the nuts, but I digress).

    However every so often some doubts enter my mind about the future of Microsoft in the desktop and enterprise space so I would really, really appreciate some feedback on whether I am doing the 'right thing', so to speak. For one, it is no secret that Microsoft's dominance is limited only to the desktop and notebook space; Windows Phone, as much as I enjoy using it, is never going to break past its distant third position in the smartphone space, and Windows RT is not going to improve Redmond's tablet ambitions, at least for the forseeable future. And even now there is talk that Microsoft may very well lose its desktop / notebook pie as well...

    By casting my lot with Microsoft, am I risking what would be why potential future career if I limit of learning of Linux only to the server and administration space and focusing on learning as much as I can in Microsoft land such as ASP, .NET, C#, SQL Server and Windows Server administration? Which do you think is more important: to use the tools one is comfortable with to produce the end result desired by the other party, regardless of operating system, or to spread myself out and learn both Windows and Linux tools? Is the desktop really, really dead as a work tool? I really refuse to believe in that, considering how desktops with that kind of processing power are needed to do lots grunt work that the standard consumer is not likely to ever come across in his/her life.

    Last but not least, i just have to ask; it is wrong to like Windows and Microsoft's software? As said earlier, I genuinely enjoy using Microsoft software and as such am fully willing to shell out the money for my TechNet subscription to get complimentary access to a wide range of Microsoft software products. But the vibes I'm getting from many Linux-centric forums are that it's:

    a) impossible for anybody to even like using Microsoft's software products because they are inferior to open-source ones (which I wholeheartedly disagree), and
    b) anybody who so much as says that he/she likes MS software is immediately deemed some kind of shill or mole out to discredit Linux.

    Is it really that wrong to enjoy using a system that one personally likes, and is well-supported by hardware vendors who will always be able to supply launch-day drivers for new hardware, even if those drivers are tightly locked down? What happened to the 'if you like it and are productive with it, use it' approach to computing?

    Thanks for listening.

    ** I know Im very well asking for trouble for even daring to talk about my liking of MS software in a Linux forum. But I really want the feedback and opinions.


    I personally started using Linux along with Win_2000, then with XP i had a dual installation for at least 2 years. When i decided to erase MS software for good, was only when Wine was at a good shape. But even then and even now, i have compatibility problems, mostly games, but flash and others as well. Then i realize that it wasn't Linux and free software to blame, but MS. They do what they can, even pay (thats not legal!) key companies to make their solution incompatible with Linux (graphics vendors, game companies, and others). And thats only a small damage in comparison with their virus-like attack on education. So the probability is that you just don't now something that works better. For example don't use NET, instead use C11 with LLVM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by artivision View Post
    I personally started using Linux along with Win_2000, then with XP i had a dual installation for at least 2 years. When i decided to erase MS software for good, was only when Wine was at a good shape. But even then and even now, i have compatibility problems, mostly games, but flash and others as well. Then i realize that it wasn't Linux and free software to blame, but MS. They do what they can, even pay (thats not legal!) key companies to make their solution incompatible with Linux (graphics vendors, game companies, and others). And thats only a small damage in comparison with their virus-like attack on education. So the probability is that you just don't now something that works better. For example don't use NET, instead use C11 with LLVM.
    I have played around with quite a fair bit of proprietary and FOSS solutions and I still find the MS camp to have better software.

    Again, anecdotal examples: for database class back in my campus we were given a choice of postgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle and MS Sql Sever to use for our projects, and the course instructor personally recommended MySQL. Bear in mind this is was class of computing newbies who have never touched database management before.

    When the projects were submitted and graded he asked us why everybody (even the OS X users) ended up choosing SQL Server even though MySQL was the recommended option. The answers:

    1) MySQL feels primitive
    2) WorkBench cannot compete with SQL Management Studio

    Being the only guy on Linux back then I didn't have the chance to try out SQL Server, but having done so recently I can fully see where my coursemates were coming from. People can speak for themselves, you know. Microsoft didn't even have to tout its software; the class made the decision on their own.

    What I did like about MySQL though was that I could get lazy with defining CONSTRAINTS. Since MySQL automatically ignores CHECK statements I can purposely choose to ignore any instruction that requires a CHECK statement be set as an attribute or as a table level constraint.
    Last edited by Sonadow; 04-25-2013 at 02:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonadow View Post
    I have played around with quite a fair bit of proprietary and FOSS solutions and I still find the MS camp to have better software.

    Again, anecdotal examples: for database class back in my campus we were given a choice of postgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle and MS Sql Sever to use for our projects, and the course instructor personally recommended MySQL. Bear in mind this is was class of computing newbies who have never touched database management before.

    When the projects were submitted and graded he asked us why everybody (even the OS X users) ended up choosing SQL Server even though MySQL was the recommended option. The answers:

    1) MySQL feels primitive
    2) WorkBench cannot compete with SQL Management Studio

    Being the only guy on Linux back then I didn't have the chance to try out SQL Server, but having done so recently I can fully see where my coursemates were coming from. People can speak for themselves, you know. Microsoft didn't even have to tout its software; the class made the decision on their own.

    What I did like about MySQL though was that I could get lazy with defining CONSTRAINTS. Since MySQL automatically ignores CHECK statements I can purposely choose to ignore any instruction that requires a CHECK statement be set as an attribute or as a table level constraint.


    My friend, you are somehow wrong. First of all, there is not an excuse to not do the right thing. Open Source is the right thing for all of as and so it has advantages, that they usually start from 30 times less errors in the code, they continue with security because you have the source and you can correct the wrong or enforce policy, and they don't end, as more people using it as better the quality is. The right thing (libre source) its the only thing that can give right and for this reason has its own powers. First spreads like bug, as today 60-70% of the devices sold are small (phones and tablets), and an 70%+ of them has Linux. So you can say for sure that 2015 50%+ of the computers will have Linux, Android will become more real (probably LLVM based and not a Java toy), and those small computers will be powerful. Second when users start using Open Source, eventually they will understand its philosophy and they will have anger against monopolies. So thats why you chose open standards, because you don't want to be chained with a single company that may fall or reduce share, and because you want to have profits from every one and not to have to face many against you. Now, if you can offer something back, that will be great for you to, so if you make a sound program, give for free some code and standards, so tomorrow OpenSound will have better quality mechanical sounds instead of useless waves. If you make a game, when its time is up, give it for free, it will be appreciated. Any way you must think many instruction_sets (C11 + LLVM), many OSs (OpenGL, native Linux clients). That is the only good code. Ending, if you just want to work somewhere, because the world is changing, those open_standards abilities are wanted 10x.
    Last edited by artivision; 04-25-2013 at 04:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    When it comes to a career in software (and really all tech-related stuff), you can never cast a lot with a particular technology and then coast through a career. Unfortunately, being in software means constantly keeping up with the stuff that's relevant and re-inventing yourself as the trends shift. And along those lines, I find that the software industry (I'm talking about the actual jobs out there) can be really susceptible to fads and buzzwords.

    So to answer your question, I think there's a short-term and long-term approach. Long-term, expect to move around from this language to that, and this platform to that, adapting to the market needs. (I.e., you don't want to become stagnant or irrelevant.) In this sense, there's a certain aptitude of being a software engineer that you need to develop, and these skills transfer easily from language to language. The short-term approach is to eye up the market in your target location and see what jobs are in high demand. For enterprise, web servers, etc. I still see a lot of Java stuff here on the US East Coast. People who want desktop-style user applications are still in the C# / .NET fold. The web space is all about PHP, JavaScript and whatever fancy new ideas they have now. It really depends on what product you prefer to work on, and what companies are using in your area.

    Regarding the future of Windows... it's a lock for desktop and front-facing enterprise for many, many eons to come. People can't even forecast a potential contender. The only way you can dream up failure is if somehow these target markets themselves disappeared. Of course this is important only in the sense that you'd be writing programs for desktops and the like. Software is such a huge segment out there, and desktop is only a small part. So don't lose sight of the whole picture.

    And as for your opinion of Windows: it's your opinion. Nobody can tell you that what works best for you isn't good enough for you. It's your judgment call and you should have all the confidence in it. Windows has some wonky quirks but so do Linux and OS X. When it comes to software development and other such things, I really struggle without a command line, so working on Windows had always been difficult for me. On the contrary, I know many who swear up and down by Visual Studio and wouldn't touch a line of code without it. But all in all, I think it's important for a software developer to not be too dogmatic about it. Respect the strengths of each OS and be open to developing for each one if such a need arises in the future. I don't use Windows for much other than gaming at this point, but if someone's going to stuff cash in my wallet to make a program that runs on that platform...? I'm listening.

    After developing software for awhile you can become quite flexible with both language and platform and move around fairly easily if necessary. It's all going to depend on where the job focus is at any point in time, and it's hard to predict the future. But I am noticing a greater need for mobile software and things that are web-based (either fancy-pants web sites or server software).

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