Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Wrong about Windows? Or was I brainwashed ?

A couple of months ago I decided to take the walk down Microsoft lane. I decided to try Windows XP and Visual Studios .NET. In some cases I got harsh criticisms in others I got a resounding amount of support and a lot of help while I checked out this new environment, well new to me, and I really started to think logically out of my usual zealous nature. I have never been a big fan of Microsoft or their products. I always felt that Microsoft was so underserving of the recognition it got for their crappy products and that a UNIX based system was the way to go. My old IRC buddies quit talking to me and I was shunned by my LUG before I moved because I dared to bring a Windows XP laptop to a meeting and connect to their wireless network. People have been talking about myths of Open Source and making rebuttals and comments on why Linux and Open Source is better than Microsoft or Microsoft's products. While I may not be a Windows expert, I feel a lot of their reasonings just dont make sense. Im going to go over a few of these things now.

Myth 1. Windows is insecure and cannot be as secure as Linux

I challenge anyone to try and run Linux without a firewall, I can almost be certain you will be hacked if you have anything of worth. Security is not a Windows problem its an industry problem. I have seen and heard reports of Linux being hacked, Hell we run HP-UX at work which is one of the most unbreakable systems in existance and last week our main server was compromised. Crackers will do what they want, when they want and it doesnt matter what system you run whether it is Linux, UNIX, Windows or Mac. Its up to the user to make sure thatt they are protected, to make sure their systems are up2date. Red Hat, Microsoft HP and Novell are not there to hold your hands the reponsibility of proper configuration and security is up to the user. Some Linux advocates have suggested that Microsoft be held responsible for the vulnerabilities in their system while in some cases I agree with that I also think that if a patch is readily available when the compromise takes place it is not the fault of Microsoft or any Linux company. It is the users fault.

Myth 2 There are more viruses written for Windows than Linux or UNIX

True, but which system has more widespread use? Someone said this recently on a blog that I read and the guy hit the nail right on the head. Can we blame Microsoft for the actions of these virus writers and crackers? If we do its like blaming Glock or H&K if someone goes out there and robs a bank or kills someone. It is stupid to blame Microsoft for something that they cannot control.

Myth 3 Visual Studios is too easy and takes the fun out of programming

Whats wrong with Visual Studios .NET being easy, and its a lot of fun to use. i like easy it gives me more time to spend with my wife and my stepson instead of pulling my hair out trying to discover what went wrong. It makes me more productive and I wish we had tools like this for Linux. I used to think like that "Oh yeah, give me Emacs instead of Visual C++ any day".

Myth 4 IIS sucks and you cannot run ASP.NET content on Apache

Well yeah, IIS does suck. I tried to like IIS, I really did and it just didnt work out. I can run ASP.NET on Apache using a module from Covalent standalone and for free by tying into the Cassini Web Server but I wont go into great detail here. And yes, I do like ASP.NET more than PHP now. Its so much easier and I have done things with ASP.NET that I couldnt even figure out how to do with PHP. I do not care what Oracle says give me ASP.NET any day. Also Mono is doing some extraordinary things with ASP.NET on Mono and I am looking forward to that.

Myth 5 There is no community support for Microsofts products and Microsoft support sucks

I have had more help from Microsofts forums and newgroups and Microsoft related chatrooms than I ever had with Linux. I had to learn Linux and UNIX by myself, I had very little to no help at all. In Linux chatrooms I was called a "noob" and put on ignore, in forums and news groups I was ignored. Which makes me think, Why did I even bother with Linux? But I learned Linux and didnt realize that in time I turned into one of those guys that called others a "noob" and put people on ignore without realizing "hey, I was new at one time too" Microsofts support team is not bad and they actually went above what they actually had to do. With the few problems that I went to Microsofts newsgroups for I actually hooked up with a couple of MS employees and they were a great help and they stuck with me until the problem was fixed, I wasnt ignored and when/if I ever go to Redmond I do intend to buy the beer, perhaps 2 or 3 for them. Red Hats support team is not very much support at all, SuSE's wasnt bad but since they hooked up with Novell they have gone the wayside as well. The only equivalents I have seen on the Linux side that offer any kind of real support are the Gentoo team and the Rock Linux team.

Myth 6 OpenOffice is better than Microsoft Office

OpenOffice is a great product, dont get me wrong I do like it. But a few weeks ago I bit my lip and bought a copy of Office 2003 and I do like Office 2003 much more. It has features in PowerPoint that I cannot find in Impress and they make for a much better presentation. For word processing and spreadsheet yes I do feel Word and Excel are a little bit bloated and if that basic functionality was a users only requirement then yes, stick with OpenOffice but if you do heavy formatting or are a Macro junkie and you want really great faultless presentations then Office 2003 is your baby. The only reason I dont use Office 2003 more than what I do is because I have a lot of *.sxw documents that I do not forsee myself trying to convert. In my opionion, choose the suite that does what you need it to do and make a decision but dont tell me Office 2003 sucks because I will call you an idiot.

Myth 7 Longhorn is vaporware and Windows will continue to suck.

I have seen Longhorn and played on a box with Longhorn so I know it isn't vaporware and Im really impressed with it and I think Microsoft finally got it right. A lot of the things I have heard from the open source community regarding trusted computing and other Longhorn features are nothing but FUD. I work with a development team and we like to play with stuff, just to play if we have the free time and me being an Open Source supporter decided to see if Longorn really breaks compatibility with Open Source software and it ran everything I threw at it in my opinion it strikes me as Microsoft is really trying to improve 3rd party application support and it wont be the vault that most open source and Linux guys claim it will be.

Myth 8 Windows XP is not stable

Windows XP has been very stable for me, I havent had to reformat my HD or reboot for anything. I havent had a problem where a crashed application brings down the entire system. Pre 2000/XP instability may have been an issue but I dont see a problem with it now, luckily I missed out on that.

With all that said I will make a few criticisms now. Internet Explorer is ok but I wont use it, I like tabbed browsing and I like Firefox more. Microsoft will have to work on licensing and pricing because I do feel their products are on the expensive side. One of my little requests for licensing is that Microsoft do with Windows for the home user and educational user what they do with Office academic version, allow the upgrade to be installed on three PC's for home and non-commercial users. Dont do that with the full or OEM versions but if a family wants to upgrade existing systems then dont charge a premium, most families that I know of cannot afford 300 Dollars just for an OS. Open Source more software, I see where Open Source can improve the quality and ensure 3rd party standards compliance for IIS and Internet Explorer. You cannot charge for a browser, look at opera and Omniweb, they rarely make any money for their browsers outside of licensing agreements they have with OEM's. While Windows may be good I will still continue to use Linux, they both have pluses and minuses and I think I can coexist with both happily.

Monday, July 26, 2004


This is an idea started by Whil Wheaton, the geeky kid that used to play Wesley Crusher on Start Trek: The Next Generation, he also does some appearances on TechTV. The idea is to send your GMail invites to the troops. So send those invites here

Wesley's errrr I meant Whils page is here.

Whils an Open Source guy too and he uses Mandrake Linux.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

SCO flops in DaimlerChrysler Unix lawsuit | CNET News.com

Best news of the week. I hope those putzes just die already, they cant compete, no one wants their crappy OS, their biggest mistake was turning against the Linux community.

Run Linspire Music Video

Linspire Anti-MS music video hillarious

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Microsoft pays to end Lindows suits

Big new but who actually won here?

Gentoo Mac OS

Gentoo has made news with their portage and other Linux tools ported to Mac OS X. This will make porting and aquiring new software for the Mac easier.

** My views (actually my wifes views)

Unless I can experience this software using a native Mac OS interface without having to use XFree86 and going through the hassle of configuring X Windows under Mac OS X, Im not interested.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I hope everyone had a nice holiday

In the US we just celebrated the 4th of July. The fourth of July is the birthday of our nation. This year I took my new wife to see fireworks, then we made a few of our own at home afterwards hehehe. My presentation went well at work and I was told that the decision makers would have a decision by the end of this week. Well folks time to go back to work.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to code i go. :)

Thursday, July 01, 2004

.NET sings

This is probably the funniest damn thing I have ever seen, man these .NET guys know how to have fun. I have yet to see any Java guys who would even consider doing this at a conference. Maybe Carl Franklin should get the transcript and do a remix.

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