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Microsoft is running scared

By Aaron Mason ·
Let's be frank here. Until Linux started to show its colours on the desktop, Windows has had very little competition, and when something did come along, it wasn't anything Microsoft couldn't handle with a little FUD.

Now that Linux has emerged as a credible Windows replacement, Microsoft has had to pick up its game. For the first time in 20 years, Microsoft has a worthy competitor: the open source community.

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In the nicest possible fashion

by santeewelding In reply to Stretching it a bit?

simplersolution holds more back than he puts forth.

Unless, of course, he is already banging away on all cylinders and is near his end.

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Re: In the nicest possible fashion

by Aaron Mason In reply to In the nicest possible fa ...

How do you figure?

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Re: Stretching it a bit?

by Aaron Mason In reply to Stretching it a bit?

> I'm comfortable that your definition is not what the person intended in their post.

No, I don't think it is either. I was simply offering a different viewpoint.

This is one of the biggest conflicts between open and closed source software - when people think "free" they think money instead of freedom. As such when people say "free software" they expect that it is indeed free of charge. People also associate "free of charge" with "crap" - another impediment.

All of these issues would, at least, be lessened if not eliminated, if people would realise that it really means that you're free to do with it what you please, without encumberment, even sell it.

Until that happens, there'll be a lot of resistance towards open source software. More people are realising this, however, and the tides are turning - but there's a long way to go.

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Developers developers developers developers developers developers . . .

by jkameleon In reply to Microsoft is running scar ...

Ballmer looks pretty stupid on that famous video, but the strategy of being more developer friendly was sound. The end result was Visual Studio, which is the best possible way of getting large numbers developers (myself included) to stick with Microsoft. As a matter of fact, lack of a tool, as productive as VS, is the only reason I haven't switched to Linux.

The old truth, that OS is as good as applications and tools running on it, still applies.

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Re: Developers et al

by Aaron Mason In reply to Developers developers dev ...

Hi,

You make some sound points there, and while the lack of a friendly IDE does make life difficult, there's good reason to develop for Open Source operating systems.

First, the toolchain is pretty much installed by default in some operating systems, and if not, it's a download and install away. Distributions like those based on Debian have a "build-essential" package that installs a complete toolchain into your system, free of charge (not including any charges your ISP might hit you with for exceeding your download quota). There's a number of IDEs available, but as you say there's probably a way to go to make them as friendly as VS.

Second, since the toolchain is readily available, it's easy to prepare your software for ever changing platforms. If errors arise from running your older versions on newer systems, update your toolchain and system libraries and rebuild it. Errors? No worries, the code's right there for you to fix them, and in most cases, compiler output is usually intuitive enough to tell you what's going on.

On the other hand, easy-to-use tools can be a double-edged sword. How do you know that the templates provided by VS are the best way to do it? How do you know that those provided by your chosen IDE aren't hiding any nasties that will make your application slow, make it crash, add any security problems, or a mix of the above? Do you have the time to make sure that the template you're using is on the level? If you're using a tool that provides ease of use, my guess is no.

There's value in handling the code yourself from go to whoa - you know exactly what's going into it, you can audit every little bit of it for problems and security issues, and there's less of a chance of nasty surprises unless you suck at coding.

Of course, if you know for sure that the templates are on the level, then all the power to you. Going from go to whoa isn't for everyone, hence the existence of such tools.

I hope you don't think I'm preaching, because I know that not everyone marches to the beat of the same drummer.

An OS is indeed as good as the tools it provides. That's the beauty of Open Source - the "killer app" (ugh) you write today could end up in a distro later on, with your name on it. No Microsoft system will provide that, and if they do, you certainly won't get any credit for it.

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