Saturday, 29 November 2003

2004: The Year of the Penguin

Keeping in the vein of the last post (sorta): eWeek: 2004: The Year Linux Grows Up (or Blows Up) (hey, I like my title better)

Dear gods, I hope not.

To me, Linux represents stagnation – an inability for the computer market to see past Unix. For many h4xx0rs, Unix is venerated in the same way that the Founding Fathers are venerated in the US: They (It) Can Do No Wrong.

The thing is, Unix was designed for systems where all the hardware was known and available at boot time, and recompiling your kernel to add a driver was acceptable. That simply isn't true now. Files could never be bigger than 4GB, 2038 was 60 years in the future, and handling 1 transaction a second was fine. Those assumptions don't hold true either.

I've been using Windows XP family systems for about four years now, and I don't see any need to, or have incentive to, change. I have tried various releases of Linux and found them uniformly awful.

I don't believe that Microsoft is capable of locking in by extending the server and client simultaneously (if that's even what they're doing, and even if they are trying to do so). I believe that the history of the software market bears it out - quality products succeed, even if priced higher than lower-quality products. Trying to undercut Microsoft is normally an exercise in futility - not because they're predatory or aggressive, or have more resources (though that helps) but because their product has succeeded because it meets a customer need. The only way you can make that work is if you reduce your costs of development and shipping...

...which is where we came in. I believe that the Open Source model can never equal the best of the commercial developers (which some teams at MS are). But that argument will have to wait for another day.

For myself, I can cope with supporting my Mum on Windows; I found it hard to support other CS/EE students on Linux.

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