Monday, 23 April 2012

Good buy? Windows?

oh Microsoft you gave me
all the worst years of my life
all the crashes and the blue screens
suffered through so many nights
I was so buzy in the backrooms
writing work-arounds for bugs
in your costly new releases
foisted on us guileless mugs

and i'd been always
one forced to buy you

I've been using and working with computers since 1978. Back then i caught the bug about the time i started university. I recall walking through the University of New South Wales wondering how i was going to learn about computers. There was no computer science course. There were only papers that one could take in math, science and engineering that included some computer programming. I enrolled in a course in surveying because that seemed to offer me the most options to take papers that included computing. I learned FORTRAN, APL, Pascal and how to program HP programmable calculators. The FORTRAN programming was done on punch cards.

I started a computer science degree in 1983. That then gave me a bunch of majors. I was right into DCL and Unix. I was an avid owner of any computer i could afford. I learned every language i could get my hands on an interpreter or compiler for. I had the very first copy of K & R in the country.

I remember when DOS and Windows came along and most particularly when MS Word came along and gave us WYSIWYG. Gave? No way - MS always cost big big bucks. But the thing is, even though there were way better things around (Tex, Unix, DCL) the cost of a PC and the rush by "business" people to computerize saw MS take off and what i have always thought was true rubbish rose to dominate the desktop market. Oh yes there came NT but even NT was a pale shadow of the power of Unix and C.

Oh woe is me how gawd awful it has been to watch. I have stuck with *nix and time to time have been pure Solaris or Linux but work has always been easier to get on Windows no matter just how bad it has been.

Sure Windows has had some highlights though all of them very costly. But mostly it has become the same as it was when IBM was on top - gutless, uneducated and talentless people have dominated the business market for a long time and they have been stuck on buying Windows because they think they can understand it. Idiots.

The overly long dominance of Microsoft is now drawing to a close. They will retain some niches for some time i am sure (eg SQL Server) and even produce some good stuff (who knows - though Nokia is staring down the barrel of having made the wrong bet there). The writing is on the wall. Linux and other Unix variants will dominate.

Just recently i have completely abandoned Microsoft at home. My home network is now all Linux Fedora 14 and 16. I'll never go back to Microsoft. Not when i can have the sort of power i have here at the price i pay for it all: $0.

The internet runs on Linux. The world is rushing to adopt Android which is Linux. The Apple devices all run a version of Linux. Routers and switches, embedded devices in cars and fridges and almost everything else electronic are Linux. Many of the emerging weapons technologies (like hive-minded swarms of thopters and other RS and WD platforms) use variants of Linux.

Good bye Windows and good riddance.