Still no news

I know, I’m still not writing anything useful here. But I just don’t have much to say. Life has been quite hectic and stressful. A lot of things not happening the way I wanted them to happen. Surely a couple of the things are better because of that, but it hurts my unselfish self.

Unfortunately I’m not here to talk about this, but to post yet another interesting article that I’ve read today:

Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won’t Like About Windows Vista

Quite a good article trying to put in perspective what still isn’t there on the Windows front. It’s interesting how misguided Microsoft has been in the past years, lost in its goal of trying to build something that is just good for everybody. It’s a little of the pattern that we in software engineering call “the curse of the do-it-all frameworks” – they might be more advanced than most overall, but what matters is what you want it to do. And on this area, they just can’t win.

Make two classic comparisons: Mac OS X and Linux. The first one is aimed at user interface and stability and excels at that. It is painful, though, if you want to customize your system. A lot of the configurations are quite hidden, or simply not there at all! For example, I wanted to set my mouse scroller button to fan out the windows for selection (F9 in the keyboard), but because I don’t have a certain brand of the mouse, I just don’t get the option to do so.

Then comes Linux, the complete opposite. Linux (pretty much any of the hundreds of distributions) allows you to do whatever you want. You can set up initialization scripts, change colors, create new skins, even recompile the kernel if you want it to work with your new FireUSB port (no, there is no such thing)! But on the realm of ease of use, it’s decades behind. User interface is clunky, options are non-intuitive and spread around the system, installing software can be a multi-day procedure if the software was not packaged specificly for your distribution, and so on.

So why Windows? The simple answer is: market share. Windows dominates the market share and with it it dominates the software and hardware development. Find me a product that does not work on Windows (alright, take away the ones made by Apple or open source things) and I’ll show you things that won’t really get anywhere.

What should you choose then? If your goal is to just use a computer for web and occasional document writing, I’d go for a Mac without any question (except money). If your goal is software development for yourself, Linux is your best bet. You have no idea the improved efficiency you get from not being tied to Visual Studio. Oh, but I did mention that it’s good for “development for yourself”, meaning that if you have to write things for .NET, well, you are out of luck there.

Finally, if your goal is to play games, buy new gadgets to connect to your computer, or use software from medium to small size companies, you can’t escape Windows.

What about me? Well, I have two “working” computers at home: a PowerBook and a Linux box. Sometimes I do feel like I need a Windows box to invest on some “entertainment” but I just never found the time for it so why bother.

Alright, wrote too much already. Back to work here! Too many things to do, very short night ahead.

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