Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Microsoft really Evil?

No I don’t hate Microsoft, in fact in areas where they have good competition I love their products. I own a X-Box 360 and purposefully decided on one over the PS3. After buying a new Logitech mouse I went back to my comfortable Microsoft one within a week.

But yes, I will admit in areas where Microsoft has a monopoly, I have always had a huge grudge against them and thought they were evil. Yes you guessed it I don’t like Windows. In fact I’m not alone, many other people all around the world will constantly complain about the dominant operating system but yet somehow Microsoft managed to keep Windows as the only real choice for most people. Or did they? Many people might believe Windows's monopoly is due to Microsoft’s good marketing or maybe their strategy to lock you into their products, and I have no doubt that they try to get people in every way possible to use their products, but lately I don’t think that Windows has monopoly because of Microsofts own cunning plans, no I rather think its because of other companies and developers who is in no way affiliated with Microsoft. Read further to hear my story and I’ll explain why..

I am an Oracle developer, and about 10 months ago I took the big step and bought a Macbook Pro. The experience so far has been awesome, the hardware is stunning, and all the software by Apple, or software made for the Mac are all incredible. The problem I have is with multi platform software, or the lack of certain software.

One of the biggest reasons that made it possible for me to move away from Windows was the fact that Oracle Jdeveloper and Oracle SQL developer (the 2 major applications I use for work) both have a Mac version. After already buying my new notebook I realized that the Mac version of Jdeveloper has a major known bug in the BPEL module (which I use a lot) which forces me to either use the Windows version in a virtual machine, or have to use many workarounds to get by. (See On Oracle’s support site under this bug logged the response from the developer is something like “can’t look at problem since he has no Mac hardware to reproduce the error on”). The bug has been there for more than 2 years. Oracle SQL developer is much better, but even so when my network connection drops, the application just hangs, something that never happens on the Windows version.

Ok, so that’s Oracle, but that’s just one company, but there are many more examples. Lets look at a few. Skype is a great example, their latest official release for the Mac is 2.7 (Windows is 4.0) and even though it has all the major features, its still way behind the Windows version on things like games, screen sharing and more. This is quite strange to me since all Mac’s come with a build in webcam I would think it’s quite a big audience for them? Another application that’s missing from the Mac is from the big Microsoft hater, Google. Yes even though you can use Google Talk through iChat or Adium, if you want to transfer files with your Windows buddies on you have to look elsewhere. In fact, I turned to Messenger for Mac to send files to a lot of friends since even Microsoft’s IM worked better on the Mac than Google’s!

Now, lets look at the open source world. Big Microsoft hater’s right? Well, I have a problem with a bug in Firefox where the Home / End key’s don’t work in certain sites (including Gmail) and it’s a known bug on the Firefox site since 2006! (I have to use a external tool to fix it) I’m sure if there was a bug like this in the Windows version, it would have been a mayor priority to get it fixed right away!

Now, I’m in no way saying I will go back to Windows, and I still love Mac OS X. But for most people its just pain easier to stick to Windows, and know their software will work, and when a bug arrives in the Windows version it will get priority over other OS version’s. Sad, but true.. :-( What do you think?

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