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Ask HN: Why the Microsoft hate?
763 points by seanmcdirmid on Oct 23, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 530 comments
When new the Nokia tablet was announced yesterday, submissions made it to the front page but were promptly flagged off by many saying "this wasn't relevant to HN;" regardless of all the excitement over the new iPad.

So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default? Is it ethical to flag something because the article is related to a company you don't like, even if the source is generally reputable (theverge, engadget, ars)?

Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft (research) and my wife works for Nokia; so ya, ouch.

In that particular thread, I was accused of being a shill and an astroturfer by 3 members. All of the accusers had karma greater than 1500, and atleast two of them were on HN since at least 2 years. Why? Because I posted the spec list of the tablet. And I do not have allegiance to any of the tech companies at all, except having used their products one time or another.

MS hate is vicious on here. I remember recoiledsnake [1, 2] alluding to it, and not that particular topic, infact lots of MS topics are bumped off the frontpage while having lots of points. Not on this site, I made a point on neoGAF debunking a point regarding XboxOne related to a technology that I am very much familiar with. I was ambushed by 15-20 people in matter of 10 minutes and banned. One single post, nothing inflammatory. On this site, yes I do see MS hate from lots of members. I do not think I remain enthusiastic in posting on here. Some of the members call themselves veterans and use that status to just point barbs. Disagreements are one thing and can be deliberated in civil manner, but downright unencumbered hate and allegations is another.

[1]- https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=recoiledsnake [2] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5716419

That article was not flagged off the frontpage. It set off the flamewar detector.

As for recoiledsnake, that is one of many accounts created by a group or individual who is either an astroturfer or indistinguishable from one. Part of his/her/their m.o. is to talk constantly about there being an anti-Microsoft conspiracy on HN. Sometimes he/she/they would use multiple, separate accounts in the same thread.

Speaking of the flamewar detector, I'm curious: what's the balance to be struck between discouraging flamewars (or encouraging civility) and discouraging groupthink? If certain topics are in effect verboten due to the types of discussions they tend to breed, does that not induce a sort of hivemind effect that reinforces prevailing views?

For example, if articles on Microsoft tend to get driven off the front page, while articles on Apple dominate it, that presents the appearance of the HN community being pro-Apple and anti-Microsoft, which affects the types of submissions and comments that are made, which affects the types of views people feel comfortable expressing, and eventually the types of people who choose to participate. The end result is that the community actually is more pro-Apple and anti-Microsoft, and the cycle intensifies until something close to homogeneity is reached.

As desirable as it is to discourage low-signal discussion threads, is there any thought given to the side effects of doing so?

People that think this community is pro-Apple should stick around some more. This is the only place were I'm constantly seeing Apple (and Google) badmouthed with good arguments. Personally I hate Apple's products and most of my anti-Apple rhetoric received up-votes.

I've seen plenty of Microsoft related stories, but if Microsoft tends to be driven off the front page, maybe it's because Microsoft is totally uninteresting and some Microsoft proponents behave like shills, especially because they bitch and moan about the lack of interest in Microsoft, as if it's some kind of conspiracy or as if it's our duty to have an interest in Microsoft.

Being driven off the front page due to lack of upvotes is completely different from having the article killed due to flagging or automatically for other reasons.

People who think all Microsoft proponents are shills are...well, Slashdot already exists, so why do they bother hanging out here? If you aren't interested in something, don't upvote it, but please don't take a dump on it either.

I said "some Microsoft proponents", as in a couple, a loud minority, etc...

Can you provide me with examples that you've had experience with? If anything, I've noticed that any remotely pro-MS gets drowned out very quickly.

Agreed. The cry for attention from the Microsoft community is becoming a bit annoying, especially on HN.

Says the new account just created :)

Don't you see how paranoid this kind of comment comes across to anyone that doesn't buy the whole anti MS-conspiracy thing?

Grand parent's comment:

> Agreed. The cry for attention from the Microsoft community is becoming a bit annoying, especially on HN.

Implies that they aren't a new user. I guess they just don't post much.

> created: 803 days ago

803 days is 'just created'? Are people aging accounts on HN now?

While I may not contribute much to the chatter here on HN, I have recognized an insane amount of whining from the MSFT community. Again, this is based upon my experience and observations during my time here :)

Agreed. I'm a mostly happy Aple user, however some of my most up voted comments have been those pointing out deep flaws in Apple systems and tool. Discuss iTunes hatred, iCloud pain, design failings or shines screens and watch the up votes roll in.

Agreed, as happy Apple customer I see plenty of anti-apple sentiment. I suppose I'm a little more sensitive to it. This is a common issue on many forums.

Anti-X sentiment takes a lot less effort than writing a cogent pro-X message supporting something, and everything has it's pro- and anti- crowd. I've seen plenty of posters complain that this, and other forums are anti-Apple, anti-Linux or anti-Microsoft when in fact there's a fairly healthy mix of opinion.

Maybe there is a trend against Microsoft in the news and forum world though. It doesn't seem all that long ago that most tech news and most interesting tech articles were about Microsoft products and technologies. Maybe that's still the case and I'm living under a rock, I doubt it because I still use mostly Microsoft platforms at work but it's possible, but there just doesn't seem to be all that much new and interesting stuff coming out of Microsoft these days. It's fairly rare that anything by them moves the needle in terms of tech punditry. They need to radically increase the value proposition of Windows and Metro just doesn't cut it. Maybe the Metro version of Office will help it get some traction but at this stage even that may not be enough.

> Anti-X sentiment takes a lot less effort than writing a cogent pro-X message supporting something

I would say that both take equally little effort to do lazy, and both take equally large effort to do good.

If someone goes around and say that windows version so and so has great battery time, a lazy response is to simply disagree with it. A good response looks for benchmarks and ask why said sources do not support the original commenter's arguments, and if the commenter himself/herself has any sources to support the claim.

The reverse is equally true, in that finding sources takes equally efforts no matter what point of view one try to share.

While I love macs and some Google services, I think the critique Аpple and Google receives here in HN, about some annoying decisions they make, is completely justified.

So, I guess Microsoft news/posts get pushed back simply because most of the people here are not interested in them and don't want to see them. And I totally don't see how this is a problem.

Anyway, OP, either deal with it or stop posting here. In any case, please stop creating meaningless threads like this one.

> So, I guess Microsoft news/posts get pushed back simply because most of the people here are not interested in them and don't want to see them

Well if that would be the case, the vote counts would look a little bit different. MS related submissions do not lose by votes, they face the problem that a few HN mechanics gives veto powers to small groups that are loud and pissed enough. Likewise, it is very difficult to argue that the whole NSA shit is not an indicator for the US heading towards fascism or that the tech scene may have a problem with sexism.

I'm not arguing that HN is pro-Apple, I was just using it as an easy counter-example to the anti-Microsoft phenomenon raised by OP. It could be any stance on any issue and the mechanisms I described would still be in play.

In fact, it doesn't even need to be specifically pro- or anti-anything. Apple and Google are both companies that generate a lot of discussion on HN, with people both supporting and criticizing them. By contrast, one could argue that HN seems largely apathetic to Microsoft. If this perceived apathy on the part of the community is being amplified by the flamewar detector, then the perception is strengthened until it becomes reality: the people who want to discuss Microsoft simply go elsewhere.

I'd like to stress that this is not an issue I think is leading to the imminent demise of HN, but rather simply a potential long-term problem that should at least be recognized.

I don't see it, I commented against apple in minutes some one immediately quoted a comment from another post which seemed anti-apple. Yea I'd say HN is pro Apple.

> Speaking of the flamewar detector, I'm curious: what's the balance to be struck between discouraging flamewars (or encouraging civility) and discouraging groupthink? If certain topics are in effect verboten due to the types of discussions they tend to breed, does that not induce a sort of hivemind effect that reinforces prevailing views?

I'm really interested in this basic question as well. I come to the comments section to see discussion, even if it may sometimes be somewhat violent discussion. I don't really find I learn much from agreement.

This particular mechanism feels flawed to me because it's so invisible. I don't know what I've missed.

Ironically, this submission is at #8 even though it has 290 points and was submitted just 4 hours ago

Meanwhile the #2 item was submitted 5 hours and it only has 90 points.

IMO anyone who observes HN reaction to any Microsoft topic (that isn't a virulently anti-Microsoft submission) knows that these topics will get pushed down to the back pages. In some cases, the reason may be flagging, in other cases, it may be the flamewar reason (that pg cites above)

Regardless of the reasoning, it is unfortunate that pg is unwilling to admit that this is a problem (and unfortunately, he does also reflect the thinking of most HNers). Fwiw in terms of disclosure, I was an SDE, then dev-lead at Microsoft in the 90s/00s and dev-manager for a few years later on, but I left the company in 2007 and since then, I've been running the company I founded.

Ironically, this submission is at #8 even though it has 290 points and was submitted just 4 hours ago

This is a selfpost, and selfposts are automatically penalized.

I.e. it's an invalid comparison, because the #2 item is a link to a URL, whereas this post isn't. Selfposts require many more votes to keep pace with URL submissions.

Are you speculating that this is an invalid comparison or do you actually know that the only reason (or even ... primary reason) for the push-down was the fact that it was a "Ask HN" post ?

I've been on HN for much longer than your 2-month old account and (based on the ranking of other "Ask HN" and "Show HN" posts I've seen), I suspect that you're speculating and that your assertion is incorrect.

The huge inconsistency between points and ranking happen on a large number of Microsoft-related posts and almost all of them point to external websites.

[update:Reply to LukeShu] Thanks LukeShu, it is good to know how ranking is implemented.

Btw I didn't question whether the absence of URLs reduced the ranking or not. My question was whether the absence of URLs was the only reason (or at least the primary reason) for the push-down of this specific post.

It seems clear that the .4 multiplication rule could not have been the only reason.

As per the .4 multiplication rule, the post with 290 points should have been downgraded to 116 points. Yet, 4 hours after submission, it was at #8. The #2 post only had 90 points and had been submitted 5 hours earlier. So it seems like the push-down was partly caused both by the 0.4 rule and partly by other factors.

Anyway, I appreciate your investigation. In spite of being on HN for the past few years, I never knew that posts without a URL, got hit by this 0.4 rule.

It is an invalid comparison. That isn't to say that the community doesn't punish Microsoft-related posts, but self-posts are penalized by the algorithm. Specifically, the score is multiplied by .4 if it doesn't contain a URL.

HN's ranking algorithm[1] (as of 2010-10-12):

    (= gravity* 1.8 timebase* 120 front-threshold* 1
       nourl-factor* .4 lightweight-factor* .17 gag-factor* .1)

    (def frontpage-rank (s (o scorefn realscore) (o gravity gravity*))
      (* (/ (let base (- (scorefn s) 1)
              (if (> base 0) (expt base .8) base))
            (expt (/ (+ (item-age s) timebase*) 60) gravity))
         (if (no (in s!type 'story 'poll))  .8
             (blank s!url)                  nourl-factor*
             (mem 'bury s!keys)             .001
                                            (* (contro-factor s)
                                               (if (mem 'gag s!keys)
                                                   (lightweight s)
[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1781417

> it is unfortunate that pg is unwilling to admit that this is a problem

I think pg thinks there is a problem, and is almost surely willing to admit it.

I think he just doesn't see a way of solving it that doesn't involve the discussions here on HN becoming flamewars... Which is also a serious problem...

This looks to me very much like a doctor prescribing a drug with unfortunate side effects. You still do it, but you're also keeping an eye out for new drugs that don't cause as many headaches.

Good point. It's an error tradeoff between detecting too many false flamewars and not detecting enough flamewars. It might be kind of interesting to study the effects in terms of bias on the actual reported articles vs the submitted articles.

So the article might be useful to people building businesses in the tech space, but because some users decided to air their petty grievances in the _comments_ to that story, the story itself got buried?

Seems like the flamewar detector would be better aimed at closing comments rather than burying stories.

I like the flamewar detector removing the whole story. As PG has said in the past, flamewars aren't interesting and they do nothing but divide the community. Keeping the story on just causes more drama because the users with comments deleted end up replying asking where their comments went and then start crying about anti-Americanism and the right to comment on a private website ad infinitum. It's pointless.

But this is a very weak approach, as it makes it extremely easy for bad actors to 'poison the well.' If there's something you don't like, use a sockpuppet account or two to get a flamewar going, thread gets nuked from orbit, and the people who wanted to discuss it in good faith are marginalized.

On the other hand, if you are large-ish and organized, it provides an easy avenue to take down stories you don't like without the paper-trail of flagging...

Considering these flamewars typically involve at least one person who admits to being a Microsoft employee, I don't think that "false-flags flamewars" is something that we are seeing in practice.

Actually, the flamewar involved no one claiming to be an MS employee. I only commented after the submission was killed.

But feel free to believe anything that reinforces your existing beliefs.

Well you are certainly participating in this one.....

Sorry .. I did not intend to imply the flamewar detector was going to delete anyone's comment. It was going to do one of two things:

1. Turn off comments

2. Turn off comments and hide all comments to date.

You can't have it electing to remove one comment or another. At most it could delete a top level comment that was the spawn of the flamewar. But still, I say hide all comments and turn off further comments. That way we still get the benefit of the story.

> 1. Turn off comments

A few days ago, on the topic of turning off comments when there is a flamewar, instead of knocking the entire post down/off the front page, I said this:

"[killing the discussion entirely] is a good thing, if something is on the front page then comments should be enabled, if only in case something in the article desperately needs to be corrected. If we get a post on here about a new study suggesting that vaccines may cause autism, that would almost certainly generate a flamewar but the absolute last thing we would want is for the post to remain on the front page and not permit anyone to post comments that may refute claims made by the study. In situations like those, it is better to kill the discussion and to take the post off the frontpage than to leave it there but disable commenting."

It would be neat if the flamewar detector buried threads instead of entire submissions. It could work the same way as hellbanning, where the users involved would have no idea that no one else could see their posts, except it would be local to the thread in question. (Ideally, it wouldn't even hide the entire thread, it would just stop showing new posts from the users involved after a certain "flamewar" threshold--that way there wouldn't be the possibility of burying someone's legitimate commentary by starting a flamewar with them.)

There is a perverse incentive here. If commenters can push an article off the front page by flaming, the flamewar detector would actually encourage flaming.

It would be a risky strategy because those commenters could get banned.

Risky for real commenters who care about their presence on HN. Effectively consequence-free for astroturfers.

New accounts can be handled differently by the flame war flamewar detector than established accounts.

That is, if this is a actually problem and not only a theoretical one.

Not a big problem if you grow a constant number of expendable accounts.

If I were an astroturfer, grooming accounts would be part of my daily routine. I'd probably automate it too.

But unlike flagging, there is no minimum karma requirement to get involved in a flame war, right?

I didn't know I could be banned. Now that has piqued my interest, sounds like a challenge.

Okay, looks like I am on track. Attempt at humour is a gateway drug to being banned.

I think that maintaining a community like this is really a dynamic process, so while it's important to make note of bad incentive situations for the future, it's not necessarily the best choice to correct them prematurely. In theory, your reasoning sounds right. In practice, that's probably not happening right now, so the mechanism still serves its purpose with only the (presumably considered acceptable) expected collateral damage.

The important thing with a situation like that is to be ready to kill the feature as soon as people learn how to exploit it. It's one thing to see that it's theoretically exploitable. It's another to actually figure out how to selectively engineer flame wars to make a significant dent in the front page.

Sometimes he/she/they would use multiple, separate accounts in the same thread.

Is it possible they post from work, and hence share the same IP address with other HN posters? Microsoft is a big place.

This is PG. If he doesn't think it is just a bunch of well-meaning commenters coincidentally behind the same NAT, then I am inclined to believe him.

Anyway, do you know what I do when there are discussions online about my employer? I stay the fuck out of it. I think that is good policy, unless participating in those discussions is part of your job description. Best case scenario here: a bunch of well-meaning Microsoft employees got into an internet fight, got mistaken for a sockpuppet ring, and got a discussion about their company pushed off of HN? If that's in their job description, I don't know why they're still getting paid; if it isn't, maybe they should consider spectating next time.

  Anyway, do you know what I do when there are discussions online about my employer? 
  I stay the fuck out of it.
This is an excellent policy. Employee participation (unless they're CEO/Founder, CTO or some combination thereof that can speak with authority) will almost invariably lead to problems. It's good that some employees feel "passionate" and "enthusiastic" about their company/product, but if that's left unchecked and they refuse to remain objective, it will not prevent the thread from going up in a passionate and enthusiastic fire ball.

Same applies to social media.

I don't think this is good policy in this day and age.

> Anyway, do you know what I do when there are discussions online about my employer? I stay the fuck out of it.

That's a shame, since as an employee you have an unique and very valuable perspective on the company. Why not participate, perhaps add a disclaimer?

I understand that perspective, but what I know is either public knowledge, or behind a few NDAs. Furthermore, my employer politely asks that I don't, and I'd rather not anyway. Online PR, no matter how unofficial, isn't something that I am comfortable with.

Public doesn't mean widely-known. And I feel vaguely uneasy at the idea that everything not explicity public would be NDA.

That said, I fully respect the preference not to and the request not to.

I often get locked out of Google and Stackoverflow for "botting" from work when its obvious I'm just a casual user. I think this has something to do with the way the proxy is setup.

While I can see how that would explain separate IPs, I do not see how it would explain separate accounts posting agreement with themselves and it would certainly create an appearance of sockpuppetry.

Multiple users with accounts behind the same proxy could have the same IP address.

Thanks for the clarification. I admit that I still don't know how Hackernews works, and that opacity leads to confusion. This is the first time I took something like this personal on HN, and I have been here for awhile.

It might be nice to mark why article have been killed so we don't go off and make the wrong assumptions about what happened.

Huh, maybe cooldeals and recoiledsnake were the same entity; looks like both stopped commenting at exactly the same time.

But the more salient point is, were he/she/they completely wrong in their accusations? Were all the examples he/she/they presented of articles dropping off the frontpage just instances of flamewar detection, or natural HN ranking at work, or something else?

Flamewar detector sounds like a bad solution IMO. Why not warning/banning system to handle comments? As long as the argument is factual, without fallacies (and not subject to Poe's law), I would be glad if we could keep the discussions open even if people have radically different views.

If you indeed insist on closing the comments on flamewar detection - good courtesy suggests keeping the comments open for public review.

As for the conspiracy folk, why not make a multiple account detector and ban such folk?

Not all factual discussions free of fallacy are productive. An Emacs user and I could easily talk past each other for hours.

> It set off the flamewar detector.

This seems to be a recurring issue on HN, and a reliable generator of conspiracy theories. Would it be possible to have a small label signaling when a given article was flagged by the detector?

Thank you for the clarification, appreciated. Yes, that thread was a flamewar in one way or another, and unfortunately it was a product that took the brunt.

About, recoiledsnake I would not know much except his posts.

Would you say you are catching 20%, 80%, or an unknown number of PR/shill type accounts on HN?

Given the size of the PR industry and the relatively low cost of posting on forums where influential people hang out I would think HN would be a tempting target, although it would have to be a sophisticated effort to go undetected.

OK, I didn't accuse you but I did accuse another poster of being an MS shill. I'll admit I could have been more diplomatic. Still, as I recall, the person I accused was a professional "evangelist" (or something similar) for MS by their own admission writing an article about, what do you know, hatred of MS.

And that's the thing. By the evangelist's own admission, MS is deeply hated in society at large. It's understandable but unlike a lowly MS engineer (who I do pity), a professional corporate "face" can't play the innocent victim.

Just consider. The very recent imposition of the Metro/Windows 8 interface on a widely unwilling public is prima facie evidence of MS' continuing abuse of it's particular monopoly.

The point isn't that MS has more of a monopoly than other corporations. It is that MS has a long, long history of wielding the big stick of their monopoly openly and brutally against enemies and "non-combatants" alike. A huge number of Windows users woke up without a Start Button because Balmer was gunning for a new market. Lie all you want about this being for the average person's benefit, you only prove my point. Yeah, I just don't think you can spin maneuvers like that into "we just build the future".

Edit: Just to note, I don't do editorial flagging. I'm not out to "get" MS but, well, they bring up feelings.

Umm... You are accusing MS of just forcing their choices upon their users? Isn't that Apple's standard (and actually well documented. Remember that article about Innovator's dillemma and jobs?) policy? I thought apple was famous for completely ignoring their users and telling them WHAT they want. Now THAT is use of monopoly. Google does that too (remember closing off gtalk?).

Secondly, the Metro UI thing, IMHO wasn't a forceful use of power. It was a bet (a lost one) that touchscreen laptops will become predominant. And So they created a UI based on that bet. They (incorrectly) thought that people want exactly the same UI on all their devices. So it's not that they are EVIL, just misguided.

So i don't HATE Microsoft, i just pity them.

The problem is not that MS is forcing choices on their desktop users. Apple, Google, Yahoo, and everyone else does that. The problem is that MS is forcing terrible choices on their desktop users.

They had one job. One job. Don't screw up Windows. And what'd they do? They screwed up Windows.

Metro was a mistake. And again, everybody else makes mistakes, too. But then they went full retard, and refused to backtrack. That part is the reason for the "hate."

Oh come off it. Name me an established software company that hasn't forced choices on their desktop users that many of them have considered "terrible". Over a similar timescale Apple has been responsible for the debacle that was Apple Maps (to reduce dependence on Google) and the dubious aesthetics of iOS7 whilst Google and Yahoo have forced millions of users to choose other services as they go on shutdown rampages (to focus on more profitable areas) and in Yahoo's case, touted the availability of your old Yahoo email addresses to phishers (because they're crazy?). Meanwhile, despite your "refuse to backtrack" claim Microsoft has brought the much-missed Start button back in the first major patch and continues to ship Windows 7 - you can even downgrade your 8 license if you miss it too much. You can't do that with iOS7 which despite being a relatively conservative update had equally mixed reviews...

Criticising Microsoft is like shooting fish in a barrel, so it's odd you'd pick on them for innovating without thought to convention and backward compatibility - an area where they're generally more cautious than the peers you named - and a product that actually has plenty of fans.

The issue was never about the loss of the Start button. It was about the loss of the Start menu. That hasn't been fixed.

I don't understand why so many people fall for this misdirection.

I don't understand why so many people think a small text menu is better than a full page customizable selection screen with decent built-in search...

It's called "mental context."

Also, what kind of drugs does one need to ingest to make it seem like a good idea to enforce UI conventions optimized for 4" cell phones on a user with a pair of 30" desktop monitors? Are we talking plant-based alkaloids, aromatic hydrocarbons, or what?

I guess it's a person to person thing. I am still on win7 and i usually have a lot of windows open, and i rarely ever browse through the start menu. What i usually do is press the windows button, and start typing the name of the program i wanna use. OR I press win+D to get straight to the desktop (a full screen menu consisting of things i frequently use) and choose from there.

So for someone like me, isn't the Metro Start menu good design? It has both the type-to-search thing and a full screen menu of icons i usually use.

Look i admit it seemed a little intimidating when i first saw it. Heck we have been using the start menu for more than a decade! It's almost part of our DNA now, so seeing the entire screen change in place of a menu is.... unexpected. But is it really that bad? Do you REALLY still browse through the start menu?

What i usually do is press the windows button, and start typing the name of the program i wanna use.

This debate was settled when Windows replaced MS-DOS. Most users do not want to remember, or type, the names of the programs they want to use.

Do you REALLY still browse through the start menu?

Yes, frequently.

Then you are simply a different user type.

Btw I presume from the bit about ms dos that you dont llike shells. But thats ur preference

No, I live at the Windows command prompt, pretty much. But like you said, I'm a different user type.

The difference between me and the people at Microsoft is that I understand that there are different user types. None of which asked for their desktop PC to behave more like their cell phone.

Exactly. That was the big mistake behind windows 8. Their "one interface for all devices" idea. We didnt WANT same interface on all devices

You sound like someone who hasn't used Windows 8 before, or not for longer than half a day anyways. Windows 8 in desktop mode really isn't any different from Windows 7, except for the fact that the Start menu is now fullscreen instead of a popup menu. Metro a mistake? That might be your opinion, but I fiercely disagree with it.

Just because you don't like Metro, for whatever reason that might be, does not make it a mistake.

14 years experience in IT. Had to google to find the shutdown switch. Sorry but Win8 is absurd.

I wouldn't say absurd... just different. I mean, if you have been using windows for 14 years and are used to teh Maximize button, and then you use MacOS and click the box button beside the x and.. something COMPLETELY different happens. does that make MacOS absurd? or does that make windows absurd to Mac users? (while proponents of both OS would tell you YES it DOES make it absurd, but they are both WRONG aren't they?) Different isn't necessarily a bad design.

Your computer's power button functions as a shutdown switch. After 14 years in IT, you have never realised that?

My computer's power button is on the other side of the room.

Don't break useful, common functionality because you think it's not important.

I was using it in a touchscreen tabletop.

Sticking to my guns on this one and choosing to let your sarcastic tone slide.

But they're not forcing you to use Windows 8, do they? In the days of DOS and Win 95, they used every dirty trick in the book to force competitors out of the market. Nowadays they can't do that anymore. A lot of software that was only available on DOS or Windows is now available on Mac and Linux.

And even if you do need Windows, Win7 works fine. I feel forced to switch from XP to 7, but that's not such a terrible move. I'll skip Win8, and maybe there won't even be a Win9.

Or maybe it'll be better. Microsoft has a history of alternating good and bad products. XP, Vista, win7, Win8... just one example

Just consider. The very recent imposition of the Metro/Windows 8 interface on a widely unwilling public is prima facie evidence of MS' continuing abuse of it's particular monopoly.

If they were truly a monopoly, they would not have seen it as important to respond and revise Windows 8. Real monopolies can abuse their customers and have no qualms about it. Microsoft is no longer in that position, so they changed direction once they saw what was happening in the market. The fact that they responded to the market and changed course is evidence that they have no monopoly power in this matter. They simply made a huge mistake due to being terrified of what iPad was doing to them, and they decided wrong. It's nothing more than that.

And besides, it's not like they didn't have a public beta program in the first place.

If they were truly a monopoly, they would not have seen it as important to respond and revise Windows 8.

Obviously things aren't black and white, we're arguing the degree of monopoly of MS. Consider, yes, eventually you hit the elephant hard enough with a 2x4 and it responds. It didn't respond much even then. And even government granted, official monopolies respond a little bit criticism.

Real monopolies can abuse their customers and have no qualms about it.

Many people would view MS as being just that way. But sure, maybe there's some leeway. But "no monopoly power" is bending the stick ridiculously far in the other direction. I mean, MS is convicted monopolist. They already lost a lawsuit in the 90's. [1] MS' strangle-hold PC operating system remains the same even if other markets (the web, the phone etc) have risen. (Edit: Consider, if MS did face competition in the PC operating system market, they might feel pressure to improve the PC rather than just milking their position for the purpose of entering other markets.)

And besides, it's not like they didn't have a public beta program in the first place.

Now there's some counter evidence to all your earlier argument. All the beta people were expressing shock and horror and MS did ... nothing.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Corp.

>The very recent imposition of the Metro/Windows 8 interface on a widely unwilling public is prima facie evidence of MS' continuing abuse of it's particular monopoly.

How is that in any way an evidence for abuse of monopoly? I have Windows 7 on my laptop and have no immediate plans to upgrade it to Windows 8. Unless they force it through automatic updates or cancel my Win 7 license, there is clearly no abuse. You can still vote with your wallet.. you know?

>A huge number of Windows users woke up without a Start Button.


I think you are describing things from the point of view of the aware, tech-savy user. The average user buys stuff and things happen.

People bought laptops and the laptops weren't what they were expecting. There's a lot they could have done in the abstract. There's a lot less they were capable of doing in reality.

I can understand from a moral/business perspective that drastic changes should be avoided in new releases but how is that an abuse of monopolistic power?

Would you call Ubuntu's decision to suddenly switch all the window controls (Minimize, Maximize, Close) from left to right in one version an abuse of their "monopoly" in the Linux desktop world?

The majority of users don't live in a Ubuntu world, they have to deal with Microsoft at their job or school. Corporations are demanding Windows 7 over Windows 8.

And Linux users have a full spectrum of distributions to choose from. If Ubuntu acts like an ass-hat, I can easily switch to Mint when the LTS version is no longer supported. I have a choice of desktops environments that all run the same services and applications. I'm not locked in, nor is my data. Squeeeeeee!

The very recent imposition of the Metro/Windows 8 interface on a widely unwilling public is prima facie evidence of MS' continuing abuse of it's particular monopoly.

Huh? First of all, companies impose new things on their customers all the time. Secondly, I thought a company was abusing their monopoly when they use it to extort profit where there was none before? Changing the UI doesn't seem to be exploiting monopoly power for profit...

I'm no fan of MS: see my comments in general. But your criticisms are a bit too extreme. MS announces EOL dates well in advance of stopping sales [1]. Those who want to hoard up on licences can do so. Windows 7 is still available for sale [1]. Those who did not want Metro could still have used Win 7. In any case, MS listened to its customers and brings back these features in Win 8.1 -- or so I hear: Linux single-booter here.

[1] http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/products/lifecycl...

Oh how you must suffer typing that comment on the Surface RT you've been forced at gunpoint to use.

Wait... how is getting rid of the start button monopolistic, exactly?

Nobody in the history of HN has ever made themselves look smarter by calling someone else a shill, and that thread is no exception.

Pleasingly ambiguous phrasing. The first two times I read it, I got that this was the smartest anyone had ever looked (no one has ever looked smarter). Apologies for going off-topic, but I hadn't come across this particular cramp in the language before.

I doubt anyone would disagree that triple negatives aren't easy to parse.

If that sentence hadn't mentioned triple negatives, I don't think I would have noticed anything abnormal about it.

It's not the triple negative that is the culprit here though. It's the inherent ambiguity in a phrase such as "never been better", which could be either a negative or positive statement. I'm sure there's a name for that construct?

I think tptacek's sentence would need a 'than' to have a valid reading as a positive statement. 'never been better' is ambiguous by itself, but by the time you put it into a sentence it may or may not be ambiguous.

So my answer is mu.

Now I'm curious how natural language parsers handle triple negatives.

You'll be pleased to know that they don't not do them unwell.

I'm not sure if I wouldn't be dissapointed to hear that they couldn't.

I remember that recoiledsnake post and found it baseless then as well. Not only is a claim like that basically impossible to verify using the information we have, it's also a perfect case study of selection bias, since of course the thing that you care about jumping down the page is going to stand out to you, while the many many stories you either don't care about or don't notice sail up and down the page without raising any flags.

Personally I don't flag submissions for the submission itself unless I find it completely egregious, either from a journalistic perspective (many techcrunch-like articles) or just flat out lying/snake-oil, but I will at times flag a story if the conversation here on HN has gone well past the net-negative for humanity limit IMO. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. My understanding is that HN has systems designed to discourage things like that (eg rapid flamewars) and mods may do the same as me. The Nokia tablet story, while fine itself, was attracting pretty shitty comments. I wouldn't be surprised if it was getting knocked for those and not people trying to suppress Microsoft news. (and, yes, that does suggest a DoS approach, but hopefully there are other things (permadeath, etc) keeping that in check).

edit: ninja'd

I do not have qualitative data backing up my conjecture, but i do think MS stories/products tend to have a short life on frontpage. This maybe selective bias at play, but maybe in future I will scrape some data from hnrankings about this. Even though interpretation will still be flimsy. The reason behind flags will not be known and can be various. That particular thread ticked off flamewar detector though.

Microsoft vs Apple vs Google vs ??? ... It's all the same, religion by any other name. They've all done things that aren't exactly in the best interest of the users of their systems... and sometimes act against even their own best interest.

As a recently added employee at GoDaddy, not by acquisition, I was a bit surprised by the visceral hate coming from the buyout of Media Temple.. my understanding is that MT will operate as a separate unit, and a lot of its' practices are moving into GoDaddy. I had a lot of anxiety at first, and sometimes still do. It's a culture that is dramatically and rapidly changing, but it does take time.

I've known plenty of people who work for MS over the years who are pretty bright, and do good work. I happen to be one of those people who like .Net (C# in particular), and can appreciate a lot of the very thoughtful decisions that have been made. On the flip side, I feel that the brand affiliation between products, while keeping windows alive for a long time, at the expense of potentially greater revenues (Office for iOS/Android), has hurt them a lot.

I've been spending roughly half my server-side dev time in node.js, and recently even more than that. I feel that docker.io + LXC + node.js is an incredible combination that MS doesn't match. I think that WebStorm is good enough, and VS is really getting a bit bloated and slow (plugins make it more effective, but more bloated and slow).

Who knows where things may go, I don't always choose MS, but I don't hate them. I currently have my HTPC running Linux+XBMC, my desktop at home and work are Windows (with VMWare for some linux work), and my laptop is a Mac. I use what I feel is best for a given task.

/$.02 + inflation

> i do think MS stories/products tend to have a short life on frontpage. [...] That particular thread ticked off flamewar detector though.

If you look back on times that people have complained about Microsoft posts being persecuted by flagging rings, you will (as far as I can see) without fail find a flamewar.

I don't mean to gloat, but I've been pointing this out for months. It is nice to be vindicated: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5759369 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6030087

Bear in mind that Microsoft isn't exactly a well regarded player with the tech crowd. Many of us grew up watching our favourite technologies being assimilated and/or wiped out by them, so there is always going to be suspicion and resentment.

This karma is just so ---. Sorry, dudes, I think some of you act like petty Hens sometimes. Watch--I get banned?

In case you are genuinely wondering, a lot of the hate towards Microsoft stems from their historical hostility towards open standards[0] and open source[1].

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_documents

This! Many hackers who were growing up in the nineties had their opinions of Microsoft negatively affected by the strongarm tactics applied against Linux and open-source/free software. I'd say this strategy continues - e.g. "secure" boot, but the late nineties was when the animosity between the two groups peaked and it has never quite gone away.

And I'd add the antitrust case and IE's intransigence to web standards as another major reason that this distrust exists.

Speaking only from my own experience, the Microsoft shops I worked in were quick to regurgitate the FUD talking points that Microsoft had been spreading. This strengthened my Anti-MS resolve instead of weakening it, and the shops since then have increasingly enjoyed the benefits of that resolve, creating a positive feedback loop in the process.

I owe Microsoft a huge debt of gratitude for stoking the fire. As much as I zealot-level hate them, we're all better off because they put the debate front-and-center.

They created a useless debate as FUD. There is no real debate about e.g. GPL vitality any more than MS stack virality. There is no real debate about Linux copyright or patent legitimacy.

Merit or not, the debate made going to work a lot more fun. Being a rebel against the empire gave me purpose, causing me to marshall my career into a series of deliberate steps instead of slipping into the complacency of just being a "day coder".

Yes, growing up in the 90s with awesome software that didn't need Windows. I loved DOS. And somebody else mentioned Amiga, probably the most awesome computer and community ever, too bad they went out of business. And OS/2 2.0 really impressed me, the ability to multitask Windows and DOS applications on the screen at the same time. So many interesting applications, too many to list here.

So Microsoft in the 90s was like bulldozing an eclectic downtown to build a Walmart. (The same way Facebook is destroying the Internet, but I digress.) At the time Windows was compelling to Joe Blow, a straightforward, boring UI that anybody could figure out. Computer technology was just not very popular yet so there was only room for so many players.

But thanks to Linux I'm finally free of Microsoft! I can't remember the last time I used Windows for anything. OpenOffice and GIMP are totally awesome BTW if you are still stuck with Windows.

To add to the MS complaints: random reboots to update the software while you're working on something important. This is typical of Microsoft's poor treatment of the user. To Windows you're an idiot child. Linux is respectful and assumes you're an adult.

This is pretty much exactly how I feel... I started learning to code in 1988. DOS + Desqview, OS/2 1.x, OS/2 2.x, Some Early '90s Unix with 2 3foot x 3foot boxes of documentation...

Texas A and M Linux, Yggdrasil...

In all that time I used and tried to function with Windows, starting with 3.x. It didn't really work for me. Add to that the bundled aspect (which pissed me off greatly, I had to pay for a DOS/Windows license only to wipe the machine and install OS/2 or Linux)

I spent ~$2000 with Microsoft for their OS/2 SDK only to have it abandoned a short time later with no refund available.

Microsoft has earned my dislike. But still, it's hard to get a quality laptop without Windows, unless you want to way overpay for Apple or deal with not getting exactly what you want (Linux based laptops).

Microsoft has, without a doubt, the best overall bunch of development tools but feels the need to break things every year or two...


Idiot child indeed. :)

Yes Quarterdeck (DESQview) was awesome for multitasking. I used it to run a multi-node BBS (two phone lines) on a 286! Multiplayer games, split-screen chat. Though for games Galacticom was so much more awesome at multitasking--I actually interviewed there in high school.

And don't forget Microsoft took a big crap on the Internet with free copies of Frontpage ;-)

Let us also not forget the fact that microsoft uses their patent portfolio to extort money from android OEMs...


excusing one asshole with another?

Apple maintains many of the same positions, yet they are loved. Apple actually uses a lot of open source, yet rarely contribute back. Microsoft Research contributes a ton to computing research.

Note: writing this in Google Chrome on my Macbook

Embrace, extend, extinguish is a tactic more aggressive than using open source but not contributing much back. Maybe you've forgotten how strong the MS dominance became in the late 1990s. Governments (US and EU) were going after MS -- not just aspects of their privacy agreements (as with Google today), but threatening to divide MS into separate corporations. Friendships were broken when people changed sides.

This was before the current tumult caused by the internet and mobile computing. It kind of seemed, back then, that things were going to just continue as they had been, only more so, and everything would be built on top of Windows.

This reaction (over-reaction?) to MS, then, comes from historically-rooted fear. It's a powerful emotion, and sometimes it can be correct.

You know, maybe there's an argument that the Unix world has a persecution complex, because there have been license and freedom debates since the very beginning. Here's an illustrative fragment: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/10/origins-of-geek...

Apple maintains many of the same positions, yet they are loved.

There are more than a handful of us who despise Apple, and for mostly the same reasons we despise Microsoft. They pimp their closed-source, proprietary, locked-down bullshit, and it's "walled garden", closed-off ecosystem just like MS pimp theirs. I have no use for either of them.

Note: written using Chrome on Fedora Linux.

These days, Apple is probably more hated than Microsoft. Not as much as MS was back in the day, but more than modern, sheepish-looking Microsoft.

I gotta say it weirds me out when people assert that everyone loves Apple, because it happens a lot; almost as often as people go on vitriolic rants against everything Apple-related.

> These days, Apple is probably more hated than Microsoft.

Perhaps, but the HN sample population is still biased favorably towards Apple.

I deem myself biased towards Microsoft, i.e. I would prefer to work for Microsoft over Google, Apple, Facebook, et al. I use Microsoft products (alongside OSS, Apple, Google,...) and quite like what they are doing in the last years. I find .NET very good for what it is meant for, etc.

And I think that while there are some MS haters around here. There are not nearly as many as die hard MS fans would have us believe.

I don't love Apple for some of the same reasons I don't love Microsoft.

Define rarely? What about Webkit, LLVM, and CUPS?

> Define rarely? What about Webkit, LLVM, and CUPS? These were already established opensource technologies. Apple has improved these technologies. But LLVM, Webkit or CUPS would exist even if there was no Apple.

Erhm, "established" yes, but with a very small base. LLVM was an academic project - Apple hired Lattner to form a team and fund the development of the project.

WebKit was not established, Apple forked it from KHTML and it would not be the dominant engine without Apple.

Let's also not forget that BSD would be a rare sight at this point if not for Apple.

Well Google Chrome as of last year was based on Apple's open source Webkit so that's not quite true.

Webkit isn't Apple's open source. It was already open source when KDE started it.

KDE didn't start "WebKit" per se. Apple definitely deserves some credit for what they did, but you're right: Konqueror originated it all.

Webkit comes from KDE's KHTML project which was GPL'ed. Apple was required to open-source it.

WebKit is not GPL. Its admixture of BSD and LGPL.

And things like ACPI: http://www.osnews.com/story/17689

And then there's their stand that Open Source is un-American.


Wasn't it Steve Ballmer who called Linux cancer or something?

Hiya Sean,

So you posted a real classic flamewar topic here... heh. Enjoy the war. But here's my take on Microsoft Corp, since you asked nicely.

You guys don't play nice. You've never played nice, and the fact that you've gotten better lately seems to be more due to the fact that you've lost dominance and have to interop with other operating systems. I'm not really going to provide significant examples, there are lots out there for a quick search. Things like file formats, threading models, frigging slash directions in filenames, deviance in compiler standards. Not to mention that MS had a terrible rep for being aggressive and with bad ethics in the 80s and 90s (leaving aside the F/OSS fight).

Technically, I find MS offerings to still be catching up in automatability to Linux. Still. Not only that, but you have had since the 90s this obnoxious habit of having "moving targets" for your APIs. So learning one API just meant that I'd have to learn a new one to do the same thing in a year.

I've recently had the opportunity to do heavy .NET development, and my opinion is that as a developer whose worked for years in Linux, Microsoft technologies wasted my time comparatively. Everything from Windows 8 out to the shenanagins with IIS to actually get my webapp deployed. I was able to do equivalent work in Ruby on Rails (a language and framework I didn't know) in a fraction of the time I spent fighting C#, MVC API and IIS; this experience was repeated with Caveman and Common Lisp (a framework I didn't know, a language I did). I can not believe how painful it is to develop on Microsoft tooling, and how meekly people accept it as the way it is. I don't like having my time wasted.

I'm not going to say Apple or Google (or Oracle, SAP, etc, etc, etc) is blameless, okay? But I don't really like Microsoft policy and technologies, as a rule of thumb. Note that I really respect your arm of the company - MSR - and think that it does great stuff like F#, Pex, and others. That still doesn't obviate my dislike of MS as a corporation.

Regards, Paul

This post resonated with me. I love C#, but I refuse to use it. Much of the community is tied down to proprietary API's which would mean being sucked into the MS ecosystem, meaning I'd have to kill off over half my potential market. Microsoft makes some wonderful things, but only in reaction to their competitors. Almost everything they make is better. But that's the problem. As soon as they have you, you're trapped. Then it's down the rabbit hole, and you'll find bugs you can't fix. Hideous work arounds. Limitations that force upgrading products. You're going to get stressed.

I'm not a Linux, Google, or Apple shill; but I this is why I refuse to be pulled into the Microsoft ecosystem. I simply can't respect Microsoft as they are still blatantly trying EEE with mobile/ tablet/ laptop markets. It will be sad day if Microsoft actually achieves a monopoly on any of these markets, because they'll stop innovating. They'll come out with closed libraries that only work on their devices. They'll force you to do things their way.

I'm not delusional, MS competitors aren't saints. But they all never seem to stoop that low. Shit, even Google Chrome _asks_ you if you want to use Bing as a search provider.

> MS had a terrible rep for being aggressive and with bad ethics in the 80s and 90s

That's a really important consideration. Hackers have long memories, and a lot of us don't consider "it's just business" to be in any way a relevant defense.

Couple of things that might help you in dealing with the ASP.net stack:

REST - ignore WebApi and jump straight into ServiceStack. Deployment - Octopus is your best friend IIS - if you really hate IIS then run .net on Linux with Mono.

http://www.servicestack.net/ http://octopusdeploy.com/documentation/getting-started

Basically this, particularly that last part. MS Research is awesome, they do great work. People like Simon Peyton Jones are doing really cool stuff and really helping the industry grow. That said, MS proper is basically in the exact opposite business. It boggles my mind how you can have two groups inside the same company that are so completely in opposition to each other.

I work with ruby/rails, node.js/coffeescript, python, scala and some other stuff on a daily basis on my day job. Thanks to MSDN-AA, i had to work with the complete Microsoft-Stack at University the last year, given every single tool for free (including visual studio ultimate). Guess what? It was just a pain. I can't even describe in words how unproductive it feels to work with .NET when you are used to the latest "hipster"-stuff to get things done beautiful in minutes instead of hours/days. Not to mention that all the tools usually cost a few bucks if you have to buy it... i wouldn't. Thanks to the MSDN-AA program, I and most of my fellow students never want to touch Microsoft stuff again.

Microsoft spend huge affords to create nice stuff, but for decades they just don't get it. And i don't get why people working with .NET regulary stop complaining after a while and think that ugly workflows are "ususal".

Meh, some of the tools are like vim. Hard to get started, great when you know them. It sounds to me like you are hating because you didn't spend enough time using these things.

That's what I'm getting out of pretty much this entire post.

As an asp.net mvc developer by trade, I could easily say that it could take me hours/days to get stuff done in node.js/rails/django/name-your-framework, that I could otherwise get done in minutes in mvc. Of course, I'm self-aware enough to realize that it's because I have 4 consecutive years of experience with .net, but only a cumulative of maybe a few months in all other technologies (php/rails/python/c/c++) combined (not including school-work.)

That's a reasonable thing to say, but when I could get a RoR app developed in a fraction of the same time as MVC .NET, despite being ignorant of Ruby or Rails and MVC (I knew C# a bit beforehand), it was pretty much game over, RoR won.

I've worked with a lot of languages and a lot of frameworks over the years, and the ones from Microsoft are always hands down the most needlessly complicated and poorly documented of the bunch. PHP may be a double claw hammer, but at least it's a really well documented double claw hammer. MVC includes at least 5 different kinds of double claw hammer, a normal hammer, a combination hammer/chainsaw, a mislabeled jar of nitric acid, and a swiss army knife, and half complete and half accurate documentation of 2/3rds of it.

You like MVC because you've basically spent the time to find all the good bits and just pretend all the tons and tons of horrible bits don't exist. Good for you, but that also means anyone new to basically any MS tech has to spend years learning where all the mines are buried, when instead they could use basically any other tech stack in the world and not have to worry about navigating a mine field in the first place.

Oh, and just for fun every 5 years or so MS deprecates that particular mine field, lays a new one, and forces everyone to go play in the new minefield instead.

I disagree that MVC is not well documented, but perhaps I've just learned where the good documentation is (for MVC.)

That said, I have to agree that every time I've dived into PHP/RoR, there have been plenty of articles with well-drawn maps of the minefield (to borrow your analogy.)

> Oh, and just for fun every 5 years or so MS deprecates that particular mine field, lays a new one, and forces everyone to go play in the new minefield instead.

I know I started at the beginning with this new minefield (MVC came out less than a year before I started using it,) but I don't see this happening as much, at least not with MS's web offerings. The last version or two of MVC and EntityFramework have been OSS under Apache 2, so they can continue to be developed even if MS decides to go a separate route.

I understand that this is not the case for their desktop and mobile offerings, and that they have jerked their developers in that field around in different directions each time they come out with a new OS. I think that their web offerings are more stable. The only things that may change fundamentally are server components (IIS, SQL Server, MVC, EF, etc.), or the browser. If the browser changes, everyone's screwed; and if the server components change, the developer can simply decide to stay on older versions (until licenses run out, which I'll concede as one problem.)

And of course, all this flows back to documentation. PHP/Python/RoR have much better documentation because they're all much more widely used. If more people used MVC, more people would write about it, and there would be more documentation for it.

The only remaining issue is a pretty big one: cost. Yes, there's a VS Express Web Edition, but that has its own issues. So, you're left with BizSpark as the next best option. It's what I've done. I have 2 more years left before I have to decide whether to start paying. So far it's great, but I know that it's going to come back and bite me in the ass unless I start something profitable before then.

And I believe that that's the real reason that it's not more widely used; or at least the original reason, with lack of documentation and other MS-hate being secondary to and/or consequences of it. In a community where people have 5 ideas fail before hitting something profitable, it's hard to justify the extra cost of $1000 or more per developer, even if it's actually free for the first few years. Why risk paying $1000+ per developer and an extra $100+ per server 3 years from now, when you can start with something free and have it still be free 3 years from now? That's what it all boils down to.

I'll admit, I'm probably tossing in the towel on MVC soon. But it's not because of poor documentation or fear of being forced to switch to a new API requiring a large rewrite on my part. It's because 1) the IDE and servers are 5-10x more expensive than those for Python/Ruby/Node/PHP; and 2) everybody's using Python/Ruby/Node/PHP, so finding work is tough. After all, what good is working on a side project to show off my MVC skills, if nobody will hire me for it anyway?

I'll tell you the story of my friend Greg.

Greg has been a believer in Microsoft. He went to all the Tech-Ed conferences, attended every MSDN event he could. Conferences are grand stages that leave an impression. He drank all the cool-aid that was served at these conferences.

Things were really good early on, this was the last decade. The computing scene at that time revolved around Microsoft like the many moons of Jupiter. Greg and his team built products with Silverlight, WPF, .Net, Windows Workflow, Biztalk, Remoting, and the like. Every conference offered something new, something exciting. The apps they built worked great, looked great.

Fast forward to now. Greg is a decent programmer, but he wants a new job badly. The problem is that nobody wants to use all that stuff that he knows. People want to build on standards; apps that work on every device. Not just on Windows and not just on Internet Explorer. Greg still doesn't get it. He hasn't seen much of the world outside Microsoft, and still wonders why people don't want Silverlight. Still tells me how WPF is so much better that anything else out there. And running only on IE, why is that even a problem? Everybody has IE. Poor Greg, tough times.

There may be many issues with Microsoft. But more than anything else, I would fault them for building their entire ecosystem with total disregard for standards, their refusal to work with whatever community existed outside. This probably wasn't intentional, they must have probably believed in what they told their developers. Even though so much has changed since their glory days, there's a part of Microsoft which still refuses to engage.

There was a Steve Jobs interview from the late 90s in which he said, "The problem with Microsoft is that they have absolutely no taste". Jobs wasn't talking about aesthetics; it is true of pretty much everything from Microsoft. From UIs, to development frameworks, to tools, to shells and even APIs. Back then, having "no taste" was totally fine because people communicated far less.

Now we have a whole bunch of people who are stuck using this stuff. And many of them don't really get it yet.

Edit: I just saw that you work for Microsoft, and specifically Microsoft Research. You guys make awesome stuff. The above is mostly about the Windows platform.

Well, I run Elementary on my laptop, OS X on my iMac, have an iPhone, a Nexus 7, and a BlackBerry Playbook (quite an underrated tablet for it's time). I'm a developer, and build apps for all of those devices.

And you know what? WPF _is_ nice. I _liked_ Silverlight (but am frustrated that it doesn't work under Linux, though not surprised). Microsoft make _good_ developer tools, in my personal humble opinion.

The problem I see are they still make a large amount of missteps, and don't engage the "tastemakers" of tech anymore. Any goodwill they once had has been squandered, and if you look at Yahoo! you can see that it's super difficult to get it back.

Now that Ballmer is leaving, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future -- will they get a CEO that isn't afraid to take big, bold risks? To cook the golden goose in the short-term, perhaps, to allow for growth into new markets?

Somehow I doubt it, but I wish they would.

Windows 8 has been really good to me; I've installed it (and Office 2013) on all the devices of my family and (ex)girlfriends, my ex has a Windows Phone on my recommendation. They all love it, and find it easier to use than anything in the past. Just today, I purchased a touch-screen HP All-In-One for my Grandfather, and he loves it (and is super excited about using the Kindle app while in his lean-back chair on the 22" screen, synced with his Kindle itself).

When I was working at Harvey Norman, I sold $15 000 worth of Surface and Surface Pros to customers in one month; They were easy to sell as long as you knew how to appeal to the consumers _actual_ needs. They didn't suit everyone, but for those that did no other Tablet came close.

Basically, they have more potential than nearly any other tech company out there. Something has been holding them back, and they've succeeded in spite of themselves. I hope that they can turn it around moving forward.

What did you try to accomplish with this post? The parent post talks about the perceived mono-culture of Microsoft, and the effects this has on his "friend Greg" when Greg later tries to seek a new job.

Your post is all about how much you like Microsoft. It could likely be replaced by the words "But I like Microsoft developer tools", and still get the exact same message across. There is no sources to back it up, or arguments against or in favor of the parent post. Its the exact style of comment that creates flame-wars which HN want to eliminate.

Please, if you reply to a commenter about mono-culture and job seeking, focus your comment on that subject. Do not fall into "but I like X" kind of replies, or all you get back is "you are wrong, X is bad".

I find people that "like" companies quite amusing.

I think Microsoft has potential, but currently there is a reason I don't use any of their products nor plan to personally. Doesn't mean they don't have their place, like any product.

Also, an argument could easily be made that OP's post, which I found really interesting, is just another way of saying "Microsoft sucks", as it is merely anecdotes without sources again.

Regardless, I merely posted my opinion, like many others here. Sorry that it doesn't conform to your ideal.

Anecdotes is better than pure opinion. They can be poked at and questioned as any other unreliable evidence, and has a place in discussions (if somewhat far down).

However, saying "I _liked_ Silverlight" is not an anecdote. I can't discuss it, poke or question it, as it is without doubt true that you do indeed like Silverlight. As substance for a discussion, it as empty as it can be. At best, I can ask you to write a new comment which explains why you like Silverlight, in which you maybe then end up using anecdotes to support your view. That would then be the actually comment of substance, in which debate, research and discussion might flow from.

In the hierarchy, "I like X" and "I don't like X" is at the bottom. As such, my "ideal" is that comments should indeed strive to be above the lowest of the lowest, even if that means just going a step above into the realm of Anecdotes.

With all due respect, anecdotes vs opinion? A blurry distinction if ever there was one. Who gets to be the arbiter of that distinction, and placement in "the" hierarchy of HN comments? It's plain as day that girvo's comment as much as jeswin's included first hand accounts of real world events (Greg and his myopia regarding non-MS tech, and satisfied friends/family/grandfather/customers that demonstrate MS' market viability). jeswin's comment as much as girvo's included personal opinion.

There was a recent HN discussion about anti-MS bias on the site. I wonder if that may be relevant.

> I find people that "like" companies quite amusing.

I think they pretty much account for most of the hate you see on HN. Brand identity is the new opiate of the masses.

"Endorsing products is the American way to express individuality." -- Calvin and Hobbes


20 years old and still so true.

I recently installed a new version of Office on my dad's machine and was shocked to see that you can start using Office pretty much right away, even while it's still installing. The more complicated features (e.g., making charts) are locked out, but will be available as those bits are streamed in. Basically it bootstraps a bare bones document reader and advanced features become available as they are downloaded.

Awesome, but really brings to light how poorly MS handles advertising.

Microsoft are doing the same thing for Xbox One games- install them and play while extra levels/assets are downloaded. Sony are doing the same

The whole point is that although WPF / Silverlight may feel nice, they are a very rare exception that isn't crossplatform. For any non-MS development platform and language currently I've been able to trivially get a working environment on my company Mac, my home PC, and remote Ubuntu servers, where all the environment just works. (And if it doesn't 'just work' then it's on Win.) With MS developer tools, well... you sort-of kind-of can, but generally it's a basic 'hygiene factor' that they don't have.

And if you're stating '_good_ developer tools', then what is your opinion on MS-supplied basic tools - ssh app? copy/paste in Powershell? Connection libraries for their SQL server in all common (including non-MS) languages? Unicode support in console? I mean, theres a bajillion tiny, insignificant things that add up to a death by papercuts, since on Mac or Linux all third-party development environments for common languages Just Work the way they should, but I've seen numerous cases where getting up the same perl/haskell/whatever package on windows requires jumping through a dozen hoops.

C# is a quite nice language - but can I get one-click setup of it's tools on all major OS'es, and deploy code on non-windows servers as easily as with java or ruby?

Surface Pro seems like really nice hardware - but for any development needs, I'd rather want Ubuntu or MacOS on similar hardware.

MS problem is not, in general, poor tools - the problem is that it doesn't play well and integrate with the rest of the world; and in the rest of the world good integration with everything is a basic assumption even for low-quality recently started tools.

Two quick notes:

1. s/for it's time/for its time/

2. Instead of using _underscores_ for emphasis, on HN you can use asterisks, like this:

    asterisks, *like this*

One of my friends is starting a programming bootcamp. He and his assistant have been calling recruiters and tech companies all over the region, cataloguing available jobs and figuring out where the demand is.

Their findings: PHP and .Net. That's what the vast majority of companies they spoke to are hiring for.

My point is that there's a whole world of tech outside HN.

Was the survey conducted in India, by any chance?

Monster.com job listings in the US by keyword:

.NET - 1000+ positions

Java - 1000+ positions

PHP - 454 positions

Python - 295 positions

Ruby - 280 positions

Node.js - 55 positions

Lisp, Haskell, Scheme - 0 positions

Quantity is not the same as Quality.

I expect to find a larger percentage of competent programmers for the python/ruby jobs than for the .net/java jobs.

Every job I've had so far seems to prove this true.

Personal examples hardly prove a point, but I'm a seasoned, nearly exclusive (11yr) .NET developer and I can probably code the pants off the average ruby/python developer off the street. As can many of my coworkers. See, we use this old-school knowledge of design patterns, MVC, and SOA instead of worrying about whether our code is clever enough. Do you sometimes have to interview people who learned a few buzzwords and somehow passed an MSCD test but don't understand what encapsulation means? Yes. Just like you get people in the Ruby world who opened a console and typed in "rails new" and now they have a new resume topic.

Competent programmers exist in all types of jobs with all types of platforms. In fact, I would argue that those of us who don't jump to every new fad language that comes out may likely be more productive by default. Instead of worrying about what frameworks we're going to use to supplement our Node+Json+Rails+Bootstrap+Coffeescript+blergh security nightmare, we just start coding.

One of the best programmers I've ever known and mentor to me is a .Net guy. (I'm not a .Net developer, FYI)

There are fantastic programmers in every language and lousy programmers in every language. Just the way it is.

Who is talking about quality? OP posted that the majority of development jobs are within .NET and PHP. Some guy gave the low-brow dismissal "was this in India by any chance?". I just supplied position numbers from one of the largest job sites in the US, confirming that .NET and PHP jobs (adding Java), really are the most plentiful in the US by far.

It is still pretty trivial to find a job in Python, Ruby, or JS in just about any metro area in the US. I do not know anyone in the node.js community that would even go to someplace like monster to find a job. Most of these positions are found through networking with the community, which tends to lead to finding better quality jobs anyway.

I think this says a lot more about the types of companies that post their job listings on monster.com than the types of jobs that people are being hired for generally.

Do tech companies even post on monster?

You mean tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Nvidia, Intel and IBM? Yes they do have positions listed at Monster. If by tech companies you mean week-over-week growth companies like fart.io and sfnavelgazer.com then no I don't think so. Probably Monster is not serious enough a platform for such companies, who only staff with top-tier talent. Or maybe they just can't afford the listing fees, since their 30k funding ran out.

Not everyone hires through Monster (or LinkedIn). Most of my hiring is done through networking.

Yes the majority of positions are never listed publicly, so numbers from Monster is only the tip of the iceberg. But that goes for all positions regardless of language. If you have 5 times the listed positions for one tech over the other, it would be logical to assume the amount of unlisted positions have roughly the same ratio.

It's impossible to verify this statement since the positions are never published. I have a strong feeling the most boring companies have to resort more to professional recruiters while the most fun to work for can rely on networking.

It's not just the US (or India). Denmark is also, sadly, a Microsoft stronghold.

No. San Antonio for jobs throughout Texas.

No, the US.

Makes sense if you are aiming to disappear in the crowd. Just get hired because you learned the right language, not because you are good at your job, not because you are productive.

Yes, because everyone who learns .Net is a a no good unproductive drone who will disappear while every node.js/scala/weeklyhiplanguage dev is a superproductive genius.

Get a grip on reality.

When I was trying to get into the developer game (I'm self-taught with no degree so couldn't follow the normal progression) the biggest market in my hometown was (and still is) for .NET developers.

So, I joined a .NET user group, I installed VS, I started learning.

Problem was, MS was churning out the "next great thing" faster than I could learn the last great thing. While I was getting my head around WinForms, WPF came out. I started using WPF, then Silverlight arrived, which was like WPF, just a subset of it, and therefore different enough to be problematic.

But that wasn't too bad. It was the 'blessed' data layer stuff that threw me. When I started it was DataSets etc. Then it was LINQ-to-SQL, then it was very much not LINQ-to-SQL, but instead was Entity Framework.

As a newbie who was trying to make myself marketable, it felt like a bit of a hamster wheel, but then through the user group, I met .NET pros who felt exactly the same way.

And at the end of the day, the greatest irony was that when I finally broke into the market, it was a Java-based developer role on the basis of my JavaScript. So all my years of frantically spinning the .NET wheel was for naught.

I still do love F# though.

In hindsight, the thing that strikes me about .NET development is that most businesses using it really want the whole stack to be from one provider whom they trust - and as a result, third party alternatives never really get a look-in if an MS or MS blessed technology such as JSON.net (http://james.newtonking.com/json) can do the same job.

That is a massive sweeping generalisation of course, and only applicable to the limits of my experience in a small city in a small country.

It was the 'blessed' data layer stuff that threw me. When I started it was DataSets etc. Then it was LINQ-to-SQL, then it was very much not LINQ-to-SQL, but instead was Entity Framework.

As a newbie who was trying to make myself marketable, it felt like a bit of a hamster wheel, but then through the user group, I met .NET pros who felt exactly the same way.

Most .NET developers learn what they need to know for the project at hand. A year ago, I worked on a fairly cutting-edge EF Code-First n-tier project, with knockout.js on the front end, using ASP.NET MVC web API. I am currently extending a crufty ASP.NET 2.0 webforms app.

Adaptability is an important skill for developers. Also, each iteration of the Microsoft data access stack feels like an improvement over the earlier ones, so it's not an unbearable burden to learn it.

And at the end of the day, the greatest irony was that when I finally broke into the market, it was a Java-based developer role on the basis of my JavaScript. So all my years of frantically spinning the .NET wheel was for naught.

Hiring someone for a Java job, based on their JavaScript knowledge is fairly unconventional (to put it politely). Are you certain that the general programming knowledge you acquired through "spinning the wheel" wasn't a factor?

> Are you certain that the general programming knowledge you acquired through "spinning the wheel" wasn't a factor?

I never stopped (and never do stop) learning as much as I could, and I apologise if I gave the impression I was only learning .NET stuff. I was primarily coding in Python, but got into JS to write stealth code to automate a horrendously manual part of my day job in a government contact centre.

To clarify for you on the hire, I was hired for the JS, but expected to learn Java pretty quickly.

> Adaptability is an important skill for developers.

For sure.

>Problem was, MS was churning out the "next great thing" >faster than I could learn the last great thing.

Same here. I design databases, and MS kept bringing new data access methods every three years; I never could wrap my head around the ADO/DAO difference, but that did not matter for long because both were replaced by .Net

I sincerely wondered if this was not a deliberate tactic by Microsoft : while developpers are busy learning their newest "next great thing", they can't invest time in anything else.

Meanwhile I learned how to use an OSS lamp stack and have been happily using it for the last 10 years. Very stable and reliable, I could not be happier.

"I sincerely wondered if this was not a deliberate tactic by Microsoft : while developers are busy learning their newest "next great thing", they can't invest time in anything else."


On what grounds do you confirm his speculation?

Occam's razor.

Either Microsoft is incompetent or promoting/retirement of APIs is more profitable.

A, in my opinion, simpler explanation is that they change their product to try to make it better.

>A, in my opinion

mmmh... I thought about this too.

However, MS is anything but stupid marketing wise, I find. So I dismissed incompetence.

> Meanwhile I learned how to use an OSS lamp stack and have been happily using it for the last 10 years. Very stable and reliable, I could not be happier.

I find that Java's biggest problem (stability/stagnation depending on who you ask) is also the JVM development ecosystem's benefit. There's not one body driving adoption of technologies by deciding what's supported and what's not, so technology choice is less dictated by economic imperatives.

Not sure what you mean exactly, but in any case I know nothing about Java; my LAMP stack is :

Linux, Apache, Mod_perl, Postgresql

All very pleasant to work with (1) and stable; mod_perl has a rather steep learning curve, but worth it for web work. Very powerful _and_ low cost.

( 1 : if you like Perl, obviously )

[Edit] asterik in note caused weird formatting; replaced with 1

I guess you also suffered from being a newbie into a myriad of technologies.

WPF and Silverlight share almost the XAML stack with little differences. One just needs to know those differences.

LINQ-to-SQL and Entity Framework are usually used together and also share common concepts.

Other vendors also keep changing their stacks, it is the job of a developer to keep up with changes and learn to quickly pick up what is relevant for a given project.

It's an interesting area. I've worked with Microsoft tools and technologies since 1986, right through to today. LINQ and the Entity Framework are two technologies I avoid because they push me into a design paradigm that doesn't work for me. Try encrypting an object before saving it to a database. And then try saving that object to SQL Server and a service end point, using the same data access layer. Try loading 500k records using LINQ on a netbook.

Sure, on Windows Phone I'm forced to use LINQ, and I've written some really crazy code to hide it from my app, but at least my app is fast.

I like the Unix / OpenGL way where you start with a sensible thing and then extend it, keeping the underlying architecture somewhat consistent.

Have you ever done portable UNIX development across commercial UNIX systems?

Consistency leaves a lot to be desired as well.

This story could be told of any developer who doesn't update his skills for seven years. You could tell this story for Java developers, Flash developers, PHP developers, etc. Anyone peddling skills from 2006 is going to be looking pretty dated, no matter what stack you're talking about.

I also don't see this: "I would fault them for building their entire ecosystem with total disregard for standards, their refusal to work with whatever community existed outside." My daily experience is very different. If I start a new project, it'll almost certainly be on the open-source (Apache 2.0) ASP.NET MVC platform. That gives me Twitter Bootstrap, Knockout.js, OAuth2.0, etc. It's a neatly integrated patchwork of commonly-used, standards-happy, open-source frameworks and libraries, and it'll work happily on safari and chrome and on my phone. So I don't feel particularly isolated away from the rest of the development world.

Summary is, I'm sure this vision was true years ago, but things seem to have moved on. I think that now, if I want to put together software using modern approach, there aren't approaches or technologies that the MS stack makes tricky. But I'm happy to be corrected; are there technologies or approaches I can't use fairly easily on the MS stack? Cloud computing? single page apps? continuous integration? BDD? etc. What am I missing?

If Greg is a real person, he's in great shape job-wise. There's incredible demand for .NET developers right now. Not so much in the West Coast startup world, but nearly everywhere in the corporate world.

This is my problem right now. I recently quit my corporate job doing asp.net mvc for the financial industry in NYC. I'd like to move into a startup on the west coast, but I'm having trouble finding anything that uses asp.net mvc. I'm applying to non-.net shops too, but I get the feeling that they throw my resume in the trash as soon as they notice the lack of node.js/ruby/python/java experience.

west coast can be hard to get into. They really like to know someone that knows you before pulling the trigger.

Show up at a few meetings (ther's various hacker stuff going on) and get some names on your LinkedIn. I bet that'll fix it.

Yes, because Apple always follow standards and have open implementations.

WebKit? ALAC?

On top of that, Apple's done more than any other single player (except perhaps Adobe!) to move the industry away from Flash, to open alternatives.

No, they don't always follow standards or always have open implementations, but their garden is arguably quite a bit less walled than the one in Redmond. Which makes your point a little confusing, at best.

Also related: http://www.apple.com/opensource/

Webkit was already open source before Apple started using it. ALAC was closed source until 2011.

Microsoft has released open formats as well, like XPS. And Microsoft does open source today as well. That's how the industry works today.

Sure flash is bad thing but if Sun had its way with the internet and Microsoft had not stopped them we be all doing Java applets by now.

However that's all beside the point, the point is that complaining against Microsofts closed culture and in the same sentence referencing Steve Jobs is like taking a bath in koolaid, regardless of Microsofts closed culture.

It's just double standards.

Webkit was already open source before Apple started using it.

Apple created Webkit. They were using/forked KHTML for that, but it quickly diverged.

Sorry for the error, but yes they forked something already open source.

And moreover, they could have closed-source the parts that they eventually released under BSD.

KDE started the Webkit stuff. I don't quite get why Apple made ALAC (2004) when FLAC (2001) was already there.

> Also related: http://www.apple.com/opensource/

Also related: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/openness/default.aspx#project... and http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/

Sure, it had its roots in KDE's KHTML and KJS, but WebKit was started as an internal Apple project, and without their efforts it's highly unlikely that KHTML/KJS would have ever developed into the dominant layout engine.

According to the guy who implemented FFmpeg's ALAC encoder, there are power benefits to ALAC over FLAC. ALAC was developed when iPods were struggling to get 8 hours of playback, so it doesn't seem unreasonable that Apple's engineers wanted to be able to match the codec to the hardware as efficiently as possible.

You do know that OSX is almost entirely built on BSD? Even their compiler that builds everything was open sourced by Apple.

clang clang clang went the compiler!

Like the other projects mentioned, LLVM was open source before Apple starting leading its development.

.. But you can be sure that Apple's contributions have taken it far further than it would otherwise be.

But _clang_ wasn't; it didn't exist. Clang isn't just another name for LLVM or something; it's a compiler using LLVM.

> Jobs wasn't talking about aesthetics; it is true of pretty much everything from Microsoft. From UIs, to development frameworks, to tools, to shells and even APIs. Back then, having "no taste" was totally fine because people communicated far less.

I think that the main problem is the MS has always tried to make things appealing to a certain crowd known as "VB developers", "drag and drop developers", etc.

I've heard too many times "You can do this with almost no code" with our cool new "Microsoft Foundation For Next Big Bullsh Blah Blah". And this is presented as a good practice. And the whole army of evangelists starts touting and praising the next BS framework. People start adopting it, other people start building other things on top of it, until everyone realizes it's BS and such practices, proclaiming "you'll write less code" lead to a pile of bad design decisions that you will later deeply regret.

Cool story, but the last time I was looking for a programming job (six months ago) I remember seeing quite a few listings for .NET developers. Probably just as many as I saw for Rails, though maybe fewer than for PHP.

Whenever i hear somebody talking MS down for not going with "standards" i have to look at the keyboard layout of my mac and start to laugh.

Seriously, this is my biggest pain when changing between OSes.

The Mac keyboard layout is older than the Windows keyboard layout, so yes, that is an example of Microsoft choosing to create its own standard.

Actually, IBM invented that keyboard layout (in 1981, which was a few years after the Apple II)

You are correct, but I mentioned ‘Microsoft’ and the ‘Windows keyboard’ because the original IBM PC keyboards did not have a ‘Windows’ key. Original Macs did have a ‘command’ key.

I suspect ‘Kayoone’ was referring to the functionality of the ‘alt’ and ‘ctrl’ keys on a Mac keyboard versus what those keys do in Windows. For example, in Windows, ‘ctrl-C‘ is used to copy, while on OS X, it’s done with ‘command-C’. The placement of the actual keys are quite similar between PCs and Macs.

The Apple ][ keyboard didn’t have an ‘alt’ or ‘ctrl’ key. The Apple IIGS had both keys, and they were placed in the same arrangement as the original IBM PC keyboard (with the ‘ctrl’ key above the left ‘shift’ key.) On later Apple and IBM PC compatible keyboards, the ‘ctrl’ key was moved to the bottom row, to the left of the alt key.

Not only the ctrl+command key but also the behavior for HOME/END/POS1 when selecting text etc. That makes it really hard for me to transition between Linux/Windows and OSX..if it werent for that i wouldnt really care which OS i use.

I already changed to the US keyboard layout which makes this alot better, the standard german Mac Layout is just total garbage.

Sorry, I don’t use of those keys. I can see how differing behavior of those keys could cramp your style, but your original argument was that Apple is to blame for that. I don’t think history is on your side there.

Interesting take. At the moment, though, there's no "standard" for apps - just a variety of different platforms, of which Windows is one (with an ever-declining market share). Obviously there's the web-as-platform, but I wouldn't treat that the same as a native system.

> I would fault them for building their entire ecosystem with total disregard for standards, their refusal to work with whatever community existed outside.This probably wasn't intentional, they must have probably believed in what they told their developers.

No, this was very much intentional: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft#Vendor_...

> Greg still doesn't get it. He hasn't seen much of the world outside Microsoft, and still wonders why people don't want Silverlight. Still tells me how WPF is so much better that anything else out there.

Aren't both of those technologies, if not actually dead, certainly not the things that even _Microsoft_ wants people to be using these days?

tl;dr Silverlight devs don't have homes.

I started my career working on VB apps, and ASP then ASP.NET websites, using a Windows dev box.

After learning several OSS stacks, I have nothing but contempt for Microsoft technologies. I wouldn't say I hate MS - they are what they are - but I am certainly conditioned to be very suspicious of their offerings. I would never take a job working on a MS stack again, ever.

I currently work for a large enterprise that uses a mix of MS and OSS, and I take every chance I get to swap out the MS tech with OSS. The devs love it and it makes me happy.

''The devs love it and it makes me happy.''

Not all devs. Microsoft tools have contributed to a long, successful, and enjoyable career for me, and I have yet to find an IDE as nice as VS (any contemporary version). The MS toolsets have been mostly good to work with, a few warts not withstanding.

What OSS tools and IDEs are making your devs so happy, and making their jobs better than say, VS 2012? (serious question)

• The biggest smile was moving them from VSS to GIT (+GHE)

• Replacing Windows servers with Redhat has opened up a wealth of automation opportunities

• RoR on the frontend has allowed a much faster development and deployment pipeline (ASP.NET and Java are still used for the high-ceremony stuff)

• Our monitoring and alerting is much more straightforward and comprehensive for the OSS components

• I am so tired of propping up sickly MS servers, the Redhat servers are rock solid straight out the gate

OTOH for large enterprise, Sharepoint and Office integration works very well, that's really the MS sweetspot. I'm also interested in their new ALM offering (TFS), I haven't seen an OSS equivalent as yet. However these are not dev stacks.

I'm not saying you can't do great stuff using MS tech - stackoverflow is proof of that. But I have extensive experience in both worlds, and I'll take OSS any day.

"What OSS tools and IDEs are making your devs so happy, and making their jobs better than say, VS 2012?"

You will believe that I am joking, but Vim, bash, git, grep, gdb, valgrind, llvm and lots of UNIX tools. We use IDA Pro a lot too.

Most of the people that work with me learned with Microsoft tools, myself included but we can't stand it anymore. Why? They are so powerless and limited, specially in the extension mechanism: extending it using your own tools, which basically do 90% of our work.

The main reason for that is that commercial companies can't let you do what you want, they can't let you do what you need like reading the system internals like with linux system utilities(Windows or Apple monopolizes access to it making amazing tools like Numega SoftIce dead) and even reading the source code.

We use VS 2012 and Xcode for compiling Windows and Mac versions of our software, that is mainly designed and tested in pure Unix.

Sure. And we shouldn't forget that Microsoft was primarily a development tools manufacturer for a long time. They have a long track record in such tools.

> What OSS tools and IDEs are making your devs so happy, and making their jobs better than say, VS 2012?

It depends to a large extent on what people are doing. To be honest, I have become so happy with VIM, BASH, base UNIX utilities, and such that I don't think I am ever likely to achieve the same productivity in an IDE. The thing is that IDE's are a fundamentally different paradigm and they make easy things a bit easier, but I think a text processing paradigm is better for the hard problems.

With all due respect you're just another OSS evangelist comparing RoR to Visual Basic, Classic ASP and ASP.NET.

It is a silly comparison but it is so unbelievably common here. Try comparing it to ASP.NET MVC and you'll see that Microsoft actually has a modern and compelling offering. They really haven't sit still since you've been gone.

Quite so~

There is a difference between being keen to see the new features in the next version of .Net, and having Microsoft suddenly decide, actually, we dont care about .Net anymore, XNA is cancelled, metro apps are javascript only now. All that WFC stuff you were doing with windows phone... yeah, forget that.

People invest their time and knowledge in a technology stack, and Microsoft just seem to love throwing things away rather than improving them.

When you set fire to the developers that use your technology, are you really surprised when they don't want to have anything to do with you?

I've only seen this anecdotally, but new developers who haven't yet been set on fire seem to be very positive about the integrated MS stack.

...and slightly older jaded developers who are on fire, and looking for jobs using technology no one cares about anymore say things like 'I'll never use microsoft technology again'.

That's just been my personal experience, but I've got to admit, seeing it, I'm pretty skeptical about investing any more of my time in learning to use MS stack for anything.

...but yes. C# is quite a nice language. I fully endorse the use of Xamarins offerings (ie. C# .Net outside of microsofts control)

The Alt.Net movement is a powerful force; always looking for better ways of doing things no matter where that alternative might come from. So if it's something new from Microsoft, that's great - if it's an approach from the open source world or an alternate language or somewhere else entirely then that's great too.

Xamarin deserves particular mention as the ability to share 80-90% of your core codebase between all mobile phone platforms is just stellar. It makes absolutely no business sense to re-write your core business logic for each platform and in that platforms language. So much less project risk, merge three/four code bases into one. Do it once then implement native UI's for each platform and bind back to the core library? Spot a problem in the core library on iOS? Android gets the hotfix for free. Just ask Rdio ;-)

Other hotness:

- https://www.nuget.org/ - http://www.servicestack.net/ - http://owin.org/ - http://nancyfx.org/ - https://github.com/MvvmCross/MvvmCross - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/pex/ - https://github.com/swax/CodePerspective - http://signalr.net/ - https://github.com/Redth/PushSharp - https://github.com/Squirrel/Squirrel.Windows

Last but not least:


The funny thing is I never mentioned RoR in my GP, so you inserted that comparison in your own head. I'm talking about a complete OSS ecosystem - dev language, servers, VC, deployment tools, monitoring etc. I work at enterprise scale in FIRE, and there is so much more to successful project delivery than just language/IDE.

BTW I had to bandage up a limping ASP.NET MVC app about three years ago for a large Canadian telco. Nothing I saw under the hood changed my mind about MS.

Inserted the comparison in my head or read your subsequent comment that prominently mentions RoR? For a hint, it is the latter.

As for your claim to have "bandaged a limping ASP.NET MVC app about three years ago", you might not be aware that version 1.0 was only released about 4 years ago and that they're currently at version 5.1. How much work with Razor syntax have you done considering it didn't exist three years ago?

I hate when people do that, 'I had to mess with some shitty code and it was made in X, therefore all of X is shitty'

Crappy work can be done in any language/framework

Well, he did reply half an hour after you mentioned RoR. So it's possible that he just chose to reply to your first post because he thought replying to the other one would derail that discussion.

Not that I care, not having used any of the technologies discussed here other than a little VS, that a I liked, and a little VSS, that I hated.

And all latest Microsoft technologies are Open Source as well by the way.

Similar career arc to me but I actually recognize that a company is not a person, it is a collection of people that change. The Microsoft that exists today is far better than that of a decade or two decades ago.

Don't let prior experience prevent you from seeing when great stuff is happening.

This kind of argument appears often in threads about companies not being one entity - but it is wrong. An engineer asked by management to implement enthical program parts can either play along (thereby endorsing behavior) or go home.

A member of the legal team cannot decide to NOT extort e.g. Patent fees from e.g. Android handset makers, or allow e.g. BeOS to be installed by licensed vendors that were forbidden to do so.

A company behaves like an individual, sometimes schizophrenic, often psychopathic or sociopathic. But policy, and reponsibility is not, in fact, up to individual employees.

What you say is true of a group of sports fans, not of a company. And having watched Microsoft's stacking of the ISO committees, patent extortion and chilling effects, SCO proxy war, scathing disregard for industry standards etc - I'll say that I think they have earned all the hate they get here, and then some. The fact they they are not doing as much damage these days is mostly thanks to sliding away from the dominant position - but the culture is still one of bullying.

In what ways is RoR superior to asp.net (besides the fact it is not microsoft?) RoR is still it it's relatively infancy, has security issues, is significantly slower, and good luck finding a good IDE. To the author's point, don't just hate, give some specific reasons why one technology is superior or inferior.

Rails initial release: 2004 ASP.NET initial release: 2002

I've heard nothing but good things about RubyMine, but few people use it because a good text editor is all you need to work with most dynamic languages. C# is practically unusable without Visual Studio.

I've worked with both, give me Rails any day.

MVC released 2007/2008. WebForms has it's own purpose: RAD development in corporate environment, for vast amount of ex-VB6 devs (or any desktop RAD drag'n'drop tool). It should bring desktop devs to webs, nothing else, and its done great job. Not that I like the result, but you could build forms - heavy apps in no time! Under the WebForms and MVC is ASP.NET, and anybody could build their own web framework (and server) on top of it! Like today we have NancyFx, 6-7 years ago there was Monorail and some other MVC frameworks - but nobody used that. Because 90% of asp.net devs was exVB6 locked inside some corp building. Today, with MVC, OWIN and healthy OSS ecosystem, things are different. Even MS is supporting OWIN web middleware, which will in the end allow running web app under win/linux without any change.

xamarin studio is great to work with. Mono has a c# repl. OTOH if you said c# is practically unusable without resharper, I'd have some sympathy.

Little known fact about Xamarin Studio (MonoDevelop) is that there is a option to enable source analysis which is for some reason off by default. Flipping it on essentially enables resharper mode. Only item missing is auto namespace resolution for references.

Thanks, it's under: Preferences -> Text Editor -> Source Analysis

C# is practically unusable without Visual Studio.


Rails is an actual MVC framework, ASP.NET was an over-complicated, leaky, fairly opaque abstraction for web programming. And it took years for MS to then come out with their own MVC framework.

ASP.net MVC is still ASP.net. You're probably thinking of WebForms.

Yes, ASP.NET MVC is ASP.NET, but that neither changes, nor invalidates anything that I said.

a) Rails is an actual MVC framework. b) ASP.NET was an over-complicated, leaky, fairly opaque abstraction for web programming. c) It took years for MS to then come out with their own MVC framework.

RoR vs Asp.Net is largely community (and modules) vs tools. Both are important and I am not sure if a combination of the two is even feasible. VS is like crack, it's so good, but at the same time nuget looks like a joke compared to gems. TLDR; nobody is good at everything because different things are optimized for different cases.

Hmm, any specific examples? I really like c# as a language. ASP.NET whilst not as new and shiny as Rails etc., it's still moving in the right direction with new additions like WebAPI.

And VS is I think one of the best IDEs out there.

You could certainly provide specific examples. How exactly is VS so much better than anything else? I've used other things that worked just as well for me. And, what is "the right direction" - MS is always moving in some direction with new APIs or frameworks.

Intellisense for anything other than JS has worked far better and more consistently than IntelliJ or Eclipse. Setting up a project in Eclipse often seems like pulling teeth (with respect to tomcat, jake, etc). Most options in VS are available via the GUI or easier to install extensions.

I mostly use WebStorm, while having pretty shitty intellisense for JS itself, is a much better experience for node.js development. Second would probably be MS's Web Matrix, and I'm disappointed that MS chose not to include the, imho (with an addon) much better support for node.js into VS.

I'll say that for C# development, I really like ASP.Net MVC, I've used classic ASP in the past (both JScript and VBScript) and also used VB.Net with ASP.Net. I've used PHP in the past (hate it with a passion), as well as a dabble of Ruby (like some aspects, not as much with others). I'm warming up to CoffeeScript, and have also done a bit of Python (desktop UI) and currently toying with Go.

I'm not really tethered to MS by any means, I'm pushing for moving away from what little MS tech we're using in the product I work on. That said, VS is pretty damned good, and on a whole, I haven't used better.

Same here. With the caveat that C# + F# are crazy awesome, not that I'm jumping at the bit to work with them again...

F# is the bomb. Once in a while I even consider running ASP on mono so I can use F#, then I realize I'd need a windows box with Visual Studio and decide against it.

Why would you need that? The F# compiler's open source and runs just fine in MonoDevelop/Xamarin Studio (or outside of an IDE, for that matter).

Will try MonoDevelop, to be honest the last time I tried MonoDevelop was when the Intel MacBooks were new, and it wouldn't run on OS X.

Downloading MonoDevelop as we speak, thanks for the reminder :)

you can run mvc on mono with nginx.

I've done some fun stuff with Mono and C# but it's significantly more clunky than just apt-get install

What does a virtual machine + language have to do with a package manager?

Installing mono was significantly more complicated than most vm/language packages on Ubuntu, and required commensurately more upkeep.

That maybe a while ago, like when Ubuntu was 9.0 and you had to compile from source code in order to get sgen? Things are much better now. Since early this year, I've been running a web service written in C# serving one of my iOS apps. That piece of service has been running happily in a tiny VPS for half a year now. Installation of the Mono runtime was an easy apt-get.

Mono is completely installed by default on older versions of Ubuntu (8-11). The runtime with some development tools is installed in 12 and 13. You can get it on any version since 8 with apt-get.

$ sudo apt-get mono-complete $ echo "using System; static class Entry { static void Main() { Console.WriteLine(\"Hello World\"); }}" > hello.cs $ mono-csc hello.cs $ ./hello.exe Hello World

It's much like ruby in that to get everything I wanted I had to go to source, which means jumping through some hoops. That's all.

You could just use OCaml, of which it is an obvious copy. You wouldn't get the whole MS stack, for better or worse.

Don Syme has added some interesting features to F# like type providers, so I think it is OK to say that F# has transcended its OCaml roots to become an interesting language in its own right.

Not to mention the approach to OOP is rather different in F#. It's syntactically and culturally different. Most OCaml programmers I know avoid OOP for the most part, whereas it's embraced to some extent in F#. Seems like a sort of "functional first, but feel free to use objects as you see fit" philosophy in F# versus a "functional always, objects are a failed experiment" philosophy in OCaml.

I don't mean to imply any judgment here, I'm just noting another difference between F# and OCaml.

> It's syntactically and culturally different.

Most people seem to think it's not syntactically very different: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/179492/f-changes-to-ocaml

I mean specifically the syntax for OOP support. Otherwise, much of the syntax is the same.

Absolutely, I have much love for OCaml.

I actually come from the opposite side of you. I've always developed with opensource tools on windows machines (running VM for Ruby, but most others run just find in windows).

I really like all the consumer products by Microsoft, but never liked or got into the development stuff.

At the same time, I've tried OSX a few times (I have both a Windows and a Mac), and just never got into it as an OS.

I started a little later than you, same endpoint.

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