Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What I don't like about Microsoft.

Well, I think this has been long pending. I need to set some records straight and speak out why I don't really like M$. I personally have no problem with their OS(partly because I hardly ever use it. Mainly it's used when I'm forced to at college, but that's a different story). And I feel that M$ Office is one of the best products I have ever used.... However, there are a few areas where I particularly don't like the firm.

[1] Licensing being one of them. They have this massive EULA which probably has lots of undesirable clauses. Something that I would rather stay away from.

[2] Pricing. I got to pay for the software I use, even if it is for educational purposes!!!! I mean come on.... have a heart.... I use Linux at home, and am loving it. I switched about 3 years back, and have learnt more about computers, and programming that I ever did while I used windows for a much longer period of time. So in that sense too, M$ seems to be lacking. Lots of things are hidden, and not revealed, and that really hurts someone like me who wants to explore the internals of a system. GNU/Linux lets you do that to almost any level of detail that you please, and that too in quite an organized fashion.

[3] Number of APIs. Whow!!!! M$ has like zillions of ActiveX controls, and APIs for managing stuff.... and to top it, you can do the same thing in many diferent ways. This is one place where choice really hurts. I mean it's really overwhelming.... And the number of versions of a DLL and stuff like that just drives me crazy. Something simple like updating a DLL file might break something in some obscure place, and the whole thing comes down like a pack of cards. This is one area where IMHO Linux should try not to get out of hand. I agree it(Linux) is growing in complexity, but it has a beautiful POSIX interface, which is relatively small, and quite well documented. And it lets you do almost anything you would ever need to with the computer.

[4] On the 26th of February, 2006, I had been invited to Bangalore at the M$ office for an interview in reference to the Code4Bill contest I had participated in. It was a gr8 eperience all in all, though I didn't get thru ;-) I must say M$ takes a lot of care of their employees(or at least it seems so) and there are lots of recreational facilities available. That's all very good, but in the initial phase when we arrived, we were addressed by an employee who has been working for M$ for the past 16 years, and he was trying to sell M$ to us. Nothing wrong till the point when he started bad mouthing Free Software. He said somehing along the lines of: There is nothing like Free Software. They make you pay in one for or another. If not the software, you will have to pay for service & support. And he also mentioned that Open Software was just a flavour of the month, and it wasn't something that was here to last. I seriously wasn't expecting such comments from someone in a company like M$. I mean they have immense credibility, and such comments could only have been to deter the youth of the country from joining in Open Software, and contributing to it's growth because they see it as a potentially serious threat. With regard to the conments he made regarding Free software, I think he is blatantly wrong, because all the major distros of Gnu/Linux can be downloaded off the Internet for absolutely no cost, and there are loads of help pages, manuals, and How Tos to help you find your way around.... not to mention the numerous forums and usenet groups for newbies.... All in all, it was a very naive and uninformed statement made by an employee of the richest firm on the pace of this blessed planet.

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