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Explaining The Windows/UNIX Cultural Divide

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the it's-a-long-long-way dept.

Windows 685

giampy writes "Joel Spolsky writes a review-like article on the last book of Eric S. Raymond (The Art of Unix Programming). His views on the cultural differences among Windows and Unix programmers are well explained. Overall, an interesting read." Also on the topic of Windows, badriram writes "Microsoft is reorganizing the windows team, it seems the are separating the OS core development. Seems like things heading in the right direction in creating a more secure OS, and making it more business oriented. Read the article here."

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685 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733424)

unix blox goax

U R teh ghey sux0r! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733434)

fhag

WHY DOES YOUR FACE SMELL LIKE MALDA'S COLON? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733459)

Separation (1, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733426)

I reckon there might be a gunshot wedding again (with Billy G wielding the gun) if the separation of the parties results in longer delivery times, harder work for "interoperation" etc...

Simon.

Re:Separation (4, Insightful)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733670)

harder work for "interoperation" etc...

Interoperation is something Microsoft fundamentally doesn't get.

Instead of interoperating with published standards, they try to interoperate with Microsoft legacy methodologies (e.g., everything must bee visual basic scriptable.) This is a terrible source of security worm-holes. I wish they would reorganize their visual basic scripting fanatics to Antarctica.

I make it a point to return any base64-encoded text/plain email to the Outlook-using idiot who sent it, explaining that Outlook is obscuring their email text, along with a list of reasons to switch to another email client and instructions for doing so.

Automatic Trolls? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733428)

Where are all the automated 'First Post' Trolls?

They wisely avoid stories mention MS (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733469)

They'd get lost in the noise of "M$ is the 5uX0rz" modded to +5 funny.

How to tell if you are a linux fanatic. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733432)

AKA a nazi fanatic loser.

1. You rejuvenate and dance when you hear a windows flaw exposed, but you conveniently ignore the thousands of security flaws exposed in linux.

2. You yell loudly TROLL! at any person's post or at any person you see posting facts that you do not want to hear about your oh so cool linux.

3. You know it's a classic case of penis envy, you don't have all the support, software and hardware available for linux and you have to let that anger out somewhere, but you don't have the brains to admit it.

4. You hate windows, hate Microsoft, but race to emulate windows, have programs to run office from within linux, and spend a $300 on a Windows emulator, only Windows fools.

5. You cannot admit that you don't have professional usage of Linux outside server markets.

6. You cannot admit that most of the joe user out there when told that there is linux will respond, what is that?

7. You cannot admit that there is no professional printing capabilities in linux.

8. You cannot admit that you are a masochist (otherwise why would someone spend hours playing with scripts,
and recompiling programs that are available for Windows?)

9. You cannot admit that there is no professional desktop publishing done on Linux.

10. You cannot admit that no one in their right mind would do professional video editing in Linux.

11. You cannot admit that linux sucks when it comes for gaming/home entertainment or education.

12. You have problems in understanding Windows, and you will blame your own incompetence on Microsoft.

13. You have problems in pointing a clicking, but have no problems in wading through cryptic scripts written by lunatics.

14. Nothing will get past that shit that fills your head, you will not admit to any facts.

15. You can't admit that naming of linux components, packages, and others are weird and fits profiles of troubled teenagers. gentoo, lgx, rpm ....

16. You feel angered because you were left out by microsoft's Media technologies, they support Mac, Sun sparc, but not linux.

17. You feel inferior deep inside but unable to admit it, you don't have a database as easy and powerful as Access.

18. You cannot tell that not a single office package outside Microsoft's is worth looking at or bothering with.

19. You don't know that your CD recorder software sucks.

20. You don't have DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW support in your pathetic OS.

21. While the rest of the world moves on, you're stuck in a stone age technology that needs third party software to boot into GUI.

22. You act out of prejudice, you kill file domains and users of specific news readers while you ignore the bullshit that your fellow linux losers post.

23. You don't know commercial support in Linux is almost non existent.

24. You miss the fact that companies are leaving linux because of the chaos, and the cheap linux losers who are unwilling to pay and support hard work, Corel, gaming companies,...etc.

25. You are unaware that linux has no terminal services (there is a lame one that no one uses), and commercial support for it is not happening.

26. You are unaware that setting up servers on Windows takes couple of minutes while on linux, good luck playing with configuration scripts.

27. You cannot admit that support for USB on linux is laughable at best.

28. You think that Linux is better because slashdot told you so.

29. You spend countless hours flaming people because they post their opinions about your oh so cool linux and your attitude, instead of researching things for yourself and understanding fact in order not to look this stupid.

30. You think that anyone who uses linux has a clue.

31. You think that linux cannot crash.

32. You think that everyone is interested in your conspiracy theories about Microsoft (or should i say M$ in order for you, teenagers to understand?), and how they destroyed linux, ...etc.

33. You keep ignoring the fact that thousands of linux servers get hacked every year, but it takes one Windows server hacked to get you and your fellow linux idiots to dance and celebrate.

Re:How to tell if you are a linux fanatic. (4, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733573)

who's the troll? 1.yes linux has vunerabilities, but how many have been exploitable to the extend of the windows holes? ahh silence... 2. which windows emulator costs $300??? 3. i plug in my camera's usb... it works perfectly i didn't touch a thing, well except to browse my photos of course. the windows software that came with my camera is utter crap and doesn't work 1/2 as well. 4. there is plently of professional usage of linux outside of servers, your talking to one right now, and when was the last time you tried linux' printing abilities, they are excellent. 5. yes windows is hard to understand becuase it's closed source and poorly documented. 6. used K3b? it's easily as good as any win based cd recorder. 7. lets have a race, you install, configure and setup a mailserver/dns/fileserver/ftp server on win2003 and i'll do it on mandrake 9.2. i'll beat your ass becuase i have done both and mandrake takes 1/2 the time. 8. terminal services? x11 is built on a client server model from the ground up, unlike "terminal services which is tacked on, and thats not even getting into the horrendous cost of ms.... however some of your other points i agree with.. ( i am ignoring the obvious troll comments )video, games and multimedia are not as mature on linux. but this is hardly the fault of linux distro's as these technologies are held back by patents and copyright holders who don't have a clue. microsoft had better be careful or they will shut themselfs out and end up as the sad and lonely one looking in.

yhbt (-1)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733718)

faggot

to sum it up... (3, Funny)

KingRamsis (595828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733435)

Windows programming is like playing golf, UNIX programming is like pig wrestling, after years of development on both platforms I feel that UNIX programming gives me the satisfaction of sport achievements, the unforgiveness of UNIX makes very thrilled.

Re:to sum it up... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733466)

Exactly. UNIX gives you enough rope to hang yourself, and a few extra feet just to make sure. To people that take the time to use learn how to use it properly, this IS a good thing.

Re:to sum it up... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733542)

Surely that extra few feet is enough to reach the floor?

Re:to sum it up... (1, Funny)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733571)

No, you just need a much larger noose to get around the gigantic necks of us overweight Linux nerds. ;)

Re:to sum it up... (5, Funny)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733545)

Windows programming is like playing golf
Exactly. There are always at least 18 holes.

Re:to sum it up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733570)

I'll give you this: at least your post was a hell of a lot shorter than Joel's lame article. And at least seems sincere. Joel, on the other hand, has layered on so much flamebait early on in his prose that I simply gave up. Besides, I can't stand to read ESR in the first place... but an article about something ESR wrote? Yeesh.

Both ESR and Joel have demonstrated that they are full of shit. I think this is the last I'm going to read about the "cultural" aspects of technology. In the future I'm sticking to more pragmatic work, like the Pragmatic Programmers Guide or Code Complete or help files or man pages.

THE WINDOWS/UNIX PATRIOTISM DIVIDE (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733440)

Having read the article thoroughly, this startling news shows the flaws in the brewing Open Source Zeitgeist that is gripping the software community. Have you considered that providing software for free to countries such as China is essentially tacit support for oppressive regimes?

Far-fetched? Think about it: With MySQL, the People's Army will now be able to do multiple queries on their tables of democratic activists in Olog(n) time instead of lengthy searches in card catalogs. The bureaucratic overhead previously allowed activists enough time to flee the country. How about building cheap firewalls so the people can't get the unbiased reporting that CNN provides? Or using Apache to publish lists of Falun Gong people to their police forces instantly? I doubt that never crossed your minds when you were coding away in your parents' basements. Consider putting that little thought in your mental resolv.conf file.

If that does not concern you ( which it probably doesn't, since the lashout.org paradigm is publishing articles about how not to pay for things ), consider something else. When China eventually goes to war with Taiwan, we want to be able turn their command and control facilities into the computing equivalent of a train-wreck. One of the advantages of Windows never mentioned in the article is the ability of Microsoft to remotely deactivate Windows XP in the case of a national emergency. Thanks to GNU/Lunix, Taiwan will be on a collision course with the mainland in the near future.

Which throws into question Mr. Stallman's motives. A known proponent of socialism, the Chinese government and RMS are natural allies. Could it be a back door to Stallman's dream of an uber-Socialist United States? We may never know for sure. Next time you consider contributing to an open source project, ask yourself this question: don't you want to make sure your work isn't used for nefarious purposes? Will you risk having blood on your hands?

Re:THE WINDOWS/UNIX PATRIOTISM DIVIDE (2, Insightful)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733698)

Great, but this article is about ESR, a vocal libertarian.

That's too bad (4, Funny)

osgeek (239988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733445)

Joel Sposky writes a review-like article on the last book of Eric S. Raymond

I hadn't heard that he died. My condolences to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed.

Re:That's too bad (5, Funny)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733591)

He will be sorely missed.

Sourcely missed! SOURCELY! He was an advocate of open SOURCE, you idiot, not open...oh. Nevermind.

It's all about the shell! (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733455)

*nix people aren't scared of the shell, Microsoft hoped they'd killed off the command line with DOS. They've buried it even deeper in Windows XP (it's now in Programs...Accessories rather than just Programs).

That, or the fact that all the slashes go the wrong way in DOS/Windows because MS decided to use "/" as a switch rather than a directory separator.

Re:It's all about the shell! (5, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733478)

Check out Monad [asp.net] , the OO extendable command shell for Longhorn. Quite interesting.

Btw, on 2000 and XP (maybe 9x too), you can assign a shortcut to the command prompt, say Ctrl+Alt+S, so hitting that will get you a command prompt quickly. And enabling autocomplete [tsn.dk] to and QuickEdit and Insert modes on cmd.exe adds a lot to productivity too.

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733557)

Or just install Cygwin and use your favourite Unix shell.

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

dirtydamo (160364) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733666)

Btw, on 2000 and XP (maybe 9x too), you can assign a shortcut to the command prompt, say Ctrl+Alt+S, so hitting that will get you a command prompt quickly

Or just install Cygwin and use your favourite Unix shell.


Or, do both! And get the free program WinKey [copernic.com] so you can bind shortcuts to that windows key (yes! it IS useful!).

Win-S is one key less effort than Ctrl-Alt-S.

Damien

Re:It's all about the shell! (2, Informative)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733491)

They've buried it even deeper in Windows XP (it's now in Programs...Accessories rather than just Programs).

Or Start --> Run, CMD, enter.

Hardly call that buried.

Re:It's all about the shell! (2, Informative)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733577)

or if you have a "windows" keyboard:
+ R
cmd

takes.. hmm about 2 secs

Re:It's all about the shell! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733676)

What? You expect Linux users to tolerated having to type in obscure commands in obscure places? That's just not a realistic expectatoion to put on the users!

Re:It's all about the shell! (2, Informative)

jhines0042 (184217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733728)

Or just move the darn thing... you're allowed to you know.

I move my command line shortcut out to the main start menu on every computer that I use (with permission of the owner if that isn't me)

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733750)

obviously unix programmers of today need a menu to get to their shell applications....

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733574)

They're just hiding it to make it harder for virus/worm writers to find it. :^)

The / was the default switchchar, but you could change that in config.sys until DOS 3.0 or so. (Not that many programs bothered to check with DOS to see what switch to use.)

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733607)

That, or the fact that all the slashes go the wrong way in DOS/Windows because MS decided to use "/" as a switch rather than a directory separator.

Just because it's not the *nix way doesn't mean it's the wrong way. It's a different OS. They don't have to do everything the *nix way.

Re:It's all about the shell! (1)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733729)

While technically true it follows something called convention. Both systems have legacy roots, *nix just happens to be deeper...

Does the story start with... (4, Funny)

XiChimos (652495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733456)

Does the story of how the divide between windows and Unix came about start with fallen angels?

Re:Does the story start with... (1)

aanand (705284) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733493)

"we all love and work and sing and die"

Yeah, but where are the Windows users going afterwards?

Re:Does the story start with... (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733531)

Yeah, but where are the Windows users going afterwards?

Don't you listen to Cake? "Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell". So Windows users are going to heaven, I'm going to roast in hell, thankyou very much.

Re:Does the story start with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733514)

No, but it does start with a father fucking the earth and eating his children.

Re:Does the story start with... (4, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733626)

Didn't Milton write something about "Better to reign on desktops than servers in Heaven"?

What about KDE/Gnome? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733461)

They bridge the divide between Windows and Unix. They provide an easy to use GUI, yet still offer the chance to use the commandline stuff. Try SuSE 9 or Mandrake 9.2, its like how Windows 2000 Should of been like.

Re:What about..- Grammar [Score -2, offtopic] (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733518)

Should of???

Oh, please.

Should have!

Re:What about KDE/Gnome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733530)

Yeah, permissions in Suse and Mandrake are a breeze.

I love how logged messages have error codes and urls to more information on the web (of course in ZP there are actual links).

Not to mention how trivial it is to get a program to go where you want it too in the GUI, windows is such a dog.

Here's an idea. Use windows and see how far KDE, and especially GNOME have to go.

Re:What about KDE/Gnome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733721)

Yeah, I really hate how difficult KDE makes it to save files from any application to my web server through FTP. I have to go to "File", click "Save As," click the FTP button I easily created in my common file dialog, and save the file! Surely I need more layers of interaction, like a separate FTP program into which to drag the temporary file on my desktop.

It's really a shame that terse and uninformative error codes that need me to click on URLs to figure out what happened don't show up in my system logs, and instead I get verbose and descriptive error messages about exactly what went wrong! Imagine that!

Getting a program to "go where you want it" in the GUI is so easy, Microsoft actually asks me where I want to go today! AOL is so easy to use, no wonder it's #1! Please, continue to make completely ambiguous statements which barely even allude to what they could possibly mean! They make you look extremely intelligent!

Windows makes it so much easier to reposition my system tray or hide it altogether, I don't know what I've been thinking all these years!

Grow up. Installation and configuration of Linux needs some work, and arguably some of the software as well, but KDE's GUI is lovely, aside from being too cluttered with options that belong in configuration files somewhere.

But I will admit, Windows sure makes it easy to infect my computer with random Internet Explorer worms and Word macro viruses!

I think you're on the wrong website.

Re:What about KDE/Gnome? (1)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733693)

When I can drag and drop programs to the menus rather than having to run a stupid config program to alter them, and when you can get cut-and-paste to work regularly and consistently across all programs, let me know and I'll give you a host of other problems to fix.

WINAMP 5.0 OUT NOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733465)

I HAEV DOWNLOADED AND IT IS TEH SPOKE!!!~~1` (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733476)

windows users are the problem... (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733468)

forget the programmers, until general knowledge of computers improve and stuborn idoits don't need to have things like " why do i need a password to run a program on MY OWN computer" explained the state of computer security will not improve.

Re:windows users are the problem... (5, Interesting)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733553)

Well... why do you need a password to run something on your own computer?

It's sitting right there in your home office. Behind at least one locked door. Maybe even a couple.

I mean, I have my machine set up to automatically log me in; I turn it on and there it is, ready to go. There's me, my room-mate, and nobody else. I trust my room-mate to stay off my machine; she trusts me to stay off of hers.

Re:windows users are the problem... (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733622)

yes. and lets see how long it takes for some kiddie to "tunnel" into your NON-password protected computer.. thought one of the million security holes... and replace your "explorer.exe" with ahem.. somethign that *really* explorers (as opossed to explode)

Re:windows users are the problem... (1)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733655)

And of course, having a password renders your Windows computer invulnerable to all manner of exploit and security hole.

Re:windows users are the problem... (4, Insightful)

Zoop (59907) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733611)

Joel's theoretical explanation for the divide hinges on the user--his thesis? Windows programmers care about users, UNIX programmers don't.

My immediate reaction was, "If so, how come Windows programs have suck sucky UI most of the time?"

A colleage of mine had an insightful comment, "Windows programmers don't program for the user; they program for the buyer."

I think that explains more about Windows from MS to the end-VBScript-monkey than anything else.

Re:windows users are the problem... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733645)

It is precisely what Joel is talking about. He just didn't make the connection as explicit. Mod parent up please!

I sense much fear in you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733640)

And that is why you fail.

A computer isn't a Babage to Ballmer history lesson. It's a tool. A tool for automating mundane tasks. You seem to be confusing this for a tuol that burdens users with more unecessary mundane tasks. You are wrong, practically by definition.

And for the record, providing a password is an arbitrary convention. For a typical user who's not worried or doesn't care about someone getting into their computer localy automatic login is fine (hence provided for in linux distros), and occasionally, the computer may want reassurance that, for certain tasks, the local user is performing them. Typing a password, or dragging a set of keys icon onto a computer icon with a locked emblem and changing it to an unclocked, or superman emblem would both be a perfectly valid way of doing this.

Do you run an encrypted file system? I don't. You have locking hard drives in a locking case? I do, but that's more a quirk of fate, so the keys are ties with fishing line to their locks. And don't pretend that if you don't your system isn't any more secure than the guy who automatically logs in.

Your baseless elitism is a just one symptom of the cancerous idiology that contributes to the User hostility of linux. "It's for geeks, you can't be in our club."

Until that attitude has the dents taken out and a new polish put on it, it's going to be a while before it's the OS mom and pop are looking for.

Re:windows users are the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733667)

You only say that because you're not like the "Windows programmers, who are, on the whole, solution-oriented and non-ideological."

both are, actually... (5, Insightful)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733734)

Although I understand and agree with your basic point, I would ask that you consider the "product" of a computer and how that relates to average "consumers" need for a tool to make their lives easier/more entertained (because that is, after all, the basic reason why average consumers purchase computers).

Consumers want a tool to use, whether it be for games, email, finances, or just internet surfing. Quite frankly they don't want to spend a ton of time learning about how to use it, and many don't care how or why it works just as long as it does work.

The tug-of-war that exists is that computers by their nature are complex and flexible. Consumers by their nature are very insistant on their desires which in include simplicity, flexability, safety, cost, and utility.

Calling them "stubborn idiots" only highlights the divide of understanding between the computer literate that understand and desire ultimate flexibility, and the average consumer that just wants to use their computer, like a toaster or a vcr or a Sony playstation, without a lot of hastle.

Somehow the creators (programmers and hardware vendors) need to accomodate for that, because I assure you that the average consumer won't change.

Although I despise Microsoft's business ethics, I appreciate their dedication to the principle that I mentioned above.

Linux is in a very good position to make headways in this regard as well, but it will take a fundamental understanding by the programmers and harware teams of said principle to make real headways in the desktop market.

Anything less will ultimately limit the adoption of Linux to, for example, server, web, and corporate applications.

"The masses" are what they are, and deriding them for it won't influence them to change, however it will influence them to avoid the product.

Lets find a way to meet them where they are while preserving the fundamentals.

fuck windows (-1, Flamebait)

davidsturnbull (650325) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733470)

windows is for fags.

Re:fuck windows (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733548)

You are incorrect, sir.

It is MacOS that is for fags.

HTH.

Re:fuck windows (1)

mo^ (150717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733616)

i wasn't aware cigarettes had an OS preference

bad reflexes (2, Insightful)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733472)

Eric S. Raymond has just written a long book about Unix programming called The Art of UNIX Programming

oh, he has just written it? How could it be that I was reading this book for over a year now?

Re:bad reflexes (5, Funny)

erlenic (95003) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733502)

How could it be that I was reading this book for over a year now?

Don't worry, plenty of slow readers have gone on to lead successful lives.

Mirror world (5, Insightful)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733474)

but it does mean that Americans getting off the plane for the first time in Tokyo are confronted with an overwhelming feeling that this place isstrange, dammit

It's funny, but coming from Australia you'd think I'd feel right at home in both the UK and US, but there are lots of little things that make me feel slightly out of place in both countries. I think Gibson's "mirror world" term describes it best. And it's much the same with programming, not that I've explicitly programmed for windows, but it's quite a difference writing GUIs in Java or C++ as opposed to command line tools in Perl or C. Each to their own, I guess :)

oh, no! (-1, Redundant)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733486)

raymond's last book? i didn't know he died;-}

Re:oh, no! (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733495)

raymond's last book? i didn't know he died;-}

Switching from windows to Unix is like resurrection though, from something worldy to something spiritual ;)

Re:oh, no! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733509)

truly a Nazi icon.

can this guy actually code? (5, Insightful)

mydigitalself (472203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733487)

"The Windows programmer will tend to start with a GUI, and occasionally, as an afterthought, add a scripting language which can automate the operation of the GUI interface."

1) No, a VB programmer will do this.
2) No, a good windows programmer will create an object (COM/C# Class) and then write a GUI that will call this object.

also interesting:

"They don't like GUIs much, except as lipstick painted cleanly on top of textual programs, and they don't like binary file formats. This is because a textual interface is easier to program against than, say, a GUI interface"

i would say that textual interfaces were more popular before bandwidth started becoming readily available. the rise of bandwidth has seen a rise of GUI applications because it is quite feasible to VNC from home->work and to run GUI. before ADSL it was a pain in the arse and using textual interfaces was fast and convenient.

Re:can this guy actually code? (0, Funny)

Mitch Murray (680637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733566)

" ... before ADSL it was a pain in the arse ..." Another thing: Unix guys say "arse". Windows guys say "ass".

Re:can this guy actually code? (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733683)

Both solutions are still too platform specific for my taste.

I would complete it as an MVC product, hiring:
- a competant DB designer to design a decent database
- contract a DBA in enhance performance of said database
- hire a competant programmer in the art of developing good business, and tast oriented objects.
- a decent web designer/graphic designer to create the front end.

If designed well, you will have a maintainable system, that can be accessed with a web browser, and good potential for easy code maintenance.

Re:can this guy actually code? (1)

radi0man (191807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733712)

before ADSL it was a pain in the arse and using textual interfaces was fast and convenient.

I still find I can work a lot faster with textual interface than I can with GUI interface, eventhough I have 2Mbit ADSL at home. A GUI still doesn't respond as fast as I'd like it to. It still feels a bit sluggish. Also, via a text interface I can access more programs faster than via a GUI.

However, many people prefer GUI's because they have to think less about what they're doing and the availibity of bandwidth certainly improved things for them.

Re:can this guy actually code? (3, Insightful)

Entrope (68843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733739)

I am not sure why people bother reading Joel Sporsky's weblog -- half of what he writes is tripe, and half is heavily biased by his ego. Someone else quoted Joel's jab at how "the Unix world is so full of self-righteous cultural superiority;" apparently he does not realize that he is an exemplar of the Windows version of the same.

If I wanted to follow his lead and oversimplify the differences between Windows and Unix programmers, I would say that Unix programmers care about code (period) and Windows programmers care about the quick buck. Mr. Sporsky's crass and half-informed self-promotion is an excellent example. (Ever notice how often he plugs his company and software while griping about software development practices?) I have seen the insides and outsides of commercial applications for both Windows and Unix, and the quality under Unix is generally higher than under Windows.

eycon0meter: divide buy won billyonerrors' culture (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733499)

if you only want/need won thing?

Due to excessive bad posting...blah blah blah.

you call this weather?

unprecedented evile/corepirate nazis/softwar thugs (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, @06:04AM (#7699252)
cloning each other/themselves?

they need to .continually refresh the suppLIE of wannabe fraudulent phonIE monIE billyonerrors, as the # of those with felony grand larcenIE indictmeNTs pending, or already sentenced, & on 'probation', grows daily.

no matter, as the unprecedented evile execrable's clones are greed/fear/ego based also, they are no match for the creators' newclear power, & planet/population rescue mandates..

actually, this stuff is unbreakable, operates seamlessly on several (more than 3) dimensions, & offers unlimited energy to build on.

a real nightmare for the whoreabull payper liesense corepirate nazi softwar gangster stock markup fraud execrable/walking dead contingent.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a badtoll that must/will be repaid by you/US, as the greed/fear/ego based perpetraitors of the life0cide against the planet/population, will not be available to make reparations.

felonious softwar gangsters hoping to freeze time? (Score:0)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, @06:35AM (#7688518 [slashdot.org])

buy striking DOWn UN motion to promote gnu/free stuff to developing nations.

they seem to have hit the eXPanding georgewellian fuddite corepirate nazi execrable moretoll bullock. it's really just a sintax (t)error, whereas the fuddites' infactdead process, keeps replacing the 'one' in one
wwworld, with won.

lookout bullow. continued pretending does not help/makes things worse?, if that's even possible.

united? nations? just won?

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... the light itself, is not frozen, but does function just as well in extremely low temperatures, all the way down to mynuts won? see you there?

Command line? Hell, how about process? Security? (5, Interesting)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733500)

I'm slowly coaxing, pulling, the admins I work with from the "trust the product, just fix problems that managers mention today" to actively tracking down problems before they occur and having a DAMN PLAN!

I introduced one of them to Nessus [nessus.org] , not because it was a Unix program, but because it is a damn good (the best?) security auditing tool available.

His reaction to a security audit showing our primary app server had multiple potential holes just in the programs that support the app? "Well, we don't use that software much, we only use it to get into the program. All the work is being done using the other programs."

For the record, the system was an HPUX server running an older version of Apache 1.x. The app gateway is through Apache to Weblogic, though the main application program runs on the HP box, not elsewhere.

This is not simply an aversion to Unix or command lines. The lax security extends into all the Windows systems as well. For example; all drives readable/writable on the network by any user.

It's a lack of professionalism, not intellegence -- the guy is plenty smart. Adding a little fear to the mix (we print checks dammit!) doesn't raise his concern too much. I've not raised the possibility that he, personally, might be held to blaim for security issues and I doubt that it would work with him.

My only hope is that slowly, without forcing him, he will see that there is something behind my comments and tips. Maybe a light will go on, and he will decide to take a look.

about cultural divide. (2, Interesting)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733527)

Only thing I know about Windows/UNIX cultural divide is that I cant use the computer in the *nix world the way I like.

And yes, that means I prefer GUI over commandline by far and would never touch commandline. To those who think it's a fault: It might be only a personal preference but trying to debate it is like trying to debate whether apples (fruits, not the computers) taste good. In that sense, Windows offers me greater freedom to do with my computer what I want to.

Re:about cultural divide. (4, Insightful)

Talthane (699885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733614)

The fact that you can't use a *nix machine the way you want isn't a reflection of the Windows/Unix divide - it's a reflection of your personal preferences, experience and background. It's not remotely cultural.

I can't make my Windows machines work in the way I like to (mix of command line and GUI), whereas I can make my iBook and my G4 work wonders because I know OS X / Unix well. That's not cultural either - it's a reflection of the fact that my computing experience has always been some distance from the Windows world.

Just because you don't like something or don't feel comfortable with it doesn't necessarily mean it's a fault with the system as a whole. It can equally easily be a "fault" with your own experience.

Is Eric S. Raymond dead then ? (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733538)


Review of his last book. Didn't realise the chap had died and was now no-longer able to write books. Its a shame to see the demise of such a great OSS proponent pass so un-noticed.

Very sad....

Unless of course the word was meant to be "latest" ?

Microsoft's Will to Change (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733540)

That Microsoft has up and decided it wants to make a secure OS is of no consequence to me. The different iterations of Windows have moved from insecure and user-centered to insecure and Microsoft-centered. When networks get fast enough, I expect Windows will be loaded over a network only, and you won't be trusted to have an actual copy of the OS you bought.

Unlike many other people, I'm not waiting on Microsoft to release a useable operating system before embracing them. I'm never buying Windows again, ever.

Re:Microsoft's Will to Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733561)

That Microsoft has up and decided it wants to make a secure OS is of no consequence to me.

[Typical dirty GNU/Hippie arguments]

I'm never buying soap or shampoo again, ever.

windows bigots vs unix bigots (3, Insightful)

Frubjub (704006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733549)

I've encountered too many Unix programmers who sneer at Windows programming, thinking that Windows is heathen and stupid. Raymond all too frequently falls into the trap of disparaging the values of other cultures without considering where they came from. blah blah blah
Well, if you've ever encountered a windows zealot, from the point of view of a unix person (I don't consider myself a zealot, I just think unix makes my job easier/possible), you'll know that they are even more zealous than the unix zealots. It seems pretty clear what the author's views are.

Re:windows bigots vs unix bigots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733592)

So you're a unix zealot zealot becase they're less zealotic?

Re:windows bigots vs unix bigots (1)

Frubjub (704006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733637)

yeah, something like that. Whatever, I'm just trying to earn a living :-)

The absolute worst, however, (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733681)

are the Mac zealots. They make the most rabid Linux zealot look positively mellow. If you say one bad word about the Mac, regardless of how true it is, they mailbomb you. Which is why you don't see much coverage of Mac in the mainstream computer press. It's too much hassle. Not the Mac, the zealots.

Re:The absolute worst, however, (1)

Frubjub (704006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733753)

Well, if I'd shelled out that much cash just for a computer, I'd probably also feel a little defensive if somebody questioned the wisdom of my decision :-) I must admit though, Apple does make some very slick products. I just don't have a designer apartment to put one in (you do need a designer apartment don't you? I'm sure the marketeers would like us to think so), so I'll just stick with my beige pc.

Re:windows bigots vs unix bigots (1)

LowFreqDude (732412) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733742)

There is actually a piece of work being undertaken to normalise OS bigotry and zealotry. First iterations seem to point to beard length as a key determinant.

Bubbling frustration (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733558)

Interesting essay, but Mr. Sposky seems to miss out on a situation I have observed more and more over the last five years: as Windows-based personal computers have moved out of the realm of the "power users" and into the hands of the general public, including the general management ranks, the initial sense of elation, power, and control is gradually replaced by a sense of bubbling frustration.

To wit: why is it so difficult to accomplish this seeming simple task? Why can't straightforward business task x be accomplished with these shiny new computers? What do you mean we need to hire 5 VB programmers for 3 months to move this data from here to there, or cause this function (which should have happened automatically) to occur every night on schedule?

Yet when I drop down to the command line to run an NT Posix utility which replaces those five VB programmers with a simple script, or pull up SQL*Plus to quickly make mass changes to the database, they sneer "why are you still using that archiac technology?".

The problem that Mr. Sposky doesn't address is this: 2/3 of the problems addressed with computers today (even so-called personal computers) are data processing problems, and there is absolutely no evidence that a GUI is an efficient way to handle those problems. Yet rather than use the best currently available tool (the command line and scripts), or devise a better one, Mr. Sposky and the Windows advocates would have us shoehorn every task into a GUI + complex API world. Um, those don't work very well, I am afraid. If you don't like the command line, fine, but could you propose something better? Because all I see right now is frustration.

sPh

Re:Bubbling frustration (5, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733639)


Many windows programmers approach a problem with the question "What should the user experience?" whereas a UNIX programmer approaches a problem with "What is the data coming in on stdin and what is the data that goes to stdout?"

Windows programmers see the actual data processing as a secondary task that the GUI (and only the GUI) makes happen. Unix programmers see the GUI as a seperate app, which monitors and controls the central data processing app.

Re:Bubbling frustration (2, Insightful)

jonhuang (598538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733646)

The problem that Mr. Sposky doesn't address is... and there is absolutely no evidence that a GUI is an efficient way to handle those problems. Yet rather than use the best currently available tool (the command line and scripts), or devise a better one, Mr. Sposky and the Windows advocates would have us shoehorn every task into a GUI + complex API world.

If you read the article, you would notice that the ENTIRE POINT was that there isn't one true way of doing things. The secondary point is that some *nix people are pulled into some sort superiority complex.

Binary libraries (5, Interesting)

woodhouse (625329) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733560)

Any Windows developer will tell you about the time they spent four days tracking down a bug because, say, they thought that the memory size returned by LocalSize would be the same as the memory size they originally requested with LocalAlloc, or some similar bug they could have fixed in ten minutes if they could see the source code of the library.
Actually, it's a hell of a lot easier to program for a library with well written docs than having to delve into the source code. If you have to read the source, it usually isn't a time-saver. And call this flamebait if you will, but in my experience, MS APIs have some of the best documentation out there; I've never come across a situation where I would need to see the source code after reading the relevant pages on MSDN.

Of course, if there was a bug in the library itself rather than the application using it, it would be another matter.

One thing MS is good at... (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733658)

is wooing developers with lots of good tools and documentation.

The usual "C or Perl" thing, then... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733562)

ESR: "Whenever possible, prototype in an interpreted language before coding C."

Hello, Mr Raymond, there are actually quite a number of high-level compiled languages, that will give you most of the convenience of an interpreted language with most of the speed of C. Write your prototype - and then deploy it, because it's already fast and robust enough for everyday use.

Non-ideological? Uh-huh. (5, Insightful)

Brown Line (542536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733563)

Sposky writes, "Raymond all too frequently falls into the trap of disparaging the values of other cultures without considering where they came from. It's rather rare to find such bigotry among Windows programmers, who are, on the whole, olution-oriented and non-ideological."

Au contraire, Mr. Sposky, most Windows people I deal with are ignorant of anything that doesn't come from Redmond, and not willing to learn. God knows I've meant plenty of UNIX bigots, but at least they know something about Windows - they have to, there's no avoiding it. The same is not true about Windows bigots: they combine their parochialism with a triumphalism that is as infuriating as it is unmerited.

One other aspect of the two cultures that Mr. Sposky doesn't discuss but is worth bringing up: UNIX bigots are not trying to shoulder Windows out of the marketplace - we couldn't, even if we tried. The Windows culture, however - or its corporate sponsor - is in fact trying actively to extinguish all competition. This is open-mindedness? Give me a break.

Re:Non-ideological? Uh-huh. (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733699)

...most Windows people I deal with are ... not willing to learn. God knows I've meant plenty of UNIX bigots ...

Looks like a Freudian slip to me :-)

It's just a test!!! (1, Funny)

Ripplet (591094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733564)

The whole point of this article is to see how many /. readers actually get to the end of it.
"slashdot-karma-whoring sectarianism" is tucked way down near the end in the last paragraph. Over 40 posts already and nobody else has spotted it yet!

The essential difference (5, Informative)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733593)

Is not about the command line or GUI.

It is that Microsoft's own development teams have always programmed with inside knowledge of the OS, able to bypass the official API whenever necessary.

This was explained to me by the director of a large bank in Brussels that abandoned a huge Windows-based project after finding that COM+ and MSMQ could not talk to each other, and this after spending time with the actual developers at Microsoft to resolve the issues.

Each Microsoft application is written "to the metal", reimplementing huge pieces of code that should be abstracted into layers.

Many of the security issues in Windows software stem from this design model: a typical Linux security issue can be fixed by a single patch in one layer, but typical Windows security issues reappear in application after application.

And this is where the Unix model is strong: it is all about layers, formal documented interfaces, and clean separation. When Microsoft decided to add MSIE to the operating system, they were not just screwing their competitors, they were setting themselves up for a fall.

Good software must be built in layers, with formal and definite separation between layers. Microsoft is learning this now, mainly because it simply cannot make its current designs secure.

Re:The essential difference (1)

TheGrayArea (632781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733633)

after finding that COM+ and MSMQ could not talk to each other, and this after spending time with the actual developers at Microsoft to resolve the issues
That's an interesting statement. I'd love to hear more details because I'm not sure what that means. Using MSMQ from COM+ is just like using it from anywhere else - the big caveats come when running clusters. Just a guess, but were they clustering MSMQ and also using a COM+ application on the same cluster?
The reason I ask is that when I was employed at MS I used to support MSMQ and write utils for the MSMQ dev team. Part of me is still curious when I hear things like this and I can't help but to look at them.

ha ha (4, Interesting)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733619)

The very fact that the Unix world is so full of self-righteous cultural superiority, "advocacy," and slashdot-karma-whoring sectarianism while the Windows world is more practical ("yeah, whatever, I just need to make a living here") stems from a culture that feels itself under siege, unable to break out of the server closet and hobbyist market and onto the mainstream desktop.

i think the article shows a bit of a polarised image. okay, i see the point of OS advocates being too tech-oriented, but we also have some [kde.org] efforts [gnome.org] that really try to aim at end users, more or less succesfull. allright, it's not as easy as using MacOSX, but it's quite close in many aspects. and quite usable for the novice, especially in the distributions that try to make it simple (xandros, lindows, etc)

linux on the desktop? very possible. a lot more likely than the writer of this article would like us to believe IMHO

The real reason behind "silence is golden" (5, Interesting)

dido (9125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733628)

If I recall correctly, the "silence is golden" maxim in Unix programming arose as an artifact of Unix's origins. When Dennis Ritchie and the rest of the historic team at Bell Labs began work on the earliest editions of Unix and C, they were operating on teletype terminals that ran at 110 baud (kinda humbling in this day and age, ain't it?). 110 baud translates to roughly 13 characters per second, so a program that was too chatty wasted precious bandwidth. If they had something like the cp(1) command operating the way the MS-DOS COPY command did, displaying messages like "14 file(s) copied.", which is 20 characters (plus the newline), it would take about a couple of seconds to display, while displaying nothing would be 20 times faster. It had nothing to do with making programs work better with each other and everything to do with conserving bandwidth. This is also the reason why ed(1) and vi(1) have such eccentric design, preserving a resource that was scarce in the day they were made.

Generalizations (-1, Redundant)

zakath (180357) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733630)

Generalizations such as those spouted in the quoted article are always proven false when you look into them further.

I code in whatever makes me money. (1)

CompWerks (684874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733643)

I could give a rat's ass which platform it is since unfortunately I don't have the luxury to choose.

reasons behind attitude (4, Interesting)

musikit (716987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733679)

some of what i believe is behind this Unix/Windows cultural divide is the elitist attitude. you have to be elite to use unix which just isn't true. as i've seen other people post and i agree with Apple put a pretty picture in front of unix and users aren't complaining why can't other people?

i personnally don't care what OS i'm using. at home i'm using my computer for video games and sound engineering, so i have 1 up2date windows box for games, and a mac for sound engineering. Why'd i get a mac? because while i'm in the middle of recording a band session i can't turn to the band and say "sorry guys computer crashed i lost the last 3 hours of your work" if windows was stable enough i would be using that. At work is another story though. i write stupid docs and java code so they put me in front of a windows machine. i personnally don't care. although i worry less about my mac then my windows machine.

My family recently decided to get DSL first thing i did was lock that computer down. i almost went so far as to remove IE with some ie removal tool (XPlite for example) but then i realize this would cause more calls to me then it would solve.

i also find that people want a brand name. i was asked to "buy" my own machine for work and i went to one of the lesser known computer builders and the price difference was several hundred dollars compared to what they wanted me to buy from Dell. Take a guess what's on my desk.

A lot of windows users don't care. if you gave them a mac as their first computer they wouldn't switch because they wouldn't know. the example i use alot is "how many people continue to buy automatic tranny cars over stick shift?" neither one is better or worse just a different interface but sticks are slowly getting phased out.

a lot of people (myself included) need to stop saying "windows is for morons" or "windows is less secure use unix" and start to change our "marketing focus" to something more like "building a more structured and secure tomorrow" like it or not "Where do you want to go today" sold computers, it sold windows and increased his market share. unix needs a "where do you want to go today" why? because no normal computer gives a crap about where the source came from.

BTW side story i was on a project where the dev team used exclusively solaris boxes. i had to write a code review document. with no MS office on my computer i wrote it in the other thing available StarOffice. i got hounded for several months by a stupid Q&A team because they couldn't find evidence that this "StarOffice Product" even existed. like just goto google and type "Staroffice" in the freaking search box.

Again just to reiterate my point. people don't care about which OS they run. they want their computer to be like their cars. "if i got someplace else and sit in a car i should be able to drive it". We need to change the marketing strategy of UNIX.

mod me whatever you like but some of you will think i'm flaming which i'm not. some of you will agree with me. i've said all i wanted to say. thank you for reading

Marketing or not (1)

Ludo.Sanders (594901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733682)

Seems like things heading in the right direction in creating a more secure OS, and making it more business oriented.

Lets hope they actually put there money where there mouth is. And not just say this to get some possitive news coverage

it's a "cultural difference"... (1, Interesting)

penguin7of9 (697383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7733714)

It's a cultural difference in roughly the same sense that the difference between turning on a CD player and playing a musical instrument is a "cultural difference".

Windows programming is overwhelmingly done by people with little experience and skill for people with little experience and skill. Windows programming environments are the programming equivalent of prerecorded music, painting by numbers, or ready-to-serve meals.

And Windows programmers will never advance beyond that stage if they keep doing just Windows programmings: you no more learn programming by using Visual C++ than you learn to play the piano by playing all of Horowitz's collected works on your CD player over and over again.

UNIX is obscure, unforgiving, and takes a long time to master. Just like a musical instrument. You won't hear musicians complain either that a violin or a piano has a user interface that is "too complex"--compared to what their craft is really about, the initial difficulties of the instrument are minor.

But even the appreciation of art takes experience, so it is perhaps not surprising that Spolsky even fails to understand the difference.

Without realizing it... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733715)

he identified one severe problem but put the wrong spin on it!

observing that a program that produces no output because it succeeded cannot be distinguished from a program that produced no output because it failed badly

With Windows programs, you just never know. In general, I pick up a *nix program, test it a few times to verify that it does indeed do what it was supposed to do and then I use it. With Windows programs, I just never feel secure. I find myself saving more often, checking output at myultiple times through the process and wasting sooo much time verifying that everything did what it ought to have done because I am never quite sure.

Now this is a profound cultural difference, but I think it has little to do with writing for Aunt Madge or writing for other programmers. I think it has more to do with the culture of quality and craft (*.nix) or the lack thereof (Windows).

Many Windows programs "babble", not to reassure Aunt Martha, but to reassure Windows users who have grown up in a culture of "slap it together, get it out the door and let the user worry about any problems with the way it works". Without some confirmation the user just never knows whether a given program is actually working or has crashed. Many Windows widgets including moving progress bars, constantly moving icons and spinning logos are there just to reassure the user that something is indeed happening and that Windows has not crashed in the meantime.

Kudos. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7733730)

My congratulations to anyone able to make their way through this book.

I, it seems, do not have the stamina to make it through ESR's 80:20 ratio of repetitive ESRisms to possibly insightful content. (No promises on the 20%.)

The Unix Philosophy, Gancarz, is far more my thickness, far less diarrhea of the keyboard, and in the noggin after reading.

On second though, my sympathies.
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