Spring is usually a time of change, and I finally got a gap in my schedule where I could wipe my primary Windows machine and install Windows 7 (64-bit). It’s had XP on it for years - my experience with Vista on secondary test machines quashed any desire to ‘upgrade’ my primary work environment, and despite owning Windows 7 for some months a number of things have stopped me installing it, from lack of driver support for my office wifi-connected all-in-one printer / scanner, to work commitments where I couldn’t afford to take the time out to reinstall and set up several complex environments.
What a difference a few years can make. For a long time, Microsoft was seen as public enemy #1 of those who liked to promote, produce and consume open source (I’m deliberately not describing it as a ‘movement’ here - that implies political motivations which I assert that only a vocal minority have). It was entirely their own fault of couse; blustery, really quite bizarre tirades from the only two CEOs their company has ever had cemented their position as the McCarthy’s of the modern era.
Quick check - ok, the sun is in fact not as black as sackcloth. But today, something earth-shattering happened - Microsoft has contributed code to Linux. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that I’d never live to see the day this happened. It’s 20,000 lines of driver code to make Linux run better under Hyper-V, which is of course in their interest (since you have to buy a copy of Windows Server 2008 as the host) , but that’s par for the course for open source contribution (you scratch your own itch!
There have been cries of joy on the intertubes recently from people who like .Net but who like using it on non-Windows platforms (or believing they have the option to do so), in that Microsoft has extended their Community Promise to Mono, meaning they won’t sue over uses of it. Or so it’s been rather shallowly reported in some circles, more on this below. Firstly I’ll just say that no matter what, this is a positive step.
I’m glad that E3 is back - it adds a little excitement and pizzazz to the gaming calendar, and luckily this year it seemed to be pitched at about the right level - not the crazy-bonkers E3 of old, but big enough to be interesting. Whilst I think there’s a lot of other interesting stuff going, inevitably the ‘big 3’ console manufacturers are the shows that people pay most attention to, at least initially.
It’s always fun to watch Apple and Microsoft slug it out in the advertising space - here in the UK we mostly have to do this via YouTube, since apart from a short stint of amusing Mitchell and Webb Apple ads and those pretty bland “I’m A PC” ripostes, we don’t really see the front-line assaults which take place on US TV screens. So I hear that MS have a new set of ads out, where “regular” people go and look for a laptop, whereby they look at the Mac and say “whoah, far too expensive!
Note: I’m going to pick the way I discuss this carefully, since I have a good friend on the LINQ to SQL team (yes, we Guernseymen do get around) and I feel bad to criticise too much in this area; nevertheless I think there are lessons to be learned and I have a definite angle on this, being an ex-business coder and open source enthusiast. My thoughts here reflect pretty much what I’ve already suggested on his blog, but in more detail, so hopefully this won’t offend him!
I don’t know if they’re actually airing these adverts Stateside, or whether they’re a web-only phenomenon for the moment, but Penny Arcade drew my attention to them today. Colour me unimpressed. If the intention was to shake off Vista’s sales blues, or to generally ‘connect’ with the wider consumer in a way that Apple does so well but Microsoft almost never does, but I’d have to classify this effort as a failure of sizable proportions.
More patent silliness from those idiots in the US Patent Office, as they get exploited by soulless corporate types again: US Patent 7415666: Method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments I really can’t imagine how messrs. Sellers, Grantham and Dersch can sleep at night, having officially claimed that calculating how far to advance down a document when you hit the PageDn is a significant innovation that warrants the protection of 20-year exclusivity that a patent brings.
Some people think I bash Microsoft a lot on this blog, and maybe that’s true, but I don’t think I ever do it unfairly. To prove that I don’t just comment on the bad stuff, here’s a major piece of positive news about the software behemoth: Microsoft appears to have fixed the flaws in the Open Specification Promise (OSP). The major flaw in the OSP when it was originally announced is that the promise not to sue people who developed upon or used Microsoft protocols and formats extended only to those who operated non-commercially.