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Microsoft Out of Favor With Young, Hip Developers 775

Posted by kdawson
from the so-last-week dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's failures with the KIN phone (only two months on the market, less than 10,000 phones sold) are well-known to this community. Now the NY Times goes farther, quoting Tim O'Reilly: 'Microsoft is totally off the radar of the cool, hip, cutting-edge software developers.' Microsoft has acknowledged that they have lost young developers to the lures of free software. 'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,' acknowledged Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft's business software group, in an interview last year. 'And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.' Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button." Update: 07/07 13:21 GMT by T : Tim O'Reilly says that while he "[doesn't] disagree with all of his conclusions," he's not happy with it Ashlee Vance's piece, writing "I was not the source for the various comments that were attributed to me," including the bit about "totally off the radar." (Thanks to reader gbll.)
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Microsoft Out of Favor With Young, Hip Developers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:42PM (#32818608)
    A qualified judge of what young, hip people are interested in.
  • by grnbrg (140964) <.slashdot. .at. .grnbrg.org.> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#32818652)

    First they ignore you.
    Then they ridicule you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.

    -- Ghandi.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#32818660)

    Boo-fucking-hoo.

  • Too narrow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:49PM (#32818684) Homepage Journal

    The microsoft software stack is designed so that service providers can siphon money off at the point of delivery. Antivirus is a good example. Yeah we sold you an OS but you need this extra thing to make it secure, didn't you know that?

    So its a great way to make money if you stay with their targeted solutions. But if you want to do something totally new the benefits of using microsoft aren't really there so developers look elsewhere.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:52PM (#32818724) Journal

    Frankly I think smart phones, tablet computing and the like are going to substantially shake up the landscape. It certainly is making me consider mine, at least as far as web development and the like. The tools that better allow me to write portable apps that are not chained to an operating system, screen type and the like are going to become much more attractive. This will extend, inevitably, towards native apps. Microsoft may have controlled the desktop, but in the newer platforms coming out, it is woefully behind the times.

  • Never confuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#32818792)

    Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button.

    This assumes that cost is the only factor that start-ups are weighing when determining software. Some of them may legitimately pick open source because it's better or that MS doesn't offer a certain software. For many, they may go to cheaper solutions like OpenOffice instead of MS Office purely on cost. But they may use Apache instead of IIS for performance reasons.

    If cost is the only reason, wouldn't it be likely that once these start-ups are established, they may not like having to pay full price and may turn to competitors for cheaper alternatives?

  • by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:58PM (#32818808)

    What Microsoft still doesn't seem to understand is that the lure of FOSS goes beyond what's "hip", and also goes beyond the price.

    And I love these quotes: "We did not get access to kids as they were going through college" Translation: "We did not infiltrate schools enough to make sure they had no exposure to anything but our stuff".

    And: "Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive [free/discounted] software" Translation: "We should have worked harder to make it even easier to get people/companies hooked on our proprietary solutions".

    Oh well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:59PM (#32818824)

    We did not get access to kids as they were going through college

    Anybody else find that just a LITTLE creepy? "Getting access" sounds like something a Catholic priest and/or a cult leader would say. Perhaps employing clueless marketroids like Bob might have something to do with the problem as well.

  • Speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:00PM (#32818836) Homepage

    Microsoft quite simply is too slow. They build nice tools, but they do so slowly. Far too slowly for the pace of the Internet. If they were an innovative company that might not be a problem, but Microsoft is now chasing at about a 2-4 year disadvantage.

    It has nothing to do with "cool". I don't use COBOL not because it isn't "cool". I don't use COBOL because it doesn't have useful hooks into the libraries I need to use on a day to day basis. Same with Microsoft tech.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:01PM (#32818846)
    The Zune wasn't/isn't a bad player. The problem is that to unseat the iPod, it had to be a fantastic player. And Apple kept moving the hardware/spec goal while MS kept aiming for last year's goal. By the time MS caught to the iPod Touch spec wise, Apple had built a 200,000 app store that extended the functionality of their players while MS has nothing in the near future.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:03PM (#32818870) Homepage Journal

    We did not get access to kids as they were going through college

    Anybody else find that just a LITTLE creepy? "Getting access" sounds like something a Catholic priest and/or a cult leader would say. Perhaps employing clueless marketroids like Bob might have something to do with the problem as well.

    Not really. Its the reason why my high school had apple ][s and my college had a facom. Manufacturers spend their marketing budget on subsidized sales to schools, so that students want to work on their platform.

    I still wound up working on DEC though.

  • Re:Never confuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bugs2squash (1132591) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:04PM (#32818872)
    These guys will have looked at what they could potentially invent before they started a business, way before Microsoft would consider accommodating their inquiries. There's good documentation readily available in reasonably digestible formats for OSS. If I'm all about making something new work, I want to know how the system I base it upon works and the easiest way to know that is to base it on an open platform.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:04PM (#32818876)

    This must be one of the most embarrassing developments under Steve Ballmer's watch. To that end I say furniture must have flown at the realization that KIN was not doing well at all after spending several hundred million dollars.

    On my part, I feel sorry for Microsoft and if I were to advise, I would recommend that Microsoft returns to its MS Exchange business suite which worked so well for them earlier this decade.

    The trouble on this front is that at the moment, Zimbra and Google both want a piece of the pie, though I believe Microsoft is better armed to win the battle.

  • by Xiver (13712) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:05PM (#32818886)
    I don't think their major problem is that opensource is free. I think their major problem is that their development environment is oppressive and they change it every couple of years. Who wants to spend their time learning a new bug ridden API every two years that doesn't do anything different than the last version?
  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:07PM (#32818902)
    Well, Ballmer did that act for a reason, which is exactly so this day would not come. Microsoft has always put a lot of resources into their developer tools, which are very polished and relatively cheap in most cases. (Relatively cheap compared to Microsoft's competition in the early 1990's when they were maturing as a company, that is.) So their falling out of favor is significant precisely because they did try. They developed the tools, but try as they might they couldn't stay "cool" and dominate the world of corporate computing at the same time. (It's hard. Just ask IBM).
  • Fine with me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGrapeApe (833505) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:08PM (#32818910)
    I am a young(er? 29) developer and I do most of my development on the .NET stack. No, it's not as "cool" as being an iPhone dev, but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr...and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code.

    I work in a mixed shop where most of the other devs are Ruby/Rails guys...they all see me as a "sellout" for using .NET (and maybe I am?)...but when it comes to choosing what platform to learn and code in, I'm pretty happy with Microsoft in general. It's a lot easier for me to find a job doing .NET than it is for them in Ruby/Rails...and in 5 years they'll have to throw out everything they learned about Ruby/Rails because the fanboyism that drives their community will have moved on to the next "big shiny thing" (Scala?)...I'll still be writing code in C#...Does that make me a sellout? Maybe, but I'll take more money for less work and less drama any day of the week.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:10PM (#32818942)
    The problem is that it doesn't really work anymore. Computers aren't just used for business anymore, -everyone- has a computer and knows how to use it. Back in the day, there were large differences between platforms, there were few cross-platform apps and computers weren't as user-friendly as they are today. Set someone who has never used Linux but has used Windows in front of a desktop made to look like Windows and they will have no problems navigating it because the majority of the apps used on Windows also have Linux ports with the exception of some Adobe/MS programs.

    The learning curve is nearly non-existent now with GUIs.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:11PM (#32818948) Journal
    Really, has Microsoft had a trend-setting new product (not an update or sequel) since Steve Ballmer took the helm? Everything new product line they've come up with since 2000, from Xbox to the Kin, has been an attempt catch-up with someone, rather than blaze new trails.
  • Yeah...wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Amasuriel (1176527) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:12PM (#32818964)
    It has zero to do with not being "hip" or young or in college.

    I think the main issue that is loosing them emerging developers in the web. Almost all startups are web based these days and Windows hosting always costs more than Linux, usually a lot more because Windows Server SKUs are minimum $800 USD. Bad enough when your starting up, worse if you are successful and need 30 servers.

    There is also a gigantic ecosystem of freelance / small company folk who do contract web work that can't use .NET...but it's hard enough to sell people on Python or Ruby instead of PHP and they run on almost the same stack...you try convincing a client their hosting should cost $100 USD / month instead of $50 when the whole project is 5-10k because you want to use ASP.NET instead of PHP.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:13PM (#32818976) Journal

    This is the big item for me.

    I can still write C code in emacs and compile with the same makefile under gcc if I wanted to. I can still call the same POSIX libraries. I don't have to throw away everything I know and start all over every few years. I have learned new languages, like Python and Java and new APIs because they were pertinent to what I was trying to accomplish.

    Microsoft seems to make a big marketing splash on a development toolset or language or API every few years only to throw it away with the "next big thing". For someone who's been programming long enough this gets to be a tiring waste of time.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819012)
    You're joking, but it's true: "pirated" software competes with free software, which is why companies like Microsoft would rather you pirate their software than use someone else's software.
  • by mike260 (224212) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819014)

    First they ignore you.
    Then they ridicule you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then they kill you.
    Then you're dead.
    Should've taken the hint.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819016) Homepage

    > The problem is that to unseat the iPod, it had to be a fantastic player.

    No. To unseat the iPod it had to be perceived as a fantastically cool player. How well it actually worked was largely irrelevant.

  • No access? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819018)

    "'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,'"

    What? With all the free MS software giveaways, special campus prices and events for students, and near-bribery of CS departments with loads of no-cost or low-cost MS software licenses if they or the whole university go exclusively with MS products, and you're telling me Microsoft didn't have access? No way.

    What happened was much worse than they imply. They DID have extensive access, but many students still didn't want to drink the kool-aid. Or students tasted it and they were repulsed.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mswhippingboy (754599) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819032)

    OK, Almost free. At the end of two years, you have to pay them $200.

    Some people (especially startups with no money) would not consider $200 "almost free". In fact, there's no such thing as almost free, it's like being pregnant. It either is or it isn't, and free will always be cooler than not free.

    MS got greedy and forgot the reason for their success was developers. They could have given away their developer tools all along. They were making enough money on Windows & Office, but they weren't satisfied with that and kept reaming developers for their tools, which had to be upgraded every couple of years to the tune of a few hundred dollars. They could get away with this way back when before quality open-source was available, but no more. Open source development tools have arguably (and being /., an argument will likely follow) caught up to the quality and level of functionality of their tools, or at least close enough that the delta is not worth the price.

  • Re:Fine with me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:19PM (#32819046)

    Really? "but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr."

    http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Visual-Studio-2010-Professional-Upgrade/product/AA16E99E?wt.mc_id=vssitebuy

    No, he tells you you can't compile your code without forking him [sic] $550 in the first year and requiring an additional $500 for upgrades every 2 or 3 years. That's way cheaper!

    "and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code."

    But he also don't provide a free server to host your code and free testing before it is provided to users and no credit card fees.

    Apple isn't perfect, but don't tell us Microsoft is much if any better.

  • Re:Right and wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mirage of Deceit (1844850) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:20PM (#32819060)

    As such, when my school taught me how to use the no-cost solutions, you can imagine how much more we prefer to work with them as a hobby, because as young, hip, students we don't have any money to just fling around.

    Not to mention that .NET seems to be losing some speed - I don't know if I want to keep writing for it.

    As a recent CS grad, I agree 100% that the cost to get up and running for MS is a pretty huge deal.

    But another big draw in the FOSS world (for me, at least) is the freedom to write code that isn't locked down to particular technology or other setup. I see Microsoft (and Apple, and a few others) as wanting to get us locked into their way of doing things, completely ignoring the possibility of 'change' that doesn't come from them.

    I would much rather give life to some core idea and then see how people with other interests and thoughts can expand and evolve what I started.

  • Re:Speed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PBoyUK (1591865) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:21PM (#32819076)
    Isn't it also because COBOL was categorized as a dangerous substance, with a threat to health of the programmers that use at least as great as builders with asbestos?
  • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#32819112) Homepage Journal

    Maybe... but the last 3 startups I've worked for it was 100% the free thing. When you're building web services that are going to scale to thousands of users and millions of transactions, you need hardware... and when each CPU you plop out there costs you $800+ in software licenses, it gets very expensive very fast, and linux is a no brainer.

  • Re:Too narrow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:24PM (#32819116)

    I don't get you point ?

    how is that worse than Apple's model that actually siphons off 30% of all content and apps you install on your iDevice, and censors what apps and content are allowed, and takes a cut of wireless contracts ?

    the issue for MS is that they DON'T make money on content, software and services sold for their machines... but that's also the cause for their success ?

  • by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:26PM (#32819156)

    Creepy? No

    I was going post a comment with that quote as the context.

    I'm wondering what exactly they mean though. My children went through high school and went through or are going through college using Microsoft products -- but it's Word mainly and some Excel.

    I wonder how they could have failed to 'access [the] "kids,"' except perhaps by deliberately ignoring them.

    I develop for Unix/Linux and most of the recent college grads I encounter certainly don't know Unix/Linux! So what do they use in college then? One can only wonder.

  • Re:Fine with me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by melted (227442) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:30PM (#32819212) Homepage

    Um, dude. You don't have to fork over anything to compile or run in an emulator. You do have to pay $100/year to run your software on the device and to ship it through the app store. And you can bet Microsoft will be charging for that, too. They have to make money somehow.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mugnyte (203225) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:31PM (#32819226) Journal

    C'mon dude. Bizspark is mostly a networking concept. Not a cool-application platform.

      This article isn't about VC-level startups, it's about students building the NextSmallThing in their dorm room. For the price of a bank of old servers, someone can build a web app and get a cool company started. MS is never going to deliver the performance/cost ratios of an old fashioned LAMP stack. It's not a business model that competes that way. Plus, that stack is just a gateway anymore - the real fun is in social mesh.

      MS is also not going to work on the hardware that kids already own (smartphones/pad forms). They are building mashups. MS doesn't even play in most of these markets. For example:

    Mobile 7 + Bing + MSDN/.NET = solitary nerd writing a blog on Codeplex that 50 clones know about. Probably hired to code for an existing business's IT dept.

    iPhone + Geotagging Google Earth + Fart noise = fun and popular iPhone app that 20,000 people play at the BBQ this weekend. Makes 2 guys 10 grand over a month, then they move on. They build smartphone apps for any number of startups focused on gaming/productivity/social media.

    The smart device is the new web. Guess who's late to the game because they built their own stadium and charged at the door?

  • Well frankly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:31PM (#32819228)

    Any "developer" who is a fanboy and will code only in their favoured language isn't worthy of the title of developer. They are a hack, or a code monkey, not a developer. A real developer will learn to understand how a computer works, at a fundamental level, and look at programming languages as different ways to solve a problem. They'll understand that there is not a best language because there is not one kind of problem. Some are better for certain things.

    Also a good developer will probably learn how to develop for multiple platforms. After all while Linux is used a whole lot in the web world, MS rules on the desktop so it would be to one's advantage to be able to code on both platforms. Further more, it would be to their advantage to do so in the tools that generate the best programs. For Windows, that is Visual Studio, for Linux it is (obviously) not.

    So no, you aren't a sellout. I would say that if you focus only on .NET development you are being a bit too narrow, but learning it is a good thing. There is a lot of work for .NET devs. Companies want shiny GUIs for Windows things and .NET is a good way to deliver. The other "developers" will find that whining to the company and claiming they shouldn't do that won't work. Most companies are accustomed to telling you what you are going to do, not the other way around.

    I have a friend who's a contract developer and he uses languages of all sorts. If you want something done in Windows, he defaults to .NET (using C# usually) since that works well on that platform. In Linux, it is PERL quite often since nearly every Linux distro ships with it. However if you wanted something speed critical, it'd probably be C++. He sees languages as tools to solve problems, and tries to choose the right one for the job. That doesn't mean he uses any and every language, of course, he's got ones he prefers, just that he has a bag with more than one tool in it and he tries to select the correct one.

    Personally I have little to no respect from code hacks that want to trumpet The One True Language as the one they use. That think is solves EVERY problem, that won't learn anything else. What it tells me is that they don't really understand programming. They've learned the syntax and grammar of a language without understanding the underpinnings. That is not a good situation and leads to bad code, shitty apps, and the kind of person who will say "That can't be done," to anything they don't understand how to do.

  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:46PM (#32819412) Homepage

    'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,'

    That language! Not "college students were not broadly exposed to our products", or "our outreach efforts fell short", bur rather "...get access to kids...". MS has always been a cathedral, but sheesh, now they're even sounding like priests.

  • by mollog (841386) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:47PM (#32819422)
    Mirage and Monkeedude are the horse's mouth. Look at their slashdot ID's and you can tell they are new entrants to this rat race.

    I suspect the 'locking down to technology' is a pretty serious issue, along with the cost of the sophisticated development environment. And, speaking of development environment, the new graduates are going to be very comfortable with the social networking side of the FOSS world. When there is a problem with a tool, or if they need help with an esoteric problem, the help is ready, willing, and able to help without the condescension you often find in the Microsoft help forums.

    The more committed young developers will probably enjoy the FOSS workspace better than the MS world. More satisfaction.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:53PM (#32819528) Journal
    I think that there is a distinction to be drawn between mature and developing markets, there.

    Most of Microsoft's biggest customers basically just want XP and legacy stability. Sure, it'd be nice if it were incrementally more secure and stuff; but it is hard for Microsoft to make major changes without their customers feeling churned rather than improved.

    With something like Android, though, it's still a wild-west just-like-computers-back-before-the-wintel/apple-duopoly/cold war-stabilized. There are still enormous areas for improvement and relatively few ossified-but-critical people or applications. Changes still feel like improvements. It won't last that way forever; but they should have another couple of years.
  • by TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:53PM (#32819530) Homepage

    It's not about losing money as much as losing relevance. Lose relevance and money will follow eventually.

    People work on Microsoft infrastructure because it pays the bills, not because they want to. The problem with this is that in 10 years time it will be cheaper to get a LAMP administrator than it will to get a IIS/MSSQL administrator. Bugger licensing costs, it's the price of risk management that is important to companies. And with Microsoft becoming less relevant LAMP and "Cool Hip technologies" will be the replacement in 10 years when those admins grow up and start doing IT for a living like the rest of us.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:58PM (#32819582) Journal

    This article takes MS failing with the Kin and extrapolates it to "Microsoft is going down the shitter because no one wants to develop for it."

    I don't see how they got from one to the other. I have a very strong gut feeling that this is story has been spun so far that it doesn't represent reality.

  • Re:Yeah...wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:02PM (#32819624) Journal
    It also doesn't help that a lot of small companies, particularly tech ones, really don't need much of what MS is good at providing.

    If you are business or institution, whose focus and skillset isn't primarily technical, that needs to roll out a whole bunch of desktops for word processing and assorted off-the-shelf applications, along with email and central logins and stuff, Microsoft can make you a relatively compelling offer. There will be some annoying issues of various sorts; but the off-the-shelf software will run on Windows clients(and the boxes will be cheap because HP and dell are always cutting each other's throats), Windows admins are fairly common and comparatively inexpensive, and things like Exchange and AD make it(comparatively) trivial to get a bunch of people running more or less homogenous desktop setttings, logging in on different machines, and scheduling boring meetings with each other.

    If, on the other hand, you are some tiny techy startup, none of that is nearly as relevant or interesting, or worth the money.
  • by CyDharttha (939997) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:05PM (#32819650) Homepage

    People work on Microsoft infrastructure because it pays the bills, not because they want to. The problem with this is that in 10 years time it will be cheaper to get a LAMP administrator than it will to get a IIS/MSSQL administrator. Bugger licensing costs, it's the price of risk management that is important to companies. And with Microsoft becoming less relevant LAMP and "Cool Hip technologies" will be the replacement in 10 years when those admins grow up and start doing IT for a living like the rest of us.

    Odd, it seems like you're describing the world today, as opposed to the world 10 years from now.

  • by caywen (942955) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:07PM (#32819674)

    Why is it that no one has a beef that Autodesk gets to make money selling 3D tools, that Adobe gets to make money selling imaging tools, but when it comes to Microsoft making money off coding tools, SLASHDOT SMASH!! GRAA!!

  • by hobo sapiens (893427) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:13PM (#32819766) Journal

    one can make money while sliding down the slippery slope into the valley of irrelevance

  • by Unoti (731964) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:14PM (#32819788) Journal

    Is MS losing money ? retrenching ? no longer the biggest software company in the world ? I wish I could lose the way you say they've lost !

    They've done well so far, but look closer at the past. A decade ago, if you wanted a personal computer, you pretty much got a PC with Windows. Only the truly hardcore went any other way. If you used a browser, it was almost certainly IE. Or if you were into graphics or a couple other niche areas, you'd get a Mac. Mac and Linux are serious alternatives now, and were not previously. Software development for portable touch screens like the PocketPC used to be a big deal, but it's pretty much irrelevant now.

    In around 2004 I started my own business, and I needed database software and front end software. In my day job, I was developing using MS SQL and ASP.NET in C#. I knew the tools, they were what I was most productive in. But I had a choice: drop a bunch of cash for Microsoft tools, pirate it all from work, or go totally legit and figure out how to do it with free software. I chose to go legit, and I won't ever turn back. They had the free developer version of MS SQL, but it felt like crippleware to me. And I was in a situation where I'd need to deploy before the revenue came in, so I chose to go with real software instead of shelling out a grand for software before I had any revenue.

    Wouldn't you make the same decision, too?

    I submit that most people who wouldn't make that decision lack confidence in their ability to come up to speed quickly on new technologies. Plus, the free software development tools are better today than they ever were before. Also it's cheaper to deploy code that doesn't need Windows to run.:

    Linux machine at Rackspace Cloud, 1.5 cents/hr for 256m, 3.0 cents/hr for 512m. [rackspacecloud.com]

    Windows machine at Rackspace Cloud: 256m *not available, needs more memory*, 4.0 cents/hr for 512m. [rackspacecloud.com]

    The key reason to use Microsoft if you're starting from scratch is if you can't step up to the plate and retool yourself. And if so, be careful-- there were a lot of guys I saw growing up that wouldn't do anything other than COBOL, Fortran, and RPG/3, and didn't think they'd ever need to learn anything new.

  • Re:Fine with me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:22PM (#32819874)

    Mono is a trap, that is why they do not want to go near it. Your crap only runs on windows, thus also useless.

  • by MarkKnopfler (472229) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:26PM (#32819926)

    Dear Microsoft,
        Today you sit and rue the face that you have lost the developer base and to
        feel better about it, you label them as 'young and hip'. Here is some news:
        Very few developers actually enjoy writing for windows. People have been
        writing code on microsoft platforms since there are a huge number of people
        who use microsoft products and ignoring the windows platform amounts to
        ignoring a huge customer base which the developer could not afford to do.
        We, as developers never really enjoyed developing for windows -- it is just
        that we did not have a choice.
        Today however, the scene has been changing.
        1. A large number of GUI-based applications have moved into the browser.
        2. Windows servers are not really used in large technology companies
        They still are a dominant force in small to medium company's IT
        infrastructures. That is all exchange and sharepoint. Any sane startup will
        not consider windows to host their servers.
        3. Developers now are used to and are aware of desktop platforms which
        work well and also are very good programming platforms. Macs have a robust
        BSD backbone and Linux is well, Linux. So everybody now have platforms
        on which they can hack code and also play their movies.
        4. Java provides for a development environment which can make pretty windows
        without having to use developer studio.

        So you have a scenario where where Microsoft is not the only viable
        desktop/laptop OS. Also, it is a terrible programming environment. So any
        self-respecting developer will not run windows on his personal machine and
        as a result will want to push it out of his workplace too. The process
        started a long time back. You guys are feeling it now.

        So we come to the next question: Why do we hate writing code for windows ?

        I will not cite the BSOD. The "windows crashes" and "windows is not stable"
        are old arguments.
        Windows is much much more stable than it used to be. In all honesty it has
        been ages since I last saw a BSOD. We hate writing code for the windows
        platform is because it sucks as a development platform.

        1. The design is not based on any implementation of UNIX. That makes any CS
        student uncomfortable. I am not saying that that the developer is
        uncomfortable because windows has a bad programming interface (which btw it
        is ). I am saying that it makes him uncomfortable because he cannot
        recognize patterns he used to learn his computer science. He cannot refer to
        the kernel source when he runs into a thorny problem, he cannot go online to
        get a real educated answer to his problems. It is unfamiliar and since he is
        not used to the paradigm. The developer finds it inelegant.

        2. The second point is that it IS a bad programming interface. Till very
        recently did not have a scripting interface worth its salt, has an extremely
        convoluted device driver infrastructure and has that terrible thing called
        the registry.

        3. The development environment is not free as in beer and as in speech. It
        is a closed heavily controlled environment in which the developer has no say
        and is an interface which changes very frequently. You can get away with
        changing rapidly and being open ( which linux does ) but you cannot get away
        by being closed and also changing every 2 years. It drives the developer
        mad.

        4. Emacs and Vim do not integrate well with visual studio :)

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:36PM (#32820046)

    "well... I can't believe thats really *all* you have to pay..."

    I certainly have not paid more. As for the scenario of explosive growth requiring a lot of servers, Microsoft can offer you nice customized quotes. Especially if you are a startup.

    MS really is very business-friendly - just look at all this DRM made specially for these small poor media megacorporations. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well into being customer-friendly.

  • by Lucky75 (1265142) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:39PM (#32820076)

    If you used a browser, it was almost certainly IE.

    Er...actually, it was almost certainly Netscape. Who used IE, seriously?

  • erm. I liked that show when I was 14, too... When I tried to watch a rerun a while back, though, I realized that every single show has the same fucking plot.

    To wit:

    1. Tim [says,does] something stupid

    2. Tim [tries to hide it,says more stupid stuff making it worse]

    3. Jill [finds out,sulks]

    4. Tim talks to Wilson, who gives good advice which Tim ineptly tries to follow and fails

    5. Tim and Jill resolve whatever the issue was

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:41PM (#32820106)

    PHP is better than any .net crap.

    Only this [ytmnd.com] can express my reaction.

    Apache is better than IIS
    Linux is better than MS Server
    MySQL is better than SQL Server
    C++ QT is better than .Net

    Point taken.

    Eclipse is better than Visual Studio for multiple languages

    Eclipse is very shitty. You're on full ROFLcopter mode today.

    Git is better than VSS

    Should compare it to TFS not VSS - it's deprecated. Have you ever compiled git from source? See the number of dependencies? It can't have a Windows client without puting a shitload of mingw32 dlls in the PATH. And since gcc can't behave itself when on Windows there are no manifest files anywhere and you can broke other applications compiled with a different version of mingw32. Install QtCreator and later install TortoiseGit to replicate this.

    Mac OS X is better than Windows for programming

    Huh? Subjective. Give me IBM OS/370 and XEDIT any given day. The glow of a 3270, the computer room with it's stale cigarette smoke - oh, glory days!

    Anything is better than IE

    IE9 is faster and better than most. Check out the developer preview.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:46PM (#32820166)

    FTFY. And, of course, I know this. It's just amusing (and encouraging) to see Microsoft whinging that they're having a hard time indoctrinating students into dependence on their tools.

    This isn't MS whinging, this is some idiot at the NYT whinging.

    MS's MO is to indoctrinate people at the business level not the developer level as it's the business people who sign pay cheques. It may appear that MS is having a hard time wooing developers when MS spends all its time and effort wooing MBA's.

    This is also why all the innovative work is done in F/OSS. You cant schedule new idea's into a project.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:57PM (#32820268)

    If you want to write a C++ app in Visual Studio, the location of the additional directories for #includes is at the top of the C++ options. In the linker, the same option is somewhere towards the bottom. Why? Sounds small, but I'm already under the gun to get the code written and working, not futzing around with build settings.

    Or how about, starting in either VS2005 or 2008 (can't remember which one), I opened up a project written in VC++6 and freaked when I suddenly started seeing hundred and hundreds of warnings, telling me that functions like strncat() (strncat!) were "unsafe" and I should use something like _strnscat or something like that, which supposedly was "more" safe at the cost of being totally Microsoft-specific. The problem was that you couldn't turn off these warnings in the general options, only per-project, which meant that I had to make stupid changes to stdafx.h just to turn off the warnings so that other developers wouldn't freak as well.

    How about the auto-hide windows that seem to randomly decide to suddenly be pinned or to suddenly appear during unrelated actions?

    When working with C#, the compiler and editor will give you a red squiggle under code it can't compile, but gives you know way to know where or how many places in the file they are (contrast: Eclipse puts a red box on the side for every line that is in error, which makes it very easy to find them).

    Look, I'm a fan of Intellisense and all (when running on a powerful enough machine), but while VS2010 is "faster" than previous versions (almost as fast as VC++6), it purports to be a "rich" IDE that gets surprisingly sparse in places, and downright weird in others.

    Visual Studio reminds me of guys who put racing stripes and thin tires and big mufflers on their Honda Civics and somehow convince themselves they've got a "race car".

  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe U (443617) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:00PM (#32820290) Homepage Journal

    I would have loved to have a spare $2K when I was writing shareware at 17.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:02PM (#32820304)
    The developer community is a big factor as well. If you develop in Java, there's tons of frameworks available for everything, too many sometimes. You can find code to do anything, and almost never really need to re-invent the wheel. The C# community does not seem to be nearly as open, with most of the open frameworks and tools being copied from the Java stuff. The attitude seems to be that you should be paid for everything, and fewer people will share their work. This seems to be changing, but there's still a ways to go.
  • I may not be hip.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:03PM (#32820312)
    I my not be hip, but I'm 27, and I enjoy .net programming immensely. C#, unlike Java, favors practicality over ideology. Partial classes, lambda functions, anonymous delegates, and extension methods are an anethema to OOP, but they're practical and, dare I say it, kind of fun. Java is a lumbering retarded beast, python has scalability issues, and perl is illegible. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of FOSS software, but MS has done a good job with its dev tools.
  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turbidostato (878842) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:04PM (#32820322)

    "Frankly, if you dont have $2K for an Enterprise MSDN licensing, you really have no business doing a start up, do you?"

    Frankly, if you put your money out of the objective of achieving revenue -like spending even if only one single dollar on unneeded licenses, you really have no business doing a start up, do you?

  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:09PM (#32820352) Homepage Journal

    "Flame away, those who are so inclined, but I have never heard anyone say they would prefer to program in Objective-C over Java, C++, Python, or the .Net languages."

    I'm one who prefers Objective-C to Java, C++, Python, or .Net languages.

    Good lord, learning Objective-C is easy. Learning any language is easy. It's the frameworks and libraries and idioms that are the hard part. A programmer who resists learning a language as easy as Objective-C is like a child who refuses to try any food other than their staple chicken nuggets and spaghettios.

  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:09PM (#32820354) Homepage

    What is all this bitching about the price of tools, with MSDN out there for almost nothing? Frankly, if you dont have $2K for an Enterprise MSDN licensing, you really have no business doing a start up, do you?

    The point of starting a company is to make money. Money for you, and money for the investors. Lighting a pile of money on fire just to get access to development tools is throwing away money that could be in your pocket or your investors.

    If you can do something for free, why would you choose to pay $2,000 for it?

    Back in the late 90's, I developed for a Microsoft shop. By 2001, I was playing with linux, and by 2002 I made the switch. I haven't run into anything I couldn't do just as easily in Linux.

  • by turing_m (1030530) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:20PM (#32820438)

    MS has so many problems with FOSS, some of them major.

    1. FOSS is free as in beer. And it is eternally free. Software developers, with the possible exception of ($LANGUAGE developers), aren't stupid - there is some IQ floor involved in software development. Even if you give crippleware away, developers know that if they use your stuff it is going to eventually cost them. And if they can get something of near equivalent functionality that is FOSS, they don't have to deal with ever paying the piper. That's more margin for you and yours.

    This helps if you are a startup, if you just want to experiment, or if you want to sneak something in at work and not have to ask to spend money. Strange but true - it's orders of magnitude easier to get money from a boss in the form of time to work on something than it is to get authorization to spend equivalent actual dollars on it.

    2. FOSS is open source by definition. If you come across some future unanticipated problem, there is potential to hack it until it does if you have the skills.

    3. Most FOSS has no vendor lock in (other than stuff like MySQL). Meaning, your development platform can't jerk the rug out from under you by deciding that you are now going to use DAO or ADO, or .NET, or however they've decided to screw you over by obsoleting the work you've done. No vendor lock-in also means they can't dangle you upside down and see how much money falls out.

    4. FOSS is often good, and keeps getting better because people keep contributing to it. Once you have used a bit of FOSS, you are often astounded by the quality and that encourages you to use more of it. And that experience leads a person to totally dispense with the "free = crap" heuristic. It's like drinking water from some unspoiled rainforest stream - it is both free and better than the commercial alternative. After a while your own heuristic becomes - "1. Search the FOSS world first. 2. If the best of what you find works well, stop looking."

    5. FOSS has a passionate community. If you want help and can google, there is usually a good community around whatever FOSS it is you are interested in. In a genuine community, there is rarely a conflict between the creator of the software and the interests of the community. With a commercial solution, there is always that conflict - users want to pay less money, vendors need money to live.

    6. FOSS is hassle free - you want to try it or use it, you just download it. You still have to learn how to use it, but that is no different from a proprietary solution.

    7. FOSS OS (and non-MS OS) are renowned for being more stable, secure, powerful and easier to install than Windows once you know how. These attributes suit developers. Running FOSS on top of a FOSS OS is usually easier to install and use, better integrated, and more powerful. There is a virtuous circle going on there.

    8. FOSS is trustworthy - you can see the code yourself, and fork it if you want. You may never do this but you know you can, and so do other people.

    Why else does MS have a problem? Because university students WILL be exposed to some FOSS software if they do anything related to software. They will use commercial stuff too, but very likely they will learn many of the lessons above. At that point they've already swallowed the red pill. Even if they don't get exposure there their guru friends probably use FOSS.

  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Unoti (731964) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:27PM (#32820502) Journal

    Frankly, if you dont have $2K for an Enterprise MSDN licensing, you really have no business doing a start up, do you?

    Ok pop quiz, people. Is the above person a young hip developer, or a douchebag?

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:31PM (#32820528)

    "MS's MO is to indoctrinate people at the business level not the developer level"

    Well, maybe. It's only a pity all their acts in the last two decades seem otherwise.

    Ummm...

    Which Microsoft have you been watching for the last few decades?

    MS always targets business leaders first. CIO's make the decision that X company is going to be an MS house, wants .Net software, demand is created for .Net developers. It doesn't work the other way around and MS knows this which is why the majority of their marketing efforts are directed at the Exec and C level.

    the more the sysadmins put into Microsoft platforms the less they'll want to go anywhere else.

    This makes no sense. Developers and sysamins have been pushing for a move away from MS for over a decade now but managers keep throwing back terms like TCO and the old favourite "Who will we sue if it all goes wrong" (like you didn't give up that right when I pressed F8). MS knows that in order to keep itself in the market, developers don't really matter as much as the C level execs.

    Microsoft certainly will take very seriously losing its grip on the developer's side.

    But that's not happening, mainly because MS is not losing it's grip on the managers side, hence jobs are created for MS technologies.

  • by fyrie (604735) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:33PM (#32820546)
    I've noticed a new blog and twitter meme of people publicly rage quitting .NET. Most of it seems to surround the fact that MS will create their own subpar implimentation of a popular .NET open source project instead of putting their weight behind it (Creating Entity Framework instead of support NHibernate, Creating ASP.NET MVC instead of supporting Rails on Iron Ruby, creating Razor instead of supporting Spark).
  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by penix1 (722987) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:49PM (#32820668) Homepage

    The point is, why jump even through those hoops when you don't have to? Why even shell out that $2,000 when it can go to something more valuable than lining Microsoft's pockets? That and the Microsoft penchant for vendor lock-in I suspect is what is really driving developers away.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:01PM (#32820760) Homepage

    Perhaps possibly, the transition from Paul Allen and Bill Gates (true computer geeks/nerds) to Ballmer the insurance salesman, was about as uncool as you can get and also a huge mistake, why does he bring this image http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/73/Slim-pickens_riding-the-bomb_enh-lores.jpg [wikimedia.org] to mind.

  • by dakameleon (1126377) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:09PM (#32820808)

    Where the hell do you get those kind of "facts"? Get this ignorant shit off Slashdot.

    Gandhi's goal was for the British to quit India - self-determination for Indians. That's done and dusted, 60 years ago. India certainly wouldn't be better off under the colonial heel of exploitation, the rape of a nation that the British accomplished for 90 years under the Raj.

  • by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:15PM (#32820858) Homepage Journal
    Below is a copy of a rant I posted [livejournal.com] to LJ a while back. In short, Microsoft does not, in any meaningful sense, make it easy to get started hacking on their systems.

    ______

    Those of you who know me in even the most casual way may be shocked to hear me say: I want to do some programming in Windows.

    One would think that one would simply go out and download a compiler and an SDK (a bit fat wad of compiler headers, link libraries, and documentation) -- or perhaps buy a CD-ROM containing same -- and you'd be completely set to develop any kind of Windows application.

    You'd be wrong.

    What's available is a hopelessly confusing mashup of tools to develop native applications, VisualBASIC applications, .NET virtual machine applications, Web applications (for IIS only, natch), database-driven applications and, if you're very nice and pay lots of money, Microsoft Office plugins. And, just to make it hard, all these tools are hidden underneath a cutesy Integrated Development Environment which passively-aggressively makes it as cumbersome as possible to figure out what's actually going on under the hood -- you know, the sorts of things a professional programmer would want to know.

    Okay, fine, just give me the tools and docs to develop native C/C++ apps. "Oh, no no no," says Microsoft, twirling its moustache, "You have to pick one of our product packages." Packages? "Oh, yes, there's Visual Studio Express, Visual Studio Standard, Visual Studio Professional, Visual Studio Team System, and Visual Studio Grand Marquess with Truffles and Cherries."

    After looking at the six-dimensional bullet chart of features, I think that Visual Studio Express may get the job done, since it comes with a C/C++ compiler and will compile native apps. "Quite so," says Microsoft whilst placing a postage stamp on a foreclosure notice, "provided you're only writing console apps -- you know, programs that run in a command window. If you want to develop full Windows GUI apps, then you'll need additional libraries which aren't necessarily included with Visual Studio Express."

    Ah, so VS Express will only let me develop "toy" applications and, if I want to do anything more advanced, I should download and install the complete Windows SDK which, amazingly, is free. "Well, you could do that," says Microsoft after tying Nell to the sawmill. "But the SDK doesn't really integrate very well with the IDE. And there's still some link libraries which only ship with Visual Studio Standard or better."

    Fine. I'll look at buying Visual Studio Standard. And then maybe I can get to improving this device driver. "Device driver!?" says Microsoft, blotting the blood spatters off its hat. "Heavens, no, that's not included with anything. You need to download and install the Driver Development Kit for that. And you may or may not need the DDK for each version of Windows you intend to support. Not to worry, however; they're all free downloads..."

    *fume* And people wonder why I've avoided this clusterfuck for the last 25 years. Ever since the Visual Studio 6 days, I've been smacked in the face with this braindamage every time I've tried doing the slightest exploration of Windows development.

    So: Can anyone with modest Windows development experience tell me what Visual Studio flavor to get and which addons to download if I want to:

    • Write native Windows applications and device drivers in C/C++,
    • Debug said applications and device drivers,
    • Not give a damn about "wizards" trying to write my code for me,
    • Not give a damn about database, Web, VisualBASIC, or .NET development.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:17PM (#32820872)

    Is MS losing money ?

    "Microsoft reports first YoY revenue slide in company history"
    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/04/24/microsoft-reports-first-yoy-revenue-slide-in-company-history/ [boygeniusreport.com] ...so I guess that would be a "yes".

    no longer the biggest software company in the world ?

    As of close on Tuesday 6 Jul 2010:

    Microsoft market cap: 208.75B
    Apple market cap:226.24B

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/cq?d=v1&s=MSFT,AAPL [yahoo.com] ...so I'm guessing that one's a "yes", too...

    retrenching ?

    Well, you got me on this one. I guess if they were actually retrenching, they wouldn't be reporting losses in revenue or be only the second largest software company in the world. So that one's a "no".

    Possibly they should get off their butts, and instead of throwing the chair they were sitting on, they should actually retrench.

    -- Terry

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:42PM (#32821010)

    Perhaps that's what it looks like to you, on its surface.

    Microsoft tried to seed as much a they could into universities with really low prices on everything, including developer tools. NGOs got cheap stuff as well in many cases.

    Microsoft did something more onerous, however: their software had poor quality, and they fought with abounding obfuscation, the FOSS movement. Add in to the equation lots of bad press about their bad behavior (and legal posturing) in the US, Canada, and the EU, to mention just a few jurisdictions. Salt the mess with mind-boggling security problems *of their own making*. Add in way too many versions of everything, requiring developers to have to constantly recode for variants.

    Sprinkle in losing momentum in telephony, smartphones, gaming, search, and everything else they got their fingers on. Wanna be a part of a winning team? It used to be a meal ticket to sign on to Windows. No more.

  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:46PM (#32821022)

    Precisely. Microsoft lost on two counts, both self-imposed, and they are getting what they deserve.

    They emphasized crap to lock users in instead of real cutting edge development, which is not fun for developers or users, and which generates crap code, twisted beyond comprehension, byzantine, ugly. IBM had this same problem as a result of their anti-trust shenanigans, and apparently Microsoft chose to repeat history.

    Microsoft also emphasized control freakery beyond all reason, in addition to the twiddly feature lockin, what with siccing the BSA on "pirates", horrible copy protection, license verification requiring internet access to run, on and on, making use of their software more and more hassle. The message was clear -- go somewhere else.

    People would put up with either of these to some extent, but the combination made them simply not worth the hassle. Crap products which make life difficult are dead products.

    All they had to do was stay bleeding edge, drop the lockin featuritis, and compete on quality. They'd have the market sewn up.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:51PM (#32821060) Homepage

    There are lots of cool things to do as desktop applications. But the easy and useful ones have been done.

    Want to write a better word processor? Users will expect it to be at least as good as OpenOffice even if you give it away. If you want to charge for it, it needs to be better than Word.

    How about a 3D animation program? Big job. Yours has to be at least as good as Blender, and if you want to sell it, up there with Maya.

    CAD? You're competing with SolidWorks, Inventor, and ProEngineer. Yes, there are small startups in CAD; check out OpenMind [openmind-tech.com], makers of HyperMill [youtube.com]. That's how good a new desktop program has to do to make it today.

    Nobody is going to buy your IRC chat client as a desktop app.

  • by DeathElk (883654) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:53PM (#32821080)
    Yes, it's funny how people like the same scheiße dished up over and over again. I guess that's why MacDonalds is so successful.
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:55PM (#32821098)

    A question of what's a better IDE is always kind of like asking which is the better religion, or maybe who has the best kids. Everyone thinks theirs is awesome and its shit doesn't stink.

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:25PM (#32821286)

    Microsoft seems to make a big marketing splash on a development toolset or language or API every few years only to throw it away with the "next big thing". For someone who's been programming long enough this gets to be a tiring waste of time.

    Indeed. They even threw away an entire language, Visual Basic, much to the annoyance of all the companies that had invested millions in it (VB.NET is really not the same language and don't get me started on the auto-conversion tools). With proprietary languages the vendor makes (often sweeping changes) that suit THEIR business plan rather than addressing any pressing features their customers might really need. You can end up having to rewrite things pointlessly without adding any real value to your product. At the same time your competitors who chose to use something open, like Java or (and now QT) are spending that time adding new useful features to their product. They are also able to offer their product across a much larger range of platforms.

  • But seriously, try coding a week in Qt/C++.

    That would involve coding in C++ for a week. Eew.

    Straight up C, no problem. Awesome language. Love it.

    C++ requires me to mentally juggle too many balls in the air, it is mental effort that I could be expending on writing actual code.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:59PM (#32821506)

    The Generics in .NET put Java's to shame.

    That's not hard though; the generics in Java could have been nice if they hadn't been bolted on posthumously.

  • Re:MSDN? Hello? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:43AM (#32821768) Homepage

    Ya, the message could have been made in a non-inflammatory tone. But agree with the overall message. Regardless of what "start-up" you plan on launching, it will still require a small amount of fuel to spark ignition. That's called Capitol Investment. It may be used to purchase rent, electricity, employees, and yes...licensing if that's a requirement to achieving your goal.

  • by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:57AM (#32821874)
    I would argue that "young, hip developers" is an oxymoron.
  • by nmos (25822) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:25AM (#32822040)

    Is MS losing money ?

    "Microsoft reports first YoY revenue slide in company history"
    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/04/24/microsoft-reports-first-yoy-revenue-slide-in-company-history/ [boygeniusreport.com] ...so I guess that would be a "yes".

    Since when is having revenue that is less than last year but still positive considered "losing money"?

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @04:04AM (#32822900)

    Add to that the dreaded windows file locking, I cannot count the number of times I cursed Windows for its file locking behavior when I started a build and the system told me it cannot build because the erasing of a file or target directory failed because it is locked.
    One of the reasons why I prefer to develop on Unix systems although the toolset itself is the same I use on both types of systems.

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @04:07AM (#32822916)

    Jepp I noticed that as well, recently Microsoft is stealing a lot from existing JEE webframeworks instead of participating on the already relatively old ported direct .net versions of those frameworks. The Microsoft build system is also such an example, it is a blatant somewhat incompatible copy of ANT, and instead of having pourde resources into NANT which has been there for years they decided to just copy almost everything in an incompatible manner under their own commercial terms (not that ANT really would have a problem with a closed commercial fork since it is ASL2 licensed)
    ASP.NET mvc is a copy of Spring MVC btw... the NHibernate situation you already mentioned, same issue, copy of JPA/Hibernate under their own incompatible API and terms.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @05:08AM (#32823226)

    C#/.NET gives you a good amount of control over the garbage collector such that you can explicitly force garbage collection and so forth:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.gc_members.aspx [microsoft.com]

    It can also be useful to use a using block to determine the scope of an object or objects after which they will be disposed.

    Funnily enough, C#/.NET require you know what you're doing too.

    As is often the case, people who slag off one language/library or another do so simply because they don't know much about said language/library. If you think the .NET library is like a wrapper around Win32 or even MFC then I'd wager you've not actually got much experience with either because the differences are vast. If anything, the .NET libraries are much closer to Java's standard libraries than anything.

  • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @06:05AM (#32823544)

    Sprinkle in losing momentum in telephony, smartphones, gaming, search, and everything else they got their fingers on.

    Whilst I enjoy hating on Microsoft as much as the next guy, and completely agree with the majority of your points, I don't think that having the best-selling games console in the US (second-best worldwide) can be counted as "losing momentum in gaming".

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @06:19AM (#32823636)

    C# is the cleanest language I've ever coded in

    You'd like VB.net more then, its more wordy but as languages go, its more powerful and more consistent than C#.

    Mind you, I remember when Java came out and everyone wittered on about how 'elegant' it was. History is just repeating itself with the latest fashion. I don't think its particularly clean, stuff they've added like extension methods make it very, very dirty indeed. GC is another problem that wasn't really fully understood when they started - hence the (fairly quick) addition of IDispose pattern, and then using, and also SafeHandle (for when you need reference counting, even though the GC system is supposed to solve all memory issues!).

    There's plenty more - nothing is as clean as you'd want. If you want to try a better one, have a go at Ruby.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:45AM (#32824648)

    Or just a better moderation system in general. Unfortunately this is the reality of Slashdot today, where pointing out why DRM is bad will get you modded overrated:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1708570&cid=32808318 [slashdot.org]

    Whilst providing additional information that hasn't yet been posted but that demonstrates a valid counter point to the post of the parent you're responding to gets you modded redundant:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1710188&cid=32823226 [slashdot.org]

    Just like real democracies, when you let the idiot masses vote, you're bound to get some idiotic results.

    I'm not a fan of Apple, and I dislike Cocoa and Objective-C, but you getting moderated troll for making the point you did is just utterly stupid- it was a fair comment. It's just sad that there are people incapable of grasping the concept of moderating a post based on it's merits, rather than based on rabid fanboyism and ignorance.

    It seems the best way to get modded up is to post some populist bullshit, that might well be completely and utterly fucking incorrect, but that appeals to the ignorant and uninformed. The problem with democratic moderation is that you basically just end up reinforcing the ideology that becomes dominant and driving away people with other often equally accurate points, so that it basically becomes a self-reassuring wankfest of ignorance.

    Still, I carry on reading because every once in a while there are some posts that really are insightful and worth reading, it's just a shame they become ever rarer and rarer.

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