Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vista Again? Not so In Business

I haven't been doing a lot of travelling over the past couple of months, but that's fine with me. It's not so much fun to go places these days, with security, surly airline staff and the like. I read a story recently about a guy who was threatened with arrest when he tried to get some love for the laptop that he says airport security broke.

So I was reading about Vista again *smirk*. Their new service pack one that's supposed to have some performance improvements, really doesn't. It's really kind of funny. I do quite a bit of work with large companies, and not a single one has Vista installed. Most of them run XP on the desktop and Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 in the server room. It's not just because there are hardware costs associated, i.e. need more hardware, it's because of the risk of upgrading. These IT departments have been burned before by compatibility issues and server downtime, they're going on the "If it's not broke don't fix it" methodology, which, in my opinion, is not a bad one.

It's sad to see but in the Windows shops, the IT staff is constantly in an uproar about something. This failing, that breaking, etc. I've seen places where system failure were so frequent, they set up rooms of people that just watch the systems waiting for them to fail. When I go into a *nix shop. (That's Unix/Linux for the uninitiated). Although there are system failure, user support, etc. There isn't the, "Oh my god we've got a huge problem", feeling in the air. The engineers are engaged in creating and designing instead of plugging holes.

As a consultant I have a love hate relationship with Windows. It always takes me longer to do things with Windows than with any other OS I have worked with. It's good when you are charging by the hour, but bad whenever you are trying to get something done for yourself.
Things like copying files from one machine to another, or just downloading something from the Internet almost always takes me longer on a Windows machine. Most people see Windows on a desktop and it doesn't to all that bad of a job there, if you aren't too concerned about security. I see Windows on huge pieces of hardware dealing with large amounts of data. It's always fun to try to copy a large file across the network, after it prepares to copy for 20 or 30 minutes, it will start to copy, get part of the way through and die a horrible death. To be fair, this type of a scenario is usually caused by some 3rd party piece of resident anti-virus software, that corporation are forced to install if they want any semblance of security on their Windows servers.
I'll get off of my soap box again, but I will refer you to an article written by Juergen Haas which goes into some of the more technical details of making the choice between Windows vs. Unix.

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