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“Microsoft hates Open Source”
This one comes from the same crowd that’s been promising "the Year of the Linux Desktop” since dinosaurs roamed the earth. So adjust your expectations accordingly.
Still, the Microsoft that talked smack about Linux and Open Source software five years ago has undergone a fundamental transformation since then. I’m going to turn the mike over to Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman here. Scott is one of the most passionate and publicly visible advocates for the Open Source community and a genuine star at Microsoft. Here’s what he wrote just a few days ago:
We're putting source on GitHub, many groups are using Git with TFS internally for projects, we've open sourced (not just source-opened) huge parts of .NET and are still pushing. We've open sourced Azure hardware specs, opening SDKs, and we're making systems more pluggable than ever. Frankly, we're bending over backwards to NOT be dicks about stuff, at the very least in my corner of the company. Could we do better? ALWAYS. Are we pure evil? Nah.
Is Microsoft circa 2014 worse than Google, Apple, or Facebook? We're not nearly as organized as we'd need to be to be as evil as you might think we are.
Moreover, I think that Microsoft is very aware of perceptions and is actively trying to counter them by actually being open. I'd say we're more concerned than a Google or Apple about how folks perceive us.
And in the picture-is-worth-a-million-lines-of-source-code department, look at the screenshot above, taken from my own personal Microsoft Azure account. Yes, those are fully supported Linux distributions available for immediate, automated installation in Microsoft’s premier cloud-based service.
As Hanselman says, “This is not your grandfather's MSFT, and now the dude who helped us (Azure) change things in a fundamentally non-MSFT and totally awesome way is in charge. I'm stoked - big things coming, I think.”
“Everyone hates Microsoft Office”
Pick a whipping boy – Excel, Outlook, Word, or PowerPoint. Especially PowerPoint. In a few short searches you can find unbridled hatred for any one of those products, usually from someone in Silicon Valley who was forced to run one of those reviled programs on their MacBook Pro and did so with teeth clenched the entire time.
The reality is that more than a billion people worldwide are running Office today. As someone who has been documenting the development of Office online for roughly two decades, I can tell you that the latest version of Office has some mind-bogglingly awesome features. If you’ve ever seen the charts I produce as part of posts like this one and this one, you know Excel’s capable of spectacularly strong infographics. I’ve tried doing the same thing with free, Open Source alternatives. No offense, but the results simply can’t compare.
And those same limitations are found across the board in the other apps that compete with modern Office apps. Let's face it: Microsoft works its tail off improving Office. Your average Silicon Valley tech journalist might despise Office, but those of use who use it to get actual work done beg to differ.
In fact, those billion people have had free alternatives for years, and yet they keep paying for Office. I’m sure Yogi Berra would have had a snappy way to explain that phenomenon, just as he once dismissed a popular restaurant by saying, “No one goes there any more. It’s too crowded.”
“Internet Explorer is a buggy, incompatible mess”
At some point you have to let go of the past. The Web Standards Project, which was founded in 1998, did exactly that in early 2013, saying “Our work here is done.”
When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible. … The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.
Indeed, as someone who uses Internet Explorer 11 as my primary browser day in and day out, I can count on one hand the number of times each month I run into a compatibility issue. And 9 times out of 10 that issue arises because some Web designer with a chip on his or her shoulder has coded the site to fail when it detects Internet Explorer.
Hating on Internet Explorer 6 was a perfectly reasonable thing to do in 2008. But that relic of the early Web is dead and buried. Let it go, people.