Branding vs. Programming

Summary:Unix can't compete on a branding level with Windows. We have too many players, each with their own agenda, to put out a unified message. It's really up to you, no matter what flavor of Unix you use, to drive this message home.

Paul Murphy, formerly of this blog, has a great piece out today, a short history of Unix.

The short form. Unix is Unix, and has been since the Beatles were together. Windows is a brand, and underneath there is much inconsistency.

Microsoft says that Windows is backward-compatible, but under the hood it's not. I often have to retire old programs because my new Windows machine just won't run them. In a programming sense, as Murphy writes, " there's essentially no continuity of ideas between the 3.0, 95, NT, and Longhorn Windows generations."

Yet people still believe that Windows is Windows wihle Unix is, well, a Tower of Babel.

Not true. Every flavor of Unix has its own quirks, of course, and special functions. There are many different license terms, as we have discussed here often (and will again). But in terms of programming knowledge, skills translate. Whether your first love is Linux, Solaris, BSD or AIX, it won't take much time for you to get up to speed on something new.

My point today is that Windows' marketing advantage should not be discounted. People believe branding. To many people, maybe to most people, anything below branding is detail, something for specialists -- specialists like you.  So it's up to you to set them straight.

Unix can't compete on a branding level with Windows. We have too many players, each with their own agenda, to put out a unified branding message. It's really up to you, no matter what flavor of Unix you use, to drive this message home.

Deep down inside, Unix is Unix. Under the hood, Windows is not always Windows.

Topics: Operating Systems

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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