Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why the Microsoft Linux Convergence Could Be Bad News

The web was a buzz with news about MS telling everyone that Bash is going to be a thing in Windows. Not a VM, but rather, a part of Windows.

The way I see it, it's not cause for celebration, but rather, cautious optimism.

Remember when MS Office included support for OpenOffice formats? Now MS Office could open OpenOffice formats! Except that they could only with certain provisions. They didn't follow the specifications of the format and instead broke it. Intentionally. So either OpenOffice had to include support for MS Office's broken implementation of it, or try and control people's perception of it.

MS are completely capable of looking to be being supportive and playing ball but also blindsiding the other players to their advantage.

My main concern though is those people who tell you that they can administer both Windows and Linux. The operating systems are like talking a different language. When I think of solving problems, I think in terms of Linux and I then usually end up having to translate back into Windows if I'm working on Windows. Ditto for Mac OSX. Linux first, translate. More often that not it works well for Mac OSX. Windows I often find myself swearing.

So what happens to people when they appear to be using a Linux type shell? Do they understand that there's a difference between thinking in Linux and thinking in Windows? There's a real issue with EVERYONE doing things badly.

A Windows person then goes and tells everyone that he can do Linux! but is limited by what they can do in Windows (what's a link and what's the difference between a symbolic link and a hard link?)?

A Linux person thinks something is happening in Windows because of commands they use in Linux and then discovers that either the OS doesn't support what they're trying to do at all or does it in a completely different way.

It's not that hard to imagine. It's more likely that Bash on Windows will be like Bash on BSD and Bash on Solaris - they're the same thing but they're not the same thing i.e. there are differences on each of the OSes and those differences make the way you solve problems different.

Whether that means Linux people suddenly think they're experts in Windows and Windows people suddenly think they're experts in Linux remains to be seen.