Ignorance of the different

I haven't written since a while. The reason is: I changed job and it has been a stressy time for me.

Fortunately I found a company that accepted that I work on Ubuntu on my desktop. Of course there is Windows stuff to do - which I will do from a virtual machine or via remote desktop.

During my job search and at other occasions I wondered about the big ignorance (it is not always plain unawareness) of people working in the Windows and Microsoft environment. The vast majority of users, IT staff and managers still cannot accept, that the era of the Microsoft-only IT environment will be history in a few years.

Many young people are using Macs (even if it is just because they want to be different or cooler than others in a few cases) for example. I have customers where users are using Macs in the office on their productive workstation - yes, today (I am not talking about a single case only).

And BTW: I don't know a single real person who really tried Mac or Linux and then switched back to Windows. The contrary is true, most I know, didn't look back after two weeks on Ubuntu for example. I am not talking about forum entries of people who tell they switched back to Windows - I don't give much on them after I have seen sooo many forum posts that are so evidently fakes (or paid comments - yes, there are companies where you can pay for manipulating the public opinion through forums, blog comments etc).

Oh, and I have seen people selling Android phones and when I mentioned Linux, they never heard of it - hey it runs on the thingis, you sell!

There are a few things, that are really super-annoying and I start to get angry, when:
  • people assume, that everything other than Windows must be crap (without either looking). How can somebody have such opinion about something they never heard of yet?

  • I report a problem with a website or a service and people ask me what OS I am using (or worse: "What Windows-Version are you using?") and then tell me automatically it must be a problem with my machine or client - even if that has nothing to do with the OS that I am using.

  • when I ask people for help (e.g. just tell me the proxy, I have to use, when I want to use the internet), they see my machine and they immediately tell me - hell, what is this - I cannot support this. - Hey, it's maybe just a DNS or PROXY ip address I want to know - is this really so difficult? I don't ask them to configure my machine for me - I can do it myself.

  • people treat me like a fanatic or fundamentalist, just because I have pretty good reasons to not like Windows and prefer something else. I do accept that other people do not have enough problems with Windows to seriously consider a switch (if you take care you can keep even a Windows system quite stable and performant over a longer period of time - so with good people maintaining the Windows in a company, work can be quite painless with Windows either).

  • especially Windows developers, who think, they know all, and in reality never looked around what is used outside their small world. The vast majority of big sites does not use neither Windows nor MS SQL Server nor .net. Some of the Windows(-only) developers I know seem to be really brainwashed.
These are a few examples. Sometimes I get really tired of trying to legitimate the use of something different.

In reality it would be sufficient to be just accepted, but if I look more deeply into it: I am working to improve customers IT experience since I was about fourteen. And from the deep of my heart, I want to serve the best for the customer. From the current view, it simply does not make sense to write new applications that only runs on Windows if there is a chance to write it in a platform agnostic way. If the application is available for other platforms also then the vendor and customer can be independent from future trends. Even very Windows centric companies nowadays allow iPhones attaching to their networks for example.

So, honestly, I must recommend using Linux, Java or any other open technology and open standard over any proprietary one. - TIFF or PDF for example has not just been adopted by accident. Documented and open standards win in the long run, such as SMTP, IMAP, SSL, MIME and plenty others, that are well established.

Related posts: IT investment, The Open Source movement, Document file format, Data file format.


Alexander Zagniotov said...

Hi Martin,
When you said "Fortunately I found a company that accepted that I work on Ubuntu on my desktop.", did you mean that you reject or skip a company that does not allow you to work on linux?

In my current company I have to work in Windows 7 environment, in comparison to my previous company where I worked for two years on Ubuntu. I really miss it, unfortunately as it is Government department I don't have much control.

Martin Wildam said...

I told them that if they force me to use Windows I will accept only for a higher salary. Let's say, if I would not have been able to find a job where I can use Ubuntu I would have been forced to accept a Windows job.

I have been on another interview where they told me that I would have to use Windows. I told them that this is a big problem for me - and they didn't contact me a second time.

That said, I have some difficulties - as I am currently the first one using Ubuntu at this company.

Last week I have been on a course with 8 other people using Windows - 3 blue screens on different other people's laptop in 2 days (everyone was using Windows 7. ;-)

Alexander Zagniotov said...

I never had a blue screen with Win 7, and I think it is far the most successful windows OS. But, nothing beats Linux when it come to work.