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Joel on Software

17

by Joel Spolsky
Thursday, July 17, 2003

OK. Yesterday's post about Linux in Munich did, as predicted, cause an awful lot of slashdot-style religious debate, but alert reader Jan Derk went to the trouble of actually reading the report (PDF - in German). Thanks Jan! It seems like the answer to my sweet and innocent question about backwards compatibility is that they're actually going to install Linux, but on many machines (as many as 80%?) there will be VMWare running a licensed copy of Windows inside. Also the majority of the price tag was for training and consulting, not the software licenses per se.

The surprise of the century is that Gartner actually has a reasonable and concise analysis, headlined “Munich's Choice Doesn't Prove Linux OK for General Desktop Use.”

Nobody outside of Redmond is going to be weeping much about the fact that deals like this can put pressure on Microsoft to be more competitive about pricing and more responsive to customers on license terms. If we're lucky we can get to the point of long distance telephone service in the 1980s when it was first deregulated in the USA: nobody wanted to use Sprint or MCI, because their service was terrible, but we were sure thankful that reliable old AT&T had to lower their prices in response.

Google Holes

Slate has an interesting article on three big problems with Google. It is, indeed, practically impossible to find unbiased professional reviews of consumer products using Google, although I know they must be out there somewhere.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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