Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not just licking my wounds

I should have known better. I'm not particularly thin-skinned, but every time I end up going to an Apple conference, instead of being able to purely enjoy the new technology (and at WWDC, the camaraderie of other Mac developers), I find myself plucking daggers out of my (well, Microsoft's) back.

Yes, I know that the Reality Distortion Field is going to promise great things on the platform. But, having never been to a PDC or TechEd, do the Windows conferences heap the same load of scorn on alternative OSes (and by inference, developers on and for that OS)? I'm sure there are cross-platform developers who are just itching for the new technology who think, "Yeah, yeah, now tell us what's cool about your stuff!" There are probably such Mac stalwarts that don't care a whit about what Microsoft is doing or would rather not hear the name mentioned in their presence, and referring to "Redmond"1 repeatedly is just as bad.2

In any case, having been to WWDC 2003, and having had access to other MacBU folks' DVDs for '04 and live streaming for '05, I didn't get as much out of it as one of my new coworkers, who was roughly introduced to the society surrounding the technology. Instead, I enjoyed talking to several Apple developers working on the technology areas of my interest (mostly security-related), and put bugs in their ear about future directions. Secondly, I did not just throw away all those Microsoft daggers–omitting the ones that were purely spiteful, there were still several that complained of real problems in MacBU products that I was able to give feedback to the team about, not all of which were known issues.

The reason I've been quiet recently is not that I'm licking my wounds from WWDC, but that I'm diving headfirst into a bunch of new-to-me technology. Although my coworkers have some good insight about what sections of the technology have analogs to what I had been doing previously, it is still a little like drinking from a firehose. I hope to spend the next few months coming up to speed, and then when the product specs settle down and we can go public about it all, have some more technical blog entries about what I'm actually doing here in CoreCLR.
1 A quick search of software companies in Redmond, Washington turns up quite a number of results. Perhaps they're repeatedly referring to WildTangent? No? Maybe Hipsoft? Crick Software? Something tells me they're just afraid of mentioning Microsoft, in case it increases Microsoft brand recognition to their own detriment.
2 I've often wondered what purpose it serves to mock Windows at these conferences. I don't think it's going to dissuade Windows developers from developing for Windows OSes. Is it dissuading current Mac developers from leaving the platform? Or is it just patting them on the back for having made "the right choice" of OSes? Hmm.


Mattie said...

I don't think the "redmond" comments are meant to be spiteful. I'll agree they are somewhat childish but its not as if other companies don't do it. Pepsi does the same to Coke, same with many other "Second Place" companies. It's done to be fun and silly and yes they know its a little dumb but the fans like it.

John C. Welch said...

Unfortunately, you're paying the price for Microsoft's actions and attitudes, starting in the 90s, and still continuing to a lesser extent today.

Microsoft spent over ten years creating some astoundingly visceral bad feelings, and they worked really hard at it. While they've been talking a good game for the last year or so, there hasn't been a lot put into code.

One example is their pointed ignoring of Mono at the corporate level, or how ROTOR went from working on a fairly wide range of OSen to being a Windows-only toy in the last major update.

Microsoft is doing a great job of talking interoperability, but their actual code? Not so much with the doing part, and the attitude you saw is the result.

While I love working with the Mac BU, I can say, and this was paaaaainfully beaten into me by experience over the last almost two decades, I never believe a single damned thing the Windows side of Microsoft says until its in commercially available, non-beta code. That part of the company frittered away its trust for so long that until I start seeing actual working product that lives up to their claims in a released form, I'm going to pretty much assume it is vapor.

A hard attitude? Sure, but with Windows and Windows products from Microsoft? It's the only safe one.

Star Girl said...

Hi Nathan! I'm happy to see your blog today for the first time. Fun times. I think that saying bad things about Windows is, at least in part, a way of congratulating themselves for being Mac developers. It's the same kind of attitude that created the current Apple attitudes which focus on why PCs suck and Macs are great, instead of just why Macs are great.