Why, oh why, didn’t I take the blue pill?

I ended my last post with a quote from Through the looking glass, although most of you probably recognise that as what Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix, and it is more appropriate in that setting.  The first time I heard someone say that in relation to computers was at a Microsoft Event around the beta 2 stage of .NET 1.0.  The presenter was comparing the managed world of .NET, with the unmanaged world of Win32, COM and MFC, but more than that, I think that the same comparison can be made between Linux and Windows.
I am a developer, not a programmer, and there is a distinction.  A developer writes functionality, and the more housework and chores done by the environment and framework I develop with the quicker I can implement, test and deliver that functionality to the client.
Microsoft empowers the developer and therefore empowers the user.  It seems to me that the Linux community deal in obscurity, the sole purpose being to make them 733t.
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That age old debate

I’ve been reading boB’s blog recently, and the thing that struck me the most was the number of entries describing the endless struggle he’s been having with just getting things to run under Linux.  I really don’t want to attract a huge amount of flaming comments on this but the more I hear the more I think what really is the point of Linux?
Sure it’s open source, sure it’s ‘free’, sure you can configure it just how you want it and sure it has less security holes.  Put you *do* pay a huge price for it, and that price is productivity.  I used to be skeptical of Microsoft’s claims that Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server would give a higher ROI than the equivalent open source solution, but now I am not so sure.  It is admittedly a VERY expensive outlay for a basic system (infrastructure alone for 5 users will set you back £5000) but for that £5k you are not just getting an operating system and database server, but also the peace of mind that you can be up and running in less than 24 hours, that if there are issues you have numerous, huge, centralised, regularly updated resources avaliable to you.  MSDN, Technet and the Microsoft Developer Forums are one of the greatest resources avaliable on the internet for developers and systems administrators.  You also have the piece of mind that you can’t configure it *just* how you want, you have the knowledge that if you move your application from your development environment to your production environment you know it’s gonna run!  You know that there are a BILLION Windows machines out there, meaning if you are having a problem there’s is a huge probability that someone else has had that problem and has fixed it.  Microsoft’s monopoly is a good thing!
There are so many angles at which you can go with this, but I am going to sum it up with this quote from Through the looking glass
You take the blue pill and the story ends.
You wake in your bed and you believe
whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill and you stay
in Wonderland, and I show you how
deep the rabbit-hole goes

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