Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Roots of a Bias

A few weeks ago, Kubuntu released an upgrade that crashed the OS: this was a major goof and they promised they will never do it again. When my machine refused to boot after the upgrade, I frowned, grumbled, downgraded the faulty package and kept going until a new update restores the situation a few hours later.

Now, when I work on Microsoft Windows, I almost instantly go fuming and ballistic for the smallest glitch. Should the Explorer freeze for ages because I clicked on a network resource, I see red. Should I have to defragment the mess that has become my drive after a few months of work, there is smell of a burning martyr in the air.

Could I be somewhat biased against Windows? This would be a subject of shame because any prejudice is a reduction of reality that leads to unfair behavior. Yuck! Nothing to be proud of...

What could be the roots of such a bias? I do not particularly care about Windows supremacy on the desktop computers (except that such a global uniformity is a security problem), nor about the personal fortune of such Microsoft big hat. In fact, Windows XP Professional is probably the best Microsoft operating system I have ever used, so where is this wrath coming from?

Doing a little introspection and exploring the depths of my psyche, I think I have found out the event that triggered this anger: it was in the mid-90s so this is surely a case of unfinished business!

My first application that went into production was a modem hub for the Belgian branches of a pharmaceutical distributor. The application was written in C and, the most important factor, developed and executed on OS/2. Coming from Atari TOS, I really fell in love with OS/2!

Then I finished school and started to work in the professional world, dub it, the world of Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Coming from a world of sessions, processes and threads, WfW seemed to me like a castle of cards waiting for the faintest breath of wind to fall down in pieces. And it was. Rebooting was a big part of a developer's activity of this time.

When Windows 95 started to be announced, I was certain the industry will make the right decision based on the misery of WfW and move to OS/2 Warp. Yes, I was so naive to believe that technical soundness and robustness would help reverting the trend towards Windows to what I considered a better professional operating system.

History proved me deeply wrong and left me frustrated for the many years it took Microsoft to build an operating system as stable and usable as OS/2. I think this old frustration that has turned into bitterness is the root of my bias. I need to work on it and restore pacified relationships with Windows. And I will keep using Kubuntu as my main operating system, just in case... A relapse is always possible!