Sunday, January 06, 2008

Like father like son ...

Our company has been looking for a nice open source portal and CMS system based on the .net platform and so far things are not very bright. First of all there aren't many and among the systems, many are proprietary and not open source. The ones that are open-source are either very buggy or a really simple system that really isn't worth the hassle of going over it and integrating it for the project that we have. One really important aspect of using the open source systems is the active community that they should have which in case of .net systems, seems to be an un-achievable goal.

For years now we've been quite happy with the PHP based systems. Many good solutions and lots of active developers backing the solutions. You feel the love around those systems. There are even lots of good things done in the Perl and Python domains.

Why are we looking for a .net based one now? Because the dear client says so! Because they are possessed by the magic of Microsoft.

The conclusion so far is that the attitude that MS has as a huge corporation has spread down to the users of MS technologies. This attitude is something like this : Announce a product before it really is a product, money is the most important goal, no innovation, no openness and everything proprietary, don't collaborate much and make things as easy as possible by removing flexibility. There is a river pushing in all these water molecules in this sea.


Anonymous said...

Another byproduct of big corporation's nature is their lengthy and slow product release cycles, which is specially a problem in developer-targeted software.
Many end users don't have a real notion about new software features most of the time and as long as it works, it's fine by them. But developers need all the new features they can get their hands on (putting aside whether this is a good thing or not.)
If Firefox 4 alpha is released today, or if W3C releases a new XHTML recommendation, we need to support it in our server application tomorrow (or preferably this evening.) And if that server application is based on an open technology with an active and "passionate" community (take PHP or Ruby on Rails as example) we're much more likely to have the required tools to do so, than if we were using a monopolistic technology from Microsoft or Sun.
Of course, there are cases that you get better technology support from big corporations, but that's either just a political accident (the corporation was the one that sponsored or developed the new technology) or because the open alternatives had small or non-responsive communities.
Any developer with even a small amount of experience in software industry will have tales to tell about how customers of bosses insist on the wrong technologies because "it is better." Ask them why, and you'll find out it's because of some form of hype (be it a press release, advertisement, his friends liking it, or his barber.) The technology they insist on may not be wrong all the time, but it just may be one of the many alternatives, but they insist on it nonetheless, with no real technically viable reasons.
For more about this point, I highly suggest reading this essay by Paul Graham (an old-time Lisp hacker and a venture capitalist.) It's about different programming languages and the boss's insistence on Java, but I think it's relevant to our current context.

Amir H. Fassihi said...

Yeah ... using MS tools for open source development would be like going to a pool party with suits.

On the other end this famous saying is usually valid which says: "Nobody gets fired for buying IBM".

This dude has some ideas about the matter:
Getting fired for buying IBM"

Seven said...

Your last paragraph is the best description of MS ever...
btw please let me solve the problem for you... introduce the client to me... I will convince them for going to open source solutions otherwise I kill either of them or myself!!! :D

Amir H. Fassihi said...

You've got to get ready to kill lots Ehsun :) ....