Aquarium Blog

Friday, October 31, 2003

Extreme rhetoric

This is my comment to a very interesting blog piece by someone called Diego Dovall, that I found trough Scoble.

Diego,

I liked your little essay a lot. There are plenty of things to think about in it, and your writing style rocks.

I think you are right about Microsoft. I am among the ones that don’t hate them even when I don't like everything they do.

While my mother and my aunts are free not to care about Microsoft, I work in software, and I usually find reasons to care. I have been a developer working with Microsoft technologies for seven years, and I have sometimes been seen as a Microsoft zealot by my peers. I am not, I swear! As a friend of mine who programs in Java likes to say, I know that what I have with Microsoft is, to some degree, just a new form of Stockholm syndrome ;)

I am updating my resume right now, because I need to switch to another job. Sometimes, I must admit, I am a bit afraid to emphasize my specialization in Microsoft technologies. On one side, it is a great way to filter the best job proposals. But sometimes I feel that if I appear not to hate Microsoft enough, someone will paint an M$ sign in my forehead. On the other side, I know that if I say I hate Microsoft to the right people, I will get plenty of slaps in my back and the confirmation that I am among the good guys.

I have always made my best effort to keep a very balanced and sensible position about Microsoft and software technology in general. Every time I get to argue about these topics, I say: “Ok, let’s not talk about religious issues please; this is just technology after all”. But I usually get an overwhelming dose of extreme rhetoric anyway. It is so tiresome, and it makes it so impossible to talk about the facts!

This is Latin America here. Commercial software has always been too expensive for the average income, and hating Microsoft (or maybe just saying that you hate Microsoft) is just a matter of fashion among the IT staff in many companies. Many politicians are willing to sign laws to restrict the buying of Microsoft software in the Public Sector.

So, my point is: while ordinary people like us can still take whatever position about Microsoft, or not position at all, there is increasing pressure to narrow our choices.

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