Thinking about Non-Windows Technology Stacks

[Yet another post that has been in my drafts forever! I’m clearin’ em out]

Couple of things have happened in 2013 that have really got me thinking about technology and technology stacks / technology eco-systems.

For the lion’s share of my career, I’ve been doing most of my engineering on the Microsoft technology stack. Come to think of it, my very first computer booted up into Microsoft Basic … Holy Crap! they got to me before I hit puberty! Shortly after I would move on to QBasic (Microsoft), Turbo C, Turbo C++, Borland C++ Builder, Borland Delphi, then almost entirely C#, some F#, looked at some JavaScript, PHP (admittedly  not much) and now looking into Ruby, Python and some other stuff.

Ah those days on the Tandy 64k Colour Computer. Smile and later the Commodore 64.

Couple of things have happened over the last couple of months that have really changes my perspective on the “Non-Microsoft” technology world.


Microsoft is no longer the ‘sexy’ platform to be on

imageWas in NY for about 2 weeks and the hard drive in my DELL XPS died on me. I to at least 4 stores in computer stores … would you believe that none of ‘em repaired PCs? They only fixed Apple products. These were not apple stores mind you … not they fixed all their devices, not just computers and laptops .. really? REALLY!?

For the first time it was super clear that the Microsoft OS was no longer the “cool” technology stack to be on.

And this was coming off of the TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon 2014 where there were at least 200 developers in the room over the weekend where maybe 20 people were not running apple computers.


Web hosting on Linux is cheap

Cheap isn’t always good, but it has become pretty clear that in large part, most of the websites and things that we’re doing on the web will be more than adequately fulfilled by cheap hosting.

This was particularly apparent after hosting several websites, databases and VMs on Azure for a couple of months and checking back the charges to some hosting options. To be fair, Azure isn’t meant to be cheap hosting and does have free hosting configurations, but I was particularly struck / impressed with Digital Ocean’s Linux hosting offering, which gave me a complete Virtual Private Server in the cloud with 1TB Data Transfer, 20GB disk, 1 core and 512MB memory for US $5.00 a month — can’t argue with those numbers. Dream Host also offers Linux hosting with Unlimited –> Disk Storage, Monthly Bandwidth, Domains, Email Addresses  … really got me thinking about the cost of hosting

Development Tools are getting much better

As a software engineer at heart, one of the primary thing that I look for on machines / environments / operating systems that I use is Development IDEs / the ability easily build software. When I first started playing around with Linux for personal use, I didn’t really feel like there were tools that made the job of software development easy on the Linux end. At my first professional job I was required to migrate an entire system from Solaris and Xenix to RedHat Linux, an exercise which dramatically reduced the price of the solution for the client but was terribly painful for me having become accustomed to the comforts using Delphi and C++ Builder for building line of business apps to having to write thousands of business application code in VI and Emacs, compile at the command line or manually build MAKE files and debug using hooks and log statements during runtime in my code … pain in my rear!

Much has changed in this regard … I’ve used, Sublime, Netbeans, Eclipse, MonoDevelop, the Dart Editor is excellent (Seems to be based on eclipse). I thought the IntelliJ set of IDEs like PHP Storm was really well done and brought me very close to what I was accustomed to when using Visual Studio.

With the Mono Framework, There is also a whole lot that I can do in .NET and C# but have it hosted and run on the a Linux machine in the cloud. I even have to option of developing using Windows Visual Studio and copy the binaries directly a Linux box and run unchanged using Linux.

Have you actually used a Linux Desktop Distro lately?

I use Ubuntu at least two or three times out of the week on a older Dell D820 [Since moved to a much more powerful desktop] and to be honest, I really enjoy using the desktop. Earlier in 2013 I asked Jullian Hall (@julienhall), a speaker at our CDX Conference what his thoughts on the operating system landscape. He said a couple of interesting things

  1. If you don’t have a Mac at a meeting in the tech world, you’re not taken seriously
  2. You can get credit if you have an iPad
  3. If it’s Linux … you shouldn’t be at that meeting, you should be in a dark basement somewhere.

[This was where the draft ended]

Trust me, you should not dismiss the Linux Desktop at all. They have gotten and continue to get a whole lot better. There is no reason, as a developer, that I wouldn’t choose linux as an OS in today’s world.

— Sigh —-

This is getting way too long… so I’ll end on this note:

Even in my current exploration of PHP, Ruby, etc. I haven’t yet found anything as productive as my Microsoft Technology Stack, but that’s an obvious biased since I’m most experience over on the MS side … HOWEVER, I will say, that I can totally see why other developers also love their Linux or MacOS (aka Unix) tools sets.

Developers of Trinidad & the Caribbean … I don’t care what you tech stack you create on, just create something awesome! – Be a boss at your tools and at you job – Love what you do!


Posted in .NET, Entrepreneurship, Hacking, Microsoft, Productivity, Random Thoughts, Windows

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