great series of discussions with dave probert. he is an amazing guy with a unique (well, almost ) perspective, having a lot of experience on kernel level on unix, as well as on windows nt. like he says, these are the most important systems out there -
vms/wnt and unix/linux, and it's great to be able to talk to or listen to somebody who can really give a deep insight into that, with none of the FUD or subjectivity that is rampant out there. i am in no position to judge what he says, but happen to agree
with most of the things he says. unix is 40 years old, vms around 30, linux about 20 and winnt around 15 (broadly speaking, as platforms), and yet vms and wnt have done a better job in the it industry, because those systems did not start out as hobbies, but
as well designed systems that had clear targets and strategies behind them etc. the history and philosophy of operating systems is a fascinating subject, and it's interesting to see how and why a lot of the things we are dealing with today as consumers or
it professionals have their roots into the way developers approached these things at the outset etc.
Interesting stuff. I come from a Linux background, and must admit that Linux is not as good as some people think it is, whereas Windows is much better than some may think. Linux has a lot of problems in terms of "openness" and lack of standardization. Windows
NT on the other hand as a platform is great, with roots going back to the "virtually unhackable" and highly scalable VMS (DEC, Dave Cutler & Co). There's advantages and disadvantages to both sides. I think Linux is great as a "learning lab", hence used in
universities, on supercomputers etc., where it's all about testing, tweaking, recompiling the kernel and configuring the hell out of it, whereas Windows (and other UNIX commercial systems, for that matter) is a lot more stable and plays a more important role
in business and enterprise environments. It's difficult to draw a line, but I think there's a lot to learn on both sides (Linux should become a little more standardized, Windows could in turn become a little more open and versatile).