Thursday, June 18, 2009

About me

I thought it would be a good idea to describe my technical background a little, in case it helps answer questions about why I'm keeping this blog, and why I keep pointing out these little problems in Windows. In short, I'm not complaining about the broken behavior of Windows because I lack any kind of technical knowledge.

Here's my story.

Like many Linux users, I first "discovered" Linux when I was a student at university, in 1993. Linux was a bit pokey and unstable then, but great for doing certain lab analysis. However, I wasn't an exclusive Linux user yet. I still ran DOS/Windows for certain things, and maintained a Windows system for gaming until sometime in 1998 - replaced by a PlayStation. I've been 100% Linux at home ever since.

My first job (1995) was working as a UNIX systems administrator. Since we were a small company, I also doubled as the PC support tech for the office, often rebuilding broken PCs and troubleshooting DOS/Windows. We had a Novell LAN, so I was a part-time Novell administrator too. I put a few Linux servers on the network to support remote access, but it wasn't a very big deal.

A few years later, I moved on to another small company. Again, I was primarily a UNIX systems administrator, but also did all the Windows support on desktops (W/NT) and laptops (W/95). It was around this time that my employer sent me through A+. Even though most of the UNIX servers ran on IBM or HP, I installed a few "edge" Linux servers, such as an NIS master to help manage the UNIX environment.

In 1998, I joined my current employer. While my role was now "IT Manager", the reality was that I often acted as a backup UNIX/Linux systems administrator. The organization used a distributed desktop support model back then, and I became the go-to PC support guy for our group. My claim to fame: in 1999, I made a compelling case convincing senior management to adopt Linux in the enterprise, running Red Hat Linux. Before that, we only used IBM and Sun UNIX systems to run the major business applications.

Because we ran so many Linux systems, my employer put the team through RHCE. I passed with high scores on my first attempt (RHCE exams are tough.) I re-upped my certification a few years ago.

Having convinced management that Linux could support enterprise servers, I've been fortunate enough to be able to run Linux on my desktop at work since about 2002. My bosses knew about this, and supported it. The important thing was that Linux let me do everything I needed as a manager, and it was an environment I enjoyed.

But a few years ago, we got a new boss who didn't see things exactly that way. So I've moved back to Windows, at least for work. End of story.

The difference between Windows and Linux has been shocking, to say the least. Since I find it interesting when long-time Windows users experiment with Linux for the first time, I thought it might be equally interesting for this long-time Linux user to blog about my first experience running Windows in over 6 or 7 years. When I blog about something being "broken" in Windows, or something in Windows that is confusing, it's because that feature really is broken or confusing in Windows. At least, compared to Linux.

Every few months, you'll see a staff writer for some tech magazine claim he's going to try Linux exclusively for a month or so. When the "experiment" is over, the writer usually has lots to say about how this or that thing doesn't work "right" in Linux, because it doesn't work just like Windows does. If tech writers can do this with Windows-Linux, I think it's fair to do the same with Linux-Windows. I'll post a new blog item about once a week.


  1. What shall I say? I think "thanks" summarizes it very well.

    It's great that you do this, and i hope to read many more of your posts.

  2. So many people come from Windows to Linux that we forget that moving from Linux to Windows can be as or even more confusing than the other way around.

    It is a good thing to illustrate the the differences don't go only one way.

  3. "I've been 100% Linux at home ever since."
    Except for that one Mac.

    It is true that most people who complain about moving from Windows to anything else are complaining that it doesn't work the same way as Windows. I think your complaints are more valid in that many of the things you point out are missing functionality rather than just Windows doing things differently.

  4. Thanks, all. I like to think that I'm adding some value here, giving the other side of the story. As Erlik points out: "So many people come from Windows to Linux that we forget that moving from Linux to Windows can be as or even more confusing than the other way around."

  5. This blog is very important to me. I'm glad there's SOMEONE out there keeping track of all this. Windows is not "better", and people need to see the problems, and how LInux actually does things a bit better. THANKS!! Keep it up.


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