A Quick Post Praising (and criticising) Microsoft

I’m still working on The Orange Box manifesto. Wanted to start posting it today, but I had to put it off.

So in lieu of a longer essay that I had planned, here’s a short post on Microsoft and some neat Microsoft-related links: Microsoft really really wants you to use Visual C++ even if you’re a complete novice. Visual Studio Express 2008 itself is free. They have a virtual textbook that’s the equivalent of a book you would need to pay $50+ for. They also sponsor a pretty nifty weblog, which I may have linked to before. There’s also a few other things I’ve pointed out before, like the Dark GDK. Add it all up and I have to say that as a student I like Microsoft a lot.

Do I still hate Vista in it’s current form with a passion that can open cracks in the earth and call forth Lovecraft-style abominations that would surely consume human civilization if I don’t calm down and concentrate on the things that I do like* about Microsoft? Yes. Every incarnation of Windows always sucks for the first year or so because ultimately you just can’t test every version of every software application on every possible hardware configuration because there are too many possibilities. On the other hand, knowing why Vista-as-it-is-now sucks doesn’t dim my hatred for it, because I resent Microsoft trying to force me to upgrade. Also: even if I had the money for it, I’m just not going to get an XB360 until they fix the Red Ring Of Death for good.

So I’m definitely not a complete Microsoft fanboy.

But I have to give them a thumbs-up when it comes to supporting the kind of work I have to do as a student and want to do professionally. A smaller company wouldn’t be able to afford to put out all the things I linked to for free, and it’s possible Microsoft is mostly doing it for a tax break. (Actually, it’s probably just as likely that they just want to encourage more people to get into programming in general, and getting people started with a free version of Visual Studio lets all these budding programmers try it out. Then they might want to upgrade to the full version when they’ve developed their skills to the point where it makes sense to buy the full version of an IDE like Visual Studio.) But Microsoft’s motives don’t matter in the case of VS2008 and related neat stuff: I’m getting some pretty awesome support as a novice programmer, and I have to praise them for that.

*Like all the cheap Xbox1 games I can grab right now. On Saturday night, my brother spotted and bought a copy of Psychonauts I had missed. Sweetness.

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