Let the experiment begin
Well, the new year is upon us, we have a new president, and the economy is in the toilet. So I figure this is as good a time as any to try something new. That's why I'm switching to Windows.
Of course, I'm not switching switching. My home desktop is still running Kubuntu 8.04 and will be for the foreseeable future. However, a couple of weekends ago I burned a System Rescue CD, shrank the Kubuntu partition on my laptop, and set it up to dual-boot Windows XP. I also resurrected the long-dormant Windows partition on my PC at work. I'm still keeping Kubuntu around on both systems (at least for now), but I'm making an effort to actively use Windows more often than not.
There are a number of reasons for this. For one, I've been getting a little fed up with Linux lately, especially after the last Kubuntu upgrade. I'm thoroughly unimpressed with KDE 4, I'm getting tired of things crashing randomly under KDE 3, and I find that I just don't use or want to use much Linux-specific software anymore. It's also been a while since I felt really connected to the community and I was never really a "true believer" in Free Software or the power of Open Source in the first place. So I just feel like I don't have as much of an anchor in the Linux world anymore, despite using it every day.
The Windows world, on the other hand, seems to have a lot to recommend it these days. For instance:
It's the native platform for .NET. I did a little .NET work at my last job and quite liked it. I've been wanting to get deeper into .NET and C# for a while now and using Windows will allow me to do that more easily.
Yes, I know Linux has Mono, and that's all well and good. But let's face it - it's just not the same. For one thing, Mono isn't as complete as Microsoft's runtime. For another, the tooling just isn't there - MonoDevelop is a fine IDE, but it can't hold a candle to SharpDevelop, let alone Visual Studio. And, of course, Mono isn't as marketable, as most of the companies looking for .NET developers are working on Windows.
Powershell. I've been wanting to try out PowerShell for a while. I keep hearing about it on .NET Rocks and RunAs Radio and it seems really cool. Again, there is a Mono port (called PASH) in the works, but it appears to be only about half done, whereas PowerShell on Windows is pretty much mainstream now.
It has everything I need and more. I don't remember where or when, but within the last few months, I came to a realization: pertty much all the software I care about runs on Windows. Granted, there are a many programs I use on a regular basis that are UNIX-only, but all the stuff I really need is cross-platform: Opera, Firefox, Komodo Edit, Vim, PHP, Python, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc. There are even Windows ports of most of the common UNIX utilities (awk, sed, grep, etc.), not to mention Cygwin. As for the things that don't run on Windows...well, I found I'm just not all that attached to those programs, and there are Windows programs that do the equivalent anyway. So really, even with switching to Windows, my toolset doesn't change that much.
It's just more marketable. Let's face it - the economy is bad and I haven't the money or the inclination to move to where the jobs are. In other words, if I wanted to live in New York City or California, I wouldn't be working in Rochester right now. So it makes sense for me to develop my skills in a direction that's in demand in my area.
From the online research I've done, Java and .NET seem to be the most in demand in the Rochester area. Java may be bigger, but the fact is that I know jack about Java, whereas I have some experience with VB.NET and C#, so that seems like a more viable path. By contrast, there's usually only a handful of PHP jobs available, and apparently PHP developers are a dime a dozen anyway. And despite all the hype, I've only ever seen 1 Ruby job available within 50 miles of my house.
So off I go on this new adventure. Hopefully it will all go well and I'll emerge a happy and productive .NET developer. The only problem is I might have to change the name of this blog.
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