Honorable Closed-Source Companies: Microsoft For The Win

So, I used to be a nothing-but-Microsoft guy.  I spent seven years professionally supporting and designing solutions implementing nothing but Microsoft products and devoting myself to obtaining three MCITP certifications, including the highest certification below the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) – the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 (my other certs were Enterprise Messaging Administrator on Exchange 2010 and Enterprise Support Technician on Vista).  I did this purely because my job required my understanding of Microsoft products, as it was all we used.  I didn’t have any theoretical basis for choosing Microsoft over competitors – that was selected for me.

But I had long been a Microsoft user, running Windows 3.1, then 95, then 98, then XP, then Vista, then 7, and now 8.1.  I learned to game on my frequently self-built machines running Microsoft Windows (something one cannot do legally with Apple software), and back in my day, Linux and UNIX were simply not options for an IT-inclined child wanting to play video games with friends.

Though I have embraced open source with my arms wide open, and my political and economic writings (the last paragraph of that article is the only part that’s obviously relevant to the current article, actually) on this site make it pretty clear that I’m all about free open source software, I retain a lot of respect for Microsoft.  I have long defended them against detractors by reminding everyone of the tremendous things they’ve done for Information Technology.  Not only did they start the Trustworthy Computing initiative (of which Patch Tuesday is a part) which embodies the basis for just about everyone’s understanding of software’s relationship with privacy and security for end users, but they provide great best practice documents such as the Microsoft Operations Framework (which I have used extensively as a model for my own projects) and they led the way in offering certification for IT professionals.  I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not invested myself as thoroughly as I did in studying their often top-notch materials and gaining their genuinely difficult certifications.

Microsoft has done a lot of good for us, and we should remember it.  And now, they are putting their immense resources into arenas many of us shall never see.  Legally, they are defending against overextensions on behalf of the US government and they have gained support from nearly every other IT organization you can name.  Their Microsoft On The Issues blog is actually usually a pretty good read, and though it is sometimes a little gimmicky, it almost always reinforces in me the notion that Microsoft is consistently and genuinely on the side of doing what’s right.

So while I think free and open source software is the future of IT, and I expect that there shall be in our future very little closed-source proprietary software, this leads me to expect with great interest Microsoft’s eventual opening of the Windows source code, but I won’t rush them.  They’ve slogged it out for end users in the vicious public arena of IT for decades, and I will respect the direction they choose for themselves so long as it continues to uphold those ideals of theirs which I share.

It’s good to get along when we can, and I think Microsoft offers a lot in the way of reaching across the aisle, so to speak.  Don’t be an annoying IT dogmatist.  If you need to hate someone, hate Apple…but don’t indulge your vices too greatly, even in that respect.

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