(*) By “Unix”, I mean Linux, Unix, AIX, OS/X, and similar flavours.
Way back when, about twenty or so years ago, I was a Unix admin, and a Unix developer. I had to be both, because I was the only person in the company who could spell Unix.
My favourite game was to go along to presentations for Microsoft Windows ‘new features’ and say “Oh, but hasn’t Unix had that for the last twenty years?”
Sure enough, there were countless things that Windows users and developers were just discovering (TCP/IP, shared libraries, multiple sessions on the same computer) that had been in Unix for some time. Linux was yet to make a mention, but as I’ve moved firmly into the Windows world, and left Unix behind, I’ve pretty much assumed that technologically speaking, if Windows has it, Unix and the like must also have the same functionality.
As I re-engage with Unix and Linux developers and IT professionals in recent months, though, I can see that there are some areas – particularly in security – where Windows is far ahead of the *x operating systems. Here’s a few:
Maybe I’m missing some huge advances, and maybe some of these issues are resolved with a third-party tool – but then, maybe that’s part of the problem too. All of the above are a part of the operating system in Windows, and can be relied on to exist by developers, and their use by applications can be expected by IT professionals.
[Disclaimer: Yes, I know there are still areas where Microsoft needs to learn from Unix and Linux, and perhaps it’d be good if you’d educate me on those, too. This isn’t a “Windows is better than *X” debate, it’s a “hey, even if you think *X is better than Windows, here are some areas *X needs improving in”.]
Edit: There have been some excellent comments posted overnight in response to this article, and as I had hoped, I am mostly still ‘in the dark’ about what Linux and Unix-like systems offers. I’ll be looking at these as I have time, and responding when I can. For now, just let me say that I am impressed to see so much technical content in the responses, and so little of the “fanboy” behaviour that often characterises these discussions.
A friend of mine ordered a Platinum Zune HD recently (that’s the 32GB model), and because he was unable to receive the shipment, asked for me to open it for him and check on its functionality to make sure he hadn’t been shipped a lemon.
Since I’ve previously commented on the Zune 30 that my wife bought for my birthday, I thought I’d have a quick look and see what I like about it.
The demonstration video is stunning, and shows off the display impressively. The display is wonderfully bright, and fulfils every bit of the promise of OLED technology. Light-weight, thin, amazingly bright and detailed.
Installing the new Zune software from http://www.zune.net/setup went smoothly, although when the player was plugged in, the Zune software immediately insisted on a Player update. The Zune needs to be updated from 4.0 to 4.1 already.
This may come as a surprise, but really it’s not too shocking. There’s a considerable gap between preparing a bunch of hardware for simultaneous shipping and the actual delivery, during which time there may be some interesting bugs discovered. Possibly this time, the bug is that the charge indicator doesn’t light in version 4.0, but does light up in version 4.1. At least, that’s a change I noticed.
So, have any of my previous complaints been addressed? Given the timing of my last post, close to the end of the Zune HD’s development, I doubt that Microsoft had a chance to fix the problems I noted, and I seem to be correct about that.
You can still put MP3 files into your Podcast folder and give them a genre of “Podcast” in order to make them work like Podcasts (i.e. remembering their position while you go do other things), but the images tied into the MP3 files are still not displayed along with those podcasted MP3s. And they still don’t play ordered by track number, preferring instead to use some bizarre combination of date and textual sort, with some apparent randomness thrown in.
It appears so far that all of the other issues I’ve encountered are still there, so I’m still waiting for someone at Microsoft to address those and deliver a Zune (updated firmware, software, or hardware) that is absolutely perfect. If they could make it cheaper, too, it would be easier to justify a purchase.
But man, I love that bright display on the new Zune HD. I just wish I didn’t have to part with this one so soon. I guess I’d better save my Amazon gift cards…