Flutterby™! : Winquisition

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2002-07-24 16:34:22+00 by Dan Lyke 12 comments

Phil has mounted a full-fledged campaign to get me to accept the beauty of Windows, .NET, and Microsoft's vision in general. I'm calling this attempt at converting the unbeleivers the "winquisition".

Our chief weapon is suprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency..

[ related topics: Dan's Life Microsoft Monty Python ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-07-24 19:10:24+00 by: ebradway

Fear, I can see that. Surprise, only if you haven't really learned to fear Microsoft already. Ruthless efficiency? Only in legal matters.

The GIS software I'm dealing with at work (yes, I'm working again) is developed by ESRI - a privately held company that's been on Microsoft's short-list for acquisition for quite a few years. So far, they are doing a good job of keeping their feature set far enough ahead of Microsoft Streets and Maps to justify two orders of magnitude higher prices. It'll be fun to watch them eventually destroyed by Microsoft - either through acquisition or domination in the market.

#Comment made: 2002-07-24 19:57:26+00 by: TC

Dan: if you start to compare me to Phil, they will never find your alkali bleached bones out on the playa tundra. I have gotten very comfortable with XP professional as a desktop but I do spend a lot of time in ssh shells. Microsoft might get backend software figured out some day but thats not today. Microsoft's dominance ends at the desktop.

#Comment made: 2002-07-24 20:37:31+00 by: Dori

Stand in line, Phil. I'm still working on getting Dan to appreciate the wonder that is OS X.

#Comment made: 2002-07-24 22:36:46+00 by: Dan Lyke

<curmudgeon>OS X is beautiful, it's doing things that the Un*x world was doing circa 1988. Windows, on the other hand, is just getting past its VMS roots circa 1978.</curmudgeon>

Actually, the only problem I have with OS X (besides my previous experiences with Apple as a hardware company and that the iBooks felt cheap when I went to look at 'em) is that it's yet another bleedin' piece of software that I'd have to learn the ins and outs of. The GNU tools are still playing catch-up on OS X, and it's not a primary development platform for much of the software I use, so those versions would always be playing catch-up. I'd have to install and configure an X server, and so on and so forth, none of which takes terribly long, but all of which will take me roughly the same time on whatever platform I do the install with.

That, and the fact that nobody cares if I develop software for it.

My main problem with modern incarnations of VMS meets CPM Windows is that they way over-promise. I can tolerate Windows requesting a reboot every time a gnat farts near my computer. I actually enjoyed the strange sense that the byzantine C API makes. I hate the API of the month club, I hate the "different for the sake of being different" crap, I hate the poorly thought out processes systems which seem elegant but make administration hell, and I hate that Visual Studio .NET gives you way less tools to develop with than Visual Studio 6 did, and that while I can implement everything with the command line tools, any time I spend learning those skills is going to be wasted in 4 months.

Oh yeah, and the fact that:

void Stuff(unsigned long opaqueHandle)
   struct StrDef *structPtr = (struct StrDef *)opaqueHandle;

gives me a structPtr that's NULL every single time, even though I've told the environment in every conceivable way that I can find that this is supposed to be unmanaged C code.

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 03:25:00+00 by: ebradway

Is a pointer still 32 bits? Is an unsigned long still 32 bits? Damn, it's been a while since I messed with C...

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 04:21:40+00 by: Dan Lyke

Well, it varies, but I checked, and it was giving me warnings about such casts (as well as giving me wrong results), despite the fact that sizeof(void *) == sizeof(unsigned long). My handles are now all dereferenced through tables of some sort.

Man, I was in a really pissy mood today, huh? Okay, I also hate that a Bitmap(width, height, stride, format, IntPtr) constructor doesn't make a copy of the bytes pointed to by a IntPtr(void *) constructor which takes memory from unmanaged code, and furthermore just silently refuses to draw the image rather than go down in flames when you free() the void * from which the IntPtr was derived.

If that hasn't scared everybody off, will the last reader of Flutterby please init 0?

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 12:29:48+00 by: meuon

init 3 (non-gui-mode)

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 14:43:20+00 by: other_todd

I don't init 0. I just halt.

Let it out, Dan, it'll do you good. Actually, what amazes me is that apparently the windows API, based on anecdotal evidence from you and others, is STILL brain-damaged in many of the same ways it was when Win 3.1 was state of the art and Undocumented Windows was the book you needed to actually understand why it was brain-damaged in the ways it was.

I mean, you'd think they'd at least get rid of some of the older brain-damage over the years ... notwithstanding any new brain-damage that has been introduced since then.

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 19:42:34+00 by: Shawn

In my experience, they haven't gotten rid of anything (or at least, precious little). They just keep piling more layers on top.

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 21:18:33+00 by: Dan Lyke

Exactly. The real problem with the subsequent APIs has been that none of them have been complete, even if you're a Visual Basic coder, a thorough knowledge of the Windows 3.1 API and the decisions behind it is necessary to write apps. What really sucks is that most of the subsequent APIs make it more difficult to do the necessary, rather than less so.

#Comment made: 2002-07-25 23:50:29+00 by: Shawn

I've always held that you can tell a real VB guru by how well they know the Win32 API.

#Comment made: 2002-07-26 18:12:50+00 by: other_todd

This news makes me sad.