How broad is your skillset?

In the past 12 months I have gone through many changes. I’ve relocated back to the North of England, I’ve changed jobs and I’ve become a convert to the non Microsoft camp of software.

I haven’t become anti-Microsoft or anything like that; well, not more than most of us in the software development industry are anyway.  But I have found a whole new respect and love for other development languages and operating systems.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve tried out Linux (Ubuntu and Fedora7) on my laptop and have found that far from my expectations for it to be clunky and hard to use, it’s actually incredibly fast and unbelievably easy to use.  there are differences with windows and these will take some getting used to over time, but the same could be said for switching to Vista from XP and I had made that move for a while during Beta testing too.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday about how impressed I have been with Linux and how I am learning Java.  I was really enthusiastic about learning new things and expanding my knowledge, broadening my experience and discovering a whole new world.

What struck me most during our conversation is just how blinkered and restricted some developers are.  He kept umming and erring and being very negative about Linux and Java, despite having never actually used Linux and I’m not aware that he has developed anything in Java either.  His complaints were about speed and stability, which as far as i can tell are all historical issues with Java and Linux… well stability has never been an issue as far as I know.  Linux may have had a reputation for being the OS for hard core developers and scripting guru’s; but I believe this is all changing with more user friendly distributions being made avaliable.

One statement my colleague made was that ‘Microsoft must be doing something seriously wrong if Linux becomes popular’.  Well I guess they are doing something wrong as Linux is incredibly popular.  the thing with Microsoft, isn’t so much that they have the killer OS but that they have the killer marketing machine.

Microsoft aren’t all bad, I still believe that we are where we are today in IT and computing, largely thanks to the momentum given by Microsoft.  the common file types, the common user interface that means you can move to a different office, sit in front of a computer and just use it. The sheer number of ‘novice’ computer users who are able to use a computer, even if it is just to send email and browse the web.  it’s all good stuff in it’s own way.

I have defenitely changed my attitude, I’m not for or against any single platform, I am fast becoming for all the different platforms and the rich variety of options and useability they offer.

My thought for the day: Just how broad is your skillset?

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