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    I used to write Free software for commercial, proprietary operating systems. Then I realised: why on Earth would I donate my precious time to enriching Microsoft shareholders?

    Not that I have anything against corporations, shareholders, or the profit motive in general - quite the contrary in fact. But if I’m going to be spending my time on someone else’s commercial ecosystem, I’d like to be paid for it, thanks.

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      You make a very insightful point.

      I can think of one potentially good reason to write Free Software for commercial, proprietary operating systems:

      People on those commercial, proprietary operating systems might use that software… and then realize it’s also available on free operating systems, such as Linux, making it easier for them to make the switch.

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        This only works if people understand what they’re getting (user freedom) and that the software they like is available on freedom-respecting platforms. If they see it as just another piece of $0 windows software, then all you do is help entrench current platform dominance.

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          Only if their existing platform is free-as-in-beer. I switched from Windows 2000 to FreeBSD by first replacing all of the programs that I used on a daily basis with cross-platform ones that worked on both systems. Then by using a FreeBSD machine and remote X11 on the Windows system, with most things running on the FreeBSD box displayed on the Windows machine and a few things running locally. Then by switching the last things over to FreeBSD. These days, you could do the second step with a VM.

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            I think the cost of the operating system is “$0” in the consumer’s mind. It’s already rolled into the cost of the hardware in most cases.

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            Besides free (as in beer) and free (as in libre), another reason people switch to Linux is because Windows is a buggy mess and/or Mac is extremely expensive. I’m one of those people, having switched to Linux on the desktop 2-3 years ago for exactly those reasons.

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        This is a classic Microsoft move. It’s been done exactly the same with other pieces of software in the .NET Core community recently.

        Microsoft won’t embrace any outsider technology. Instead, they’ll build their copycat, and expect the rest of the world to embrace them.

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          Microsoft won’t embrace any outsider technology. Instead, they’ll build their copycat, and expect the rest of the world to embrace them.

          There was a long discussion about similar situation with Autofac strangled, I expect ImageSharp to get competition soon, etc. (Btw. ImageSharp has a pretty nice API, I really liked working with it), and probably others as well.

          The really bad part is the rest of the world automatically flocks around MS tech, even if it is technologically inferior (eg. System.ServiceModel.SyndicationFeed with a useless common abstraction for RSS/Atom feeds with terrible API, vs. the CodeHollow.FeedReader which was a breeze. This is just one example from the top of my head)

          I try to use 3rd party tech on .net, because I have bad experience with MS APIs. Often badly desiged, and constantly in flux, needing constant rewrites, while I usually can get better APIs wit lover maintenance burden for the cost of some performance (or not), and usually with less (useless) features.

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            Can relate to this. Worked 4 years with Microsoft technologies. Using Microsoft’s own libraries was always painful experience, and it was better to use some other third party library. Every single time.

            In four years had to learn how to start a new net core project like 5 times.

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              If you don’t mind me asking, where did you go after MS? I moved to Ruby on Rails myself (nine years ago now!).

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                After that, like a year ago, moved to the Java world. The company I’m working for has a Vert.x+Groovy monolith, being split up in Spring Boot+Java microservices. Not my dream stack but can be productive on it, and I’m starting to understand the Spring mindset, so, happy with it :)

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            And yet people constantly insist that Microsoft is different now… a good, benign Microsoft that embraces open source!

            And they are still pulling these kinds of shenanigans all the time.

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              It’s in their DNA, it seems. Little has changed since the days of The Halloween Documents.


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              And to Stac Electronics with their Stacker compression software in 1993. MS was looking to acquire, then didn’t, and released MS-DOS 6.0 with DoubleSpace compression, developed in-house.

              This leopard hasn’t really changed its spots.

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                Just like when Apple stole Duet Display and F.lux.

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                  Duet feels very different to me; using iPad displays as secondary Mac displays had been a major feature request since literally the very first ones came out. I remember talking with people about this when the iPad was new, way back at Fog Creek at latest, which would put these discussion at least as far back as 2014. Duet didn’t even launch until 2015. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be upset, but that one felt a bit obvious to me. And at any rate, the way screen sharing works on recent iPadOS versions is honestly pretty different from what Duet does. There’s overlap, of course, but I don’t feel (for better or worse) that Duet got directly cloned, nor do I feel like it was such an innovative concept that the authors can say “no one coulda thought of this!”.

                  F.lux, and AppGet, and (just to throw in an oldie) Sherlock, feel very different to me. F.lux was, at least as far as I’m aware, a brand-new concept that didn’t have precedents and certainly didn’t feel “obvious” to me; Apple integrating it was a big deal, and felt like a rip-off. This is a case where an app did something people hadn’t been asking for, and Apple cloned the concept fairly directly.

                  AppGet and Sherlock are different from F.lux, but end up feeling stolen because they’re both examples where there’s a clear need for something in that space, but the relevant companies directly cloned the competitor. Apple had been working on better search since the abandoned Copland project, but the level to which Sherlock copied Watson in both appearance and name just felt gross to me at the time. Likewise, copying the entire way AppGet works, and calling the result WinGet, just feels…well, duplicitous, at best.

                  I’m not trying to be an Apple apologist here, but I think lumping Duet into this discussion starts to miss the point a bit.

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                Have never done windows development, nor have I even used Windows since windows 2000, so I have no idea about the windows ecosystem, but this is some BS right here, if true. It’s like the bad old days of MS that I had so hoped they’d grown out of.

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                  Ugh, Microsoft literally flew him out to get an in person brain rape just to make sure they had all the product requirements down 🤮 (side note, I don’t really like that term because I feel it trivializes rape but I chose it because of how many times I’ve heard it in my career, especially with that TV show Silicon Valley being popular 😬).

                  I’ve had one job interview like that and afterwards I felt so upset that it happened to me 🙁. It’s caused me to volunteer less information about my accomplishments, namely the methodology and the intuition behind it to prevent that type of leeching again. I’m sorry the author got used like that, especially by one of the richest companies in the world.

                  Sounds like the same old entitled greedy Microsoft that my parents talked about when I was growing up, just with a new marketing spin to distract from what they truly are.

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                    Well, at least it clarifies why Microsoft loves open source all of a sudden. Never change, Redmond :).

                    There’s a real nugget here that’s been irking me, too:

                    Am I upset that Microsoft, a 1.4 trillion-dollar company, finally got their act together and released a decent package manager for their flagship product? No, they should’ve done it years ago. They shouldn’t have screwed Windows Store as badly as they did.

                    It baffles me a bit that the FOSS… maybe community isn’t the right term here, that a lot of FOSS companies, like Canonical, really really want to build an app store, when this model has been a nearly comic failure on “non-locked” devices. Yeah, it worked great for phones and tablets, but even the Mac app store is hardly a resounding success, even though its potential user base significantly overlaps the same community for which the iTunes store and the iPhone app store work well enough.

                    I mean yeah, downloading software off random places on the Internet isn’t great, either, we have 30 years of history to teach us that, but trying to push centralized “stores” for general-purpose systems hasn’t worked very well, either, even though it was backed by significant commercial interest from companies with a great deal of resources to throw at it.

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                      iOS and Android stores are successful for the same reason Model T’s most popular color was black (Fortnite’s capitulation shows that Android’s non-play-store support exists to deflect criticism, not to be used).

                      I don’t know about Canonical, but Apple and Microsoft don’t want just a store. They want control.

                      Stores that just provide curation, marketing, updates, and reasonably-priced payment processing would be great for developers. But stores we’re given are built on rent-seeking model that wants to own the whole ecosystem.

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                        Back In The Day (TM), between shareware CDs and websites like Tucows and Simtel, we had plenty of “stores”, more or less. The great thing about them, of course, being that users could choose any one of them. As soon as one of them started to suck, we’d find another one and good riddance. These were curated enough that they were relatively safe (not 100% malware-free, but malware-free enough that it wasn’t a huge problem – but those were other days for malware, too), but not locked down enough that you couldn’t find anything useful.

                        I sometimes wonder if freshmeat.net just happened at a bad time, before we were all ready for it :).

                        I don’t know about the Apple store (I haven’t really enjoyed Macs since the Powerbook era, and I switched away completely after 2009 or so) but the Android store is worse every day. It’s hard to explore a category, and with SEO and marketing thrown in the mix, the top-rated applications in many categories are actually pretty bad. If that’s the alternative to distro repositories that everyone’s proposing, no thanks.

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                        I think the Ubuntu MATE greeter is the only ‘good’ example I have seen recently. Not that the Ubuntu or elementaryOS app stores are bad, they just seem not to ‘click’ with new users as intended (at least in my experience).

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                          I don’t know if they click with anyone once the novelty factor wears off. Most of these offer only a tiny subset of the applications that are available through the system’s package manager, and it’s pretty inconvenient to manage them, too. elementary OS’s store has a whopping 177 applications, or about 15% of what used to be available on a single shovelware CD back in the day, and most of them are basic programs that don’t really have anything going for them except that they all follow the same HIG. Which is cool, I guess, but no substitute for actual functionality. You can literally install all 177 of them, and there’s still a good chance that you’ll need some extra applications.

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                            The elementaryOS apps are in my (limited) experience pretty good quality. Until recently that was a pretty unique feature. Hopefully Ubuntu’s snap store will prove to meet or exceed that standard.

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                        I always find it cute to see stores about innocence lost to corporate.

                        It’s unavoidable; Everybody gets the lesson. Sooner or latter.

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                          Now I understand what Microsoft meant with “We <3 Open Source” in their last release article.

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                            Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

                            … a little too ironic? The sad thing is is that they’re not even discouraging people from building open source software, just the kind that makes Windows better.

                            [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists

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                              Someone brought it up on the winget repo: https://github.com/microsoft/winget-cli/issues/353

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                                Why do people insist on taking stuff like this up on the MS GitHub repos? What do they think they accomplish other than making themselves look like petulant children? I understand the outrage, but nobody (and I mean literally nobody) who is working on that repo can do anything with this kind of thing. It’s the same thing as the last “controversy” where Microsoft used the MAUI name that someone else already had a trademark for. Vitriol and shitposting like that does not make Microsoft act faster or necessarily take action in the direction you want. More likely the post eventually gets locked and MS doubles down on their position. The only way to actually push Microsoft is to make this more public in feeds where non-coders reside. Make the sysops who are going to use WinGet know that they are using a copycat that Microsoft just stole, and believe me, sysops don’t read GitHub issues unless it was linked from a Google search…