What is a Microsoft Open Source Engineer, anyway?
Microsoft + Open Source

Awesome article, I had no idea that Microsoft dedicated more than some guy to spin PR about open source. Your articles timing also couldn’t be better. I’m a developer in South Africa who’s been one of Microsoft's biggest fans from the age of 6. The first program I ever wrote was VB calculator, the first web application I wrote was in ASP classic and I’ve had an ongoing love affair with SQL server for 8 years. I’ve never felt a need to change platforms and while my enthusiasm for development led me to dabble with other systems I always backed Microsoft platforms 100%… right up until yesterday.

I work as Web Developer now and am the lead developer for small company here who’s out grown their ancient ASP classic infrastructure. We easily have $ 13 000 in licenses just for different versions of Office and Windows alone, this is overhead which has concerned the owner of the company for quite some time especially when it comes to the developer licenses but I stood firm and swore it was worth every penny, while I’ve had a nagging feeling creeping up.

One part of this is that Windows Server is great as file server and host for smaller projects but It quickly begins to lose its luster in production. Its more than powerful enough and has more than enough features but the actual desktop and classic environment that’s great on a smaller system becomes a burden when you hit 200 sites especially when Server Administration is not your full time role. The other side is the environment hindering my ability to innovate. I naturally want to write the best code I’m capable of using the best language and tools for the job, of which 90% of is open source. Windows integration is usually an afterthought for a lot of repositories and I have to hack at them for hours just to make use of them and then settle at just being happy I have it sort of running 50% slower than it should be. This has improved a bit but it is still far from optimal.

Yesterday we received a 72% price increase from our hosting service on Microsoft products. Our currency took a knock and Microsoft charges in Dollars. I had to freeze my order for a second windows server since overnight It has gone from being expensive yet justifiable able to completely un- affordable and now we can only view it as a threat to the cash flow of our our business that will continue to grow. Hosting aside I also noticed that my company has used 9gb of it 10gb free space for the SQL Server database and a SQL server license is out of our price range regardless of how our exchange rate is doing. Taking all of these factors into account it means that developing in and running a Windows environment is essentially preventing us from being able to scale.

So I made the call, with a sore heart over the next 4 or so months I am phasing Microsoft completely out of our products and business tools. Currently as I am writing I have a pc running Ubuntu Server next to me waiting for the initial setup.

On another note… dude your job is awesome!… While mine is too but it is seriously lacking in project funding and cannon building materials. It’s a pity the job is a world away since whether I got it or not I would have loved to stop past and hack with you guys a bit, there are 101 awesome projects and experiments I want build if I could only find the time.

Sorry about for the essay but I needed to explain this to the world. Perhaps you could forward it on to someone else in the company? Africa’s coming online but can’t use Microsoft's tool set . It would be great if this post just resulted in one more little kid sitting here watching a pc boot into Windows and getting inspired and wanting to build something great.


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