Linux does a lot of things right—open source, security, reliability—but its far from perfect. In fact, Linux and its vendors could stand to learn a few things from Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft. Like what? Heres my list of the top five things that Linux could learn from Microsoft.
With Linux and open-source software, all the code is open, so any developer can leap right in and start working. Thats grand, but what if you dont know where to start? What if youre not really sure, or perhaps not too sure, about whats the right way to program for a given project? What if you want to write something new and useful, but you discover three months into your project that youre duplicating work thats been done a dozen times over?
There are no easy-to-use guides on how to program successfully in open source. To learn how to do it right, usually takes a couple of years of getting to know the lay of the free software landscape.
With Microsoft, however, theres the Microsoft Developer Network. MSDN provides developers with help in writing applications using Microsoft products and programming tools. And, when I say help, I mean Help.
There are well-written tutorials, best practices guides, the latest betas and production copies of operating systems and software, software development tools, code examples, online communities, endless articles on the nuts and bolts of Microsoft programming, and on and on. Best of all, its all well-organized, so that you can easily learn what you need when you need to learn it.
MSDN isnt cheap, but for Microsoft developers its worth every penny. Open-source sites like SourceForge are very handy, but theyre more useful as project incubators than as educational sites. No, open source and Linux dont have anything to match MSDN.