operating system biculturalism


Via Anil's daily links, an excellent article in Joel on Software on the topic of biculturalism between Linux and Windows programmers.

It's a great article, with spot-on assessments of core values in both communities, and nice analogies to geographically based cultural differences. Here's a representative excerpt:

I have heard economists claim that Silicon Valley could never be recreated in, say, France, because the French culture puts such a high penalty on failure that entrepreneurs are not willing to risk it. Maybe the same thing is true of Linux: it may never be a desktop operating system because the culture values things which prevent it. OS X is the proof: Apple finally created Unix for Aunt Marge, but only because the engineers and managers at Apple were firmly of the end-user culture (which I've been imperialistically calling "the Windows Culture" even though historically it originated at Apple). They rejected the Unix culture's fundamental norm of programmer-centricity. They even renamed core directories -- heretical! -- to use common English words like "applications" and "library" instead of "bin" and "lib."


There are a few of us who live in both worlds. As one of them, I enjoyed the article but was sad to see he omitted other areas of segregation - like languages, architectures, and even hardware: He forgot the Mac!

An interesting look at things, but he just pulled on a bit of thread I think.

Just testing to see if I link and click back if the word MAIN will appear. Feel free to delete this.

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