Earlier this evening, I had a conversation with a friend and colleague in the IT business. He runs his own independent computer consulting firm and we were trading war stories about customers, hardware vendors and work sharing. Work sharing, also known as "farming out" work that you can't do yourself due to your schedule, volume or lack of expertise. He shocked me when he made the statement that, "Not that many companies use Unix anymore." Huh? I must have looked as if someone wanted to purchase my firstborn when he said that because he emphatically repeated the statement.
I took a large gulp of my iced tea and choked out the words, "Are you kidding me, what about bigger companies?"
My mouth was still agape at this and I had an odd clanging sound going off in my head.
I cleared my throat and said, "Oh sure, the workstations but they use Unix for their servers, right?"
Again, the reply was, "Nope, they use Windows on those too."
And then he named two local hospitals as examples.
OK. I like this guy. I think that he's probably a very good computer tech and I know that he treats people fairly but I'm afraid that he's terribly misinformed.
One of the hospitals that he mentioned, I know for sure uses Unix to do some of their dirty work such as controlling their magnetically locked doors and validating their security cards.
He further informed me that, "Hardly anyone uses Unix--nearly everyone is an all Windows shop."
I told him that he should be glad then because he'll never lack for work and that Microsoft's products kept me in that same business for over eight years.
He departed rather abruptly, claiming that he had to go "reboot the phone system."
OK, so I'm a jerk, right? Or, I came off as a jerk to him, I think.
But, is it me?
Seriously, in the huge enterprises that I've worked in for the past 16 years or so, Unix plays a major role often greatly outnumbering Windows server by at least two to one. When people state odd things like, "hardly anyone uses Unix anymore," it makes me uncomfortable. I don't know how to respond. Should I assume the role of an equally uninformed zombie or attempt to correct someone's obviously erroneous beliefs?
The puzzling part is that he knows what I do for a living, including my writing gigs. It makes me wonder if he's really that uninformed or just picking a fight.
What do you think, could his opinions about Unix hold any truth or is he misinformed? Am I misinformed?