Addressing some of the typical arguments we hear from the "Microsoft fanboy" crowd.

One can debate until you turn blue in the face. It never fails that *some* concepts and facts just fly right over the heads of *some* people. But when the person doing the arguing is supposedly well-educated and has 15 plus years of programming experience, you would think he'd have better arguments than these. Feel free to add your own favorite "stupidities" to the list.

1. Claim that Buffer Overflows do not exist.

I start with the funniest one because when a Microsoft fanboy claims he "never read any reports from MS about 'buffer overflow' problems" you *know* that he is entirely clueless -- and probably entirely helpless too. Believe it or not, I have even been accused of "trying to sound technical" on this one. In this age of extensive media coverage and the ability to just "Google" a subject, one wonders why a programmer would deny the existence of "buffer overflows" when the subject is such a central component of the information security sector. One possibility is that the fanboy primarily programs in .NET (and other "managed code" environments) so he never needs to learn about or deal with "pointers" -- he is wrapped-up and laying in a baby crib. The other possibility is that to acknowledge the existence of "buffer overflows" entails admitting to a host of security issues involved with using Microsoft operating systems and software [just research the exploit holes used by virus, worm, spyware and other malware writers]. So, to claim that you admire Microsoft products means that you must choose between two facts that can be said about you as a person: A) You are extremely dumb. Or... B) You are a bold-faced liar.

2. Believe that Microsoft follows industry standards.

This is so laughable and the joke is so ingrained in the IT industry that I don't even need to say much about this one. Just ask the Web development people about it -- they will tell you enough horror stories to fill a library. Look, I am not claiming that Microsoft is "evil" because of its "vendor lock-in" tactics. But you will find plenty of evidence in the trade journals that this strategy is working against Redmond. Just look at the "call-center" and other sectors where the 'seats' run into the thousands -- these folk choose either to stay with obsolete OS and business applications (can't justify upgrade costs) or they transition to free alternatives.

3. Believe that binary OS image files are scalable.

Source code. This is one of those things that one would *expect* a so-called "professional programmer" would understand. It is common practice in the Open Source community to download the source code for the GNU/Linux kernel so you can compile it to run on specific hardware. With the entire source in hand, one is free to "tune" the OS for performance enhancements available via hardware -- that can mean adjustments for an increased cache; allowances for the lack of/presence of FPU features, 64-bit, multi-processors, multi-core, etc. If one purchases a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows and they want to run it on an older 32-bit machine, guess what? They are out of luck! They MUST, MUST purchase a 32-bit version of Windows -- they have *absolutely* no other choice! I truly do not understand why Microsoft fanboys fail to comprehend this fact when talking about the "scalability" of a Operating System. Again, this is either an IQ problem or the Microsoft admirers enjoy spreading lies. Which is it?

[[ To Be Continued... ]]

Wow, I LOLed.

1. Buffer Overflows are still all over the place. Anyone who knows anything about low level code knows that. People who are only used to Java, .NET managed code, or just about any other interpretted language will typically make the same mistake, whether they be Microsoft fanboys or Linux fanboys, or not even fanboys at all. However, your argument about the security issues doesn't just exist in Microsoft products. A few years ago at one of the Defcons, someone pulled out some 100+ buffer overflows in the Linux kernel, several of them exploitable. Also, Microsoft is putting a lot of money and effort into improving the security of their products, with good results thus far. And their products are often better than the competition.

2. Since they still have about 95% of the desktop OS market, I'd say that vendor lock-in is still working quite well for Microsoft. However, they are starting to work with standards organizations much more than in the past. IE is still a ways behind other browsers in that department, but what other products would you point out?

3. As like point number 1, this argument relies on an ignorant person. Any binary is only compatible with certain architectures for which it was compiled. It's becoming common practice for Linux distros to be based on binary packages, including the kernel. How do they do it? You download the ISO file for your CPU, depending on whether you want 32- or 64-bit. Odds are, you'll end up with a pre-compiled kernel for either x86_84 architecture or i386 (though many distros are updating to i686, which cuts out compatibility with AMD's K6 line). You'll not find many people that are still compiling their own kernel, much less compiling it for their specific architecture. Microsoft is doing the same as these distros, only MSFT has been doing it longer.

Your post is picking at statements made only by ignorant "developers". I've seen similar statements by Linux fanboys who also demonstrated as little knowledge as you proclaim the MSFT fanboys to have.

Just callin' the shots as I see 'em. Label me a fanboy if you will, you certainly won't be the first.

{responding to Infarction's comments}

1. Okay, you are on to my "game" here... ignorance is not limited to "Microsoft" people - there are plenty of green penquins too.

2. Well, I harped on the "standards" issue because the "fans" always claim they would NEVER be caught using non-standard languages like Java... that they use .NET because of its "certified standard" status -- of course, we all know that this isn't true.

3. Do you not recall the time that Microsoft was caught shipping the *exact same* binary image of NT ( I do not recall which version ) to home users and to businesses -- the _only_ difference was that the business version had the words "Enterprise Edition" stamped on it and they charged the firms 10 times the price of the home package?

"Just callin' the shots as I see 'em. Label me a fanboy if you will, you certainly won't be the first."

Nah... your responses are always insightful.. keep them coming...

Nathan.
PS - See also the responses in the forum thread here:
http://www.desktoplinux.com/cgi-bin/board/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowPost&Board=linvswin&Post=845&Idle=0&Sort=0&Order=Descend&Page=0&Session=[