Windows/Linux Biculturalism

Software: Joel on Biculturalism: ‘What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? There are many details and subtleties, but for the most part it comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers.’

I’m not sure I agree; I’ve met lots of Windows programmers who take what Joel calls the ‘UNIX’ orientation, and even a few Unix people who are as user-oriented in their coding as what Joel calls the ‘Windows’ way.

But, talking of the Unix/Win divide — it seems that Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki, is joining MS, who have something called SharePoint Team Services, an editable-web group sharing system as part of Front Page.

If you ever wanted to see an illustration of a Windows-Unix divide in the web age, it sounds like this is it: Wiki has quick-and-dirty links in FuglyBouncingCaps, is text-heavy, has obscure text markup formats, has little in the way of roles, access control, or a workflow model, and has some odd magic pages that live in the same namespace as everything else despite being different.

SharePoint, by contrast, is integrated with everything in Office, is a great success where the MS Kool-Aid is viewed as tasty, uses role-based security and a workflow, and seems to be generally reviled elsewhere.

No better illustration. The only thing that could improve that would be if SharePoint has a talking paperclip I’ve missed.

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