Evangelist Puts Linux v/s Microsoft Debate To Rest

by Hinesh Jethwani    May 20, 2004

With a decade of hands on Linux experience, and a 9-year stint with the Redmond giant, Microsoft India’s technical evangelist drew a line between the facts and fiction surrounding the two hottest operating systems in the market today, in a candid interview with CXOtoday.

Microsoft has made a commendable effort to appease hardcore Open Source fans, by releasing WiX and Windows Template Library (WTL) version 7.5 on SourceForge. However, the big question that remains unanswered is, “Will the release be able to spark a Â’Linux-like’ interest within the developer community?”

In a CXOtoday exclusive, Tarun Anand, technical evangelist, Microsoft India, said, “Modifications at the kernel level of the Operating System are extremely difficult for all platforms, including Linux. Scrutinizing 15-20 million lines of code is by no means a trivial task. Even in the Linux community, the number of modifiers working at the kernel level is very small.”

Anand is a veteran as far as toying with Operating Systems is concerned, and has contributed to both Linux and Windows codes. Presenting a candid unbiased opinion, he explained, “As far as security, stability and reliability of the two Operating Systems are concerned, I must say that both are equally poised. Even from an architectural standpoint, there is no difference in the two to suggest that Linux is more stable than Microsoft. Linux has core similarities to Unix, and the same Dave Cutler that is responsible for developing and designing Windows NT, has designed Unix-like systems like VAX/VMS. Therefore there is no reason to believe that Microsoft and Linux are dramatically different, since the same developers have been involved with the designs of both origins.”

However, Anand admitted that Linux was definitely his favorite when it came to tweaking and making modifications to the OS. “As Microsoft’s policy does not permit it to share its Intellectual Property, Linux definitely makes an impact, as it offers the flexibility of making any number of changes and recommendations. However, for 99.9% of the developer community, this is hardly an issue, as they are more interested in building applications than making kernel level changes. Microsoft scores over Linux in its rich documentation for developers, priority 1 online technical support, and its 8,00,000 strong global partner network,” explained Anand.

“Microsoft is not a recent entrant into the Open Source front, as we have been sharing our ATL code since a long time. There has been a considerable interest within the Indian developer community over the recent releases of both WiX and WTL. The new WTL release will facilitate rich UI application building on C++, which was difficult to achieve earlier. With pre-cooked templates now available, the effort and coding required will reduce dramatically. The library will be a boon for enterprises looking at debugging application-specific problems that occur in the daily use of Windows, as they can step through the code to scrutinize and pinpoint exact problematic areas,” detailed Anand.

Also, it is possible to build certain Longhorn-like applications and integrate them into existing versions of Windows, which will allow users to exploit futuristic functions way ahead of Longhorn’s 2007 predicted release, admitted Anand.

“Creative and advanced developers will take a keen interest in working with WTL, and the Common Public License (CPL) will allow Microsoft’s partners to supplement Windows with custom-built rich business applications,” Anand concluded.

Tarun Anand has been working with Microsoft for the last 9 years, with experience in the product development teams of Windows NT, Windows 2000, COM+, DCOM and .NET for 5 years at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond. Since 2001, he has been actively involved in technical evangelism to the large developer community in India. He owns several patents in the field of distributed systems. Tarun is a B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur, and a MS in Computer Science from University of Texas at Austin.

Tags: Linux