Monday, September 28, 2009

OpenCity vs. “Microzoft”: Why Are Linux Developers Jerks?

OpenCity is an awesoem free city simulation that I came across back in 2007, but since I moved to Windows Vista, I haven’t been able to run it.

OK, let me backtrack a little. I have been an avid Linux fan since 2001, when I ran a Red Hat 7 box. But one of the things that’s always bugged me is the attitudes of some people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not everyone, but even one sour response can spoil the broth, so to speak.

There’s a long story behind my usage of OpenCity on Windows Vista, however I’m not going to tell it right now, seeing as it’s, well, long.

Anyway, I decided to try to run OpenCity again recently. No problem: go to the website, download the install binaries.

And then I saw this:

Please note that Windows platform is a secondary target. It's mainly because Microzoft[sic] doesn't support OpenGL correctly. Blame Microzoft not us !


There are two things wrong with this statement:

  • It’s fine if Windows is a secondary platform and you don’t/can’t devote resources to it. What’s not fine is blaming Microsoft for the fact. Microsoft didn’t make you not care.
  • OpenGL is supported just fine on Windows. Microsoft provides a bare minimum base ICD (like most of its’ drivers), and expects the manufacturer to provide its’ own ICD, as it knows how to properly support OpenGL best.
  • Oh, and there seems to be something wrong with your “s” key; it keeps randomly generating “z”s. :D

Now, I could put this down as simply being misinformed. The OpenCity development team may be repeating common “knowledge” that has been parroted without checking. But then there’s this:

In case where OpenCity doesn't start under Vista, blame Microzoft again, not us ! We've worked hard to make OpenCity as portable as possible but Microzoft always tries to make open source developer's life harder and harder.

I’m sure Microsoft employees have nothing better to do than dream up ways to make your porting attempts fail. I can just hear them now: “Hmm, how can we annoy those OpenCity guys today?” “I know, lets break their build again!”

Seriously, you need to step back and examine what you just said. You said Microsoft is always looking for ways to stop you from making Windows apps (albeit free/open source and/or ported from Linux.) In other words, they are trying to stop people from using Windows.

It doesn’t matter whether the software is FOSS or not – its’ still Windows software, and while because a program is on Linux and Windows may not make someone buy Windows (though it probably will influence them in that direction), not having a favourite program on the platform may mean loss of a customer.

Microsoft simply doesn’t care what philosophy your app has, as long as you use Windows to run it. That’s the simple truth.

It’s important as a developer that you be as unbiased in your code as you can, because, in the end, the customer does not care what the specifics are. They will, however, care that your application doesn’t work, and, rightfully so, they will complain to you. If you must work around some OS bug, so be it, but remember, you chose to build for that platform.

(And no, OpenCity still doesn’t work. :( )