OS Dependent programming

Techrepublic.com has an short and sweet post about the development of new platforms which are leading developers to work in a more abstract manner, in the sense that you need to care about which operating system your application is going to run on.Check out the post at http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/programming-and-development/?p=693

Gone are the days when you worked on a Visual Basic app and wished that every machine would run Windows because that is the only Operating system your application would run on. The same applies to Visual Basic.NET . Personally i feel that no new development should be started in Visual Basic.NET. If anybody is in absolute love with .NET he could go in for C# as it is more similar to Java which allows you to shift gears more easily between the 2 languages. I myself was a Visual basic programmer few years ago and can tell you that any language where in you are locked into a particular platform is a sheer wastage of your time and effort and should be seriously avoided.

Free and Open Source Software

Many in the non Windows world are confused between Free/Open source software. Free software is considered to free of cost while open source software is considered software with source given to you . These 2 camps have different philosophies. This really confuses many people and even I was confused when i had come across these terms. It took some time for me to actually understand what these actually mean. Below is a short attempt from me.

Free Software: In terms of cost these can be free of cost or NOT. The free part is the freedom you will be given to modify,redistribute this software to others. Just FYI non free software not necessarily give you the legal rights to modify,redistribute the modified software. Thus cost is not the philosophy behind it. Free software can be charged . A software to be called as Free software needs to fulfill the requirements which they have defined.

This is the quote from the website of Free Software Foundation

“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

If you need the full text check the Free Software Definition available at FSF.

Linux is an example of Free Software for it allows anybody to see,modify,redistribute the software.Only the name “Linux” is copyrighted, the code is not.

Open Source: Open source is a branched out version of free software with some philosophical differences. The software which falls in this category are software for which the source of these will be given to you but not necessarily you can change or redistribute it. For eg Company ABC might make a software open source but it might not give the rights to anybody to modify the software and would own full rights to it. This would be the software with a company selling software to a defense organization who might to know what the code actually does so that it does not compromise on security. They may not want to change the software though.

IE specific Webservices

The only thing almost all non windows users may miss from time to time is Internet Explorer on their systems. Though with Firefox now on the rise this need has gone to a drastically low level but there are some instances when u need IE coz the website which u r visiting may provide some service which simply refuses to work on non IE browsers.

I have found 2 categories where IE is forced on u. One being the use of ActiveX controls on the webpage which simply cannot work on non Windows OS such as Linux. I hope all such service providers provide a desktop version for everybody for their respective OS.

The other category of websites come under lame coder websites who prefer to use VBScript in their webpages instead of Javascript . I simply cannot understand their logic behind this. Just because the developer knows only VBScript is really a pathetic excuse for any body to give. Even Microsoft the inventor of VBScript themselves don’t use Vbscript everywhere and instead use Javascript in many places.

Infact such websites reduce their coverage (in this case non Windows users) and they are the ones to lose finally.