Open Source

My last diary was a bit harsh because I'd just spent a frustrating few hours with ANTLR. I actually emailed the ANTLR-INTEREST list about my problems and got relatively prompt replies from the guy working on the project who was grateful for the feedback. He promised to look into the problems I had which means I should expect a fix soon.

This is one place where the Open Source community's way of doing things has us beat. If someone points out a bug in our APIs I typically check to see if its a known bug and if not file one then tell them "the bug should be fixed in our next release". Of course, this can vary from a month to a year depending on where we are in the product cycle. Microsoft definitely needs something like IBM's Alphaworks.

Competitor Awareness

Yesterday I saw a post on Joshua's weblog about NUnit where he says
NUnit started as a port of the Java-based framework called JUnit, but takes advantage of Reflection and other nice .NET features to make it really simple to integrate testing with the IDE projects.
which amused me to no end because this is exactly what JUnit does as well. This is pretty typical behavior for MSFT employees, assuming that applications in and on our platform are extremely innovative regardless of how long others have been using said features and taking them for granted. Joshua is actually one of the few people I've met at MSFT who is actually significantly aware of the IT industry in general and competing technologies & platforms in particular. Yup, we are that myopic at MSFT.

Halloween-esque Documents

The Open Source people really got a lot of traction out of the Halloween documents which is bemusing now that I can look at it from the perspective of an MSFT employee. The meat of the documents were primarily a report written by a single guy who was asked to research Open Source™ and Linux. What would have been interesting and more relevant is the fallout of that paper which of course we didn't see. Heck, anyone at MSFT asked to do some research on a competitor or competing technology could easily write similar things what matters is what MSFT decided to act upon. Heck, I probably have written Halloween-esque documents myself.

Travel Issues

I filled out my Hong Kong visa applications and bundled them off with my application fees, passport and passport pics only for me to get them sent back with the message "Process is too complex. You must come to San Francisco consulate and apply in person"