Microsoft open-sourced MSBuild

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The Microsoft initiative to open source the .Net platform (which the MSBuild tool is a part of) has been talked about a lot in the past (though I have something to say about this as well, probably later in this post), but the fanfare has died down quite a bit since the last announcement. One might say that the reason they didn’t open source the entire thing at once was so Microsoft can space out the announcement and synthetically generate continued buzz about their platform, but knowing how these things usually work, its much more likely that because preparing a project for open-source is difficult and time consuming and a project as large as .Net doubly so (or a thousand times so), so it makes sense to do so in parts.

But to the question at hand – what does an open source MSBuild means to you? (more…)

Powershell still sucks

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Powershell is a great command line shell, if you all you know is cmd and batch. There are so many things it is missing when trying to compete with current Unix shells such as Bash, and while some of them have semi-working workarounds, many are sorely missing.

My pet peeves are:

  • A decent pager. “more” is basically at the same stage it was when I started working in MS-DOS 3.30, and it is nowhere near the functionality of “less”(1).
  • Persistent history. I’ve seen some workarounds but couldn’t get any of them to work properly.

Both of these features have been available to me since I started working with Linux in 1995, and it is really difficult living without them in MS-world. A decent terminal emulator will be nice too – the Powershell box has advantage over the cmd.exe box in that it is blue – other then that they are both in the same sorry state that the “dos box” of Windows 3 fame was at. I’m using “Console 2” to get some useful work done, but it too leaves much to be desired.

Also, startup is so.. fscking.. slow.. Starting Powershell on a brand new machine (with no per-session user scripts) can take as much as 3 seconds. Those are minutes of my life everyday that I would never get back.


  1. and I’m not talking about the built-in editor, just being able to “page up” would have been nice []

What is Windows XP for you?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

I just “love” this quote from this PC-Magazine article:

… the amazingly enduring Windows XP—easily Microsoft’s most successful enterprise product ever…

Which is a really cock-eyed way to look at the operating system market, which completely ignores purchasing decisions by millions of users world-wide. A better description of Windows XP might be:

The last reasonably well-made operating system that Microsoft made

Users aren’t migrating from Windows XP because its so good(1) – they keep using Windows XP because every later OS is really bad.


  1. hint: it isn’t []

Same old Microsoft, at Nortel’s patent sale dispute

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

As reported on Reuters and Techcrunch, Microsoft is claiming that the sale of bankrupt Nortel’s 6,000 patents to Google (or any other successful bidder) is unfair under the current sale terms that allow the buyer to not carry current licenses to the patents.

Microsoft is understandably concerned, as they currently hold a “perpetual, royalty-free” license to all patents (which means that if the buyer doesn’t get to re-license with existing license holders, then they won’t get any more money from Microsoft on these patents), but what I’m ranting about is not their legitimate concern, but their attempt to color this as “unfair” – quips Techcrunch:

Microsoft says that’s unfair. And while they don’t specifically mention Google, it seems pretty clear who they’re thinking about when they write that a termination of existing licensing agreements “would result in considerable disruption in the development and enhancement of various existing technologies and give the prospective purchaser an unfair competitive advantage”.

This may be unfair, but Microsoft has done this exact same thing in the past, including the very near past where immediately after buying Skype, and just a few days after Microsoft promised that Skype will continue to be offered on non-Microsoft platforms, the “Skype for Asterisk” product was terminated disallowing Digium to sell any more Skype integration module for their successful (and open source) VoIP solution(1).

Obviously this is a move perpetrated to allow Microsoft’s competing VoIP product (Lync) an unfair competitive advantage by offering features that Digium can no longer offer – not because of technical issues but because Microsoft will not allow it.

Taking that into account, Microsoft claiming the sale of this patents to Google is unfair is just the pot calling the  kettle black.

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  1. I know that technically they did not stop supporting the module – just not allowing any new sales, but they also put a deadline to stop supporting the Skype-Asterisk integration module: it will not work past July 2013. Cutting this any sooner would have netted Microsoft/Skype a serious law suite so obviously they did the worst they could get away with []

An astute observation

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Yep, that sounds about right.


Microsoft Windows 7 – Another Mac rip-off

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

I installed a pre-release version of Windows 7 to play with – I’m actually supposed to know what I’m talking about when I dis the next version of Windows ;-), and the second impression is what the title is about: it just behaves and looks more like Mac OS-X then all previous Windows releases.

(more…)

More Internet Explorer Bugs

Monday, April 27th, 2009

[Update: initially I thought this problem was limited to IE7 and earlier, I was wrong and it also happens in Internet Explorer 8. Kind of destroys what ever expectations I’ve had remaining for IE8]

Although Internet Explorer 8 was already released(1) most users are going to stick to previous versions – I know this for a fact as even though Internet Explorer 7 is already more than a couple of years on the market it still only has slightly better then 50% of the Internet Explorer market (not including other browsers).

That being said, its always “fun” finding more Internet Explorer bugs, something which the web developer I’m working with is proficient in (which she isn’t really doing on purpose – I’m not sure if it counts in her favor or not 🙂 ), so here is the latest one she stumbled upon(2): (more…)


  1. and it boasts a superior rendering engine – which is almost on par with  Firefox 3: it breaks horribly in the WordPress edit post dialog – its the first serious rendering problem I’ve seen with IE8 []
  2. I haven’t documented the several previous ones we encountered – I might do so in the future []

Can Microsoft destroy OpenDocument by supporting it?

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Not really news, but Microsoft announced support for the ISO OpenDocument format in the coming service pack 2 for MS-Office 2007 (due sometime in the first half of 2009).

This announcement is still relevant, partially as the actual product is still a ways off, but also because I wanted to discuss this more – and specifically what that would mean for OpenOffice.org.

(more…)

Evolution problem with MS-Outlook invitations

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Another post just to get some information out there on Google – there is a known bug in Evolution regarding receiving meeting invitations from MS-Outlook 2003 clients, and several Google searches didn’t come up with the solution, so here is the problem and the workaround:

A default Evolution installation has problems with meeting invitations from MS-Outlook 2003 – when such an invitation is received, it is shown as a plain text message like this:

Evolution shows metting invitation as plain text

And you can’t take any action on the email. (more…)

MS-Outlook thinks it is pretty funny

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

But it is not – I’ve always been getting emails from people that use Outlook with weird characters strewn here and there for good measure, specifically a lot of people that send me email think its funny to add “J” (capital letter j) at the end of some sentences, for example:

Oulook fails to send smilies

And I never could figure out why, (more…)


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