Monday, February 25, 2013
Pragmatism vs Partisanship
You ate Chinese food, so obviously you must hate Europeans...
Sounds silly doesn't it? So was the type of reaction I got from a data professional when I showed him a new book on data analysis that I was excited to add to my library. The software language didn't match his worldview or career investment, so I was labeled a "Microsoft basher". Which is silly since we were at event for users of Microsoft software, I was using a Windows phone and two out of the three operating system I was running on my laptop were Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012. And I spent much of the time taking notes in OneNote and discussing PowerShell 3 and SQL Server 12 with my cohort.
And the irony of situation is that Microsoft and many of it's employees and advocates recognized that not all the great tools and goodness flows from the mother-ship in Redmond. Buck Woody, a author and well known Microsoft database and Azure evangelist recommends installing OSS text-handling utilities when setting up your Data Science Laboratory. Another well known Microsoft technologist, Scott Hanselman, suggests many third party tools and has a recent post discussing GitHub and line endings. With the existence of CodePlex,the inclusion of Git support in Visual Studio and offering Linux VMs on Azure, Microsoft is becoming more pragmatic and inclusive in regards to OSS.
And OSS has growing garnering commercial support. Red Hat has been making money for years. VMware supports both commercial and OSS hosts and guest. Some of the projects on CodePlex get adopted by commercial companies. And data analysis tools featured in the book that seed of this post have commercial support from a company, Continuum Analytics, which just received a grant from DARPA, to further develop their tools.
So, while disappointed in the reaction I received from this individual, I still respect him and hope to demonstrate the power of using both OSS and Microsoft tools together to tackle some tough data problems.