Should I Be Ashamed for Using WinXP at Sun?

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I was challenged today in the corridor: "You've blogged that you have a new W2100z worstation but you don't write that you have Windows XP installed on it". So here I blog about it. Yes I am using Windows XP at Sun and I am not ashamed for it!

Why am I doing this? What operating system is used by majority of NetBeans users? Which OS-specific bugs have the biggest impact? Windows. The second most widely used OS by NetBeans users is Linux. Thus I have RedHat Fedora 4 on my second partition. Do I use Solaris and Mac? Yes, I do use them often, through remote access.

I apologize to all opensource evangelists, to Solaris engineers and to all the people from the anti-Microsoft world. I've been using Linux on desktop for five years, since RedHat 6.1 and Debian 2.0 in last company where all of our solutions were based on Linux. The funny thing is that on my Windows XP almost all of software is opensource. I use Firefox (I really don't like IE), Thunderbird, Gaim, Gimp, OpenOffice... and of course NetBeans.

I'm using Windows because I want to make sure NetBeans editor works on Windows. Is that a bad thing to do? Most NetBeans developers don't use Windows. Think about our users. I wish all of them would be using Solaris or other opensource OS but the reality is different. Hopefully this may change in the future and then I will change my desktop OS :-)

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Comments ( 9 )
  • sitchai Thursday, July 28, 2005
    I am runing Windows XP as a guest OS under QEMU (http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/) on Solaris 9 x86 host OS.
    Until the accelerator is available for Solaris then
    it's might not be suitable for the load like NetBeans though :-)
  • Giuliano Ribeiro Thursday, July 28, 2005
    You say "I'm using Windows because I want to make sure NetBeans editor works on Windows."! And in Linux you dont need make work ?? How you test in linux? Your focus is in windows? Why?
  • Roman Strobl Thursday, July 28, 2005
    I am testing editor on all plaftorms including Linux - we have testing cycles for that. But I am using Windows as my primary OS because it's used by most NetBeans users. It only means that if I'm doing other work than testing (like developing) I may catch some extra bugs on Windows platform because I use it primarily.
  • Roman Strobl Thursday, July 28, 2005
    Btw, we are talking about Java, so most bugs are not OS-specific. Anyway there are such bugs so we are testing on various versions of Windows, Linux, Solaris and MacOS. All automated tests are run on all these platforms as well.
  • Geoff Arnold Thursday, July 28, 2005

    I hope you're running XPneuter when you load Windows XP....

  • Roman Strobl Thursday, July 28, 2005
    Yes, I do.
  • Me Friday, July 29, 2005

    The better NetBeans works on Windows, the easier it is to get our developers to use Java and deploy on Solaris. We are using Solaris 10 on some of our servers and Windows on the desktop. We write Java code in Netbeans on Windows and deploy to Sun servers running Solaris 10. Over here it's NetBeans vs VS.NET and if they pick VS.NET the app has to deployed on a Windows server :(

    So in our case having Netbeans working well on Windows is actaully a boost for Solaris (strange as that may sound). Windows is virtually standard here, but NetBeans has helped us get our foot in the door with Solaris 10 on the server side. Zones also make our life much simpler when deploying multiple apps to the same server - a major advantage over using Windows on the server.

    On a related note, I think you would be surprised by the role aesthetics play when users form an opinion of an IDE. One of the first things I notice users doing after I give them NetBeans to install is to change the colors for syntax highlighting. Especially for comments, by default comments show up in gray - this doesn't go don't very well. The choice of colors in Netbeans reminds me of the old 3.x versions. It may seem like a small issue but the colors really need some refreshing for 4.2. Have a look at JDeveloper 10.1.3 and VS.NET 2005, even Eclipse. To be honest it looks like the syntax highlighting colors of NetBeans were chosen by a random number generator ;)

    Other aesthetic issues I have picked up on is the multiple status bars. First there is the status bar for the Java editor (which btw is a different color to all the other status bars). Below that there is the bar containing the icons of docked windows which were minimized. Below that there is \*yet\* another bar which is the global status bar. Could you guys please merge these bars into one (or at least 2). Eclipse and other tools have a single status bar which looks cleaner and saves valuable screen space.

    Gray is used too much everywhere, from comments in the editor to the left bar of the editor window. Eclipse bases colors such as colors for tabs and windows on the desktop settings of Windows (XP), NetBeans just sticks to whatever colors it wants no matter what the desktop colors are set to.

    If these relatively minor aesthetic issues could be improved it would make my job of selling the idea of using NetBeans a lot easier.

    PS thanks for a great IDE

  • Roman Strobl Friday, July 29, 2005
    Thank you for your comments. I completely agree about the colors. You know we had a big fight here about the caret row color (it's yellow now). It was supposed to be changed to gray but I and several other people fought against it, I think we have anough of gray already. I also agree about status bars, but changing such things is quite painfull... will send all your comments to our UI experts and we'll see if we can push this through.
  • Me Monday, August 1, 2005
    Thanks Roman
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