[OT] Getting your developers good harwdare (Was: Apple and dual monitors)

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Mon Feb 13 22:42:51 MST 2012

On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 9:44 PM, Henry Paul <henry at paulfam.com> wrote:
> I have to agree with you 100% here. I was told something similar in a
> past life about using a Windows desktop to administer Linux servers. I
> went as far as to argue that we didn't force the Windows admins to use
> Linux desktops.... Nope, I can (apparently) be just as "productive" with
> Putty as I can with Terminator or Konsole, except for every little snafu
> in Windows makes me contemplate jumping from the roof to my death at lunch.
> Needless to say I didn't stick around very long after that. I figured if
> the employer was so out of touch with my job role as to not understand
> how something so mundane as my choice of OS could both be a morale
> booster, as well as a productivity booster, there was no way they'd ever
> get around to fixing the real problems we had to deal with either. So I
> split.

Although I agree with the general idea that spending a few thousand
dollars on a top-notch workstation for your workers who will spend 90%
of their working time at them is money well spent, and I certainly
agree that tools matter to productivity, I'm going to go out on a limb
and say that a highly competent person will be able to figure out ways
to be efficient despite some level of initial discomfort over
something like running Windows vs. Linux.

As a windowing system to give you access to remote systems, Windows,
Linux, and even OS X are more alike than they are different.  People
are just a bit more willing to put up with the quirks of their favored
platform, and less willing to put up with quirks in platforms they
dislike.  There's nothing really wrong with that, of course, but you
should realize that you're not being entirely rational when you make a
decision like that.  Of course, rationality isn't everything, and if
you really find Windows that distasteful, you probably shouldn't stick
around where you have to use it and make yourself bitter.

Programming languages and editors end up with similar holy wars
surrounding them, and I'll happily root for my favorite editors and
languages, but when I go to work, I do the best I can with the
constraints given to me.  It would be fun to write programs in a
language I love, but when it comes down to it I often have to write
code in languages I loathe.  But you know what?  I enjoy writing
programs in those languages, too, and I've got to be pretty good at
avoiding the defects and finding ways to express things well within
the constraints of the languages.  If I turned my nose up and looked
for something else whenever I was faced with working with tools I
didn't like, I would have missed out on a lot of valuable experience.

Anyway, I don't mean to criticize anyone's decisions, just to make a
case for stepping back and looking at whether an obstacle is *really*
an obstacle or whether you are letting a personal preference get in
the way of something more valuable.  Not to trivialize personal
preferences--they're not unimportant--but they're worth taking a look
at from time to time.


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