It has been a month and a half now since I changed jobs and it is amazing how many things have changed! The biggest change, and the hardest to “shift gears”, has been the move from a Microsoft-centric environment to one that is a mix of Linux and Microsoft. I come from a Unix background (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) so it hasn’t been totally wrenching but it has made for some interesting experiences while I bring myself up to speed.
One thing I can state categorically is that you can live in a hybrid Linux/Microsoft world without too much hassle. I have a Lenovo Yoga S1 laptop that, for various reasons, I had to load with Ubuntu as I could not keep it running reliably with Windows (a Lenovo issue, not a Windows issue). I have the latest desktop Ubuntu loaded (15.05) and it only took me about a day to get familiar with its “feel”. I can easily work out of my O365 accounts using Chrome or Firefox and while I don’t get the full, rich experience of the desktop Office apps I can work well enough with all the online versions including OneNote. I haven’t hit any big road blocks in using Linux. My main desktop machine is Windows 10 and I float back and forth between the laptop and the desktop without really thinking about it. And maybe that’s a testament to both the Ubuntu developers and the Windows developers, most of the things that I do on a machine without thinking (cut/paste, formatting like italics and such, copying files, etc) are the same in either environment, my fingers just do their thing on the keyboard. And, no, I’m not going to get into an argument about which environment is “better”; I can live in either.
The other thing that I’ve had to get my head wrapped around is that I work with people that are developers and have that “programmatic” background. As such I’ve head to dive into the world of Google apps, Atlassian, HipChat and other tools that are “foreign” to those of us that have been totally immersed in the Microsoft world. It’s been a bit weird but I’m finding that there are some tools outside of the Microsoft milieu that I actually like better than the Microsoft equivalents. That’s not to say that they are better than the Microsoft tools, just that I personally like the operation and feel over the Microsoft equivalent. I love OneNote but I have never been particularly enamoured of either of the OneDrives; I’m finding that I like GoogleDrive and DropBox much more. My compatriots are trying to convince me that there are better tools than OneNote, I don’t think they’ll get me there. But maybe that is the point, there are so many options available that you should always be able to find the tools that work best for you and the way you work. I’m having fun diving into a new and expanded toolset.
So, is embracing Linux a “heresy” on the part of a Microsoft MVP? I don’t think so as Microsoft themselves have been driving towards making their environment more embracing of the non-Microsoft world. I think keeping an open mind towards all possible environments is the better way to go as it allows you to to see the potential in an expanded toolset. And with that in mind I’ll be broadening the focus of this blog to reflect this larger embrace of the IT world. I’ll still be documenting my experiences in the Microsoft world but I’ll also document the various projects and tools that I’m immersed in in the Linux world. One of the “biggies” is going to be the journey I’m taking with a couple of non-profits and our jump into VoIP phone systems! I hope you’ll find the journey as interesting as I do.