Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Only Good Thing In Windows

To start new year in a positive tone, lets talk about the only good thing in Windows.

As it should be clear from my previous posts, Windows clearly fails as an operating system. When you live with Windows it constantly tries to drive you insane. But of course you want to keep your sanity, because there are other operating systems out there worth living for. But how do you keep your mind sane when everything seems to be against you?

When a programmer is faced with an API that is absolutely awful to work with, then the classical solution is to build another API on top of it, that hides away the ugliness of the bad API and makes it pleasant and maybe even fun to work with. You just create a better abstraction of the same problem.

So how do you hide Windows? Because of the law of leaky abstractions you can't hide it completely – something will always leak out. Even when you run another operating system inside Windows using virtualization, but I don't really want to go there today – one could argue, that then you aren't really running Windows any more.

Another choice is to spend most of your time inside apps that hide Windows away from you. For me, the best app for this is Emacs. And well, it is pretty darn close to an operating system.

So to answer to the question stated: the only good thing in Windows is that you can run Emacs in it.

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