Before I start...
Hi guys, it's been a long time since I left Linux.com. I contributed a lot and even was one of the private beta testers for this site and ran regular blog entries including writing Xlib-based windows managers, and general programming topics for Linux. I felt I had to leave as my Kudos points were stuck at zero no matter how much I contributed - I know this seems a silly reason for leaving, but I felt that fixing my Kudos points was the least the admins could have done for my contributions (especially as people were winning prizes in the early days of the site with the most points), but despite asking several times, my Kudos points remained at zero and I requested my account to be deleted.
I feel that I am now prepared to forgive and forget and going to start contributing again; I hope you enjoy this article!
Custom Distributions & I
A while back I started my own Linux distribution (based on Arch Linux) called LDR. which saw a LOT of traffic/interest hit my server (the most traffic the poor machine had ever seen!). The project itself was a massive flop as I could not hook in any support for other developers, nor could I keep up with the questions from casual users who, as a distro owner, I really should have made my top priority to please. Arch's base installation changed significantly and things broke and the project fell further and further behind whilst my main programming job (which paid the bills) grew busier and busier until I had to stop working on the project completely.
Strangely I have been left with fond memories of the project, it was a great learning curve for someone who up until then would consider himself an noobie to Linux. I really enjoyed being a part of the hype and excitement around a new distro and contributing GPL code that may be, some day, some one might download and use (though by that time, the project will probably be out of date and won't compile?!).
I continue to hope I will be involved in authoring another distribution from the ground up someday.
Working with Microsoft Technologies
I left my job with a Microsoft-technology-based Enterprise Telco. software provider in 2009 as I wanted to concentrate my working hours on developing Linux-based solutions for mission/time critical projects.
I have since then worked on some amazing projects including 2 successful contracts for the British MoD.
I have been working with Linux exclusively until recently when I surprisingly moved back to a Microsoft technology provider...
Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up on Linux; it is still very much a burning passion which I use to bore my pro-Microsoft/Mac colleges; my problem is that I find that Linux lacks the integration and support that I need on a daily basis to produce software to a level that I can be really proud of. It's probably 80% my opinion rather than facts, but I find that Windows - as a platform - offers me the right tools, in the right packaging, to be able to get my job done better.
This article is a brain-dump of the parts of Windows and Microsoft technologies that I would marry together with Linux to produce a distro that would be suitable for..... well.... me! (but hopefully other Enterprise Linux developers and companies too!)
I realize that praising Microsoft on Linux.com comes at the risk of receiving quite a bit of trolling/flaming from said community; but after you've had your fun, I hope you can understand that Microsoft HAVE created some components extremely well, sometimes better than other companies/communities have. Anyone who has tried to stress/load test a PHP web application, MYSQL db and Apache web server at the same time will hopefully respect the fact that because of the disconjointed nature of these components on Linux, aggregating data (like when trying to determine the bottleneck in this application stack) is extremely difficult - someone needs to take all these components, and put them together with loads of "Grade A" middleware glue, so that they work with the developer.
NOTE: I don't have the pleasure to work with Enterprise distributions of Linux such as Red Hat, and I'm sure these distros will include some/all of the concepts I will share with you below, but the truth is - as previously mentioned - I want to be involved in a project from the very start and that's why I'm inventing/dreaming up the concept anew here. Whether I am offering anything new to the table is up to you as a reader to decide (and discuss!).
Things that I think Microsoft did well (checklist)
I'll start by listing all the concepts, components, tools etc.. that I think Microsoft have done a fantastic job in providing and that would need to be included in my concept Linux distribution...